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Frontier chronicles of the Fugina family

Frontier chronicles of the Fugina family
Recent findings have shed light on the Fugina family, early pioneers in the Pincher Creek area. The Fuginas, known for their landmark farmhouse, were among the first agricultural settlers in the region.
Recent findings have shed light on the Fugina family, early pioneers in the Pincher Creek area. The Fuginas, known for their landmark farmhouse, were among the first agricultural settlers in the region.

Frontier chronicles of the Fugina family

By Farley Wuth
By Farley Wuth
Curator | Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village
Shootin’ the Breeze Curator | Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village
May 25, 2024
May 25, 2024

Readers of our column from a few weeks ago will recall our look back at the flood of 1942 and how it took away the old Fugina bridge at the far west end of Pincher Creek. Further research has unearthed additional historical details on the Fugina family, who farmed nearby.

The Fuginas were a pioneer agricultural family from the Pincher Creek area who are only partially remembered from the pages of our local history. Their farmhouse was a landmark for several generations.

The family patriarch, Francis Joseph Fugina, was born in Independence, Wis., on April 22, 1880. His wife, the former Anna Cecelia Dugan, was born some three years later, on Sept. 11, 1883, in Carrington, N.D. Both were raised in their respective rural American West settlements, where they received a traditional education grounded in the Three Rs.

It is believed that Francis Fugina immigrated to Canada in the early 1900s, eventually settling at Pincher City. In 1908, Anna Dugan followed suit, also settling in this railway and ranching settlement. Francis and Anna were married that year. 

Agricultural heritage

Some three years later, in 1911, the Fuginas moved to a farm located on the northwestern outskirts of Pincher Creek. Situated on the north side of the creek and accessed by the pre-First World War traffic bridge constructed to bring into town traffic from the rural communities of Mountain Mill and Beaver Mines to the west, the farm was ideally located to offer the best of both worlds.

Ad for Shadowbar Shepherds Training in Pincher Creek

Agriculturally, the farm’s proximity to the creek and one of its tributaries to the west ensured a fairly regular water supply, essential for Francis Fugina’s head of cattle and the varied crops with which he experimented. The area was fairly sheltered from the prevailing westerly winds, which aided the farm’s success.

The property’s proximity to town ensured the family had easy access to commercial and religious services.

Francis and Anna were regular grocery shoppers at the Main Street Fraser-McRoberts and White Hall stores, the latter operated by the Allison family. History tells us that the Haltons’ horse-drawn rig service delivered groceries as far west as the Fugina residence.

Roman Catholic in faith, the family worshipped regularly at St. Michael’s Church on the south hill.

The dwelling that Francis and Anna Fugina constructed was an impressive two-storey frame structure with a wrap-around veranda that faced east. This architectural feature provided the family an eye-catching view of the farm and nearby creek. The house dated back to the pre-First World War era and included a massive parlour and dining room on the main floor.

A working kitchen was added onto the house’s west side many years later. An array of outbuildings stood further west still. The house, sitting on the north side of the creek, was situated directly opposite the old Bossenberry dwelling and the two were in some ways similar in function and design.

Retirement and descendants

Francis and Anna Fugina resided on their Pincher Creek farm for over 35 years. In 1947, they retired, sold the property and moved to Creston, B.C. Folklore indicates that the couple particularly enjoyed the climate in this new setting.

After a decade’s residence there, Francis passed away at Creston Valley Hospital on Jan. 19, 1957. He was in his 77th year. His widow, Anna, remained in the community for another 11 years, and then in 1968 moved farther west to Nelson to be closer to family. She passed away on Nov. 25, 1970, at the age of 87.

As adults, the five Fugina children had connections to British Columbia and the United States.

Mary Margaret was the Fuginas’ eldest daughter. Born Aug. 10, 1909, she first attended St. Michael’s School in Pincher Creek, followed by a business education at the Lethbridge business college. Several years’ employment was secured at the Montgomery and Hart Garage, the local Ford dealership established at the corner of Main Street and Police Avenue back in 1914. In 1936, Mary married Dennis Bush and the couple moved to Cranbrook, B.C., later settling in nearby Kimberley. Sadly, she passed away on April 11, 1949, after a lingering illness.

The Fuginas’ second daughter, Frances C., became Mrs. Leroy Drew, residing south of the border in Bremerton, Wash. She was born Sept. 25, 1914, and passed away Oct. 29, 2014, having just reached the impressive age of 100 years. As an adult, she attended normal school and taught for several years in a one-room school, where she found rural life isolated.

Another daughter, Anne Cecile, became Mrs. Brady and resided in Nelson, B.C. She was born Oct. 26, 1917, and passed away Dec. 28, 1976.

The fourth daughter, Mrs. James Brooks, resided in Vancouver.

The family’s son, Joseph, resided in Kimberley, where he was active in the garage business. In January 1947, he was united in marriage with the former Lucille Edith Hamilton, a highly respected school teacher from Trail, B.C. His birth dated to Oct. 2, 1910, and he passed away March 16, 2006, having celebrated his 95th birthday the previous autumn.

Ad for Vape in Pincher Creek

As of 1970, there were 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren in the Fugina family.

