History of the Hardware Stores

The entrance to the Weddige
Hardware Store room.
William Wallace Douglas, born in Warkworth, Ont in 1854, married Clara Shaw in 1911. (Note: Clara’s wedding dress is on display in the Briercrest Museum. It had been donated in 2002.) William and Clara moved to Briercrest in 1912 where they built a hardware store in one of the first buildings in Briercrest. The first baby born in Briercrest was their first son Albert in 1912. They operated the store for a few years and then decided to go farming northwest of the village and sold the building.

John and Julia White came to Briercrest when the village began in 1912. They built a store with a second story above. This hall was rented for meetings and various activities. In 1914 they sold this building and set up their business across the street in the building purchased from W.W. Douglas. Their daughter, Ida, was the Postmistress, also in the Douglas building.

In another part of the country was a young man named Sinclair Whittaker. He was born in 1888 and orphaned very young. He was raised by his grandmother. While still a boy he began to work in a store. Living over the store, he was expected to get up at any time to wait on customers. It was long hours and hard labor. In 1912 he decided to move west and arrived at the new village of Briercrest. He went to work in White’s store. He later bought the store across the street and went into business on his own. During the same years, Miss Isabel MacDonald also moved to the Briercrest district from Nova Scotia. She was a school teacher and boarded with the W. Douglas family. Sinclair and Isabel began courting and were married in 1917. Their store prospered and they became owner/partner in six stores: Briercrest, Hearne, Rouleau, Mossbank, Tilney and Bayard.

Sinclair and Isabel were active in the community and later devoted their support and talents to the founding of the Briercrest Bible Institute which opened in 1935. He was chairman of the board for many years. When the Bible College moved to Caronport, a new dormitory residence was dedicated in honour of the Whittaker’s and named Whittaker Hall. (Note: The history of the Briercrest Bible College is on display in the Briercrest Museum. ) The Premier stated in the dedication ceremony that ”the Whittakers were builders of Sask., the sort of pioneers who felt that with a lot of hard work and a lot of faith, many things were possible“.
General Store
The counter from the Weddige’s
Hardware store.

Meanwhile, a young man, Clare Weddige, born in 1899 moved to the Briercrest area in 1909 from Illinois. He married Vera Hillson in 1932 and began to work in Mr. Whittaker’s hardware store. He became manager of both the Tilney and Hearne stores and in 1950 moved back to Briercrest, this time as owners of the Briercrest store, purchased from Whittaker. They owned and operated this store until 1964. (Note: a general store is set up in the Briercrest Museum. The original counter and several other artifacts from Weddige’s Hardware store are used to create a very realistic display.)

- from ‘Wheatfields and Wild Roses’  (Briercrest and Districts) published 1987.
A DVD of this history book is available for purchase at the museum in the Repurpose Store.

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