Excerpts from Timber Trails with additions
Bodmin acquired its name from a small town in England. Mr Wrixon, an English train engineer, from that territory, named the district.
During the very early years, freighters transported the first sawmill equipment to the Big River townsite by horse and wagon. Robert Isbister, (Miles Isbister's father) supplied hay for these teams used for hauling the machinery and supplies. All this feed was cut from Keg Lake Meadows.
Henry Corbeil and Fidelle Doucette were two of the first settlers to the district. They set up their houses on opposite sides of the Hudson Bay Trail. The reasoning for this was that the surveyors would use the road to divide the sections. However, the surveyors discovered that both residences were in the same quarter section. To avoid any conflict, it was agreed that both men would move. Mr Corbeil was one of the men who helped to build the Canadian Northern Railway through the area.
Before the railway built a spur from Shellbrook to Big River, ox and wagon was used to transport food, mail, and supplies in the summer and dogs were used in the winter. The railroad was built in 1910, and Bodmin became a flag station with a settlement of a few scattered pioneers.
From 1911 to 1912, the community expanded as many families immigrated to the Big River district to seek employment in the sawmill. Some of these early pioneers who established their new homes in Bodmin are mentioned here.
The Degrasse family moved into the area when Mr Degrasse was assigned a position with the railroad to help construct the Big River spur. Mrs Degrasse was a midwife.
Phil (Fidelle) Doucette was a saw filer in the sawmill. A winter road passed through their yard and anyone using the road was invited in for a hot cup of tea or coffee. They had a large family (eighteen, not including the in-laws and hired help) but there were always extra settings on the table at mealtime, just in case someone would drop in. Fidelle married Annette Legouffe. John Legouffe and son Paul arrived in the early 1900s to freight supplies and to pack telegraph lines up the Green Lake Trail to Ile a la Crosse. Paul married Tesa Swanson and they settled on a homestead at Bodmin. Paul did a little farming, and also worked freighting and as a woods boss. Many stories have been told about how he would settle an argument, always to the sorrow of his opponent. He earned the title of "Bull of the Woods".
Fred Doucette and family moved to Bodmin from Quebec. Mr Doucette operated one of the first sawing outfits in the area. He cut and shipped a large amount of cordwood from the local surroundings. Fred also helped the development of highway construction in 1938.
Mr Langford originally came to Big River as a railroad worker. He decided to stay in the Bodmin area and became a freighter. He was commonly known as 'Clubfoot'. His grandson still lives in the Big River area.
Fred Trudeau was a pile driver for the first Big River sawmill. Some of these original piles are still standing in Otter and Sharpe Lakes. These were used to hold booms until the mill needed the logs. Fred married Regina La Gouffe.
The Bodmin settlement grew rapidly with an influx of settlers after the First World War. A few of these veterans were Tommy Brown, who worked as dam watchman, mill watchman, and farmer. Joe Lamothe was another war veteran and Big River Legion, member. He was married to Philomen Legouffe. Joe was a good farmer and stockman, and he was also a carpenter. He built the first Bodmin store for Ted Harvey, the Bodmin schoolhouse, and also 0 P Godin's Store. Ned Caissey was a bush worker and farmer who married Bella Corbiel. There was also Mr Cornell, an American veteran. He established a sheep farm in the area. Some of the page wire is still on the farm section. Ted Harvey, who started the first community store, Mr Humphrey, who was retired. Morris Pederson, Jimmy Rivers, Mr Tuttle and Charles Smith were all farmers in the area. Phillip Kelly was another pioneer who settled in the Bodmin district. His wife Matilda was a missionary nurse from Jamaica. Mr Kelly had been the dam keeper at the north end of Cowan Lake. The dam had been built by the sawmill owners to control the level of the lake water required by the mill operators. However, barges were going through transporting supplies to northern communities. The dam had to be lowered to allow the barge through and enough water released to carry the barge through the Cowan River and into the Beaver River.
With the onset of the Depression, many settlers moved north to escape the hardships of the prairies. The occupations of these "hungry thirties" pioneers ranged from the unemployed skilled worker to the farmers whose land was dried out in the south. Each of these families was bonded together as they faced bad crops, hail, drought, and financial stress. Most of the newcomers filed for a homestead and tried to grow enough feed for the cattle and maintain a vegetable garden that would suit their winter needs. Many of these settlers left, after the strain of the Depression, to seek employment elsewhere. Some of these courageous people who arrived in Bodmin during the thirties are mentioned, alphabetically, below: Anderson, Bademen, Barrion, F. Bradley, Croteau, Dahlby, Dougherty, Eagon, Egeland, Elliot, Fredrickson, Glendenning, Hallborg, Hunt, Kerr, Klyne, J. Laurin, Lay, McGrath, Miller, Minnie, Morin, Parao, Potts, Riome, Schuler, Scofield, Skopyk, Suderman, Tilsey, Tuttle, Walker (teacher), Wardo, White, Wholeburg.
During this time, the main source of revenue was cordwood, trapping and relief cheques.
After World War One, the settlers of Bodmin applied for a school. Twenty-six families were willing to donate ten dollars per year for the maintenance of a school. The new building would provide an adequate place for the children of school age. Mr Corbiel and Mr Fred Doucette who each gave half an acre offered a free school site.
In 1920, a committee of three men was appointed to make the official application for the new school. These men were J. W. Rivers, Harry A. South, and George Langford. The first trustees were elected in 1922; these were H. Corbeil, J. Lamothe, and H.E. Lindsey. Joe Lamothe constructed the school building. The Bodmin community members would often meet for school board meetings. These gatherings would often last from afternoon until early the next morning. Other trustees throughout the years were H. Fraser, A Humphrey, J Lamothe, T. Harvey, W. White, S. Lay, A. Riome, N. Elliott, T. Laurin, F. Doughtery, C. Bradley, J. Magrath, H. Jorgensen, G. Walker, R. Kerr, A. Egeland, R. Hunt, H. Fredrickson, H. Dahlby, W. Leverton, Mrs. Poirer, P. Schuler, C. Amundrud, J. Lattenville, E. Dahlby, and C. Muir.
