30.07.2011 - 31.07.2011
Ben's great great great grandfather was called Charles Carman and, along with three daughters, had two sons called Frederick (1865) and Alfred (1874), both born in Kent. These brothers, according to family legend, moved to Canada and played a part in founding and naming Carman in Manitoba, where we now find ourselves. Unfortunately it hasn't taken us long to establish that it's very unlikely that Ben's ancestors had anything to do with the town.
Our first destination yesterday morning was Dufferin Historical Museum. In addition to artefacts and records from the early town, it has in its grounds a reconstruction of an 1870s log house that, amazingly, would have housed a family of eleven.
Leafing through newspaper articles and old books in the museum we found out that the town, settled in 1870 and founded/named in 1878, was called Carman City after the Reverend Albert Carman. As head of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Manitoba and later the whole of Canada, he would have been a well-known public figure at the time. He didn't play a part in founding the town and only visited in 1879. Research online suggests that he was born in Iroquois, Ontario in 1833 and his father and grandfather were both from the same area. So - no connection.
Still, we weren't too upset as Carman has proved to be a very pleasant place to visit - a quiet, neighbourly, leave-your-back-door-unlocked kind of place. The Boyne River meanders its way around the town, including the back garden of the B&B we've been staying at.
Carman features a bowling green:
A very small tourist office:
Big blue skies:
And a Tall Grass Prairie, planted by the University of Manitoba's botany department, which features five foot tall grasses that would have been a common sight across the prairies hundreds of years ago.