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Town, pop 995, located between the Battlefords and Lloydminster at the junction of Hwys 16 and 21. Many of the first settlers in the Maidstone area were Barr Colonists, who arrived in the spring of 1903. With the construction of the Canadian Northern Railway through the region in 1905, the townsite was established and settlement of the area increased dramatically. The community was named after Maidstone, Kent, England. In the coming years, Blacks from Oklahoma settled just north of Maidstone, and a significant number of Mennonites would eventually come to take up land in the district. Among the district’s early homesteaders was John Henry “Jack” Wesson, who took up land in 1907. Wesson went on to become one of the province’s foremost farm leaders; among other accomplishments, he became the first president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture in 1936 and the president of the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool in 1937. As a trading centre for the surrounding agricultural district, the village of Maidstone grew steadily over the decades and attained town status in 1955. In the 1970s, the developing oil industry came to have a tremendous influence on the economy of the community, causing the town’s population to grow from less than 700 at the beginning of the decade to over 1,000 by 1981. Today, with an expanding gas industry, close to 2,000 wells dot the surrounding countryside, while canola, grains, and purebred cattle dominate the district’s agricultural output. The Shiloh Baptist Church, built by the district’s Black community in 1911, was abandoned after 1940, but rediscovered in the early 1970s and restored. In 1991 the church and adjacent cemetery were designated a heritage property. (See Barr Colony; Black, Early Settlements).

David McLennan

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