1908 - 1916

Home Next

    My Dad, Christopher Bauer was born July 30, 1891 in a village 18 km from Odessa, Russia. He took his schooling in German and Russian.  There were several Jewish families in the  village and on their Sabbath  day they had him come in to light the lamps and tend to the fires as they didn't do  anything but read and pray.  Dad told us that they seemed to be in a trance as they didn't  even let on that he was there; but they always left a lot of goodies for him.

        Dad apprenticed as a blacksmith for 3 years with a blacksmith in the village who done work for the surrounding area.

        Dad's family moved to Canada in 1908 except for his sister Barbara who was married and had children and was fairly well established and didn't want to leave, they never saw her again.   On the  way to Canada the family got sick except Dad and his sister Bertha, they would go to the galley and bring soup and light snacks to their cabins.  Dad and Bertha  got to tour the ship and go below to the engine room and watch  men shovel coal into the fire of the steam boilers , that could  be why Dad took to steam engines in later years.  They also got to go to the pilot house and talk to the captain who took a fancy to him and asked him to stay as a cabin boy; Dad was willing but his father said no.

         The family spent their first winter in Canada near Irvine, Alberta with Dad's uncle who had come over with Dad's brother Peter and family in 1907 so they wouldn't have to fight in the Boer War in Africa.   In the spring of 1908 they moved to Plover Lake which is about 5 miles south of Scotfield where they took up homesteading.   Their first summer had it's hardships -  sleeping in a tent or under a hay rack, they had to haul  lumber from Bassano which is about 80 miles away.   They ploughed sod along  the shore of Plover Lake  which is about 1 1\2 miles,  they then cut the sod into strips about 2 feet long and laid  them like we do bricks to build a sod house with a sand  floor.  The other closest town was Coronation which was at the end of the railroad about 70 miles away.  To get poplar rails they had to go to the Hand Hills which are south west of Hanna about 60 miles.   The first year Dad and his sister Emillie cut prairie wool for the winters feed for their horses and cattle  and about 2 days after they had finished putting up the  winters feed supply, a wind blew in from the south west  bringing with it a prairie fire that had started about 50 miles away.   They lost their entire winter feed supply.   While the family built  the sod house the Indians would  sit on horseback and watch to process day after day.  After the house was built Grandmother would wash clothes on the north side where it was cooler  and again she would have a group of Indians  watching.  They had to go to Schierness which was another 70 miles away for coal.  They used a frezno to scrape  away 1 1\2  to 3 feet of   dirt to get coal.  It was poor quality coal but better than wood for winter fuel.  In the summer they would use cow chips and buffalo chips as a source of fuel.

        Dad worked for Alvin Stopp and his wife, they had a  store and post office in a place called  Stoppington  (it is still shown on the special area map in the Youngstown, Alberta town office). Stoppington was a place where people would  stop to rest their horses on their long trips; Dad would repair their wagons and do their blacksmith work.  Mrs. Stopp took care of the store and post office.  The Indians would come in to buy tobacco, cheese and tea.  They always bought Blue Ribbon tea and when one shipment came in of Blue Ribbon tea they refused to buy it because it was in a different package.  Mrs. Stopp made tea out of every package  of tea she sold that day  to convince them it was tea.  She told Mother that she couldn't drink any more tea by evening.  My brother Alvin was named in honour of  Alvin Stopp.

        In 1912 Dad bought a Case Steamer, Case Threshing machine and a 5 bottom Case breaking  plough so he could plough the prairie sod.  About 1914 he moved the unit to south of Loyalist, a distance of about 60 miles.

        On a trip to Coronation to take the train to Stettler, Dad met Michael Maron who was also going to Stettler,  his daughter Amelia was working for Carl Stettler who owned the hotel (the town was named on his behalf), this is where Dad met my Mother.   They were married on December 15, 1915.   Dad did some breaking and threshing and blacksmith work for the surrounding area.  I was born October 4th 1916 and a few days after  I was born Mother's youngest brother  Reinhold was killed by a run away team while threshing on the home place.   When my brother  was born in 1917 they named him Reinhold  in memory  of her brother.