John and Emma (Jasmin) Wernick

Mr. and Mrs. Juhan (John) Wernick and Emma standing in front of their home in the Gilby area of central Alberta, ca 1910. John and Emma Wernick* were married in Estonia in the fall of 1904 and immigrated to Canada the following spring. John was a carpenter but wanted to become a farmer - a dream that was impossible to fulfill in Estonia.

While establishing a homestead at Gilby, Alberta, John used his carpentry skills to supplement the family's income. He worked on the construction of a CPR bridge over the Bow River and built the turbine wheel and housing for Mäesepp's grist mill at Gilby, Alberta. He also made the many coffins that the community unfortunately required in those early years.

In 1916 the Wernicks traded their farm for an orchard in Summerland, British Columbia - the deal was made through an ad in the Winnipeg Free Press. Then in 1920 they decided to return to Estonia.

The Wernicks had five children. The three oldest - Henry, Anna and Eddie - returned to Canada from Estonia in the mid- to late 1920s. Henry was a mechanic at Edmonton Motors, Anna a mother and homemaker, and Eddie a farmer and carpenter in British Columbia.

John died in 1948, age 84, and Emma in 1962, age 80.

* As happened with many immigrants, John's original name (not known) had been changed to "Wernick" on the deed to his homestead. John chose to keep the name.

Alberta's Estonian Heritage