Bones & Blossoms: Return to Kronstgard


“Brother Heinrichs, the local storekeeper, offered a lot next to his store. It was a beautiful location, on the banks of the Joubert Creek…”

I read those words in the 1981 edition of the Grunthal EMB church directory.

My great-grandfather Heinrichs had donated this land, original site of the church I had grown up in (but he had never actually attended). But where WAS this site?

I’m not sure if there’s a way to know… but this new knowledge made me want to revisit Kronstgard and glimpse the Joubert that flows behind it.

I decided I wanted to revisit “Peter Wiebe Road” to get to Kronstgard.

Awkward side note: that road sign is gone. I wonder if that means this isn’t actually a road. (That would explain its unusual grassy appearance.) If that’s the case, then this is all very embarrassing.

Nevertheless, since discovering this “road” in 2018, and subsequently realizing it leads to Kronstgart cemetery, I’ve been wanting to take this stroll. It was very peaceful. And, hopefully not illegal. (That missing sign situation is a little unnerving.)

This time I was alone and walked along just thinking about the fact that this area is storied, and some of that intersects with my own past… even if I’m not at the exact right location and don’t know any of the actual details.

This was in early May, so about a month ago. I saw these blossoms which the bees absolutely love:

And also these bones.

And then I found the cemetery.

The last time we were here, the mosquitoes were unbearable. We probably spent about 45 seconds total before we jumped back into our car in a panic to escape mosquitoes out for blood.

This time, all was quiet and serene. No bugs at all yet!

I went to the edge of the cemetery and scrambled down into the ravine.

I wanted to investigate this place that may or may not have had anything to do with my great-grandfather.

I’d been in the process of learning about him from my uncle, but we were never able to finish the conversation.

So now I guess I’m just kind of scrambling on my own, much like the manner in which I scrambled down to the creekbed of the Joubert, to look up at the ridges lining the ravine, and think about how the history books say there were beautiful trails there, on either side. Surely my family had walked these trails, even if the store wasn’t located precisely here.

I’m trying to put the pieces together, why I wanted to come back and why it may or may not be significant:

Neubergfeld. The 1981 Grunthal EMB directory states that the church was formed in the New Barkfield (Neubergfeld) area in 1956. Apparently folks had heard that the “Gospel Hall at Kleefeld” was not in use and they thought maybe it could become a new EMB church. (I will come back to that Kleefeld Gospel Hall situation in a future post.)

Lister School East. Apparently this church got its start with youth meetings in this school building. I looked this up in the Historical Atlas of the East Reserve and apparently about 2.5 miles directly south of Kronstgart. Apparently there was a store and a cheese factory near Lister but both moved north to the area that was later “referred to as Barkfield”. I wonder if the store that was mentioned had been my great-grandfather’s store.

Heinrichs’ store & the Joubert Creek. There is a picture in the directory of a “Barkfield Church baptism in Joubert Creek”. It is not especially helpful in locating where along the creek this was, though.

Spencer. The Atlas says that the Kronstgart area was later known as Spencer, after the school. This is the school that my great-grandfather taught in, and this is why he and my great-grandmother are pictured in the Spencer (Grunthal Bergthaler) book even though they didn’t attend that church either. They lived next to the school. This site is just half a mile north of the Kronstgart cemetery.

I’m getting a little scrambled trying to figure out if the site of the Kronstgart cemetery along the Joubert Creek is anywhere close to the land my great-grandfather donated to the church.

This might require an evidence-board.

The quest continues.

Related posts: 

Why Did No One Tell Me?!

Spencer: This Book is a Weird One

Kronsgard Cemetery Location SUCCESS