The Scotsman, William A. Wilkie

by

Gary Wilkie

Many people of Scottish descent came to settle in the RedRiver Valley. Mr. Wilkie is one of them. Mr. Wilkie came to farm and obtaina home in which to raise a family.

William A. Wilkie was born in Forforshire, Scotland, onFebruary 14, 1885. He was the first of the eleven children in his family.Four of the family came to live in this country and two stayed in Scotland.

He came to the United States in June 1906 by way of animmigration boat, The Lake Champlain. They traveled by way of Winnipeg.He was the first of the family to venture over here. Mr. Wilkie was 21 whenhe came over. John and Jean came next, John being killed while serving inthe armed forces during World War I. Then came Alex followed by Mary andAnnie. Alex settled in the same place as William. Jim came in 1921 and diedof a heart attack while living in Yohima, Washington in the year 1954.Alex died of a heart attack also, in June 1964.

Before getting a farm of his own, he farmed in the St.Vincent township for four years. While Mr. Wilkie worked on these farmshe saved money so he could buy a farm of his own. He started farming onthe old Dan Bernath farm in 1911. He was married the same year to HattieWhite who originally came from Prince Edward Island. During this time hesent a portion of his money back home to help his family. Learning how tofarm the soil he soon became able to buy more land. He moved to the presentfarm, located outside of Noyes, in 1915. So Mr. Wilkie started his farmwith Hattie and his first two children, Fidessa born in 1911, and Thelmaborn in 1913. There he raised the rest of his family, Gladys, William, andLawrence.

His farm covered over two quarters of land. Since therewasn't any machinery then, everything had to be horse drawn. This made thehours very long and tiresome. Many an hour was spent behind the horses tillingthe soil.

When Mr, Wilkie got his farm organized, he started a smallherd of milk cattle. Gradually building up his herd he soon became ableto start a small milk business. Mr. Wilkie started a small milk route throughthe local area. In the summer, he used his car and worked the horses inthe winter. The horses were trained to stop and wait at each delivery. Thecows were all hand milked and each member of the family helped with milking.Mr. Wilkie also started a hog and chicken raising operation.

Mrs. Wilkie helped with the money raising by hooking rugsand churning butter for sale. The milk business was later passed on to hisson Bill. When pasteurization came to be law the business had to be abandoned.

Just as any man has his ups and downs, so did Mr. Wilkie.During the great depression he lost much of his money in the bank and alarge amount of his land. At the same time his wife, Hattie, was in thehospital. His oldest son, Bill, was inducted into the armed force duringWorld War II. This left only one son at home. But Mr. Wilkie struggled throughand came out all right. Mrs. Wilkie died of cancer of the liver on Feb.6, 1946.

Mr. Wilkie had his family educated in the St. Vincent andHumboldt schools. One unusual thing about going to school is that the childrenwere picked up in Canada and transported to the United States the same waythat I am.

In 1950, Mr. Wilkie went beck to Scotland to visit hisfamily. He returned the same year.

There have been five floods from 1900 to the present onMr. Wilkie's farm. Mr. Wilkie experienced three of them. The 1916 floodwas where he farmed on one end of the land while the other was flooded.Others were the 1948 and 1950 floods. In these floods, the hay wasbrought to the cattle by boat.

Mr. Wilkie never was sorry for coming to the United States.:He farmed the place which is now run by his son, Bill, for thirty-five years.Mr. Wilkie is 88 years of age. He has lived in St. Paul, Minnesota, withhis daughter, Thelma, since September of 1964 and is still living there.

Mr. Wilkie's main profession has been a farmer, he hasnever had interest for anything else. From age twenty one to age sixty hehas farmed. The Scotsman, William A. Wilkie still is of sound mind and ingood health

 

Bibliography

Wilkie, William; Interview (Jan. 29, 1971)

Wilkie, William A.; Interview (Feb. 2, 1971)1)

Wilkie, William A.; Interview (Feb. 2, 1971)