St. Joseph’s Colony is a huge part of Saskatchewan. The settlers were predominantly German. Unlike the east, which is predominantly English and French as settlers, Saskatchewan’s two largest groups of people were the German and the Cree (Natives) in Saskatchewan. St. Joseph’s Colony followed Prime Minister McDonald’s dream of an organized grid of square land plots. Two miles long and one mile wide, then broken into four quarter section plots. The roads, often dirt and sometimes gravel, made for many roads and it was hard to get lost.
If you could build a house (often sod in the southern part), dig a well and cultivate 10 acres, the land became yours. I grew up after the area was settled. Most farmers around now owned at least a section of land. But it was still wild, still isolated. It was my ‘Little House on the Prairie’ upbringing. Fortunately, our house in the northern part of St. Joseph’s Colony, was not a sod home. My grandmother, however, didn’t have my good fortune. With a family of nine kids, she lived and raised her children in a sod hut. When my mother was born, they finally moved into a wooden house. I have seen a sod hut at Heritage Park in Calgary, and I cringe to imagine living in one. I doubt many people could actually do it today.
Life Changing Days, follows my ancestry on my father’s side. It was an eye-opening experience to know the hardships they faced. I will always be proud of my ancestor’s, tough, ambition and determination as they helped create the west we have today. They were only happy to escape the religious persecution and the uprising communist regime taking place in Russia at the time.