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Extracts From the Immigration Report of 1887 Pretaining to Settlement in the West

In the Sessional Papers of 51 Victoria (4) 1888 pp. 140-177 is the annual Immigration Report containing the reports from the various Agents. These are extractions from that report.

No. 26

Report on Scandinavian Colonization in the North-West
(Mr. E. Ohlen)
Winnipeg, Man., 2nd January, 1888.

The Honourable
The Minister of Agriculture,

Sir,-I beg leave to give you some facts about the Scandinavian immigration to Manitoba and the North-West for the year 1887.

From the 1st of January, 1887, up to the 1st of January, 1888, arrived at Winnipeg 220 Swedes, 49 Norwegians, 63 Danes, or altogether, 332 Scandinavians.

As near as I could find out, they have settled as follow:--

Gone to railroad works 135
Gone to Scandinavia 47
Gone to New Stockholm 33
Gone to Winnipeg 44
Gone to United States 24
Gone to Carberry, Montrose 12
Gone to Medicine Hat 10
Gone to British Columbia 8
Gone to West Selkirk 6
Gone to Boissevain 4
Gone to Plum Coulée 2
Gone to Qu'Appelle 2
Gone to Thornhill 1
Gone to End of Spur 1
Gone to Clearwater 1
Gone to Sidney 1
Gone to Regina 1
Total 32

This is the best record of any previous years, as it clearly shows that some 33 per cent. of the arrivals from the Scandinavian Kingdoms have actually settled on homesteads.

Scandinavia, the colony on the Manitoba and North-Western Railway, near the city of Minnedosa, has got 47 souls the past season. This colony which was organized in 1885 has now a good number of Scandinavian settlers, and the letters from said colony, published in the "Scandinavian Canadian," testify to the satisfaction of the settlers regarding their selection of land and to the good crops they had last season.

New Stockholm colony on the Canadian Pacific Railway main line, 250 miles west of Winnipeg, got some 33 souls in 1887. This colony which was founded by me in 1885, consists of fractional Townships 18 and 19 A, Ranges 1, 2 and 3 west of the 2nd meridian.

The people in this settlement consist chiefly of emigrants brought out by me from

Scandinavia and some from the United States.

The settlers have organized amongst themselves a society named "the Scandinavian Colonization Society of New Stockholm" with the object to further the progress of the settlement and to protect the settlers' interests.

Land Commissioners J.H. McTavish, of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and W.B. Scarth, M.P., of the Canada North-West Land Company, have kindly consented to become honorary members of the society and to give the settlers all possible assistance. The directors are Emanuel Ohlen, honorary president, Chas. Sahlmark, president, Nels. Johanson, vice-president, Alex. Stensen, secretary, and Wilhelm Soderbery, treasurer.

The society has resolved on the organization of a school district and made arrangements with the Scandinavian congregation of Winnipeg for a semi-monthly visit of a Swedish missionary.

Letters of inquiry from intending immigrants to said society are answered by the secretary and myself.

Some 400 letters have been written by me in 1887 about that colony alone.

A post office named "Ohlen" has been established in the centre of the colony and was formally opened on the 1st of October last.

The society have at the unanimous vote of the settlers forwarded a resolution to the Honourable the Minister of Agriculture, Ottawa, informing him about the progress of the colony, the settlers' entire satisfaction with their section of land and with their new adopted country, and requesting him to make known to their fellow countrymen their sincere wishes to see them come out and settle amongst them.

Up to the 31st of December, 1787[sic], the number of quarter-sections entered for was 26.

The total number of souls are 64.

There is a little colony of Scandinavians near Medicine Hat, N.W.T.

A Swedish gentleman, Louis Sand, from Michigan, has erected a saw mill at Medicine Hat and gives employment to a good number of his fellow countrymen.

Some 10 Scandinavians passed through Winnipeg in 1887 to settle near Medicine Hat.

At Carberry, 106 miles west of Winnipeg, is a nucleus of a Danish settlement near Montrose P.O.

Past season some 12 souls came direct from Denmark to join their fellow countrymen at Carberry. These people are renting farms as there are no homesteads to be got.

