By George Hennessy – Coldstream, B.C.
After a lifetime of reading, The Senior Paper has become an important part of my life. The heartwarming stories of early the times in Canada, depicting the spirit of immigrating settlers, comes to life in inspiring stories which has become a true chapter of Canadian history!
My parents were part of the pioneer stock. Mother immigrated from Nebraska with her family via covered wagon in 1901 to make a new life in Saskatchewan. They suffered many hardships and privations during that incredible journey. It was spent mostly walking, as their wagon contained their total possessions, including stock and poultry. They were near to starvation before reaching Battleford.
Dad journeyed by ship from his home in Birmingham, England in 1903. At 19, he was inspired by the eloquent Reverend Isaac Barr, whose dream was to create a settlement of all British citizens as farmers in a pre-determined area between Battleford and Lloydminster.
The government was offering a homestead for $10 to start up farming. Unfortunately, the CP Rail hadn’t reached further than Saskatoon when he arrived. He was obliged to return to Winnipeg and obtain work until the next year, when it had reached Lloydminster.
They discovered the promised horses, tents, and equipment wasn’t there when he returned, which made their beginnings almost impossible. Tales of their misadventure were told repeatedly, but they survived and became the backbone of our early beginning.
Parents met at gatherings during those early days
Dad, and many others, spent miserable winters at first. building sod houses, they plowed by oxen and ate wild foul and deer until their first crops and gardens were obtained. Our parents met during those early days at gatherings. As the schools and churches were being built, grain was being raised on the rich prairie soil.
Dad’s homestead was the northwest quarter of section 36-42-18, west of the 3rd meridian. Mother raised three girls and one boy on this property 12 miles from Battleford.
My sisters married farm boys and raised families of their own. I helped my parents on their farm until I was 21, then married a girl from Meadow Lake.
When WWII came, I became a nursing orderly, setting up and operating a hospital under tents in England, Belgium, France, Holland, and Germany. My parents passed away in 1944 and 1945 while I was still in Germany.
After four years of service, I returned to Canada and my wife, and we begin our own family.
Now in my late 90s, I still love to dance, play bingo and card games, however, reading The Senior Paper is a great reminder of my past and it keeps those memories alive. Please keep the stories coming, we love to hear them all.