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Joe Anstett - Part Two



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Joe Anstett's family moved to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan in the 1900s from Aitkin, Minnesota, U.S.A. They lived and worked at the old Celtic Brickyard where they ran the dairy farm. Joe went to school in Prince Albert and worked at the Northern Brickyard all summer at the age of fifteen, before going to the north country trapping for the winter. Some of his family worked at the Brickyard and others like Joe and his friends trapped in the Candle Lake area and north-east almost to the Flin Flon area and due north to Montreal Lake. At that time this was all a wilderness area, without roads and completely unsettled except for the local Cree Indians and fur trading posts. Joe and his family all returned to Van Dyke, Michigan in 1926 after several years of trapping. This is their story told mostly in photographic form.


Revillon Freres Trading Company Store.
Revillon Freres Trading Company Store. The Englishman who managed this company almost died on his first trip here on the rough terrain when the trapper wouldn't let him ride on the toboggan adding to the dog's load. Joe Anstett, right, Louie, left, The store Manager middle.

Mrs Chalmers, Hudson's Bay store managers wife.
Mrs. Chalmers in Pelican Narrows, she was the only white woman at the Outpost that was at least 250 miles from civilization. The Hudson's Bay Company was all there was in that Indian Settlement. She and her husband were the fur buyers there.

Pelican Narrows trading station.
Pelican Narrows trading station. Joe said there were long lines - like cloths lines full of white fox furs that came down from the Arctic.

Pelican Narrows fur trading station.
Pelican Narrows fur trading station.

Cumberland House.
Cumberland House, on the Saskatchewan and Manitoba Border, 1925. Only access besides dog team was by steamship which would turn around and return to La Pas, Manitoba, across the Sturgeon Lake.

Indians in a canoe.
These two Indians had come to our camp the night before a snowstorm, they were hungry and cold. They stayed a couple of days then their relatives came for them.

Indians in canoes.
These Indians came to our camp to get their relatives who stayed with us a couple of days. This was at Ballantyne River at the mouth of Big Bear Lake.

Indians in canoes.
Indians way of travel after the snow is gone. Their main means of transportation. Unfortunately, the original photo is unavailable.

Indians in canoes.
Joe Anstett holding a small Indian child and the bow of an Indian birchbark canoe. Louie Gilroy holding the other end of the canoe but cut off in the photo. The birchbark canoes were very light weight.

Albert Hart in Banff.
Albert Hart sent this photo of himself and two Indian friends. They were at some sort of celebration (looks like ice sculptures, maybe a winter carnival) in Banff, Alberta.

Joe Anstett at Sandy Lake with Indians.
Joe Anstett second from left at Sandy Lake with Indians.

Indian relatives on Ballantyne River.
These are the relatives that came for the two Indians that Joe and his friends had taken in, during the snowstorm on Ballantyne River.

Young Indian boy by the Crow River.
Young Indian boy by the Crow River.

Louie on the right with some Indians.
Louie on the right with some Indians, at Ballantyne River.

Joe Anstett 5th from right, Louie 4th from right with some Indians.
Joe Anstett 5th from right, Louie 4th from right with some Indians.

Two Indians.
Two Indians names unknown.

Indians shaking hands.
Always plenty of handshaking! Goodbye to the Cree Indians at Pelican Lake after staying there for four days.

Indian Camp Trout Lake.
Indian Camp at Trout Lake, 1924. The Indians lived in camps in winter and tents or tepees in summer. The trappers slept outside under the stars in below zero weather. The dogs would curl up to their masters sleeping bag to keep warm. Man's best friend!!

Indian Camp Trout Lake.
Indian Camp at Trout Lake, 1924.

Indian Camp Trout Lake.
The Indians were good-natured.

Indian Camp Trout Lake.
The Indians always made us welcome.

Indian girls outside of their teepee.
Indian girls outside their teepee at Crow lake. Unfortunately, the original photo is unavailable.

Cree Indian camp near Pelican Narrows.
Cree Indian camp near Pelican Narrows. The Cree Indians were happy-natured, sometimes very hungry. They lived off the land hunting and fishing. Joe Anstett said we always shared our food with them. Unfortunately, the original photo is unavailable.

Cree Indians at Pelican Lake.
Cree Indians at Pelican Lake, they sometimes lived on a reserve. Joe and his pals travelled together with them sometime.

Cree Indians at Pelican Lake.
Cree Indians at Pelican Lake.

Cree Indians at Pelican Lake.
Cree Indians at Pelican Lake - Note baby in swing.

Cree Indians at Sandy Narrows.
Cree Indians at Sandy Narrows, 10 miles from Pelican Narrows.



Since mules could haul at least five times the freight of what a dog could do, there were those that tried using mules, much to the disapproval of others. Mules cannot stand the cold like a dog can. In that wild unsurveyed land, about 1920, there were no roads of any kind.

