August and Alma (Sestrap) Liivam

Alma Liivam pictured preparing feed for pigs, Eckville, 1930 When Alma Sestrap's father, Mart, died in 1927, she was only 17 years old. Alma's older sister was attending the University of Alberta and her younger sister and brother were still in school, so it was left to Alma to manage the family farm at Medicine Valley. Fortunately, this was a job that she was well prepared to do. All through her early years she had helped her parents farm the 800 acres and take care of a large herd of 80 cattle.

Alma drove a team of eight horses to plow fields, clear and break new land, and even build roads. She sowed and harvested, and hauled grain to the elevators, again with horses. She had minimal hired help, and when she did hire someone the workers were usually inexperienced.

In 1932 Alma married August Liivam, an immigrant from Estonia who had lived in a city all his life. August had minimal English language skills at that time. Before meeting and marrying Alma, August had worked on farms in the Stettler area and lumber camps in BC. He had also had a homestead at Dawson Creek.

Allan Posti and August Liivam preparing a pioneer breakfast at Gilby Centennial celebrations in 2001.  The couple raised seven children: John, August, Helen, George, Harold, Larry and Kenneth. August Sr. was an active member of the Medicine Valley community, where he and Alma lived until 1977. August served for many years on the boards of the Medicine Valley school, the Mutual Telephone Company and the Eckville Co-op Store. He was a longtime Alberta Wheat Pool and Unifarm delegate. By 1956 August and Alma had built up their farm to such an extent that they won two awards - one award in a Save the Soil competition and another in the National Barley contest.

In 1969 August purchased Eckville Motors.

Alberta's Estonian Heritage