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Topic: The Women of Aspenland
Article: Huldah (Berg) Franklin
Date Posted: September 21/2012
Main District: Wetaskiwin
Decades: 1900's to 1970's
In 1892, Jim (James) Franklin arrived in Wetaskiwin and took up a homestead east of the Battle River. He came from Inverness, Quebec and had come west on doctor's orders for relief of asthma. After he acquired the land, he went back to Quebec to sell their home and brought his father, mother and a nephew, Joe George, whose mother had died when he was five.
They arrived back in October 1893, with enough supplies to last a year. Snow came early; they melted snow for water. They also piled it against the one boarded shack for warmth. They bought a team of horses and a cow and made a pole barn behind the shack. As soon as possible, the men started to cut and haul spruce logs from the river land.
By spring of 1894, they had built their long shingled home. Jim's mother died in December 1895, as a result of the pressures and hardships of pioneer life. Soon after, his father and a stroke and died within a year.
In the spring of 1895, Johanna Berg came west from Brooklyn to visit a sister, Mrs. Quist. The Quist's lived two miles from the Franklin homestead. Johanna stayed two weeks and then went to cook for Dr. Brett in Banff during the summer. Then she went to Los Angeles. She returned in 1898 to marry Jim Franklin. They were married by a Swedish Baptist minister, Rev. Linde, who spoke very little English, so the service was in Swedish. Neither bride nor groom understood but apparently they said "yes" in the right places.
Huldah was born on December 20th, 1900. She had one sister and a brother. They had a very happy childhood; walking and riding over buffalo trails amid the wild flowers. Huldah loved to hear the hoof beats of their horse on the planks of the new bridge over the Battle River. There was a sign in black letters at each end of the bridge, "Driving horses faster than a walk over this bridge is strictly forbidden by law."
Huldah finished grade twelve in Wetaskiwin. She had won the Governor General's award for highest academic proficiency in grade eight. In the early 1920's, she taught on a permit for a time.
When her father died in 1927, her mother, brother and she did the farming. They milked fifteen cows by hand. She sold eggs and her brother George worked in the summer with a four horse team on road building, etc. After George married and moved to his own farm, Huldah and her mother carried on the "home" farm.
In 1940, Huldah's mother had a stroke. She partially recovered, however she later died in 1953. For thirty years, Huldah farmed by herself. In 1967, she sold the farm to her nephew.
After she sold the farm, she moved into Wetaskiwin and shortly after was asked to start a kindergarten class at the Ebenezer Baptist Church. She worked there for four years. She always liked to write and has had articles published in agriculture related newspapers and magazines. She also dabbled in painting; as a result, beautiful paintings were hung on her walls.
Information compiled in 1997.
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