An Excerpt from
“Prairie Grass to Golden Grain”
The Rosenzweig and Neverka Story
By Mike Rosenzweig
This story begins as told to me by my grandparents, Peter and Barbara (Oberding) Neverka who left their home in Glogon, Austria, and settled on a homestead in 1904, one and one half miles west of where the village of Horizon was later established. They lived in a tent for a while, prairie grass, three feet high, surrounding them on all sides. They were the first to settle in this area. Gradually more homesteaders arrived. Occasionally, a number of tents could be seen, set up in the Neverka yard, which belonged to the Land Titles Officers who came through from Moose Jaw with prospective homesteaders. They would camp there until their claims were staked out, then move on to their own land.
One night while some men were camped there, a fierce electric storm came up. Two of the men were struck by lightning and were killed. Marks wee left on their feet from the nails of their shoes when the lightning struck them.
My grandparents, after living in a tent for three months, hauled lumber from the town of Forward with team and wagon. With this lumber, they built a two room house.
There were many prairie fires in those days and night, could be seen for miles. To protect what buildings they had, they plowed fire-guards around them.
Peter and Barbara Neverka had a family of six children: Wenzel, Peter, Sophie, Barbara, Frances (my mother), and John.
Wenzel Neverka homesteaded close to Horizon, south of the railroad tracks. He later moved to California where he lived until his death, about 1978.
Peter lived one mile northwest of Horizon until he moved to Regina where they lived for many years. Both have since passed away.
Sophie married Frank Rosenzweig and lived two and one half miles west of Horizon beside Channel Lake, sometimes spoken of as Horizon Lake.
Barbara married Mike Nagy and moved to California.
John the youngest of the family, made his home in Chicago.
Frances married George Rosenzweig. He also came from Glogon, Austria to California in 1908. He crossed the Atlantic in a cattle boat. In 1909 he came and settled in the Horizon district, taking a homestead one mile southwest of Horizon, S1/2 25-6-25. He hauled lumber from Forward to build a small house and barn, bought horses at twelve hundred dollars a team and broke up his land. In 1910 he married Frances Neverka. A son Michael (Mike) and a daughter, Frances, were born here. When Mike was three years old, he and the farm dog wandered off into a wheat field. The wheat was tall and he got lost in the field. The family searched for him for an entire afternoon without finding him. While the family was still looking for him, the dog led him out of the wheat and back to the yard.
For years, Grandmother was noted for raising white ducks, having at times on hundred and fifty to two hundred ducks. They could often be seen swimming on Channel Lake, making good targets for hunters that happened by. Some used feathers from her ducks for making comforters and pillows for the family.
The Rosenzweig family lived on this half section until 1918 then moved to British Columbia where Dad worked in a brick factory.
Another son, George, was born while we lived in Kelowna.
In 1920 Dad, Mother and the three children moved back to the farm near Horizon and I remember how glad I was to be able to walk to my grandparents’ home and to visit again.
Grandad and sons (my uncles) had by then purchased a big Rumley steam outfit, doing their own work with it, as well as breaking land and threshing for others.
Later that year, Dad sold the farm and we moved to California, where he worked in a tool foundry. We still have some of the chisels that Dad made while he worked there. Farming was still in my father’s blood, so in 1924, we sailed to Vancouver and from there, we returned to Saskatchewan to farm again. This time we lived in a large, two-story house with ten rooms. This house at one time belonged to Joe Harley, but in the meantime he had sold it to W. K. Schmidt. This was located on half mile west of Horizon, beside the railroad track. The trees can still be seen there, but the house burned down in 1929.
I attended Horizon School along with Frances and George.
About 1924, we were saddened by Grandfather’s death caused by a ruptured appendix.
One Halloween, Palm Gilbertson, Fritz Fleischhaker and I thought we would have some fun. We saw twenty-five gas barrels on the C.P.R. station platform. We rolled half of them over to Main Street and left them there. Bert Scott had the Imperial Oil Bulk Station at the time in Horizon and had loaded these empties on the station platform to ship out. We told no one we had done this. In a day or two, a C.P.R. detective came to town to find the culprits. As luck would have it, he never found out who did it, but there were sure three scared boys.
The same night, we three boys played a trick on Peter Grund. In those days, there were outdoor toilets. Just the objects to create some Halloween mischief. We moved the toilet to the back of the home and quickly disappeared. Next day at school, we heard that Mr. Grund, upon visiting the toilet, fell in the hole. He was not in the best of humor over this ordeal, but he never found out who did it.
In the nice weather, every day after school and sometimes at noon, we used to skinny-dip in the lake. It was lovely swimming here. Sometimes we would dive in off the bridge where the water was sixteen feet deep.
In 1927 came the sudden shock of the death of Grandmother. She and her brother, Wenzil Oberding, were on their way to Regina by car when something happened to the car. She got out, and was walking across the highway when an on-coming vehicle hit her. Her death came instantly.
The dry years began and in 1930 my family moved to Art Bennett’s farm three miles south of Horizon. Dad rented this farm for a number of years. While we were living here my sister, Helen, was born.
Mother was still a member of the Homemakers’ Club in Horizon and often could be seen, she and Helen, going to town with horse and buggy.
In the summer of 1937, I worked in the Horizon restaurant for Kwan Ben. I did cooking, cleaning and serving in the café for thirty-five dollars a month, plus room and board.
At this time I owned a lovely black riding horse named Queen. My chum, John Planzner also had a black horse, and we had them trained to jump the stooks. When we were riding and came to a graded road, they would jump the ditches, often much to our surprise. One time we were riding and stopped to talk to some friends who were in a car. All of a sudden, John’s horse, Jeff, reared up and planted his front feet on the hood of the car. We had many hours of enjoyment riding Queen and Jeff.
The war years began in 1938 and in 1942, George went into the army, he stayed in the army for the duration and went overseas for a year, until coming home in 1946.
In 1940, Dad bought the Sam Garrett farm, S1/2 5-6-24 and in one years’ time, we moved there.
In 1956, Mother passed away, after spending four and one half years in wheelchair.
We, Dad, George and I stayed on the farm until 1957; then due to Dad’s ill health, the house was moved into Bengough and we farmed from town. Dad passed away in 1960. George and his wife, Marge, still lived in the house.
Frances married Stan Tomlinson. They live in Bengough in the wintertime and on their farm in the summer. They have one daughter Joyce, and two sons, Norman and Gary.
Helen married bill Dickson. They live in Bengough. They have tree daughters; Carol, Coleen and Donna.
I also live in Bengough, with my wife, Edith (Ambrose) and we have one son Michael. I still enjoy farming the home place and it keeps me occupied during the summer.