Excerpts from Timber Trails, 1979
Jack Hackett came to Big River in 1927. His wife, Raty, and daughter Jean followed in 1928. Mr Hackett worked for the D.N.R. in Big River and other northern Saskatchewan points until the mid-thirties. He then worked as a bookkeeper in Big River until the outbreak of World War II.
Mrs Hackett did first aid nursing before there was a hospital in Big River, and often assisted Dr Afanasieff. Jack was a veteran of World War I. In fact, he met and married Raty while overseas; Raty was a nurse in the War. With the onset of World War II, Mr Hackett went east and joined the army. He served in the R.C.A.S.C. in Montreal. He later retired in Halifax and died in 1974.
Raty stayed in Big River until 1960, at which time she moved to Prince Albert. Jean joined the Air Force, met and married Jerry Miller. They have two children, Anne and Jerry, Jr.
Excerpts from Timber Trails, 1979
The Owen Haefey family came to Big River from Maniwaki, Quebec in 1910 with two children, Hilery age five and Basil age three.
Mr Haefey was camp foreman of Camp No.1 directly across the lake from the present townsite. This was the first logging camp.
Two more children were born in Big River, Jack and Gilbert. The family left in 1922 when the lumber company moved out after the fire, which depleted all the timber supply.
Mr and Mrs Haefey, along with Hilery and Jack are deceased. Gilbert and his family live in Ottawa and Basil lives in Edmonton.
Hannam, Albert and Eileen
Richard, Jim, Eileen, Albert, Wilfred, Norman, 1995.
Albert James Hannam was the son of Walter and Irena Hannam. His father, Walter John Hannam, was born August 19, 1888, in England. His mother, Irena Blanche Wheeler, was born July 29,1897, in Mikade, Michigan, United States. Walter and Irena were married on July 29, 1941. Albert was the fourth of eight children born to Walter and Irena on April 29, 1920, in Sibbald, Alberta.
Eileen, daughter of Roy and Clara Anderson was the fifth of twelve children. She was born on January 23, 1926, in Wiseton Saskatchewan. She and her family moved to Timberlost in 1939.
Albert was enlisted in the army from 1939 to 1946 when he retired as a sergeant. It was during this time he met Eileen. After a short courtship, he and Eileen were married on August 16, 1945. After they were married, they lived in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, for approximately two years. It was here that their first son, Norman Leslie Hannam was born. From there they moved back to the Big River area to work. It was during this time that their next three sons Wilfred Franklin, James Allan, and Richard Wayne were born.
Albert worked on various jobs until the early 1950's when both he and Eileen started working with the L.I.D. (Local Improvement District), doing road construction. Albert was a crew foreman and Eileen was a cook.
From 1969 to 1985, Albert worked for the town of Big River as a maintenance foreman and fire chief. From 1965 to 1986, Eileen worked as a cook in the Big River Union Hospital. Aside from work, both enjoyed and were involved in the community, such as the Legion and Legion Auxiliary, Elks, the Skating Rink committee and curling. Until Albert passed away on February 8, 1999, they both very much enjoyed camping, fishing, and travelling. Eileen is still an avid gardener who spends a lot of her days outside or in her greenhouse, tending to her lawn, garden and flowers. During the winter months, some of her time is spent developing black and white photographs for either herself or for others.
Albert and Eileen's eldest son Norman married Patricia Garnot and have three children, Norma, Patrick, and Melinda. They now have four grandchildren, Melissa, Cole, Carina and Kelly and one great-grandchild, Devin. All of Norman's family lives in Mackenzie, British Columbia. Norman and Pat have bought a house in Lumby, British Columbia, where they plan to spend their retirement.
Their second son, Wilfred was married to Debra Smiley and had two children, Nicole and Lee. He now has one grandchild, Ashlyn. Wilfred and Lee currently live in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, and Nicole and her family live in Edmonton, Alberta.
Their third son James married Donna Kennedy and has two daughters, Arlene and Aimee. They now have three grandchildren, Matthew, Easton, and Reid. Jim and Donna and Arlene and her family remain in Big River. Aimee now lives in Leoville, Saskatchewan where she is an English and Physical Education teacher at the high school. Their youngest son Richard lived in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan until the time of his death on May 6, 2004.
Hannam, Jim and Donna (Kennedy)
Standing: Donna, Jim
Seated: Aimee, Arlene, Matthew, Easton (Oct.20. 2001).
