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Madge (Barrows) Plant

Madeline Plant

Madeline Barrows, better known as Madge, was born on November 7, 1913 to Frank and Mary Barrows in Magdalen, Kings Lynn, England. She was the first of two children; her brother Jack was born a year after her. At the time, the Barrows lived on a farm, raising a variety of animals.

Mary became ill with consumption and passed away in April 1925. In October of that year, Frank, Mary, Jack, and members of their extended family boarded the Canadian Pacific Liner Montclair and set off for a new life in Canada.

Frank bought a farm just east of Millet, where he would come to grow grain and raise cattle, chickens, and pigs. Madge took on the responsibility of being the cook and housekeeper for her father and brother while also attending school at Larch Tree School and then later Millet School.

Madge later met Reuben Plant, whom she were married on March 5, 1935 in Edmonton. Madge and Reuben lived in multiple homes in the Millet area and raised five children: Jack, Tom, Denny, Sally, and Jim. In her spare time, Madge enjoyed knitting, a skill she passed on to the female members of her family. She also loved gardening and playing games of cribbage and scrabble.

Madge volunteered for a number of groups in the community. She began volunteering for Rebekah Lodge in the early 1950s. An active member, she held multiple positions within the lodge over the years. She was also involved with the Rebekah Assembly of Alberta and was elected District Deputy President 9B in March of 1967. The Rebekah Lodge raised funds for various projects, including catering for weddings and banquets. The Rebekah Lodge sponsored the Cubs and Scouts for many years. In 1956, Dorothy Trathen got the ball rolling to form a Cub Pack and a group committee was started. Dorothy was the Cub Master and needed helpers, so in 1956 Madge attended a training course and became a helper.  Madge and her husband were both members of the United Church and sang in the choir for many years. Madge held many positions on the executive of the UCW. In March 1991, Madge was presented with a certificate of appreciation by the Red Deer Presbyteries UCW for her invaluable services and co-operations. Reuben became Fire Chief for the Village of Millet in 1956, and Madge became his secretary. When fire phones were installed into their home Madge was the one to answer the phone and man the siren to signal all the firemen to the fire hall. Years later, Madge was recognized for her contribution to the fire department and was presented with a silver plate. Madge and Reuben were also members of the sponsoring group for the Millet Historical Society. Madge spent many hours in the Millet Museum volunteering with fellow Pioneer Woman Eileen Wagner. Madge and Reuben were also active members of the Millet Senior Citizens Society, with whom they took excursions and bus trips, including two trips to Victoria, BC.      

Madge continued to live in her house after Reuben passed away on July 15, 1988. She loved growing her beloved garden, playing Scrabble with anyone who would play and knitting for craft sales and great grandchildren. She passed away on Sept 26, 2005, less than two months before her 92nd birthday.