Interview with Pauline Kueng
Interview with Mrs. Pauline Kueng was taken at her house on Cranbrook
Hill. The interviewer is Anne Allgaier. The date today is June 1, 1987.
Mrs. Kueng was born in Brabander, Russia in 1919. She came to Canada
with her parents in
1924. She married Joe Kueng in 1938. They had four children, one
daughter and three sons.
Allgair: How do you spell your last name?
Kueng: The name is spelled Kueng It's a Europeon name and the spelling
Ku with two little dots over the u and ng. When my husband took out his
citixenship papers before we weremarried,
his name was changed to the English spelling which is Kueng. The two
little dots take place of the "U". We pronounce it "Quing".
Allgaier: I understand that you are the oldest, long time residenton
Cranbrook Hill. Is that right?
Kueng: I was into my teens when we came up
Allgaier: What year was that?
Allgaier: When were you
Kueng: I was born in 1919.
Kueng: In Brabender, Russia.`
Allgaier: When did your parents come to Canada? Did you
come with your parents?
Kueng: Yes, I came with my parents. When they
came out of Russia, l was too young. I asked my mother how old I was
when we left Russia. She said they left in January and in October I had
turned two and the following January they left Russia. That was after
the Revolution. They came to Canada in 1924. From Russia they went to
Germany. I can't tell you if our Dad came over right away into Canada
or not but I know my mother, a sister that was born in Germany and
myself stayed in Germany and came later. I can remember being in
Germany and coming over on the boat.
Allgaier: You must have been about
Kueng: I don't know, between four and five.
the government sponsor your parents or did you come otter an your own
Kueng: I don't know how we came over. It wasn't a
governmentsponsorship. The men had to work for farmers and theylanded
in a little town called Kendel in Saskatchewan. That was a German
community and was strictly farming.
Allgaier: Your father made his
living working for a farmer?
Allgaier: Was that wheat
Keung: Yes. Dad was wheat farming which was done by horses in
Allgaier: When did you come to Prince George?
Keung: We came
to Prince George in November, 1927.
Allgaier: Can you remember why your
parents moved here? Did they ever tell you?
Keung: We were out on the flat
prairies and the wind would blow in the winter time and they would talk
about how nice the weather was in B.C. Actually I don't know why they
to Prince George. When our Dad did come here, he worked for a logging
outfit. First he worked in the bush sawing logs or driving a
Allgaier: Do you remember the name of the
Kueng: Yes, Meyer and Campbell.
Allgaier: Did you come straight up to
Kueng: We lived for one month in town. Then we moved up
to the Hill. We lived in two little shacks. One we lived in and the
other was for storage. Hildebrandts live there now where the pond is
and on the other side is a hill.
Allgaier: Where do Hildebrandts
Kueng: They have a lot of cattle.
Allgaier: It's not at the
Kueng: No, it's farther.
Allgaier: Off to the
Kueng: Off Neff's corner, you go down McFadden~
live beside Elmer Teschke`s.
Kueng: Yes, next to Elmer.
where you had your place first?
Kueng: It wasn't our place but Dad worked
in the mill and we lived there as there was no other place to live. A
few other people lived around there in shacks. In the spring we
into a big log house on a farm on Otway Road. Evasko's farm. Dad
team at the planer mill which was down below.
Allgaier: Is that where
Otway Road is now?
Allgaier: Was the farm close to
Kueng: Yes, right next to it.
Allgaier : Who had the farm?
don't know if the Company owned it or rented it.
Allgaier: There is
nothing left of it now.
Kueng: No, the house which was made out of square
logs was there for the longest time. They destroyed it.
kind of farm was it? Did they have cattle?
Kueng: They had hay fields
and across the road towards Cranbrook Hill, they had a big garden and a
hay field. The Company put in a garden and mother worked in the garden.
The Company had fresh green vegetables for their table. In those days
you couldn't run to town and get them. Times kept getting worse and
worse. The mill moved to Penny.
Allgaier: Was that still Meyer and Campbell?
Keung: Yes, still Meyer and Campbell.
Allgaier: They moved to
Keung: Yes, everybody that wanted to moved along with them. They
were there nearly two to three years and then in 1932 we moved back to
Cranbrook Hill. Times were slowly getting worse. The depression was
starting. They had saved a bit of money and were dipping into their
savings so they thought it was time to try and start something else.
