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Page Index of Forest to Field Volume One
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HODGSON, FREDERIC AND JENNIE
Frederic Charles Robert married Jennie Hamilton nee Smith. He applied for entry for a homestead on S.E. 25- IS-ISW on July 26, 1911 and received his patent in September 1913.
Two of their children, William Charles born December 1895 and Frederic Jr. born February 11, 1897, were baptised on July 16, 1897. They are believed to have been baptised after the Norse Wedding by Canon Wharton Gill.
HOFDAHL, JACOB AND MARIA
by Sophie Hofdahl
In 1912, Jacob Hofdahl, (1852-1933) and his wife, Maria, arrived by train at Erickson siding with their three youngest children, John, Wilhelmina and Clara. Their destination was a quarter section of farmland four miles east of Erickson on the north shore of Otter Lake. Sons Carl and Magnus had arranged purchase of the land, and the square-timbered log house on it, from Amos Johnson.
Farming was a new enterprise for the Hofdahls, Jacob and Maria, Norwegian by birth, and their eight children, Marie, Chris, Magnus, Carl, Anna, John, Wilhelmina and little Clara, aged two, left Jamtland, Sweden, in 1900. Jacob's work as a millwright brought them first to Millerstown, Newfoundland, for three years. Then the family moved to Canada. From 1903 to 1912 home was Ingramport, Nova Scotia, a lumber-mill town on St. Margaret's Bay near Halifax.
The early years in Manitoba were a challenge. Harsh realities like isolation, severe weather, clearing and breaking land were offset by friendly neighbors, other Scandinavian families and the familiar faces of the Wickdahl family, who had also come from Jamtland, Sweden, via Nova Scotia.
The years 1918-20 were particularly difficult for Jacob's family. The major influenza epidemic of 1918 struck both John and Clara. John was critically ill in hospital for nine months in Minnedosa and Winnipeg. He was still recovering two years later when Magnus was killed in a mill accident at Fort Frances, Ont. Magnus' wife Hilda and two young daughters, Elsie and Lucille, came to live at the Hofdahl farm for about a year before resettling on the west coast. The heaviest blow to the family fell late in 1920 when Jacob's wife, Maria, died.
The 1920's did bring happier times. The Hofdahl's bought a second quarter of land directly west of the home place and enlarged the house. A large hip-roof barn was built with the help of neighbors in a barn-raising bee. Neighbors always helped each other for harvesting, and often for other seasonal work like ice-cutting and wood sawing. Local roads were passable for cars in dry weather and John was able to drive on graded gravel roads from Erickson to Brandon in his Chevrolet with side curtains and a fold-down top to visit Sophie, who worked in Brandon for a time before their marriage.
Social life in the twenties centred around church ac-
tivities. Mina, Clara and Ellen Kahlberg (Pearson after marriage) made up the second confirmation class at the new Scandinavia Swedish Lutheran Church. Clara and John were active choir members as well. The happiest events of the decade were three weddings and the arrival of four grandchildren for Jacob.
Wilhelmina (1896-1955) married Edwin Oman of Clanwilliam and gave birth to three children, John, Einar and Edna.
John (1892-1964) married Sophie Hjelmeland of Danvers. Their son Melvin arrived in 1929.
Clara (1898-1978), who left the farm in 1927, met and married John Thompson at Fort Frances, Ont. in 1929.
Along with drought and low prices for farm produce, the thirties brought more changes for the Hofdahl family. Two daughters, Olive and Evelyn, were born to Sophie and John. Jacob's active life ended in 1933 at age 81. He was buried beside Maria in the Scandinavia Lutheran churchyard.
During the thirties Ed. Turner and Howard Spraggs each worked on the farm for a time. John's children rode a school van, horse-drawn in winter, to Erickson School until Otter Lake School opened in 1940. Winter sleigh traffic was heavy through the Hofdahl farmyard and across Otter Lake to Erickson.
In the early forties a battery-operated radio and weekly farm newspapers brought news of the outside world and the wars overseas. John Oman served in the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders from 1942 to 1946 in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany.
Farm life became more comfortable in the later forties.
A party line telephone connected these neighbors near Otter Lake to the Erickson Exchange - C.O. Carlson, Einar Magnell, Walter Holm, Wm. Wickdahl, C.A.V. Johnson, Wm. Luczka and the Hofdahls. The arrival of