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Elmer Deglow and
Nanna Evenson Deglow

Heritage of the High Country
A History of Del Bonita and Surrounding Districts
Pages 313 - 315 - by Norma Arnold

In 1904 Grandfather Deglow (William Frederick) made a trip to Magrath from the United States looking for a place for his large family. He liked the looks of the land, and the grain crops, so decided to move his family. The came by train, and his boys rode in the box cars with the livestock to feed and water them whenever the train stopped for water.

Grandfather Deglow filed on a homestead south of Magrath which is now the Clyde Bennett farm. Some of the older boys returned to United States. Dad (Elmer) remained on the family farm until 1915. He then started farming on his own.

Dad was born September 1, 1890. He married Nanna Evenson January 11, 1915 in the Methodist Church in Lethbridge, Alberta.

He farmed the land now owned by Eric Loose until 1925.

They lived on the farm and raised grain and livestock. Their home was destroyed by fire in 1918. While the new home was being built we lived with Dad's parents. Mother helped Grandmother with the daily chores and cooking. Grandmother wasn't very well at the time. She died in 1919 leaving Grandad alone. He lived with Dad for a while, and then moved to Lethbridge and lived with Aunt Mabel (Dad's sister). By 1920 Mother had five small children to look after. Our house wasn't finished but we were able to move in before winter.

In 1923 my brother was ready for school, but it was too far so he missed a couple of years. By the time my sister and I were ready Dad decided he'd have to do something about getting us to school.

In 1925 he sold the farm back to his dad and bought a home in Magrath from Art Coy. The Tom Carter family were living in the house at the time. By then my other two sisters were born, and our family needed more room.

Dad worked for the Town of Magrath, and times were really hard. They hauled coal from the Baker's mine north of Magrath, and flour was bought by the ton. Another daughter was born in Magrath, and Pearl Heninger was her nurse.

All the washing was done with a manual washing machine (push and pull) and it was a real job. We carried water in and carried it out. In summer we carried all the water from the irrigation ditch for washing; and drinking and cooking water from the neighbor's well. Mother made her own soap for washing.

Mother baked twelve loaves of bread every day but Sunday. She washed clothes for the babies every day, as they didn't have enough diapers etc. for more than two days.

There was always lots of work to be done in the garden as Dad always had plenty of potatoes and other garden vegetables to look after. We had to hoe, and pick potato bugs all summer. In the fall Mother and Dad made sauerkraut in forty-five gallon barrels and dill pickles the same way. The potatoes and other vegetables were stored in root cellars. We always milked cows and had other chores to do.

Dad was working for some farmers and for the town. He had horses and cows to feed in winter. He hauled beet pulp from Raymond all winter.

The worst times were in the early 30's. Seems like money wasn't to be had. Dad was working off eight dollars a month relief during the winter by digging out frozen water lines with pick and shovel. He received a dollar a day. If Mother hadn't been able to sew I guess we couldn't have made it.

Aunt Annie (Dad's sister) used to send us large boxes of clothes from the United States. Mother made all our coats and the boys' pants and clothes from them. The flour sacks were used for underclothes, etc. If one of us needed navy shorts for gymnasium she dyed them and we got our shorts.

Dad worked for Mr. Roebuck, drilling wells and in the spring of 1928 he bought the W. 0. Miller farm in the Rinard district. We moved out in the spring and back to Magrath in the fall. This was the pattern we followed until spring of 1932. He sold the farm to Jake Wagner.

He played baseball on the baseball team for a few years while in the Rinard district.

As the family grew older and larger, Dad got more jobs so we all could do our share to lessen the burden for Mother. She needed help with the washing. Dad had an old Ford car so he jacked the hind wheels up and ran a belt to the pulley on the washing machine. Mother could wash clothes all day if she liked. He started the car and just let it idle away. It was even easier for the girls.

By 1937 Mother had given birth to sixteen children. Thirteen are still living, Edna (deceased); Joyce (deceased).

The money situation was never plentiful, but with a struggle and good management the folks fed and clothed us.

In 1929 Grandfather Deglow passed away and when the estate was settled, Dad bought Mother a Beatty electric washing machine and double set of rinse tubs with the money he had received. What a difference that made for her.

When the woollen Mill and Canning Factories started up the whole town seemed to prosper. The folks were both working. Nearly all the older ones in the family were busy also. In 1956 Mother fell and broke her hip, so she had to quit working.

In 1958 the folks sold their home in Magrath and moved to Vulcan where Dad was working for some time. They lived there until 1964 and moved back to Lethbridge.

In 1965 Mother and Dad celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary. At that time they had fourteen living children, fifty grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren.

They enjoyed fairly good health and liked living in Lethbridge. Morther passed away on October 15, 1967.

Dad continued to live in Lethbridge for a while. He sold his home and bought one in Magrath. He passed away August 1, 1970.

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Mary Tollestrup