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Proud to be continuously farmed for four generations….125 years

The Korol family reunion was celebrated by 140 enthusiastic family members from across Canada, United States, and one family from Australia on the original family farm in the Donwell-Mazeppa area.

DONWELL-MAZEPPA - On the July 1 long weekend a celebration was held in the Donwell-Mazeppa area, on the original homestead of Harry and Katherine Korol. The event was celebrated by 140 enthusiastic family members from across Canada, United States, and one family from Australia, according to information provided by the Korol family.

A welcome banner greeted the guests and a gallery wall of photos of the four generations living on the homestead was displayed, as well as aerial farmyard pictures taken over the years. A replica of Harry and Katherine’s house built by Eugene Korol completed the display. As well, a very extensive and informative family tree by Taras Korol was of great interest to everyone in attendance. 

Since the homestead was established in 1897, four generations of the Korol family have lived on the homestead and farmed the land. Homesteaded by Harry and Katherine Korol in 1897, it was then passed on to Mike and Julia Korol from 1934 to 1976. From 1976 to 1990, it had changed hands to Marlene and Ben Korol, and from 1990 to the present day, it has been farmed by Linda and Darcy Korol and their son Ty, who continue to live on the homestead.

“The family is very proud of the hard work and perseverance by the four generations who farmed and continue to farm the land today,” stated the information.

The celebration started on Friday evening with a big bonfire with a wiener roast and bean supper. On Saturday, a perogy-and-sausage lunch was served.

In the afternoon, a touching memorial service in remembrance of deceased family members was held with Rev. Petro Tsenov officiating, assisted by cantor, Zenovia Duch.

During the meditation, Rev. Tsenov declared, “Today Ukraine is a wake-up call to the world!

"War may not actually be Hell, but it sure looks and feels like Hell to those who are going through it and now a lot of my friends and family members are there in that hell and they are fighting and dying at this very moment for freedom and independence not only of my country, but for the entire world,” said Tsenov, adding that everyone is paying a high price, not just Ukraine, but even here in Canada.

“All of those who are present here at this Korol family reunion, you are blessed to live in this beautiful and peaceful country, but please, do not forget about your ancestral homeland of Ukraine,” urged Tsenov.

“The weapons of our fighting are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds” (2 Corinthians 10:4). King David discovered this when he was just a young man. As David stood before that great giant Goliath, he boldly declared that the Lord saves not with sword and spear, for the battle is the Lord’s. David defeated Goliath with only the small smooth stone of faith. David saw the strong man Goliath come crashing down by the mighty power of God.

“Today we can compare the war Russia started against our ancestral homeland Ukraine with this biblical fighting of giant Goliath against David, and we know who eventually won. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we must use these spiritual weapons to resist the devil and overcome his evil works — in this case the war in Ukraine. In James 5:15 we are told that, “the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up.”

“We live in a broken sin-sick world that needs to be healed. We should pray in faith that our Lord God Almighty would heal, raise up and restore our ancestral homeland Ukraine!” Tsenov concluded.

The service came to an end with the singing in Ukrainian of Where There’s Harmony in the Family. As well, the Ukrainian and Canadian anthems were sung.

Before the supper on Saturday, family was entertained with enjoyable Ukrainian music played by Orville Drobot and Dan Kunetsky. This was followed by “a very delicious steak and chicken barbecue,” along with many salads and Ukrainian dishes. The remainder of the evening was enjoyed by visiting and sharing stories around the bonfire.

Also on Saturday afternoon, many in attendance were delighted to have horse-drawn carriage rides, provided by Linda, who raises Clydesdale horses.

On Sunday, a pancake-and-sausage breakfast was served to conclude the weekend celebration, “which was immensely enjoyed by everyone.”


Harry (Hrytz) Korol (1866-1933) was born in the village of Khudyivtsi, in the county of Borschiv, province of Halychyna, in Ukraine, then within the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Katherine Bediak (1873-1955) was born in the close neighbouring village of Shuparka. Harry did not go to school and at the age of 18 years, began serving three years in the Austrian army, to which he felt no allegiance.

Upon his release, he returned to his village, a man made bitter because of the wasted years and was determined to start a new life. He married Katherine Bediak and in June 1897, they immigrated to Canada with their two children, Wasyl, 4, and Anna, 1. Harry’s brother, Dmytro also came with them, as he was 18, and facing mandatory service in the Austrian army.

They travelled by train to Hamburg, Germany, and on June 8, 1897, boarded the ship, S. S. Hispania, arriving in Halifax on June 22. The ship’s manifest (passenger list), shows that of the 223 passengers, 220 were assigned to steerage, where the cattle were housed, and where the Korols were placed.

Upon arrival in Halifax, they took a long train ride that brought them to the station in Yorkton, where they were housed in the immigration buildings, before being transported to the Crooked Lake Region, about 25 miles north of Yorkton in what is today, the Donwell-Mazeppa area.

With water nearby, they erected a tent for shelter, while the land agent took Harry walking from section to section, explaining the numbering in the township. By merely pointing to the land he wanted, his homestead claim was recorded in a book.

Harry selected the N.W. Quarter, Section 14, Township 29, Range 3, W. of the Second Meridian. Harry and Katherine and their young children initially lived in a “byrdiu,” dug into a hillside on the homestead, until they built a shelter from logs. In 1916 they built a big two-storey house, where many children were born. Harry and Katherine went on to have 11 children in total, four of whom died early in life. 

Reasons for leaving homeland

Different groups left their homeland for many reasons…religious unrest, unbearable living conditions, political unrest, lack of land and wood, and mandatory conscription in the Austrian army to which they felt no allegiance. They came to Canada, because Canada was a free land and they could get 160 acres of land called a homestead, for $10. Harry chose land that was heavily wooded to ensure a good supply of firewood and logs for building a house and barns. The farmyard was picturesque with a creek running through it, and every spring, the creek “ran” for about two weeks, as the snow melted. The creek emptied into the big slough, assuring a sure supply of water and a good hay crop for the animals. Unfortunately, to grow crops, the land had to be cleared manually, which was back-breaking work.

The Korol farm today

Now owned by Darcy and Linda and their son Ty, the Korol farm today is mainly a grain operation. Linda said they rely heavily on extra help in the busy seasons from Darcy’s brother-in-law Mel McCormick and his brother Brad Korol.

Darcy has continued a life-long tradition of raising beef cattle, but the barns that once housed the milk cows and pigs are now home to registered Clydesdale horses. Linda has continued her family’s tradition of raising Clydesdales and the herd’s bloodline dates back to 1936, when her great-grandfather bought and registered his first Clydesdale. The Korols use the Clydesdales for show, work, sleigh rides and parades. As well, they sell a few Clydesdales to the United States every year.

The yard still has the picturesque creek running through it, but with time many improvements have been made. Darcy and Linda built a new home in 2009, added a shop in 2012, and most recently they have built on a bunk house and coffee shop to entertain friends. 

Darcy, Linda and Ty acknowledge the back-breaking work, incredible sacrifices and perseverance of Harry and Katherine Korol and every generation that followed. It is these hands that created the foundation of the 125-year homestead and Darcy, Linda and Ty are proud that the Korol homestead, although it has increased in acres, “continues to be farmed with a generational passion and humility.”

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