St. Ambrose Cemetery

This information cones from the St. Ambrose Cemetery web page on the Saskatoon Gen Web. I was compiled in August 1999 by Randi Bender.

Located on St. Ambrose Cemetery Road, off of Highway 45 between Swanson and Ardath in the rural municipality of Montrose, Saskatchewan. The cemetery was founded in 1902 and has served the communities of Ardath, Swanson and possibly Conquest, Saskatchewan.

In his introduction, Mr. Bender states “Although I transcribed as I saw, be aware that due to time, damage and many, many mosquitoes, there were times when the markers were difficult to read. ”

“Many of the surnames found in this cemetery are still found in the area today. One of the notables in this cemetery is Abraham Swanson who homesteaded in this area in 1905 and founded the town of Swanson.”

Mr. Bender has transcribed information from about 160 grave sites dated between 1908 and 1997.

SW-27-31-9-W3
51.681617 -107.202737

Unidentified Photos

Ida and Isabel

Photo of “Aunt Ida and Aunt Isabel”, and a photo of “Isabel and mother.” So Isabel and Ida were sisters of either Theolene or Abraham.

The postcard from Turtle River of June 1910 was addressed to A. D. Swanson in Swanson, Saskatchewan, and said “Dear Brother, 
How are you we are O.K. living here in Turtle [signed] Ida.”

Aunt Ida on left. Aunt Isabel on Right. Kregel Photo Parlors | Twin Cities.

Kregel Photo Parlors was active between 1910 and 1917.

Isabel and Mother. Clossett Print.

Hand-coloured portrait

Embossed: “Rembrandt Minneapolis”

Perhaps Clarence Swanson.

Portrait taken in Moorehead, Minnesota

Photograph by G. E Flaten, Moorhead, Minn. On back: “Isbell Svenson”

Jeff Swanson of Gull Lake, Minnesota (my brother) says that our cousin Tom (son of Telford) has some evidence that Abraham D. Swanson spent time in Fargo before embarking for Canada, where he founded the town of Swanson, Saskatchewan. Perhaps Fargo was a staging point for homesteading in Saskatchewan. Fargo is just across the Red River from Moorhead. Might this be a picture of Abraham?

Postcard to A.D.S., Swanson, Sask, 1909

Postcard to Swanson, Saskatchewan

To: Postmaster |Swanson P.O. | Sask | Canada
ADS
am shipping you car of potatoes for seed thats the kind we have here.
Will write soon
Warner
Postmarked Minneapolis, June 19, 1909.

Dominion Land Survey

Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan Homestead Records
No dates are given in the finding aid.

Tp. 031 Rg. 08 W3
Swanson, Abraham D. : NW 30-31-08-W3
Swanson, Abraham D. : NE 30-31-08-W3
Statement of coordinates (cartographic): ca. 51.6925, ca. -107.1377

Search of 51.6925° N, 107.1377° W on Google Maps.

Intersection of Highway 45 and Township Rd. 315

Other townships:
Swanson, Selmer : NE 19-22-12-W3
Swanson, Selmer : NW 5-34-02-W2
Swanson, Clarence : NE 5-34-02-W2

W3 = UF West of 3rd Meridia
The Second Meridian at 102° west, which forms the northern part of the Manitoba–Saskatchewan boundary
The Third Meridian at 106° west, near Moose Jaw and Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

Swanson, Saskatchewan

The hamlet of Swanson, Saskatchewan, Canada, is located on the Canadian National Railway about70 km southwest of Saskatoon along Highway 45.

Swanson, Saskatchewan
Click to open in Google Maps

Photos of Swanson, Saskatchewan, from the family collection

Canadian threshing crew. Swanson, Sask Canada. No date.
Grain elevators along CN rail line in Swanson, Saskatchewan.
Fire. Swanson, Sask. Canada

Information from other sources

Canada-Rail

Canadian Northern Railway station at Swanson. Source: Johnnie Bachusky, circa 1913

Prairie Towns

Town of Swanson, circa 1915

The photo was likely taken from the railway water tower located NE of the Railway Station. The stores pictured across the intersection from the RR Station are as follows starting from the far left of the photo.

  • Hotel operated by Mr. Belton & Sydney Pipe
  • Chinese Laundry operated by Joe Lee
  • General Store & Post Office operated by T.E. Warner
  • Swanson Mercantile operated by Mr. Stone & Mr. Cosgrove
  • Colley Hardware operated by Thomas Colley (It also housed Skjeie Meat Market)
    rounding the corner … the long building was * Dalton Wall Lumber Yard.

