The Burwalde Brauns, According to Peter Brown

I recently posted about the site of Canada’s first MB church… and I said that hey, this place was called Burwalde… and I find it strange that the village broke up. I mean, that’s East Reserve behaviour!

Anyway. So Andrew and I were exploring the West Reserve, with nary a historical atlas to guide us. (Because I had not yet purchased mine yet… )

But I had something that’s possibly even better: The Brauns of Osterwick, by Peter Brown. This eccentric book is one of my favourites… and it belongs to my mother. I hope she gets it back someday. 😉

So, the feature photo for this post is page 78 in Peter Brown’s book. I think he drew this map himself!

That squiggly line? That’s Dead Horse Creek!

Peter Brown writes, “Burwalde was located astride Range Five, PTH #3 today. Dead Horse Creek with its woods was a favoured location.” (For what, I wonder?)

The “4” that’s weirdly nestled in there on section 20 on Jacob Banman’s land? That is the location of the first MB church!

Can you see the “5”? It’s by Peter Rempel at the top, next to the creek, in section 30 — Peter Brown writes that that is “the present school and the Winkler Bible Camp”. Is there still a school there? (This book seems to have been written in 1972.)

And, can you see the “6” that’s kind of squished in there? That’s where the swimming hole was! Oh wait, there’s another “6” (representing another swimming hole) at the very top of the feature photo… very near Winkler Bible Camp’s “5”. (Well, that makes sense.)

After Andrew and I visited the MB church site, I encouraged him to drive a bit further up the road, to this hill. I guess this is where the creek crosses the road in spring…? I found it quite enticing.

Another aspect I hadn’t mentioned about the map… it also shows where the Burwalde windmill had been. (About half a mile north of Winkler Bible Camp, by the looks of it, on this hand-drawn map.) The cool thing about this book is, Peter Brown actually went and found a photo of the windmill — LOOK!

Oh to have been one of those schoolchildren who got to explore the Burwalde windmill in 1907!

That is fantastic!

The caption says: “The Burwalde windmill as it appeared in 1907. Mr. I.J. Warkentin was the teacher there that year and he would delight his pupils by taking them on hiking tours through places like this mill. The large grinding stones were intact on the top floor at that time but strong winds had apparently toppled the extended vanes. Mr. Warkentin was an ardent photographer and the loan of the picture was obtained from his daughter, Mrs. Helen Rempel, Steinbach.”

As you can see on the feature photo map, there were a heck of a lot of Brauns in this area back in the 1880’s. I am not descended from these ones, but they are related. I am descended from the Osterwick Brauns (Jacob/Isaac), not the Burwalde Brauns (Gerhard).

In this wonderful and somewhat hilarious and fascinating book, Peter includes an anecdote written by Annie Brown: “For Old Colony church goers, these gospel hymns were very new and they seemed to be sincerely appreciated. On such occasions we would frequently hear remarks like, ‘If only the others had been here to hear this also.’ I recall quite distinctly, that when Cousin Jacob Braun and his bride Mary Unrau, visited us in Burwalde after their betrothal, that they requested some organ music and singing. We complied with a number of gospel hymns which they indicated that they thoroughly enjoyed.”

Looks like those Burwalde Brauns were “corrupting” the Old Colony Osterwick Brauns with their raucous gospel hymns and organ-playing! (“Cousin Jacob Braun and his bride Mary Unrau” = my great-grandparents.)

Well, as noted before, those Old Colony Brauns didn’t seem too keen on continuing on in that fashion… in fact, this book almost seems to be about that, in a way. (If I could at all find a common thread in this book…)

I’m not done with talking about this book… but I am done with this post. I will leave you with this photo from the book, of a plaque that I have yet to see!

You can see Peter Brown’s reflection! (That hat!) Caption reads: “He Who Runs May Read!”