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Nordblad Brothers

Water Works Wonders
A History of the White, Wilson, McMahon,
River Junction School Districts Pages 393 - 394

Both brothers were born in Sodervidinge, Sweden. August (Gust) in 1890, and Moris in 1894. Gust came to Canada in 192 1, and Moris in 1922, and both made their way across the country to settle in Alberta. The Nordblad brothers came to Lethbridge, Alberta in 1924-25.

They first rented 640 acres (section 21-7-20-w4), and in 1927 they purchased 480 acres in sections 20-7-20-w4 and 177-20-w4, mostly virgin prairie grassland that had never been cultivated. The brothers bought a six bottom breaking plough with no power lift just big long levers. To lift it out of the ground it took six men, and a teamster and 24 horses to pull it.

Jim Thompson, who lived west of White School, rented them 18 horses to go with their own. These horses were only green broke, and were wild and hard to handle. Ernie Young was hired as teamster, but after three days they had a runaway which did a lot of damage to harness and hurt some of Moris and Gust's horses. Moris said "That's enough," and bought a McCormick Deering 15-30 tractor and a three bottom plough. 1928 was a good year, with bumper crops in this district.

Gust returned to visit Sweden in 1928, and Moris in 1929. Those years were good with bumper crops, and both brothers were grateful for their good fortune in the new Land.

While in Sweden, Moris married the girl next door, Anna Wilhelmina Jonsson, born in Pastraskravlinge, Sweden in 1909. They returned to 21-7-20-w4, and bought 540 acres close to the Wilson elevators, (27-7-20-w4) where they built a house and barn. Their three children were all born in Lethbridge.

The Hickey family, well known in Lethbridge, became life long friends of Moris and Anna. Tess Hickey, wife of ike, gave their oldest daughter her first baby dress, a pale yellow silk, that Anna kept for her many years later.

Gust moved to a farm one mile east and one mile south of White School. The depression period affected Moris and Gust like so many others, and Gust moved to Bowden, Alberta. Moris, Anna and family made their way through the Rockies by car to British Columbia and moved to Garibaldi, B.C.

From 1937-1939 Moris was self employed, logging poles and ties for the railway. Moris had a life long love of horses and again used horses to bring the logs out of the forest to the railway crossing. 1939-1941 they moved to Buntzen Bay, B.C. again self employed as a logger, then going to work for the B.C. Electric Company at Lake Buntzen, supplier of electric power to Vancouver, B.C.

In 1943 they moved to Haney, B.C. where their children then aged 12, 10, and 8 years attended public school for the first time since moving to B.C., having taken their schooling through correspondence. During 1943 to 1948 Moris worked for the British Columbia Electric Company at Stave Falls, B.C. Here Moris built a general store on the property in 1945, which is still being operated today. Rationing was still in effect after the war and people would come in wanting to trade their sugar coupons for coffee coupons and vice versa.

Moris loved the forest and the mountains and returned to work in Garibaldi, B.C. from 1948 to 1950 as a partner in a small lumber mill. While there he contracted to cut the first right of way from Garibaldi, B.C. to Squamish, B.C. which is now the internationally well known Whistler Ski Resort.

Gust had settled in Olds, Alberta and in 1951-1952 Moris returned to Olds and leased 320 acres and planted wheat and barley. From 1952 to 1967 Moris and Anna remained in Haney and operated the corner store and installed gas pumps the first to be located away from the town core which only had three gas stations. In 1964 Moris and Anna returned together to visit Sweden, Anna having made a trip in 1949. In 1954, Gust sold his farm and moved to Haney, B.C. Gust never married and died in 1963 at the age of 73.

Moris and Anna were life long Socialists and active in the C.C.F. party. It was not surprising to find Tommy Douglas leader of the C.C.F sitting around the kitchen table talking politics. He was one of the founders of the Rate Payers Association, bringing about needed improvements in the community. They wanted their children confirmed in the Lutheran Faith and were one of several families that established St. Paul's Lutheran Church now in its 45th year.

Moris passed away February 4, 1967 at the age of 73. Anna continued to live in Haney, selling the business, taking up art lessons, and travelling, taking several trips to Sweden, the United States, and Hawaii. She passed away in June of 1983 at the age of 73. Their children all married and reside in parts of B.C. Their son Morris passed away in January 1995 at the age of 60. Moris and Anna are survived by two daughters, 12 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.

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Copyright 2000
Mary Tollestrup