They heard about the homesteads from the Government.
they got the homestead, where was the first piece of land where they
Kueng: At the corner where the house burned, across
fromTeschke's. Stolberg has it.
Allgaier: The corner of Cranbrook Hill
Road and Roughton, where., the the white and Green house used to be.
Kueng: No, a
white house. A little green garage is there now.
Allgaier: That's where
your parents had their first place? Whatwas your maiden
Allgaier: That's a name I hear quite
Kueng: Really, it's not a common name.
Allgaier: Do you have
sisters and brothers in town?
Allgaier: How many brothers and
sisters did you have?
Kueng: There were eight of us in the family, six
girls and two boys. One brother is still here and one died.
Allgaier: When did you get married?
Kueng: In 1938.
Allgaier: Where did you live
Kueng: Up here.
Allgaier: On the property that you're on
Kueng: Back where the barn
Allgaier: Do you know the name of the road then?
Kueng: It was Sindon Road but it is Kueng road now. It
had no name then. I told the kids the reason the road got the name of
Sinden Road was the year the Boston Bruins had won the Stanley Cup and
Harry Sinden was their coach.The guy that was painting the signs up
here at the time was a fan of theirs. That's how Sinden Road got its
daughter Anne, who lives in Burnaby wrote a letter to Chester Jeffries.
told him that. He found it hard to believe. How would he know because
he wasn't here at the time. The reasan.Anne thought, should have our
name on it was that her dad cut
the road out of the bush with an axe and saw. It was good enough to
drive through as there
were no cars in those days. It was horse and buggies and sleighs in the
winter time. He cut it out to go through with the team. She thought
there was no reason why his name couldn't be on the road sign. They
discussed it and made up their mind to change it. When you go down to
Kelowna, all the oldtimers names are on the street signs and some are
hard to pronounce and some aren't. Anne felt Cranbrook Hill should be
doing the same thing in honoring their older citizens.
you lived here in the early thirties on the corner white house, did you
go to school up here?
Kueng: There was a nice little school here. At
first it was a small school, log building. The men got together, my
husband and another fellow who were carpenters did the building part.
The others helped to bring out the logs and hewed them. My parents came
May 12th and the following January the school opened up.
was the school located?
Kueng: Where the green house is.
Neffs use to live there?
Kueng: Yes, the piece of land was donated by the
guy who owned it.
Allgaier: Do you remember who that was?
Kueng: .John Grozny. When
that school got too small, they built a bigger building for a school
that was used for the teacherage.Sometimes there were teachers who were
couples.Those buildings are still here. One is on Hildebrandt's place.
You go past Hildebrandt`s house and there's an English tudar
Right behind it is one of the buildings. A little farther up the
road the smaller school is there. One of the Hildebrandt's boys
Allgaier: Did they have all the grades?
Kueng: Yes, from one
Allgaier: Do you remember any of the teacher's names?
first teacher is still living in the Rainbow Hostel.She is para zed
now.Her maiden name wasWinnifred Tyner.
Allgaier: I don't know ,but her
but her sister Isabel, and also she's Winnifred Lonsdale now. We are
interviewing her too.
Kueng: You interviewed her.
Allgair: We have already interviewed Isabel Ford. Winnifred Lonsdale is
her sister. I don't know if you knew but Isabel's and Winnifred's
mother had collected all kinds of memorabilia about Prince George. Its
Kueng: They were
one of the earlier ones that came here.
Allgaier: There is a diary of her mat
the Museum which is absolutely fascinating because it is filled with
all kinds of things.
Kueng: As a matter of fact she came down the
river by boat to Priorge.
Allgaier: Did you have Mrs. Lonsdale as a
Kueng: Yes for a short while. In those days you could quit
school at fourteen. In January the school started and that June I quit
school in grade six as they needed me at home.
Allgaier: Who else did
Kueng: I didn't have any other teacher up here.
Allgaier: I keep
thinking that in the next grade you would have another teacher but i t
wasn't like that. Do you remember any interesting things that happened
when you went to school? Did you have to stoke the fire?
Kueng: Yes, the
teacher or one of the bigger kids would stoke the fire, bring in wood
and things like that. The men would get the firewood. Everyone
co-operated in those days. There was no difference as to who or what
Allgaier: Did you have a community hall up here?
Kueng: No. When
they had a Christmas concert, it was in the school house.
the people who lived here have picnics or social events?
Kueng: No. There was one picnic held
up here. It was a small affair.They were playing softball.
they celebrate Victoria day or July 1st?
