(We spoke to Ev Tweten, wife of the late Ole Tweten).
Ole Tweten was born in Norway on May 28th, 1917. At the age of three he came to Canada with his family and they settled at Unwin, Saskatchewan. In 1926, Ole began his education. He spoke very little English before attending school. He spent much of his time helping his parents with the farm but stayed in school until he turned 14.
Ole purchased land from the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1935. Ev came to the area as a schoolteacher in 1938 and her sight was fixed on Ole. At the onset of the Second World War, the Norwegian Air Force requested his co-operation in completing a physical to determine whether he could serve in the Military. His eyesight kept him at home while many around him were taken overseas. During this time Ole hauled grain and worked the land for men who had gone to fight in the war. Ole and Ev were married in 1939.
Ole started hauling oil field equipment in 1945. There were many challenges involved in this shift from grain to heavy crude. The main problem was fairly consistent — how to haul increasingly larger loads with small trucks. In 1956, he formed a company called Tweten Truck Service. This was mostly a formality of putting a name to an operation that was already in place. Ole built up a fleet of six trucks that hauled many drilling and service rigs and other loads for various oilfield companies. His first truck, “the old sterling,” became something of a legend around Lloydminster for being able to haul most anything that could be loaded onto it. He gave many men a start in the trucking business. Ron MacDonald drove for Ole for a while in the late 1950’s.
Ole passed away in November of 1991. Ev currently resides in the Dr. James Hemstock Assisted Living Residence.
Ole had a passion for collecting all kinds of antique materials. He collected old newspapers, furniture and boasted possession of 500 wagon wheels. Ev remembers that Ole enjoyed wildlife and had numerous unconventional pets. He had favourite gophers, a one-legged crow, and a badger that could count on an easy meal in Ole’s yard. Ev recalls that when people were sick, Ole liked to send a bouquet of red roses to them.
Ole had a reputation of being ‘in-the-know’ regarding antiques and many people would come to him to seek advice regarding age and worth of materials. Whether he actually knew anything of the sort, is pure speculation according to Ev. She remembers that he took a lot of pleasure from it.
Ev remembers the changes in oil storage tanks over the years. The first she remembers were the “Maloney-Crawford” tanks. These were metal bolted tanks that stood on wooden stands. Then came the two-tier 500-barrel tanks then the 750-barrel tanks.
Ev remembers going to the Dina refinery to pick up tractor fuel.
According to Ev, Ole wasn’t one to dress up but when the Petroleum Club started in Edmonton, ties were required. As a joke, Ole’s friends presented him with a tie with an oil derrick printed on it so he could get into the club.
Numerous names come to mind when Ev looks back over the years that Ole was involved in the oil business. In Forgotten Echoes – A History of Blackfoot and the Surrounding Area, Chapter Eight is dedicated to the discussion of people in the area who were involved.