On a March night in 1921 a fire fanned by high winds destroyed all the buildings marked with an * above. Most were never rebuilt. Other businesses (not pictured, across the street, from those above escaped the fire). Fortunately, none of the Swanson residences were burned in that fire. However, several families were left homeless due to the fact that they lived in quarters at the back of their family’s business.

Post office opened on June 1, 1907. Closed on February 26, 1976.

Historical information courtesy of Pat Girwing

Saskatchewan History Album

Walter Sutherland

Walter and Ruth Sunderland came to Winnipeg, Manitoba, from England in 1904. A year later, brother Abram arrived, and in April, 1906, they moved to homestead north of Swanson, Saskatchewan on Section 12-32-9-W3.

We have many happy memories of our childhood days in Swanson: like Ethel’s first day of school. The teacher closed the classroom door, and it locked. So, Ruth drove the horse and buggy near the school window where Ethel and Mack Gilmour crawled in through the window. There were many times when the boys of the school hung Vera out the school window, and then waited until they saw the teacher coming back from lunch before they would haul her in again.

In the winter of 1912, Ruth took Ethel and Vera in to Swanson to see a traveling picture show, held in Anderson’s Hall above the hardware store. During the evening, the film caught fire. The audience all escaped, but the camera operator was badly burned trying to put out the fire.

Our first recollection of radio was listening, with ear phones on, at Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Wooltorton’s. Each of us had a turn for five minutes. Mrs. Wooltorton always had icing sugar sandwiches for lunch.

Sunderland and Beaton family plots are located in St. Ambrose Cemetery, southwest of Swanson.

William Beaton

William Beaton, the youngest member of a family of eleven, was born in Milan, Quebec, in 1877. His parents and grandparents had come with other Scottish settlers in 1840 from Stornoway, Isle of Lewis.

In 1902, he went to North Dakota, where he farmed. In 1905 he took a homestead south of Wiseton, Saskatchewan. He left when a rerouting of the proposed CNR left his land far from the proposed town site. He bored many wells in the Wiseton, Hanley and Dundurn areas, and also broke many broncos. In 1907 he bought land in the Ardath-Swanson district, and in 1909 married Florence Sunderland, whose family lived north of Swanson. William and Florence resided on S. E. 21-31-9-W3 until 1935 when they moved to S. E. 28-31-0.

Florence had come to Swanson in 1906 with her parents Edward and Elizabeth, to visit her brothers Abram and Walter (Ruth).

Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan

Homestead Records

Tp. 031 Rg. 08 W3
Swanson, Abraham D. : NW 30-31-08-W3
Swanson, Abraham D. : NE 30-31-08-W3

Swanson, Selmer : NE 19-22-12-W3
Swanson, Selmer : NW 5-34-02-W2
Swanson, Clarence : NE 5-34-02-W2

The land system in western Canada that was based on a grid survey developed for the Prairies by the Canadian government. The basic unit of the survey was the 36-square mile township that was divided into 36 sections. Each section was about one square mile (640 acres) and were divided into four quarters or into sixteen legal sub-divisions. Townships were numbered from south to north starting at the United States border, and numbered from 1 to 129. Ranges in Saskatchewan and Alberta (and parts of British Columbia) are numbered from east to west starting from each meridian, and ranges are numbered 1 to 34. Surveyors established seven meridians, which acted as baselines for surveying and numbering the townships.

W3 = UF West of 3rd Meridian


Abraham David Swanson

Abraham Swanson is buried in the St. Ambrose Cemetery located near Swanson, Saskatchewan. He died May 10, 1912, age of 30 years 6 months, placing his birth around November 1881. Abraham is the only Swanson in the cemetery.

According to an unverified version of a family tree, Abraham was born in Houston township in south-eastern Minnesota.

Abraham was married to Theolene Moen, also of Houston, and had five sons:

Selmer 1898-1985
Telford 1902– ?
Clarence 1904 ?–1943 ?
Grant 1906–1962
Roy (called Russel on his birth certificate ?) 1910–1996 (my father)

Roy was born in Swanson and probably Grant as well. The others were probably born in Minnesota. Abraham put down his occupation as farmer on Roy/Russel’s birth certificate.

The Houston, Minnesota, region was the birthplace of both Abraham and his wife Theolene Moen, according to the unverified family tree. In the 1950s and 60s our family and others from Roy’s side would go to Spring Grove for family picnics with a bunch of relatives from Spring Grove. I only saw those relatives once a year for a few years.

In the late 50s-early 60s, our family used to go to Spring Grove for a picnic with a bunch of other members of the Swanson family.

According to family lore, Abraham founded the town of Swanson, Saskatchewan, Canada. The hamlet is located southwest of Saskatoon along Highway 45 along the Canadian National Railway.