Kueng: Not up here, no. The kids would walk to town. Each
had fifty cents or twenty-five cents or whatever it was from their
parents as money was so scarce in those days. They would come home with
all kinds of prizes. They would go in the races and win the
Allgaier: What did kids do who wanted to go further on in school
from up here?
Kueng: In those days it was practically impossible as
times were so hard.You had to live through the depression years in
to understand how tough they were. They went to grade eight and then in
town to grade twelve.
Allgaier: Did the kids help their parents at home
or did they go out to work?
Kueng: Yes. They had to help at home.
Allgaier: Did it cost money to continue on to high school?
course, you had to pay. I don't know you actually had to pay. Our
daughter when she was old enough to go into town to school stayed with
my sister and we paid her what we could. We gave her meat, eggs and
vegetables and money too. She went through grade twelve.
were married when?
Kueng: In 1938.
Allgaier: You lived out where the old
barn used to be. Was that land cleared at that time?
Kueng: No, people did
their own clearing. You walked into the bush and that's where you put
your shack to live in until you could build something better.
Allgaier: Did your husband have a sawmill?
Kueng: Heavens, no. Where did you get
Allgaier: It seems to me that some people got their land,
cleared it and had a sawmill at the same time.
Kueng: We didn't do
anything like that. My husband was a millwright. He built and ran the
mill at Penny.
Allgaier: What did he do with all the trees he cut
down? Did he burn them up?
Kueng: In those days a lot of cord wood was
sold. Fire had gone through the area at one time. A lot of the trees
standing, balsam and spruce trees. The biggest ones were this big
around. Some of them had limbs but the needles were burned off. They
were kind of dead but they were still standing so they made really good
firewood. Everyone got busy and cut them down and sold them for
Allgaier: Was all of Cranbrook Hill like that?
Allgaier: I guess that's why we find old dead trees out there.
Kueng: You find some fallen over with no limbs.
Allgaier: Most of the
people would sell that in town?
Kueng: You got $3.00 a cord.You did
everything you could toget a little extra money.
Allgaier: What are
some of the things that people did? I know Teschke's sold
Kueng: That wasn't in the early days.That was later on.
Teschke's weren't even up here in the early days.
Allgaier: When did
Kueng: They were at Six Mile Lake.
Allgaier: Do you
remember when Teschke's came up here?
Kueng: No, I don't know the year
they came up.
Allgaier: I was under the impression that he came here in
the thirties sometime.
Kueng: He was here when I got married.
were here in '32.
Kueng: .We were here in '32 and I got married in '38. He
came sometime before that as he was here when I got married.
Allgaier: Was his land cleared then too?
Kueng: No, none of it was. People got
these bigger fields later on when things got a little better. The
government gave out a loan to farmers for land clearing. You had to pay
one payment a year and it wasn't too high. You could handle it. If that
hadn't happened they wouldn't have the bigger fields.
Allgaier: Did they
do that by hand or were they able to get machinery?
Kueng: It was done by
a land clearing outfit, several cats and bulldozers and things like
Allgaier: We forgot to talk about the homestead that your parents
on. The government gave away land, $2.00 for eighty acres which was not
Kueng: Not cleared, just bush.
Allgaier: They expected everyone
to clear the land by hand.
Kueng: You could do what you liked with it.
The first five years you were supposed to clear five acres. They didn't
care how you cleared it but they gave you five years. You could clear
an acre a year. Before the land clearing outfit arrived, my Dad had a
stump puller, a thing with a drum and a cable around it. You had a
horse hooked on it and the horse drove it. They hooked, the cable on
the stump and you started the horse. That wound the cable up and the
stump kept coming out. They used dynamite.
Allgaier: Did individual
farmers have these things themselves or were they able to rent it? Did
they share it?
Kueng: We had one we bought. You could make some of them
yourself. They used the horses to pull the stumps. First they would
blast them. Then you would pull them out bit by bit with the
Allgaier: Most of the people who lived up here were all
Allgaier: Was that land enough to support
Kueng: No, they were on relief in those days.Now they call it
Allgaier: At least you were able to grow your own food.
got $19.00 a month relief. There were ten people in the family.There
no hay.You had to buy it. Even if you had a cow or two and maybe a
pig, you had to buy the feed for chickens and everything.
Allgaier: Did they
give you more money if you needed it?
