Ivery Ogden Newton was born March 13, 1888 at Ouyon, Quebec. As a young boy he came west to Saskatchewan, settling in Old Battleford where he was a barber.
In 1914, he joined the Fort Garry Horse Regiment in Winnipeg, Manitoba, serving overseas from 1914 to 1918. While overseas he was presented with the Military Medal for Bravery. After the war, he came back to Saskatchewan settling this time in Prince Albert.
In 1921, he married Mary Motherwell of Prince Albert. Mary was born in Scotland on May 31, 1900. She immigrated to Prince Albert at the age of twelve with her parents, brothers and sisters, one sister being grace Gould of Big River.
In 1922, Ivery and Mary Newton moved to Big River where Mr. Newton was the game warden until 1932. After several years of trapping and running the steam engine at the lumber mill at Delaronde Lake, he then became dam keeper at Cowan Lake. He retired in 1963 and died on May 25, 1971.
His wife, Mary, was an accomplished pianist. She played the organ for several years at the United Church. She also played the piano in the Big River Orchestra, and at the school Christmas concerts. After a lengthy illness, Mary died in 1940.
Ivery and Mary had three children: Blanche, Lorna and Belroy. Blanche and Belroy both took their schooling in Big River.
I have received a brief outline concerning Ivery Newton's citation for the Military Medal, This has never been published, but comes from entries in The Fort Garry Horse, War Diaries. Note that he was promoted to Sergeant by the end of the war. It was sent to me by Gord Crossley, of the Fort Garry Horse Museum and Archives of McGregor Armoury, Winnipeg, Manitoba. I am adding it to this brief biography. My thanks to Gord Crossley.
On October 9, 1918, in the attack on Bois-Du-Mont-Aux-Villes Wood, Pte. Newton was in charge of a section which did splendid work. After the first charge, when many of the enemy had been killed with the sword, this man rallied his section together and charged several machine gun nests, capturing them, together with the crews.
Here is a description of the battle from our War Diary:
The regiment left bivouac at Nauroy before daylight and moved up near Serena. There was heavy mist in the early morning. They went into action about 9am advancing in the direction of Le Cateau. During the operations, the regiment captured the villages of Maurois and Reumont also a number of prisoners and machine guns. The advance was continued to a point about 3 kilometres southwest of Le Cateau having passed through the infantry to a distance of 8 miles.
The regiment held part of the front line during the night of October 9th and 10th until the arrival of the infantry on the following morning. While near the Le Cateau road during the night a high explosive shell burst near Regimental Headquarters killing 3 and wounding eight OR's and killing 8 horses. Total casualties during operation: sixteen OR's killed, three Officers wounded and 37 OR's and 116 horses killed and injured.
Mr. and Mrs. Wallace Kimball Nichols came with their family, Wallace Kimball Jr., Margaret Elizabeth, and Barbara Ellen, from the United States in the spring of 1914.
Mr. Nichols became manager of the Big River lumber operation for the Winton Brothers Ladder Lake lumber Company, until the operation ceased. The family then moved to Seattle in the fall of 1921.
David Robert Nichols was born in Big River.
Mr. and Mrs. Nichols have passed away. All the children live in the Vancouver B.C. area.
Joe Nicholson came to Big River in 1909, from England. he helped to locate clay suitable for making bricks which were used for the sawmill. This location is the present rink site. Mr. Nicholson became the first towerman for the Bodmin Hill Tower. He also served as supervisor of the Big River Forestry Department with Ernie Over. After serving in the World War One, Joe returned to Big River where he lived for the rest of his life.
Mr. Nicholson came to Canada from England in 1926. He arrived in Big River to homestead in 1930. He worked at various places in the surrounding district; this included working in the mill, cooking for bush camps, firefighting, and splitting cordwood.
Mr. and Mrs. Nicholson raised a family of six on their homestead.
Mr. Nicholson can remember buying a can of tobacco with papers, for seventy-five cents. His most enjoyable memory is the friendly attitude of neighbours, who willingly rallied to help one another.
