Jacob Neudorf, a furniture-maker, born June 29th, 1844, married Anna Peters, daughter of Herman Peters, in Chortitza, Russia, in 1865. Their first two children, Helena and Jacob, died in infancy but more babies continued to come and a number of them lived to grow up. There was Heinrich, and Susanna, and Herman, and Anna.
When baby Anna had been a year old, she had a boil right at her left hip joint. A doctor lanced it to drain the boil but accidentally also drained the natural lubricant in the joint. This affected her growth of course, and as an adult her one leg measured eight inches shorter than the other one. She walked with a high firm boot to support her ankle on a lifted sole, and she walked with a falling step or tilt.
(When this little girl grew up she became my great-grandmother).
Anna was about three when she got a baby sister named Helena. Anna was nine when her brother Jacob came along, and eleven at Peter's birth. But barely two months later, the baby Peter died. The following January 30th their mother died too.
Their father re-married on December 28th, later that same year, 1886, to a Katharina Reimer, a popular seamstress in Chorititza, who made fur coats and other exquisitely hand-stitched clothing. So it is doubtful that the two girls' workload decreased much. Besides, their stepmother soon bore more babies into the family. There was little Katharina the following December, then a new Peter in 1889, and Diedrich on March 7th, 1891.
That was also the year of the big trip on a huge ship to Canada. They prepared to emigrate as a family and had tickets to leave October 7. Bundling up as much as they could, they went to the big port city.
Back in the village a young man, Johan Veer, who was very fond of Susanna, was begging his father for permission to go catch up to them and go along to Canada. His father pleaded with him to stay and offered him the choicest of his horses if only he'd stay. Suddenly Johan's mind was made up. He knew what to do. Pell mell he hurried off to follow the Neudorf family to the port city, and at the ship, just as they were boarding, Johan persuaded Susanna to come back with him and marry him the very next day.
Anna long remembered that as a most tear-filled day, as they had to say goodbye to Susanna and leave her behind, never to see her again. Susanna was 20 and Anna 17. They missed each other terribly. Through correspondence Anna knew that Susanna later had three little girls [NOTE: more recent research says she had six children, of which two were sons, named Johan, dying in infancy, and at least three were girls, also dying very young, and we're not sure what the sixth was]. Then Susanna herself passed away and news from that family simply stopped.
Johan Veer married again; to a proud, fashionable woman who came to visit in Canada many years later, but all the Neudorfs said that she was not to be compared to their beloved Susanna.
The Neudorfs arrived in Manitoba on December 1, 1891. They stayed the winter at Mrs. Neudorf's brother Abram Reimer's place until spring. Then, on April 22, 1892, they reached the Rosthern area, still part of the North West Territories, as Saskatchewan didn't become a province until 1905.
The young Anna was slim and fine of feature, weighing about 95 lbs (36 kg) most of her life, but she was serious and could do a great deal at her deliberate, steady pace. Having one shorter leg didn't slow her down much. A good match for the godly, disciplined and thorough Isabrand Friesen she met at Rosthern.
To continue - (Part 1 - Elisabeth's Childhood