I was born in Big River on May 23, 1952. My parents, Art and Ethel Kennedy, lived in Ladder Valley where I was raised. I went to the country school in Ladder Valley from grade one to grade eight and then went to high school in Big River. After finishing high school I worked in Big River at Yurach's Hardware Store and then in the office at Waite Fisheries Ltd. until 1974. In 1988 I started working for Home Care and at the Big River Union Hospital. I remain employed with the Big River Health Center as a Special Care Aide.
Jim was also born in Big River on August 16, 1951. He is the son of Albert and Eileen Hannam.
Hannam, Jim and Donna (Kennedy)
Standing: Clayton, Seated: Arlene, Easton, Matthew, Inset Reid.
Jim was raised in Big River and also attended school there. He worked at various jobs and in 1976 took a welding course. Jim started work at the Big River Mill in 1977 and remained there until 1999 when he went to work in Prince Albert at Wapawekka Lumber.
On December 23, 1972, Jim and I were married in Big River. Our first home was an eight by the twenty-four-foot trailer, which was owned by Elmer Sawatsky. The next spring we bought this lot (Lot 15 - Block 5) and put a larger trailer on it. We lived in town from 1972-1977. That year we bought a farm NE 19-55-7-W3rd in the Bodmin area from my Uncle Sie Kennedy. The farm came complete with animals and machinery. We lived in their small home. We actively farmed until 1985 and now rent out our land.
We have two daughters, both born in Big River. Arlene was born May 31, 1975, and Aimee was born December 22, 1977. Both girls attended school in Big River where they were active in both school and sports events.
Arlene went to the U of S for one year and then started raising a family. She married Clayton Neufeldt on October 20, 2001. They have three sons, Matthew born January 5, 1995, Easton born January 8, 1999, and Reid born May 21, 2003, and one daughter Presley born May 27, 2004. Clayton works for Smokey Lake in reforestation and Arlene works at Third and Main restaurant.
Aimee attended U of S and graduated with a degree in Kinesiology and Education. Her first year teaching was in Eston, Saskatchewan. She then moved to Leoville, Saskatchewan where she has bought a home and is finishing her second year of teaching there.
Hannigan, Albert and Marion
Back Row: Garry, David, Lorna, Ron, Neil
Front Row: Albert, Brian, Murray, Marion.
I was born at Viscount, Saskatchewan on May 11, 1924. I am the son of Albert Ernest Hannigan and Cora Velma (Swayze) Hannigan. I was the youngest of four children, Fae Velma, Ernest Garth, Beula Beatrice and myself.
My father farmed nine quarters of land, growing cereal crops and hay for the livestock. He also had a 40 cow dairy herd and shipped milk to Palm Dairies in Saskatoon. Life was busy on the farm. We always had hired help and as children, we learned to milk cows along with other chores. As we grew older our responsibilities increased. Besides caring for the livestock, I helped put in the crops in the spring and harvest them in the fall. Garth and I helped pay off the mortgages on the land.
In 1940, when I was in grade ten at school, Mother and I purchased a hive of honeybees. They were purchased through Eaton's catalogue and the packaged bees came in the post office. I became quite involved with the production of honey on a commercial scale.
One of the best things that happened in my life was the coming of a young lady from Ontario, to work for my mother. Her name was Marion Holcomb, and my sister Beula had married her brother Clyde Holcomb. Along with household duties, Marion milked cows, helped with the bees, built beehive equipment, installed packaged bees into hives, etc. We fell in love with each other and on October 11, 1947, we were married.
In 1937, as a boy, I accepted Christ into my life and I had a sincere desire to serve the Lord. Marion also accepted Christ as her Savior the year she came to Viscount, (1945), and in the winter of 1945-46, she attended Bethel Bible Institute in Saskatoon. Brother Robert Oldridge was our Pastor at Viscount at that time. He was the one who tied the knot in matrimony for us. Our first son Garry Wilfred Albert was born the following summer July 26, 1948.
In the summer of 1949, we moved to Big River, Saskatchewan where there was a lot of alfalfa being grown. This provided a source of nectar for our bees. We lived in Big River for 28 years, in which time our family grew from three to nine.
David Ernest was born on February 5, 1950.
Brian Allen was born on April 13, 1951.
Ronald Glen was born on May 31, 1955.
