Nicolas and Erena Woronuk fonds. — 1973. — 1 cm of textual records.
Nicolas Woronuk was born May 1, 1889, in the village of Onut, province of Bukovyna, Austria. Erena (Lazaruk) was born Nov. 16, 1894 in the village of Tovtry in the same province. Nick’s uncle was the first to venture to Canada in the late 1890s and settled in Gardenton, Manitoba. Then Nicolas’ sisters and their husbands emigrated in 1903 and Nicolas’ father, George, in 1904. In two years George earned enough money to provide passage for his son and Nicolas arrived in Canada May 6, 1906. (Unfortunately, due to delays in his lengthy trip, his mother heard rumors he had died at sea and she died of shock.) In 1910, the remainder of the George Woronuk children, Simon and two younger daughters also came to Arabaka, MB. Nick worked in logging camps, farms and on the railroad and had saved $700. On November 12, 1911, he married Erena Lazaruk who had come to southern Manitoba with her parents in 1903. Nick and his brother-in-law, Mike Lazoruk decided to prospect for better land, first in 1912 and then in 1913 when they discovered river lots in the Rycroft area.
On September 12, 1913, five families, Nicholas and Erena Woronuk with their infant son, Nicholas and Sophia Lazoruk with four children, Michael and Dora Lazoruk with two children, Stephen and Elena Chalus with an infant son and Yakiw amd Wasylena Lazoruk, parents of the married brothers and sisters, began their trek to the Peace country. When Nick, Elena and their one-year old son, George, arrived at their homestead in Late November, 1913, their joy at finishing an arduous journey was replaced with the prospects of a bleak, cold winter. Their cash was gone, their milk cow had died on the trail, and they had no food or milk for their child and only tents for shelter. They were very grateful to the Alexander family who helped by giving them some wheat and straw for feed and bedding. In January, 1914, after building a shelter for the oxen and a log shack to live in, the four husbands and four teams of oxen travelled back to Edson to pick up the cargo they had left in storage and returned in March. Grandmother Lazoruk helped look after the children and in the fall of 1914, Nicolas returned to Edson on foot to guide his father who left Manitoba to settle in Rycroft. Their 1914 crop was hit by frost but enough was salvaged to provide relief and gradually their hopes for a better life were realized.
As the railway progressed westward and then south to Grande Prairie, it sliced through Grandfather George Woronuk’s homestead river lot #39 and on the southern section of the divided quarter, the hamlet of Rycroft took shape. In 1924, Nick Lazorulk and Nick Woronuk purchased a Case steam engine and worked threshing crops in the area. Nick and Erena bought more land and in 1929 they hired Mr. Wherrell to build their Aladdin home. The Woronuk sons were all educated: George and Alex became teachers and businessmen, William, a successful farmer and Merose and John, both dentists.
Nick passed away on November 4, 1957, and Erena in 1991.
The records were donated to the South Peace Regional Archives by Jerry Petryshyn in 2011.
Scope and Content
The fonds consists of 2 copies of a biographical account, written in Ukranian, of Nicholas (Nylolai) Woronuk amd family. Written in Ukrainian by Mrs. M Bzovy of Rycroft, and typed and and edited by I. Goresky, it tells of the family’s epic journey fron Edson to Grande Prairie in 1913. Included are additional hand written accounts. A letter to Jerry Petryshyn from I. Goresky gives reference to additional accounts of this family’s story.