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Isbrand Friesen was born Russia on March 12, 1867, to David Friesen and Elizabeth Bueckert. The Friesens camto Canada on the S.S. Moravian, arriving in Quebec City on July 1, 1875.
They moved from Blumengart, Russia, to their new home at Blumengart, Manitoba. Their first home was an earthen 'semlin' which was a hole dug in the ground, often on the side of ridge or a hill. A sod roof was put on pole rafters which was soon grown over with grass and weeds. One day while the animals were grazing too close to the 'semlin', an ox stepped through the sod and fell in!
Isbrand Friesen made a trek west in 1891 in search of land. He joined a group of other Mennonites from Manitoba in a move to Gleichen, Alberta. This land was not to their liking and the majority returned to Manitoba, while others, like Isbrand, moved to the Rosthern area. His homestead was NE 4, Tp. 43A, R3, W of 3.
In 1894, he broke 20 acres and cropped 0; in 1895, he broke 10 acres and cropped 30; in 1896 he broke 10 acres and cropped 30.
In 1898, he owned 4 horses, 5 cattle and 1 pig. He also built a 16 x 22 ft. house on his homestead, as well as a stable and dug a well, the total valued $150.
In the first years of living Rosthern, Isbrand Friesen stayed with his married brother Jacob, until he married on Sept. 9, 1894. Since there were no Old Colony ministers in Sask. at that time, Isbrand Friesen and Anna Neudorf were married by the newly-elected Bergthaler minister, Rev. Cornelius Epp. The Friesens lived near Rosthern until 1910 when they moved to the village of Chortitz, west of Hague.
They, like many other Old Colony Mennonites who initially settled near Rosthern moved south when the opportunity arose. They preferred to live in villages, rather than on individual farms, as they were accustomed to in Russia as well as Manitoba.
Isbrand's parents were the founders of the village of Blumenheim near Osler in 1901.
His wife Anna was born Sept. 21, 1874, to Jacob Neudorf and Anna Peters. The Neudorfs came to Canada in 1891 and also settled at Rosthern.
Isbrand Friesen died June 4, 1945, and his wife on May 31, 1947. They are both buried in the Chortitz Cemetery.
The photo and much of the information are compliments of Rev. John D. Friesen, Saskatoon, a grandson of the Isbrand Friesens.
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