The school opened in 1923, and operated until 1955, employing thirteen different teachers.
Mrs Harvey - 1923 - 25
Miss M. Stewart - 1925 - 28 - (later Mrs Phillips)
Mr G. Walker - 1928 - 29 - (still lives in Big River)
Miss. Pidwyrdbeck - 1929 - 32 - (later Mrs Laurin)
Mr G. Walker - 1932 - 33
Miss H. Fieve - 1933 - 35
Miss Brownfield - 1935 - 39 - (later Mrs Hartnett)
Miss A. Leask - 1939 - 40
Mrs Sloan- 1940 - 41
Mr W. Leverton - 1941 - half year
Miss M. Combres - 1942 - taught two months
Miss M. Bodnarchuk - 1942 - remainder of the year
Miss M. Combres - 1943 - 1945
Miss M. Michel - 1945 - 46 - (later Mrs M. Olson)
Miss S. Kernaghan - 1946 - 48
Mrs P. Laurin - 1948 - 55
The Bodmin schoolhouse, as well as being a place of learning, became the community hall and was used for dances, card parties and box socials. It would be "full house" when Mrs Godin and the band would be engaged for special events and a good turnout when local musicians were playing. To name a few were Ash Archibald, Hans Jorgensen, Alex South, Harold Dahlby, Martha Egeland, John Bock and the Isbisters.
The schoolhouse was also a church on Sundays with the parson travelling from Big River. It became a movie theatre where a travelling projectionist would show old black and white silent movies. Of course, it was used for Credit Union and political meeting and the polling place on Election Day was always held there.
The dance parties were usually held on Friday nights. They would last until three in the morning. A Saturday affair would have to end at midnight, in keeping with the Lord's Day Act. Any violation of this, as well as the occasional dust-up, or drinking of liquor, would cause some upright citizen to go to the one telephone at Bodmin, located in Porier's store, to call the lone police constable whose jurisdiction had a radius of at least fifty miles from Big River. The police constable would often arrive after everyone had gone home, or else to find them all sober and happy. There were no known arrests at the Bodmin Schoolhouse. The schoolhouse was later moved into Big River and converted into a private home. The children are now bused to attend school in Big River.
Back Row: Joyce Egeland, Laura Doucette, Mary Egeland, Juliet Doucette,
Edna Bradley, Juliet Caissie.
Front Row: Jack Lattenville, Alfred Hunt. Around 1938.
Bodmin's first store was opened and operated by Ted Harvey. He began his business in the early 1920s and ran it until his brother; Joe took over it in 1938. This was known as the Bodmin Cash Store and it carried almost every line of goods. Mr and Mrs Herb Beattie later ran the store and also Raymond Laplante was the last owner of the store.
0.P Godin built the Farmers Supply Store in 1932. Mr Frank Doughtery was the first salesman. H. Combres, who passed away in 1937, succeeded him. Mr H. South became a joint partner of Mr Godin. After Mr South's passing, his grandson Jack Lattinville purchased the building and ran it until moving to Calgary. The store was then sold and moved into Big River and later became known as Tom Huxted's Store.
The Bodmin Post Office was originally located in Ted Harvey's general store. Mr Riome Pourier later opened a shop and he operated the Post office, Government Telephone and barbershop there. This stucco building was constructed in 1930 and it is situated near the highway. Mr Marcel Lamothe bought the shop and opened a community store in 1948. The front of the large building housed the telephone, store and Post office until 1948 when Bodmin's Post became amalgamated with Big River.
The Pool Elevator was built in 1940. It was ninety-eight feet high, painted dark red, made of lumber and had a galvanized engine room. Mr., Gordon Leask was the first elevator agent and was followed by Mr Linden, who was succeeded by Mr Wainright. Mr Alfred Hunt hauled gravel for the elevator when it was being built. The building was dismantled around 1943 because it was not a paying proposition and that its equipment was urgently needed in bigger centres of business.
The Bodmin community also maintained a stockyard, which was managed by Mr A Hunt. Pigs and cattle were shipped to the Burns Limited every Monday. The train stopped at Bodmin on its way to Prince Albert from Big River, and often the farmers had enough livestock to fill an entire train car.
The Bodmin railway station was built in the early 1900s and improvements were added as time progressed. One building included freight shed and a place to light a fire while waiting for the train. Jerry Watier later bought the building and moved it to his farm.
Harry South and family arrived about 1910, and settled in Bodmin with his son Alex. They farmed and they also had the first threshing machine in the district. Alex later set up a blacksmith shop on their farm. In the mid-thirties, Mr South bought Pete Godin's Bodmin store, which was managed by a niece, Nancy South.
The Lavoie family was early settlers. Mr Lavoie was a chef and cooked for the workers of the lumber camps. He later farmed and was later noted for his excellent rabbit stew.
Fred Percenko was an early immigrant from Romania. Fred lived alone and was a hard worker. Like many others in the district, his farm would only produce enough to feed the animals through a long winter. Survival depended on the sale of forest products, mainly firewood.
Hans Hansen was from Denmark and was a successful mixed farmer. Dairy cattle and poultry were his main livestock. He had the first land clearing machinery in the district and did custom work in that line. He also built a shingle mill and sold jack-pine shingles to homebuilders. Later, he expanded to a small lumber mill. He brought the first harvesting combine into the district. Hans was the only Bodmin farmer who took a trip back to his homeland. That is why he was rated "successful".
