Caroline Haussauer Schaffer

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As told by Martha Salway:

My grandmother Caroline was born in Gluckstahl, South Russia, and her parents migrated from Germany to homestead the Russian Stepps. They lived in a village composed of all Germans. The village was part of the Black Sea Colonies; the homesteaders received land grants and loans from the Russian government. Grandma’s parents emigrated from Germany during the reign of Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia. The Germans came as a group and stayed together in colonies.

The houses were all together and the farming was done in fields away from the houses. They men worked the land with oxen. Caroline went to school in Russia, but did not learn English. She came from a well to do family who had a maid. It must have been hard for her when she married. . Caroline and Gottlieb were concerned about the wars and rumors of wars; they knew their sons would be drafted into the Russian Army. They decided to take their family to America where they could be free from wars and able to worship their God. Caroline was sick and pregnant with Phillip, who was born in the United States.

On the boat over my mother Karolina was in charge of the rest of the children, besides looking after grandma. They went to Eureka, South Dakota and stayed with relatives… Finally grandpa got some land around Ashley. North Dakota. They built a large house of mud and straw bricks.
They lived in one side and the cows and oxen were in an attached barn.
The floor of the house was dirt, every night they would chew sunflower seed and spit the seeds on the floor. Soon the floor became very hard easy to clean. They were told to watch out for Indians, they had heard so many stories about Indians and what they did to white people. So when grandma saw some riders coming, she made all the children go out to the barn and be real quiet. Grandma gave the Indians some food and they left.

They didn’t have any horses; just oxen which grandma said were very stupid. Grandma had a way with herself and never was afraid of anything or anybody.

In their late years they lived in a big white house in Ashley, North Dakota, which was still standing when I visited in 1980. In the spring of 1909 they moved to Irvine, Alberta, Canada and took up homesteading in the Clearwater District.