Nicolai and Sanda Kelba left the village of Boian, Bucovina in 1899 in the month of April, with their son John who was three. They came as far as Winnipeg and since they had no more money they stayed behind with six other families. Here they built little huts where the families stayed. The men went working on the railroad tracks and by September, they had enough money to take them to Edmonton. In Edmonton they were met by some friends and eventually homesteaded at Boian.
Like all pioneers they worked very hard. Nicolai walked as far as Calgary looking for a job on the tracks. In winter he stayed on the farm where he worked clearing as much bush as he could, getting it ready for ploughing in summer. Oxen were used at first. Since Nicolai had only one ox at first he teamed up with a neighbor who also had one ox. The first year Sanda dug some land by spade enough for a big garden and some wheat which she planted the next spring. When it ripened she threshed it, cleaned it, bagged it and took it on her back to Whitford where it was ground into flour. By this time she had a baby girl and she had to carry it with her wherever she went.
In 1916 Nicolai bought a new 2-ring Ford car, one of the first in the district to have a motor vehicle.
Nicolai lived to be seventy-nine years old and Sanda passed away at the age of eighty-three.
Birth and marriage records from church books. Boian, Bukovina
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