I didn't know what to expect when I opened up the last post to questions. I enjoyed the questions and most could be answered with a reply. However, Tabor from Room Without Walls had a question that was a little broader and to do justice to it I thought an extra post would be necessary. Other questions touched on similar ideas. Tabor's question was "I want to know more about grandma and grandpa. Where they came from, how the got the farm and what their backgrounds were."
I have to take you back to the late 1700's. Many German people were brought to the Ukraine and Poland to farm. This area needed more food produced and they wanted the resident population to learn better farming methods. Each family was given about 40 acres to farm. This was an attractive offer as land was becoming scarce in Germany. Russia also offered these people something they were very passionate about. Most of these people were Lutheran and Mennonites. They were promised that they could keep the German language, practice their faith and not have to serve in the army as both groups were pacifists.
So this sounded like a good set up for everybody.
However , as time went on things gradually changed. Men had to serve some time in the army. It was more difficult to keep the German language. Another problem was that since they gave away land at the beginning, later on there was not land for more farmers.
Gradually things became more intolerable and they began to look for other opportunities. Canada was a great option. They would be given 160 acres of land.
So many German Lutherans and Mennonites came to western Canada.
They worked hard and helped each other to get money to travel to Canada. The majority of these people came to Canada about 1900.
My Grandpa was not a farmer on Poland. He couldn't get any land so he was the night watchman in the village.
My Great Grandpa brought all seven of his adult children and they set up farming. For many of the first years it was subsistance farming. They grew enough food to feed themselves. Later on they were able to borrow money and buy machinery and build buildings.
So by the mid 40's Grandma and Grandpa were at an age for retirement. Grandpa was 80!
I remember Grandpa in our home. We talked a mile a minute. Later on my uncle told me that Grandpa never learned to speak English? Us kids spoke English and Grandpa spoke German and we didn't know the difference.