Andrew Egeland and family of nine brothers and sister's arrived from Swift Currant area in 1936. He left Norway about 1909 to come to Canada. His wife and two young daughters came to Canada in 1912, when he had established a farm home. The drought on the prairies caused them and many other families to move north. He bought a farm and moved the livestock and farm machinery to Bodmin. The Egeland family kept the farm until the youngest daughter married and moved away. Mr Egeland then sold the farm and retired to Victoria.
The Kerr family moved from Speers, Saskatchewan, following much the same pattern, arriving at Bodmin in 1936 and Mr and Mrs Kerr retired to British Columbia in 1947.
Sarah Dahlby a widow with two sons, Harold age twelve and Edwin age ten arrived at Bodmin in 1928 to work on Allanson's farm. In 1931, she filed on a homestead three miles south of Bodmin and began the clearing process, which precedes breaking of the soil.
In today's history, as you drive along Highway 55 to Bodmin, you see the first glimpse of the second newly constructed Weyerhaeuser Mill. It too once used to have a smaller burner to burn to the rubble, but due to modern styles it was not to be used and all debris and such is used in the recycling process in today's technology. It supplies a life long income to approximately 200 employees working there. (See history on Weyerhaeuser).
Times have changed in the lives of people. Today Big River is their main meeting place for doing business, and with the used of vehicles, it is not uncommon to travel further in doing businesses elsewhere.
People that are still living in Bodmin today are Oudshoorn, Dunn, Proulx, Moyer, Hill, Lamothe's, Olsons, Deidrick, Homer, Jackow, Laplante, McKenzie, Larsen, Bergen and Gear.
Letter from C.N. Railway to Mrs. South.
Submitted by Eileen Schuler (South)
My father and mother (Harry and Fanny South) came from England in the 1900s. Dorothy was three years old while Alex was one year old. They went to Basman, Manitoba. My Dad worked in a lumber mill there. His brother, Alex, was already there.
In 1912, they moved to Big River. Dad helped lay the CN rail from Prince Albert to Big River. Later, he worked in the planer mill. Mother took in boarders. Later, they purchased land in Bodmin, six miles from Big River.
Eileen recalls that she was about six years old when the house burnt down. Neighbours from Big River and Bodmin came to help them. Some of those people were: Phil Doucette, Nap Legouffe, Jimmie Rivers, Earl Applebee, Joe Lamothe, Corbeil, Tommy Brown, and Nickelson, the fire ranger.
Around the 1920s, Uncle Leslie was moving to a section of land he had bought west of Bodmin. Eileen's dad was trying to get a school in Bodmin. Joe Lamothe sawed the timbers for the school. All the settlers got together and built the school. By 1922, the school opened with 23 students attending.
Ted Harvey opened the first store in Bodmin. His wife taught school for a while until the first teacher came. Her name was Bluebell Stewart. She boarded with the Lamothe's. Shortly after Miss Stewart married the Anglican Minister Padre Phillips, and they left. Miss Stewart has written two books: "Derelicts" and "Something Always Turns You", by Miss Bluebell, Harlequin Books; copyright 1957.
Gordon Walker began teaching in 1927. He bought a section on the way to Clearwater Lake. He taught until 1929 and Miss Joan Pidwyrbecki (Mrs. Phillip Laurin) took over at that time. She boarded at Joe Lamothe's. After she married Phillip Laurin and they built a house where Tommy Brown had lived which is the present site of Kevin Olson's residence.
By this time, O.P. Godin had built the Farmer's Supply Store in Bodmin. Mr Doughtery and his family ran the store. Mr Doughtery used to be the conductor for the CN train, which ran from Prince Albert to Big River.
Phil Doucette, Alex Walker and Bob White used to saw the wood into four-foot lengths and twelve-inch blocks. The wood was then shipped on the train to the prairies.
Harry South got the new post office and the phone in Bodmin and Romeo and Beatrice operated that place. Tom Sinden operated the pool elevator. The Doughertys left the Farmers Supply Store and Harry South bought it and operated it.
Eileen South (Schuler) recalls leaving Bodmin to look for work. She landed in Rosetown and worked for a farmer who had four children. She cleaned house, cared for the children and milked cows for ten dollars a month. After four months, she moved to Winnipeg to work for her aunt for fifteen dollars a month. She came home to Bodmin for Christmas, after working in Winnipeg for six months and met Peter Schuler.
In January, she went with Peter to Vulcan, Alberta to work for his sister. She earned ten dollars a month and Peter made twenty dollars a month. They were married in Vulcan.
The following January, they moved back to Bodmin and bought the Legouffe farm. They fixed up the two-story house that was on the farm and lived there. Peter decided to join the armed forces and he went overseas in October 1942. Eileen built up the farm by buying cows, pigs and chickens. When Peter came home, there was not enough land cleared to raise their livestock. Herd law had come into effect. Ned Caissie was the pound keeper. Because their cattle had to roam and graze, they were caught and put in the pound. Pete, however, did manage to get the cattle out.
A Chapter in the Bodmin Story (1942 - 1945)
Submitted by Marguerite (Combres) Buckingham
Thank you for inviting me to write an episode for your Centennial book. Since sixty years have passed since I was in your midst I hardly know where to begin and what to write. I guess I'm lucky to be still in the land of the living.
I arrived in Bodmin by train from Saskatoon via Prince Albert on March 4, 1942. I was at Teachers' College in Saskatoon. Many schools could not get teachers' because many teachers had joined the armed forces. Mr Leverton had started teaching in July 1941 but joined the forces right after Christmas. Alphonse Laurin picked me up in Bodmin and took me to their farm home where I would be boarding. Mr and Mrs Laurin made me welcome and their home became my home for the next three years.
