Family History of Anna Biesova
Translated from Slovak to English by Rudy Bies, Ontario, Canada
This story is being told by Anna Bies to her son Ernie Bies on May 1 , 1978. This is the story of my life from the time that I married into the Bies family . I married John Bies on February the 8 th 1932. I am from the Hucko family, Martin Hucko's daughter. My mother was from the Stancik family. Her name was Eva. I lived at Hodulov Vrch. My Husband was from Hrasni Vrch. After our wedding we were together to the third of April 1932.
My husband went back to Canada On April 3'd 1932. I remained with his mother Judita Bies in their home at Hrasni Vrch. My life was neither that of a married person nor a single person. That was the beginning of my married life. I did not know any happiness in those first years, only sadness. I was carrying my first child beneath my heart, and that child's life began very sadly still in my womb.
This was Olga my oldest daughter. She was born on the 22 ' nd of October in 1932. She was born prematurely . I injured myself in a fall so I did not carry Olga for a full nine months.
I was a bride in my husbands home therefore I had to do what my mother in law told me to do. My life was not free. In 1933 I went to my parents house from Hrashni Vrch to Hodulov Vrch in June. I got my passport to Canada.
I left for Canada in July of 1933. I stepped on Canadian Soil on July 22, 1933 in Quebec City. I came on the Ocean liner Montros.
I went by train from Montreal to Hearst. From Hearst I rode by car to the farm ( Bradlo ) . This was not really a farm but a forest. There were no ploughed fields, just trees. I was in those forests for nine months before I went to the nearby town by horse and wagon. In town I felt stupid. I could not speak English, only my Slovak language. It was a real hardship for me.
The people who lived on the farms all came from Slovakia. Because there was nothing else to do they and my husband began cutting down trees and burned them. ( slash and burn )
We pulled out the tree stumps by horse. The stumps were piled and burned. We began to cultivate the fields that we cleared. Everyone was doing this. There were large fires on every farm.
In 1934 the Church and the home next to it burned down.
I hurt myself drawing water from the well. We were pouring water on this huge fire. The flames were burning under our feet. There was smoke everywhere. We could not see. These were our beginnings in Canada as pioneers. We lived from the money that we made by cutting wood. This gave us very little money to live on.
The amount of wood that we were allowed to cut was determined by your marital status. Those that had wives and children were allowed to cut 100 cords of wood.
For this we received four dollars and twenty cents ( $ 4.20 ). That was for cutting , peeling, and delivering it from the forrest to the railroad siding were we loaded it onto train cars
( flat cars ). We did not receive any money into our hands. The lumber company gave you a contract for your wood after you got a permit from the government for your quota of wood. The general store would take your contract and advance you food , clothing, and other staples. When you received your money you went to the stores to pay your bills. The money usually did not cover your costs and you had to pay the difference. There was no where to get this money from. Our life was hard but God helped us. We worked hard but we were young then. We did not have electricity nor a gas stove,nor an automobile. We would go to town by horse and wagon if you had horses. If you did not you walked and you brought your supplies home on your back. The town was eight miles away.
But we raised seven ( 7 ) children there and all are doing well today.
In 1934 I went to the hospital for the first time. As an immigrant I did not know the language. The doctor could not figure out what was wrong with me. He said one thing and I said another. I was in such pain that I was tearing at my clothes
( gown ). The nurse and the doctor were looking at me from the hall way. When my husband came to the hospital they told him that I was insane. The teacher who lived in our house came to visit me and she could understand my Slovak language.
I told her to tell the doctor to give me my clothes because I had no care here. I might as well go home and die in my fields among the stumps.
The doctor and the nurse then were able to determine what was wrong with me. I wrote in Slovak and the nurse wrote in English. That was my year 1934.( The teacher Stella WURM (Drajanoff)interpreted )
Life story of John Bies in Canada.
Your father came to Canada the first time in 1927 as an immigrant. Canada was looking for agricultural settlers for Western Canada. Then you could only come to Canada if you agreed to work on the farms. He worked on the farms until 1930 and then went to Montreal. From Montreal he came to Ontario to work on the Hydro Electric power dam that was being constructed at Fraserdale . In 1931 he returned to Czechoslovakia to visit his mother. He arrived there in November of 1931 and met me in December of 1931. We were married on the 8th of February 1932.
He returned to Canada on April 3' d 1932. I remained in Slovakia and lived in the home of his mother in Hrasni Vrch. On the 22'nd of October 1932 our daughter Olga was born.
When he came back to Canada in 1932 he did not have a job. He found work on a new highway construction project. A new highway was being built from North Bay to Ottawa. After he paid for his room and board he had five ( 5 ) dollars left to put in his pocket. That was a hard life for him. He was afraid to write to me to say how bad things were. He left this job and went to Hearst were there was a Slovak colony. He met with these people and they told him that there were farms for sale. He went and bought two farms of 75 acres each.
One he gave to his brother Michael Bies , and the other he left for himself.
There was no house on the farm, only a wooden log cabin.
That was in 1932. In 1933 I arrived in July with our nine month old daughter Olga. That is how our life was then. Neither one of us had any money. I had $ 70.00 left over from my passage money to
Canada . My husband went to town and bought a horse and food for the horse and ourselves. He bought the horse for work. We used the horse to take wood to the railway siding during the winter and during the summer we cut wood for our living. We cleared the land so that we could plant a garden.