There is also a Scandinavian settlement near West Selkirk, in the parishes of St. Andrews and St. Clements. Some of the settlers have been there since 1883. Altogether some 9 settlers, making 22 souls, are said to be in there. I have personally spoken with several of the settlers and they seemed very satisfied. They are especially interested in stock-raising.

Along the Canadian Pacific Railway main line there are besides those mentioned, to be found Scandinavian farmers at nearly every station.

The total number of Scandinavians in the Province of Manitoba and the North West is said to be some 3,000.

Most of the people arriving from the Scandinavian Kingdoms accept work for the first year or two before they take up land.

The past year's work was plentiful.

The wages for railroadmen have been from $1.25 to $2.25 per day, and $3.50 to $4.50 for board per week. Farm labourers have got from $12 to $20 per month and board, and during the harvest they got up to $40 per month and board.

It is a good thing for the Scandinavians that they have roadmasters of their own nationality on the Canadian Pacific Railway, and it speaks well of the men, too.

A Swede roadmaster, C.Y. Panser, has charge of the Winnipeg, Brandon division, and a Norwegian roadmaster, O. Johnson, of the Canadian Pacific Railway southern branch. Both these gentlemen have a large number of section foremen and labourers of the Scandinavian nationalities in their employ, and these men give all possible assistance to newly arrived countrymen.

In Winnipeg there are some 400 Scandinavian residents, some of whom are earning their bread by manual work and quite a number indulge in different kinds of business.

During the last Dominion election there were 49 Scandinavians on the voters' list.

The Scandinavian congregation of Winnipeg, which was organized in 1885, built in 1886 a nice frame church with a sitting capacity for about 250 persons. The lot and church cost some $1,600, of which only $150 remains unpaid. The congregation has now a permanent clergyman, who also visits the Scandinavian settlements out west. I may say that in connection with the congregation is Young People's Society, ladies Aid Society and a singing society. The congregation is also voluntarily assisting sick and poor countrymen.

There is also a large number of Scandinavian servant girls in Winnipeg, and they are generally getting the highest wages any domestic servants receive. Their wages range from $12 to $20 per month.

The Scandinavian monthly journal, "Den Skandinaviske Canadiensarin," issued by me, has met with pretty good success, and is well received all over. The journal contains every month five or seven testimonies from actual Scandinavian settlers in Manitoba and the North-West, and gives full information about the homestead law and the country, setting forth Manitoba and the North-West as a field for Scandinavian immigration. Its circulation is 4,000 copies every month, which are distributed all over the Dominion, the United States and the Scandinavian Kingdoms.

This winter four Scandinavians have gone to the old countries, to return early next spring with some immigrants. Of these men, two are Swedes, settled at New Stockholm, N.W.T., one Norwegian, settled at Indian Hat, N.W.T., and one Swede, at Plum Coulée, Manitoba. There is no doubt that these "return men," as well as the journal, and the good crop in the past year, will bring a proportional share of the Scandinavian immigration for 1888 to the western part of the Dominion.

In the interest of the Scandinavian immigration, I beg to respectfully say, that the main thing is not to bring out a larger or smaller number of emigrants and then leave them to take care of themselves, but to get the newcomers comfortably settled, well provided for, and properly looked after and assisted from time to time; then they will surely find themselves "at home" and feel satisfied, and the consequence will be that the newcomers will send satisfactory letters to their friends in the old countries, and induce them to come out and settle.

I respectfully beg to solicit your patronage for my people, in whom I know you take great interest, and beg you kindly to assist me in taking care of my fellow-countrymen the Scandinavians.

I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
Emanuel Ohlen,
Assistant Dominion Immigration Agent.

The Honourable
The Minister of Agriculture,

No. 27

Annual Report of the Emerson, Man., Immigration Agent.
(Mr. J.E. Têtu.)
Emerson, Man., 31st December, 1887

Sir,-I have the honour to submit the following report for the year 1887, of the immigration work at the Emerson, as also at the attached Gretna Agency.

The tabular statements herewith appended and lettered "A" "B" and "C," give the returns of immigration and emigration at Emerson and Gretna, the points of entrance into the Province.

The bulk of these people are, of course, from the United States, for the sufficient reason that immigrants from the eastern portions of the Dominion, and the countries of the Old World coming to Canadian ports enter Manitoba and the North-West Territories by way of the Canadian Pacific Railway and not by the American system of railways.

