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Jacob and Eve Zeller and Family

The family of Jacob and Eve Zeller"Both Jacob’s and Eve’s parents came to the U.S.A. from Germany about 1840 to avoid conscription.  Both were born in the U.S.A. Jacob fought in the Civil War for the north, but Eve and her family supported the south.

They were married on June 27, 1867, in Ohio, and bought and took over the Bookmiller farm (Eve’s parents). To this union, one daughter and six sons were born.

With no opportunities for such a large family on an eighty-acre farm, they decided to come to a new fronteier and take advantage of free land.  So they came in 1907 with six sons. Della, but this time, was married and remained in Ohio.  The homestead location was SW ¼ 22-19-16 W3rd.  The family all had high school educations, some taught school, and some others worked in the oil fields in Indian Territory – now Oklahoma.  Some of the men folk had come in 1906 to file on hojesteads and to bui9ld meager living quarters for their families.  They came by train in April 1907 and shipped by freight car their settlers’ effects – machinery, household supplies, a cow, and feed for the cow.  The parents Jacob and Eve, were in the centre of a half circle of sons.

The first years they used the basement for a kitchen and living room.  The bedrooms were upstairs.  There was also a small basement dug below the level of the wooden kitchen floor.  Some of the sons were married before the big move to Canada in 1907.

Eve kept busy reading her Bible, knitting, raising a garden, and reading.  They were mnot school educated people, but through the years educated themselves by reading anything available.  The “Literary Digest” was read from cover to cover.  Jacob was interested in politics and Congressional records; Eve in her family and her home.  She raised one baby calf a year on dish slops and raw eggs.  The money realized from the sale of this calf was used to buy wool for the knitting of swocks and mitts – sold privately, or through Getterman’s store.  That money was her church money.  The whole family belonged to the Evangelical Church, and Eve always made the unleavened bread for communion.
Perhaps once a year, each of the sons and wife and family were invited and entertained at a family meal.  But every Sunday evening, as many of the sons as could, plus their wives and families gathered at “home” to visit, exchange ideas, and sing.  Eve sounded the tuning fork, each took is or her key, and away they went, siging hymns in part.  No lunch was ever served, but the grandchildren always found the old handmade sugar bucket full of the most delicious big sugar cookies.  Each Sunday night also found the cookie jar empty – accomplished by two-legged mice.  The grandchildren always played games or ran or yelled.  Their favorite game was “hide and seek.”

In later years, Jacob spend many hours fishing in the South Saskatchewan River off the stone bar near the Pennant Ferry, driving there with old Daisy hitched to the buggy.  The Zellers’ diet included many meals of fresh gold eye.
One of the activities enjoyed by all, which was work, but also fun, was “butchering day.” Six or seven pigs were killed, scalded in the old barrel, scraped, gutten, and hung to cool.  The ladies cleaned ans scraped and turned the casings (intestines) and when the cooled meat was cut up, the leavings were ground for sausage meat or lard.  The lard was rendered in the huge cast iron kettle, the sausage stuffed, and the meat cured all in one day by a gang of neighbors and relatives.  Each family went through this yearly.

Jacob gave up active farming in 1923.  The farm was sold to Blake Shaw in 1929.  In later years Jacob and Even went to Ohio or California in the winter time, returning to the farm each spring.

They celebrated their 50th and 60th wedding anniversaries here, but after their 60th, decided to stay permanently in McComb, Ohio (their first home town), where they bought a small house.  Jacob died shortly after their 65th wedding anniversary.  Even then mostly visited her families in Ohio, Saskatchewan, and California, for several years and then finally went to a Senior Citizens’ Home in California and died at the age of eighty-five years."

Source: Pennant and District History Committee, River Hills to Sand Hills, 1983, pp 783-784
Copywrite University of Calgary, 2008.

With particular thanks to Ray Martinson...



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