Green Valley Cemetery

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The Green Valley Cemetery.

The Green Valley Cemetery is in the Oras district of Alberta, Canada it is a small country Cemetery situated on the southwest corner of the southeast section, about 5 miles east of Rocky Mountains House, Alberta, Canada.

Mr. Eston Olson Hoel was the first to be buried there in January 1911. As was customary in the early days. He was buried on the family property. Caskets were homemade, as were headstones and markers. Floral tributes were native boughs and flowers, arranged on spruce and pine boughs. Graves were hand dug by family members and neighbors.

As more settlers arrived in the district, it became apparent that a cemetery was needed in the community, more land was acquired from John Olson and was registered in the name of Green Valley Cemetery Company. The title to this property was received March 6, 1915.

There are approximately 30 burials in this cemetery. This is the final resting place of many of the early pioneers of the Oras district. Most of the people in this picture that was taken at Eston’s funeral were no doubt later buried in the same cemetery. The very tall man in the left side of the picture is my great-grandfather. He was a very big, tall, muscular Viking.

Eston Olson Hoel my great uncle, was born at Kaafjord Norway. He came to America with his two brothers Simon and my great-grandfather Ole. They all married, in Norway and started families there before coming to America. They worked in the copper mines near Calumet Michigan. Eston  married Marie Kaisa Nelson. Their children were Edward, Lena, Ole, Ida, Anna, Hattie, Alfred, John, Felix, and Julia.

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They all decided to move their families west to farming country in South Dakota. They settled around the towns of Hayti and Lake Norein, that area was growing rapidly with immigrants from all of the Scandinavian countries. In 1906, Eston decided to move his family north, my great-grandfather went with him. Simon stayed in South Dakota, he and his wife Christine had six daughters, no sons. My grandfather Andrew stayed with Simon to help him farm his land.

Ole and Eston moved north and farmed around Rice Lake and Ryder, North Dakota. They lived there for a few years. It was so dry, a cousin told me there was not even any tumbleweeds to blow around in the hot dry wind. The scorching hot sun had that farmland baked until it was like clay pottery, there would be no farming done there until the rains returned

The word was spreading in the area that there was still land that could be bought for $10 an acre in Alberta, Canada. The Hoel and Karlsen families packed up their belongings and headed north. When they got to Red Deer, Alberta, that was the end of the railroad line.They had to use oxen and wagons to move everything West to Rocky Mount House and to what is called the Oras district.

They were not young men anymore, all born in the 1840’s but they went to work clearing trees from the land and started farming there at the foot of the beautiful Canadian Rockies. We made a trip to visit that country about 30 years ago. I can understand the call that my forefathers were following, that has to be the most beautiful place in Alberta. We found the old Green Valley Cemetery and took some pictures, these last two picture shows the vandalized cemetery.

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