|Joseph Bukovec was born on August 14, 1879 in Decina, Slovenja, Jugoslavia.
He came to the United States in 1898 and settled in Ely, Minnesota where
he worked as a miner in the ore mines.
Alozija (Louise) Sterbanc was born in June 11, 1883 in Stari Trg by Kupa, Jugoslavia. Louise came to the United States in November 1901. She worked at her cousin Adelesich's boarding house in Ely, Minnesota. Her cousin had sent Louise money for her ticket. She then went to Ljubljana and took a train to LeHavre, France where she boarded the ship that brought her to America. Joseph also sailed from this port, but came through Germany.
Joseph and Louise were married on January 26,1902 inSt. Anton's Catholic Church by Father Buh in Ely. On July 23, 1906 Joseph received his citizenship papers. As was the law then, Louise also received hers as his wife.
They heard about the Willard area through a newspaper advertising land. They moved to Willard on May 27,1909 and purchased 60 acres of land. Later, they purchased an additional 40 acres of land from Mr. and Mrs. Mencinger. They then bought another 80 acres on what is now the Rock Dam road.
Tragedy struck in April of 1913. The early settlers
cut trees in the winter and piled the brush to be burned in the spring
of the year when they cleared land for plowing. Mr. and Mrs. Bukovec had
been burning brush on a windy day. The older girls had gone to Catechism.
Having forgotten to buy matches to light a fire in the stove to make the
noon meal, her parents sent seven year old Louise to get some coals from
the brush fire with a small ash shovel. The wind blew her dress into the
coals and her clothing caught fire. In her fright she began to run. Her
father heard her screams and shouted to her not to run but she ran away
from him. By the time he caught her the clothes had burned from her body.
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