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Topic: The Women of Aspenland
Article: Anna (Knutas) Dyberg
Date Posted: September 21/2012
Main District: Wetaskiwin
Decades: 1900's to 1990's

Anna Knutas was born on December 29th, 1900 in Gammalsvenskby, Ukraine, which was then a part of the Russian Empire. Anna was born to Kristina Kristiansdotter Knutas and her first husband (name unknown) and was later formally adopted by Kristina Knutas' second husband, Kristian Matsson Buskas.

At nine and a half years of age, Annie left the Ukraine with her parents and seven of her siblings. Annie could recount the ship's crossing when they had to cover everything on the ship's deck because the waves were crashing over the bow.

The family arrived at Ellis Island, New York on May 22, 1910. By train they eventually made their way to Wetaskiwin, Alberta, where they were met by Annie's uncle, John Malmas, on May 29, 1910. The family started out in an empty granary on the Malmas farm until they could find their own house.

Around 1911, Annie's father bought a home in Wetaskiwin and drilled a well on their land. The house was located near 37th Avenue and 56th Street, and they lived there for a couple of years before moving out to a farm in the country. The farmhouse that they lived in was located at the NE quarter of Section 11, 4423.

Annie began working with her neighbors, the Nelsons, at the age of thirteen. Mons Dyberg owned a farm at NW of Section 15, 4423. At the suggestion of her brothers who were employed there, Annie went to work for him when she was seventeen years old.

Two years later, she and Mons were married, on July 20, 1920. Annie and Mons had 5 children: John, who died in infancy, Clarence, Leonard, Martin and Albert. Annie was a very hard-working, organized person.

Mons had a large farm operation that required Annie's attention and many employees who had to be fed. Annie managed all this, even while raising four boys. Annie was an active member in the Malmo Svea Lutheran Church, built in 1902. Annie was a member of the Ladies Aid and was always helping out by preparing local dinners or by bringing fresh flowers from her garden to the Church.

The Svea Lutheran Church Ladies Aid was organized in 1899, and while Annie was with them they organized many fundraising dinners and even raised enough money to purchase pews for the Church in 1938. Given that not many women could drive at that time, Annie volunteered her time to pick up many local women and ensure that they always made it to meetings on time.

Annie's deep faith kept her involved with the Church her whole life, continuing to attend regular services at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church after she moved to Wetaskiwin in 1964.

Mons passed away on January 23rd, 1955. In her retirement Annie spent many hours knitting and growing flowers, things she didn't have much time to do in her younger years.

Annie's family fondly remembers her carrying a "Brownie" camera to all of their family functions-she would insist on taking pictures of everyone. In her last few years, Annie lived in a long term care facility in Wetaskiwin. She passed away on March 5th, 1997 at the age of 96.

Information compiled in 2010.


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Board Member - Wetaskiwin & District Heritage Museum
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Wetaskiwin & District Heritage Museum
5007 - 50 Avenue
Wetaskiwin, Alberta T9A 0S3


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