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David Martens 1845-1926
David Martens was born JuIy 17, 1845 to David Martens and Katherina Derksen. He was married to Anna Wall on Jan. 12, 1868. She was born Dec. 6, 1828 and died on Dec. 14, 1873. To this marriage one son was born.
David Martens then married Maria Peters on Feb. 13, 1874. She was born on Dec. 1, 1854 to Johann Peters and Margaretha Dyck. Eleven chlldren were born to this marriage, untll her death on Aug. 7, 1891.
In Nov. 1891, David Martens married for the third time to Helena Falk. She was born Oct. 6, 1869 to Abram Falk and Katherina Epp.
David Martens came to Canada from Russia on the S.S. Sarmatian. This ship came to Canada on July 6,1875. He then settled in the vlllage of Schoenfeld, Manitoba. In 1880, David Martens owned the followlng in Schoenfeld: 21 cultivated acres, 139 acres of pasture, 2 work horses, 1 cow, 1 heifer, 2 pigs, 1 wagon, 1 plow, 1 harrow, 1 grain mower.
The David Martens family moved to Saskatchewan in 1898. Four Martens families formed a settlement known as Neuhoffnung, north of Hague village. He homesteaded NW 18 Twp 41 R3 W of 3.
In 1898 he broke 40 acres and cropped 0; 1899 he broke 11 acres and cropped 51; 1900 he broke 10 acres and cropped 51; 1901 he broke 20 acres and cropped 60.
He built a 43 x 28 ft. house in the village of Neuhoffnung valued at $800.00. He also had a well, granary and stable valued at $300.00. In 1901, he owned 11 head of cattle, 4 horses, and 4 pigs.
In 1898, David Martens became the first vorsteher (overseer) of the Old Colony Church. The vorsteher was elected like a minister and was to be a man of hlgb integrity and character. His job was to take care of all official church matters within and beyond the community. When a new area was to be settled he negotiated for the land, took care of legal matlers and arranged for payment of money. Within the community he arranged for the collection of money to buy the land, organized the allocation of land parcels and supervised the settlement. Other duties included collection of money for any relief given to a sister or a daughter colony and the collection of taxes for the state.
David Martens father was a blacksmith in Russia, he made many buggies and implements. He also sold machinery on the opposite side of the Deniper River. This machinery would be transported In winter over the frozen ice. One spring they still had machinery to ship over. The ice was getting thin, but the day hefore they had transported some so they wanted to try again. On this day David Martens ran ahead of the train of machinery to test the ice. The ice was very soft and he carried a sharpened stick to test the ice with. In the middle, the ice gave way and he fell in. With his splashing around soon a large area of ice was broken. As he went down he felt a rock heneath his foot. It was a big rock and he got up on it and he was only up to his waist in water. He then could get up on the ice and crawl to shore on his belly. He was lucky to come out of there alive. But after this Incident he was very deaf.
Being vorsteher and hard of hearing made the brotherhood meetings very frustrating. The men would discuss and Mr. Martens would not be able to hear so he would ask what had been discussed, and if they were agreed on their course of action. Because of this hearing impairment he resigned as vorsteher In 1900. He was replaced by Johan Klassen of Hochfeld.
David Martens passed away on Sept. 22, 1926. Many Martens descendants still live in the Hague, Warman area. Including a son, Rev. Heinrich D. Martens a 102 year old man residing in the Warman Mennonite Altenheim.
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Mennonite Historical Society of Saskatchewan (MHSS)
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