Tina (Granli) Haug




Life and Work

Tina Haug, nee Granli, was born near Lillehammar, Norway. She became acquainted with John Haug, a young man who decided to make his fortune in the new land of Canada. He came to Alberta in 1905 and spent a year working to make enough money to se up his own household. Then in 1906 he sent for Tina to come and be his bride.

Alone, the young Tina made the Atlantic crossing and the seemingly endless railroad trip all the way from the east coast to Olds, Alberta where John met her. The two were married and their “honeymoon” consisted of a trip to the West Country riding atop a load of supplies for their homestead. On the homestead, Tina gave birth to Alma, the third baby to be born in the Bergen district. In the following years, Ruth, Joe, and Trygve were added to the family.

Life on the homestead was lonely for the young mother so John decided they would take the four children back to Norway for a visit. His plan was to get work there and earn enough for the fare to return to Canada. This plan was not successful as work was very hard to find in Norway at the time and John was finally forced to scrape together enough for his own fare and to return to Canada to work for the return fare for the family. Thus, the stay of Tina and her children at her mother’s house was longer than had been expected and the Haug’s fifth child, Solveig was born in Norway. This was a difficult time for Tina as John had contracted typhoid fever shortly after returning to Canada and was unable to communicate with her for six weeks, leaving her to wonder if her husband was even alive. By the time Tina was able to return to Canada with her five small children nearly two years had passed and it was 1914 with World War I raging across Europe. The first ship the family was to have sailed on was sunk—fortunately this was before the Haugs were aboard it. The trip was finally successfully completed on a ship called the Missannabie, a ship, which was later also sunk by enemy attack.

The trip across Canada was an endurance test for the young mother. Due to the war there was much movement of troops and civilian workers across the country and the trains were unusually crowded. At one point, in the confusion, Alma and Joe were very nearly left behind on a station platform. Since the Haugs had sold everything to pay for their trip home to Norway they had to start from scratch on the homestead again and wartime shortages made it very difficult to buy the needed supplies and implements. Nonetheless, they persevered and managed to provide for the five children and three more, Wesley, Olaf, and Jimmy, who were born on the homestead. In addition, their home was opened to several relatives who stayed with them for periods of time after arriving here from Norway. These included John’s sister Oline Baughman, Tina’s sister, Emma Lund, Sigrid Erickson, John Snarud, and Olav Sande. The latter was once heard to exclaim with admiration, “I don’t know how that woman puts food on the table!”

Putting food on the table did require the best efforts of Tina and her husband. He was a good hunter and wild meat was usually plentiful. Some of the meat was canned or fried and stored in lard in crocks kept in a cool place. Among her other tasty dishes Tina made doughnuts and a Norwegian specialty called sandcakes that were baked in special little fancy tins she had bought from Norway. Probably these were often served for lunch at Ladies Aid meetings, as she was one of the earliest members of this long-standing organization in Bergen. She grew a big garden and picked quantities of wild raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries. The Haugs were some of the first to plant fruit trees in the area and had some success with apples and crabapples. At Christmas, a pig was generally butchered and spare ribs with dressing were a real treat of the season. Tina also baked bread to sell to some of the district bachelors and made primost, a whey cheese, and gomalost, a curd cheese rather like feta.

Once when she came home from church she heard noises in the cellar and traced them to one of the bachelors. He had come to get bread, smelled the “fragrant” cheese, and followed his nose to its resting place in the cellar where he was now gorging himself on fresh bread and cheese.

Through all the hard times, Tina was remembered for her deep religious faith. She could be seen heading off to Wednesday night prayer meeting on foot, lighting her way with a lantern. She had a beautiful singing voice and, although she learned to speak English, often sang in Norwegian, accompanying herself on her autoharp.

When World War II broke out Tina shed many tears when her three youngest boys marched away to war. Perhaps she sensed that she would never see them again. Mercifully, all three boys returned safely but it was Tina herself who did not live to see the end of the war as her heart gave out when she was in her sixties and she died in 1944.

Tina Haug’s life was not a long one but it was one of true pioneer spirit and courage. She left behind eight good citizens and a heritage of love and hospitality.