HARDSHIPS experienced by the homesteaders

    -finding drinking water and water for washing and cooking
    (hauling water if there was no water nearby, digging a well)

    -making most of their clothing and other items needed
    (it took a lot of time to make everything)

    -walking or travelling great distances to school, to town, to church
    (lack of roads, difficulty crossing creeks, rivers)

    -finding enough firewood for heating and cooking
    (having enough wood to last the winter)

    -finding materials for a home and other buildings
    (forced to live in sod homes if no trees were nearby)

    -sod homes were very uncomfortable
    (dirty, leaked, damp, drafty, insects)

    -families lived in a small one room house
    (crowded, no privacy)

    -clearing the land so they could plant crops
    (cutting down trees, digging up roots, picking rocks)

    -crops and gardens were destroyed
    (drought, prairie fires, hail, floods, early frost, grasshoppers, prairie fires)

    -not used to the harsh weather
    (long cold winters, hot dry summers)

    -a lot of hard work to produce a small amount of grain
    (work was very time-consuming)

    -getting help for harvesting
    (entire family had to help)

    -lack of money to buy equipment and tools for farming
    (machinery and tools were expensive)

    -hunger or starvation
    (had to grow enough food to last for the winter)

    -fishing, hunting and trapping for meat to eat
    (had to store and preserve food so it would not spoil)

    -not enough money so men had to leave home to work elsewhere
    (work : mining, building the railroad, building roads)

    -women were left at home to do all the work
    (caring for the children, planting crops, tending to farm animals)

    -caring for farm animals, keeping livestock safe from wild animals
    (providing food, shelter and water)

    -annoying biting insects like mosquitoes and black flies
    (bug bites were unbearable for people and animals)

    -farm accidents, illness, home remedies were used if a doctor wasn't nearby
    (there were no hospitals and very few doctors)

    -loneliness, missed family and friends in their homeland
    (nearest neighbours were several miles away)

    -winter blizzards, heavy snowfall, very cold temperatures
    (couldn't go out, forced to stay at home, livestock died)

    -fear of getting lost, especially during winter blizzards
    (no landmarks, roads, or fences to follow)

    -difficulty communicating with others
    (people came from many countries, spoke different languages)

no roads, just trails


leaving Moose Jaw for the homestead


sod shack with a well


Before working the land the rocks had to be picked.


Everyone helped with the haying - cutting, gathering, hauling, storing.


Many homesteaders could not overcome the hardships. They gave up their homesteads and moved away.
Others endured and with a lot of hard work they remained and were able to prosper.


May 2017

Web Pages for Students
by J.Giannetta