Women who were born and raised in cities before becoming settlers in western Canada endured so many difficult adjustments.
Mary Bednarz Ziomek had been a maid in a wealthy household in Poland before coming to Canada. In 1919, she was 28 when she married and moved with her husband to a homestead north of Vermilion, Alberta. She was terrified the first few times her husband left her for at least two days to go to Vermilion for supplies. Mary gave birth to nine children, six of them delivered at home by her husband. When their second child was being born, they tied their two-year-old to a tree, so he couldn’t fall in the well while they were occupied with the birthing.
In 1907, Edith Vandiver Scoggins was twenty-two years old when she traveled with her husband by lumber wagon from her well-to-do city life in Missouri to a leaky log house near Beauvallon, Alberta. When Edith’s husband went away to work on road construction, he left her with a toddler, a baby, a heard of cows and no fences. Every evening before Edith went looking for cows, she tied the baby into a high chair in the yard. She stationed her toddler beside the chair, with instructions to sing at the top of her little lungs until her mother returned.
Mary Kotovich Yakimowich, born to wealthy land owners in the Ukraine, had no domestic skills except fine needlework, when she eloped with a peasant boy. They took up a homestead near Stoney Lake, Alberta. When her oldest child was 8 months old and her next child due in a couple of months, Mary’s husband left her to work in the coal mines near Drumheller. She gave birth to her second child and her next eight children alone. For the first ten years on the homestead, her husband only came home a couple times a year. On her own she learned how to keep cows, chickens and a big garden. She learned how to cook and preserve food without the aid of cookbooks or YouTube videos.