We Made Hartney

We Made Hartney

Transport Services

Liverymen William and Angus McDonald



WILLIAM AND ANGUS MCDONALD loved horses and saw in the livery business a profitable venture. In 1893 William closed his blacksmith shop and, with Angus, bought the livery stable on the main street from Hotham and Blair. While Angus ran the livery stable, William made frequent trips to Ontario to purchase horses for sale to the famers, as they changed from oxen to horses for their farm work. On one such trip in 1900 he married Jean Murray of Lucknow. They built a brick house on the corner of West Railway and John Street. There their one son Murray was born. The family lived there until after William’s death in 1944.

William continued to operate the livery stable until horse and buggy transportation gave place to the automobile. Seeing the inevitable decline in the livery business and the need for gasoline and oil to supply the motor cars and tractors, he secured the Imperial Oil agency in 1910 and operated that expanding business while still serving the few who continued to use the horse and buggy.

Both William and Angus were interested in community affairs. William was a member of the first town council, was mayor in 1910 and served as councillor for several years thereafter. He was an active member of the executive and board of directors of the Agricultural Society. Angus was councillor for the Municipality of Cameron from 1909 to 1912 and in 1912 was elected reeve and served for several years. After he retired in 1938 he served on the Hartney town council for three years. During that time he was the councillor in charge of the care of the cemetery and took a keen delight in planting a lilac hedge and flowers to beautify the resting places of so many of the friends with whom he had worked in the past in building the Hartney community.

Adapted from The Mere Living, page 103.


A typical Manitoba livery stable.

The Livery Stable

The livery stable was a vital business in any community, and in Hartney there were several.

It was at the stable where horse teams and wagons were for hire, as well as buggies, carriages and saddle horses. Most livery stables also allowed privately-owned horses to be boarded there for a short time. . Horses were boarded by the day, week or month and cared for by experienced hostlers. Stables were also sources of hay, grain, coal and wood. The downside of a livery stable was the smell, especially on a main street. That is an interesting aspect of heritage conservation that the typical smells of a town at the turn of the 20th century, especially with all the horses, cannot be fathomed.

Interior view of a livery stable.

Our Heritage  People / We Made Hartney