Eidse, Helena Klassen (1861-1938)
Helena Klassen Eidse
Helena Klassen Eidse, Mennonite nurse and midwife, was born on 18 December 1861 in the village of Margenau, Mototschna Colony, South Russia. She was one of 14 children, of which 5 died in infancy, born to David Klassen (1813-1900) and Aganetha Brandt (1816-1904). In 1866 her father sold their farm in Margenau and moved to Heuboden in the Borosenko Colony, South Russia. This is where many members of the Kleine Gemeinde had made a group purchase of land in 1865. In 1873 the Borosenko Colony began to discuss relocation as a result of military and education reforms in Russia. Helena's father, David Klassen, was one of 12 delegates sent to North America to look for a suitable place to relocate the colony. The following year, 1874, Helena and her family immigrated to Canada. They spent the first winter in Winnipeg where they acquired two cows. They sold and delivered the milk to customers and it was through these sales that Helena learned English. In the spring her family moved to Rosenhof, Manitoba where her father became the first mayor or "Schultz". Helena was baptized on 31 January 1879 by Peter Toews and that same year married Abraham E. Eidse (1857-1930) on 6 April 1879. Abraham was elected as deacon in 1882 and ordained as a minister in 1884. Together they had eight children--only four survived to adulthood. In 1929 they celebrated their 50th Wedding anniversary.
Helena Klassen Eidse began her career in nursing at the young age of 13 working as translator for the local doctor, Robert McTavish. Finding out that she could speak English, he took her with him when working among the Mennonites. Helena was an intelligent and energetic young woman who soon learned the basics of nursing and midwifery under Dr. McTavish's instruction. They worked together for 35 years and then Helena continued to serve the community on her own until her death on 5 November 1938. Over the years Helena delivered hundreds of babies, the last one on 23 August 1938 just shortly before she died. In addition to acting as midwife, Helena also set broken bones, performed basic first aid, served as community chiropractor, and served as undertaker. She died at the age of 76 after a life time of dedicated service to her community.
Scharfenberg, Lorilee G. "Helena (Klassen) Eidse (1861-1938)." Preservings No. 8, Part I (June 1996): 51-54.
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MLA style: Brown, Sharon H. H. "Eidse, Helena Klassen (1861-1938)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. April 2006. Web. 20 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/E475.html.
APA style: Brown, Sharon H. H. (April 2006). Eidse, Helena Klassen (1861-1938). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/E475.html.