MARY'S GENEALOGY TREASURES
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Peter Freylinger and
Helena Sassel Freylinger

Our Treasured Heritage-
A History of Coalhurst and District
Pages 322-323 by Mrs. Walter McMeekin

Peter Freylinger was born in Esch Sur Alzette, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg on June 8, 1891, the son of Nicolas Freylinger and Katherine Schmidt.

Helena Sassel was born in Esch Sur Alzette, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg on August 3, 1890, the daughter of Michel Sassel and Suzanne Reuter.

My parents grew up in Luxembourg where the official languages are French and German, while the national language is Luxembourgeois. They received their education there.

In 1911, Dad immigrated to Canada. He was employed in Eastern Canada for about a year when he decided to come west, to seek his fortune, as the saying goes, and found himself in Coalhurst, Alberta, where he obtained employment in the coal mine.

Mom came to this new, strange vast land to join him a year or so later, leaving their small son, Michael, in the care of his grandparents in the old country.

My sister and I were born during their residence in Coalhurst, Catherine Helene on January 11, 1915. We were born at home, with a Mrs. Stetz as midwife in attendance.

Mom and Dad often spoke of the 'flu epidemic in 1918 and that we all had it and were very ill, but survived. Many of their friends and acquaintances were not so fortunate and did not. People all around town were dying from the flu, it struck so quickly and devastatingly.

The names of the people they knew and spoke about were the Kruppas, Gusellas, Marzinziks, Phillipes, Zengottas, Adams, Gorzitzas, Mrs. Stetzs, Annie Grisak and others I cannot recall.

Dad was of a serious nature, was an avid reader with a deep passion for learning. He was an interesting conversationalist and loved to recall events of the past. He owned a couple of horses on the prairies as travel to Lethbridge (the nearest shopping centre) and anywhere else was by horse and buggy. He often told the tale of the very obstinate one, which nothing on earth could move once it had decided to stop, no matter where, and he had to sit, very frustrated and bide his time until it would finally decide to move on and continue on the journey, just as suddenly as it had stopped - often, he was accompanied by a friend who had to wait, maybe not so patiently, as well!

Mom was jolly and fun loving and enjoyed both young and old. Her home and family were her life.

Both Mom and Dad spoke several languages fluently. In all the years they met only two people with whom they could converse in their mother tongue.

Dad didn't like the constant winds and the resulting dust storms that blew into town and turned daylight into darkness in mid afternoon and the bareness of the treeless prairies.

In his quest for a farm he came to Central Alberta. On one of these occasions in June, upon rising in the morning he looked out of the window and there was snow on the ground - not much encouragement to a would be farmer. However, in 1919, they bought the former Lawrence Fritch farm (SW 16-38-4-W5) in the Hespero, Condor Evergreen area west of Red Deer, Alberta and moved there. Here my sister Catherine and I were raised on the homestead. Dad broke the bushland, using horses, to make the land more arable for mixed farming.

My brother Michael arrived in Canada about 1920 or 1921.

The following years though full of hard work were happy ones. Mother passed away on October 14, 1955, and Dad on October 14, 1967.

Michael worked mostly in the logging industry in British Columbia. He married and they had a family of four. Michael retired in Mission, B.C., where he passed away May 6, 1980.

Catherine married and had three children. Catherine passed away February 22, 1970.

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Copyright 2000
Mary Tollestrup