Elk Point's Cemetaries

 

by Irene Magnussan

The settlers around Elk Point and in the village soon had to provide a space for their dead as well as their living and the first recorded burial was in the West Cemetery.

The N.W. 1/4 of 36-56-7-W4 was owned by Mr. Goben. Part of it lies in that area known as the Sand Plains. One day a group of friends were picnicking with the Gobens at a spot on their land overlooking the beautiful Dog Rump Creek Valley. Mrs. Goben was so taken by the peaceful view, she remarked that it was a place she would like to lie in her last rest.

Shortly after, almost prophetically, (Mrs.) Susan Goben passed away, on August 4, 1910, having lived only the short span of forty-two years. Her husband respected her wishes, and she was buried there on the western edge of his land. At the same time he donated the surrounding few acres as a cemetery for the district.

For many years the records were under the care of the Rev. and Mrs. Harry Day. An association was formed in March of 1968, with Ronald Flanders as president and Marvia Soldan (nee Valentine) the first secretary. Grace Pinder is presently secretary. An attempt has been made to re-map the plots, to ensure correct name-plates, and to mark those few unmarked graves.

An additional acre of land to the east was donated in 1968 by Metro Eliuk, who owned that quarter-section at the time.

A day is set aside each June when families and friends gather to tidy and beautify the cemetery. It is indeed a lovely spot, graced in summer by fragrant saskatoon blossoms and abundant wild strawberries; stately spruce and the valley to the north make it a most peaceful resting place.

The old road to the West Cemetery often posed problems, in winter or after heavy rains, as the steep pitch up from the creek could become icy or heavy with mud. The new road in past the air-strip renders the cemetery much more accessible.

The Elk Point East Cemetery is located on the north-east comer of S.E. 6-57-6-W4, (that is the old part) and was obtained by Lars Johnson from (Mrs.) Nina Myers, original homesteader of that quarter. The first burial there was Ludwig Johnson, son of Lars Johnson, who died on August 25, 1912, at the age of thirty-three years.

Later, more land was required, and an additional plot was purchased from Lars Johnson, who owned land across the unused municipal road allowance to the east, on S.W. 5-57-6-W4, by the town of Elk Point. This was in the early 1940's, and Martin Aarbo was hired to plow, level and seed the land down to brome grass.

The East Cemetery - like the West Cemetery - non-denominational. It is easily accessible, and over-looks a small body of water called in early years Johnson Lake. The spot is neat and green, and there is a calmness under the wide expanse of sky.

For many years Lars Johnson kept the records and cared for the cemetery, the task being carried on by his son Oscar following Lars' death. The Elk Point Town Office is now in charge of records and arrangements in the East Cemetery.

As more settlers came, various groups felt a need for their own church cemeteries. In September, 1954, 1.5 acres of land was donated by Mike Powlow to the Ukrainian Catholic Church for use as their cemetery. C.A. Johnson was paid $15.00 to register transfer of title. This plot was located on the south-east corner of S.E. 2-57-7-W4, just south of the C.N.R. tracks running west from Elk Point, and overlooks the evergreens and willows of the DogRump Creek Valley to the south.

The first occupant of the new cemetery was Mr. Wm. Kiucik, who died in March, 1956. Official records were kept for some years by Peter Krawchuk, these duties being passed along to his son, Harry Krawchuk, who is presently in charge.

In the same area, a few years later, the Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church received the donation of a plot of land from Fred Shewchuk, who then owned that quarter-section. In 1959 the church group received title to their plot, also situated on S.E. 2-57-7-W4. Mr. John Libich passed away on January 26,1960, and became the first to be buried there.

This cemetery also overlooks the green and lovely valley, pink with wild roses in summer and watched over by the blue Alberta sky. It is a tranquil spot, where old friends may rest side by side in harmony, just 1/2 mile west and 1/2 mile south of Elk Point's outskirts, blanketed with Canada's good earth, serenaded alike by the meadow lark and the mournful whistle of the infrequent passing trains