This page is a text version of the Forest to Field History Book. You can purchase a PDF copy of the book in our online store. The PDF copy is an exact page by page representation of the original book. This text version has been reformated for the web and contains text recognition mistakes. These mistakes do not appear in the purchased version. The purchased version also includes each image in the original book.

Page Index of Forest to Field Volume One

Previous - Page 589 or Next - Page 591

all hope of returning to their homeland and went back to Erickson. They purchased the land NE 4-1S-1SW from August Haralson and were launched into a farming career. The usual struggle ensued of clearing bush, grubbing roots and breaking sod to bring as much land as possible under cultivation.

During this time Peter was watching Emil Bergeson's eldest daughter growing up. She was just two years old when her parents made the decision to come to Canada in 1900, and Peter was determined to marry her when she came of age. This became a reality for him on April 30, 1917, when Helmine Haldine Bergeson became his bride in a ceremony conducted in the new Lutheran Church by Rev. S.O. Vangstad, with Martin Bergeson and Clara Hofdal as the attendants. It was fitting that theirs should be the first wedding in the new church since Peter and Emil had helped to haul out the logs for the lumber for the church. By this time Peter and Martin had sold their quarter of section 4 to Charlie Carlson and had pur­ chased the W 1/ 2 of 19-17 -ISW. Peter took the north quarter and Martin the south quarter. Peter had built a sizable barn and a three-storey frame home, and it was here that Peter and "Mine" (Minnie) began their life together. (My father simplified the spelling of his last name when he became a Canadian citizen).

There are two incidents for which my father took a good deal of ribbing in the days when he courted my mother. One occurred when they were out for a Sunday drive with the horse and buggy. At the precise moment that they trotted past a certain farmstead, the barn collapsed with such a ruction that their horse ran away. On the other occasion, my father was anxious to show off a new driving horse which he had purchased at a modest price. As they were about to start off for a drive, the horse, obviously sold cheap because of his doubtful character, reared and toppled backwards into the buggy. Fortunately there were no injuries to man or beast.

Peter and Minnie were members of the Lutheran faith, Peter having been confirmed in Norway July S, 1900 and Minnie at the Swedish Evangelical Church of "Bethlehem" at Scandinavia on September 20, 1914, where the pastor was L.G. Bergstrom and the assistant John Billdt. When the Lutheran Church was built in Erickson, they attended there, lending their bass and alto voices to the choir. Mother was taking music lessons from Mrs. Enoch Berg, walking the 12-mile round trip once a week, and she assisted as organist at the church for a time.

Three children were born to this union: Anna Wilhelmina May 20, 1915; Florence Wilhelmina May 31, 1923 and Norman Peter Wilhelm April 24, 1925. In 1924 Father expanded the farm by purchasing the SW of 30- 17-1SW from Oscar Ceylund.

The school at Erickson was almost four miles away and in the summer we walked, taking short-cuts through Bill Davies, Bob Johnsons and McKinnons. Each day Irene, Lloyd and Donald Bergeson (Martin'S children) would come along from one mile farther south and we would set off for school, first meeting Esther Davies, then Helen, Paul and Wally Oleniuk and Jenny and Victor Rushton. Closer to school we linked up with Effie, Hughena and Hector McKinnon. One morning we raced to see who


could scale the board gate first and one of the McKinnon girls broke her leg when it got caught between the boards as she jumped to the ground. I was extra lucky, if we happened to meet Uncle Ragnar at his corner, for I would get a ride the rest of the way to school on the crossbar of his bicycle.

Occasionally the Indian Chief, from the Rolling River Indian Reserve (bordering on our west line fence) would pick us up with his team and wagon. Very often we dallied along the way to school and if the flag was up when we reached Bob Johnson's corner, we knew for certain we were late. One winter day as we crossed the railroad track with the team and sleigh, the tongue of the sleigh dropped down and hooked into one of the rails flipping the sleigh-box high into the air and propelling my little brother headfirst into a snowbank. He was ex­ tricated unscathed but tearful. In the winter we had another short-cut to school across the lake (Nora Lake) at the eastern edge of our farm.

My father was a staunch believer in the co-operative movement and was one of the founders of the first farmer-owned elevators at Erickson to ship grain through the Manitoba Wheat Pool. When the flu epidemic struck in 1915, he pushed for a Municipal Doctor, resulting in Dr. Rutledge being hired, a position he was to hold for 25 years. In 1923 a smallpox epidemic broke out on the Reserve so an RCMP officer, Wallace J. Johnstone, and his horse were boarded at our place in order to patrol the Reserve and report on conditions. My father was a member of the Temperance League (Good Templers) and helped to build the Temperance Hall. He also served as Secretary of the School Board.

The trials of farming in the thirties - eggs 3 cents per dozen, butter 5 cents per pound, oats 2 cents per bushel and barley S cents per bushel (which cost 7 cents per bushel to harvest with your own machine) led my father to say to my mother, "Others may want to work for nothing, but not I!", So after serving as helper at Arden, Waskada and Foxwarren, he took the offer of Manitoba Pool Elevators in 1932 to be their operator at Chillon Siding (between Binscarth and Foxwarren). The elevator construction was such that the home provided for the buyer was attached to the main structure beside the office. This was a noisy and dusty location for the family. In 1943 he was moved to Foxwarren to take over the Pool agency there. He retired in 1957 and he and mother took a three-month holiday to Norway, after which they built their retirement home in Foxwarren.

My sister, Annie, attended Success Business College in Winnipeg and became a civil servant with the Department of National Revenue in Ottawa during the war. She had a stint of service in the Privy Council as private secretary to Mart McClung, a retired naval officer and son of author Nellie McClung. Annie returned to work for the Manitoba Department of Agriculture Plant Products Division for a time until her marriage to Sam Wid­ dicombe in 1949. They have two sons, both Anglican ministers. David married Ruth Dreideger, daughter of a missionary and Peter married Karen Richardson whom he met while studying at Oxford University, England.

I, Flo, went to Teachers' College in 1942-43 after teaching one year on permit. I married Jack Widdicombe