Henry Ernst was born in Morley, lowa, March, 1878. At the age of 20 he lost his right arm in an accident with a corn sheller. This did not deter him and he continued in life with many accomplishments. He came to Canada in March, 1904 and homesteaded in the Brant area. Besides being active in farming he was a land evaluator with the E.E. Thompson Co. from High River and helped many people find homesteads and get started.
Rea Washburn was born in Columbus, Indiana, Oct. 1887. At age 16 she came to Canada with her mother Alice and brother Sep. They landed in Spring Coulee in April 1904, and visited with Alice's sister Clara C. Thompson. They moved overland to the Brant area where both Alice and Sep homesteaded. Here Rea met Henry and they were married in November 1905.
Henry and Rea farmed in numerous areas but ended up back in Spring Coulee in 1929 on a farm about six miles west of the town. It was known as 'the poor farm'. After several years they moved to a farm 4 miles west and 2 miles north of town.
They were both active in community affairs. Rea worked in both the Ladie's Aid (U.C.W.) and Womens Institute.
Of the union three girls were born. Charlotte, born in 1909, worked for Harlan and Margaret Thompson before attending Normal School in Calgary. She taught several years before returning to teach one year in Spring Coulee. She met and married Burton Payne of Cardston and made her home there. They had five children, three of whom are still living. Two live in Cardston and one in Calgary. Burt passed away in 1970 and Charlotte in 1972.
The middle daughter was away from home before the family moved back to Spring Coulee. She also was a school teacher.
When the Ernst family returned to Spring Coulee, the youngest daughter attended high school through grade eleven in Spring Coulee. This was during the "Dirty 30's" and while no one had any money we had many good times. Sleigh rides, skating parties, ball games, community dances, card parties and just visiting. Mrs. Blance had a girls club where we met and did crafts etc.. A highlight of it was when she took us to Waterton for a few days. We stayed in Thompson's cabin and had a ball. We were even allowed to go to the dances.
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