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 645 or Next - Page 647

homestead for a house in Edmonton. Not understanding the legal procedures and not being able to speak or understand the English language, John and Rose were an easy prey, and became victims. After living in Edmonton they lost the house.

In Edmonton, John did a variety of work, including dray-work. Jobs were not plentiful and eventually he went to work in a coal mine in Drumheller, Alberta while the family still lived in Edmonton.

In 1910 or 1911 a third son, Steven, was born. Not being a healthy baby, he lived only for seven months. Then in 1913 their first daughter, Anne, was born. A year later, after losing their house in Edmonton, the Soltys family moved to a farm in southwestern Saskatchewan near the Saskatchewan-Alberta boundary.

Things were not going too well for the family, times were bad, crops were poor and World War I broke out. John could not make farming profitable and managed to get a job on the railroad - building new tracks and doing maintenance work with a railway "gang" as it was then called.

Towards the end of World War I, an epidemic, known as Spanish Flu, broke out. John and the boys - Mark and Tom, became very ill with flu and had to spend many days in bed. Rose and Anne had only a mild case of it and were able to do the farm chores and to nurse the three sick ones back to health.

Then came a move to yet another farm, this time to the Bitter Lake area about 24 miles north of Hatton, Saskatchewan. There in 1919 a second daughter, Sylvia, was born and then in 1920 the fourth son Joseph was born. By this time parts of Saskatchewan were turning into a desert. Drought, winds and heat destroyed the crops and many farmers abandoned their farms to relocate in different parts of the province or even to move to another province.

John and Rose had heard that farming was much better in Manitoba, so in 1921, a decision was made to abandon their farm in Saskatchewan and move to Manitoba.

During the packing in preparation for the move, there almost was a tragedy. The lid of a large trunk was open. Among other personal belongings there was a box of Dodds Kidney Pills. While no one had noticed, Sylvia ­ then only two years old - had opened the box of pills and, thinking they were little red candies, stuffed her mouth full. When her mother became aware, Sylvia had sucked off all the red coating as well as quite a bit of the pills. She was getting drowsy and sick. There was no doctor in the community, nor telephone or fast transportation; no one knew what to do. Then, someone remembered that across the fields about a mile away, lived a lady who had been a nurse. One of the boys ran .across the fields to summon help. By the time the lady arrived, Sylvia was having convulsions but the lady knew what to do and was able to save Sylvia's life. The family was ever grateful to this lady.

In these few short years in the new land, so much had happened to John and Rose Soltys.

Packing completed, and with the help of neighbours, everything was loaded on wagons, cattle herded by the boys on horseback and with the help of the family dog -


John Soltys Family. Left to Right: Mary, John, Rose, Anne. Centre:


Sport, everything proceeded to the railroad at Hatton and was loaded into freight cars for the journey to Manitoba. The family left by passenger train while John went by freight to take care of his stock enroute to a new province.

The Soltys family acquired a quarter section farm with mostly bush and very little broken land on it. It was situated on the east side of Otter Lake about a mile and a half east of the "Townline" and approximately two miles from Scandinavia School where the family got their elementary education.

The little red school house served the community of Scandinavia very well and for many years but un­ fortunately it died - it was destroyed by fire.

Two more members were welcomed by the family ­ Mary, the third daughter was born in 1923 and Margaret, the fourth and youngest daughter, in 1925.

John Soltys was a handyman and fairly good car­ penter. He built houses in and additions to existing houses in the community. He also was a "well-digger" and dug many wells in the area.

Rose also helped to augment the family income.

Through the summer she used to go digging Seneca Roots which grew wild on land that was not farmed.

Life in rural Manitoba was not all drudgery and hard work. While growing up, we had many pleasant and happy experiences. With no television and very few radios, people had to resort to creating their own en­ tertainment. They had dances, card parties and whist drives mostly on Friday nights. It was fun to attend these social events.

In later years, John Soltys was a "road boss". He helped to build and maintain roads that linked us and our neighbours. Since the area was sparcely populated,