For more than a century, Friedrich Drager and his wife Eva nee Riege have lain in unmarked graves in the old Wetaskiwin Cemetery, but no more. This May, their great-grandson,Ted Drager, decided that it was time for a headstone to recognize their resting place, and arranged for a number of their many descendants to join him in the placement and dedication of the headstone. Zion Lutheran Church Pastor Tim Richholt conducted a short service of remembrance at the grave site. There were 25 members of the extended family present for the occasion, 13 of whom still live in the Wetaskiwin area.
Of German descent, Friedrich and Eva Drager were living in Russia before immigrating to Canada in 1892 on a ship flying an English flag. Their seven children, two boys and five girls, came with them. They were among the first settlers in the Wetaskiwin area. The obituary for Eva when she died in 1912, 10 years after her husband, said that she was “well known and loved by all because of her sweet and sympathetic character.” At the time of her death, she had 53 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. At least one of her sons, Anton, and two of her daughters, Johanna Schmidt and Bertha Freiman, lived out their lives in the Wetaskiwin area. Two daughters are buried a little north of Grande Prairie, and one at Chilliwack. This family information was on display at the Legion, where the family gathered for a lunch after the brief service at the cemetery.