Monday, August 26, 2013

Differing Memories or Family Reunions Can Be Dangerous

My great grandfather, Wilhelm Schalin, had 18 children by two wives. His first wife, Auguste Fabriske, died in childbirth on 12 Feb 1898. My grandmother was four years old. Wilhelm remarried the next year to Louise Kabusch, who was only 18 years old at the time of their marriage. Wilhelm and Louise proceeded to create nine more children over the next 20 years.

My great grandfather, Wilhelm Schalin

My mother remembers her Mom, Wilhelmina Schalin, had a very unpleasant childhood because her step-mother was mean to her. When her father found out, he would take Wilhelmina into the fields with him to keep her away from his second wife. When my grandmother was nine years old, he sent her away to another family where she helped with the chores on the farm. Later she helped women after they had a baby.

My grandmother, Wilhelmina Schalin

The step-mother's youngest son, Milton, remembers his mother's stories. According to Milton, my grandmother was very mean to her young, inexperienced step-mother.

Family reunions sure can be interesting!

What we do know for sure is that Louise sold the farm in 1929 and moved Wilhelm into a small apartment in Leduc, Alberta. He died alone in 1952. She took the proceeds from the farm sale and bought land in the Reed Ranch area east of Olds, Alberta.  Only her children inherited that farm when Louise died in 1970.

We also know that Julia, Wilhelmina's older sister, and Martha, Wilhelmina's younger sister, were sent away from home at an early age to do domestic work in British Columbia.

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