Chumah Book

Church 2007

(The following information is from page 39 to 42 of Chronicles of Crandall, 1971)


The Chumah community began in the year 1883 - pioneers coming largely from Ontario (Huron County). The church began as a mission charge on a circuit stretching from Birtle to Oak River, the services were held in some of the homes in the district. After Chumah Public School was built on the farm owned at the time by Mr. Jim Hannah (later Albert Kirk), services were held here. Sunday school started in the school in 1888. It began as a union school, but was soon taken over by the Methodists. A few years later, smaller circuits were organized and Chumah was included in the circuit with Oak River and Hamiota. In these days there were prairie roads, the means of travel were by foot, horseback, ox-cart, buckboard, buggies and carts.
The people of Chumah had hoped from the earliest years to have a church home, so in the spring of 1902, meetings began and plans were underway to build a church. A canvass was made by the pastor, Rev. S.P. Riddell and $1,100 was promised. The site was located at the southeast corner of Mr. James Kirk's farm. Mr. Kirk gave the site with the stipulation that it belong to Chumah Trustee Board as long as the church existed on same. The Nesbitt Brothers contracted to build the church for $1,600 carpentry alone. The foundation was laid in the fall by Ernie Bishop and the building was constructed during the summer of 1903. Mr. Joe Andrew plastered the church and built the chimney. Mr. Homer Brown, school teacher, was engaged to paint the church; and Mr. W. Hazlewood and Mr. Fred Houck were appointed to procure an organ. The pews were purchased from Zion Church, Winnipeg, for $80.00. Mr. George Delbridge, Secretary-Treasurer, reported $1,780 had been subscribed.
The new church was opened November 1, 1903.
The church remained active for 50 years.
A number of men from Chumah enlisted in both World Wars. The fallen heroes from World War I were W.E. Smith, Cecil Wade and F.W. Bradford; and World War II - James Kirk and J. Tocher. An Honour Plaque was placed in the church containing names of those who enlisted from Chumah in the Second World War - this plaque now hangs in Hamiota United Church.
In the spring of 1953 it was with regret that the people of Chumah found it necessary to close their church as with many more means of communication and better forms of travel congregations had dwindled down to only a few "old faithfuls". Many of the loyal oldtimers had either passed away or moved to retirement and the younger people chose to travel further from home for social and church functions. Nearly all members joined up with either Crandall or Hamiota congregations.
In 1954 McConnell Church was destroyed by fire and McConnell bought the Chumah Church and moved it to the present site in McConnell village. The church was re-opened on November 2, 1955. The people of Chumah are happy that their church is still serving the cause for which it was built. ( The church was closed on August 20, 1972 )
A cairn has been erected on the site of the church in memory of the "pioneers.


Chumah School The exact date of the beginning of Chumah School is not known, but the earliest records would indicate 1887 or 1888.
The first school house was built on the farm of James Hanna, SE 22-14-24. The original building was used as a granary for many years.
In 1894 the school was moved to SE 16-14-24 to the farm owned by James Kirk and presently owned by his grandson, Donald Kirk. The schoolhouse became the centre of the community and many concerts and social evenings were held there. Church services and Sunday School were also held in the school house until 1903 when the church was built nearby.
The school was closed in 1917 when consolidation divided Chumah with some going to Crandall and the others to Hamiota. This building was bought by Mr. Fred Houck and moved to SE 21-14-24 to be used as a granary, In 1948, when Wilmer Kirk bought that farm, he remodelled it and it became their home for several years. Later the farm was bought by Barry Strickland and again the "old school" was moved to be used as a shed.
Many of the residents of the district served on the school board and Mr. George Delbridge was the secretary-treasurer for many years.
A list of those who taught at Chumah would include: Miss Kadey (Mrs. Joseph McLean, Hamiota), Miss Baker (Mrs. Fred Houck, Chumah), Mr. Homer Brown, Mr. W.J. Robinson, Miss Telfer (Mrs. [Dr] Fraser, Crandall), Miss Waddell, Miss Good, Miss Rachel Kirk (Mrs. John Smith, Chumah), Miss Alice Kirk (Mrs. Ab Conn, Marchwell, Saskatchewan), Miss Annie Fraser (Mrs. Charlie Steel, Hamiota), Miss Gerty Delbridge (Mrs. Perkins, Brandon), Miss Katie Venables (Mrs. Joseph Kirk, Hamiota).