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Anton Kulpas

In the spring of 1904, the families of Anton Kulpas and Jacob Erdman moved from Pierre, South Dakota to southern Alberta. Their first stop in Alberta was Lethbridge. The families had filled two cattle cars with livestock, farm machinery, and furniture. The Kulpas family registered at the Lethbridge Hotel, a two-storey wooden building. Anton Kulpas promptly began searching for an adequate homestead while his family remained in Lethbridge and frequented Galt Gardens. After a few weeks, Anton purchased a homestead southwest of Barons, Alberta. Anton quickly built a sod house for his family and when he was finished the rest of his family joined him on the new homestead.

In the fall of 2004 a massive fire swept through the farm land near Barons. Having lived in South Dakota Anton had experience dealing with brush fires. He kept the grass very short around the house and maintained an adequate supply of water. Flames leapt 20 feet in the air but the Kulpas managed to avoid any serious damage to their property. One week later, lush green grass returned to the property. Much of the summer and fall was spent collecting enough buffalo chips for the harsh winter that lay ahead. The sod house was heated using a pot-bellied stove and the Kulpas family recalled being quite comfortable during their first winter in southern Alberta. Anton fueled his stove with buffalo chips that burned much slower than wood.

Anton maintained a good supply of flour, coffee, and sugar. They butchered a quarter steer and kept it in the sod ice house. In addition to the beef, Anton hunted prairie chickens, ducks, and an occasional jack rabbit. In the spring, Anton planted wheat in his field. Come harvest time, the Kulpas' were able to thresh 70 bushels of wheat, most of which was sold in Granum, Alberta.

In 1907, Anton purchased a half section east of the current homestead and built a spacious framed house. It was the family home until Anton decided to relocate to Salem, Oregon in 1919. Anton and his wife had six children: Jack, Elizabeth, Lillian, Robert, Walter, and Paul. Jack was the oldest while Elizabeth, Lillian, Robert, and Walter were all born at the farmhouse near Barons. The youngest son, Paul, was born in Salem. Anton's wife died in 1926; he remarried two years later and moved to San Diego. Anton Kulpas passed away in 1959.

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