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The Edna-Star Settlement

The Ukrainian immigrants destined for Edna-Star got off the train at Strathcona (now part of Edmonton). Since this settlement was on the south side of the North Saskatchewan River, the homesteaders going to it from Strathcona would follow the South Victoria Trail. They trekked along the Trail northeastward (now approximately the route of Highway 14 out of Edmonton), travelling past present-day Clover Bar, Josephburg, and Scotford -- skirting the northern boundary of the Beaver Hills. Next their route took them briefly along the Beaverhill Creek (also known as Beaver Creek), whence they finally arrived at the Edna-Star settlement. Ivan Pylypow's first homestead was near Scotford and a year later he moved to one across Beaver Creek, about five miles north of present-day Lamont.

In 1905 the Canadian Northern Railway was constructed about one mile south of the hamlet which had been built up around the Star post office. This resulted in the moving of some of its buildings to the new hamlet of Lamont being built alongside the railway. However, the Star post office remained in Campbell's home. In 1928 a branch of the Canadian Pacific Railway was built about one mile north of the Star post office and a new hamlet (including the post office) sprang up one mile west and a mile north of the original post office site.

A group of Ukrainian immigrants came from Nebyliw to Canada in 1892. They were part of the group that Pylypow was organizing for emigration upon his return to Nebyliw early in 1892. They left for Canada while Pylypow was having his trial and sitting in jail. Although Pylypow and Eleniak helped to trigger the first wave of massive Ukrainian immigration to Canada, and were the first to register a homestead (at Lagenburg, Saskatchewan), they were not the first recorded active Ukrainian homesteaders. It appears that honor belongs to Tychkowsky and Anton Paish. However, apparently the first Ukrainian settler to get a title to land in Canada was Fedko Fuhr of Rabbit Hill, just south of Edmonton. He got one in 1894.

The Tychkowsky and Anton Paish families went directly to the Edmonton area. The others stayed in Manitoba to earn some money. All moved eventually to the Beaver Creek (Edna-Star) and Beaver Lake (Mundare) areas except Jaciw who settled in Manitoba. Tychkowsky and Paish first took homesteads in 1892 in the Scotford area where John Krebs, Pylypow's classmate in the Old Country, was farming. In 1894 they moved to Edna-Star to become part of the original Ukrainian settlement there.

The Edna-Star settlement was referred to as the Nebyliw Colony and is considered by the Ukrainian Canadian historians to be the oldest Ukrainian one in Canada. It formed the nucleus of the large Edna-Star bloc of Ukrainian settlers mentioned earlier. The Chipman district into which Wasyl Eleniak moved in 1898 was part of this bloc.

The land in this bloc seemed generally to be of good quality. Immigration Agent C.W. Speere described it thus in one of his reports:

I may here say that this is a very fine tract of fertile land, commencing at Edmonton south through the celebrated Clover Bar and Agricola districts on to Fort Saskatchewan, and still on to Victoria, a distance of a hundred miles. The country is perceptibly rolling, almost level, well watered, with occasional streams that have good, deep beds -- also well wooded, although prairie fires have left a great deal of standing dry timber. The timber is principally poplar, with an occasional bluff of spruce. In most places a growth of light scrub covers the surface, but this is no drawback, as it is light, mostly dead and will plow down. The soil is unequalled, and a striking fact is the sameness of the country. Every few miles passing along, one thinks the country improving, if anything, with every acre rich, fertile and desirable; no bad sections, but a grand tact of beautiful land of excellent quality -- such as the kind of country possessed by the Galicians at Edna, and there still remains a number of Townships open for colonization.

Reprinted from Marshall A. Nay's book Trailblazers of Ukrainian Emigration to Canada: Wasyl Eleniak and Ivan Pylypow with kind permission of the author.

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