Joe and Anne Greenwood's lives had centered around Harrogate, Yorkshire, England prior to coming to Canada in 1908 to make their home. Born in 1971, Joe had gone to work at twelve years of age in the mills as an apprentice working long hours with little pay. And what did the mills produce? rugs of all types from small scatter rugs to those with large elegant pile with fantastic design. With the passage of time, Joe earned more money as his skill and ability improved. This meant threading up the looms and filling any shuttles needed, as well as running the looms. He became very knowledgeable and even after many years when I first knew Joe he could tell me anything I wanted to know about rugs.
I don't know the date of Anne's birth but she and Joe were very nearly the same age. At a very early age she also went to work. After she and Joe were married she continued to work, until the birth of their son, Fred, but she returned to work as soon as he was well on his feet.
Joe and Anne decided they would come to Canada where life might be easier and they could acquire a home of their own. This meant living frugally in order to save money for passage fare.
In the very early spring of 1908, Joe, Anne and Freddy set sail. Joe at that time was thirty-six years old. While on the boat they became acquainted with Billie and Gertrude Sevier who were recently married. They became lifelong friends. Joe and Anne got off the train at Lethbridge but the Seviers went on to Seattle, Washington. Billie was a plumber by trade and hoped to obtain employment there. A year or two later the Seviers returned to Canada and came to the Spring Coulee area to be near Joe and Anne.
In the meantime Joe and Anne had both been hired by John C Thompson of Spring Coulee. At that time John was unmarried so Anne became cook for John, Joe and other men hired to work the two section farm. This was before the days of tractors and large machinery. Horses provided the power, although unaccustomed to this type of work, Joe was willing to learn. At this time Freddy was a lad of about twelve or thirteen.
Joe and Anne saved their wages toward the time when they could purchase land. This opportunity came in 1921. John had married at Christmas of 1920 and he and his bride spent the winter in California so now he would have no further work for a housekeeper. Joe and Anne put their savings toward the purchase of an adjoining one-half section. After thirteen years of working for John they became farmers and had a home of their own. Crops were good and the price of wheat was also good. This helped them pay off any balances owing.
It was about this time they suffered the loss of their only child, Freddy. He passed away as the result of being gassed with poison gas while serving on the battlefront with the Canadian Army during World War 1. I think it was about 1924 when this happened - before I arrived in Spring Coulee.
Joe and Anne lived very quietly and never travelled far. They never owned a car and they were both getting older. Anne lived to be in her seventies, passing away in the early 1940s. Joe passed away sometime in the first half of the 1950s. He had lived to be eighty eight years past.
Joe and Anne are buried beside each other in Mountain View Cemetery in Lethbridge.
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