Krugerdorf

We’re detouring from Highway 11 a bit to visit Krugerdorf, and some towns on Highway 66.

Krugerdorf was founded as a farming homestead in Chamberlain Township in the early 1900s, about 25 kilometres south of Kirkland Lake. Not officially named Krugerdorf until 1949, the area was largely settled by a number of German families. The town was given the name “The German Settlement” until it became to be called Krugerdorf.

Krugerdorf, Ontairo Jewsih cemetary off Highway 11One of the first settlers was August Kruger, a farmer and blacksmith from Germany. Having migrated to Renfrew County in 1879 (northwest of Ottawa), August and his son Frank left for the Krugerdorf area in 1905, where he was given deed to 800 acres of land. Kruger established a farm, and a blacksmith shop, and helped provide ties and spikes to the railway. Word of his success attracted other German-speaking families from Renfrew County in 1910, along with English and Scottish settlers. Later a sawmill and threshing mill were established on the Blanche River.

The area also had a noticeable Jewish homesteading community. With the help of the Baron de Hirsch Institute of Montreal, an organization that helped Jewish immigrants to move to Canada, a small Jewish farming community was set up in the area. Free land was offered to settlers along the railroad between 1905 and 1915, atttracting Jewish settlers from Russia and Romania, where they couldn’t legally own land. According the the Canada virtual museum website, among the colony were such names as Henerofsky, Gurevitch, Feldman, Levy, Goldstein, Abraham, Frumpkin, Verlieb and others. There were about fifty families in all. Eventually, the town developed, with a school, a Lutheran church, and a synagoge.

The Forrester Family Krugerdorf Highway 11 1910

The Forrester Family outside their Krugerdorf homestead in the early 1900s

The Northern Chevra Kadesha Cemetery was established in 1906 when some Jewish pioneers died in a canoeing accident. Morris Perkus and his son Ben were returning from Englehart station with three new immigrants from Europe when their boat was caught in a surprise current and took them over the fall. A small, hockey-rink sized piece of land on the land of local farmer Simon Henerofsky was devoted to bury the dead pioneers and deeded to the Jewish community in nearby Englehart. The Krugerdorf cemetery would eventually serve the Jewish populations of Temiskaming, mainly centered in Kirkland Lake, Englehart, and Cobalt. Today, Krugerdorf cemetery is maintained by Jewish communities in northeastern Ontario and northwestern Quebec.

The community began to decline in the late 1920s. Despite high quality soil, frosts killed crops and markets for beef and grain were distant. After the Second World War, the farming community really began to wind down as children left the farm for work in local towns. All that is left today is the cemetery, a testament to the settlers of a bygone era.  See some photos here and here.

If you’d like to know more about Krugerdorf and the history of Chamberlain Township, you can read The Last Jewish Family in Ansonville, or A Place Called Krugerdorf, by Herb Kruger in the Englehart Library.

And a big thank you to Jim Atkinson for the homesteading photos.

If you can add to this page, or provide some photos, please let me know by emailing info (at) highway11 (dot) ca.

(The headstone photo is copyright of the Canada Virtual Museum – the Kirkland Lake Jewish Cemetery.)

Krugerdorf homestead, highway 11 ontario

Krugerdorf homestead

Early Krugerdorf church Highway 11 Ontario

Krugerdorf church – notice the sawn boards, no logs

 

9 thoughts on “Krugerdorf

  1. Seeking information on a Jewish family with the surname Maxwell, who were in Kirkland Lake or area in at least the l930′s. A Leah Maxwell married Roy Hunter from Toronto (who was working in Kirkland Lake before signing up with the airforce and being stationed in Newfoundland and Base Borden later). Unfortunately, Leah Maxwell Hunter and a stillborn infant boy died on March 6, 1943 and are buried in Prospect Cemeter in Toronto. Seeking information on any of her relatives who may be in the area or may be buried in the Jewish cemetery. I’m guessing, had she lived, she would have been at least 95 now.

  2. Want to add that I do have many relatives on my grandmother’s side, Rachel Ester(?), but like Grandfather Saul Engel(Englehart cattle baron-owned all the land where the plant on HWY 11 is now), she lost all too many in the *20,000 Concentration Camps, subcamps, and ghettos the Nazi Germans set up for their final solution. She lost as many as 75-80% of her family, which at the beginning of the German atrocities(1933), most were ancestors of Biblical Israelis. Engel(which is Hebrew for Angel), lost upwards of 45-50%.
    *YES! 20,000, not just the 10 or 12 main ones most people know. So far I have tracked 1,083 of my ancestors who were murdered.

