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Martin and Maria Van Leuken

Our Treasured Heritage
A History of Coalhurst and District
Pages 550 - 551
by Catherine Travalia

My Dad was born in Escharen, Holland. As a young man he farmed in Faribault, Minnesota, U.S.A. In 1927 he returned to Holland and married my Mother, who was also born in Escharen, Holland. They had planned to farm in Minnesota, but due to a quota on immigrants my Mother would have to wait one year to emigrate to the U.S.A. They decided to go to Canada instead. My Dad knew two couples from his hometown who lived in a strange place called Alberta.

They boarded the SS Regina on April 27, and landed at Quebec City on May 8th. After a four day trip on the train they arrived in Lethbridge.

Mr. Arie Koole met them at the station, and took them to my Dad's friends, Mr. and Mrs. Martin Aben, who at the time were farming in the Crystal Lake area. Mr. Aben took my parents to Coalhurst, and they lived with Mr. and Mrs. Anton Linders, who had rented a farm from Mr. McDermott. The John Aben family bought the farm from Mr. McDermott. My Dad worked for Mr. Watmough during the harvest season.

By now, my Dad owned a Star car. The night I was born, my dad had to drive to the section house to wait for the doctor. Dad had to wave a lantern so that Dr. L. A. Roy would know where to turn. He followed my Dad back to the farm, and shortly after his arrival I was born.

My Dad then got work in Pincher Creek in December. They left Coalhurst the night of the big blizzard. In 1928 we moved to Lethbridge where my sisters, and brothers, were born

. My Dad passed away in October, 1972 and my Mother passed away on April 4, 1984.

Although our stay in Coalhurst was less than a year, my parents had many good friends there. I remember all my family going to visit the Wm. Van Buuren, John Aben, or Martin Aben families nearly every Sunday.

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Copyright 2000
Mary Tollestrup