August 28, 2003

After spending a second night in Camrose, we packed up and checked out.  We then went over to the Normal School (now serving as a seniors care home).  We took pictures outside then wandered through the halls relishing the idea that I was in a place where my family before me walked.  The building's interior has been updated and a beautiful atrium section, as big if not bigger than the original building, had been added.  

Terry found a plaque by the original front door that in short terms outlined the history of the building.





Next stop was the museum and there we found a treasure of term publications for the Normal School with a few mentions of Mr. Morrison and some school pictures. 
Excerpt from 1920  "Do you remember the soulful sigh which went up from the middle section of the Assembly Hall when Mr. Morrison first appeared before us. It was a great disappointment to hear that he was married. How flattered Alex Stockwell must have felt when he was asked to impersonate Mr. Morrison."

Right: Picture used from 1918-1922 for faculty photograph.

Excerpt from 1920-21 "... so I decided to go up and take a look at the good old Normal which of course is the most important part of the town of Camrose. I wandered along across the "short cut" and over the "little bridge" and at last up the hill which I had climbed so many times, when two years before I had taken my Normal Course. I opened the side door and went up the steps to the second floor.
There were the long rows of familiar looking lockers. I decided I would go up to the library and read awhile. I started up the hall when out upon the air floated a familiar voice "I will call the roll please" and I remarked to myself that Mr. Scott still occupied a place on the Normal Staff. I was tempted to open the door, walk in and wait my turn to "deal with Henry VIIIís reign as you would with a Grade VIII class." But I overcame my desire and proceeded up the hall. Then I was accosted by a voice which was proceeding from a room on the opposite side of the hall. I listened closely and finally distinguished from the usual undertone of girlish giggles the calm, half-amused, half-solemn "Yes, I know itís all as clear as mud to you, but, you follow these instructions and youíll make out somehow." "Mr. Morrison is also here still," I decided.
The rest of the excerpts tend to be ..... "Mr. Morrison played the piano"  "Mr. Morrison - pianist"

We went to the city hall and a wonderful lady there tried her very best to get an address for the Morrison family .... even some info on Emma Reed's death .... but everyone she talked to was sticking to the new law saying information cannot be released until 100 years after the date of the event.  She gave us a gift of the publication "A Light into the Past - A History of Camrose".   It was a publication we had spent a great deal of time with at the library - photocopying pages etc that we thought would help us paint a picture of the Morrison time in Camrose.   Now we will able to go through it in a more leisurely manner.

6:45pm (Saskatchewan time) we crossed the Alberta-Saskatchewan border, found our way to North Battleford and settled in for the night.

August 29, 2003

Had breakfast in the restaurant and gassed up the car.

 Mile after mile the prairie slips by  ....  the rolling land and cloud studded sky.

Reached Saskatoon around 1:30pm and went into the Visitor Centre and phoned cousins Morry and Janice Akerman ... no answer.  We took the car to get washed and cleaned.  While the car was being tended to, we walked a few blocks to a specialty mall.  Not many customers ~ it's the long weekend and for many families a last chance to get away with family before school starts.  Had a nice visit with the shop owners before returning to pick up the car.
We drove from there to the Kinsmen Park and walked to the tour ferry.  A slow yet pleasant trip up the South Saskatchewan River.  
Again business was slow and the two-man crew took care of only six passengers on a boat that could easily carry thirty. The river gave a pleasant view of the Bessborough Hotel.  
We passed under six of the nine bridges that cross the South Saskatchewan River in Saskatoon and took note of the high use of the river by canoeists, kyackers and water skiers.  A sailboat in the distance prompted the crew to tell us that it was the second one they had seen this year.  With the river so shallow in many parts it is not suitable for sailing.  Even though it is so shallow the crew instructed us in the placement and application of life jackets. 
After we docked, we called Janice and Morry again, " Sorry we missed you on this trip," we left on the answering machine.  " We are going to carry on to Regina." 

About a third of the way to Regina, we stopped at a little spot in the little village of Kenaston for a quick picnic supper.

