MATT VOELPEL


 

Matt Voelpel came to MacNUTT in 1929. He bought a farm (1/4 farm he called it) but in 1930 (called the dirty thirties for a good reason) farming was not good and he had a difficult time making payments. Neighbours told him to rent it out for a year and all he got out of it was two loads of hay - but in the meantime he was always in the summer kitchen fixing things like horse harnesses and even girls shoes. So they told him they really needed someone in MacNUTT to do exactly that and they helped to set him up with a shoe repair shop. He not only fixed shoes and harnesses, he made horse harnesses and even fancy bridals. Fernie Schneider (who became his young brother in law) was his secretary and did all his ordering of leather and needs from Great West Sadlery Co in Winnipeg owned by Mr Thompson (who was the father of Susan Thompson who latter became mayor of Winnipeg). Matt cut the shoe leather to make soles for peoples shoes, sewed and fixed shoes and put clickers on the heals of women's shoes to keep them from wearing down. He sewed and fixed leather gloves, bought a skate sharpener and kept everyone's skates in good shape. He was also the MacNUTT barber so when he wasn't fixing, he was cutting hair. His shop was also a place where friends liked to gather. For many years his shoe shop, barber shop were in the fire hall as he was also the fire chief. He rang the fire bell and if there was a fire he pulled out the fire cart with water tank and horses. Sometime later he moved his shop into the back part of our house and worked out of there still doing the barbering, fixing and sharpening of skates. He even had a huge tank of oil that he soaked old harnesses that were getting brittle to restore them for whoever. Matt sold out we moved to Dauphin in 1948 where he began working as a carpenter. When Matt lived in MacNUTT, he also made sausage. When people would butcher a pig Matt would make sausage for them. Matt passed away in 1993 at the age of 92 years

 

Submitted by Matt's daughter Lillian Wilson, Dauphin MB

 

1932

 

1946