This is my first post about Scratching River without the word “cemetery” in its title… but don’t be fooled! This is 100% about a cemetery. Here it is!
It’s not much to look at. That’s because it is very old. Likely the markers were all wooden and disintegrated within a quick generation. Thankfully, the information that this is indeed a cemetery was passed down through the community and this spot was largely left alone… and is today marked by this beautiful cairn:
It’s possible you may not be able to read that, so I’ll write it out for you here:
Rosenhoff Pioneer Cemetery 1874-1907
This memorial is in honor of our ancestors who came from Russia in 1874 to settle in the Rosenhoff & Rosenort area. Behind this memorial is an unmarked cemetery where some of them have been buried. Of the 22 graves, only 8 names are recorded. They are Delegate David Klassen and his wife Aganetha, Mrs. Abram D. Klassen, Mrs. Henry L. Friesen, Peter H. Friesen, Aganetha K. Eidse, Mrs. David B. Klassen & Mrs. Gerhard Siemens.
For God knows how we are formed. He remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass. He flourishes like a flower of the field, the wind blows over it and it is gone and its place remembers it no more. Psalm 103:14-16
Again, just for clarity’s sake, the above italicized statement is exactly what is etched on the above cairn.
This spot is significant because it’s the burial of a Delegate, David Klassen.
You know how people are always saying, “Ugh, the weather in Manitoba sucks, who’s fault is it that our ancestors chose to settle here, anyway?”
Yeah, it’s the fault of the Delegates — the guys the Mennonites in Russia chose to send to North America to scout things out and recommend whether they should go or stay. Most hated Manitoba and turned it down, and instead advised their people to immigrate to the United States instead. But a small handful of men gave Manitoba the thumbs-up… and here we are today.
Honestly I’m not even complaining. I love Manitoba. One thing I love about it, is that it’s so generically unlovable. Manitoba can be a real pain in the ass, and I’m good with it. Keeps the crowds at bay a little bit.
ANYWAY. David Klassen had first settled on the East Reserve for a hot second before pulling up stakes and heading over to the Scratching River Reserve instead.
And, here he lies today.
Kitty corner to this cairn, is the Riverside Centennial Park, and the site of the former Rosenhoff School.
I neglected to scan that QR code. I’m only noticing it now. When I was there, in the moment, I was looking at the picture of the little school, trying to picture it in this place. The trees seem to have been non-existent at the time. I wonder if David Klassen’s grave was still clearly marked when this school was built.
Anyway, it’s a neat historical corner to visit the next time you’re in Rosenort/Riverside!