Peter Walters (Piht) family

L to R: Pete, Eugenie, Alide and Alma Walters William Peter Walters (family name Piht was changed to Walters in Canada) was born in Saarema, Estonia, in 1871. After teaching in the Oreku Russian Orthodox Church Parish for seven years, he went to St. Petersburg and from there to North America, after hearing of "free" land. He knew of other Estonians in Alberta, among them his brother-in-law John Kask who was homesteading in the Norma District near Sylvan Lake. In 1900, Peter joined Alex Kask and travelled to Alberta.

In order to support himself, Peter worked first for the CP railway, where he earned a dollar a day, half of which covered his room and board. In 1903, he wrote to Alma Kuningas, whom he had met in St. Petersburg, and asked her to come to Canada and be his wife. The next year, he was awarded land to homestead. In addition to clearing the land by hand, he continued to work away from home, in the coal mines in Blairmore, Canmore, and Exshaw.

Their daughters Eugenie and Alide, along with their cousin Elizabeth Kask, went to Norma School (and found the homemade desks very uncomfortable!) and later attended high school in Red Deer. Eugenie, with the help of a government loan, took Normal School Training in Camrose. Alide went to the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton to train as a nurse. She became ill and, after a year in the sanatorium near Bowness, she returned home, where she died in 1932.

Peter had died the year before, of a heart attack. Alma tried to look after the farm with help from relatives but it proved to be too much. She sold the equipment, rented the farm, and moved to Port Kells, British Columbia with Eugenie. Eugenie stayed with her a few months and then returned to Alberta to teach. Alma died in 1942, and soon after, Eugenie moved to British Columbia, where some of her extended family lived. She taught in the Surrey Municipality in British Columbia and elsewhere. She retired in 1965.

Alberta's Estonian Heritage