s the records show, George Shillington was a son of John and grandson of
Thomas and was the first member of the Thomas Shillington family group to
leave the old home area of Ottawa Valley to strike out to, what was then the
new and still unsettled west. Before leaving, he married Jane Olmstead, whose
family had also come to the Ottawa Valley area in years and settled in the
Nepean, (now a part of Ottawa) area. Jane Ann's mother was a Nelson, whose
family had come from Ireland. The old Nelson home in City View, also a part of
Ottawa, is listed in the book, "The Carleton Saga 2" reports:
"The first Olmstead to come to Canada was Richard in 1796, from the Mohawk
Valley in the U.S.A. He settled on Lot 19, 1st Consession of Marlborough
The book, Carleton County 1879", also mentions a Zenias Olmstead and Gideon
The children of the Olmstead-Nelson marriages were:
Abram��.who married Emma McRae
Foster��..who married Emma Craig
Jane Ann�.who married George Shillington
Ellie���..who married Jack McLeod
Debbie��.who married Charles��.
Emmie��.who married George Little
All these people moved west and settled nearby one another. The reasons of
these moves being the government plans for the opening of the west and the
land opportunities provided.
Following Confederation in 1867, it became one of the objectives of the new
government under Sir John A. MacDonald, to extend the new "dominion's" western
boundaries, by taking over the great area of lands to the west, then under
control of the Hudson Bay Company. The first move in this direction was the
formation of the Province of Manitoba, in 1870. (The first Riel Rebellion had
occurred in 1869, with Riel's Provisional Government in control of Red River,
now Winnipeg.) The regaining control by the Government of Canada and the
establishment of Manitoba as the fifth province of the Confederation marked a
clear step forward in the settlement and development of the west. When this
was followed up with the establishment of a new western police force, The
Royal Northwest Mounted Police, and the promise of a new transcontinental
railway, after the formation of the Province of British Columbia, in 1871 the
opening of these new lands began.
When the news came out of the fertile new lands opening up in a section of
Manitoba, not yet handed over to the province, where homesteads could be
obtained for ten dollars, George Shillington decided to move west. Thus it was
that George, his wife Jane Ann and their new baby Margaret (Maggie) set out in
the summer of 1878, for these new lands.
As the future railway, the C.P.R., had not yet been built, it was necessary
to travel from Ontario by way of Sarnia to Chicago and from there to St. Paul,
Minnesota. Beyond St. Paul, at a location known as Fischer's Landing, they
traveled by riverboat up the Red River. One end of the boat was for settlers'
effects, and livestock. The passengers occupied the other end of the boat. It
was a boat journey of about two days. Thereafter, after landing at the new
Winnipeg, they traveled by ox team at about two miles per hour, for the
several days it took to reach their destination. On reaching the end of the
trail, the new country known later as "Carberry Plains", they lived several
weeks with a bachelor named Clarke, where Jane Ann cooked for the men while
her husband and brother proceeded with the construction of their own log
Some interesting stories are told concerning the first early experiences of
the new settlers with the Indians. These wondering tribes were generally full
of curiosity about the new settlers and would ride into their yards to water
their horses, seek tobacco and foodstuff from the table. They were
particularly interested in the school classes and did not hesitate to walk
into the schools and walk about the room during classes. While seemingly
harmless, their strange ways were often frightening to the woman folk who
feared for their children. However, settler and native appeared to learn to
tolerate each other.
The land were George Shillington took up his homestead was located about
seven miles northeast of the present Town of Carberry. Shortly after George's
arrival, his brothers, Wesley, Fletcher and William Tomlin arrived in the
community as well as his brother-in-law, Abram and Foster Olmstead, all of
whom took up land in the area.
George subsequently sold his original farm to William Tomlin and moved into
Carberry where he operated a grocery and hardware store. Sometime later his
store was burned and it was then that he returned to farming. He purchased
land at Stinson and a further quarter section at Pine Creek, a hilly area east
of Carberry. His son, Russell, well remembers when, at age thirteen, he and
brother John, along with sister Annie, went through the spring ice into nine
feet of water when crossing the creek to work this farm.
The original small community where most of the group from the Ottawa Valley
settled was called Kerfoot, the maiden name of Mrs. Sam Craig, (Ann Jane
Kerfoot) one of the pioneer woman in the area. Later when the Grand Trunk
Railway passed that way and established a station there, it was called Gregg.
In the fall of 1904, George, again feeling the need for more land for his
rapidly growing family and attracted by the new immigration boom to the yet,
unorganized and unsettled prairie lands to the west, traveled up to the new
village of Saskatoon, in the Northwest Territories. There, he purchased a
section of land some thirty miles southwest of the village location, section
9, Township 34, Range 9, was bought from a W.P. Bate. A year earlier a school
had been erected on the farm and named Avondale Public School. Three miles
away, a post office had been opened on the farm of a neighbor, Alex Currie,
and called Loganton. For many years there after, Shillington children,
including the author, received their basic education at this small country
It was in the spring of 1905 that George brought his family from Manitoba
to this new plains area, some months later, it was to be called Saskatchewan
and incorporated, as a province, into the Confederation.
Prior to George arriving in Saskatoon, his brother-in-law, George Little,
and family arrived and, in 1902 opened a blacksmith shop, on 2nd Avenue, the
heart of the present city. Later he bought land and moved near George.
During the years that George Shillington lived on his farm at Avondale, the
Shillington's were well known for their hospitality and their devotion to the
Methodist Church. George served as school trustee, also on the first Council
of the new municipality of Loganton. He served as Justice of the Peace and
Superintendent of the first Sunday school.
In 1915 he turned his land over to his sons and retired to Saskatoon. Here
he was active in Wesley Methodist and later, in the new Grace Methodist Church
on the Nutana side of the river. He also played a prominent part in
establishing the Saskatoon Boy's Band.
In 1919, at the age of 63, after a pleasant holiday at Watrous Lake, George
quietly passed away in his sleep, on August 5th. His widow Jane Ann lived on
in the family home until 1935. Both she and George are buried at Woodlawn
Cemetery in Saskatoon.