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By Julius Neuman
From Chatter Chips from Beaver Dam Creek, Castor and Her Neighbours, 1909-1974

In 1905, Fred Schukar came from Waverly, Iowa, to file on the NW quarter 5-38-11 W4, and then returned to Iowa. In 1906 he returned with his brother, Robert, who filed on the north-east quarter adjoining. They then built a sod shack with a shingled roof halfway on the dividing line and thus conveniently solved the residence requirements for the two quarters.

Fred told of walking and driving to both Lacombe and Stettler to purchase groceries and lumber. Robert had engineer's papers to run the steam engine, and had been engineer for a number of farmers who threshed or broke land in the earliest days. He used to like to talk about the American Abel 28-86 tractor that was owned by Sam and Fred Julius Neuman. It was stuck so deep that it was finally pulled out by what they called a "dead man." This interesting piece of equipment was nothing more than a timber, such as a railroad tie, sunk about six feet below ground and about twenty feet from the fly wheel. A cable was attached around the log and the other end was then wrapped or wound around the fly wheel. As soon as steam was supplied by the throttle, the tractor would slowly pull itself out. It was slow but sure. The scars can still be seen in the sod today.

Fred had a team of oxen and he used to drive to Coronation with them. When coming home, he would leave the team to plod along while he would hurry ahead, make supper, wash the dished, and tidy up. About that time the oxen would be turning in the gate, not even touching the corner the post, an eleven mile journey with no driver! He was really proud of the "compound-low" accomplishment.

The Schukars were very fond of horses and of their dog, Ike. The mosquitoes were so bad in the early days that there always had to be a small smoky fire called a smudge to give humans and animals some relief from the pests. This one Sunday morning a smudge was made for the horses outside the barn. Inside were two mares ready to foal. The men went to the neighbors for dinner and on looking to the south after dinner they saw a terrible smoke. They rushed home to find that a whirlwind had taken the blaze to the barn, and the mares and barn were gone. This was a sorrowful tragedy for the brothers.

Fred and Bob were good cooks and fine housekeepers as well. They enjoyed many evenings of playing cards in winter months and hunting rabbits and prairie chicken and ducks in the fall. They played golf in summer and went to the United Church in the little town of Bulwark about a mile and a half away to the west. Five large elevators were built in Bulwark in later years, and many thousands of bushels of grain came from the surrounding district and from Brownfield to the north.

In 1918, World War I was over. Everyone was so glad it had finally ended after four years of misery and privation. In this year a sister, Mrs. Louise Kleinmeyer, with her two children, Gertrude, age six, and Arthur, age three, came from Iowa to live with her two brothers Fred and Robert. This changed things a bit for the brothers. In 1919, Gertrude started school at Glencoe, boarding with Mrs. Heffernan, Sr., whose land is now that of Des James. In 1923 Mrs. Kleinmeyer and family moved to Leduc, Alberta, where Mrs. Kleinmeyer nursed a very sick old lady for six months. They moved to Castor, where Mrs. Kleinmeyer sewed dresses while the children were in school. In 1926 they made another move, this time to the Fergusson farm near Sullivan Lake, where Mrs. Kleinmeyer kept house for this kind old widower for three years. In 1929 the family again returned to Bulwark.

It was now on the brink of the "Dirty Thirties". As many people my age know, cream sold for $2 for a five-gallon can, wheat sold for 23 cents per bushel, oats brought 9 cents, cattle sold for 1-1 ½ cents per pound. The dust storms fleeced the land of much of the good top soil.

On March 3, 1931, I married the girl of my choice, Gertrude Mary Rose Kleinmeyer. In spite of having very little, we all enjoyed life so much! We have two children, Joan and Richard.

The "Schukar Boys", as they were known by most folks, and Aunt Lou (Trudy's mother) were fine old neighbors and friends in the entire thirty-six years we lived so near them. They are gone now, but will never be forgotten.

In 1966, Trudy and I retired to 15551 Oxenham Avenue, White Rock, B.C., where we live very comfortably.


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