Click for the Wikipedia article on Swanson, Saskatchewan, Canada

Houston, Minnesota

Houston was incorporated in 1874. The community was named after Sam Houston, first president of the Republic of Texas. In 1852, William McSpadden platted the original site of the Village of Houston. McSpadden had served under Sam Houston in the Mexican–American War. Pioneers followed him into the area and by 1854 there were stores and a school among the approximately 40 buildings in the settlement.

Spring Grove, Minnesota

A post office has been in operation at Spring Grove since 1855. The community was named for a spring and a grove near the original town site. On the town website it’s claimed that Spring Grove is the first Norwegian settlement in Minnesota.

Clarence Swanson

1904–1943 ?

One of my father Roy Swanson‘s four brothers. My father recalled that their mother Theolene sometimes sent him (Roy) to bring Clarence back from a bar. He died of alcoholism, according to Roy.

He’s included here because I think he might appear in a couple of unlabeled photographs, see below.

Minnesota Death Records – possible matches
Clarence H. died January 17, 1934, Hennepin County
Clarence. died , April 1, 1941, Ramsey County

Photos with Clarence

Clarence, Grant, and Roy Swanson as youths in undated photograph.
Clarence, Grant, and Roy Swanson as youths in undated photograph.
Theolene Swanson (neé Moen) and Roy (Russel?) Albert Swanson in front. Behind: Grant (1906-1962), Clarence (1904?-1943?), Selmer (1898-1985), Telford (1902-?)

Possible photos with Clarence

In front, Roy, children (Telford’s ?), Telford. In back, Theolene, Clarence?
Unidentified 8×10 photo. Small octagonal embossing in lower right corner: REMEMBRANDT MINNEAPOLIS.

The Directory of Minnesota Photographers / Galleries and Studios lists a Remembrandt Grand Studio with a Minneapolis address. The studio operated from 1813 to 1923. Clarence would have been 19 in 1923 if he was born in 1904.

Roy Albert Swanson

Registration of Birth in Saskatchewan, Canada

Father: Abraham Swanson, native country: US. Occupation: farmer.
Mother: Theoline (?) Moen, native country: US.

Born Russel Swanson in Swanson, Saskatchewan, July 24, 1910.

Mother’s name appears to be Theoline, is spelled Theolene on her death certificate.

Enlisted in the US Navy in World War II (Evelyn’s headstone reads “Wife of RM1 Roy A. Swanson USN”. Radioman first class in the US Navy) served in the Pacific on minesweepers. He said that when he joined the military, he wanted to enlist as a US citizen, so he claimed his birthplace was Tolley, North Dakota, a town where the building housing birth records had burned down.

Married Evelyn Irene Rush, had four sons. Lived in Robbinsdale, Minnesota, until after Evelyn’s death.

Worked for Air Reduction in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Became regional manager, supervising dry ice plant in St. Paul, industrial gas plant in Minneapolis, acetylene plant in area north of Twin Cities, and plant in Fargo, North Dakota.

Death Certificate Index
Death: November 27, 1996
County of Death: Hennepin County, Minnesota
Mother’s Maiden Name: MOEN,
Date of Birth: Jul 24 1910
Place of Birth: OUT OF STATE

Roy sitting next to Theolene.
Roy in dark suit with mother Theolene and brothers Clarence (standing) ? andTelford ?.
Roy in bow tie.
Selmer and Roy, World War II. Selmer also served in WW I.
Jerome, John, Evelyn, Jeffrey, James,Roy,
Evelyn and Roy at Roy’s retirement

Evelyn Swanson née Rush

Minnesota Birth Certificate Index
Rush, Evelyn Irene
Birth: April 30 1917
County of Birth: Hennepin County, Minnesota
Mother’s Maiden Name: Gable

Oldest child of Frank Rush and Sophia Gable. Siblings William and Raymond.

Married Roy Albert Swanson after he returned from the US Navy at the end of WWII. The story was Evelyn worked in the office of a pickle factory and Roy worked nearby — at Dry Ice – Airco?

Lived in Robbinsdale, Minnesota, on Beard Avenue and Crystal Lake Boulevard.

They had four sons: James Lee (b. 1947), John Allen (b. 1949), Jerome Roy (1951- ), and Jeffrey Scott (b. 1957).

Death Certificate Index
Swanson, Evelyn I.
Death: July 5, 1980, Hennepin County, Minnesota


Cause of death: complications from bowel cancer.

Her headstone at Fort Snelling Cemetery says “WIFE OF RM1 ROY A. SWANSON USN”. RM1 = radioman first class, US Navy.

Jerry, John, Evelyn, Jeff, Jim, Roy
Evelyn and Roy at Roy’s retirement party