The Krause Family of Old Silberfeld

I bet that tree was here when the Krauses settled in this spot.

Okay let’s get one thing straight — I may have three different sources in front of me about Silberfeld, East Reserve, but when there’s a map to a cemetery, I get major tunnel vision.

I directed Andrew directly to the cemetery of what the Historical Atlas of the East Reserve calls “Old Silberfeld”, paying zero attention to the write-up about the spot in the book.

We arrived, and found a very nice cairn set up next to a very old tree on a well-kept yard very close to the road, so we felt okay to get out and look at it.

There is only part of one headstone remaining, as far as I could see, and it seemed to be unreadable.

Meanwhile, I thought I was visiting Old Silberfeld, but when I faced the cairn I saw the name “Krause” over and over again. So now I call this the Krause Cemetery. Also, because that’s what it says on the cairn:

Upon actually reading the write-up in the Atlas I realize I shouldn’t have been surprised to see that this place is all about the Krauses. Old Silberfeld was a few meters outside the East Reserve boundary, in Taché. The Atlas says the Krause family purchased land here from a Métis family.

Next, I refer to East Reserve Reflections, a book created and compiled by Karen Peters in 2000 to commemorate the 125th anniversary of settlement here. There is an entry for Silberfeld which is written by a great-grandson of Johann Krause who resurrected the place name of Silberfeld on this side of the Red River. Apparently there had previously been a Silberfeld somewhere around here, but the village was soon abandoned when many East Reserve settlers just found this area too difficult to wrest a living from. The Krauses had also made this move to the West Reserve in this wave… but they did not find success yantzied. So the Krauses returned and purchased land here on this spot in 1894.

I have one more source to which I can refer quickly: The Atlas of Original Mennonite Villages on the East Reserve, Manitoba by Rempel & Harms. This book was published in 1988, so they did not have the advantage of being able to refer to the interviews in East Reserve Reflections. On the map I see the name Krause associated with Silberfeld, but the family name is not mentioned in the writeup, which instead speculates that perhaps the odd settlement of this village was the result of poorly drained land. That is something I want to think more about.