  3. My father was Jack Engel(1930-1989), Grandfather Saul, Grandmother Esther-Rachel. Her last name has slipped the mind of my only living relative on my father’s side, Jack’s sister Sophie, who is 85. I only met her on July 7th of 2013 and after a 30 year exhaustive search, was able to finally meet her and spend a few hours with her. Her sister Betty passed in January of this year. I never got to meet her. I never was able to meet Jack, my father, as my mother’s ability as a control freak kept him from me and vice-versa, and after purposefully mispelling his name when I was trying to find him, I later found out that he was also trying to find me, yet my mother would send him on the same wild-goose chases she was sending me on. When I finally found his gravemarker in 1996 was when I first found out that I had spent 14 years looking for Jack ‘Ingall’, as my sick-in-the-head egg carrier had told me his name was spelled that way. She only told me seven years after he was dead that he was gone and where I could find his grave. Since I was still looking for “Ingall”, I had much trouble finding his resting place. I also found out he had not left Englehart for as long as I was told and had looked for him all over Canada. Nobody knew which “Ingall” I was looking for. The calls numbered in the thousands.
    He was raised with his siters in Krugerdorf, but his idiot common-law hag, Bertha Wood, refused to grant him his last wish, which was to be buried in the Krugerdorf Jewish/Hebrew cemetary. I will be placing a commemorative marker in the cemetary as a way to grant him his dying wish.
    The last blood relatives on Jack’s side are his sister Sophie Indovina(no children), myself, and my son Shane, so it appears Jack’s line disappears with my son, as he has no desire to marry nor have children in this sick unrighteous ball of shit called earth. I don’t blame him. Sorry Dad, I tried to find you. Maybe we’ll be granted Christ’s promise through his father for the Resurrection. We’ll catch up then ok? People have told me what a great guy you were and then have the fucking nerve to tell me I shouldn’t miss what I never had, nor should I idolize you because you drank heavy until diabetes killed you. Isn’t that odd? I drank heavy too and am now dying rather quickly from the effects of 30 years of diabetes, as well as lymphocytic leukemia and liver cancer. Hopefull, we’ll meet soon as I am no longer friends with life anymore. I shouldn’t miss you? I’ve never stopped. See you soon Dad…love, your son, Mike

    • Dear Mike,
      My name is Robin Brown. I was born and raised in the Little loving community of Englehart, Ontario. I wasd very young when your father was around englehart.. I have very fond memories of him> during the fall fairs he would always bring his prize horse to the fair and be a huge part of the parade… i do remebr him as being areal nice man.. Well the drinking part i vaguely remember. As i have an acoholic father myself… He was always kind to me and my brother.. we used to help him keep the horses clean, while he was at the fair and always offered to help him on the farm. As for Bertha(Tootsie,nickname) Woods.. She was and still is a bit more than an old hag.. She still lives on the old farm where your dad resided years ago. they built a great big waferboard plant on most of your dads property back in the late 70′s, early 80′s.. I I dont know You from adam. But if you are anything like your father was, he had a heart of gold and was alwasy kind to me.. i have other memories of him driving into town in his old ford(i think ) pick up truck to fetch water at the water well near the old lee swimming pool that still remains there… Other than his water trips i remember seeing him with loads of hay in the back of his truck!! I dont have anything negative to say about your father.. I am sorry you have gone thru a crock of shit trying to find him.. As for Bertha.. I have had my negative run ins with that old hag as you had stated earlier.. My father Paul, had lived with her for along time off an on.. Everytime i called there she would always tell me , dad was either out in barn mucking the stalls or in town getting groceries.. She would never want me anywhere near my dad, as long as they were together.. there was a couple times my father almost died, and she wouldnt even pick up the phone to tell me… I hope this sheds a bit of light on who your dad was in my young eyes at the time.. when he passed away i had already left home as i was 21 and…. like most young men had…… the world by the balls!!Anyways.. I hope this was a little something you wanted to know about your dad!!

      Take care, Mike… If there is anything else you want to know.. Try looking in the Englehart Library.. Or if you ever get some time, take a trip to the little town in the summer and check out the museum, there is i am sure lots to read about your dad, and his passion for horses..

