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The Felger Colony

Water Works Wonders
A History of the White, Wilson, McMahon,
River Junction School Districts Pages 81 - 82

The Felger Farming Co. Ltd.

Lewis Allen Felger had a very large operation comprised of about 6000 acres. More than four hundred horses were fed and pastured for farming operations. At harvest time grain was hauled across a bridge on Six-Mile Coulee to Ellison Mills.

The company had an extensive dairy operation and a large barn was built in 1917. (this barn was later declared a historic site, but unfortunately the building burned down a few years ago). The farm suffered a tragic fire about 1920 when the main house was burned as well as the stable and over 30 head of horses. Mr. and Mrs. Harry Boulton lived and worked on the farm. When the company got into financial difficulties, Mr. Boulton received some dairy cows which were the basis for the Boulton Dairy in the McLean District. Bankruptcy was declared in 1919, and an auction was held to dispose of the company assets in 1920. The land was sold to the Hutterites.

The Hutterites were to rent the land for five years, with an option to buy it. Darius Walter was "an excited eleven year old" when he arrived with his father Darius Walter, Sr. and his brothers with their wives. He became the manager of the operation in 1945 when his brothers moved away. He and his sister Rachel, are the only ones still on "The Felger Farm" who came with that first group.

The following story was carried in a local paper in 1924.

Another Hutterite Colony Arrives From South Dakota: Will Locate on Felger Farm

Fifty Men, Woman and Children in New Colony - Bring all Their Livestock and Machinery -- Are Glad They Came

A bit of the old world was dropped down at the C.P.R. station this morning. Ruddy, buxom women in plain dark dresses, aprons and kerchief-covered heads; lively '!flappers" in togs which one might see in rural Holland, Germany or some other European country; and round-eyed babies, rosy as apples and cunning in their picturesque gray frocks and tiny aprons. They were all there, a bent grandmother of 75 years and a wee infant recovering from a cold.

They were all there and they were all talking -- talking in a mixture of German and English about their new Alberta homes.

The party comprised 30 women and children, the vanguard of a new colony of Hutterites. They were travelling in a Soo Line tourist car. The menfolk will be along in a few days with the livestock and equipment, for they picked up bag and baggage to settle on their newly-acquired grain-farm in Alberta.

Darius Walter Colony

The party reaching the city this morning from Hitchcock, South Dakota, were the women and children of the colony of Darius Walter. There are 50 men, women and children in the colony and they will locate on the Felger farm of 6,000 acres, south and east of the city. This farm they recently purchased. The party went south to Wilson Siding this morning, the special car being attached to the Coutts train.

They were met here by members of the Wilson Siding colony, the reception being most hearty. The older women of the party were acquainted with the men from Wilson. The grandmother of the colony was visibly moved as she recognized members of the brotherhood. When they came to her, kisses of greeting and respect were implanted on the furrowed cheeks of the old lady, and tears came to her eyes.

Crowded But Carefree

The tourist car was pretty well crowded but the women and girls were happy and thrilled as they looked out of the windows at the curious loungers on the station platform.

"This looks good to me; I'm crazy about Canada already," cried the "vamp" of the party, a pretty little maid of some 18 summers. The reporter had to pinch himself to see if it was a real experience. Yes, it was real. She was a genuine "flapper" in spite of her simple homespun, and she could use slang fluently! It was evident the communal life of the brotherhood is not protected against the contamination of Americanism. This little lady with the laughing eyes and ready tongue was the proof.

"We are bringing everything, horses, cows, chickens, geese, pigs, machinery. We think we'll like Alberta. We have heard many wonderful stories about the country, the great crops you raise here, and we want to share in the prosperity of the country. We think we'll like it much better than South Dakota. Our other colonies are satisfied here. Of course, it will mean lots of work, " but we are used to work, you know, said a woman who appeared to be the leader of the party.

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Mary Tollestrup