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Page Index of Forest to Field Volume One
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OMAN, EDWIN AND MINA
Edwin was born on his parents' farm on Sec. 12-17- 18W, R.M. of Clanwilliam. He was the youngest of the Lars Oman family. He attended school very briefly at Lakelet. His lack of reading skill caused him to develop a very keen memory and he was a master at adding figures in his head. Since school did not take up his time - far ming became his teacher and a life-long occupation. He became a good woodsman, a fine horseman and general all round good worker at the business of farming.
Edwin married Mina Hofdahl from Otter Lake in 1916 and brought her to his parents' house where they resided until 1928. Edwin's children, John, Einer and Edna were born on the farm. In 1928 an opportunity arose for Edwin to rent three quarters of land, (owned by Mrs. Carrie Ramgren) in Hilltop. The home location was the S. W. 1/4 26-17 -18W. It was almost the beginning of the depression years so farm profits were not great. However though purse-strings were tight, the family enjoyed those fine years in the companionship of the Blacks, Bensons, Lundmans, Boykos, Jacobsons and Lundins who were their immediate neighbors.
One of the difficult winters, Edwin was fortunate to get a job up at Riding Mountain National Park being placed in charge of a crew cutting logs and timber. Each week he would load his sleigh with feed for his horses and food for himself and be off to the park. Mina cooked and baked each week to fill a trunk to keep him in good supply. The family dog, Rover, would sense his homecoming on weekends and would strike off to meet him long before he came into sight or sound to human ears.
Edwin enjoyed his experience in these beautiful woods.
Mina and the children looked after the farm chores.
It seemed at this time that Otter Lake which was at the northern extremity of the farm was a main thoroughfare for winter travel with roads leading to Erickson and Scandinavia. To the Omans, it was a shortcut to the John Hofdahl farm which was right across the lake. John, being Mina's brother, there were many visits back and forth.
One year there was a very bountiful supply of wild strawberries in a certain large meadow on "26" as the family called the farm. Mina canned a hundred quarts of wild strawberries, plus making jam, also not to mention the numerous dishes eaten with sugar and cream.
The five years passed quickly. Edwin's parents, Lars and Emma, were getting into difficulty with health and old age. Edwin's nephew, Andy Johnson, who had taken over the care of the farm and grandparents when Edwin moved away was finding it too much to manage alone and was ready to move on to plans of his own - so the family once more moved back to the grandparents' house. Mina had her hands full with Gramma, by now bed-ridden and taking a lot of care. Grampa Lars passed away suddenly that fall, October, 1933.
Edwin's sons, John and Einer were grown teenagers by now and were a great help, more land was broken and better crops in seed. School was the order of the day for Edna plus helping care for grandmother and household chores.
Edwin continued to make trips to Riding Mountain Park taking out permits of lumber and hauling home jack-pine. He also tendered for the sale of wood to Grey School at Clan william as there was lots of green poplar on the Oman farms. He was a road-boss for custom work on the local roads and did custom wood-sawing in the district, also threshing. Edwin and his sons cut ice in the lakes in winter for a supply of water for household use plus packed ice in an ice-house to use to refrigerate their cream in summer. Edwin was a member of Scandinavia and later Erickson Lutheran church and served on its boards. In the forties, Edwin added another quarter of land to his farm operation namely the S.W. 114 1-17- 18W - this quarter became son John's farm when he returned from serving in the army in 1946. Gramma Oman passed away at home in May of 1942, at the age of eighty-eight years.
The fifties brought hydro power to the farm - what a revolution it made to our life-style. No lamps or lanterns to fill - there were power motors for this and that, and household appliances to make work easier in the house. Edwin and Mina's grandchildren arrived in the fifties but Mina, now in ill health, was not to see the two youngest (Louise Oman and Donna Sjoberg). She passed away at the age of fifty-nine on February 4, 1956. This was a particularly hard blow for Edwin but he and Einer carried on and good health accompanied them. There were housekeepers who helped out - one was Emma Skoglund of Erickson.
Edwin married again in July of 1964. His wife was the former Margit Carlson of Minnedosa, a very fine Christian lady who enriched his life with her excellent companionship for the next four years:
Then once again fate stepped in and once again Edwin was alone. Edwin continued to farm until the spring of 1980 at which time he sold out to his grandson, David Sjoberg, of Winnipeg. As David and his wife were not ready to move out for a couple of years, Edwin and Einer stayed on. Edwin's health began to deteriorate shortly after the sale of the farm. In July of 1982, he entered the Personal Care Home at Minnedosa and passed away November 10 of that year. His passing marked the last of the original Oman pioneer family.
John Edwin (1916) grew up on the farm. He attended school at Lakelet and Hilltop. As a young boy he worked hard on his father's farm, doing field work with the horses, chopping and hauling wood and doing chores of all kinds. He lived at home until he enlisted in the army in December, 1942, where he served overseas with the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders. He saw action in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany and was wounded twice. Receiving his discharge from the army in March, 1946, he returned home and took up farming. November 1st, 1946, he married Ellen Cook of Clan william. They were blest with two sons, Forrest and Gary and a daughter Louise. John retired from farming in 1977 and he and his wife moved to Clanwilliam where they make their home.
Forrest (1951), Gary (1953) and Louise (1956) all grew up on their father's farm. They attended school at Lakelet, Hilltop and lastly Erickson.
Forrest worked at different jobs after leaving school,