      Best Wishes,, Robin Brown

      • THANK YOU for that Robin! I am now in touch regularly with my Aunt Sophie, Jack’s siter. I just missed meeting Betty, but Sophie and I have hit it off like we knew each other for years. I would love to talk to you on the phone or in person. My dad’s last wish was to buried at the Chevra Kadesha cemetary, but Sophie told me “Toots” would not hear of it. Tough, although we cannot move his remains, his last wish is to be fulfilled come June or July. I purchased a headstone and Abraham Aidelbaum has seen fit to donate a plot and offer maintenance for it, and it will be placed in the cemetary June or July. It has his name with the star of David between first and last, then it simply says “Love, Saul and Esther-Rachel” on the first line, “Sisters Sophie and Betty” on the second line, and “Son Mike Preston and Grandson Shane” on the third, followed by “His Spirit Is With Us” at the bottom. I’m not sure how it will work, but I will be contacting Abe Aidelbaum to see if there can be a small ceremony performed for this day. It is a closure I have sought for nearly 40 years, culminating in this, and with the blessings of Mr. Aidelbaum and others. You are more than welcome to attend and I will be asking Abe how to go about this in the proper manner. Yes, “Toots” has a darkness about her. I met her once, introduced myself as Jack’s son, and she wouldn’t even introduce herself or call her dogs away from my car. She promised to send me a few pictures of Jack and his horses, and since I had made contact with her son Kenny, was to get them through him. I never received anything and after four years of trying to retrieve a few pics, was basically accused by him of “only coming into his mom’s and his and brother’s life because I was seeking an inheritance”. You do not want to know what I said to that. My number is in the book. Where do you live?
        Thanks SO MUCH for your kind words, and I’m sorry I just now found your letter. Shalom and Erev Tov. Sincerely, Micheal Preston-Engel

  4. Visited the area with my dad when i was younge. Just sharing my info with a friend of German descent. A very interesting part of Northern Ontario and Canadian Railroad history.

  5. My great grandfather David Forrester and his wife and family came to Canada in 1908 from Scotland. The family included 3 boys aged 19,15, and 11. two girls aged 10 and 8. My great grangparents were 50 years of age. What brought them to Krugerdorf was either work on the railway or the free land. Their stay in Krugerdorf was ended in around 1916 as the 3 boys joined the army and fought in WW1. My great grandparents would not have been able to continue farming without their help as they were 55 years of age by then.They moved to North Bay where he worked for the railway. I have several photos of them taken at Krugerdorf outside their home which I will scan and try to post here.

  6. My memories of Krugerdorf is living in the boarding cars of the Ontario Northland Comminications Department
    during the months of February to
    March in 1950. The weather was 20 t0 30 below F. some mornings The water in barrell for washing would be frozen over in the car beside the stove. The bull-cook Alex French would come along and get a roaring fire going in the stove situated in the middle of the car to warm it up.
    The purpose of our job was to string control wires that were to be used on the new block signals for the railway
    on the bottom crossarms of the telephone lines.Also at the top of the cedar poles brackets were being installed to carry a 500 Volt power line .
    There was no hydro at Krugerdorf at this time.
    While putting up wires the younger linemen would race to see who could come down the poles the quickest. I remember
    one time missing my footing and dropping on my back from about ten feet cushioned by the heavy snow. I was shaken up but more cautious thereafter.
    At Krugerdorf Donat Chaylt was the section foreman for the railway. It was treat for us young men to see his daughters Theresa and Jean.
    I remeber one of the four boys was named Harry.
    A Stutynski family lived in the area and I seem to remember the name Julia as one of the girls.
    One of the linemmen took a shine to her and he would visit her place.
    The Blackburn family lived behind the Krugerdorf station. They
    kept a store and post office.
    The young linemen were always thinking up pranks. One was to make up a chaps bed so he couldn’t get his legs all the way down to end. I believe it was called a “French Bed”
    Another time someone had shot an OWL and put it at the end of another lineman’s bed When he went to get into the top bunk bed ; he felt the feathers on his feet. He leaped into the air with a big yelp and landed on floor about five feet away.
    One lineman who was lonesome for his girlfriend in Kapukasing would collect birch bark from the trees along the pole line and make them into note paper and envelopes. He wrote many letters.The couple got married and in 2009 are still living in Kapuskasing.
    When the boarding cars were moved up the line to the next siding we noticed that the Ontario Hydro crews were installing power line poles along farm roads to provide hydro to the farms.
    The men that were in the boarding cars were Lorne Fleece, Lloyd and Jim Newton Jack Haskins, Paul Picard(Gang Foreman) Red Carroll, Don Simpson,
    Isadore Rivard (The Cook) Jack Haskins, and Jack Jarvis There were three others but their names are lost in the midst of time
    A good reference book for the area is “A Place Called KRUGERDORF” by Herb Kruger Published by Baarie Press (1994) Inc.

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