Background: John Elmer Euller and Carol Nauth Euller

My parents were born and raised in Buffalo, NY. My mother was born October 29, 1925 and my father January 7, 1926. Both attended East High in Buffalo graduating in the spring of 1944. Although each had moved in different social circles during high school, they met at a post-graduation social event and hit it off immediately. After my father's Army service in 1944 and 1945 they were married on September 9th, 1947 at my Grandfather's summer house in Waverly Beach, Canada. At this period in their lives - just married, in their early 20s, restless and eager for adventure - they somehow latched onto various books about the opening of Canada's western frontier. These included Campfires in the Canadian Rockies (William T. Hornaday 1907) and The Selkirk Range (Arthur Oliver Wheeler 1905) among others. Suitably inspired, in the spring of 1950, aged 24, they put their modest possessions in storage, bought an Army surplus jeep and headed off across Canada. Their plan was to drive to Alaska and find jobs in Anchorage where they hoped to hunt and fish and live their lives as free spirits.

To be sure, in retrospect, this was not the most original idea. Tens if not hundreds of thousands of intrepid souls had been streaming west for gold or land or other opportunity for at least 150 years. But keep in mind that in 1950, the Canadian hinterland was just reopening after years of depression and global war. The interior - especially the northern regions where my parents planned their route - was much as they had been in the early 1900s. Electricity was scarce, running water scarcer, and farming was conducted as often as not behind horse and plow. The Trans-Canada highway, only recently opened across the continent, retained long unsealed stretches. The influence of Native American tribal culture remained strong and fur trading traditions of the omnipresent Hudson Bay Company held sway.

This trip - west across Canada to the northern Canadian Rockies and ultimately to Vancouver - was the defining event on my parents' lives. Throughout my childhood tales from this time were told and retold around our dinner table, becoming almost legends. In a way these stories defined and propelled our family's life forward into the future. The people they met during this period - Joe Shuey, Eileen Scott, Nancy and Jimmy Allison and many others - remained lifelong friends and icons within our family conversations.

(Click on the links to follow their trek across northern Canada).

(Technical note: most of the documents linked from this page are in Microsoft Word format. I am not totally happy with using a proprietary format in what should be an open source setting, but for now my OCR software is only capable of saving in MS word format. You might ask, why don't I save the Word documents as html - a standard option. The reason is that the html produced by Word is some of the most garbled and gummed up I have ever seen. My longer term plan is to write my own routines for saving html in a style acceptable for this web site (acceptable by me that is!). Until then, please be tolerant of having to download MS Word format documents.)


Many years later my father wrote a short memoir of their time in Jasper and Miette.