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Local Volunteers Raise Awareness for Merrington Cemetery

A group of volunteers who have ties to the Merrington district have been hard at work raising awareness through social media and word of mouth for the Merrington Cemetery, which is  located SE 1/4 Sec 2-Tp.30-Rg23-W3 or about four miles north and 1 1/2 miles east of Kindersley.

“There has always been a committee made up of people from the community, however it has been several years since the last general meeting,” says Leona Nargang, secretary-treasurer of the committee.

A general meeting, where approximately 20 people attended, was organized on July 18th, 2020 and held at the Merrington school house, which is now located on, the grounds, at the Kindersley Museum. At this meeting Clint Copeland was elected as the President and Leona Nargang was elected as secretary-treasurer. Six people also volunteered to sit as board members: Ken Fleming, Kent Nargang, Tom McLean, Gregg Gordon, Wendy Kennedy Nargang and Blair Ferner. The board members are responsible for making decisions of future expenditures and organizing work bees to make improvements to the cemetery grounds (once they have been passed and given the green light by the board). Some upcoming projects for this summer will be erecting a fence adjacent to the road and building a storage shed, that is possibly a replica of the Brethren in Christ church that sat on the site from the early 1900s to the mid 1950s

Donations to the Merrington Cemetery Fund are greatly appreciated and graciously accepted by the committee, which will help fund future enhancement projects of cemetery grounds.

The present committee also wishes to thank all past members and others that have volunteered their time and made donations to the cemetery. Anyone interested in purchasing a plot ($25 each) can contact the R.M. of Kindersley.

The history of Merrington area is an interesting one, with the earliest pioneers arriving in 1906.

Mr. Sam Swalm of Regina and William Hahn of Delisle broke the first trail accompanied by Reverend I.C. Baker and Bishop Charles Baker. These gentlemen were sent in by the Brethren in Christ Church, to locate land suitable for a colony. During this journey, these gentlemen nearly died of thirst as water could not be located, until their horses lead them to Eagle Lake (now a dry slough). Reverend I.C. Baker returned in June 1907 with his wife and four children. He was accompanied by F.V. Copeland, George Sheffer, Henry Winger and C.W. Baker who all settled on homesteads.

Many others followed in the years to come travelling by ox or horse and built their sod homes on the level, treeless country. These early settlers were faced with many challenges such as lack of water and lack of fuel which, at times, was up to fifty miles away. In 1907, a blizzard swept in lasting three days, resulting in the pioneers quickly learning that home was the only place to be when a blizzard struck as there were no landmarks or roads to follow if caught outside.

On July 1st, 1909, the first community picnic was held on C.W. Baker’s farm, where roughly two hundred and sixty people attended, coming by foot, ox team, and horseback. A football tournament was the big event of the day and a dance followed that night.

Over the years as the community and settlers increased in the area, many events followed such as the building of a school and hospital, the forming of the community club and the ‘Old Timer’s Parade” where all the old-timers fixed up their pack mules, covered wagons loaded for the trail and pulled by horses or oxen or cow and horse.

It is all of these moments in history, and the pioneers that created them that have contributed to the progress of the district.

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