Pioneer family first set foot in the Okanagan in early 1900s

The Kirschner family has been in the Okanagan since leaving Saskatchewan after 1911 after spending a brief period in Dewdney B.C.

The Kirschner family has been in the Okanagan since leaving Saskatchewan after 1911 after spending a brief period in Dewdney B.C.

Both Christian Kirschner and his wife Franziska (Wickenheiser) were born in 1862.

Christian, Franziska, Franz (age two years) and baby Katarina sailed to Canada from Hamburg, Germany, via Ellis Island in New York City.

They arrived on April 16, 1892, traveling across the Atlantic aboard The Dania.

They were German speaking immigrants from Russia whose forefathers had immigrated to Russia in the early 1800s.

The hope of owning free land in a free country was most likely the magnet that attracted the Kirschners to what was then called the great northwest territories of Canada. Today, we know that area as Saskatchewan.

Christian Kirschner was wise to leave Russia as over 150,000 Volga Germans still in Russia died of starvation in the dreadful famine following the Russian Civil War.

Saskatchewan suffered a drought the year following the arrival of the Kirschner family in Canada.

This was a constant worry as more children were arriving.

Eventually, there would be nine children in the family.

The seven children who were born in Canada were: Maggie (Weisgerber) in 1893, John in 1895, Tony in 1899, Liz (Kronbauer) in 1901, Chris in 1902, Charles in 1904 and Frances in 1905.

Shortly after Franziska died, Christian married Dorothy Knutz on Oct 11, 1928, in Kelowna.

Christian died in 1941 in Kelowna. There is no record of Dorothy’s death.

Emma Kirschner who was married to Charles Kirschner, Christian and Franziska’s youngest son, still resides in Kelowna and will turn 100 on Dec. 31. Their sons Donald, Allen and Gordon, who were all born and raised in Kelowna, also still live in the city at what is now often referred to as Kirschner Mountain, the current sight of a major residential development off Loseth Road in Rutland.

 

Kelowna Capital News