Memories of the Ellingsons

by my Dad, Les Grove

Peter Ellingson, my grandfather

About 1937

Grandpa came down to the Grove farm, northwest of Edmonton, in Rich Valley. The sun had set and twilight was almost gone. I was just a small kid, maybe about 7 years old, and was trying to split some kindling. Grandpa came outside and offered to do the work so that I could go to bed.

In 1947

When I was 17 I went up to Montney to help Grandpa do some work on his last homestead. For 3 months we worked together building fences and reassembling a log house and log barn he had moved in from some other place. This was a great opportunity to get to know him.

About 1952

When Grandpa was in his mid eighties, he left the farm and retired in the Bethany home in Camrose. He was comfortable and happy there. Mrs. Lockrem, a widow lady two years younger than he, was also in the home, and they became good friends. However, the woman who was the administrator of the home thought it was scandalous for old people to have such a friendship. She persecuted them, though there was never anything improper in their relationship.

Grandpa Ellingson and Mrs. Lockrem got married and left Bethany Home. They did not have any other place to go, so they moved out to the farm home of my mother and stepfather, 2 miles south of Lake Majeau.

They lived there for a couple of years. It was there that I got to know Grandpa's bride, as I was able to go home occasionally. She was a lovely lady, spry and very pleasant, an ideal Grandma.

Finally the Lutheran denomination, the owner of Bethany Home, heard of what had happened, and they did their best to rectify what had been done. They dealt with the lady who had been so cruel, apologized to Grandpa and Grandma Ellingson, and asked them to return to Bethany to live. So there was a happy ending.

I was working in Deadwood, north of Peace River, as a member of the Canadian Sunday School Mission, starting a church in that farming community. Occasionally I would go south to Central Alberta, and I would always spend time with Grandpa and Grandma. He was pleased to know how God was leading in my life.

He also spent a lot of time with my mother and stepfather on their farm. I was starting a church in Deadwood, north of Peace River, and getting ready to go to Japan. I spent time with him whenever I could. He was pleased to know God was leading in my life.

In 1957

Grandpa passed away in 1957, at 89 years of age, a short time before I left to go to Japan. I was glad to sing a solo at his funeral, a song of the glorious home in heaven that was his heritage.

We went to visit Grandma Ellingson again when we returned from Japan for our furlough. She lived past her 99th birthday.

Ellingsons in Dawson Creek

There were a number of sawmills in the Dawson Creek area during the 1920's and 1930's. They included George Latimer's sawmill at Sunset Prairie, J. P. Olingers's sawmill at Rolla, and Peter Ellingson and Sons' sawmill near Doe River. Knute and Sigurd Ellingson worked in the mill along with their father.

Social activities were many. There were church services in the Lutheran Church at North Rolla. Ladies' Aid meetings were attended by all, from the oldest to the youngest. There were picnics, ball games and socials at the school. Whenever a new house was erected, a "house warming" would be in order. House parties helped us put in the winters; also skating parties. People were hospitable and visited one another more than they do now.

Quite often in the summer, transportation to picnics in other districts was provided by Knute Ellingson, who had a big truck. The young people would climb into the big box and ride happily to ball games and other activities.

Later a man named Woods Streeper bought the sawmill from Peter Ellingson.

George Grove, a grandson of Peter Ellingson, went up to the Peace River area and worked at Ellingson's sawmill. In 1941 George married Myrtle Shuman.