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Yarrow, British Columbia

Edited by
Esther Epp Harder, Edwin Lenzmann, and Elmer Wiens

Biographies and Obituaries


January 26, 1911 — December 30, 1938

DERKSEN, Jacob Jacob Derksen was born on January 26, 1911 to Julius and Katharina Derksen in Sagradovka of Altonau, Russia. He was the first child of a family that grew to four children. His sisters and brother were Sara, Katie, and Julius.

He lived in the village of Tiege No. 8, Sagradovka with his parents until the spring of 1914, when at the age of 3 years, Jacob and his family moved to the village of Lavarow in the Caucasus region. Because of the outbreak of WWI, in the fall of 1914 he returned to the home of his grandparents in Sagradovka with his mother and sister, Sara, as his father had been mobilized.

Following the end of WWI, Jacob returned to he village of Lavarow with his parents, and two sisters, Sara and Katharine.

Jacob was a studious and religious fellow who enjoyed attending school and the church, and reading books, especially Bible literature.

In 1925 when Jacob was 13 years old, he emigrated with his family to Canada, where they farmed until 1936 near Blumenhof, Saskatchewan.


During the 1932-33 school year, Jacob attended Herbert Bible School, where he excelled in all aspects of the curriculum.

His school record indicates that he never missed a day of classes, received straight "A's" for his pesonal behaviour and conduct (Betragen), and high percentages in his practical Sunday School work (S.S. Arbeit), and German spelling and grammar.

After Bible School, Jacob returned to live with his family in Blumenhof. Here he celebrated his parents' 25th wedding anniversary with his parents and siblings.

The picture below shows Jacob with his brother, Julius, and sisters, Katie and Sally, on the Derksen's 300-acre farm. The windmill that drew the water from their well appears in the background.


In 1936, better times beckoned from Yarrow, British Columbia, where Julius Derksens' brothers Johann, Henry, Gerhard, and Peter Derksen were already living.

The Derksen's actioned their farm implements and unnecessary belongings, sold their 300 acre farm, stored their furniture, cattle, and dog into a baggage and a cattle car, and boarded a CPR train bound for Swift Current and British Columbia.

The Derksen's purchased a small farm along the Vedder River on Ford Road, three miles east of the town of Yarrow. The family raised chickens, milked dairy cows, and grew potatoes, corn, and berries on their Vedder River farm. The family income was supplemented with work in the hop yards and tobacco fields on Sumas Prairie.

Jake died on December 30, 1938, and was buried in the Yarrow Cemetery at the end of Alder Road (Hare Road).

O, how is life important! Can you, O man understand how serious it is?

Before Christmas [6 Dec 1938], the Lord took the dear Brother Aron J. Martens, the father out of the family, moreover it was, suddenly, completely unexpected, through death to himself;

and on December 30th, it was a young man of 27 years, Jacob Derksen, he also died completely unexpectedly quickly after a short illness.

Both Brothers have left good footprints [for us to follow], isn't that something precious? Doesn't that mean something to me and to you?

Today we are both alive and well. So were our recently deceased brothers a short time ago too.

Brother Martens [born 24 Nov 1887], was only 51 years old, well and hearty, and he caught a cold. Then other things came along, and he had to die.

Brother Jacob still wanted to follow his quiet Missions Service, and apparently, he got a cold on top of the "Flu".

May the Lord, in His grace, comfort the Bereaved, and give to us grace to heed Psalm 39:5

You have made my days a mere handbreadth;

the span of my years is as nothing before you.

Each man's life is but a breath.


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