Isabelle & Wilfred

First Home on Homestead

Wilfred and Isabelle Lepine settled in the Pierceland, Saskatchewan area in the early 1900’s. Isabelle said years later that when she first saw where she was to live she would have cheerfully gone back to North Battleford. Theirs was a hard life as was the lot of most of the early settlers. They had only themselves and a few neighbours to count on. They had to build what they needed or go without. Time meant very little, it was get up in the morning and do what had to be done that day. Milk the cow, feed the stock, haul and chop wood, they had many daily chores that had to be done. They found time to play with each other as well as the neighbours, they got together to sing, dance, play games, and just visit. They treasured their time with each other.

Wilfred hunted and trapped in the winter, fished in the summer. There as always wood needed for not only cooking and heating, but building the items them needed for comfort. Whether it was a chair and table, or the house they lived in. Isabelle took care of the children, cooking, cleaning, sewing with cloth and leather. She took care of the garden, canned vegetables, berries that they picked, the meat that wasn’t smoked, fish that wasn’t smoked. She dried meat as well.

They had eight children, as the children grew they helped with the duties around the homestead and still found time to be children. The older ones helped take care of the younger ones. The children learned how to do all the things that the adults did, plus brought their own talents to the mix.

As I worked on this picture I saw things in the picture that were needed to make their life easier. A sleigh, rifle, an lantern hanging from the eaves. The house does not look like much, but it would have been very neat and clean, Isabelle would not have had it any other way.
The house only had 2 windows, glass was very hard to come by, most of the daily living was done outside, so light in the house was not as important as it is today. When darkness fell it was time to relax and then go to bed. Isabelle did a good portion of her sewing by lantern or candle light.