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 was 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 here.

Allgaier: What year was that?

Kueng: 1932.'

Allgaier: When were you born?

Kueng: I was born in 1919.

Allgaier: Whe

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 five then?

Kueng: I don't know, between four and five.

Allgaier: Did the government sponsor your parents or did you come otter an your own steam?
Kueng: I don't know how we came over. It wasn't a governmentsponsorship. The men had to work for farmers and theylanded in 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?

Keung: Yes.

Allgaier: Was that wheat farming?

Keung: Yes. Dad was wheat farming which was done by horses in those days.

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 came 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 team.

Allgaier: Do you remember the name of the Company?

Kueng: Yes, Meyer and Campbell.

Allgaier: Did you come straight up to Cranbrook Hill?

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 live now?

Kueng: They have a lot of cattle.

Allgaier: It's not at the Neff's corner?

Kueng: No, it's farther.

Allgaier: Off to the right.

Kueng: Off Neff's corner, you go down McFadden~

Allgaier: They live beside Elmer Teschke`s.

Kueng: Yes, next to Elmer.

Allgaier: That's 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  moved into a big log house on a farm on Otway Road.  Evasko's farm. Dad drove the team at the planer mill which was down below.

Allgaier: Is that where Otway Road is now?

Kueng: Yes.

Allgaier: Was the farm close to there?

Kueng: Yes, right next to it.

Allgaier : Who had the farm?

Kueng: I 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.

Allgaier: What 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 Penny.

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.

Allgaier: When they got the homestead, where was the first piece of land where they were living?

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 name?

Kueng: Russman.

Allgaier: That's a name I hear quite often.

Kueng: Really, it's not a common name.

Allgaier: Do you have sisters and brothers in town?

Kueng: Yes.

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 then?

Kueng: Up here.

Allgaier: On the property that you're on now?

Kueng: Back where the barn was.

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 name. My daughter Anne, who lives in Burnaby wrote a letter to Chester Jeffries. She 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.

Allgaier: When 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 up on May 12th and the following January the school opened up.

Allgaier: Where was the school located?

Kueng: Where the green house is.

Allgaier: The 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 and 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 house. 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 lives there.

Allgaier: Did they have all the grades?

Kueng: Yes, from one to eight.

Allgaier: Do you remember any of the teacher's names?

Kueng: Our 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 just incredible.

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 teacher?

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 you have?

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 you were.

Allgaier: Did you have a community hall up here?

Kueng: No. When they had a Christmas concert, it was in the school house.

Allgaier: Did 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.

Allgaier: Did 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 prizes.

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 order 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?

Kueng: Of 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.

Allgaier: You 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 up 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 that idea?

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 were 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 firewood.

Allgaier: Was all of Cranbrook Hill like that?

Kueng: Pretty well.

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 potatoes.

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 they come?

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.

Allgaier: You 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 that.

Allgaier: We forgot to talk about the homestead that your parents started out on. The government gave away land, $2.00 for eighty acres which was not cleared.

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 horses.

Allgaier: Most of the people who lived up here were all homesteaders?

Kueng: Yes.

Allgaier: Was that land enough to support people?

Kueng: No, they were on relief in those days.Now they call it welfare.

Allgaier: At least you were able to grow your own food.

Kueng: We got $19.00 a month relief. There were ten people in the family.There was 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?

Kueng: When 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.

Allgaier: Why 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?

Kueng: No.

Allgaier: No Cranbrook Hill Social Club?

Kueng: No, there was no community hall.

Allgaier: When did they stop having school up here? Did all your children go to school up here?

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.

Allgaier: Did they have school buses?

Kueng: No, not at first.

Allgaier: Did they walk down?

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 Otway Road.

Allgaier: Otway Road was the main road?

Kueng: Yes.

Allgaier: Did 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 farm 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.

Allgaier: Did 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 it?

Kueng: Yes, in those days you went to where you could make some money.

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 oldest?

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 William's 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 he?

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 here.

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 was 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 Streckenbach come?

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 now?

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 there.

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.

Allgaier: Were 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 Cranbrook, B.C. so it was named Cranbrook Mills. He came and opened a sawmill here.

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 Teschke's?

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 Hill.

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?

Kueng: Yes