Bernard and Ida Johnson.
Anton Johnson immigrated from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Big River in March 1916. He obtained a job as an edgerman with the Big River Lumber Company. In May, after receiving his job, Anton sent for his wife Georgina and their family. Anton worked in the mill until the fire of 1919, which destroyed it. Anton appears to have had good knowledge of the business. He and four other men rallied together to form the Big River Development Company. They bought the entire town. Anton owned one-quarter of the town including the theatre. In 1930, Anton's home was destroyed by a fire. He then moved his family to a farm on the edge of town. Anton died in 1956. Georgina lived to a ripe old age of ninety-four. Anton and Georgina had three daughters; Madeline, Eva and Hazel and two sons: Clarence and Charles. When the mill dismantled, in 1919, and moved to The Pas, Charles moved with it.
Charles Johnson married Edith Morrish in The Pas in 1921. While residing in The Pas, Edith gave birth to their second oldest child, Bernard, on April 24, 1923. The Johnson family left The Pas and resided in Crooked Creek for a while, and then moved to Big River.
Bernard Johnson first began working in Dore Lake as a fisherman, at the age of fifteen. In 1938, he was employed with Erick Swanson. In 1941, he left Big River to join the armed forces. Bernard served in the infantry with the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, during World War Two. He fought in continental Europe and returned to Canada in 1946.
In 1951, Bernard married Ida LaFontaine. Alfred Lafontaine (Ida's father), was born at McDowell, Saskatchewan in 1894. Alfred married Erma Metzger on August 31, 1919, in Radisson, Saskatchewan. Alfred and Erma made a home in Rabbit Lake, Saskatchewan. Alfred did some bush work, trapping, hunting and other odd jobs to support his wife and family of nine children. Ida was the sixth child born to Alfred and Erma, on January 7, 19?? at Rabbit Lake. In 1936, Alfred moved his family to Green Mantle, Saskatchewan. Ida received most of her education in Big River. As a young girl, Ida worked at the fish plant in Dore Lake.
During their early years together, Ida and Bernard lived in Big River. During the winter and summer fishing season, they lived in Dore Lake, where Bernard commercial fished for a living. The first winter of their marriage they lived in Tom McBride's cabin. They then purchased Swanson's camp and lived there during winter fishing and at the fish plant at Murry's Point, during summer fishing.
In 1961, they bought Erick Viden's mink ranch and had their present home built in 1965, by Del Joncas. Bernard and Ida sold their home in Big River in 1962 and moved permanently to Dore Lake.
Bernard and Ida have five children. Wayne went to Prince George, British Columbia, where he met and married Janet Ermel. They have two sons: Jason and Trevor. Jordon moved to Saskatoon and married Shirley Anderson. They have two children; Janell and Thomas. Maxine moved to Big River and married Bill Gerow. They have two daughters: Regine and Erin. Stewart resides in Big River and Lisa their youngest child resides in Dore Lake.
Bernard Johnson (left) and Tom McBride (right),
standing by the Old Fish Plant, August, 1951.
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Snell, Ida May Johnson and Maxine Johnson,
standing at the end of Bernard Johnson's Point.
Ole Skivik was among the first group of men to commercial fish on Dore Lake. He was born in Norway in 1893 and immigrated to Canada at the turn of the century. In 1915, Ole operated a fish camp on Dore Lake. In 1919, he moved back to Norway. In 1921, he returned to Canada with his wife Mary and established a fish camp, at the North End of Dore. Ragwal Anderson resided with the Skivik's at the North End.
In 1924, Ole bought George Mirasty's place at the South End of Dore Lake and established one of the best stopping places in the north. In 1937, he sold his stopping place to Harry Husak and moved back to Norway. In Norway, Ole and his wife operated a store. When World War II broke out, Ole and Mary sold their store and returned to Canada. They settled in Vancouver, British Columbia. Mary died two years later and was buried at New Westminster Cemetery.
Ragwal Anderson immigrated from Norway to Canada. He was employed at the Big River mill, until it burned down in 1919 Ragwal owned and operated a farm in Kandahar, Saskatchewan, during the summer months. He spent his winters commercial fishing on Dore Lake. In 1927, Ragwal sold his farm and moved permanently to Dore, where he established a stopping place on the North Shore and continued fishing. During the summer months, he lived at his fish camp along the Beaver River. Here, he raised a few chickens and cattle. He sold his eggs and beef in Beauval or Meadow Lake. He died in the winter of 1950, while commercial fishing on Dore Lake.
Helgi Johnson, along with Ole Skivik and Ragwal Anderson, was among the first group of men to commercial fish on Dore Lake. He originally immigrated from Iceland but spent most of his youthful years in Winnipeg. By 1917, he operated the largest fishing outfit on Dore Lake. Helgi would spend his summers gambling on the Winnipeg Grain Exchange, on which he claimed he could make more money, than commercial fishing. In the summer of 1919, Helgi lost a considerable amount of money at the Grain Exchange, and jumped from a Red River bridge and drowned.
It is not known when George Saunders first came to Dore Lake. However, Nels Edson recalls that George was fishing with Ole Skivik in 1915, at the North End of Dore Lake. George had a homestead at Stoney Lake, where he produced hay for the freight teams. He moved to Big River in 1950 and resided there until his death. George was from Switzerland and was of German descent. He was a cabinet maker while in Europe, but did not exploit his trade in Canada.
Harry Sharpe immigrated from England to Canada. He arrived in Big River in 1915 and fished Stoney Lake that winter. He began commercial fishing on Dore Lake in 1918. Harry fished with Harold Fredrickson and Geir Thordon. He later moved to Burnaby, British Columbia, where he died in 1955.
Harold Frederickson was born in Sweden, in 1904 and immigrated to Canada in 1912. He was employed at the Big River mill until it burned down in 1919. Harold was also employed as a steam engineer. He moved to Dore Lake in 1925 and established a fish camp on the south end of Smith's Bay. In 1931, he married Bertha Edson. They had two sons: one died of polio and the other son is living in Cranbrook, British Columbia. Harold and Bertha fancied goat's milk, and therefore raised a few goats at Smith's Bay.
In 1944, Harold sold his fishing rights to Harold Viden and moved to Meadow Lake for five years. He moved from Meadow Lake to Edson, Alberta. His wife, Bertha, died in 1977. Harold Frederickson resides in a Senior Citizens' home in Kamloops, B.C.
Albert Dumat was born in 1900 and immigrated from Austria to Canada in 1927. He worked as a farm labourer in southern Saskatchewan for a few years, before heading north. Mr Dumat moved to Big River and resided there for six years. He worked at the mill and did other odd jobs in Town. In 1934, Albert and his partner, Pete Busch, commercial fished for the first time, with Robert Kochendorfer, who had a camp at Spruce Point. Later, Albert bought Kochendorfer's camp.
In 1939, Pete Busch moved back to Germany. In the late 1950s, Albert retired from fishing and moved to Big River, where he built a house for Mrs Marion Goliath. He resided with Mrs Goliath, until his death in 1971.
Did You Know...?
Beaupre Creek and Beaupre Lake were named in honour of George Beaupre, who was the Rodman when that area was surveyed in 1910.
Smith's Island and Smith's Bay were named in honour of George Smith, one of the first fishermen to fish Dore Lake during the early 1900s.
The name Charbonneau Bay was approved on September 5, 1957. It was named after J. B. Charbonneau a fur trader at Ile-a-la-Crosse in the early 1820's.
The names Taggart Creek, Bazill Bay, Joseph Point and Smoothstone Lake were approved by the Department of Natural Resources in Regina on January 5, 1932. No background information was given on these names.