Caroline Gaetz

Red Deer


Life and Work

Though married only once, Nova Scotia-born Caroline Hamilton Gaetz led two lives: one as a minister's wife, and the second as the wife of a farmer and merchant.

Her husband, Leonard Gaetz, was a successful Methodist minister who held charges in some of the largest churches in Canada before illness forced him from the ministry in 1883. In 1884, he brought his wife and 10 children west. There he homesteaded and planned to open up a trading post in the Red Deer area. Caroline gave birth to the 11th Gaetz child in their new home. The family was successful, and covered their log home with lumber and shingling the roof.

By 1890, the Gaetz family moved into a large home in Red Deer, where they were stalwart members of the local Methodist Church. Caroline organized the Methodist Church Ladies Aid, the first organized group of women in Red Deer, in 1892. Five years later, Leonard returned to the ministry, and he and Caroline served in Brandon and Winnipeg. On their retirement in 1901, they returned to Red Deer.