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Heinrich Friesen 1879-1955

Heinrich Friesen 1879-1955 and Marie Driedger

Heinrich Friesen was born Jan. 17, 1879. His parents, Gerhard and Susanna (Ens) Friesen had come to Canada from Russia in the 1870s and settled in the village of Schoenwiese, Manitoba. Heinrich was the youngest living child of the 12 children born to his parents. His father died when he was 10 years of age, and he was raised by his mother.

Heinrich married Maria Driedger on Aug. 10, 1902. She was born in Blumenfeld, Man. on Dec. 10, 1883. Her parents were Johann and Katharina (Martens) Driedger, who had come to Canada with their parents in the 1870s. The Driedgers farmed in Bluemenfeld, and Johann also served as the village overseer for a time.

Maria's brother, Peter Driedger, moved to Saskatchewan in 1902. He settled in the area south of Warman known as Clarke's Crossing. It is quite probable that he wrote letters to his family in Manitoba, urging them to join him.

In 1904, the Friesens and the senior Johann Driedgers settled at Clark's Crossing as well. Johann Driedger operated a store and the post office at Clark's Crossing until approx. 1910 when he moved to Osler. Here he opened a store as well. This latter store burned down and became a very tragic situation for Johann. The loss was not covered by the Old Colony (Brand Ordnung) fire insurance, since this insurance was effective only in rural areas while his merchandise had been destroyed in town. Mr. Driedger strongly disagreed with this decision.

The result was that he was ex-communicated and banned from the church. No other church members or his family could have dealings with him. For many years this disagreement went on. Shortly before his dealth in 1920, he recanned and was re-instated into the church.

At and Clark's Crossing, Heinrich and Maria took up a homestead on the SE 14-38-5- W3. Here broke 34 acres and cropped 20 in 1905. In 1906 they cropped 34. They also owned 2 horses and 2 head of cattle during this time. They built a 14x26 framed house valued at $300, and built a framed stable and dug a well together valued at $175.

Heinrich was not a farmer at heart, but a school teacher. In 1909, the Friesens moved to the village of Neuhorst (west of Osler). Here he taught for a couple of years and then moved to Blumenheim where he taught from 1911-1916. They then returned to Neuhorst village. In 1921, they moved to a farm west of Neuhorst, and in 1928 to a farm northeast of Osler.

Unlike the schools of today, the Mennonite private schools did not the have a system of grades. They had four classes; Fibler (Primaries), Katechismer (catechism class), Testamentler (New Testament class) and Bibler (Old Testament class). Students might spend part of a year or several years in one of these classes depending on how quickly they mastered the materlal. The four main textbooks used in the school were the primer, the catechism, the Bible and the BibIische Geschichte (Bible Stories). The curricuium in the private schools revolved around teaching the children basic literacy and calculation. Most of the instruction was religious in nature and was intended to enable the ch!ldren to enter the church by being able to read the Bible, the Gesangbuch (hymnal) and the catechism.

It was the task of the teacher to also see that the janitorial work In the school building was done. He was required to get up early enough to start a fire in the stove so the stove so the room would be warm when the children arrived. He also had to bring in the necessary fuel for the day and remove the ashes from the stove. For the school cleaning duties such as sweeping or filling the water bucket, the teacher sometimes conscripted the pupils.

Maria Friesen passed away Mar. 4, 1930 at the age of 47. She had always been a hard worker and was never known to complain.

Heinrich Friesen was left to care for a large family with some young children. On Oct. 28, 1933, he was married to a widow Mrs. Peter Friesen (nee Susanna Unrau). She was born March 26, 1888 to Jacob and Katharina (Rempel) Unrau. They lived at Blumenthal village, (east of Hague) for many years.

Heinrich passed away Feb., 1955. Susanna Friesen outlived him by 18 years, dying Dec. 1,1973.

Some of the Driedger family [sentence is cut off here on photocopy of original].


Information was provided by a history book put together by Mrs. Helen Loewen, Saskatoon. The late Heinrich Friesen, son of the above, contributed the photograph.

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Mennonite Historical Society of Saskatchewan

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