This trip must have had many of the hardships of early pioneering on the journey as they had two small children — one two and one-half years old and one 11 months. I am sure my mother endured many difficulties on this trip as they camped out at night and cooked all their own meals over a campfire. There were seven people in the party — the three children, Mother, Father, and two young men who wanted to go to Canada.
Upon their arrival at Cardston, November 1, 1895, they had just $1 left. They moved into a two-room house, and luckily my mother found several American stamps in a small book in the house. She used these to write home and several letters arrived back in Utah before the post office discovered these were not Canadian stamps.
The first winter in Canada was a hard one. Upon arrival, they had asked a man if this were a good country and he said, “It’s a fine country, but you have to have a search warrant to find a dollar.”
In the second year after their arrival, they homesteaded land near what is today Kimball in the Province of Alberta. My mother’s first home on their own land consisted of one large room, built of logs with a dirt floor and a dirt roof. Mother, who was always noted for her thrift and resourcefulness, pasted old clothes over the logs to make a smooth wall and then papered the cabin with newspapers. As a floor covering, she made a carpet of gunny sacks fastened down by wooden pegs driven into the carpet at its edges. Straw had been placed under the carpet. All visitors commented about the good appearance of this little home. It was into this clean, but humble, home that I was born.
Later they built a comfortable home and ran a cattle ranch for 11 years. During this time, five of their eight children were born.
While in Canada, my mother was called in 1906 to serve as a Relief Society President. This responsibility had many duties. For example, all burial clothing was made by the Relief Society. Also, they prepared the dead for internment. Sometimes my mother was required to neglect her own family in order to give this public service. Once while she was president, she went with the bishop to buy clothing for a young mother who had passed away. It was in winter, which meant very uncertain weather conditions. They travelled a distance of 15 miles to Cardston to purchase the clothing and on the return trip were caught in one of the country's worst blizzards that delayed them about 10 hours. Mother had left her nursing baby with her 10-year old daughter. She declares that when she did get home, the baby and her daughter Dollie sobbed all the rest of the night.
While in this calling and as a mother of 8 children, she led a very busy life. In our home, my father and mother always had family prayer and kept the Word of Wisdom; also, we all attended church regularly and my mother always helped with all worthy causes whenever called upon.
In all my years at home, I have pleasant memories of my home as being clean and orderly, always having appetizing meals, however humble our place was. Eventually Mother had more than 96 living descendants — seven living children, 32 grandchildren, 55 great grandchildren, and two great, great grandchildren.
It is my hope and prayer that if the Lord will allow me to live to an advanced age as she did, I will be at least partly as functional and self-reliant as she was.
Lorraine Holm Ripplinger, died in 1980, in Cache Valley, Utah. Her grandson, Randall R. Ripplinger, returned to Canada in June 2013 with his wife, Linda, to serve as missionaries including writing for the Canada.lds.org website.