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(Last Updated: April 19, 2016)


Alexander Magnus BIRSTON was born Apr 17, 1884 in Mapleton (Old England on map below), son of Nancy FOLSTER and Henry George BIRSTON (1849-1918). ** MORE ABOUT HENRY GEORGE BIRSTON


Census of 1891: Alexander M (age 6) with his parents in Mapleton. Alex said he went to school in the winter time, about five years. When he got too big to go to school, he was sent to work shoeing oxen with Joe CLOUSTON 1838-1899).


In 1899 (age 15) he worked for Malcolm McRAE (1862-1922) stooking grain (at Cloverdale).


Census of 1901:  Alexander M (age 16) with his parents in Mapleton.


Excerpts from the book ‘Beyond the Gates of Lower Fort Garry’: The spring of 1900 I (Alex) went to work at the Stony Mountain Quarry for two summers. I quit in 1902 and went to Big Black River on the north end of Lake Winnipeg. He operated an ice-crusher there – some interesting stories in BGLFG - - worked harvesting out west at farm of W HUNTER near Balmoral - - In 1903 he worked at Lower Fort Garry, loading wood onto CPR rail cars - - 1904 he worked at a brick yard at Lac du Bonnet for a while, then back to Mapleton.


Selkirk - Petersfield


Selkirk Mental Hospital


In 1905 Alex got a job as an Attendant at the Selkirk Mental Hospital. Martha LANDIN began to work there around the same time as a cook.


In the Census of 1906 at the Manitoba Asylum in the Town of Selkirk, Alexander BIRSTON was enumerated as an Attendant; Martha LANDIN as an Assistant Cook


Marriage to Martha Elizabeth LANDIN


Martha LANDIN was born in 1887 in the Village of Landon in Sweden, the eldest daughter of Elizabeth ANDERSON and Mathias Mattson LANDIN (1862-1951). In 1903 the LANDIN family left Sweden and immigrated to Warroad, Minnesota, USA. Around 1905 Martha began to work at the Selkirk Mental Hospital in Manitoba as a second cook. This is where she first met Alexander BIRSTON. On Sep 4, 1907 they were married in Selkirk.


Martha and Alexander Clouston

Martha and Alexander Birston in 1910 (From Mark Landin)


Census of 1911 in Mapleton: Alexander BIRSTON, age 27; wife Martha E, age 24. Children: Gladys (age 2) and baby George Alex. With him is his brother, James E BIRSTON, age 23.


World War I


On Aug 4, 1914 Great Britain (Canada on Aug 5) declared war on Germany and Austria-Hungary to uphold treaties with France and Belgium which were under German attack. This marked the beginning of World War I.


Move from Mapleton (Old England) to Cloverdale


On Apr 16, 1915 Alex moved his family to a 160 acre farm in Cloverdale.


In September of 1915 Alex’s brother, Jimmy BIRSTON, enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force.


Census of 1916 in the Cloverdale area (14-4-E1): A.M. BIRSTON, age 32; wife Martha, age 29. Children: Gladys (age 8) and George (age 6).


Alexander raised seven horses, and had a team that belonged to Ted TOWNSEND who was overseas at the time, and another horse that belonged to Peter FIDLER.


November 11, 1918, Armistice Day (Remembrance Day) marked the end of the First World War.


Census of 1921 in the Cloverdale area (17-14-4-Epm): Alexander BIRSTON, age 36; wife Martha Elizabeth, age 34. Children: Gladys (age 12), George (10), Emma (3) and baby Carl (age 2 months).


In 1927 eldest daughter Gladys Viola married John William LINKLATER in Winnipeg, son of Ellen MOORE & William LINKLATER (1881-1955).


In 1940 daughter Emma Louise married Harold Elwood JOHNSTON, and in 1944 daughter Doris married John Keith JOHNSTON, both sons of Ethel CAVERLY and Allan Forest JOHNSTON (1876-1967).


In 1946 daughter Lenore married John Henry CLOUSTON, son of Harriet PHILPOTT and John Henry CLOUSTON SR (1873-1963). ** MORE ABOUT JOHN HENRY CLOUSTON SR


In 1947 son Carl married Lillian HENRIKSON in Selkirk, daughter of Lillian MAGNUSSON and Runolfur HENRIKSON (1888-1964) from Iceland.


In 1957, on the occasion of the Golden Wedding Anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Alexander M BIRSTON, a reception was held in the Cloverdale Hall, as reported in the Winnipeg Free Press. Mentioned were their six children: George, Mrs. Jack LINKLATER (Gladys) and Mrs. John CLOUSTON (Lenore) of Cloverdale; Mrs. Harold JOHNSTON (Louise) and Mrs. Keith JOHNSTON (Doris) of Homewood; and Carl of Seven Sisters Falls. They had 16 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.


On Jan 4, 1965 Magnus BIRSTON died in Selkirk. He was buried in the St Clements Cemetery at Mapleton.


On Apr 8, 1970 Martha Elizabeth (nee LANDIN) BIRSTON died in Selkirk at the age of 83.


Martha and Alex Birston Grave

Grave Marker in St Clements Cemetery (From Lana Clouston)




========================== Family Details ==========================


1. Dec 12, 1908 GLADYS VIOLA BIRSTON (m. John William LINKLATER)
3. Jan 3, 1918 EMMA LOUISE BIRSTON (m. Harold Elwood JOHNSTON)
4. Jan 11, 1921 CARL ERIC BIRSTON (m. Lillian HENDRIKSON)
5. Feb 10, 1923 DORIS EVELYN BIRSTON (m. John Keith JOHNSTON)
6. Aug 24, 1924 LENORE EDELL BIRSTON (m. John Henry CLOUSTON)