Friday, January 29, 2021


      Like most people in the world I have been anxiously awaiting my turn for a covid shot. It doesn't look like we will get shots here for a while as they have made no plans for administering the vaccine which they don't have. 

     Like most people (well maybe not most people) (well maybe just me) I thought that if you got the shot you were home free and would be immune from covid for maybe a year or longer. Not quite so fast Red.

     I was listening to a radio interview of the woman who is the Canadian rep for one of the drug companies. She said the vaccine is good for and guaranteed for three months. They have no idea how much immunity will be left after a year! That just astounds me. Is there going to be any value for such a short lived period of immunity.? By the time I'm vaccinated a large part of the population will need to be vaccinated again.

    Many people think they have won the lottery once they are vaccinated. Not so fast. You haven't got what you think you have.

    Have we been sold a bill of.... Have we been hiding so much that we have missed information. I will definitely get my shot but it's going to be a little disappointing.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021


       For most of the past year I have looked at Covid statistics, noticed ups and downs and who was having the worst time with covid. We all know the line...people in long term care, people with underlying health conditions...

       It wasn't until October that we began having a huge increase in cases and deaths in this area.

       However, it took one special death to show how cruel covid can be.

       A woman who was a retired church secretary and her husband went to the church too help a new minister learn the ropes. Jim moved furniture and helped with clean up. 

       There were unknowns lurking. It was not known that the regular secretary had Covid. Jim's wife Linda picked up covid from the secretary and passed it on to her husband, Jim. Jim died in five days. 

       It really seems tragic that  man who was a volunteer should pay with his life . It's so simple for covid to pass from one person to another. 

       I now know people who have contracted Covid. You put  a name to a face. A 53 year old Downs Syndrome man has been in the hospital and has recovered. A former student has been in the hospital for two months on another issue and she caught covid in the hospital. 

      When covid gets close it's a very sobering issue issue.

       Be careful and be safe.

Saturday, January 23, 2021


        We are all supposed to be wearing the "mask" these days. I know that there are some who have a melt down over having to wear a mask but I'm not one of them. I think that all of us should do all we can to help control covid - 19. Recently a person I knew died from covid. That's too close to home.

     However, I've found wearing the mask to be a challenge and not at all pleasant. A simple thing like taking off the mask and putting it on is a problem ...a frustrating problem. I have used some very descriptive language when things don't go well. 

     I wear glasses and hearing aids. So some of you are already thinking ahead on this story. The glasses, mask and hearing aids get completely mixed up when I try to take off the mask. . I only want the mask to come off but the mask is one of the last things to come off. One dark morning I had  my groceries and was ready to go home. I took the mask off and I knew one of the hearing aids had come off. It was very dark in the car and I couldn't see anything. I went into the store to borrow a flashlight but no sympathy there. They just wanted to sell me a flashlight. Going back out I met a tradesman of some kind and I thought, "Those guys always have cool flashlights." Yes, he had a flashlight and would let me use it. I found the hearing aid immediately. 

      The next week I decided to leave the hearing aids at home. That didn't work very well. 

     Then one day I thought , if I grasp the mask band at the bottom by my ear lobe it might come up and not get tangled in everything. Yes, it was perfect!  The mask comes off and the other stuff stays there. 

     Now if I could think of some way to prevent my glasses from fogging up I' d be much happier again. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2021


        Gottlieb brought his family here for some very solid reasons. He wanted to be able to practice the Lutheran faith. He wanted to maintain the German language. He was a pacifist and did not want to participate in war or armed forces. The family needed the opportunity to find more land so that they could farm.

       In the late 1980's Virginia found more than 900 of us. This included all the in laws. 

       Less than 50  of the family still live at Esk. 

This photo was taken in the late 1950's with some of my Grandpa's family including Grandpa. In the photo are three of Grandpa's sons and three of his daughters. There were many good family times , usually around a big turkey dinner.

      So now very few of us are members of the Lutheran church. Very few of us speak German. Many of his offspring have served in the armed forces. One of his grandsons was killed in the Second world war. My son was in the reserve forces. Very, very few of his family are famers. Two and a half of my brothers are farmers

     So what would Gottlieb think of this situation? I think he was forward enough thinking to see that with all the changes it was a good decision for the family. If one looks back at what happened where they were living you can see that they had a much better opportunity in Canada. Things were very unsafe in central Europe for many years .

