Saturday, February 02, 2013

A Family History of the Schneiders - More than a Century in Sturgeon County

I discovered this book while on a recent visit to my parents house. It is entitled "Leaves Of Yesteryear - A History of the Bon Accord District". It was written in 1967-69 by Jean Chubb and Hilda Milligan.

Here is a history of our (Schneider) family and how we ended up in Sturgeon County.

Carl Robert Schneider and Clementine Bertha Seidel sittin in a tree...

"Carl Robert Schneider (my Great Grandfather) was born on November 20, 1859, in Reichenbach, Saschen, Germany and when he reached his mid-twenties he married Clementine Bertha Seidel, who was born June 17th, 1859." - I just found out that they were married on my birthday March 7, 1886.

"It was also during the year 1890 that Mr. Schneider emigrated to the United States (alone). He settled in Wisconsin and went to work in a mill. The following year he sent for Mrs. Schneider and the three children, and they arrived in August, 1891."

"In 1892 Carl came to the Edmonton district, arriving in Edmonton by swimming the Saskatchewan River. He did not file on a homestead at this time, although the land office offered him the opportunity of filing on land which is now part of Jasper Avenue. He thought that Ft. Saskatchewan would be the main site of a city and that this land on the north side of the river was "a little far north". Instead of filing on a homestead, he returned to Wisconsin."

"Early in the spring of 1893, Mr. Schneider moved his family to the Plumas area of Manitoba where they farmed for the next 12 years." It was during this time that my Grandfather was born (November 10, 1898). "Around this time Carl became a naturalized Canadian."

"However, in 1905 Carl once more decided to return to the United States. Due to the ill health of Mrs. Schneider (Great Grandma Clementine) he thought the change of climate might help her recover (not sure what was wrong with her, it doesn't say). This time they settled on a farm in the State of Washington, near Spokane. They remained here until 1907 and then returned to Canada (again!). Once more back in Canada, they settled on a quarter section of land near Spruce Grove. After farming there for three years they moved to the Cardiff area, where they rented a half section. (So this means that we came to Sturgeon County in 1910!!) In 1915, Mr. Schneider moved to the Bon Accord area." (This is why I thought we had a few more years until 100 anniversary).

Eventually Great Grandfather Carl bought 9 quarter sections around the area where my family still owns the land, 4 miles north of Bon Accord . He passed away in November, 1924 following a stroke. So that means he was 65 when he died. Too much moving around Grandpa! That much moving in that era would've given me a stroke too.

And whatever happened to Great Grandma Clementine? Well, my dad, Ken still remembers her as "always cooking something" and that "she made the best fried potatoes"! She passed away less than a month shy of of her ninetieth birthday on May 19, 1949, also of a stroke.

So there you have it. Some documentation about our arrival in the County of Sturgeon north of Edmonton. It was fascinating to read the book and learn so many things that people had forgotten about our family.

One other interesting thing I learned was about my Grandfather Harvey McLean who settled in Sturgeon County...in 1911. Again, I thought it was later than that, but I was just guessing. Harvey MacLean (my Mom's dad) was actually a "fourth generation Canadian" farmer. That means that should my kids farm they would actually be 7th Generation Canadian Farmers! Wow. That's quite a long time to be farming in Canada on that side of the family. My mom is texting me now telling me that the MacLeans were one of the 4 founding families in PEI. Which makes sense if Grandpa MacLean was a 4th generation Canadian like it says in the book. She is going to spend some time digging up that story and our living relatives still back in PEI.

I still don't know much about the Fraser's yet. John Fraser is actually my biological father. He passed away when I was 8 months old of cancer. He was 23. I think they settled in the Gibbons area in the 30's, but again I need to do some digging to figure that story out.

A few days later...

Well, was I ever wrong about the Fraser side of my family. Reading the book "Our Treasured Roots-A History of Gibbons and Surrounding Areas" I quickly learned the facts surrounding that side of my family tree. It turns out that my Great Great Grandfather William Gibbons is whom the town of Gibbons is named after. He was a tremendous pioneer who was on the very first train to ever arrive in Edmonton from Calgary. The track wasn't even finished so they had to get off the train to help lay the last few lengths of track in order to arrive at the new station in Edmonton! He arrived in Gibbons and homesteaded on the banks of the Sturgeon River in 1892. So, as it turns out, my family has been in Sturgeon County since well,  before it was a county. 121 years to be exact. My Grandmother Betty married into another pioneer family, the Frasers, and that's where my original family name comes from. There are lots of great family stories in these two books, I am so happy that I was able to re-connect with some great family history.  

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