In 1934 another daughter Anna was born. My husband was so poor that he had only twenty cents in his pocket. He used it to buy some wine and toasted the visitors who came to see our new daughter. The Doctor who came to see me did not want any money from us. He saw that we were poor. The great depression was on then. We were dressed and we were not hungry. 1936 , and 1937 were the same. My husband got a construction job building a new road at the colony. He was the crew foreman. In 1937 another son was born on June 21. His name was John. 1937 was harder for us because there were now (5) people to feed. In 1938 another son was born to us, Rudolf on the eighth of October.
My husband sold our house and one acre of land for the new school.
He kept the rest of the farm and in 1939 we left for the mining town of Dobie ( near Kirkland Lake ) . My husband could not get work because the Second World War had started. We came from Czechoslovakia and it was under Hitler then.
My husband left for Quebec to look for work and left me in Dobie with four children. In 1941 he returned and we went back to the farm at Hearst in July. My husband bought a truck and worked on the Trans Canada Highway. I lived on the farm with my children.
In 1941 our son William was born. We started to build our own home again in 1942. I looked after the children and the cattle alone as my husband was away at work with the truck.
In 1943 a daughter was born , Martha. My husband left his work as a trucker and went to work in an Iron Mine at Elliott Lake. He went from there to work in the Little Longlack mine at Geralton.
I went after him with the family in July of 1944. It was hard for me to live on that farm alone with six children. I was seven miles from town. I had to look after the cattle alone , with no help.
I did not have electricity or a gas stove, nor running water. I brought my firewood and water home on a sleigh that I pulled. We heated the house with wood and cooked with a wood stove .
I did not have a washing machine and did my laundry by hand.
We lived in Geralton for two years. In 1944 there was an accident in the mine. One man was killed and another was very badly injured. The injured man John Bies my husband.
On Dec. 31, 1944 a son was born to us , Ernest . My husband was weak from that accident. He quit his job at the mine and once again returned to the Farm in Hearst in 1946.
We lived there until 1957. My husband got a job with the Department of Highways so we moved from the farm to live in Hearst Ontario.
He worked there until he was 65 years old and then retired. We enjoyed our retirement working around our house. Then in 1976 on May 19 we had a car accident and he was injured slightly .
He went to a Doctor who said that he was O. K. but he would see in three weeks if anything shows up. In June he went to the doctor. The doctor said that he needed an operation on the arteries in his legs. On July 2/76 he went to Toronto for a check up with another Doctor who operated on his legs. He began to cough a lot so another doctor looked at him and in August he was operated on his lungs. The doctors discovered that he had inoperable lung cancer. On Sept. 21/76 he returned to Hearst and died in the Hospital there on Sept. 28. He was buried in the Hearst Cemetery on Oct. 1 / 1976 .
The history of how the Slovak Colony started in 1930 near Hearst
In 1930 there was the Depression. There was no work anywhere. People were just on relief and on soup lines in the big cities. The government opened homesteads. There were forrests so the government sent the people from the big cities to homesteads. Each person received a homestead of 75 acres of forest. They were able to cut pulpwood. First the men arrived and then the women and children followed after them. By then the men had built log cabins of one room. The wall cracks were filled with moss and then covered with a mud straw coating or covered the walls with heavy paper. The floors were made from logs or logs that were cut by a saw. That was a board. The roof was covered with wood shingles of poplar wood. The pots for cooking were old cans from lard until we could buy better ones. They then cleared the roads of trees so that they could go out. They worked for their relief. You did not get relief for free. you had to work for it.
In 1931 and 1932 we were better off. By then we had gardens and the first cows, some had goats because goats could live of tree leaves. By 1933 people had horses and cows. In 1933 they requested a school from the government. There were many children there. They got a public school called number 4 Kendal.
They then requested a Post Office from the Government. They were told that the place must be Christened. It must have a name. They then discussed after whom they should name that colony. They discussed naming it after the first child that was born there. They then had a meeting and decided to have a vote on two selected names and would name it after the winner. One name was Bratislava and the second name was Bradlo. Bradlo was the winner of the vote.
This is a very memorable name for Slovaks. There was Milan Rastislav Stefanik, A General in the first World War. An American and French Legionnaire stationed on the Italian front. When the first world war ended in 1918 the Austrian Hungarian Empire
( Kralovstvo ) disappeared. Small countries were formed. Then Czechoslovakia was formed and Stefanik was to be the first president of the Republic. On May 4, 1919 he was going home by aeroplane from Italy. His plane crashed and burned and Stefanik was killed. He was buried in Bradlo near Kasariska. Stefanik's father was an Evangelist ( Lutherin ) minister in Kasariska. He had twelve children and Stefanik was one of them. He studied Astronomy. When he was home for the summer from studying he would go to Bradlo to study because it was a big hill.
His body lies on this hill and when I go to Czechoslovakia I go to visit his grave.
By ANNA BIESOVA
" The government gave them a Post Office named Bradlo Via Hearst.
They even Built a Church and a dance hall and a store. The Colony was 5 kilometres long. On each lot there was a settler, a pioneer.
Now there is nothing there. The people have left. When there were not enough children the school was closed. It is very scary there now. Only bears and wolves live there and there are also some moose ."
© Rudy Bies, 1997.