A company by the name of Brook's Freighting, contracted to haul about five loads of freight, each load by a team of mules from Prince Albert to Reindeer Lake. A distance of approximately two hundred miles. Joe tells the sad story about how all but two horses died of hunger and cold on the trip.

In later years, roads and stations were built along the route with stables equipped with food, water and shelter for the horses and mules from the cold weather.


Mule team.
Brook's mule teams on their way out of Lac La Ronge to Reindeer Lake. They were supposed to haul freight in and fish and furs out. They never got there, the mules froze to death.

Mule team.
Brook's mule teams on their way out of Lac La Ronge to Reindeer Lake.

Mule team.
Brook's mule teams on their way out of Lac La Ronge to Reindeer Lake.

Joe Anstett setting muskrat traps.
Joe Anstett setting muskrat traps. Joe would always emphasize that all the trapping, hunting and fishing done by himself and his trapper friends, was to make a living. Joe has never hunted since leaving the North Country and could never hunt for sport. Unfortunately, the original photo is unavailable.

Boomhower, Hixon and Bill Schroeder.
Boomhower, Hixon and Bill Schroeder Candle Lake, Saskatchewan. Unfortunately, the original photo is unavailable.

Roy, Cousin Joe, Albert Hart.
Roy Anstett, Cousin Joe Anstett, and Albert Hart. Unfortunately, the original photo is unavailable.

Hunting caribou.
Hunting caribou near Gull Lake Saskatchewan. This was a tamarack swamp in the North Country. Unfortunately, the original photo is unavailable.



The sad reality of the Fur Trade.

Coyote in a trap.
Coyote in a trap.

Timber wolf in a trap.
Timber wolf in a trap.

Two timber wolves in a traps.
Two timber wolves in traps.

Coyote shot by August Sunstadt.
Coyote shot By August Sunstadt at Candle Lake.

Coyote in a trap.
Coyote in a trap.

Carrying a timber wolf.
Carrying a Timber wolf, another lying on the ice. Identity of person unknown.

August Sunstadt with a black bear he trapped.
August Sunstadt with a black bear he trapped.

Two black bears in a dump.
Two black bears in what looks like a dump. Prince Albert?

Dead caribou.
Dead caribou, hunted for meat.

Dead caribou.
Arctic white fox dead in a trap.

Red fox in a trap.
Red fox in a trap.

Red fox in a trap.
Red fox in a trap.

Red fox in a trap.
Red fox in a trap.

Silver fox in a trap.
Silver fox in a trap.

Fish station at Candle lake.
Fish Station at Candle Lake. A bear and a deer being butchered for the meat.

Lynx in trap.
Lynx in a trap.

Lynx in trap.
Lynx in a trap.

Coyote in trap.
Coyote in a trap.

Northen Lake.
Northern Lake, most of them as yet unnamed in the 1920s.

Pelican Lake and River.
Pelican Lake and River. All of the islands here were solid rock.

More rapids out of Crow Lake Lake.
More rapids out of Crow Lake.

Ballantyne River.
Ballantyne River out of Big Bear Lake, good trapping area.

Rapids out of Crow Lake.
Rapids out of Crow Lake. A very dangerous river.

Rapids out of Crow Lake.
Rapids out of Crow Lake, a different view. A very dangerous river.

A no Name river.
A river north of Candle Lake, it had no name.

A no Name river.
Crow River rapids, North of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

Indians running the rapids in a canoe.
Indians running the Crow River rapids flowing out of Pelican Narrows in a canoe.

Indians running the rapids in a canoe.
Maizie Anstett sent this photo into a Detroit News Contest and won first prize worth $10.00.

Transporting hay.
Bill Arndt, transporting hay across Candle Lake, no roads.

Noble's Point on Candle Lake.
Noble's Point on Candle Lake.

Roy on sled.
Brother Roy on sled, cousin Joe center and Joe Anstett with a gun on his shoulder. A way of life in Saskatchewan.

Joe's brother Roy and Albert Hart near Prince Albert.
Joe's brother Roy and Albert Hart near Prince Albert.

Joe Anstett driving a team hitched to a 'Democrat', a very popular vehicle.
Joe Anstett driving a team hitched to a 'Democrat', a very popular vehicle.

Clifford Anstett Joe's youngest brother.
Clifford Anstett Joe's youngest brother age about ? yrs.

Joe Anstett's sister Esther.
Joe Anstett's sister Esther, Joe trapped the weasels for her ermine muff and scarf.

Clifford Anstett holding a weasel.
Clifford Anstett holding a weasel. Timber wolf skin hanging from the fence.



Click the Green Navigation Arrows for Part Three of Joe Anstett's Story.


Author: Webmaster - jkcc.com
"Date Modified: May 9, 2024."


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