The sun set while we were still on the road.  We didn't get into a room until 10:00


August 30, 2003

We gave cousin Marvin Krieger in Carlyle a phone call after breakfast but only reached his answering machine.  We headed south on Hwy 6 and then south east on Hwy 39, past Milestone to Lang.

We pulled up to the Town Office only to realize it was Saturday and most things would be closed.  We stopped in at the Food Market and met Evelyn.  
Asking for her advise she said, "We used to have a book, but we're all out."  "Let me give Al a call to see if he can help," she continued as she walked around the counter and reached for the phone. 
"Would you like to talk to him?"  "Sure," Sherrie said taking the receiver just as the phone rang.  After introductions Al invited us over to his place.  "No, not doin' anything special.  My wife is baking."  Al added that Evelyn should have a book to purchase in the store on the history of Lang's pioneers. When I told him they were all gone he said, "tell her I'll bring some over right away."  Within five minutes he walked in the door with a box of books saying "I would have been here sooner but my son was being bothered by wasps."  The books were thick hard covered books.  "How much are they?" I asked.  "Ten Dollars," said Al adding, "We have thirty more boxes of them."   Al was joined by his thirteen year old son.  We shared some more good conversation with this friendly transplanted Torontonian and then said our goodbyes.  Just as we were about to get into our car we asked Al if the washrooms at the camp grounds were open.  "Sure," he said, "but you can just use the ones in the community hall over there.  The doors are unlocked and the light switch is over the shuffleboard table."   

Before we could get there ourselves, Al was there and had the lights on for us.  It was a lovely hall with a huge kitchen ~ a building in which the whole community has a right to be proud.  After more conversation and expressions of gratitude for the outstanding hospitality, we made our way to the cemetery.  Sitting in the car reviewing the names we would hunt for, Al's dark blue van pulled up. 
"Just wanted to let you know you still have relatives living in town.  The first farm by the highway is home to a fellow whose mother was a Lieske."  Again "good byes" and "thank yous" and we started roaming the grave yard.  We found stones for all but two ~ my great-grandmother Wilhelmina (nee Echart) and her daughter Hedwig. 
We got back on the highway convinced that since it was harvest time the last thing farmers needed coming to their doorsteps was unexpected company.  We pushed on to Indian Head.
The lady at the Indian Head Visitor Centre said she had met the Thornes when she was a young girl.  We talked of places to stay, places to have dinner and where the museum and cemetery were.  First thought was to secure our night's lodgings.   Everyplace was full - there was a wedding in town. 
We found the house the Charles and Minda Thorn had lived in after they retired from the farm.  We went to the cemetery - a fairly large one, and decided we best push on and find accommodation and perhaps search out the cemetery at another time.  We put gas in the car and pointed it in the direction of Wolseley and found a motel with space by the east turnoff to Wolseley.  
August 31, 2003

We had thoughts of Dad and Aunt Ada with us all day.  We started out and drove Hwy 1 past Wolsley (we will go there tomorrow)  and dipped in for a quick drive around before heading north on Highway 47 and then east on Hwy 22 to Neudorf.  

In front of a Lutheran Church (there are two churches in town - both Lutheran) we introduced ourselves to a group of five people and told them about our genealogy hunt and looking for the marriage site of James Colin Bryan to Wilhelmina Hilda Lieske. "It must be the old Zion Lutheran Church.  That's about two miles down the road.  You make a left at the corner where the coil of wire is leaning against the fence post."

After leaving the five, we stopped in at a little restaurant because it had so many cars in front while the rest of the town looked deserted.  When we walked in everyone looked up ... everyone.  Terry said with his becoming smile "Well, it looks like we are in the right place."  That brought smiles and murmurs of welcome.  We separated and started talking to these gazing patrons - all who had just come from church.  Talking turned to sharing conversation and that turned into sharing a table and ordering coffee and tea.  One of the Church Five we had met earlier came in and sat down at the same table.   He was the husband of the minister and yes, he would be pleased to look into the church records after finishing his coffee.   Indeed that is what he did.  There it was.  Duly noted in the church records.  September 10, 1898 (not 1897 as our home records stated).  The church had been built in 1898 and James Colin and Wilhelmina were the fourth couple to be married in the new church.  We took digital pictures of the records and to back that up we purchased photocopies. 

