Our first annual(?) cousins reunion began with a low-key dinner at Borrelli’s Restaurant on the Kenora waterfront. We are all descendants of Frederick and Adela Olafsson, but this is the first time that many of us had met. Linda brought Helen Hobert’s book “The Descendants of Olaf and Eva Anderson”. Sharon brought two albums of beautiful, old photos. Everyone brought stories. I wish I had brought a tape recorder.

The next morning we toured the cemetery where our ancestor Adela Olafsson and the parents and grandparents of many of us are buried. There is no stone marker for Adela, but she is in the Carlson family plot. There is even a monument to victims of the typhoid epidemic of 1906 through 1909 who lie in unmarked graves. These victims include Emma Holm and Maria Holm’s first husband and 6-month-old daughter, Olaf and Agnes Anderson.

After the cemetery visit, Linda took Gail and me on a tour of old “Swede town”, aka Lakeside, pointing out locations where our relatives lived and where other landmarks, such as the Vasa Fellowship Hall, were. We also visited the memorial for the students who attended the St. Mary’s Indian Residential School. Linda has First Nation ancestry through her father

Finally we went up Anderson Branch Road to where Samson brothers had had their farms. My grandfather, Victor, and John Samson had purchased adjacent land along the Winnipeg River in 1913 so we think that Victor’s land was near this location.

Al (3rd gen), Gail, Linda (3rd gen), Paula (4th gen),
Charlotte (2nd gen), Bill (2nd gen), and Lisa
Bill (2nd gen), Lisa, Grant (3rd gen), a guest, and Sharon (3rd gen)

Siblings Charlotte and Bill

Three generations: Linda, Paula, and Charlotte

Vicki (3rd gen), Grant, and Sharon at their grandparents' grave

Al, Linda, and Gail at the Carlson stone. Inset shows Victor Holm,
Carl Holm, Anna Carlson, and Alida Carlson at same place

Linda at her grandparents grave

Monument for plague victims in unmarked graves

Memorial for the students at the St. Mary’s Indian Residential School

Kenora is in a beautiful location. The main features are Lake of the Woods and the Winnipeg River, but there are a large number of smaller lakes scattered throughout the region. Hills (and islands) are formed of rock outcroppings with thin deposits of soil supporting white birch, pine, poplar and fir trees.

The city now has a microbrewery, which we visited. McLeod Park also has Husky the Muskie, a 40-foot statue of a fighting muskellunge, and when we visited, artists had set imaginative representations of muskies throughout the city. That weekend Kenora also hosted a bass fishing contest, the Kenora Bass Invitational, and the North West International Rowing Association Championship, with teams from Saskatchewan, Manatoba and Minnesota as well as Ontario.
Rocky shoreline near where Al’s grandfather
bought 172 acres of rocky land
A small corner of Lake of the Woods

Husky the Muskie

What about 2015? Let me quote Linda: “Bonny Lees, Dennis Bishop, Brad Holway, Patricia Holm....notice given... there may well be a family reunion happening in these parts next summer”. Be sure to think about keeping some time open for it.

Updated: 28 Aug 2015, by Albert Holm