John and Anna Tihkane were born in Narva, Estonia. Married in Cardiff, Wales in 1900, they arrived in Irvine, Alberta in 1904. John started a homestead nine miles south of Walsh, Alberta. It was a quarter section of semi-arid farmland with no running water. His attempts at drilling for a well failed numerous times. John disliked the prospect of grain farming, so he started a dairy operation, milking cows and shipping cream to Medicine Hat. John temporarily resided in Vermont in an effort to start a profitable farming enterprise. Unsuccessful, he worked in Montréal, trying to save up enough money to return to Alberta.
John and Anna had four children: Lena, Art, Martha and Emilia. As a teenager, Lena worked as a housemaid. At 16 years of age Lena contracted typhoid fever and soon passwed away. By 1919, the Tikhanes returned to their original homestead near Medicine Hat, Alberta. Winters in the southeast corner of Alberta were difficult without financial assistance from the provincial Government. Art snared the occasional rabbit, thereby providing his family with some much needed nourishment; however Art's contributions were not enough to satisfy his hard working family. Conditions on the farm became unbearable with no accessible water. Drought soon forced the cows to succumb to starvation.
John and Anna moved to Medicine Hat. Living on the outskirts of town, John kept a cow and several chickens. Their youngest daughter, Emilia, lived with them. Emilia passed away in 1996 at the age of 87. She was predeceased by her other siblings. John passed away in 1945 while Anna passed away in 1966 following a short illness. Emilia Tikhana passed away in Medicine Hat on March 2, 1996 at the age of 87 years.