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Jesse Sherman and
Lillian May (Leonhardt) Sherman

Pinepound Reflections - A History of
Spring Coulee and District pages 324 - 325
by Pariel Tomlinson

Jesse Eugene Sherman was born May 10, 1881, the second of nine children, on his parents farm at York, Dane County, near Columbus, Wisconsin. His earlier travels had him in San Francisco during the great earthquake and fire April 18, 1906.

Lillian May Leonhardt was also from a large family in Marshfield, Wisconsin. Being born on May 19, 1881 made her nineteen years old on the 19th of May, 1900 which she was proud of. May worked out as a hired girl. She was working at the Sherman's farm when they met.

On June 4, 1907 Jesse and May were married in Marshfield, Wisconsin. They continued living on the Sherman farm where Jesse and his brother did the farming. In 1909 they worked in the woods, Jesse as a lumber jack and May as the camp cook.

On February 26, 1910, a son was born in Narsonville, Wisconsin. That summer Jesse, May and son came to the Cardston area to work for John Nelson. Jesse became foreman at this ranch.

In 1912 they moved to a farm on the St. Marys River at Spring Coulee. Their buildings were where the campground is now, on the flat below the dam. On January 23, 1915, their second son was born in Cardston.

In 1924 they bought their farm "The Wheat Ranch" at S25 T4 R24 W4. This was a mixed farm operation. Working with the neighbors, they took part in the haying and thrashing bees. In the winter, having deep snow and winds, they visited, played cards and enjoyed other functions that there were. They had a well kept yard of trees and a big garden with lots of flowers. They also had pigs, geese, turkeys, chickens, horses (of course) and raised mostly wheat.

During these years Jesse built a cottage in Waterton for May to live in when her hay fever got bad. It is next door to Crandel Lodge and they named it "Mountain Holm". Many enjoyable summers were spent there by all.

Jesse and May were very community minded and always were there to help and take part. One of his last acts of kindness was taking the lead in building Sunday School rooms for the children. Baseball was Jesse's greatest pastime. He was a great player and in later years one of Spring Coulee's most enthusiastic baseball fans. He died at a ball game in Spring Coulee of a heart attack on August 8, 1938. Being an Elder for many years, there was a Bible presented by the Board of the Spring Coulee United Church to Jesse's memory.

May, a good neighbor and helper, was one of the original members of the Women's Institute and Red Cross in Spring Coulee. After Jesse died she moved to Waterton and her son and his wife rented her farm.

In the "Mountain Holm" May kept busy in the community life of afternoon teas, bridge parties and shoveling snow. At home she kept busy with her flowers outside and plants inside and chasing the bears out of her back porch and yard. May was very talented, she knitted mittens and socks and made baskets out of greeting cards. Being a "Rag Artist", she made beautiful rugs and quilts for her sons, their wives and six grandchildren.

In 1957 May sold her "Wheat Ranch". She sold her "Mountain Holm" to Crandel Lodge and retired to live with Mrs.H.A. Long in Cardston. In 1960 May went to live with her son and his wife and their children.

May had a number of strokes and died of one December 5, 1963 in Cardston.

Jesse and May's home was always a place of welcome for everyone and many shared the hospitality bestowed to their guests. Both Jess's and May's funerals were held in the Southminster United Church in Lethbridge and both were buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Lethbridge.

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Copyright 2000
Mary Tollestrup