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Ancestors' day...

Come to Sperling on the first Saturday in every June.

Go out to the cemetery anytime for your annual Ancestors' Day visit.

  • Check out and tidy up the family plot.
  • Reminisce with your friends, ancestors, and Sperling's departed.

Please pass on the word to family and friends!

Life in the 1900's

More Immigrants

After the turn of the century, an influx of American immigrants began to arrive. The early families included the names Tjaden, Brown, Rance, Lewis, Gehring, Parker, Bausman, and Chase. Following them were the Borsheim, Wurmnest, Jenkins, and Abry families.

From the Maritimes came the Archibalds, Colpitts, and Steeves. From Switzerland (via the USA) came settlers named Rose, Delaloye, and Ribordy, and Cretton. The Duvenaud family came from France.

Several Danish families were settlers in the 1920's:, their names included Nielsen, Madsen, Nicolajsen, Andersen, and Ortman.

These were some of the early settlers – most of them farmers. There were others who came and moved on, and more who came in the peak years of the 20's and later, including several Mennonite families (mostly south and east of Sperling).

Businesses

There were business people as well: storekeepers, including Pedlar, Smith, Sparling, Eaton (William was a nephew of Timothy Eaton), Foulston, and Millichamp. Blacksmiths and implement dealers included: Rehill, Hobbs, McNulty, Lester & Killeen, Davison & Soutar; lumber merchants: Morrison, Steeves, and Brown. CNR station agents in the early years included Wilson, Aubin, Bowman, Tully.

Sperling had two banks in the 1920s; C.B. McNulty was one of the managers. (What is now the Legion Hall, a red brick building on Main Street, was once the Union Bank – for some years it also housed the telephone office.) A drug store was run by T.A. Hobbs. Butchers included Bates, Pumfrey, Courtenay, Dulmadge, Smith, Tolton, Griffiths. The hotel was a fixture of the community from 1901 until it burned in 1986. Numerous restaurants came and went – the last one, combined with a small store and liquor outlet, burned in 1995. The memorial gazebo stands today on the site.

The Rink

The rink in Sperling was built in1921, and was the pride of the area in its early days. With a hockey/skating rink and two sheets of curling ice, the rink was the center of community activity for the winter. Sperling produced some good hockey teams and some notable curlers, but most importantly the rink was a center for community participation. Virtually everyone was a skater, hockey player, or curler. (The rink was demolished in 1977, and replaced on the same site by a somewhat smaller arena, which includes an actively-used community centre.) And in the summer, baseball was popular on the schoolyard diamonds, with many teams of both sexes participating for many years.

Doctors

Sperling had its own doctor for a time: Maxwell Bowman practiced from his home (the Millichamp/Davison/Gehring house) on Main Street south. He grew up near Miami, graduated from the University of Manitoba, and came with his wife Marjorie in 1921. They stayed seven years, but couldn't make a go of. Several years of crop failures, a population that stopped increasing, and competing doctors in Carman resulted in him moving to Clanwilliam, and later to Winnipeg. His twin sons, Jack and Bill, born while the family was in Sperling, went on to be noted pediatricians.

To be accurate, Sperling did have another doctor: veterinarian John (Doc) Martin practiced in Sperling from about 1915 until he died in 1941.