The information on this page is from
Bowsman's History Through the Years compiled by Alice Sharpe.
The following is a history of the United
Church written in a letter to the late Mrs. Margaret Green, by the
late Mrs. Lena Silverthorn. When the church celebrated it's 50th
anniversary in 1961, apparently the congregation wished to record
its past history, and it seemed that Mrs. Silverthorn was the logical
person to do this. At the time Mr. & Mrs. Silverthorn had moved
to Haney, B.C. but they both had spent most of their lives in Bowsman,
where they were both active in the church, Sunday School, and most
other community activities
Quote From Letter
To the Bowsman W. A. Haney B.C. Dec. 12th, 1953
During the summer of 1898, Rev. W. Halstead, at the
request of the Manitoba Conference of the Methodist Church, surveyed
the Swan River Valley, then being opened for settlement. Rev. Halstead
reported favorably on the idea of stationing a representative of
the church there. A short time after the annual conference in 1899,
Rev. George Bradford was sent to organize the field. This resulted
in forming several appointments, of which Bowsman was one. Bowsman
was served by several ministers some of whom were students and ordained
later. At times the resident Swan River minister served Bowsman
and the other appointments as well.
During 1909 a committee was formed to build a new
church at Bowsman, to replace the rough board and tarpaper structure
which had been used up to that time. The members and friends of
the church organized logging and hauling bees, a timber permit was
secured and the logs landed at Peter McHaffie's mill where Mr. McHaffie
and a staff of volunteers prepared the greater part of the lumber
used in the construction of the building. About the only items for
which cash was paid were, nails, paper, shingles, sash, doors, pew
ends, cement and paint. The pulpit was made by T.C. Silverthorn
from the body of an old organ, he also drew the plan and worked
on a supervised the building.
Officers of the church (probably not all at the same
time, but during this period) included J. B. Sharp, D. D. Green,
Peter McHaffie, Richard Metcalfe, Wm Nickle, Herbert Gold, L.S.
Caverly, T. C. Silverthorn, A. A Duxbury, Thos. Metcalfe and H.
Griffith. These are the names of men who were active in the church
at the time, probably not all were on the board and there may be
others who should be mentioned. Arb Kenny was another loyal member.
At one time it was jokingly said that the Board had "Nickle,
Gold and Silver."
I believe Mr. And Mrs. Mont Green could supply additional
material of probably correct some of the impressions I had of these
events, as to the time when the church was officially opened in
March 1911. Mrs. Green could also supply the names of the members
of the choir at the opening as she was assisting in the choir on
Rev A.W. Kenner was the minister when the church was
built; residing in Swan River; there were practically no cars in
the valet then, the ministers keeping a team of horses as their
means of transportation. The hardships of roads and weather were
proverbial but they (the ministers) never complained. Croppertops
was also on their itinerary at that time and possibly Lavender on
Mrs. E. B. Silverthorn
That church "weathered" the storm for fifty
years, but time changes everything.
It was heated with a wood burning stove, made from
a steel barrel, anyone who used one of those for heating, will remember
that it took ages to heat a building once the fired had been out
for a few days.
Therefore it was beastly cold during the winter, the
frost took its tole, heaving the foundation and basement floor and
cracking the windows.
Mr. Ed Princelaar was the minister from 1962 to 1966,
it was at this time that there was some talk of building a new church.
Which never materialized, but Mr. Princelaar was instrumental in
the building of the Christian Ed Building which was to be used for
Sunday School. When the weather turned cold that year, church was
held in the comfort of the new, always warm building and naturally
the congregation has held services there ever since. The old church
was dismantled and the C.E. Building is now used for Church and
Sunday School, plus any other community activities during the week.
Since the formation of the church in Bowsman, the following ministers
have served the charge.