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By Ron Baker

In this last while I visited the Merrington cemetery, originally begun by the Merrington Brethren in Christ Church. The Merrington cemetery is a repository of local history. Out of respect, the grounds have been kept up by an interested local group. Various histories of the area have been kept by the local museum.

Let me take you on an adventure!

Carl is just 20 years old. Work has dried up for him in Ontario. The West beckons.

Along with Carl, there are a number of younger men who are in the same boat. Accompanying them are some young families. Their link to each other – living in close proximity to each other in Ontario, and getting together on a fairly consistent basis.

They all move for the adventure and work. The idea of staying in close contact attracts the group to the Merrington area, where. This is to become a transportation stop – a viable area to settle. They build the first church in the area

The transport company changes their mind (or perhaps the settlers were presumptuous?). The transport depot will be in a town close by, as yet unnamed, just south of Merrington. Carl secures land just outside this unnamed town. He makes journeys out to the Merrington area on Sundays.

For the first few years, in the winter, he heads back to Ontario. He finds a bride. Brings her West.

Helplessness and hopelessness in this “new normal” overwhelms her. She survives for a while, then commits suicide. Carl is heartbroken, and for the winter season, he returns once again to Ontario. In time, he remarries.

My grandfather, Carl, then survives the era of World War I, the Spanish flu, Temperance, the Dirty Thirties, Hitler’s aggression, retirement from farming and finally, into the turbulent 60’s when he breathes his last on earth.

I have been reminded that the courage of a century ago is the courage we need for today. Suicide was not unknown. Jobs were tenuous. A new era of technology was arising. Communications through telephones was just surfacing. Power lines were appearing slowly. Indoor plumbing was often a hoped for improvement. Roads were not yet paved.

How did they survive as they entered this century of transition?

A spirit of adventure buoyed up weary settlers. The camaraderie developed in tough times emphasized the idea that, “we’re in this together”. My grandfather’s own memoir – My Pilgrimage and Pioneering – stresses the invaluable assistance of God.

What are you finding to take you through a new century’s adventure?

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