Jan Wyers

Jan Wyers

WYERS, Jan Gerrit (1888-1973)

Jan Gerrit was the second son of farmer, Harmen Otto Wijers and Johanna Kets, he was born on July 20, 1888 at Emmer, a community within the Municipality of Steenderen, 16 kilometers northeast of Arnhem, in the Netherlands.

At the age of 12 Jan had to quit school to work on the family farm. In 1913, Jan and three friends left home for the United States. Working through North and South Dakota threshing on various farms, he got the idea to rent a farm but discovered that would be too expensive. Wyers came to Canada with a thousand other immigrants as the Canadian government was actively promoting settling western Canada.

He acquired 1/4 section of land near Windthorst in 1916. During the 1930’s Wyers became the area bootlegger and “did time” in the Correctional Centre in Regina for defaulting on a $200.00 fine for being in violation of the liquor act. Wyers was an inventor of sorts, - on March 11 Wyers filed an application for a patent on an animal trap “particularly adapted to catching gophers and other rodents” when there was a bounty of one-half cent for each gopher tail.

Jan started painting while convalescing after surgery on a ruptured appendix in 1937/38, in the winters he would paint and in the summer he would farm – until 1960, when he quite farming at the age of 72.

In 1969 Windthorst’s new library named a portion of the building the Jan Wyers Arts Centre and in October 1970 Jan Wyers moved to the Willowdale Lodge in Kipling and continued to paint in watercolor despite being crippled from arthritis, in 1973 he moved to a nursing home in Regina where he died on July 4, 1973.

Archival Collections (Finding Aids in PDF format)

89-71 - Personal Papers and Photographs. 1913-1973

91-55 - Correspondence to Ed Haverlange. [1970s]

92-73 - Andrew Oko Material on Jan Gerrit Wyers. 1987-1988