Michael Jarokosky immigrated to Canada from Willawcze Bukovina, Ukraine in 1912 at the age of 16 to work on the railroad. Arriving in Winnipeg about 10:00 a.m., he was hired to stack cement bags in a building. When dinner time arrived the men discovered that there were worms in the stew. That night, to escape this situation, some of the older men along with Mike paid the switchmen a few dollars to allow them to board the box cars as they called it "beating the freight", which took them to Calgary. Here they got a job with the City of Calgary putting in water mains. They also blasted rock to lay the railroad to Golden, B.C. Later as work was available he went to work for the C. P.. R. shovelling coal into dump cars at Fort Macleod. The following fall he got a job at the Felger Farming Co. south of Lethbridge. Here they threshed, hauling grain to Lethbridge with horses over the Six Mile Coulee. Crossing at the wooden trestle bridge, and returning with the grain tank filled with necessary farm supplies was part of his job. Because of the war years, European immigrants found themselve without jobs, and placed in camps. During winter months, the coal mines provided them with work, while summer brought farm employment.
Mike met Ethel Zasadny at Hardieville (No. 6 Mine) in 192I. Ethel was a daughter of John and Mary Zasadny who had come to Canada in 1908 with brothers Alex and Sam. These brothers all worked on the C.P.R. high level bridge in Lethbridge. Ethel and Michael were marxied in 1924. In 1925 they farmed south of Coaldale for one year. They moved to Eight Mile Lake District and rented farm land from the C.P.R. In 1928 Mike acquired a quarter section of land through a rental purchase agreement with the C.P.R. In 1939 he purchased the SE and NW quarters of 3-8-21. Here he farmed until his passing in 1957, survived by a son and daughter. In 1961 Ethel moved into the city of Lethbridge
Over the years the family farm has produced grain, and potatoes, on irrigation; as well as the livestock, purebred hogs and cattle. Belgian draft horses have played an integral part both as a business and hobby for all family members.
Return to Individual Histories