John Hutscal was born May 12, 1888 to parents Gheorghe and Maria Hutscal in Boian, Bukovina. While still a young man he had heard neighbors talking about Canada, a country far away but where there were jobs, land, and a future.
He, at age of 17, in 1905, along with his younger brother Nicolai left their native village for this land of promise. Once they disembarked at Halifax, they took the train and came as far west as Lethbridge. They then decided that each was to go his own way.
John was hired to work on the railroad C.P.R. He was sent to Calgary, Banff and Kicking Horse Pass. While working in that area the great Frank Slide disaster was very much in the news. Years later John still talked about this tragedy. In 1903 a huge Rocky Mountain rock slide buried the mining town of Frank 45 feet deep in 100 seconds. Some sixty-six people died.
After two years of labor, John, who was a very hard worker learned basic English and was advanced to position of section foreman. This meant he could ride the hand car, quite a change from the pick and shovel. He stayed as foreman till 1911.
During this time he had heard of a place called Boian, Alberta. Longing to see and be with his people, he left his job with the railroad company and travelled north. On reaching his destination he discovered that he had an uncle Petre Hutzcal living in that area. It
was here, too, that he met his brother Nicolai whom he had not seen for a few years.
His uncle encouraped both nephews to purchase land in the area. John purchased the homestead S.E l5-5fi-N W 4th, and Nicolai bought a quarter section a mile east of John’s place. With some help from a carpenter friend, Elie Rawluik, Ion built a strong log house or his homestead. The location was a very picturesque one. He chose a south-east comer of his homestead, a flat area, as the rest of the quarter was quite hilly. To the north and west of the fartnvard were high hills ivhich protected the lami buildings from the strong northwest winds. Not far from the house a babbling creek flowed continuously, at leasl during the rainy season, emptying itself into Matei Lake, as il was locally known. Across the road lay the fairly large lakt1 itself.
Once his house was completed John decided to go out and earn some money before settling down. He took a job with a friend Bill Harrison (who k still alive today at 95) whom hi? had met at Banff, Together these two young men worked at Swift’s Packing Plant in Edmonton till the fall of 1913. At this time John decided to quit his job and return to his homestead. In a short time he married Domnica Cucheran, daughter of Ion and loana Cuchieran. Domnica was bom on June 6r 1H97 also in Boian, Bukovina. She had emigrated to Canada with her parents in 1899 at the age of two.
After the marriage the young couple settled in the new log house and began farming together. Both were hard workers and soon cleared much of the land to make a living for a growing family. Ten children were bom to this couple but unfortunately Mary, born in 1417, died in 1923 of diptheria.
Be5ides fanning, John took an interest in community work and for many years for the municipality, building badly needed roads. The money earned was
used for paying taxes. Since horses were used so much for doing the work, John took a great interest and pride in these draught animals. He was constantly trading them in order to get animals of a better breed. He was one of the first farmers to introduce the Pinto and Clydesdale in the Boian district.
In 1935 John took ill and on January 11, 1936 he passed away. Three days later, Domnica, now heavy with child, followed the sleigh carrying her late husband, drawn by two powerful horses so beloved by their master, to the grave on the hill at St. Mary’s Romanian church at Boian, where he was laid to rest. Father Vasile Cohen performed the burial service.
Two weeks later Domnica gave birth to her last child, a chubby baby boy. Left a widow with a large family, she was determined to hold the family together. She continued to farm till all the children grew up and left to make homes of their own. All her life Domnica was devoted to the church and helped in the community whenever she could. She embroidered beautifully and was an excellent cook. Often hiring out as a cook she prepared delicious meals at weddings and parties. She had a beautiful singing voice and this trait was inherited by some of her children. When she retired she lived in Willingdon where she owned her own home. When she was weaker she spent her remaining years in the local Senior Citizens’ Lodge. On August 8, 1983 she died and was buried at Boian.
Her daughters Mrs. Katie Radesh and Mrs. Sarah Eliuk and son Gordon live in Vegreville. George lives in Hairy Hill while Floyd and Mike live in Vancouver. Mrs. Katrina (Dan) Suprovich and Mrs. Jean (Pat) Shewchuk live in Edmonton. Nick who was a bus driver for some thirty years in Edmonton built a Romanian style house on the old homestead overlook-ing the valley and lives there in retirement.
Ion Hutcal birth record.
Ion was born on May 29, 1888. Father – George, son of Vasile Hutcal. Mother – Maria Bzovi. Godfather – Mihai, son of Nazarie Iurco.
Maria Bzovi birth record.
Maria was born Oct.7, 1864. Father – Vasile, son of Nicolai Bzovi. Mother – Maria Mihalus. Godmother – Paraska, wife of Vasile Karstea.