With the excitement of going to a family wedding, we made our way out along the highway, turned left at the coil of barbed wire and soon caught our first glimpse of the church. 

There it was.  The church Sherrie's paternal grandparents had been married in.  It is now a heritage site.   Pictures and more pictures.  The little building beside the church was set up as a Sunday School or perhaps was even used for an area school.  Just being there felt like joining hands with grandparents we had missed knowing in person.  Oh how we wished Dad and Aunt Ada were there with us to share the moment. 

On touring the interior we found a list of those individuals confirmed over the active life of church.  One of the names was that of Wilhelmina's youngest brother Rudolph "Ralph" Lieske who was confirmed in 1901.

We continued westward towards Fort Qu'Appelle.  A Threshing Day had been advertised at the Motherwell Homestead National Park for a glimpse of what a homestead at harvest time may have looked like.  

While there we met a gentleman who remembered Bill Bryan.  He told us how he, as a young person and neighbour, remembered Bill going out for a walk with his wife every night.   "Every night he would be dressed in his best ... shirt, tie, suit coat and felt hat.  He would walk down the street with his wife who was gray haired and suffering from dementia.  Each night we would hear him sing", and with that the gentleman cleared his throat and sang " I'll give you a daisy a day dear; I'll give you a daisy a day.  I'll love you until the river runs still. I'll give you a daisy a day."   He also told us, "the wheel chair ramp and chimes at the United Church were donated by Bill."

He also added that he knew Fred, "the stud horse man".  "Fred," he told us, "would walk a stud horse to different farms to service mares.  He worked for Fred Taylor."

From the Threshing Day, we drove via Hwy 10 to Fort Qu'Appelle and then south on Hwy 56 to Indian Head where we would spend the night.
Finished off the day with dinner at the local Chinese restaurant (pretty well every town on the prairies has a Chinese-Canadian Food restaurant) that the locals recommended highly ~ justly so.  Before retiring, we were able to make arrangements to tour the museum tomorrow before its regular hour of opening.  (took 125 pictures today)

September 1, 2003

Met Doug (a 70+ year old gentleman) at the museum in Indian Head at 10:30 am.  He had the history book open to an article on Charles & Minda Thorn.  He took us on a personal tour of this very orderly and clean museum.  Afterwards we continued our search of the cemetery until we found Charles and Minda's grave site but not before Doug from the museum came by to tell us that he found out where the Thorns had lived in town - 711 Woodward.   On our way back towards the highway, a man in a white car waved us down.   He opened his car door and called out, "Are you looking for information about Thorns?"  He gave us a number for Doug ( a different gentleman from 'Museum Doug'.  He also told us he could give us the address of the house where the Thorns used to live.

Terry phoned.  Doug said that his memory was not as keen as it use to be, ".... but I do remember as a youngster being instructed by my parents to address them as 'Mr. Thorn' and 'Mrs. Thorn'.  The Thorns told us they would have nothing to do with that and they told us to call them 'Charlie' and 'Mindy'.  That's all I can remember.  I wish I could remember more."

