FRANK PERRIN m HANNA BROWN
Perrin and Hannah Brown were both born in Ontario and came west at
an early age. They were married in Rapid City, Manitoba in 1881 and
lived near there for seven years before moving to Spy Hill, where
they are both buried.
were fourteen children born of this union but Carl and Buchanan
died in infancy and Ivan at the age of fourteen. The following
is an account of the remaining eleven, of which we are their descendants.
Perrin (nee Brown) Obituary
Hill News - October 9, 1932
Frank Y. Perrin, 68 years of Spy Hill early pioneer of this district
died Wednesday at the family residence. Mrs. Perrin had been suffering
with heart trouble and complications last spring. Deceased was born
in Woodbridge, Ontario in 1864 and was married in Rapid City, Manitoba
in 1881. She and her husband homesteaded in Spy Hill in 1887 when
but six other families were located here. She was the mother of
14 children, 11 of whom are living. Mrs. Perrin was a valued friend
and nurse to many of the wives of the early settlers. Records showing
that she acted in capacity of practical nurse for 200 maternity
cases. She was a familiar figure in the life of the community serving
as the president of the Lady Grain Growers' Association. President
of the Home makers Club, Secretary of the Spy Hill Methodist Church,
Honor member of the WCTU and in the later years frequently acted
as chairman of community hall meetings and other public affairs.
Her accounts of early pioneering days were often feature items on
the programs of the Spy Hill Literary and Debating Society.
June 7th 1931, Mr. and Mrs. Perrin had celebrated their 50th Golden
Wedding Anniversary on the Spy Hill Picnic Grounds when about 300
relatives and friends were present. Mrs. Perrin was presented with
a gold wrist watch from her children and Mr. and Mrs. Perrin were
recipients of a purse of gold from the children and the community.
service was conducted by Rev. E. Unstead in Spy Hill United Church
Friday afternoon, October 9th, when the church was filled to overflowing
with relatives and friends. Many beautiful floral tributes, one
being a community wreath, attested to the high esteem she was held.
pallbearers were Messrs. R. Greer, J. Mulberry, J. Saleld, S. Thompson,
J. Voysey and H.K. Blight. Interment was made in Spy Hill Cemetery.
is survived by her husband, eleven children as follows: Frank Perrin,
Edmonton, Alberta, Mrs. F. Carter, Spy Hill, Mrs. Frank Baker, Denzil,
Sask., Mrs. Otto Baker, Denzil, Sask., Harvey Perrin, Long Beach
California, Mrs. Glen Edmonds, Long Beach, Calif., Albert Perrin,
Evesham, Sask., Stewart Perrin, Spy Hill, Charles Perrin, Spy Hill,
Elmer Perrin, Denzil, Sask., and Mrs. W. Steiger, Major, Sask. Also
34 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren, 3 brothers and 1 sister,
namely - Mrs. Hector McKay, Melville, Sask., Joseph Brown, Spy Hill,
James Brown and George Brown of Davidson, Sask.
as told by Mrs. Hannah (Frank Y.) Perrin (1864-1932)
to data obtained from her early accounts of pioneering days, Mrs.
Perrin, whose maiden name was Hannah Brown, lived with her parents
and younger sisters and brothers at Woodbridge, Ontario, where
her father, Mr. John Anderson Brown operated an Agricultural and
Manufacturing shop. When Mrs. Perrin was 15 years old her father
suffered the loss of his building by fire two different times.
Discouraged and dismayed, he decided to abandon his line of work
and seek land in the prairie provinces.
he had insured his buildings the second time so was amply provided
for his new life in the west.
February 1878 Mr. Brown left Toronto by rail and after about a
week's travelling, arrived in Winnipeg. Obtaining a team of horses
and buckboard, he drove west over the Old Battleford Trail. The
winter was very mild and he saw plowing going on at different
places. He went as far west as Fort Ellis, now St. Lazare, Manitoba,
but decided on Rapid City, Manitoba as the best location for a
home. At that time a great number of settlers were homesteading
on land in that district, some having come as early as 1875.
Brown returned to Woodbridge, Ont., and in the spring of 1879
started again for the west with Rapid City as his destination.
