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married Darlene Shewchuk of Sandy Lake, Man. They have two sons, Christopher and Michael, and live in Charleswood (Winnipeg), Manitoba.


by Cecil and Vernon Sundmark

The Sjoberg family came from Vindeln, Sweden. John Sjoberg was born November 21, 1871 and was married to Clara Jonson, born June 27, 1869, at Fjadernas in Vasterbotten. John Sjoberg came to Canada in 1904 to establish a home for the family. Clara came in 1905 with four children, Birger born in 1895, Beda born in 1897, Bertha born in 1902 and Bernard born 1900. A fifth child, Ingeborg was born in the Hilltop district in 1907.

The trip for Clara and the four children was a long difficult journey aboard a poor ship that proved to be frightening during a storm crossing the Atlantic. They had to pack most of the food they required in a trunk; this food consisting mostly of dried breads and cured meats.

The family came to the Clanwilliam-Hilltop com­ munity where they built their first home on N.W. 6-17- 17W and later on S.E. 12-17-18W. The first year John was a laborer on the railway and his wife Clara was left with their small children. The memory of the older children in the family recalls Clara putting her children to bed and then walking a distance of a mile through heavy bushland to bake bread during the night at a neighbour's home.

During the early years, survival was the major concern with the gathering of food, providing shelter and the slow clearing of land for future planting of crops. Along with many families of this kind, the Sjoberg's found the large poplar forests an immediate source of income. The winters were spent cutting cordwood. The labour in­ volved was difficult and the cash return barely enough to buy the basic foods of flour, sugar and other most urgent supplies.

The first year John hauled cordwood to Minnedosa with oxen. This would at times be exasperating as the oxen would stop whenever they came to a hill. John would then have to walk ahead of the oxen with hay to get them moving forward again. Clara spent many of her days washing, carding and spinning wool to be hand knit into socks and mittens for the family. The war years brought a better economy and by the end of the war they managed to buy their first Model T Ford, a major ad­ vance in the standard of living for that time.

The life to be carved out of the wilderness was not only survival but also independence. Since all services cost money and all prepared foods were expensive, they learned how to do for themselves. They picked berries all summer to preserve for the winter. Clara remembers picking raspberries on one side of the berry patch while a bear was feeding on berries on the other side of the same patch. It seemed not to occur to her that this might be a dangerous venture. Meat was preserved by cooking and storing into jars, or by smoking and salting for the summer months when there was no refrigeration. Clothing was mostly handsewn by Clara who had been a

seamstress in Sweden.

The family remembers with humour, the time when a neighbour was asked to buy a tablecloth during one of his wood delivery trips to Minnedosa. Not knowing the English language, he used the Swedish word for "tablecloth" which was about the same word as the English word for a type of canvas. He came back with such a piece of material and it was years later when they began to understand why a shopkeeper would stock such sturdy tablecloth materials.

The Sjoberg's were active in the Lutheran Church in the nearby community of Scandinavia. They lived long enough to see two grandsons ordained into the Lutheran Ministry, Pastor Vernon Sundmark and Pastor Donald Sjoberg. The faith from their beginnings in Sweden carried them in some very real ways as they too left their comfortable Northern European homes and crossed over into a promised land that must have been so frightening.

Their succeeding generations are as follows:

Son, Birger, married Winnie Sillen in 1923 (refer to Birger and Winnie Sjoberg).

Daughter, Beda, married Arthur Munson in 1921.

They had two sons, Ray and Delmar. Arthur and his brother built and operated the first barber shop and pool hall in the village of Erickson. Shortly after their marriage they moved to a farm at Newdale, Manitoba. About 1929, they moved to Clanwilliam and operated a grocery store until 1941. They later moved to Minnedosa in 1948 where they retired and Arthur is still residing. Beda passed away in the fall of 1981.

Son, Bernard, was never married and lived with his parents for most of his life until his death in 1968. Bernard had a great interest for wildlife animals throughout his life and built and operated one of the first fox farms in the Hilltop district and later farmed until his retirement.

John Sjoberg Family. Back Row, Left to Right: Bertha, Ingeborg, Bernard, Beda. Seated: Clara, John and Birger.