The next day the School secretary, Mr Bob Kerr came with a team of horses and a sleigh and took me to the school. I was taken aback to see the state of the school after a Friday night dance. The desks were still around the perimeter of the room, the floor had not been cleaned, and all the books and school materials were packed away in a cupboard or the teacher's desk. The mice had, had a two-month field day. The school served as a Community Centre and continued to do so for the next three years. The money raised, which was precious little after the musicians were paid, was sent to the Red Cross or used to send parcels to the local boys who were overseas, Christmas gifts for the students and sometimes for extra supplies for the school depending on who sponsored the entertainment.
However, Monday morning March 6, 1942 school re-opened for the last half of the school term to June. The students came from near and far. Some walked to school, others came on horseback or by team and buggy in summer and team and cutter in winter, one boy came by dog sled in winter and by bicycle in summer. I walked in winter and rode a bicycle in summer. The village children were Poiriers (Ruby, Norman, Jerry, Bud and Mae), (Roy, Donald and Myrna at home), Sinden's Lois and Rita (two little girls at home). Mrs Poirier was the postmistress and Mr Sinden was the elevator agent. The surrounding farm children were: Caiseys (Juliette, Doreen, Lucienne, Eugene (Annette and Marcel at home), Joe Laurins (Rosalie, Hermus (Yvette at home), Egeland's (Mary and Joyce), Bradleys (Edna and Elsie), Lays (Vera and Dennis); Fred Doucettes (Laura and Leo), Allan Riomes (stepchildren Gordon and Fern Hewitt), Hunts (George and Allen), Alphonse Laurin (Roger), Allansons (Howard McCarthy) made his home with them), Andersons (Lily, Jean, Olaf, Tootsie and Oscar), Tariffs (Alcide, Leo, Patrick, Simone (Rosaire at home), Bannermans ( Henry and June), Suderman's (Louis and Alvin), Fidele Doucette (Juliette). Some of the other children that joined us in the next three years were: Phillippe Laurins (Jackie), Mrs Rita Johnsons (Royce and Kerwin twins) and a younger boy.
Rosalie Laurin, Lucienne Caissy, Mary Egeland, Mary Anderson, Lily Anderson,
Ruby Poirier, Juliette Caissy, Joyce Egeland, Doreen Caissy.
Jacquie Laurin, Simone Tardiff, Vera Lay,
Fern Hewitt, June Bannerman, Elsie Bradley.
Annette Caissy, Mae Poirier, Yvette Laurin,
Tootsie Anderson, 1943-1944.
Other families that lived in the area but had no children, or not any of school age were: Mr. Hans Hanson (the beekeeper), Mr. Harry Fredericton, Mr. Tom Brown, Mr. Walker, Mr. Harold Dalby (a guitar player), Mr. Petersen (farmer, fisherman at Winter Lake), Mr. and Mrs. Riome and Ron, Mr. and Mrs. Kerr and Bob Ernie. Mr and Mrs Eggan, Mr and Mrs Lavioe, Mr and Mrs Alex South, Mr Joe Harvie (the storekeeper), Mr and Mrs Harry South (a storekeeper), Mrs Maude McKechnie (a village resident), Bertha Levesque and her three little children.
On March 6, 1942, we settled in for two months. Books and other supplies were rather scarce but everyone seemed anxious to get going after the two-month holiday. It was quite an adjustment for all of us. The students worked fairly well and I hoped to help them as much as possible. It was almost an insurmountable task - a multi-grade school one to nine, forty pupils and one teacher. Teacher time per pupil was almost nil-very difficult for the primary grades.
Wages were three dollars and fifty cents per day. On May 1, Miss Mary Bodnarchuk replaced me and I returned to Saskatoon to finish my teacher training and obtained my teaching certificate.
On the last day of school, we all walked to the big hill north and west of the school to the Forest Fire Ranger lookout tower. The Fire Ranger was on duty day and night and was to report smoke or visible fires to the "Fire Fighter Authorities" through some radio or telephone system. The Ranger allowed us to climb to the top of the tower and look through his field glasses to scan the horizon for smoke. The Ranger's work was a very important part of forest conservation. We had packed a picnic lunch and carried water so after devouring the lunch we returned to the school. The following Monday was another adventure for them. The new teacher had arrived.
In July 1942, I returned to Bodmin School and taught there till June 1945. During this time I became accustomed to the North and enjoyed the beauty of the rivers and lakes, evergreens, and the tamaracks with their vivid spring green and their beautiful golden colour in the fall. During those years the war in Europe was in full force so young adults were few but we managed to entertain ourselves.
During the winter we organized a rotation of Whist Card Games. Once every two weeks, at the school, parents took turns to be host or hostess, all that could, brought a deck of cards, score sheets were made from scrap paper, the entry fee was ten cents, small prizes were donated and each took turns at bringing the lunch. The hostess usually supplied the coffee. Besides entertainment, the money helped us to buy a set of encyclopaedias and a radio for the school.
Probably the biggest event of the year was the Christmas Concert. The pupils were very co-operative they learned their parts and were anxious to decorate. Mary and Joyce Egeland were very musical so they were an asset to our program. They all looked forward to the special evening and the visit of the special elf, Santa Claus. A small gift was provided for all students and pre-schoolers, along with a bag of treats, an apple or an orange, candy and peanuts. Perhaps some of the children got only the school gift at Christmas, much different than the Christmas of today.
The big change at the school was the rearranging of the school year. When I started the long holiday took place during January and February. The board agreed to gradually change the long holiday to July and August. Most of the farmers were happy with the change so the older children could help out, as farmhands were scarce. On the other hand, the pupils who walked or drove long distances were faced with the cold winter weather. I recall one very cold winter day -40 to -50 degrees below. When the Anderson's came five miles by team and cutter. They put their horses in the barn came into the school got thoroughly warmed, brought in their blankets, ate some lunch and returned home in the early afternoon.
