We Made Hartney

We Made Hartney


Implement Dealer and Temperance Leader Festus Chapin



FESTUS CHAPIN, HIS FAMILY and Mr. E.W. Bateman came to Hartney in 1892 from Portage la Prairie, where Chapin and Bateman were business partners. In Hartney they built a two-storey brick building, now the Municipal Office. The Chapin family lived above the office and warehouse, while Bateman built a house on the corner of West Railway and William.

These partners opened Hartney’s second lumber yard, built another 30,000 bushel grain elevator and hired David McCulloch of Souris to operate it. In 1894 Mr. Chapin took over the Hartney business completely and Bateman returned to Portage to carry on business there.

In the activities of the town, before and after its incorporation, Mr. Chapin took part. He was a member of the town council when the town hall was built and opposed his view to those of the other council members in a spirited debate that overflowed from the council chamber to the pages of The Hartney Star.

Mr. Chapin was a stout Baptist and, with J.L. Graham and the Turnbull brothers, did a great deal to promote the establishment of a Baptist church in the town. In 1903 he was appointed to the board of Brandon College and served four years. He was keenly interested in the temperance movement and threw his influence into the defeat of all attempts to sell liquor in Hartney. He was working for the establishment of a temperance hotel when he died suddenly in 1907.

Adapted from The Mere Living, page 102.

The Temperance Advocate

In the latter years of the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th, temperance and prohibition were prominent issues on the social and political stage. The temperance movement found adherents across the political spectrum, from Social Gospellers like J.S. Woodsworth (founder of the CCF, later NDP) to middle class reformers like the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (W.C.T.U.).

Prohibition has a long and complicated history in Manitoba, beginning with provincial referenda in 1893 and 1898. These plebiscites were not enforced, and even in the 1901 election, where public sentiment was strongly in favour of prohibition, the government did not enforce the Prohibition Act. The crisis of the First World War was a turning point for the temperance movement. Public opinion was firmly behind them, and prohibition was passed in 1916 by the Liberal Government of T.C. Norris.

A majority of the temperance crusaders were women, and the history of the temperance movement is inextricably linked with the history of the suffrage movement. Temperance was infused with the message of the Social Gospel, but is was also compatible with the ideologies of maternal feminism. Urban women saw the linkages between poverty and alcoholism, while many rural women were aware of how the isolation of farm life amplified the horrors of alcohol abuse. Embracing sobriety as a solution to what they perceived as the moral decay of their society, temperance activists increasingly abandoned persuasion and education to lobby for the outright ban of the sale of alcohol.

Blaming alcohol for social ills was a safe and comfortable option since it did not threaten the middle class way of life or call for any dramatic social changes. Reformers linked alcohol with poverty, mental illness and crime, and they associated it with the ills of urbanization and immigration. Most temperance crusaders were of the middle classes, and a large number of these were Protestant. Prohibition required the passage of legislation, and thus the link between temperance and suffrage developed. The W.C.T.U was all but incorporated into the Political Equality League in the years from 1914 to 1916.

From MHS on-line

Sunday School Group, Calgary, 1912.

Implement Dealers

Festus Chapin’s business as an implement dealer was a key one in Hartney, and one that many other individuals also attempted over the years. All would have been very familiar with all lines of farm machinery, and of the firms that manufactured them.

Prior to 1900, all manufacturing consisted of short-line companies: full-line companies emerged primarily as a means to overcome competition. International Harvester Company (IHC), for instance, was formed in 1902 as an amalgamation of the five largest existing manufacturers of harvest equipment at the time.

Canada had two full-line companies: Massey-Harris (later to become Massey-Harris-Ferguson, and finally Massey-Ferguson) and Cockshutt, both located in the Hamilton region of Ontario. The Massey Company at one time was the world’s largest manufacturer of farm equipment; however, it fell on hard times and went into receivership in 1988.

It is important to make the connection between the blacksmith shop and farm equipment manufacture, as it has often been said that the innovations and progressive ideas for machinery improvements largely came from farmers.

Perry and Edna Cowan and Nellie Carter in 1928.

Key Farm Implements at 1900

Gang Plow – a combination of two or more plows in one frame
Harrow – implement for breaking up soil
Broadcast Seeder – used for spreading seed
Swather – machine to cut hay and cereal crops
Thresher – machine used to separate grain from stalks and husks

All of these pieces of machinery were typically drawn by horses and eventually tractors.

The Massey-Harris Company

The firm was founded in 1847 in Newcastle, Ontario by Daniel Massey as the Newcastle Foundry and Machine Manufactory. The company began making some of the world's first mechanical threshers, first by assembling parts from the United States and eventually designing and building their own equipment. The firm was taken over and expanded by Daniel's eldest son Hart Massey who renamed it the Massey Manufacturing Co. and in 1879 moved the company to Toronto where it soon became one of the city's leading employers. The massive collection of factories, consisting of a 4.4 hectare (11 acre) site with plant and head office at 915 King Street West, became one of the best known features of the city. Massey expanded the company and began to sell its products internationally. Through extensive advertising campaigns he made it one of the most well known brands in Canada..

In 1891, Massey merged with the A. Harris, Son & Co. Ltd. to become Massey-Harris Co. and became the largest agricultural equipment maker in the British Empire. The company made threshing machines and reapers as well as safety bicycles, introducing a shaft-driven model in 1898.[2] In 1910, the company acquired the Johnson Harvester Company located in Batavia, New York, making it one of Canada's first multinational firms.


A disc seeder in operation.

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