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year.

In the meanwhile we started to build the new house on the north eighty. When Steve got home he tried to walk a half mile to where we were building but he couldn't make it. Father drove him by team so that he could watch us work. Dad and mother made a bee where everyone joined in to complete the house with plaster. All the men would mix the clay for plaster while the women plastered the house. A party and dance followed. We moved into the house in August and Dad gave Steve our old home and a few head of cattle.

Meanwhile Hans Hemmingson bought a homestead east of Joe Robinson's and built a sawmill and a big dining room. He had a day and night shift working. Steve worked for him on the saw. I used to work for Hem­ mingson hauling slabs away from the mill with our team. I came home every Saturday in the spring. Once we had a big storm, the road south was good but east and west were blocked. I got as far as Chumola's with a load of slabs, I knew I couldn't make it so pulled over to the corner and unhooked the horses, led the horses home and came back the next day for the load. Travel was often slow. I remember once Dad and the boys were breaking a new road through Hemmingson's farm and it took them three hours before they made a mile.

Mr.' Hemmingson used to have dances at his place as did Joe Robinson's. Mr. Robinson's son Colin played the mouth organ and guitar, also a fellow that moved from Saskatchewan from the dried out days, to south of Hemmingson's, Herman Mutter. He played the violin, also Mike Kostiw and Frank Woywada used to play. The admission was twenty-five cents and lunch was free and the girls would supply the sandwiches.

ETHEL AVERILL'S TREE

by Pax Crawley

Some time in the 1880's Ethel, the younger daughter of Octavius and Emma Averill, found a small spruce tree in the bush to the west of her home. She persuaded the men to spare it when they cleared the land and to work around it after. Today 1983 Albert Sillen owns and works that land. He still works around Ethel's tree which has been a landmark for nearly one hundred years.

EXCERPTS FROM OLD LETTERS

In 1951 Ellen Landstrom (Lundgren) wrote - We came to Scandinavia in July, 1887. My father took up a homestead and built a small two-room house, the ground serving as some of the walls. We were three small children, the youngest 11 months. My brother Fritz was born November 3, 1889 and was the first child born in the settlement. There was a sawmill. The nearest place to get groceries was Minnedosa and my Dad had to walk part of the way. Mail was delivered from there by horse and buggy once a week. A school was built and the first

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teacher was D. Matheson. My brother Carl taught also in the district.

Matt Olson also writes - I have known Erickson from its beginning. In the summer of 1905, I started out from Hilltop to go to Erickson and got lost in the bush for 2 hours. The skyline of Erickson did not show very far at the time. The same summer I attended a picnic at Erickson in celebration of the railroad coming to town. There was Miller's house now the Commercial Hotel. Also some small buildings like sheds. There were Erickson's farm buildings to the north and Pete Abel's to the southeast.

Anne Mann (Ditch) wrote - About 1882 or 1883 my father took up his homestead. Mr. Tales was the other homesteader at that time. When I went in with my father in 1884, he had had it about a year. Mr. Tales had the logs for his house. When the house was finished the family moved in from Clanwilliam bringing in the stock, etc. The house was built near the river and it was really a pretty place. Father had the north 1/2 of the same sec­ tion. We had a little homestead house near the lake. The Tales were very kind people, but we were lonely while we were the only people for miles around though it was a very beautiful country. The district was soon settled with very fine people from Scandinavia who developed the wild land into very thrifty farms. There were very rough roads at first so we didn't get around much. Father was getting on in years so it was thought best to return to the home farm near Minnedosa. The first houses were made of logs. There was a sawmill at Otter Lake owned and operated by Mr. Hemmingson. The settlers were very handy with tools. Some of the houses were very neat and cosy. Churches were built as soon as possible. Later came the railroad and the Village of Erickson.

LETTERS AND INTERVIEWS

I promised to send you some descriptions of Manitoba for Publication:

I proceed to tell you that I have become quite recon­ ciled to life in the land of the beaver and the maple and like it very much. The climate is extremely healthy, perhaps the healthiest in the world, and all nature in­ teresting and pleasing.

The scenery of this part of Manitoba is an alteration of poplar woods and stretches of prairie interspered with numerous lakelets (sloughs they are called here) of from one to 20 acres, and knolls crowded with bluffs of poplar, with some oak, maple and willow. The sloughs, (pronounced slew) on the first thawing of the ice in spring are covered with flocks of wild ducks and snipe; I have frequently seen more than a hundred ducks in a flock. There are several varieties of them, the principal being the mallard, which weighs about three-and-a-half pounds, and when, as frequently happens, we bring down two birds (or seven pounds) for one cartridge, you will agree that they are worth the cartridge and shot. Then there is the spoonbill, a small bird, and not nearly as