The nearby children who walked had not been allowed to come because of the extreme cold. Attendance was usually good considering the distances from school and the conditions that had to be endured.
In the forties, country homes had very few conveniences, no electrical power, no indoor plumbing and no central heating. The houses were poorly insulated if at all. It is unbelievable how conditions have changed.
Large families had very difficult times although I do not believe that there was a real shortage of good down to earth food. Money was scarce so many times the menfolk would go farther north to fish or lumber camps for the winter to make ends meet. However, most of the people were kind, friendly, and considerate.
In June 1945 I decided to terminate my contract and look for a school closer to where I grew up, Square Hill, Saskatchewan about thirty miles north and east of North Battleford.
In August 1945 I taught at a school in Mullingar, about thirty-five miles south of Spiritwood where I stayed for three years.
In 1948, I moved to Alberta and taught at Mossleigh and Blackie south of Calgary. In 1949, I married Bert Buckingham from Mullingar and we made our home at Blackie, Alberta till November 1951 when we bought a farm at Lloydminster, Saskatchewan where I still live. We did mixed farming, cattle and grain. Our family of one daughter, Jean and one son, Donald grew up here. They attended school in Lloydminster, twenty miles from our farm. By then school buses were operating and little children put in a full day's work from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. five days a week. After high school, Jean took a secretarial course and worked at City Hall. In 1974, she married Harry Lake of Turtleford, Saskatchewan. They have three children: Rhonda, Bradley and Sydney. Harry does mixed farming, grain and cattle. From time to time Jean worked at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and the Turtleford School Division.
Don chose to go to University in Saskatoon and became a lawyer. In 1986 he articled in Ottawa and got his law degree in 1987. In 1988, he married Janet Epp of London, Ontario, also a lawyer. They have two children: Ben and Julia and live in Ottawa.
In 1996, my husband passed away after a battle with cancer. I have resided at the farm until November 2003, but am now in an apartment in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan. Nothing in life is permanent except change!
History of Bodmin compiled by students.
I always think the cover of a book is like a door
Which opens into someone's house, where I've not been before.
A pirate or a fairy queen may lift the latch for me;
I always wonder when I knock, what welcome there will be.
And when I find a dull house, I do not often stay,
But when I find one full of friends, I'm apt to spend the day.
I never know what sort of folk, will be within, you see,
And that's why reading always is, so interesting to me
Our municipality is a local improvement District #55. Mr Swanson is our Representative to the Department of Municipal Affairs at Regina. His office is located in Big River. Mr Potter, also living at Big River was our fire Ranger, Forestry Guard, and also Game Warden. Mr E. Overs then took over until 1955. He retired early this spring. His successor being Mr Fisher.
Bodmin, took its name from an English town in England by a similar name suggested by Mr South, a Bodmin pioneer. Bodmin was founded around the year 1912 - 1914. In the first days at Bodmin, there were no trains. Mail and food supplies were transported by wagon and oxen in summer and dogs and sleds in the winter. One of the early freighters was Mr Langford, commonly known as "Clubfoot". Most of the settlers did some of their own freighting but later did custom freighting. Enroute these freighters had stopping place known as "Soup Kitchens" nearest one to Bodmin was situated at Dumble.
Give me the strength of a pioneer, that irks at the thought of a bond;
Give me a vision, a path to clear, that beckons me upward and on!
Spare me the shield of a sheltered task, test me by struggles and strife.
The brawn and the courage are all I ask, to conquer the glory of life.
Let mine be a hardy soul that wins, by mettle and fairness and pluck;
A heart with the freedom of soaring winds, that never depends on luck!
Mrs Kelly, a Jamaican was one of our first women pioneer, who first came to Bodmin as a missionary nurse. She later became Mrs Kelly. She did most of the carpenter work to build her home and planted trees and flowers to beautify their grounds. The grounds of her home are so attractive that a moving camera photographed it in all its splendour. Mrs Kelly is retired and is now residing at Big River.
One of Our Earliest Pioneers:
Mr Corbiel, one of Bodmin early residents was one of our first farmers. His farm is now tilled by his son-in-law Mr E Caissy. Mr Corbiel was one of the many that helped build the branch of the Canadian National Railway through this hamlet. On leaving Bodmin they made their home in New Westminister, British Columbia. He died in 1954 and is survived by his wife and children.
Another of our Early Pioneers:
Mr Degrass and his son pioneers at Bodmin. Mr Degrass farmed the land which Mr Poirier now owns. His son a carpenter, farmland that Mr Allanson now owns. Both places are about one-mile south from where Bodmin now stands. Mr Degrass helped construct our present railway. Mr Degrass is now deceased. His son is believed to be residing in Quebec. Mr Allanson is now deceased. Mrs Allanson is residing at Smithers, British Columbia. The house was torn down. No one resides nor farms the property.
Mr J. Lamothe, another one of our early settlers served in the First World War. His sons were in the services. His farm is situated one and a half miles south of Bodmin. His livelihood consisted mainly of farming, fishing and carpenter work. He did a great deal in building our present school. The deceased year was 1930. The estate is farmed by his wife Mrs A Lauren and A Laurin. It is fully a modern farm-beautifully landscaped. The University has a plot on which a variety of tested cereals are grown.
Alphonse Laurin, Marguerite, Roger, Philomene Laurin.
Mr H.A. South, pioneer of early days was the dealer of the "Farmers Supply Store" at Bodmin. His son Mr A South tilled his farm situated one mile north of Bodmin. Mr H.A. South was a returned man from the "First World War". His nephew, grandson, son-in-law from Bodmin took part in the present war. Mr South died. The remainder of the family is residing in various parts of Alberta. The Store was moved to Big River last year, with only a vacant lot as a landmark of what used to be.
