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Markerville , Settlement

Markerville was settled by Icelanders. The first settlers left Iceland in 1873, came to Wisconsin, went on to the Dakotas and up to Alberta in 1888. Though building a new community was difficult, the Icelanders found pleasure in many of their tasks, the first being the building of homes.

A good community was important to all and they knew they had to count on each other to create the amenities they needed. News and literature was a must, so a library was started in 1892 with $20 worth of books and two newspaper subscriptions. The need to meet socially led to the creation of Vonin (meaning "hope" in Icelandic), a ladies' group whose aims were set in 1891 to help the ailing and the needy and to support efforts for religious education of young people. Construction of schools also started in 1892. Tindastoll School was built on the east end of the settlement and Hola School on the west side. In 1903 the Bethal Ladies' Aid was formed, predominantly by American immigrants, on the west side of the community and included non-Icelandic families in Markerville.

The need for cash resulted in the formation of a co-operative to build a creamery in 1899, with the Dominion government supplying a butter maker. Most homesteaders kept a few cows and were able to sell cream. The men could leave their jobs on the railroad to stay home and work their farms. A bridge built on the Medicine River opened the area for settlers from other districts to bring their cream to Markerville. This resulted in a hotel, two stores, a blacksmith shop and livery barns springing up to meet the economic needs of the wider area.

Needing a venue to hold public meetings and entertainment resulted in the community forming the Fensala Stock Company Limited and the Fensala Hall was erected in 1903. A church was built in 1907. Besides being a business centre, Markerville was a stopping place for traffic coming from the west to the railroad at Innisfail or to the larger centre at Red Deer. By 1910, about 100 people lived in the hamlet of Markerville with a farm population of 400 Icelanders in the area.

The development of the community was influenced by one of its first settlers, Icelandic poet Stephan G. Stephansson. He was a strong-willed and controversial man who was a great advocate of literature and education. His writings on religion, women's rights and war and pacifism were published in Europe and Canada.

Alberta and Medicine River

Alberta and Medicine River

Farming

Farming