    I have some errors that I have to correct. Some of you picked up the errors. My Dad was not in the nursing home for 18 years. He was in a nursing home for five years. He had very good quality of life until his mid eighties. 

    I've been most surprised at the reaction to this series of posts. I was surprised at how many were missing most of their family history. I was the nerdy little kid who sat around and listened to my Dad's stories and all the people who visited him. I've always been interested in Western Canadian history. I've always liked local history. My brothers went outside and played and had a good time which was a normal choice. 

    This is Dad's family in 1966...four sons.

Sunday, January 17, 2021


        I mentioned that Dad started spelling his name in a different way from the family spelling. I could never understand why he changed it except that as a kid he started spelling it differently and kept on. 

        However, when we were born he registered us as Kline. I'm not sure what was on the marriage certificate.

       Economic conditions improved after the war. He bought modern machinery with two other farmers. By 1948 he had his own machinery and was independent. In 1948 he built a house. What a treat to move out of the old house and into a spacious residence. However, my brother and I still slept in the same room and bed even though there was an empty bedroom. 

      Dad also bought a new car and truck and was able to pay for them so this shows you how good the economy was.

      Tragedy struck in 1953 when his eleven year old daughter Doreen died after a short illness. He never came to terms with her loss and missed her the rest of his life. 

      Those who've had families know that children soon grow up and leave the nest. I left in 1957.

      In the mid 1960's Dad wanted to travel and so applied for a passport. He filled all the forms out very carefully. A few weeks later he received a letter from the government saying, "Mr. Kline, we have never heard of you!" What a shock! So Dad had to do the usual thing about going through school and church records to prove who he was. Dad thought that Grandpa had forgotten to register him when he was born. I accidentally ran into some information that said that the records for Saskatchewan children born from 1910-12 were nowhere to be found. They have no idea what happened to the records. So Dad's birth registration was one of the ones lost. 

     In his mid 70's he began to think about his accidental name change. He worried about his estate. So in his seventies he finally legally changed the spelling of his name. 

      Tragedy struck again in 1971 when Mom died . Dad remarried in 1973 and he had another 30 years of happiness with our step mother. 

      Dad enjoyed 20 winters in Phoenix. When insurance became too costly he stayed the winters in Manitoba. 

     He had good quality of life until 85. At that time macular degeneration took away his eyesight. Shortly after that Parkinson's set in. In 1990 he went into a nursing home and died in 2008 at age 95. 

     Dad led a very active life in farming, community, church and retirement. Did I ever tell you that he liked fishing? He was absolutely nuts about fishing. I remember spending time ice fishing with him. We would be on the ice all day.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021


     Dad worked around the Vernon, British Columbia area for about 5 years. In 1935 he was 22 years old. 

      For some reason he was not happy being a Lutheran. He was searching for something else and I don't think he knew what he was looking for. Somehow or other he found the Plymouth Brethern or they found him. He joined them and worshipped with them the remainder of his life.

     In 1935 he came back to his home in Esk, Saskatchewan. He bought a small farm. Where he got the money from to buy the farm I have no idea. His oldest sister came back with him and they farmed the summer of 1935. It may have been his sister's money that was used to buy  the farm. He went away in the winter to work at Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. 

     The young farmer

     He came back in the spring of 1936 to his farm. He had four horses but they were left out for the winter. In the spring he had to find his horses. Most farmers let their horses go for the winter and there would be huge horse herds in the area. 

     Love found my Dad in 1937. He married Mom in Feb. 1938. Many weddings were very small so they were married in her Mom's house.

     Wedding photo

     In February they went back to Dad's little house on the farm. They travelled by train and a friend met them and took them home. The next day Dad went over and started a fire in the house and they moved in with the few wedding presents they had. 

     The story was always the same. They had $60.00 and that had to last until September when they would have some grain to sell. So Dad promptly lost his wallet in the field with the $60.00 in it. They looked for hours. On the way back to the house Mom found the wallet. 

     From that time on they stayed on the farm.

     Another surprise happened in 1939 when I was born. 

