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The Sundberg Family

In Alix, Alberta, Content, Farming, Pioneer Farming, School, School Teachers on September 20, 2020 at 7:49 AM

From “Sundberg, Andrew  John, and Annie Augusta  –

 By Ruth McKinnon and Sophie Sundberg Hanes”

Pioneers and Progress, Alix Clive Historical Club, 1974

On April 9, 1903 Sundbergs left Deming, Washington, U.S.A. to try a new country in which to raise their large family of seven girls and one boy.  An eighth daughter, Ida, remained in the U.S.A.  On April 11th, they arrived at Ponoka, Alberta, to find the ground covered with four feet of snow.  A warm welcome!

The family stayed in Ponoka so that the children could go to school and remained until the father, A.J. Sundberg, took up a homestad and bought another quarter section seven and a half miles south of Alix on the banks of the Red Deer River.  He bought some purebred Shorthorn cows and moved his family to the site of their new home.  They arrived there on July 5, 1903.  The land had to be cleared of brush before they could pitch tents, their first shelter.

The only son, Oscar, was only nine years old, and the daughters ranged from fifteen years to eight months old.  They all helped according to their ability, the older ones clearing the site for the house which was soon to be built by Mr. Bergstrom.  Mr. Sundberg’s first task was the erecting of a corral to contain cows so they wouldn’t wander so far.

Ruth continues in her own words: “While we were living in tents the worst hail any of us had ever seen came down like chunks of glass.  Prairie fires and tornados could be a real threat …. We kids would get so scared when the coyotes howled almost at our tent door.  Before we could farm, the land had to be cleared by hand and broken by oxen pulling a plough.  Cattle thieves were numerous…. The Sundberg brand was 4S reversed bar on the left shoulder.

Dad had to drive a team and wagon to Lacombe or Ponoka for groceries which took the best part of a week. The raspberries, chokecherries and saskatoons were a lifesaver…. There were plenty of ducks, prairie chickens and partridges…. In the hard winter of 1906-07 we snared rabbits for stew and cleaned wheat by hand before grinding it on a coffee mill for the making of biscuits and porridge….

The Sundbergs obtained their public schooling at Content.  Our school was opened January 1, 1905.  (The Content Bridge was being built that same winter,) Our school teacher was Miss Lodge, later Mrs. Jack Moore.  The pupils were about half white and half Metis.  We used to sleighride and toboggan down a steep bank to Tail Creek which ran close by the school.

Often our recreation was to find a lake somewhere, shovel and sweep the snow off and then skate….

For our high school we went to Stettler….

The children of Andrew John and Annie Augusta were as follows: Ida (who remained in the U.S.A., Hilda who became Mrs. Young of Lindberg…. Ruth, Mrs. McKinnon of Calgary…. Jennie….; Oscar….;Anne, Mrs. Alex Findlater….;Clara, Mrs. Beebe….; Sophie, Mrs. Fred Hanes….; Pearl, Mrs, Frank Eaton….

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