History can be seen as a relay: children learn stories from their parents and grandparents, and then grow up to share those stories with their own children and grandchildren.
The Elk Point Library and the Elk point Historical Society are keeping that relay baton moving forward. The Historical Society’s latest publication combines living history with family stories from generations ago.
Family Histories of Elk Point and District: Centennial Essays by Students of Elk Point and Heinsburg Schools 1967 was originally compiled in Canada’s Centennial year. Students from grades 3 to 12 were asked to write what they knew of their family history, and their essays were collected and kept in the Elk Point Library.
According to Marvin Bjornstad, the remaining copy at the library was well-used. The library and the Historical Society felt the best way to preserve the stories was to re-issue the book.
“As the essays became a more valuable part of the community’s historical knowledge, the Elk Point Library wanted to preserve them and still allow them to be circulated,” Bjornstad said. “So the Elk Point Historical Society took on the task of making them more readily available to the general public.”
Of course many of the young authors are still in the area today, and there are a lot of familiar local surnames in the book’s pages.
The students’ writings reflect not only on local history, but hint at conditions in “the old country”—whichever country that might be — that moved people to relocate to Canada. There are also stories from Indigenous students relating their parents’ school days, including references to residential schools.
“The essays are a cross section of family stories about Elk Point and Heinsburg pioneering families often with very different stories about their life before arriving in the area, their early experiences, and their life in 1967,” Bjornstad said. “Some are very short, and some are very detailed but as a group they give a very interesting look at the very diverse background of the community’s residents.”
Copies of the book are available at Elk Point Realty, Elk Point Insurance, Elk Point Library, and in St. Paul at Dr. Miller’s St. Paul Dental Care. All proceeds go to the Elk Point Historical Society for their ongoing historical projects.