(as recalled by
Herman J. Gerwing)
Gerwing senior’s homestead (farm) was on the SW-2- 40-21-W3
about 3 miles east of the present village of Lake Lenore,
railway did not reach the community of Lake Lenore until 1920.
Construction on the first grain elevator began in 1919. So from
1904 to 1920 pioneer farmers like Joseph had to haul the grain
they produced to Muenster, Humboldt or St. Brieux situated along the
nearest railway lines. The trip one way was about 17 miles. That
was a formidable distance overland by horse and loaded wagon (or
sleigh) considering the lack of roads at that time. Joseph, like
many of his neighbors would take a load of grain to Muenster
& then return with a load of lumber for construction of the
farm buildings. The round trip would usually be made in one day!
The main buildings (house, barn & granary) on Joseph’s
farm were constructed in 1916-17 under the supervision of a
carpenter from Marysburg by the name of Goldbach.
The house was actually built in two stages. The first section
was built by Goldbach & the addition by Joseph Gaetz.
During those early years some of Saskatchewan’s
First Nations Peoples still lingered in the Lake Lenore area,
maintaining a campsite on a corner of Jakie Stuckel’s property
just a mile or two east of Joseph Gerwing’s farm. Settlement
had dramatically reduced the
supply of wild game needed to sustain the them. They eked out an
existence by hunting what they could and doing odd jobs for the
settlers. The natives became adept at arriving at meal times, so
the settlers would share their fare and send them on their way.
a summer day in 1917, Joseph was away to Muenster on one of his
grain hauling excursions. His new wife, of less than a year,
Anna (Gessner) was at home alone tending to the farm chores.
That was the day a group of local
first nations people picked for a
neighbourly visit(and hopefully a meal) to the Joe Gerwing farm.
They knew the Gerwings had fresh pork since one of them had
helped Joe butcher a pig only a few days previously. Anna saw
them coming down the road and became very frightened. She had
never been alone before during one of their visits. She quickly
locked all the doors and hid herself beneath the bed. She
remained there motionless and numb with fear for several hours
as the visitors lounged about in the farmyard, periodically
rapping on the house door.
After what seemed to her an eternity the visitors
departed surmising that no one was at home.