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Homesteading in the Last Best West cover

  • eBook Edition
    • 978-1-5255-0700-7
    • epub, pdf files
  • Paperback Edition
    • 978-1-5255-0699-4
    • 6.0 x 9.0 inches
    • Black & White interior
    • 222 pages
  • Hardcover Edition
    • 978-1-5255-0698-7
    • 6.0 x 9.0 inches
    • Black & White interior
    • 222 pages
  • Keywords
    • Memoir,
    • Norway,
    • Saskatchewan,
    • Immigration,
    • Farm life,
    • Family history,
    • homesteading

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Homesteading in the Last Best West
Based on JB Hansen's Personal Memoir
by Elaine Melby Ayre

THE AUTHOR TOOK HER GRANDFATHER JB HANSEN’S memoir, written before his death in the mid sixties, and by augmenting it with a variety of interesting primary sources, and her own personal comments, she brings new life to the realities of southeastern Saskatchewan homesteading in the Rural Municipality of Souris Valley # 7 in the first half of the twentieth century. This will give readers of today a better understanding of everyday life in those homesteading days. Many examples show changes in the forms of travel, cost of living, farming methods, food preparation and daily activities all to help us understand this history and serve to inspire us in dealing with the problems of our day. Their personal stories show they found ways to thrive and have good times in spite of the challenges of the times.

This Book is meticulous in detail and description. Elaine pours her heart and soul into this book, as she did in The Princess Doll's Scrapbook. It is a labour of Love, but also a Gift of first hand memory and experience, shared generously with generations to come. I am grateful for this contribution to the preservation of Saskatchewan's history. Thank YOU, Elaine! Other significant comments gathered; Covers historical facts about the area that people will be interested to read. Funny and insightful comments. Sidebars add to the overall historical aspect of the book. A variety of primary sources (such as postcards, letters, or journals) are stitched together like a crazy quilt. Come step into the days of yesterday with me. Follow a family that made this country great. I like when you compare events and the way they did things to how things are today. Timely photos enable readers to connect with the main family members in the book.

Elaine Melby Ayre photo

As the oldest daughter of the oldest daughter of an early homesteader from Souris Valley RM No. 7 in southeastern Saskatchewan, Elaine was interested in the history of her immigrant grandparents. Her Grandmother’s damaged porcelain doll inspired research to discover that “Doll’s Story,” which became The Princess Doll’s Scrapbook, Published in 2015, related her maternal families’ emigration and immigration stories. Then her favorite aunt’s dream, inspired Elaine to write this story based on her grandfather, JB Hansen’s (translated, handwritten, photocopied) 82 page homesteading memoir. Elaine’s 30 year career as a Home Economics teacher began in southern Saskatchewan, then to Fort Simpson, NWT where she met her husband, then to Calgary and rural areas- Turner Valley, Water Valley and Linden where they raised three sons. She has two grandchildren. Currently her husband and son operate a safety training business in Peace River where she enjoys northern living in that scenic river valley, particularly music, cooking, crafts, reading and volunteering. She is thankful for recovery from a 2018 major surgery for a gastrointestinal tumor. This reality made getting this 'history written down before it’s too late' even more significant.


Elaine Melby Ayre

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