He brought along a carload of furniture and horses, also a complete
camping outfit. Some of the trip was by rail, some by flat-bottom
boat up the Red River and the Assiniboine River to Grand Valley,
Manitoba. The homestead he chose was 2 1/2 miles south of Rapid
City, and he begun the task of erecting buildings of sod and concrete,
using lime mixed with sand and gravel for the concrete.
29, 1879, Mrs. Brown and her five children left Woodbridge by
rail for the west. They rode in a colonist car which there were
7 other similar families. They slept on slat berths let down from
the ceiling of the car. Their route was via Chicago where the
Chicago Centennial was in progress at that time, and as the family
had several hours wait there for a train, they enjoyed themselves
seeing the sights. After arriving in St. Boniface, they crossed
the broad Red River to Winnipeg on a ferry as there was no bridge.
Fort Garry was a novel sight to then with its stone walls loopholed
for rifle fire, bastions at the corners from which a good view
of the country around could be had, and mounted cannon at the
entrance to the enclosure. Mud prevailed everywhere. There were
no sidewalks except some logs thrown down in front of a few of
the principal buildings.
3 days Mrs. Brown and the children waited at the American Hotel
on Main Street, near the Hudson Bay store, until Mr. Brown arrived
from Rapid City with his camping outfit and horses. The re-united
family camped on the Commons for 2 weeks, where many others were
camping too. Among them was an English colony going to Rapid City,
and the Browns joined up with them when leaving Winnipeg.
Brown bought provisions in Winnipeg for the trip over the prairie,
chiefly bread, which cost 12-1/2 cents a loaf, also flour, and
a barrel of salt pork, which cost 29 cents a lb.
was a fine mild morning on October 10th when the settlers, numbering
11 wagons left Winnipeg. The Browns had 2 prairie schooners, a team
of horses, a yoke of oxen and 2 cows of their own.
they had a compass for guidance, they really needed but to follow
the muddy rutted Battleford Trail. The country abounded with wild
game, enabling Mr. Brown to shoot all the family required with his
single barrel shotgun. The first night they camped at Sturgeon Creek,
9 miles from Winnipeg. They slept on blankets under tents.
weather continued fine until they reached Portage la Prairie when
twins of another family in the party contracted whooping cough,
and later died on their arrival at Birtle, which was their destination.
Reaching Portage, the party had run out of bread and flower and
had been eating dumpling and bannock mostly, so their object in
stopping was to obtain provisions. At the mill they saw 50 Red River
carts drawn up in front in charge of a couple of Indians. They learned
the Indians had journeyed from Touchwood Hills, Sask., with their
carts heavy laden with furs and were waiting to restock their carts
with flour, for their return trip. Instead of waiting their turn
for flour, the Browns were fortunate in learning that Mrs. Brown
and the miller had been old school mates back in Ontario, so during
the night of the second day's wait, the kindly miller sneaked 5
bags of flour to them. Having previously purchased all other necessary
provisions, including 12 chickens at $1.00 a piece, they departed
3 days it rained after leaving Portage. One night 3 teams got stuck
in the mud at Hunt's Slough, so the whole party camped right there.
Mrs. Perrin awakened in the morning to find herself lying in 2 inches
travelers passed the noted missionary Red McDougal, who was en route
to Winnipeg with 50 Red River carts full of furs, and was accompanied
by some Indians.
at Mr. Brown's homestead, the family found they had several neighbors,
the nearest being a mile distant. Odd bands of Indians camped about,
trapping rats, minx, fox, wolves, etc.
experience Hannah clearly remembered was of an Indian Chief's son,
a man of magnificent physique, 6 ft. tall and about 18 years old, who
called daily at the Brown home seemingly to learn English
and teach her the Cree language. After 6 weeks he proposed marriage
to Hannah and was refused. For 2 days afterward he appeared in full
war paint and feathers, which frightened Mrs. Brown so much that
she forced Hannah to hide upstairs.
Brown's home became a very popular place for neighbors to call and
travelers to stop. At one time, Lord Pellam paid them several visits.
Perrin met her husband at a neighbor's house, whose name was McGregor.
After a romantic courtship of three months they were married and
went to live on a homestead that Mr. Perrin had already applied
for 13 miles away. There they lived for 7 years. In 1887 they came
to Spy Hill, driving here with horses and wagons. They homesteaded
where the Canadian National Railway station now stands, and when
the Railroad Co. purchases their land, they moved to their present
farm east of Spy Hill, beside a lake, called Perrin's Lake.