Tell Me About Eigengrund

This past summer, Andrew and I spent a day exploring the West Reserve. (Obviously one day is NOT enough, but it’s all we had!) I had asked for suggestions as to lovely cemeteries to visit.  And we were pointed in the direction of Eigengrund.

View from the road.

It’s very near Altona. That must be why it says “Altona” at the top of the sign.

I was thrilled to take this lovely little path into the midst of the section where the tall old cottonwood stood guard.

View from the cemetery, looking back at toward the road.

So. Does anyone know anything about Eigengrund? I don’t, and the Harms-Rempel atlas says precious little about it, either. So, I googled it. I learned that “Eigengrund” apparently means “privately-owned land”.

Also, I found this page online, which says:

“This photo is of Ron Braun [aka Joe Braun] standing on the left side of the marker erected at the Eigengund cemetery west of Altona, Maniotba. On the right side is his bother Ken Braun. The cemetery was over grown and almost forgotten for decades when around 1990 it was cleaned up due to a perons whanting to be burried there. Since then the cemetery has become active.”

(Note: I apparently don’t know how to use MAID, because I couldn’t figure out how to get that photo to show up.)

The below cairn says:

“Johann’s family arrived in Moorehead Minn from Russia in 1875 and moved west of Fargo in 1876 and then settled in Canada about 1878. Their family homesteaded this quarter section in 1880. Sarah’s family arrived in Canada from Russia in 1874 and settled on the East Reserve. They moved to the West Reserve in 1881. Sarah and Johann were married in 1883. They raised a family of twelve. Sarah being a kind and gentle person was loved by all. This monument was dedicated to her parents by Susanna Harder in 1989.”

I have a problem with the statement about Sarah being a kind and gentle person who was loved by all. This rankles me. I mean, I’m sure it’s a true statement. And I can think of many kind gentle women whom I love a lot. BUT. It irritates me that this is the only thing about her that was important to point out. It’s so innocuous, so vague, as if everything else she did in her life, every other characteristics she demonstrated, were nothing compared to how “kind and gentle” she was. I feel like this kind of message perpetuates the idea that women must be nice and agreeable all of the time. NO. I will be nice to people if I feel like it. But I never feel an obligation. I reject the idea that women have to be consistently “kind and gentle”. I’m concerned that this kind of socialization is what makes women become victims of violence — not being socialized to know in the moment that they are right to be furious and turn around and announce the man behind them is groping them and now there’s hell to pay. Or whatever situation. You know what I’m saying. Viva la difficult woman! /rant

Anyhoosle. Here’s another cairn!

This cairn says:

“No one and none are forgotten. Placed here in memory of descendants of the following families who are buried in unmarked graves:
Jacob & Katharina (nee Schwartz) Braun family A
Johann & Maria (nee Nickel) Schwartz family B
Johann & Sara (nee Schwartz) Braun family C
Abraham & Anna (nee Falk) Braun family D
Wilhelm & Katharina (nee Rempel) Schwartz family E
Aganetha Braun   11 Mar.1883   3 Aug.1884   A
Agatha Braun   18 Nov.1870   3 Aug.1884   A
Katharina Braun   4 Dec.1871   6 Aug.1884   A
Maria Schwartz   17 Jan.1886   12 Feb.1886   B
Peter Braun   29 Jan.1887   29 Jan.1887   C
Katharina Schwartz   13 Aug.1884   1 Dec.1887   B
Helena Braun   18 Dec.1889   7.Oct.1895   D
Bernhard Braun   2 Feb.1900   2 Feb.1900   D
Peter Schwartz   16 July 1900   16 July 1902   E
Agatha Schwartz   12 Sept.1897     1903   E
Johann Schwartz   20 May 1890     1903   E
Gerhard Braun   1 Feb.1907   20 Feb.1907   D
Agatha Schwartz   23 July 1903      1907   E
Jacob Braun   14 July 1911   14 July 1911   C
Abraham Hiebert   22 Mar.1849   8 Apr.1913
Anna (Put) Janzen
Helena Braun   10 Sept.1905   10 Sept.1905   D
Jacob Braun   28 Mar.1916   3 May 1916   C
Jacob Braun   26 Jan.1917   26 Jan.1916   D
Heinrich Braun   24 Dec.1917   25 Nov.1918   D
Aganetha Braun   20 May 1919   29 May 1919   C
Jacob Braun   2 Sept.1918   21 Oct.1919   C
Martin Braun   25 Nov.1920    30 Nov.1920   C
Johann Braun   22 Nov.1923   23 Nov.1923   C
Bernhard Braun   16 Nov.1925   17 Nov.1925   D
Lena (Helen) Braun   4 Jan.1928   4 Jan.1928   C
Jacob Braun   26 Feb.1939   26 Feb.1930   D”

Those names and dates tell many sad stories.

It really is a lovely cemetery, almost like an oasis in the middle of a field. Wonderful the way it’s been kept up. Check out this charming bench, under a HUGE cottonwood!

Andrew sat upon the bench, in the shade, while I explored.

Perspective 1: me taking a picture of Andrew.
Perspective 2: Andrew taking a picture of me.
What are these concrete dots? I imagine the caretakers of this cemetery have been filling in badger holes with concrete…?
Many badger holes indicate bodies buried below. Badgers like to dig in among them.
Pretty headstone.
My favourite author.

Thanks for joining me in my exploration of Eigengrund. I wish more cemeteries were kept up like this. If you know about this spot, please let me know!