Research sources for the Fugina family history included old newspaper clippings and the Find a Grave database. A special thanks goes out to the Creston Museum in B.C. for its research assistance.

Readers of our column from a few weeks ago will recall our look back at the flood of 1942 and how it took away the old Fugina bridge at the far west end of Pincher Creek. Further research has unearthed additional historical details on the Fugina family, who farmed nearby.

The Fuginas were a pioneer agricultural family from the Pincher Creek area who are only partially remembered from the pages of our local history. Their farmhouse was a landmark for several generations.

The family patriarch, Francis Joseph Fugina, was born in Independence, Wis., on April 22, 1880. His wife, the former Anna Cecelia Dugan, was born some three years later, on Sept. 11, 1883, in Carrington, N.D. Both were raised in their respective rural American West settlements, where they received a traditional education grounded in the Three Rs.

It is believed that Francis Fugina immigrated to Canada in the early 1900s, eventually settling at Pincher City. In 1908, Anna Dugan followed suit, also settling in this railway and ranching settlement. Francis and Anna were married that year. 

Agricultural heritage

Some three years later, in 1911, the Fuginas moved to a farm located on the northwestern outskirts of Pincher Creek. Situated on the north side of the creek and accessed by the pre-First World War traffic bridge constructed to bring into town traffic from the rural communities of Mountain Mill and Beaver Mines to the west, the farm was ideally located to offer the best of both worlds.

Ad for Ascent Dental in Pincher Creek

Agriculturally, the farm’s proximity to the creek and one of its tributaries to the west ensured a fairly regular water supply, essential for Francis Fugina’s head of cattle and the varied crops with which he experimented. The area was fairly sheltered from the prevailing westerly winds, which aided the farm’s success.

The property’s proximity to town ensured the family had easy access to commercial and religious services.

Francis and Anna were regular grocery shoppers at the Main Street Fraser-McRoberts and White Hall stores, the latter operated by the Allison family. History tells us that the Haltons’ horse-drawn rig service delivered groceries as far west as the Fugina residence.

Roman Catholic in faith, the family worshipped regularly at St. Michael’s Church on the south hill.

The dwelling that Francis and Anna Fugina constructed was an impressive two-storey frame structure with a wrap-around veranda that faced east. This architectural feature provided the family an eye-catching view of the farm and nearby creek. The house dated back to the pre-First World War era and included a massive parlour and dining room on the main floor.

Table setting of wedding venue — the Cowley Lions Campground Stockade near Pincher Creek in southwestern Alberta.

A working kitchen was added onto the house’s west side many years later. An array of outbuildings stood further west still. The house, sitting on the north side of the creek, was situated directly opposite the old Bossenberry dwelling and the two were in some ways similar in function and design.

Retirement and descendants

Francis and Anna Fugina resided on their Pincher Creek farm for over 35 years. In 1947, they retired, sold the property and moved to Creston, B.C. Folklore indicates that the couple particularly enjoyed the climate in this new setting.

After a decade’s residence there, Francis passed away at Creston Valley Hospital on Jan. 19, 1957. He was in his 77th year. His widow, Anna, remained in the community for another 11 years, and then in 1968 moved farther west to Nelson to be closer to family. She passed away on Nov. 25, 1970, at the age of 87.

As adults, the five Fugina children had connections to British Columbia and the United States.

Mary Margaret was the Fuginas’ eldest daughter. Born Aug. 10, 1909, she first attended St. Michael’s School in Pincher Creek, followed by a business education at the Lethbridge business college. Several years’ employment was secured at the Montgomery and Hart Garage, the local Ford dealership established at the corner of Main Street and Police Avenue back in 1914. In 1936, Mary married Dennis Bush and the couple moved to Cranbrook, B.C., later settling in nearby Kimberley. Sadly, she passed away on April 11, 1949, after a lingering illness.

The Fuginas’ second daughter, Frances C., became Mrs. Leroy Drew, residing south of the border in Bremerton, Wash. She was born Sept. 25, 1914, and passed away Oct. 29, 2014, having just reached the impressive age of 100 years. As an adult, she attended normal school and taught for several years in a one-room school, where she found rural life isolated.

Another daughter, Anne Cecile, became Mrs. Brady and resided in Nelson, B.C. She was born Oct. 26, 1917, and passed away Dec. 28, 1976.

The fourth daughter, Mrs. James Brooks, resided in Vancouver.

The family’s son, Joseph, resided in Kimberley, where he was active in the garage business. In January 1947, he was united in marriage with the former Lucille Edith Hamilton, a highly respected school teacher from Trail, B.C. His birth dated to Oct. 2, 1910, and he passed away March 16, 2006, having celebrated his 95th birthday the previous autumn.

Pig roast at wedding venue — the Cowley Lions Campground Stockade near Pincher Creek in southwestern Alberta.

As of 1970, there were 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren in the Fugina family.

Research sources for the Fugina family history included old newspaper clippings and the Find a Grave database. A special thanks goes out to the Creston Museum in B.C. for its research assistance.

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Aerial view of the Cowley Lions Campground on the Castle River in southwestern Alberta