HENRY AND NATALIE GIETZ


We are Henry and Natalie Gietz who were connected with the farming and ranching industry in the Pincher Creek area.

I, Henry Geitz, was born in Osiek, Poland in 1893. I married the former Natalie Pankratz in 1920. Her birth dated to September 3rd, 1895.

Times were tough in Europe following the First World War and jobs were hard to find. We decided to strike out for Canada, hoping for a better life in this land of opportunity. I came first, arriving in 1928. My family which consisted of my wife, two daughters and a son came a decade later, in June 1938.

By then I had etched out a living on the Prairie Canadian frontier.

Our first holdings were a ranch west of Pincher Creek. Given the rugged foothills terrain, cattle flourished best here. In 1949, I purchased a farm not too far from Cowley. We had better luck with crops there. For me, retirement into Pincher Creek came over a decade and a half later, in 1965.

Ranch and farm work of the 1950s, as was the case during both pioneer and modern times was demanding. Mechanization particularly tractors was just beginning for many working the land in the Pincher Creek area. The traditional use of horses as beasts of burden was commonplace, particularly on our spreads. Cattle were fattened up and herded to market, often in the autumn. Sales were held at Twin Butte and Pincher Station. The routine of daily chores kept us close to home. The winter of 1941-42 was cold with lots of snow – the sought-after Chinooks did not blow in that year. Cattle perished in the winter storms with their carcasses surfacing the following spring. It was reminiscent of the early bad winters of 1886-87 and 1906-07.

Some of my extended family also ventured into the sawmill industry. These were located up on the Pincher Creek and into the Gladstone Valley to the west.

The Canadian immigrant experience has been a success. One of our nieces, Beverly McLaughlin, is the recently retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. She attended Matthew Halton High School here in Pincher Creek.

HENRY AND NATALIE GIETZ