The Canadian National Railway through Bodmin was built in 1920. It came to Bodmin three times a week from Prince Albert passing through the following stations Buckland, Crutwell, Holbein, Eldred, Wrixon, Bodmin and to Big River. Big River is the end of this railway line. At the time the railway was built Bodmin was a flag station with a settlement of only a few scattered pioneers. It has since become a hamlet consisting of three stores, a Post Office and a Government Telephone Office and had a population of about fifty people. The population at present is about thirty-five people.
Mr J. Harvey was the first owner of the Bodmin Cash Store. The Post Office was also kept by him. In 1938 he was succeeded by his brother Mr J. Harvey who had formerly lived in Eldred. Mr Harvey handles mostly every line of goods as, groceries hardware, refreshing drinks and dry goods.
History of Farmers Supply Store:
The store was built in 1932 by Mr OP Godin from Big River. Mr Frank Doughtery was the first salesman. He was succeeded by Mr H Coombs. Mr Coombs died during his stay at Bodmin in 1937. Mr H. South went in jointly with Mr OP Godin in 1942 the merchandise was wholly owned by Mr South. Mr South died. Jack Lattinville bought the store. After a few years, Jack moved to Calgary, Alberta. The store was bought and moved to Big River and is known as Tom Huxtead Store.
Mr M.A. Lamothe's is a stucco building situated right in Bodmin, near the highway, and very close to the school. It was built in 1930. We got a telephone office and post office. In front of the building is the post office, store, and Post Office.
The family reside in the back of the bungalow building. It is fenced in, and there are small plantings of caragana hedge, trees and flowers. The lawn is trim, the back yard contains a swing and teeter for the children. They have a large well-kept garden.
The Bodmin Pool Elevator was built in 1940. It is built of lumber and about 98 feet high. It is painted a dark red with a galvanized engine room. Mr Gordon Leask was the first elevator agent here. After a half year at Bodmin, he was called away to the armed forces. Mr Sinden followed him in 1940. Mr Sinden had a family of four girls, three of which are regular pupils at Bodmin School. He moved away in 1942. Mr Sinden's successor who arrived at Bodmin in August 1942 is known as Mr Wainright. The elevator was torn down as it was not a paying proposition about six years ago.
Came from New Brunswick on August 2nd, 1921. At first, this place was all bush. Our two-story house with one bay window is of a fairly good size. It has a pretty good foundation and a good coal cellar. The frames are all painted inside and outside. Around the house, we had a board fence. Inside the fence is a garden. Through the middle of the garden is a sidewalk to the road with flowers and two trees. At the back of the house is a caboose. Down from the house to the river in the barnyard is a little shop built of lumber in which to keep tools. Mr and Mrs Caissy still farm their land.
Mr Kerr and his family moved to Bodmin from Speers about 1935. Their home is situated about one and a half miles south of Bodmin. Their log house is built on the top of a hill. There is a garden and a fence in front of the house. From the back door, one sees the layout of the rest of the buildings. They built a new lumber house. They soon left Bodmin and rented their farm to the Muir boys.
We came from Debden in 1930 to reside on a farm which is situated about one-half mile north of Bodmin. It was being tilled when we came. We live at the corner of two highways on a sidehill. Our yard has long grass, and a few trees by the house. The garden is situated at the right standing at the front door which is facing west. The house was built in 1926. It is painted white with green trimming. There are two bay windows facing west. Our garage is painted red with white trimmings. It has a granary and woodshed built on. Our chicken-coop is of the same colour. Mr J.H. Laurin is deceased. His wife is now Mrs Laundry and is residing at Big River. His son looks after the estate. The land is leased.
Mr and Mrs Allanson originally came from the British Isles. They moved to Bodmin from Bounty about the year 1923. Their farm is a mile and a quarter south of Bodmin. Their buildings are mostly made of logs. They grow mixed grains and keep dairy cattle, horses, chickens, turkeys and geese. They raise honey for their use. Mr Allanson is deceased. Mrs Allanson resides at Smither's British Columbia.
They have recently returned from Kimberly, British Columbia to reside on their farm which is located 3/4 of a mile west of Bodmin. They live on the bank of Big River. They have a one-and-one-half story house. They have a barn and chicken-coop combined, which is south of the house. They are about to build a garage and granaries and other buildings. There are many natural springs on this farm. They have some farm implements. The yard has jack-pine trees along the road. The grass is short. The garden is west of the house. The house is completely modernized. The exterior finish is white stucco with green trim. They have running water-bath-electrical appliances. The yard is landscaped. The farm is equipped with a full line of modern machinery and is still under cultivation.
Mr Walker originally came from the province of Ontario. Mr Walker is a teacher and in many parts of the province. He taught at Big River and then at Bodmin and settled on his farm about two miles south of Bodmin. He does mixed farming. Grows grain, keep beef cattle, pigs and horses. His son Alex lives with him.
His home is situated about four miles south of Bodmin. In the yard there are many trees. His cottage house is mudded. It has a shed on the back. There is a boardwalk leading from the picket fence which runs up to the barn, to the back shed. On the east side of the house, there is a garden. There is a log barn with numerous other buildings in the barnyard. He is engaged mostly in mixed farming. He now resides in British Columbia. Mr Walker farms the land.
Mr Lavoie's of French descent and lived about three miles south of Bodmin. He had been living here for many years. He had a milking cow, pigs, chicken and geese. They had a little garden and many flowers beside the garden. Mr Lavoie died and his sons work away from home. Their farm is rented to Mr Walker.
Mr Brown moved in after the Great War. He lived about one and one-half miles from Bodmin on a farm. He lives all alone. His garden was in front of the house he had a fence around it and a few flowers beside his garden. A little ways from the house is a chicken coop, west from the house is the barn and a blacksmith shop. Behind the barn is a big field of granaries. Mr Brown retired to Big River. His farm is rented.
