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David A. Dyck 1881-1966
David A. Dyck was born at Reinland, Manitoba on Dec. 29, 1881 to Abram and Margaretha (Friesen) Dyck. He was the first child born to this marriage. His parents had both come to Canada with their parents in the 1870s. David Dyck moved to Saskatchewan in 1893, together with his parents. The Abram Dycks settled east of Rosthern on the NE 4-43A-2-W3rd. At the age of 18, David was also eligible to take up a homestead.
He chose the NE 2-43A-3-W3, only a couple of miles further east from his parents' land. This land had been homesteaded a few years earlier by Frederich Mischkowski, who abandoned it because he felt the land was useless for agriculture saying, "I can't even find 30 acres for ploughing."
David Dyck resided with his parents while making improvements on his newly acquired homestead. In 1900, he broke 7 acres and cropped 2. In 1901 he broke 10 and cropped 20; in 1902, he broke 10 and cropped 20; in 1903 he didn't do any breaking, but cropped 30 acres.
On June 21, 1903, David Dyck married Agatha Dyck. She was born in Manitoba on May 22, 1884 to Jacob and Anna (Friesen) Dyck. Her parents had also settled east of Rosthern. In 1897, they purchased land on Sec. 9-43A-2-W3.
This young couple then built a 16x18 ft. log house on their homestead, plus a stable together valued at $150. They also owned one cow and two horses.
David Dyck started as ferry operator at the Osler crossing. He started in the fall of 1915, to replace John Ens. Johan Ens had been injured in an accident while operating the ferry. The river had been in full flood and he attempted to cross when he should not have done so. The current caught the scow and pulled the apparatus out of his hands inflicting a severe wound on his head.
The Osler ferry remained in operation here until 1934. It was then moved back to the site east of Warman. In 1960, the provincial government officially changed the name from Osler Ferry to Clarkboro Ferry. David Dyck served as operator here until 1954.
Many people will also remember David as a correspondent for the Steinbach Post (now the Mennonitishe Post). It is a German newspaper published in Manitoba, uniting Mennonite people in many parts of the world. Mr. Dyck was known under another name, "Der Fischer" (the fisher). This name quite possibly reflected his work as ferry operator, making his living on the water like a fisherman.
The Dycks resided in Warman for many years before his death on May 3, 1966. He was confined in a wheelchair for some time before his death and was lovingly cared for by his wife.
Helena Dyck continued to live in Warman for many hears by herself. She then went to live with her daughter, Margaret Janzen in Rosthern. She died in Rosthern Hospital on Jan. 2, 1980. David and Helena Dyck are buried in Warman.
Seven children were born to this marriage. Their oldest daughter, Margaretha, aged 14, died of the Spanish Flu in 1918.
Mrs. Agatha Dyck died a short time later, on Jan. 3, 1921. David then married Margaretha Boschman on March 20, 1921. She was born June 22, 1895. Four more children were born to this marriage. After nine years of marriage, Margaretha Dyck (nee Boschman) also passed away.
David now had ten children who were without a mother. He choose as his third bride Helena Martens. They were married on June 4, 1931 by Rev. J. J. Nickel.
Helena was born near Winkler, Manitoba on Nov. 30, 1906 to Jacob and Caroline (Buller) Martens. Her parents came to Saskatchewan in 1912 and settled nine miles south of Aberdeen. An additional three children were brought into the family of which one died almost immediately.
There are many in the Valley area who referred to David and Helena Dyck as Prom (Ferry) Dyck or his wife as the Prom Dyckshe. His record of service as ferry operator on the South Sask River is a remarkable achievement. He operated the Osler and later the Clarkboro Ferry from 1916 - 1954, a total of 38 years.
A ferry service was first started east of Warman on the south Sask River by John F. Clark. He came to Saskatchewan from Ontario in 1881 with a large group of settlers to set up the Temperance Colony. A telegraph office was set up on the west side of the river, as well as a school called Aroline (later the Sask School No. 99). The ferry was a strategic location, for it connected trails going all directions. It also served as a temporary camp site for General Middleton's army in 1885 as he headed north to squelch the rebellion at Batoche.
The location of the Warman ferry changed somewhat over the years, depending on the height of the water. The type of ferry also changed somewhat over the years. The Warman ferry ceased to function in 1917. Those people who needed this service now went a few miles further north to the Osler ferry crossing. The Osler ferry had begun in approx. 1904 and operated simultaneously with the Warman ferry until 1917.
[Note: some of these paragraphs read like they are out of order, but this is how they appear in the photocopy of the clipping. We would be glad to hear from anyone who can help sort this out with some authority.]
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Mennonite Historical Society of Saskatchewan (MHSS)
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