Excerpt from a book
by: Heinrich Holters,
Ein Heimathaus in Kanada, in:
Alsteer – Alstätte, Dorf an der Grenze1, Alstätte 2001,
Gerwing, born February 16th, 1847, lived and worked on a
farm in Brook as a “Wönner2” of Lütke-Hündfeld
(Lammersbuer3). At the age of 20 he left his
parental farm4 to find happiness in the new
world. After a short stay in Cincinnati he settled down in
Pierz, Minnesota USA. He married Bernhardine Rohling, born
in Damme/Oldenburg, Germany. She gave birth to 8 children,
all of them boys.
the death of his wife in 1887, he married the widow Anna
Wessling. She already had a son from her first marriage.
Together they had two more children. According to
documents in the USA, Heinrich Gerwing took tools with him
to produce wooden shoes. These were sold in the
surrounding areas especially during winter time.
the beginning of the last century (1903) Heinrich, Anna
and seven sons
decided to make a life for themselves in the Canadian
Province Saskatchewan. At that time this province was
still undeveloped and settled mainly by First Nations
Peoples. According to local history, they gave away new
farmland for the settlers. The group of settlers that
Heinrich's family came to Canada with was under the spiritual leadership of the Benedictine monks.
Gerwing, the eldest of Heinrich Gerwing's sons, was the
first one to erect a log house in the newly established
village called Lake Lenore. This house is full of history.
Thirteen persons stayed in this house in the winter of
1903/1904. Until the formation of “St. Anthony's parish
in 1904, they even celebrated church services in this
house. This parish belonged to newly founded St. Peter's
Colony (Münster). Heinrich Gerwing died there on November
21st, 1905 at the age of 58. In 1920 the main part of the
village was moved because of the construction of a new
railway. As a result, the Gerwing´s house
was suddenly isolated from the rest of the village.
the occasion of “St.
Anthony`s” 75th anniversary in 1978/79, the
house was moved into the heart of the village. Nowadays
the house is changed into a lovely local history house
where you can learn about pioneer life.
explanations to the above are added by Karl Schulte:
an der Grenze -
near the border
Wonner - A
rental agreement in which the tenant rented his land from
the landlord in exchange for work on the landlord's farm.
Lammersbuer is the Plattedeutsch(N. German dialect) for
the farm name Lütke-Hündfeld
4. Lütke-Hündfeld was the owner of several small farms. On the early
maps you see the term "Hundfeld Lz" (Lz =Leibzucht),
all these farms belonged to Lütke-Hündfeld .
Heinrich Gerwing's family rented their little farm from
the farmer Lütke-Hündfeld. The rent
wasn't money, they had to work on the Lütke-Hündfeld
farm. People, who rented such a farm under these terms
were called "Wönner" in Plattdeutsch. Such
people were often poor and economic development was