Came from Quebec in pioneer days. He lived about two miles from Bodmin. He had a farm and grew wheat, barley and alfalfa. He also had a few cattle and horses. The house is built of shingles it is fairly large with one bay window. Before you get to the house there is the barn and granary. Behind the barn is a road going to Bodmin. There are roads behind the house running west and north. East from the house is a garden. There are a lot of trees. Their farm is rented. They reside at Big River.
Mr and Mrs Eagen are of English descent. They lived about a mile and a half south of Bodmin. The land they are living on belongs to Mr Anderson. They had just a house and a few chickens, turkeys and a milk cow. They now reside at Smither's British Columbia.
Mr and Mrs White came to Bodmin about the year 1930. They lived on a farm about one and a half miles west of Bodmin. Before they cultivated the land, their farm was mostly bush. They had a fairly large bungalow house. Mrs White had lovely flower-gardens around the house. The other buildings as the barn, hen house and granaries are built down away from the house in a clump of trees. They had fairly small fields and were engaged in mixed farming. They moved to British Columbia. Their farm was sold and is farmed by Mr Halter.
Mr and Mrs Lay's Home: Mr and Mrs Lay came to Bodmin from England in the year 1930. They lived about three miles west of Bodmin. The house is made of logs with a fence with trees and flowers around it. The rest of the buildings are made of logs. They raised cattle, chickens and grain and some garden vegetables. Mr and Mrs Lay left Bodmin and are now residing in British Columbia. Mr Bradley bought the farm and is still farming it.
Mr Fredrickson came to this country from Denmark. He worked in southern Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba as travelled through Canada then settled down in Bodmin about the year 1937. His farm is situated three miles south of Bodmin on the land formerly owned by Mr Smith. Mr Fredrickson grows mixed grains and has cattle, pigs and chickens. He has a lovely house and barn and takes pride in keeping his grounds and hedge well-trimmed. He grows a fine garden and small fruits.
Originally from Quebec owned a farm and one of the first sawing outfits. Mr Doucette and his sons cut and shipped a large amount of cordwood from local surroundings. Mr Doucette played a great part in the construction of the highway about the year 1938. He helped build our present school in 1920-21. The deceased year 1939. His family lived on the farm about a quarter-mile east of Bodmin. The family all moved to British Columbia and are still living. His son Alex lives on a farm.
Mr Hanson came to this country from Denmark. He worked in Manitoba and Alberta and travelled through the United States then settled down at Bodmin about the year 1925. His farm is situated about three miles from Bodmin. He grows mixed grains raises pigs, dairy cattle and keeps bees. Mr Hanson is deceased. His farm is rented to L. Morin.
Mr and Mrs A. Riome came from the British Isles and first lived at Calderbank in Canada. They moved to Bodmin in 1930. Their farm is two and a half miles west of Bodmin, they raised pigs but had some cows, horses and chickens. Their cottage house had four rooms and a back porch. The barn is about 80 feet away from the house. They had three or four granaries and machinery shed. They retired and are living in British Columbia. Mr Muir bought the farm, the sons are farming it.
Mr and Mrs Pete Schuler's Farm:
Mr and Mrs P. Schuler are both Canadians, but descendants from German and English homes respectively. Mr Schuler served in the Army and was overseas while Mrs Schuler carried on with the farm management. Their farm was situated about one mile south of Bodmin. It was originally owned by Mr Paul Legoufe. They erected their building in 1942. They had some livestock. They had not yet gone into growing grain. They sold their farm to Percy Johnson and are residing in Alberta.
Mr And Mrs Ernest Doucette's Farm:
We once lived right in Bodmin. We moved to a farm in 1938 about two and a half miles south of Bodmin. Our house was an unpainted bungalow. It was fairly large to accommodate the family. There was a garden and a potato patch by the house. The Doucette's moved to British Columbia and are still residing there.
Before we came to Bodmin we lived at Eyebrow. After we moved to Bodmin we lived where Mr John Hallorg is now living. We live about three and a quarter miles from school. We built a log house which has no chimney just stovepipes. We have trees on three sides. Around the house, there is a yard made of pickets. We have raspberries caraganas, and spruce trees planted in the house yard. In the barnyard, there is a well, shop, granary, pig pen and barn. They now have a large barn and a good stock of cows, sheep and chickens. Mr Bradley still farms his land.
Mr Tuttle lived about one mile north of Bodmin. His home was on the northeast part of his farm. There is a river running through the pasture. He is a bachelor. He lived there since 1918. He grew alfalfa and other grains for a living. His buildings are on the banks of Big River. His house is very small, his barn and granary are south-west of the house. Poplar trees are surrounding the west and north side of his buildings. Mr Tuttle moved to British Columbia. He rented his farm to Percy Leverton. It was then sold to Mr., Il Isaacson, who is now farming it.
In 1930, Mr and Mrs Halborg came to live on a farm three miles west of Bodmin. They were of Scandinavian descent. They had a house and other buildings. They were engaged in mixed farming. They left Bodmin, but rented the farm to Mr Riome, then to Muir's.
We came from Swift Current in the year 1936. Our house is a two-room, cream and green cottage with one window upstairs and an open veranda in front. It faces northeast. There's a green and cream rail fence around it. We have a flower garden in the front yard when leaving it an arch gate and climbers is growing over it. There's another gate from the back door. A few poplar trees are growing on the outside of the fence, there's thicker bush on the east and the north. Then we have the blacksmith shop painted red and white, behind the barn is the pig pasture with a rail fence. Next, are the cow and pig barn both with a straw roof. We have two wells in the yard, one down by the barn and one closer to the house. Our garden is in a field west of the house. Mr Egeland moved to British Columbia and died there. This farm was then sold to Mr E. Dahlby later on to Mr Barely, both returned men and at present to Mr Geo Halter. No one lives on the farm and the buildings have deteriorated.
