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liner from there to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. His final destination was Minnedosa, Manitoba. He arrived there by train, but I have no record of the exact date. He received employment with a farmer near the town, but did not stay long. Finally he worked with Archie Me Dougall and no doubt learned the English language from him. During his stay there he cleared out a lot of brush and trees and kept a lookout for some land he could get for himself. He did get the land, S.E. 22-17-17W, Municipality of Clanwilliam, as his homestead and after clearing the land and making improvements as required, he received Crown Title to it on September 15, 1899.
In the meantime Daniel's fiancee, Bodil Nielsen Thorsager waited patiently for the letter he wrote but took so long to arrive. He told her "he was happy with the folks he worked for, that they were kind to him and he lacked for nothing. His employer was nice and his wife nicer still; but it is not just them that are nice, they all are in the district where he lives". It took approximately four to six weeks for a letter to get from Jutland to Minnedosa via Copenhagen.
The following are excerpts taken from letters written by Bodil, to her future sister-in-law, while waiting for Daniel to send for her, dated August 1, 1889. "I would give a lot to talk to my dear Daniel, but I am afraid that I will never see him again because three days ago, I received back a letter I had sent him the 9th of June and I have written twice since that time and I have had no answer. I am afraid he is dead." From another letter, "Not knowing whether Daniel is alive or not or has forgotten me, is almost more than I can bear."
But Dan, as he was most commonly called after arriving in Canada, had not forgotten his sweetheart. He sent for her and she arrived in Minnedosa in 1892, and was employed briefly by Canon Wharton Gill. Daniel and Bodil were married by Canon Gill on April 11, 1892, in Minnedosa. Then it was home to the homestead where they lived until spring 1900. There were three children born there, Christine, Marinus and Thora.
The homestead was sold to Jonas Larson and Dan then bought a quarter section in the Municipality of Clan william from the Hudson's Bay Company, N.W. 8-16- 17W and received title to it on June 15, 1908. Dan and family moved to this quarter in the early spring of 1900. As the wagon was loaded with household effects there was no room for passengers and I am told our mother, Bodil, walked all the way. (She gave birth to her fourth child, Theodore, on September 11, 1900). A log cabin was built on this quarter. He later built a larger log house to accommodate the increased family and moved the cabin to a suitable location behind the house to be used as a blacksmith shop where he could ply his skill as a blacksmith, while still clearing land and cultivating the land. Stones were broken up with dynamite and sledge hammer to make into suitable shapes for the foundation of the new barn that was built in 1911. The mortar used between the stones was made by Dan, our father, of lime, fine sand, and water. To process the limestone, which was plentiful in a nearby field, he built a kiln in the side of a small hill where the limestone was heated by a constant fire, fed day and night with wood until the limestone was pulverized. After the foundation and stone
walls were in place, the usual barn raising was held. All the menfolk from the neighborhood gathered one day to put up the beams, rafters, etc. for the upper part of the barn, where hay would be stored for winter feed, after the siding and roof was finished. At haying time the hay was brought in with a rack pulled by a team of horses. Being built on a hillside the loft was easily accessible by a short ramp made with soil fill. The horses and hay rack were driven right into the barn loft and unloaded.
Dad did a lot of horse shoeing in the early part of the century when the work horses were very much in evidence. He repaired and tightened the steel rims for the wooden wheels, among other things. He also made tools. The family took turns pumping the bellows to keep the coals red hot in the forge. In 1913, a new house was built with the services of bricklayers, plasterers, masons, etc. Mother and family did all the necessary painting. The house and barn have been kept in good repair and are still occupied. This farm was sold to a son of a close neighbor after Dan died in 1937, Wm. Smith, and is now owned by his son, Thomas.
Mother shared all the years of hardship and bore and helped raise four sons and four daughters. Mother's maiden name was also Nielsen and she was born March 27, 1867. I understand her grandfather was born with the name Nielsen. Like so many with the common surnames like Nielsen, Pedersen, Andersen, another uncommon name was added to ease the confusion. Great grandfather chose the name Thorsager. The Copenhagen telephone book in this year 1980 contains hundreds of Nielsens.
Mother was very fond of doing "fancy work." She did a lot of knitting, like mitts and socks for the men. She cleaned, washed and dried wool, and then it was spun into strands on her spinning wheel. Some of the yarn was dyed. Her spinning wheel is still around. Her hand operated sewing machine is in the Minnedosa Museum. The T. Eaton Co. catalogue soon replaced a lot of work for Mother. As the family grew up and she had more time for her fancy work like crocheting, embroidery, cross stitch, etc., she began exhibiting at the Fairs. She always competed at Minnedosa and sometimes at the Kelwood Fair and did very well.
I must make mention of Dad's fondness for threshing machines. His first outfit was the Sawyer-Massey which he bought around 1906 in partnership with Alf Dagg, a close neighbor. It was a portable outfit and was moved from place to place by two horses. Dad's two horses, Dick and Lotta were used for this purpose and they were familiar with the maneuvering that had to be done to line up the engine with the separator. Alf and Dan employed the usual gang of men; water haulers; men with racks to haul the sheaves to the separator, fireman, pitchers, grain haulers, etc. The men that were far from home slept in a caboose on straw bunks and fully clothed. The caboose was hauled from place to place behind the separator and engine. The womenfolk were kept busy cooking for these men. The fireman had to rise very early to stoke up the engine to get the steam up.
The Sawyer Massey outfit was sold in 1908, I believe to a sawmill in Riding Mountain National Park. In 1910, the Waterloo outfit was bought and in the fall of 1913