Julianna AltwasserThe Second Child of Friedrich Altwasser and Wilhelmine Wild
Julianna Altwasser and Wilhelm Domes
Julianna (Julia) Altwasser and Wilhelm DomesFrom "A Century of Doms History In Western Canada" (1991), Page 123.
Wilhelm Domes and Julianna Altwasser were married in 1888 at Drashna in Volhynia, Russia. Wilhelm was born on August 15, 1862, near Lutzk in Volhynia, Russia. He was the son of Ludwig Doms and Ernesyny (Hein), who once lived near Chodecz, Poland. Julianna was born on March 25 in 1870, probably near Dabie, Poland, where her family was located. She was the first child of Friedrich Altwasser and Wilhelmine Wilde.
Julianna and Wilhelm's first child, ADOLPH, was born on September 30, 1889; FERDINAND was born on October 4, in 1891, and MELIDA, born on September 13, in 1893. All three were born at Dumbrufka in Volhynia, Russia (near Drashna).
In 1894, the very troubled and unstable conditions in Volhynia convinced the Doms' and the Altwassers to leave that area and seek their fortunes in Canada. We don't know for sure, but they probably made their way to Hamburg, Germany and then by ship to England. At Liverpool, on May 3, 1894, they boarded a ship called the Parisian and sailed for Montreal. We have a copy of the passenger list and their names are all there, as well as their ages. They arrived on May 13, 1894. Also on the ship were Julianna's parents, the Friedrich Altwasser's, and her sisters and brother. The family traveled to Lemberg, Sask., (named after a city in old Poland).
At first they lived with the Kriegers (sister Flora). The story goes that three families lived the first winter in a pole and mud house dug into the side of hill. There were eighteen of them, if you count the babies. The next spring they were able to build their own home and get started farming, first with oxen and then with horses. Wilhelm's homestead was on the NW-28-20-9-W2. Other children were born at Lemberg, MAUD in 1896, OTTILIE in 1898, WILLIAM in 1900, and EMMA in 1904. In the fall of 1904 the family moved to Yellow Grass, bought a quarter section from Adolph Wilde and rented another across the road. ALBERT was born there in 1906 and the twins ALMA and ELSIE in 1909. Elsie had just started school in 1916 when she took sick with pneumonia and died on October 2, 1916, at the age of six years and ten months.
Wilhelm farmed with horses, an eight-foot disc, harrows, a walking and sulky plow, a Frost and Wood binder, and a grain wagon. The crop was custom threshed. Transportation was with horse and buggy and democrat or sleigh in winter. In 1920, a 490 Chevrolet was bought and the boys drove it. A second car was bought in 1925. It was a Dodge and Albert, Carl and the girls drove it.
The children first attended Actonvale School and later Beautiful Plains. All had to help at home so their education was limited. Wilhelm bought more land west of Yellow Grass (S 1/2-25-10-17) for $40/acre from Bill Morrison. The family moved there in 1910. In 1911 he bought the NE-24-10-17 for $75/acre and the NW-19-10-16, which was prairie, for $65/acre from Wm. Jones. Crops were both good and bad, and prices were mostly poor. Wheat at one time sold for 25 cents per bushel.
In 1915, Myrtle Banman, a niece, lost her mother (Emma Altwasser) and was adopted by the Domes' and raised as one of the family. In 1920, Wesley Heebner, a grandson, lost his mother (Melida Domes), when he was two weeks old and he too was adopted by the Domes' and raised as one of their own. This was ample proof that they had love enough for their own and then some to spare as the adopted children were raised with all the affection that they showed their own. Their kindness was amply repaid as both Wes and Myrtle helped Julianna in her later years and worked hard on the farm.
Weddings were big events, starting in 1912 with the double wedding of Archie and Olga Altwasser, and Melida and Paul Heebner; Ferdinand and Marie Ursel in 1917; Maud and Fred Domes in 1919; Tillie and Bill Rohlof in 1923; Emma and Jack Kilbach in 1928; Alma and Fred Arndt in 1932, Myrtle and Peter Chrichton in 1944; Albert and Ida Weslowski in 1945; Wes and Linda Heir in 1947.
Wilhelm died on July 31, 1928, at the age of 66 years. He had worked hard all his life and in the end suffered from anemia. He left behind a good farm, and did a good job of helping raise a large family. After Wilhelm's death, Julianna continued to farm with the help of the family that was still with her. Times were hard in the thirties, and the family worked hard to help make ends meet. They milked cows and sold butter when the store could buy it, sometimes for as little as ten cents a pound. A flock of chickens produced eggs for the family and the surplus was sold, sometimes for prices as low as five or ten cents a dozen. Roosters were important in those days as farmers hatched their own chicks from eggs under the clucks.
For a couple of years in the dirty thirties there was no money to run a car so Julianna drove a horse and buggy to town and to visit neighbors. Unfortunately some of the horses were hard to handle and there were runaways - the last time the buggy wheels were broken and Julianna had some broken ribs too. That was the end of that mode of transportation.
The family bought an old tractor but it soon gave up the ghost and they bought another one. Horses were then mostly used for doing chores, pulling the grain wagon and the sleigh when roads were blocked in the winter.
Julianna died in her home on March 20, 1944, at the age of 75 years. She is remembered by all as a very gentle, kind, compassionate and hard working person. She had no formal education but she liked to read and was very good at figures, frequently working out the answer in her head before others could do it on paper. She could never be tricked.
Wilhelm and Julianna started a large family and to the best of our knowledge they are survived today (1991) by three sons, 44 grandchildren, 75 great grandchildren and 75+ great great grandchildren.
1916 Canada Census Additions and Subtractions
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to William J. Milner, March 8, 2001.
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