Bodmin School Children 1929-1930
Bodmin School Children 1942 - 1943
Bodmin School Children 1954-1955
William Morin - Bodmin
Susan Lamothe - Bodmin
Esther Isaacson - Bodmin
Lloyd Anderson - Wrixon
Meada Morin - Bodmin
Billy Anderson - Wrixon
Norine Anderson - Wrixon
Dennis Thompson - Wrixon
Teddy Becker - Wrixon
Bobby Doucet - Wrixon
Louis Caissy - Bodmin
Jackie Reimer - Lake Four
Monty Thompson - Wrixon
Roland Caissy - Bodmin
Lorna Pruden - Bodmin
Delphine Pruden - Bodmin
Leon Hetu - Wrixon
Glenda Doucet - Wrixon
Louella Morin - Bodmin
Fay Becker - Wrixon
Our School Bazaar:
Our school bazaar was held on Hallowe'en day. October 31, 1942. The ladies and preschool children from the district were invited to attend. Tea and lunch were served to the ladies while cocoa and lunch were served to the children. After lunch, we had a sale of work such as tea towels, runners, and pictures. We had a bingo game and fish pond for which prizes were given. Then we played games and had Hallowe'en candy, the children bobbed for apples. After a lovely afternoon of games and enjoyment, we sang God Save the King and departed.
Mrs. T. Harvey - 1923 - 1925
Miss M. Sturat - 1925 - 1928
Mr. G Walker - 1928 - 1929
Mrs. P Laurin - 1929 - 1932
Mr. G Walker - 1932 - 1933
Miss H. Fieve - 1933 - 1935
Mrs. W. Hartnett - 1935 - 1939
Miss A Leask - 1939 - 1940
Mrs. Sloan - 1940 - 1941
Mr. Leverton - 1941 - 1/2year
Miss M. Combres - 1942 - taught for 2 months
Miss. M. Bodnarchuk - 1942 - remainder of term
Miss. M. Combres - 1942 - 1945
Miss. M. Mitchel - 1945 - 1946
Miss. S. Kernaghan - 1946 - 1948
Mrs. P. Laurin - 1948 - 1955
Bodmin S.D. No 4490
Teacher - Mrs. L. J. Laurin
Credit is due to the following who have made
this book a success.
Grade 6 - Esther Isaacson, Meada Morin for doing the writing.
Grade 5 - Norine Anderson, Teddy Becker and Louis Caissy for doing the artwork.
Grade 4, 3, and 2 - Monty Thompson, Lorna Pruden , Jackie Reimer and Susan Lamothe for doing the photos
Roland Doucette, Arthur Corbiel, Alex Doucette,
Catherine (Kit) South, Yvette Corbiel.
Evelyn Walker, Eileen South, Jean White, Lillian Doucette,
Joe Corbiel, George Lavoie.
Bob White, Jack Lattenville, Gordon Hewitt,
unknown, Alex Walker
Bodmin School is now used as a residence in Big River.
Muriel Barrone - Edmonton, Alberta
Jake Bannman - Wainwright, Alberta
Pete Schuler - Overseas
Tom South - Overseas
John Lattinville - Diebert, Nova Scotia
Jullian Doucette - Wetaskawin, Alberta
Timothy(South)Hunt - Overseas
Arthur Hunt - Overseas
Alexander Doucette - North Bay, Ontario
Glen Tilsley - Vernon, British Columbia
Ernie Kerr - Camp Shilo, Manitoba
Alex Walker - Dundurn, Saskatchewan
Harold Magrath - Overseas
Jim Tilsley - Diebert, Nova Scotia
Bud Barrone - Camp Shilo, Manitoba
Ted Harvey -
Evelyn Walker - Mossbank, Saskatchewan
Marcel Lamothe - Overseas
Rudolphe Lamothe - Calgary, Alberta
Melvin Egeland - Overseas
Steve Riome - Sidney, British Columbia
Henry Egeland - Esquimalt, British Columbia
Robert White - Esquimalt, British Columbia
Paul Doucette - Overseas
Edwin Dalhby - Quebec, P.P.
Gerry Poirer, Louis Suderman, Roger Laurin, Gordon Hewitt,
Patrick Tardiff, Leo Doucette, George Hunt.
Eugene Caissy, Dennis Lay, Olaf Anderson, Hermas Laurin,
Allen Hunt, Alvin Suderman.
Roy Poirer, Royce Johnson, Rosaire Tardiff,
Kerivin Johnson, Bud Poirier.
Memories by Ed Dahlby, October 2001
The hamlet of Bodmin no longer exists. A once thriving community before the second world war, 1939-1945, began its demise when farmers that had moved from the so-called dust bowl on the prairies retired and moved away. Also, many of the early settlers such as the Corbeil family moved to the coast. Alex and Catherine South moved to the Peace River district. Many of Fidelle Doucette's family moved to Vancouver Island. Most of the returning war veterans tried settling at Bodmin but gave it up and moved to larger communities. As the first world war song went, "How ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm."
Pete and Eileen Schuler, nee South moved from Vulcan, Alberta where Pete had worked with the municipality. Jack Lattenville and family moved to Calgary to work in the construction industry. Tom South found a career with Canada Post at Edmonton. Ed and Audrey Dahlby moved to Calgary where Ed stoked locomotives on the CN Railway.
With little use, the Bodmin grain elevator was taken down and moved away. The Bodmin schoolhouse was closed and the students bussed to Big River. The post office went in the same direction.
Audrey and I saw the final symbols gone, on our visit to the area in 1999. The railroad had been taken out and the Bodmin signboard removed. A U.S. American lumber mill dominates the area at this time.