Kueng: Yes, a little bit but you
had to fight for it, especially if you had to go to a dentist.
Allgaier: Things started getting better when the war started?
the war started, they opened up an army camp down there on the jackpine
flat where the
men went to work. They got fifty or sixty cents an hour.
were there so many Germans up here? It seems that a lot of the families
that originally started out up here were Germans.
Kueng: Yes, but we
didn't get to know a lot of them until after they moved up here. A new
country was being opened up and a lot of them had immigrated from
Europe. They couldn't speak the English language very well so if you
hear that some of your own people were here already, you would go there
as you can communicate with them.
Allgaier: They never formed a formal
organization, a club?
Allgaier: No Cranbrook Hill Social
Kueng: No, there was no community hall.
Allgaier: When did they stop
having school up here? Did all your children go to school up
Kueng: No, the last two didn't. Bob finished school here in grade
eight. His birthday is in October and when school started he was only
five. I put him in as I thought if I left him out until the next year
when he was six, then he would miss one year of school. When he
finished grade eight the school shut down. That's when they integrated
the schools in town, the country kids with the town kids.
they have school buses?
Kueng: No, not at first.
Allgaier: Did they walk
Kueng: No, they didn't walk. I think we had car pools.
Allgaier: That road was more or less passable.
Kueng: It wasn't right at the
start. It was a rather grim road. For awhile they were driving down
Allgaier: Otway Road was the main road?
the Highway Department look after that?a
Kueng: No, it wasn't any better then
than what it is now. I thought it was good when they integrated the
kids with the town kids. A lot of the people didn't think the same as I
did. Everybody was dressed the same. There wasn't that class
distinction any longer. Everybody wore jeans whether it was a doctor's
kid, lawyer's kid or a farmer's kid. It was all the same.
the kids like going down there?
Kueng: They didn't mind. By the time my
younger two boys started, there was a school bus. John was born in 1955
and David was born in 195?. They went to the townschool.
Allgaier: What was farming like?
Kueng: Farming was good. Everybody worked as hard
as they could. There was a lot of hard work. One comment was made by
one of the businessmen down town. He had a grocery store where everyone
shopped on Third Avenue. When they had their meetings and getting
together, he said that a lot of produce came off the hill for the size
of the productive, cleared land.
Allgaier: What sort of things were
people growing then? Did they have market gardens? Did they grow
vegetables for people?
Kueng: Things grow good up here. They grew
vegetables and sold them downtown. They had pork or beef, whatever they
could afford, a little bit of grain. There was no hay sold in those
days. Whatever they grew, they needed for their own.
Allgaier: Was it
productive enough for a family to support themselves? Did you have to
supplement that quite a bit?
Kueng: Things got better and as soon as the
kids could, they went working. Milk and cream were sold. We didn't live
in those days like we do now. Our mother could really sew and was a
very good manager. Now we buy most things. If a mother has a dress that
is too small, you throw it in a box or cupboard and go to town and buy
something. Your girl, for example. In those days if you had a dress
that was too small for you, it would be made down for her. They had
rummage sales where you bought clothes and things like that.
Allgaier: People didn't waste much.
Kueng: They didn't waste anything. Everybody
ate well. You weren't sick anymore in those days than you are now.
People out here are generally a pretty healthy bunch. There was very
little sickness in those days.
Allgaier: Did people do any hunting up
here? Did they shoot a lot of moose?
Kueng: Yes. Our Dad never went
hunting as he wasn't crazy about moose meat but held eat it if it was
done up in hamburger style. You would mix a little bit of fat pork with
it, garlic and seasoning. That made it good. First Joe got the eighty
acres and then whatever land we have we bought afterwards.
Allgaier: When did things start getting better up here?
Kueng: I really can't tell
you. It was when the war started. They started building the army camp
and the men went to work there.
Allgaier: Did any men from up here go
down there to work?
Kueng: Yes, they all did.
Allgaier: Just to build
Kueng: Yes, in those days you went to where you could make some
Allgaier: Has your family been in the cattle business all
these years? You must have had cattle?
Kueng: We did.Our dad died a long
time ago. John was one year old then.
Allgaier: Is John your
Kueng: We have four children. Our daughter is the oldest, then
our oldest son. When he was ten years old, we had John and then David.
David is twenty-nine, the youngest, and lives downtown. John is
thirty-two and lives on our old place. Up until then, the folks sold
milk. What animals they didn't need, they would butcher and would be
sold as beef. In those days it was sold in town to the butcher shops.
