I would like to quote a
passage written in March 1900 by my
when they formed a new church, St.
Mary's Greek Catholic Parish, at
Rabbit Hill, Alberta. It
sort of sums
up what I have said so far.
(Ruthenians) of the Greek Catholic rite
from the land of Halych, in the state of Austria in Europe, emigrated
our land in the years 1896, 1897 and 1898, partly because of the
stricken conditions to which Ruthenians were subjected by Polish
and Jewish (moneylender) elements and which drove (us) Ruthenians of
across the seas. It was on this account that we sold our ancestral land
in our country and sought a happier future for ourselves and our
in a far world. In this way, with the help of Almighty God, our journey
across the sea was directed to North America, to present day Canada,
to Edmonton, a city of this province. From here (we arrived) in this
of Rabbit Hill which had been partially settled by Germans. Our success
following our arrival in Rabbit Hill depended upon whether a person
earlier or later and also upon his financial condition upon his
There were some who arrived penniless, having barely enough money to
for their journey, who left themselves defenceless to face a bitter
in a new land. Nevertheless, the Canadian government under the dominion
of her Majesty Queen Victoria, Queen of England, gave everyone of us a
farm as a free gift, each farm consisting of one hundred and sixty
of land. When each one settled on his land, his first occupation was
the necessities connected with his daily life, especially the
of his land which was covered with thick, impenetrable forest. Since
of us settled on this land without any means of livelihood, we had to
our homes in quest of different types of labour to provide food for
and our children. As a result of this type of existence, everyone has
progress and, finding ourselves in better circumstances after two or
years, though (we) are still far from wealthy, we have embarked on the
building of a temple to God after having been visited by a priest two
three times during this period.
Hence, in January 1900 we are resolutely embarking on the construction of a church but, in the making our decision about such an important and blessed task, (we know) we shall suffer a good deal of distress before we conclude the envisioned task....".
This passage was originally written in Ukrainian
translated into English many years later.
I am sure every family that settled Alberta in
the early days has
of trials, tribulations, sadness, death and happy events for
my family does. Rather than talk anymore, the following links will take
you to some of those stories written by other family members.