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A Tribute to George Bartlett

George Arthur Bartlett was born October 8, 1893 in Lacolle, Quebec, the son of William and Mary Bartlett.  He started out working as a baker’s apprentice but decided to leave Quebec and travelled west to the foothills of Alberta and back to Kamsack, SK where he homesteaded and farmed for a few years.

He decided to come to Northern Manitoba in 1912 and because of his love of the north and his pioneer spirit, he stayed.  He built a camp at the mouth of the Mitishto Creek with Carl Auley and trapped in that area for two years.  He and Henry Morton tried a different venture when they raised silver foxes in 1914. Later they moved to Limestone Point where they trapped and fished several more years.

A veteran of the First World War, George served with the Fifty Second Canadian Battalion at Mons in 1918-1919 and was discharged on March 31, 1919.  After his discharge he returned to Northern Manitoba.

In the winter of 1919 he built a trading post on Loonhead Lake at the entrance to  File River.  The following year he built a stopping place at the south end of Herb (Wekusko) Lake, where he also fished and freighted for the Rex and Bingo Mines.  He delivered mail to Herb Lake from Mile 81 and was also the Fire Ranger at the time.  When people called in at his stopping place and were short of money, he never charged them for a meal or a bed.

George wanted to get back into fur trading so he decided to build another trading post, this time on Reed Lake.  Here he bought and sold furs and had “trippers” working for him.  They took groceries and supplies from his post and traded them for furs.  He used to travel into Mile 77 on the railway by horse team and he also had a team of sled dogs.  He commercial fished Reed Lake as well as maintained his trapline.  When the railroad came into Flin Flon in 1929 and later to Sherridon, it cut off most of his trade and he decided to move again.

George settled in the Town of Herb Lake where he bought a general store. On June 16, 1931 he married Mrs. Ernestine Stayback (ne Chartrand) a widow with three sons, Alex, Charlie and Jimmie.  They were married in St. Henry’s Chapel Church at Herb Lake. Six children were born to them: George, Gerald, Russell, Myrna, Cookie and Maryleen.

In the summer of 1952 the Bartlett family moved to what is now called “Bartletts’ Landing” where he continued to trap and commercial fish.  Mr. Bartlett was involved with commercial fishing there until the winter of 1974-5 when he turned the business over to his son Russell.  He continued to live at the landing until the past few years when he divided his time living with his family in Snow Lake and Winnipeg in the winter months, and then back to the landing in the summer.

George was an avid gardener and always had huge gardens at Herb Lake, on many of the islands and at the landing.  He was proud to show his prize vegetables and gave a lot of his harvest away to people who called in.

George had the drive and determination to survive living in the area he loved, no matter what he faced.  He helped build roads and he trapped and traded furs all through this area.  He prospected and freighted supplies into isolated areas operated several stopping places, trading posts and general store and a commercial fishing camp.  He was a strong spokesman against pollution in our northern lakes and of conservation in the north.

George will be greatly missed in the north but will be fondly remembered by his family and his many friends that he came in contact with during his lifetime.  He always had a friendly smile for everyone and time for a visit.  George Bartlett was a true pioneer of our Manitoba Northland.

Copyright Note:  This has been copied from a photocopy, undated, but is probably from the Snow Lake News. George’s date of death is not given, so this may have been written as a news item in addition to the obituary.  There is no byline.  If you are the author of this item, and object to it appearing on this site please contact me at butlerg30 at hotmail dot com and I will remove it.

NOTE: Maryleen Bartlett is buried in the Herb Lake Graveyard. She will be remembered at the unveiling of the graveyard plaque on June 1, 2013 at Herb Lake Landing, remembering those who are buried in this graveyard.

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c/o Linda C Butler
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