Nicholas Graveland came to Canada from Holland in March of 1911. He had taken an English Language Course before coming so he did not have the language barrier of the majority of immigrants.
He said he was almost the official interpreter on the boat coming over.
He arrived in Monarch, Alberta and worked that first summer for a farmer named Koole, who later became the originator of strip farming in Alberta. Mother arrived that fall and they were married in December. The first winter was spent in Lethbridge, where Dad worked at his trade as a butcher. He also worked for the city of Lethbridge and helped plant some of the trees in Gait Gardens. When the Lease was opened up for homesteads, he stood in line at the Land Office and filed on his homestead, which he didn't see until the next spring.
In September a son, Bill, was born and in the fall of 1912, with a wife, six week old baby, a wagon load of winter supplies, and lumber for a house, they arrived at their homestead.
They lived with a bachelor neighbor, Robert Kallies, while Dad built their one room house. That winter was spent working for Lije Bourne in Magrath until they acquired a few horses and a cow or two. He also pastured cows for Bourne during the summer.
George Hoyt broke the first fifteen acres of land for Dad in the spring of 1913.
During the next several years between working on his own farm, he worked on the Peters Ranch and with Carl Evenson, his closest neighbor, they helped build the Irrigation Drops in Montana. Mother stayed home with son Bill, and looked after the few chores for days at a time.
One story Dad used to tell was about the time young Bill, about five years old, went with him to a field near the Montana border, got bored and wandered off. When Dad noticed he was gone and started looking for him, he noticed a group of coyotes acting rather strangely in the tall grass on the U.S. side. Here he found Bill, sitting unconcerned, surrounded by six or so coyotes. All Bill said was, "Gosh Dad, there were hundreds of them weren't there?"
The flu in 1919 was really tough on everyone. We all had it and all we could do was stay inside and keep warm. Neighbor Carl Evenson did Dad's chores, brought water and set it in front of the door so Dad could reach it. Carl was one of the lucky ones and escaped it altogether.
Our only sister, Pauline Rose, died of pneumonia at the age of eight in 1930. We three boys rode horseback to Lens School rain or shine.
So the years rolled by till the early fifties when Mother and Dad retired to Lethbridge. Dad passed away in 1974 in his ninety-first year. Mother spent her last years in Southland Nursing Home in Lethbridge, passing away at the age of ninety-three in 1979.
Our parents did not leave us a great deal in the way of material wealth, but they left us a far greater legacy - Honesty and Integrity. True homesteaders.
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