The completion of the Northern Pacific Railway to the boundary line at West Lynne is likely next year to swell this American immigration, much of which we hope to retain in the western portion of the Dominion, though much of it, of course will be composed of travellers to the Pacific coast both north and south of the boundary line, the Canadian Pacific Railway being already the favourite route thereto for all points west of Chicago and including that city.

The crops during the past season have without doubt been the largest in the history of the Province. This remark applies both as to the average yield per acre as well as to the aggregate amount cultivated.

Wheat is reliably estimated to have yielded 15,000,000
Oats 9,000,000
Barley 2,000,000
Peas 15,000
Flax 200,000
Potatoes 2,000,000

Hay only showed a falling off in amount which was caused by the extreme dryness of 1886 and the frequency of prairie fries in the same year.

An industry that is rapidly coming into prominence and which yields and must continue to yield the most encouraging results is that of dairy farming. Hay in sufficient quantities and at a sufficiently low cost can always be obtained with ease. There may be comparative scarcity, as was the case in 1887; but even then, the worst year known, the supply was far away above the "scarcity" limit. In ordinary years hay is used both for the bedding and feeding of stock; in bad years, such as last, the straw stacks usually burnt as an encumbrance are now used for bedding purposes.

Dairy farming, but now in its infancy, will ere long reach very large proportions, and will, undoubtedly, be the means of augmenting the savings of a good year, and of making up the loss caused by the partial failure of any particular crop. Professor Barre, late of the Ontario College, Guelph, and now Inspector and Instructor for the Provincial Government of Manitoba, fully deals with the subject in a report herewith appended marked D.

It will thus be seen that another and very successful step is being made in the direction of mixed farming and towards the full development of the natural and unrivalled[sic] agricultural resources of Manitoba and the North-West Territories. The more thrifty and intelligent of our farming community have long ago seen the mistake of depending entirely on a crop of wheat for their success, and have undertaken the vocation of agriculture in all its branches; these are eminently successful. Others, however, preferring a winter of indolence with none of the cares of stock to occupy them, content themselves by bustling through harvest and hay time, trusting that providence will send them abundant crops with the least possible amount of labour on their part. Thus it comes that whilst one farmer flourishes, his neighbour is in a chromic state of impecuniosity. In the first case, a partial failure of any particular crop is made up for by the certain products of stock which, in the latter case, the farmer is not possessed of. Thanks, however, to the wonderful abundance of this year's crop, all classes are fast recovering from the strain of depression. The weight of mortgages and notes given extravagantly for machinery is being lifted on every hand, and with returning prosperity, the lesson of confining wants within the scope of means is being brought home to all, except to the naturally extravagant and improvident.

The cultivation of flax, too, is being more widely extended, in consequence of the greater demand for flax products in the United Kingdom. The prohibitive duty put on manufactured linens by the Russian Government has resulted in British manufacturers looking elsewhere for their raw material. For the cultivation of this, Canada, and especially the virgin soil of the North-West, is eminently suitable; indeed, the Mennonites in Manitoba have for many years raised crops of flax, which have been remunerative in the highest degree. Farmers, generally, are now turning their attention to its growth, encouraged thereto by the certain profit on the sale of the seed. The establishment of a linseed mill, now in successful operation in Manitoba, has still further tended towards this result.

Another noticeable effect of the past successful year, in its relation to immigration, has been more than ever a marked want of an adequate supply of labourers and domestic servants. The supply of the latter falls far short of the demand; whilst farm labourers properly so called, and who can at all times get work, were in such demand that at threshing time (unusually prolonged this year) men were eagerly sought for and offered $2.50 per day, which, of course, is in addition to free board. The above mentioned are the two classes of immigrants, whose coming is most desired, and towards whose immigration your Department may still safely devote its attention and encouragement.

The immigration from the United States does not include a great number claiming a "refund," for the reason that the bulk of them were destined for points outside of Manitoba. As usual, I have to acknowledge the efficient services of my assistants.

I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
J.E. Têtu,
Dominion Immigration Agent.