Mr. and Mrs. Olenchuk moved from Foxford to the Timberlost district in 1939. With them was their four year old son, Bill.
In order to qualify for a homestead, they went on relief for two months. Once the land was secured, they had to clear fort acres and have it fenced before they could receive title to the land.
They came to Big River in a boxcar, along with all their possessions, among which were three horses, three cows, two pigs, twelve chickens, and a few geese. They travelled from Big River to their homestead at Timberlost with the team of horses driven by Mrs. Olenchuk. Her husband walked behind, herding the cattle. After several hours of travel, Mr. Olenchuk told his wife to stop, and when she asked why, he told her that they had reached their home. There was nothing around them except bush.
They arrived at their homestead in August and they spent the next five months living in a tent. They moved into their first house on January 7, 1940, with the temperature sixty degrees below zero.
Mrs. Olenchuk never left the homestead, not even for a trip to Big River, for a total of five years.
Since the Olenchuks didn't have any machinery, they cleared their land with only an axe and grub hoe.
In October, 1941, their daughter Rose was born, and in January, 1943, their second son, James Peter was born. All children are married, but only the youngest still lives in the Big River area.
Mr. and Mrs. Olenchuk remained at Timberlost for almost twenty years. They were the only remaining settlers in this area out of a total of sixty-five. Since they were the only people in this area, the government refused to maintain the roads for only one family, and therefore had to move. They moved from Timberlost in 1954 to the Greenmantle district, but still maintained the title to their original homestead. Later, they decided to sell this land back to the government. The government now owns all the Timberlost area and had it converted to a Game Reserve.
While in Greenmantle, the Olenchuks continued to farm. The children, in order to receive an education, had to board in town while they were going to school. Later, Mr. Cronk started driving the school bus and therefore, the children could remain at home.
Mr. and Mrs. Olenchuk retired in 1970. They left their farm to their youngest son Pete, and are now living in the town of Big River.
Martin Benjamin Olsen was born in Denmark in 1879 and came to Canada in 1909, landing in Dauphin, Manitoba. He planned to make a fortune in trapping. In 1910, he came north to Big River and helped to establish the Ile-A-La-Crosse Fish Company. He worked in the fishing business for many years but later took up homesteading in the Delaronde district. In 1913, he married Anna Ethier and they had two daughters, Florence and Myrtle. Anna died during the influenza epidemic and the girls were raised by Mr. and Mrs, Appleby until Martin's second marriage.
Florence Olsen married Tom Nicholson in 1937. The children: Jim, Priscilla (Mrs. Clarence Pister), Ben, LaVern (Mrs. Davis), Grace and Nadine. Jim was killed in a plane crash at La Ronge. Priscilla and Ben still live in this area.
Ole B. Olson was born in Norway and came to Canada at an early age. He married Jessie Carpenter while they were living in the United States. They moved to big River in 1937 where Mr. Olson had employment at the power plant. he later worked as a carpenter at Waite Fisheries Limited. The Olsons had ten children: Ella, Clara, Henry, Viola, Leo, Orland, LaDonna, Leslie and Hardy.
Joseph and Lena Otte came from the Shellbrook district to start a dairy and market garden in 1925. They bought a small farm adjoining the village of Big River. The Intermediate Schools are now located on this land.
Mr. Otte operated his business until 1937 and after this time it was taken over by his son, George Otte. George continued the business until 1949, when it again changed hands.
George Otte married Antoinette Chenard in 1939. The Ottes still reside in Big River.
Joseph's sons, Ed and Ted, started a repair shop, blacksmith, and car repair in 1931.
Mr. Otte Sr., was Overseer of the Village for three terms of office.
Ernest Charles Over was born in England and came to Canada in the early 1900s.
He came to Big River as an employee of the Forestry Branch for the Federal Government and worked with Joe Nicholson as Game Warden.
He enlisted in World War One and then returned to this area where he took up a homestead in the Black Duck district.
Ernie was well known and is fondly remembered for his fair and honest work. He was in charge of the air base at Ladder Lake. He looked after the sale of equipment and the relief camp.