     The war started and slowly Dad expanded with farming and the grain prices increased. 

      Another surprise happened in Oct. 1940 when my brother was born. My sister was born in 1942.

     They had a very small house and it was in very poor shape. Another boy was born in 1942.   

Monday, January 11, 2021


       My Dad, Emil Kline, was born on the homestead in 1912. They'd been on the homestead for seven years but he often said he missed it. He wished he had been old enough to be a pioneer like his Dad or grandparents.

      However my Dad always said he had a good childhood. He had two older  brothers who worked on the farm so Dad had more time to play with younger siblings. He also helped his mother in the yard. He carried water by pail to her garden. He looked after chickens, weeded the garden and brought wood into the house.

      The one room country school was on their farm and only about 400 m from their house. Dad liked school and considered himself a good speller. For some years he was paid 15 cents a day to light the fire and have the school warm by the time kids got there. His sister was paid 10 cents a day to sweep the floor. 

    The economy was good in the 1920's and many of the pioneer's children pursued higher education and left the farm. Dad was in gr.10 in 1928-29. He boarded with a farm family who lived right beside the town. He did farm chores in exchange for his board and room. Apparently most of his gr 10 consisted of playing pool. As a result he did not do well in Gr. 10. We all know that the depression began in 1929 so that was the end of his education. 

     He worked on a farm for the summer and fall of 1929. He didn't want to go home and stay on the farm with his parents so he took a train to Grand Prairie Alberta and lived with an uncle and his cousins. His uncle had a small sawmill so they sawed lumber and brought in more trees to saw up. In the spring of 1930 Dad knew he had to move on as his uncle had enough kids to look after. . He asked his uncle for money and the uncle pointed to a pile of lumber and said that's your pay. The uncle couldn't sell lumber so how would a 17 year old kid sell lumber so Dad moved on. 

    Sometime during this time he decided to change the spelling of his name. More on the spelling later. 

    His next move was to the Okanagan in British Columbia. He had two sisters in the area and an uncle. He picked up work where ever he could. He worked on a dairy farm, picked apples, cut timber, and worked in a saw mill. When He didn't have work he had to be creative to find a place to live. For a while he lived in a wooden granary on someone's farm yard. 

     Dad said he was happy through this period of his life as he said none of them had money so they were all the same.

Friday, January 8, 2021


        Christian Klein was born in the mid 1860's in Wischegrad colony , Russia.  He was the oldest son of Gottlieb Klein. Christian was married to Caroline about 1899.  Christian was my grandfather.

        For that time it was unusual for a man to be married in his early 30's. We do know that he was in the Russian army. It's not known how long he was in the Russian army.

        Much of his life is the same as Gottlieb's life. 

        Christian acted as the night watchman in the colony. It's not known how much farming he did. 

       Christian came to Canada in 1900 with his wife and oldest daughter. Three and possibly four children died in early childhood. I know that one lived to be two years old. As a result Christian's children were born later in his life. They had twelve children and eight of them lived to adult hood and some of them lived to be  very elderly.  My Dad was born when Christian was 44 years old.

     Christian  , his wife and two daughters came to Esk , Sask to claim a homestead and begin farming. Life was very challenging in the first years of homesteading. Since there was no railroad, they couldn't sell any products so they had very little money. A railroad was built about three miles from his farm in 1909 and then he was able to sell grain and get some cash. 

      The 1920's were boom times. They were able to borrow money and buy machinery and build some good buildings.  1929 came and they were not able to make payments on the mortgage. Christian and his sons worked together and were able to cover mortgage payments and keep the farm. It was a from rags to riches and back to rags again. 

      I was Christian's first grandson and he was 71 years old. 

      Christian stayed on his farm with his youngest son until he was 78. He then retired in the small village of Esk with its  25 people. His wife Caroline died in 1948. As for most men of that age they knew nothing about housekeeping and he didn't do well. He then began spending part of each year with his sons. So I remember living with Grandpa. As kids we liked our grandpa and he liked us. We talked back and forth. It wasn't until much later in life that I was told that he never learned to speak English and of course we didn't speak German. He could understand enough English and we understood enough German to communicate quite well. 

       He died in 1959 . 