Williams Meat Market usually bought it. Williams Meat Market was a real
godsend for the people up here as everyone shopped there. What you
couldn't pay in money, he would take beef or eggs for it. He helped the
people a lot that way.
Allgaier: Which Williams was that?
Kueng: G.B. Williams. The store was on Third Avenue. It was called
Market. Ted Williams is one of the sons. Olive is his wife.
Allgaier: Mr. Williams had a store there for quite a long time, didn't
Kueng: There is another son Chuck. He lives out at West Lake.
Allgaier: Do you like living out here?
Kueng: I don't mind it. I would
rather live up here than in town.I know it's awful quiet when you live
alone. When there are more people around, there is nothing wrong with
it. I have my house and a lot of memories. The kids all grew up
Allgaier: When did you move to this property?
Kueng: Bob was about
two years old. He was born in 1944 so it was around 1946. In 1982 it
fifty years that I've been up here. I came up in 1932 so in 1982 it
would be fifty years.
Allgaier: In 1932 when you came up here, were you
the only family or were there lots of other families?
Kueng: There were several families.
(tape shut off and some conversation missing)
Allgaier: They lived out in Pineview and she was telling me about this
funny character. He was a batchelor.
Kueng: There were a lot of batchelors in
those times. Talking about relief, a batchelor got $5.00 a month.
Allgaier: And a family of ten got $19.00.
Kueng: A family of four in
town would get $35.00. If you went in, they would tell you that you
were on land. You have pigs, cows and horses. They didn't stop to think
that you had to buy feed for the animals. You were better off living in
town in a way. In those days the town was really small, 2,500
population when we came. There was always a big patch that they could
have for a garden. A lot of them kept cows in town and a pig to butcher
in the fall and chickens for their own eggs.
Allgaier: When did
Kueng: They came after the Second World War. The
people who lived there originally were called Tom and were the first
people to come up here.
Allgaier: They lived where Strechenbach's live
Kueng: No, they live where the sign "Farm for Sale" is now. August
Fichtner's lived where Serup's are now. The old house is still
Allgaier: The old house is the Fichtner house?
Kueng: Yes There were Gorozny's where Neff's placewas. The house is
still there.Across from Neff's where Birkman's are and
back in a piece, there is an old house.
Allgaier: That's where Claire Taylor
used to live.
Kueng: She had the barn and a little further down was a
house. The other Fichtner brother lived there. Down the road the other
way was Ryell, they don't live here anymore. Some of the kids live in
town. There was Hildebrandt's and a batchelor by the name of Beck,
another batchelor by the name of Tom, a brother to the guy that lived
up here. There were sawmills up here owned by Fichtner's. That was when
things started to pick up. They had several sons and when they started
getting older he decided to start a sawmill.
Allgaier: I think Mr. Seida was
was following too, wasn't he?
Kueng: No, he worked there. Seida's came after
the Second World War.
Allgaier: Were they sawmilling the old trees or
were they all gone by then?
Kueng: They sawed green trees.
they the only two sawmills up here?
Kueng: There was only one sawmill.
The other sawmill was here when we
arrived. You know where Seida's lives now at the top of the hill.
That's were the other sawmill was. The hill was not Cranbrook
Hill. It was called Cranbrook Mills. Meyer Campbell came from
B.C. so it was named Cranbrook Mills. He came and opened a sawmill
Allgaier: Is that where Seida's lives?
Kueng: Yes, where Seida's lives
now. They have a dairy farm.
Allgaier: Who owned all the land beyond
Kueng: Seida's bought that. He cleared it all. They lived on Fichtner's
old homestead and there was only eighty acres and they needed more
land.Eighty acres is not very much to do anything worthwhile.
Allgaier: They must have sold that to some land developer?
Kueng: They subdivided and
sold it. You folks bought some,Vibergs, Creuzots and Uarchlewitzich(sp)
and a few others.
Allgaier: Now we know why Cranbrook Hill is called Cranbrook Hill.
Kueng: After the
mill left they changed it from Cranbrook Mill to Cranbrook
Allgaier: What did they call it before Cranbrook Mill?
Kueng: Cranbrook Mills until it was changed.
Allgaier: Life was pretty
settled up here, was it?
Kueng: Exciting, you mean?
Allgaier: Not very
exciting, nothing bad going on up here.You lived straight lives and
were church going people?