On to the museum in Wolseley where Evelyn and Helen invited us to sit down in the parlor and go through history books.  It was a special treat to sit in the parlor and visit as most often in museums we just pass through a room or many times just peek in at the door step.  This time we were able to view the room as it was intended to be viewed ... from a sitting position, and visit with new friends.  We looked up information and had a lovely visit.  A gentleman named, Lloyd, dropped by.  Everyone remembered Bill and his wives. Lloyd also remembered Fred ~ the stud man.
  "He came to our farm," Lloyd shared with us, "each summer in a horse drawn two wheel cart with the stallion in tow."  They took us on a tour of their museum which was once a boarding house.  It was home to up to 16 men, but the lady of the house would serve up to 60 dinners a day.  Lloyd said, "when my father and brother came into town from their farm 13 miles away the would stable their horse and buggy at the livery and take their meals in this very house before heading back to the farm." The ladies pointed out that the building next door (now donated to the museum) was the very first store of Beaver Lumber.
We stopped in Broadview in search of Levi Brian's [James Colin Bryan's younger brother] grave site.  Our search took place in the only pubic cemetery in Broadview but we came up empty. Many of the graves were unmarked but because it was a holiday Monday we were unable to confirm with the graveyard's layout map most likely held in the Town Office.  Driving on to Carlyle we checked into the only accommodation option in town and phoned cousins Marvin and Bernice Krieger making arrangements to meet for brunch.
September 2, 2003

By 11:00 we had checked out of our room and were in the motel restaurant waiting for the arrival of Bernice and Marvin Krieger (Marvin is Sherrie's cousin through her father's mother).  Marvin had emailed a copy of a letter from Sherrie's grandmother to a niece at an earlier date.  Marvin now said, "As I promised you .... if you ever came out to see us I'd give you this," and with that he presented Sherrie with the original.  After sharing lunch, family stories and good laughter, they drove us over to their home.  In the family room, we went through well organized picture files.  Time was passing and as tempting as the invitation was to stay with them at their summer home on Bear Claw Lake, we moved on. 

Neglected to get a picture during visit ... this one  taken in Langley two years ago.

4:00 we crossed into Manitoba.  Twenty minutes later we passed fields of sunflowers all with their heads facing east.  Looking from the west the fields looked green; looking from the east the fields showed waves of yellow green and brown as the seed heads ripened.

6:20 (Manitoba-North Dakota time) we checked in at the Canadian Border and declared and documented all our electronic equipment - lap top computer, AC adaptor, digital camera, battery charger, batteries, tape recorder, Palm Pilot and sync cradle for Palm.  We then proceeded to the US Border and along with the usual questions including, "do you have any fruits or vegetables", he added, "any beef?"  Answering "no", he did a short search of the trunk and the electric cooler we have on the back seat.

The sun set behind shelter-belts (tree lines that break up wind as it crosses fields) while we drove on and it was around 9:20pm, when we settled in Devil's Lake for the night.  Terry phoned his cousin, Vi, in BC to confirm and obtain information re their grandparent's (Draper and Emma Irwin) time in Minnesota so that we could best  spend our limited time in that state.  

September 3, 2003

At 11:50am local time, we crossed over the Red River from North Dakota into Minnesota on Hwy 2.  We were contemplating the hard driving we would have to do to reach Kerkhoven (birthplace of Terry's maternal grandmother) not knowing if the effort would be in vain.  We made a decision to stop off at the library in Crookston.  Their help was most appreciated.  They gave us contact addresses for not only Kerkhoven but also  Brainerd, Hackensack and Bemidji.  It became clear that we would need more time if we were going to do a proper study in Minnesota and rather than frustrating the attempt into one day, we would make our way back to Winnipeg where we had to be to catch a flight on Sept 6 for a few days back in BC.

At 4:30 pm just off Hwy 75 we crossed over the Red River again into North Dakota and then a short five minutes later, we crossed back into Canada and headed north to Winnipeg. 


September 4, 2003

Today was spent locally ...  a pleasant change from driving each day.  We slept in and then took the car in for a cleaning  where they removed the Saskatchewan-Manitoba-North Dakota-Minnesota-bugs from the car's exterior.   

We then took a drive out near the airport and scouted out a suitable park-and-fly location where we could safely leave the car and its contents for the four days we would be traveling to and from home.

In the afternoon we played a local 3-par golf course.  It was a compact course nicely groomed and a lot of fun.  Sherrie, who has seldom played golf said, "Tiger Wood's grandma doesn't have to fear me."

After supper we went downtown and took in a movie ... Seabiscuit - a story about the legendary race horse.   Terry read the book at the beginning of the year. 


Click here to continue to September 5, 2003  ....