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Abram Neufeld 1877-1942

Abram Neufeld and his second wife, Maria Bartsch

Abraham Neufeld was born Feb. 19, 1877 in Manitoba to Herman and Maria (Knelson) Neufeld. His parents had come to Canada from Russia on the S.S. Canadian. The ship arrived In Quebec City on July 19, 1875. The Neufelds, moved to southern Manitoba and settled In the village of Hochfeld.

Abraham moved to Saskatchewan in 1898, together with his sister, Maria (Mrs. Johan Harms) and sister Katharina. (Mrs. Johan Dyck) and their families. His brother Herman had moved to Neuanlage with his family In 1695.

Abraham homesteaded the NE 34-41+4-W3. He built a 16x 28 ft. house, on his homestead in May, 1899. He also built a stable and valued both buildings at $250. He made the following improvements. In 1899 he broke 14 acres and cropped none. In 1900 he broke 18 and cropped 18; In 1901, they broke 18 and cropped 32; In l902 they didn't do any breaking. but cropped 50 acres. He also owned 2 head of cattle in 1899 and purchased 3 horses in 1900.

Abraham Neufeld married Gertrude Wiebe on December 30, 1900. The wedding took place on her 20th birthday. She was the daughter of Klaas and Katharina (Wiebe) Wiebe. Her parents had also come to Canada on the S S Canadian in 1875, and also settled In Hochfeld, Man. Twelve children were born to this marriage, of which seven reached adulthood. Gertruda Neufeld passed away on May 12, 1919 at the age of 39.

There was a widow living Hochfeld who also had seven children. She was Mrs. Gerhard Bartsch (nee Maria Bartsch). Abraham and Maria were married on June 29,1919.

Maria was born in Hochfeld, Manitoba to Jacob to Susanna (Hamm) Bartsch) on May 22, 1887. Her parents had come to Canada together with the Neufelds and Wiebes. Marla's first husband, Gerhard Bartsch, was hauling wood home from Hague to build a barn. He was sitting on a cream can.which had be placed on his horse-drawn wagon when he was struck by lightning. He died immediately, this occurring on June 27,1916.

South of Swift Current, near the village of Rosenort,a similar death occurred to Peter Peters. He and his wife were driving In an open buggy and two horses along the road to Rosenort when a thunderstorm came up. A bolt of lightning struck Mr. Peters. Mrs. Peters was unhurt and the horses were stunned. The Interesting thing about these two deaths is that they occurred on the same day, at exactly the same time of day, Mrs. Peters later married Peter Banman and lived in Hochfeld, near Hague.

Abraham and:Maria brought another seven children into the world. They continued farming at Hochfeld until about 1934. By this time the effects of the Depression (The Dirty Thirties) had become very real, There were many landless, poor and destitute people In the over-crowded RM of Warman. The large Neufeld family also did not have access to land or the means to acquire it.

In 1930, the Saskatchewan government set up a scheme to help the destitute. It was geared for people who were familiar with local methods of farming, but who could not afford to buy land. The plan enabled settlers to move to northern communities and obtain advances for the purchase of building materials and fuels In order to clear the land. This was done In order to relieve the immediate necessities of the settlers and their families and to place them in position to provide for themselves. The costs of this program were shared by the federal, provincial and municipal governments. It was hoped that these people would no longer need relief. As early as 1931, the government began assisting groups like Mennonites to transfer to the north under their 'back to the land' program.

The Neufelds moved to Swan Plain area near Yorkton in 1934. They were joined by many other Old Colony and some Bergthaler, mainly from the villages of Hochfeld and Blumenthal. Here they attempted to make a living farming and supplementing this by clearing bush, hunting, trapping, shipping cream and butter, and doing other odd jobs.

In the fall of 1941, Abraham Neufeld returned to the Hague area to visit his children who had not moved with him to Swan Plain. He had been sickly for a while, and the visit seemed to give him a boost. On Jan.16, 1942, (Epiphany) he felt wall enough to attend the service at the the Old Colony Church In Neuanlage.' He passed away during the service.

His wife Maria remained living in Swan Plain for awhile but returned to Hague. Here she passed away on Feb.16,1961.

The photo of the Neufelds was contributed by Jacob E. Friesen of Hague.

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Mennonite Historical Society of Saskatchewan

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