Quest in Roots:
Brookdale Manitoba History

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ESBEN ANDERSON FAMILY

1907. He was the youngest in a family of five: three girls and two boys. His parents were Hans Jorgen Anderson and Maren Katherine (Hansen) Anderson of Astripsogn, Maribo, Denmark. Ebsen grew up working on farms that were usually dairy farms. The only transportation was by train or bicycle. There were a few cars owned only by the people who lived on the big estates. There were no ice rinks when Esben was growing up, and there are very few even now. He enjoyed gymnastics and was teaching a boys'' group before he came to Canada.

Like all boys he was looking for greener pastures.

His heart was set on Australia, but he did not have enough money for a ticket. His dad helped him to go as far as Canada, thinking that Australia was too far away and that he would never see his son again.

This turned out to be true.

On April 11, 1929, Esben immigrated to Canada, travelling by boat and train to reach Carberry, Man., where he was met by Foster Olmstead. He worked there for the summer, and learned the names of the different foods by pointing to them.

The children of the family helped him a great deal to learn English. While at Carberry he worked on the farm of Mr. Dempsey and for Bob Oliver too.

Then he went to Neepawa and On to Brookdale to work at Jones and McLeods. Ebsen became a Canadian citizen on February 6, 1940. He joined the Queen''s Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada and was stationed at Winnipeg, Shilo and Quebec.

Ebsen met Winnie Curle while he was at the Jones. They had planned to be married at Christmas, but he got orders to be shipped overseas.

He was through Holland, Belgium, Normandy and Germany. He took part in the Dieppe Raid. He and his group had advanced about two miles inland when they were spotted, so they headed back to the beaches. The order came that they were on their own. The shelling was very heavy. Ebsen got back to the water and headed out as far as he could go when he found the plank of a ship. As he was a poor swimmer, he straddled the plank and paddled with his hands, keeping going until he was picked up.

During this escape his helmet was shot off and his life belt was punctured. He was picked up by a ship and could remember no more until Al Campbell came and woke him up. He had been placed by the smokestack to dry out. He returned home in October 1945. Winnie and Esben were married on November 27, 1945.

He worked for Stan Hockin in the summer of 1946, then purchased a quarter section of land S.E.

9-13-16, through the Veterans'' Land Act, and moved there that fall. It was a cold day and the place did not thaw out until the next day. A son, Richard John Anderson, was born on July 11, 1947. Esben purchased a second quarter of land S.E. 10-13-15 through the Veterans'' Land Act. It had belonged to his father-in-law who retained 11 acres and continued to live there. Esben and Winnie drove the school van for a number of years. They milked a lot of cows over the years, at times as many as 12. Esben continued to farm until 1970 when their son Richard rented the land and worked it with his dad''s help.

Esben and Winnie made one trip back to Denmark for Christmas 1973. They decided that they would never want to live there again as there was not enough room.

They lived on the farm and kept busy until 1986 when Esben''s health was failing. He died in May 1986.

 

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