It was almost a year ago, when Andrew picked me up from work and announced there was a plaque that we’d never seen, quite nearby.
“Take me to this plaque!” I shouted.
This is the plaque. Or maybe it’s a cairn. It’s located on Keating Road, on Steinbach’s northwest boundary. Below I have typed out exactly what it says on the plaque.
The Keating Homestead
Peter Keating was one of the earliest Clear Springs settlers and filed for homestead here on N.W. 10-7-6E. He was born March 1, 1851 in Ireland to parents James and Mary Keating and came to Manitoba from Ontario by steamboat on the Red River in 1872.
Peter and Christina Keating were married in 1890 and had a family of 10 children, including three sons and seven daughters. They farmed the Keating homestead until Peter’s death in 1930. Christina lived on the farm with her son James until shortly before her death in 1962.
James and Lily Keating were married in 1934 and farmed the original homestead until his death in 1963. They had five sons.
The Keatings were very community-minded and in honour of their contribution to the area the western boundary of Steinbach was named Keating Road.
I do not know much about the Keatings, other than the fact that Keating Road is a very handy route to take if you want to take a gravel road to efficiently zip from the west side of Steinbach to the north side of Steinbach, avoiding all traffic lights. I also strongly suspect that longtime Carillon reporter Wes Keating is descended from from these original Keatings, of this homestead fame.
From my perspective all these years later, it seems to me that the Clear Springs settlement and the village of Steinbach melded into each other quite early on, and rather seamlessly, too. As Clear Springs settlers helped their new Mennonite neighbours, and the Mennonites didn’t bother themselves about laying claim to all the land on the East Reserve; whatever was already claimed, they left alone. I don’t think things were quite so easy for those on the West Reserve though. I think, from my scattered reading, that the process of claiming land there in the late 1800’s was fraught with tension. I’d guess this may have had something to do with the high value of the West Reserve land. Here on the East Reserve, the land was poor and rocky anyway. But on the West Reserve, it may have been worth fighting for. Just my uneducated take on it, anyway.
Kinda makes me think that this makes a bit of a case for the idea of not owning more than your neighbour. Equality breeds unity. That kind of thing.
Is my imagination getting the best of me, yet again, or am I onto something?