Hillsview Pastoral Charge
Bowsman United Church History

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 that occasion.

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 alternate Sundays.

Yours faithfully,
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.