Ernie married Hazel Johnson and they lived at ladder Lake and in Big river until Ernie's death in 1954.
Mrs. Neta Panter came from Montana, U.S.A. She lived in southern Saskatchewan for several years, and it was here that she met her husband and was married.
Anton and Neta Panter moved to Big River in 1953. They spent most of their lives on the homestead. In later years, the Panters moved to Big River. Mr. Panter died of cancer. Mrs. Panter is still living in Big River.
Eight children were born in the Panter family: Frank, George, Jim, Elsie, Ethel, Victor, Howard, and Betty Lou.
Jim Panter is still farming on the original homestead and Betty Lou is presently living in Big River.
Arthur (Henry) and Gladys Parker came to Big River in 1932 to homestead. Art joined the Regina Rifles in 1939, was discharged in 1946, and returned to Big River where he helped to build the first Saskatchewan government sawmill. They had three children, all born in Big River. They were Rachel, Willis and Norma. Art, Gladys, and their son, Willis, are now deceased.
Mr. and Mrs. Payne, with daughter Florence, moved to Big River in 1935. Mr. Payne had operated a store in Spiritwood prior to his arrival here. The Anglican Church minister, Reverend Norman Calland, who had been recently transferred from Spiritwood to Big River, wrote to Mr. Payne and told him of the possibility of opening a drug store in the community. The Payne family decided to make the move and Mr. Payne established and operated a drug store here until 1940, when he joined the army.
The few years the Paynes spent in our community were during the hungry thirties, therefore money was scarce.
Fish, furs and cordwood were common items of exchange at the drug store, plus the slender cash incomes received by those on Government Relief. However, everyone was in the same financial situation, so things were not so noticeable.
Later, Mr. Payne discontinued his drug store and started work for O.P. Godin in his general store. When Mr. Godin purchased Mr. Joe Friedman's store, located in the hotel building, Mr. Payne became manager. He was assisted by Mr. Kurt Bengston and Miss Alice Dube.
The Payne family eventually moved from Big River and is now living in Edmonton.
Clarence Pederson came to Big River in 1937 to work in the tie camps. He met Elnora Anderson and they were married in 1939.
Clarence worked as a fisherman, and also did some road construction work. Later, in 1945, he went into the land clearing business and is still involved in this work. Elnora is presently the medical records clerk at the Big River Hospital.
Five children were born in the Pederson family: Cecil, Clarice, Garnet, Harvey, and Kenny.
The Potter family moved to Big River in 1920; Mr. Potter took a job as the Natural Resources Officer and Game Warden.
Cecil Potter started one of the first Tree Nurseries in the Province. The Potters, along with sons Rex and Fred, spent their first year in our district in a log cabin known as "The Otter Creek Cabin". All travel in the early years was done by horse and wagon. Mr. Potter spent many days and nights, even into winter, in tents or log cabins built for the men who patrolled the area.
In 1945, Mr. Potter was transferred to Madge lake. However, he returned to Big River after retirement in 1946 and took employment with Waite Fisheries.
In 1953, the Potters moved to Vancouver.
Mitchel Premischook and two sons, John and Walter, worked for the mill in Camp Six. Walter was a swamper and canter.
The following year, he worked as sand man on Jim Sweeney's outfit. His job was to stand on the sleigh and dribble sand from a pail into the ruts to slow the loads going down hills. When he heard them shout "pour it to it", he would dump sand out as fast as he could onto the trail. John Premischook worked at Camp Six as flunky.
I am very grateful to see information on the family through this web site. I would like to note, however, that Uncle Walter was disabled having had polio at a young age, perhaps my father, John Premischook, may have been the canter at the saw mill. It should be noted that grandfathers name was Mika. (probably Canadianized as many names were in those days)
Bert Pruden and Margaret Otte were married in 1937. For the first several years, Bert worked as a fisherman up north. In 1940, Mr. Pruden joined the army and served until 1945.
Three children were born to the Prudens: Rosemarie, Yvonne and Deanna. Mrs. Pruden is still living in Big River.
Families Part 11