The Honourable
The Minister of Agriculture,

No. 33

Report on Hungarian Colony.
(Mr. Goza S. De Dory.)
Hunsvalley, Manitoba, 15th December, 1887

Sir,-I have the honour to report that I recently visted Esterhaz, where I remained eight days. All the settlers I have met appear to be very well pleased with their condition and prospects, and they had an ample harvest of excellent crops, especially of roots and vegatables.

To three of the Hungarian settlers, the first prize of the Agricultural Exhibition was awarded, and also to the wife of Mr. Lengyel, for the best baked bread.

The most successful farmers in the colony are Lengyel, the two Gönezys, and three other Hungarians, together with four Slavonians. They have each from 20 to 25 acres of land under cultivation, and are confident of having next year plenty of wheat for the market.

Of the gentlemen farmers, Messrs. Zboray Brothers, may be considered the first. The Zborays harvested this year the following crops, viz.: 200 bushels of potatoes; 300 heads of cabbage; 3 waggon loads of turnips and carrots; some wheat, barley, oats, and a mixed produce of vegetables. They have 10 acres of land under cultivation.

I found in the colony 12 of the cottages untenanted, but 8 families having arrived just at that time, they have undoubtedly taken possession of 8 of the empty houses.

I have located here in Hunsvalley thirty families. All of them are doing well, and seem to feel already quite at home.

The harvest in Manitoba this year was an extraordinarily good one. An acre of my own land yielded 75 bushels of oats. The average yield to other farmers runs thus:-Wheat, from 45 to 50 bushels per acre; barley, from 55 to 60 bushels per acre; oats, from 65 to 80 bushels per acre. The railroads carried this year about three times as much freight as during previous years.

I am daily expecting here the arrival of ten families from Pennsylvania, U.S., all of whom are sufficiently well provided with money. They are the friends and relatives of some of our first settlers.

We are about erecting a very neat little church, and are now fencing in the church yard.

I append the following letter from Mr. Henrych, a Bohemian, which may prove of interest:--

"I was born in Bohemia, District Koniggratz, County Horic, Community Domaslic. I have settled here (Esterhaz) about a year and a half ago. The harvest was this year in consequence of the yet unbroken condition of the virgin soil, not quite satisfactory, with the exception of the potato crop, which was an extraordinarily good one. The soil is excellent black humus, with a rich sandy subsoil. The climate is very healthy, though severe during the winter. I had an opportunity of convincing myself of the ample productiveness of the land during my recent employment on several extensive and long established farms. I was working the steam threshing machines. I have noticed that the yield, per acre, was 51 bushels of wheat, being to every bushel of seed wheat 25 bushels of produce. Potatoes, cabbages, and all kinds of root crops are thriving in good abundance, and of an uncommonly large size. I am expecting next year a very favourable harvest, and have already put my land in a proper condition for that purpose. The cost of a cow in milk, runs from $30 to $50, calves fetch from $8 to $10; horses are rather high priced. The pasture lands are of vast extent, and are very rich grazing grounds. The water is good, healthy and plenty. Every settler has dug a well of drinking water, the depth of well being from 12 to 30 feet. Clothing is not expensive, but all the implements for domestic and farming use, are very dear. Settlers coming to remain here should provide themselves with at least $500 cash per family. The nearest town to our colony is Whitewood, it is also our railroad station where necessary supplies can be purchased. We have, so far, no reason to complain of our neighbours the Hungarian settlers; it is, however, much desired that an increase of respectable families of our own nationality should soon be brought amongst us, so as to help to infuse more vitality in our colony, and to enable us to erect a schoolhouse for the instruction of our children. I would on this occasion observe that about sixteen years ago I and my family emigrated from Bohemia to Russia, and that from thence we arrived in this country at Esterhaz, in the year 1886. My wife's mother, Catharine Kasalicky, who was widowed in Russia, has joined us here, and has also taken up a homestead."

Submitting the above remarks,
I have the honour to be, Sir,
You obedient servant,
G. De Dory.

The Honourable
The Minister of Agriculture,

(The agent also inserted lists of settlers for the Scandinavian Colony; German Colony; Icelandic Colony; Bohemian Colony and Hungarian Colony. There is also a list of Ranches in the North-West Territories.)

UWInfo | Young Immigrants | Genealogy | Local History | 19th Century Immigration

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