Wednesday, 25 April 2012

A Swedish Connection to Retlaw

Retlaw is a small "ghost town" community directly west of Vauxhall. Settled in the early 20th century, Retlaw boomed and was for a while the fastest growing community in Alberta. Settlers flocked to the area to get homesteads. In the late teens and 1920s times became very hard in the Retlaw area. Irrigation bypassed the area for Vauxhall and the droughts of the 1920s had an incredible toll on the people who remained.

One of those early settlers was a young Swedish gentleman in his early 20s. He arrived in Lethbridge in 1906 and homesteaded in Retlaw 2 years later. He appears to have stayed in Retlaw until 1927 at which point he returned to Sweden. Back in Sweden he married and had a family.

But he didn't tell his family much about his time in Canada. The Galt Archives recently received an email from the family of the Swedish settler. They are coming from Sweden to Canada in May to try and find out more about his time here, to visit Retlaw, to see the Retlaw church (their family is friends with the family who donated the church bell), and to visit the homestead.

We knew the answers they would be looking for couldn't be found in a book so, since I'm from that area, I made a few phone calls.

Terry Franz of the Retlaw Historical Society will be connecting with the family to ensure they get their tour and get to visit all the places their Grandfather would have known. They will also be dropping by the Galt to see if they can fill in some of the first two years he was in Canada.

Hopefully we can help make their visit to southern Alberta rewarding and fun. Because you never know how much Sweden and Retlaw (and Lethbridge) can have in common until you start talking family history.

2 comments:

  1. This is absolutely one of those stories that will be treasured for many generations in this Swedish family! Good Luck to all and I look forward to updates from their journey!

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  2. The family will be in Retlaw on May 12 for a tour and I plan to attend. I can't wait. I will post updates.

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