We Made Hartney

We Made Hartney

Community Leader

Tailor, Postmaster and Mayor Charles Batty



C.D. BATTY, AN ENGLISHMAN who worked at his tailoring trade in Winnipeg in the eighties, came in 1888 to visit his wife’s uncle, Tom Parsons, who farmed at 22-6-23. Mr. Parsons met him at Griswold and drove him to the farm with a yoke of oxen. Mr. Batty did not enjoy ox-travel and felt that, at that time, the vicinity offered little to induce him leaving Winnipeg. When, however, he learned from Mr. Parsons that a new town was being built within a mile of the Parsons’ home, he changed his mind and decided to set up a tailoring business in Hartney.

He arrived in 1891, and lived with the Parsons family while he built a little shop south of the livery stable and secured from Fred Spencer a small shack which he moved onto East Railway Street. Mrs. Batty and their two children, John and Eva, joined him in 1892. They found the shack uncomfortable, especially when it rained. Then Mrs. Batty had to hold an umbrella over herself and the children to keep them partially dry. Before that year was out Mr. Batty’s tailoring business was growing and he built a comfortable house with the re-roofed shack relegated to the rear as a kitchen.

Mr. Batty lost his tailor shop twice by fire, securing a more lasting structure on Poplar Avenue, which was his tailor shop until he succeeded J.M .Fee as postmaster in 1912, and converted his shop into a post office. Eventually he moved the post office to the two-storey building west of his shop on Poplar Avenue.

Mr. Batty was a familiar figure on the streets of Hartney until a few years before his death in 1939. He was a square-shouldered stern-visaged man, who walked with a decided limp and carried a stout cane. His journeys to and from his home, twice daily, were at such regular hours that his fellow townsmen declared that they could set their watches by Mr. Batty’s comings and goings. Mr. Batty, in 1906, took over the offices of County Court Clerk and Magistrate, when Benjamin McDermot relinquished them. He was impartial in his dealing with offenders and although they found him stern, they were satisfied that he was just. C.D. Batty served as a member of the school board and was its secretary-treasurer from 1909 until the mid-thirties. He was also secretary of the masonic lodge.

From the time St. Andrew’s Anglican congregation was organized in 1894, until be went to Winnipeg to spend his last years with his daughter there, Mr. Batty was the people’s warden. So sincere was he in this office that, on one occasion when the rector`s sermon dealt with controversial political matters, Mr. Batty rose in his pew, stating “There’ll be no politics preached in this church.” His dictum was accepted there as it was in many of the town’s affairs.

Adapted from The Mere Living, page 99.

Fashionable men in the early 1900s wearing a one or three button cutaway frock coat, or the single or double breasted 'sack' which was a straight lined jacket. In 1900 the gentleman wore a top hat with a frock coat, the homburg with less formal day wear, and the straw hat became very popular for informal wear. 

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