Musijowski, Joseph

THE MUSIJOWSKI FAMILY 1reftext77_125.gif

by Paul and Olga Musijowski

Father, Joseph Musijowski, was born May 1, 1882, in Bolice, Poland. Mother, Sophie Ozechowski, was born September 21,1887, also in Bolice. They left Poland in 1906 because of the war, and went to Detroit, Michigan. They were married in 1907, Father worked as a steam boiler operator and mother worked in a tobacco factory. In 1911 they came to Canada. They had some friends who told them there were cheap homesteads to be had. They looked around until they found some of this land around Elk Point and there they settled.

Friends helped them build some buildings -- all done by hand. They covered the outside with sod and plastered the inside with clay. Mother's parents also came to Canada later. They stayed in the same yard until some more land could be found. Furniture, such as benches for chairs, and beds, were made from wood. Mattresses were made from gunny sacks filled with straw or hay.

A well was dug by hand and cribbed with wood. Water was pulled up by rope and pail. They had an outside dutch oven in which the bread was baked. Candles made from tallow were used for light. Tallow was poured into a jar with a string down the middle, to be lit.

Father went to work as a steam boiler operator in Vermilion. Mother stayed on the farm. Sometimes father had to walk to Vermilion to work. Roads were just trails across the country. People did a lot of walking. Some had oxen for travelling.

A school was built two and a half miles from home. The children walked, the older boys attending when they didn't have farm work. School was open only during the summer months. There were about twenty children attending Gideon Lake School.

Since the doctors were far away, home remedies were used. Cough syrup was made with beets and sugar. Garlic was used for colds.

A church of logs, with all work done by hand, was built at Angle Lake. People met at church. Sometimes they visited each other.

Later on people had horses to travel with to the store and post office, which was six miles away. But many people walked.


Home of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Musijowski. Taken in 1976.

The people kept opening up more land by brushing with an axe, then breaking with two horses and a walking plough. The farmers seeded wheat and coarse grains for feed. Father used four horses to plough.

At certain times of the year, the ferry could not operate. Then the farmers had to go to Derwent.

In 1918 many people got the flu. They used garlic for medicine.

When the depression came, times were very hard. Everything was so cheap it was hard to make enough money for clothes. Father used to sew clothes for us. He made mittens from old socks. When we got a pair of shoes, we really had to take good care of them. We went barefoot in the summer.

There were twelve of us in the family -- ten brothers and two sisters. Five brothers have died. Those left are John, Mike, Annie, Mary, Paul (myself), and Emil. Father moved to Elk Point to retire in 1955.

Paul married Olga Gulajic in 1942 during the war. We had a small wedding on the farm. We went to Vermilion to buy our wedding clothes but there was not much to choose from. Liquor was rationed; we had only an ounce for each person.

We were very poor when we were first married. We had only $100 and a few gifts for our wedding. We lived one year with my parents, then we bought a quarter of land to start farming. We had three children -- Leonard, Natalka and Allen. A few years later we bought more land. As the children grew up, they helped us on the farm. We carried on mixed farming, as this was the best way to make some money.

We farmed for thirty years. Now we have sold our farm and live in Elk Point.