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Martin and Anna (Esse) Arnesen

Written by Martin’s girls for an occasion many years ago.

Martin Orlando Arnesen was born in Lom Gudbrandsdalen, Norway on 23 December 1864, and came to the United States at the age of six months with his parents and four older brothers and sisters. Seven [sic] more children were later born to the family.

They settled in South Dakota. There and in Nebraksa he spent most of his years up until his move to Canada. Martin came from Hayti, Soouth Dakota and arrived in the Fairholme country in the winter of 1905. As the railway had not yet been laid north of Saskatoon, he came over land by wagon.[sic] His brother Andy had homesteaded two miles south of Fairholme so Dad homesteaded in the same area. After building a two storey log house, he returned to the USA in the spring of 1908 where he married Anna Esse of Hayward, Minnesota on 12 July 1908. He brought his bride back to Canada to the home he had prepared for her. It was there Idella was born - the first white girl born north of North Battleford.

Dad had dreams of ranching, and when he failed to find sufficient water where he was situated he went north in search of “greener pastures”. This he found on Section 16 Twp 52 near Stoney Lake about 12 miles north and west of his original homestead.

Stoney Creek passed through the section widening into a spring filled pond. There were large hay meadows and plenty of shelter. The creek was alive with fish (jackfish and suckers).

Section 16 had been set aside for South African war veterans. When the demand for these scripts were filled, the government put a price of $800.00 on each script with a stipulation that the buyer perform homestead duties - break 30 acres, live six months out of the year on this land for three years. Martin took out two scripts, built a 14’ x 22’ log house on each one and moved back and forth every six months for three years. 30 acres were broken on each script and they were proved up in 1914. (Martin took up Sec 16-52-18 in the winter of 1910 and 1911).

Another addition was built between the two existing buildings - joining them. The house was completed in three years. By that time Marlin and Maud arrived on the scene. Later followed Mabel, Leon, Edna and Pearl. (Leon died in 1921 at the age of four.)

Dad’s ranching ambitions were realized with Mother’s help. The family were all raised in this home.

Our mother Anna Esse was born in Valhalla, Minnesota [sic] on 27 November 1880. She was a dressmaker by trade - a wonderful wife, mother, neighbour and an all around good person.

Her Sundays were spent giving neighbours haircuts, helping ladies with their sewing, not to mention feeding people all day long. Our home was open to everyone. Music was a big part of her life. She was a good singer and played the organ - got pleasure from “sing songs”, a lot of good voices used to gather at our home for sing outs. There was also always dancing - just pushed things against the wall and let loose. Mom had us dancing as soon as we could walk.

Mom had little to work with but always kept us well dressed - could always come up with something special. We were never without good food and loving care.

She never got back to her home and family in Minnesota until 1927. She took Pearl with her - who was five, a lively companion and who made quite a hit with her Canadian manner. Mom had a wonderful time but was glad to get back to Canada, her home.

After many happy years Dad and mother passed away, Mom in 1943 and Dad in 1951. We have many fond memories of our childhood at home and later years in the South Branch district.

Linked toMartin Orlando ARNESEN; Anna ESSE

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