Monday, January 4, 2021


      One thing I like about blogging it the questions that appear in the comments. As a writer there are often things I do not include. A good question reminds me to fill out the story.

      I think two of the men had been out to the area the year before . A Mr. Jansen from Nebraska helped them find land. 

     A question was asked about transportation across the prairie. The move from Manitoba to Esk , Sask was about 700 miles. By 1905 , when they moved , some railroads had been constructed. So they were able to get within 40 miles of their homesteads by rail. 

     The railroad gave the homesteaders a good deal on freight. So  a person could get a boxcar and put all their belongings in it for transportation. So an amazing amount of freight could be crammed in one box car. So here's the list: machinery, household effects, clothing, a couple of horses , a cow, a few pigs and chickens, some seed grain , farm tools. 

     One person would be allowed to ride in this freight car so that when the train stopped the animals could be taken off to be fed and watered. Sometimes a second person would be sneaked into the freight car but this was risky as there were police watching for this activity. There are many stories about people hiding amongst the freight.

    The remainder of the family would travel as passengers. 

    When the train got to Watson ,Sask. the car was put on the siding and unloaded. Women and children stayed  with some of the freight while the men hauled material to the homestead. They went to their homesteads following some trails. They didn't have a map but there were survey stakes the could be used to tell where they were. 

    The men put up shelters and went back for more freight and family. 

     They worked hard to put up a house for the winter. Three types of houses were built. There were some trees that were big enough to make a log house. Some homesteaders built a sod house and some  clay house. 

     There was not much variety for food. They seeded some potatoes. They had eggs. meet was supplied by game that was taken. A few groceries were bought such as flour and a few other staples. 

    It was a very difficult journey and new life but they knew that it would be better than what they left. 

Friday, January 1, 2021


      One thing I forgot to mention in the last post where they were self sufficient and made most of their needs is that there was always someone who could make very good wine and beer. They didn't have laws about making spirits so that the government was able to tax them.

     My last post consisted of some research about the German emigration to Russia.

     Before I go any further , I must say that I'm grateful to Virginia Beihn for writing many stories down. Gottleib lived with them for about 15 years. Virginia was his granddaughter. Virginia passed away in 2012.  I am also grateful to Carollynn Leggott who has tirelessly worked on the genealogy. It's amazing what she has found. 

     Before I move on I described the clay houses they lived in. I'm assuming that somehow lumber wasn't available or was too expensive. The clay house was much warmer than a lumber house. If the clay house was properly maintained it would last 50 years or more. Walls inside were painted with calsomine every year so the inside was pleasant. 

      When Gottleib came to Manitoba he found some land to farm. Information I have says he came in 1889 but I don't think that is correct. He built a very small wooden house. I guess there was lumber available and he liked the idea of a wooden house. Wooden houses built at that time were very, very cold. They had two ply of lumber. The lumber dried and left cracks for the wind to blow through. 

     Later they found homesteads at Esk , Sask and all of them moved there in 1905. Homesteads were a government promotion to bring settlers to western Canada. A person would pay $10.00 and be given 160 acres of land and if they did certain improvements in three years it was their land. Gottleib took his little wooden house apart and took it to his homestead where he put it together again. Gottleib was 63 years old so he was quite old to begin farming in a new area. 

     Gottlieb was a leader. He brought all his children and their in-laws to Canada. They moved to their homesteads ahead of many necessary parts of a community. There was not railroad in the area. He was a devote Lutheran. He held church services in his house . He baptised babies and conducted funerals until a church was built and a minister began coming to the area. He donated the land for a cemetery. 

   I always wondered why Gottleib never had any brothers or sisters here. Why didn't he bring other relatives. I found out that he was the only one in his family who survived. He had two sisters who passed away in their 20's. 

     His wife died in 1911 and he went to live with his daughter. His little house was moved to his daughter's yard and used as a small shop for repairing harness. Later it was used by his son-in-law to make furniture...mostly rocking chairs. Today that little house is in a museum at Humboldt, Sask. 

    Gottleib died in 1929. He had the ability to look at a sick horse and the horse would get better. The day before Gottleib died they brought a sick horse to the back steps for Gottleib to look at. The horse got better but Gottleib died. This talent was believed to be passed from one generation to another alternating from male to female.