Murray Bruce was born on August 21, 1958.
Lorna Marion was born on February 13, 1962.
Neil Ross was born on April 24, 1963.
Garry married Barbara Ann Alma Bolianitz. They have one son - Ryan and one daughter - Marissa. Garry is a councillor in schools in Edmonton and Barb is a loan officer in the Bank of Montreal in Edmonton.
David married Ruth Anne Denny. They have one daughter, Crystal (married to Stephen Glasgow), and one son, Andrew. David runs a factory, building sidecars and tri-cars for motorcycles in Murray, Kentucky.
Brian married Marjorie Belle Beckett. They have four sons, Bryce, Robin, Kelly, and Mathew. Brian is in full-time ministry as a Traveling Deacon and ministers at home and abroad. He has been in Africa several times ministering there along with other brethren.
Ronald married Lynette Jean Amundson. They have a daughter-Adrienne and two sons Brett and Jeremy. Ron has an automobile garage where he services BMW's, Mercedes Benz, and Porche cars. His shop is in Abbotsford, British Columbia and he employs six mechanics.
Murray married Ruby Darlene Gear. They have a daughter Lydia (married to Matthew Graham), and two sons Jordon and Daniel. Murray runs a honey operation and hires about 15 employees during the summer.
Lorna married Earl James (Jamie), Erb. They have twin sons Dale and Joel, and one daughter Allyssa. Jamie runs a honey operation and hires about six employees in the summer.
Neil married Linda Kathleen Hansen. Neil and Linda are expecting their first child, due about February 1, 2003. Neil is a doctor specializing in Nephrology and is practising in Tacoma, Washington.
Our family has many happy memories of the times spent in Big River. We acquired many life long friends there and were involved in many community affairs. Church, music, and singing were a lot of our involvement.
As well as producing honey at Big River, we acquired land and grew cereal and forage crops and had a small dairy. It was the proverbial "land of milk and honey". Besides all of this, we also did some trucking in the winter-hauling fish, logs and lumber. We hauled several winters for the Eikel and Lomsnes Lumber Company.
As Christians, the Lord's work became a high priority in our lives. We became very interested in the spiritual revival, which took place in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, in 1948. Eventually, I was called upon to become an elder in the local church in Park Valley. I was ordained along with Omund Amundson and Tolief Aarrestad. My brother Garth was a deacon along with Aadne Aarrestad.
We are so grateful for the leading of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Not only have we had the responsibility and the shepherding of God's people, but also many of our family are filling the role of elders and deacons in the church. We wish to give God thanks for all that has happened in our life and ministry - for all we have is from Him.
Upon retirement from business, our son Murray and our son - in law Jamie continued with the production of honey. I am still privileged to help them at times.
It is our great privilege to minister and share the Good News of the Gospel in nursing homes, care homes, low rentals, and the hospital.
I cannot say enough to tell the blessing and support that my wife Marion has been to our family and me. Also, the honour and respect which our family and grandchildren have given to us has been so wonderful. And all this is just a prelude to an eternity in the Kingdom of our Heavenly Father.
Thank you for the opportunity to share these happenings in our lives for the History Book.
Hansen, Margaret (Ziegler)
Submitted by Shirley Pudde
Margaret, Carl and Arnold Hansen
Margaret was born in Strasborg in 1907. She moved to Dore Lake with her parents, Karl and Marie Ziegler. She married Verner Johnson and had two sons, Carl and Arnold. Arnold died while still a young boy. The marriage didn't last and Margaret married Kai Hansen in 1936. (Kai was born into a large family in Boskilde, Denmark in 1904 and came to Canada in 1924).
They lived in Big River where Kay worked at the first power plant owned by Len Waite. Margaret also helped to make fishnets at Waite Fisheries and sewed parkas in the winter for the fishermen. Their home was always filled with friends and neighbours on Saturday nights enjoying good music, good lunches, and good times. Kai did many renovations on their home over the year. He built a garage on their home, which was unusual at that time, as it was one of the first ones in the area. He was way ahead of the times. They moved to Saskatoon in 1956. Kai worked for Sask. Power until his retirement. Kai passed away in 1970.
Their home was always open to friends and family. Margaret looked after many people during her life. She kept a big garden. She loved animals and gave them homes whenever she could.
One of Margaret's proudest accomplishments was becoming Honored Royal Lady of the O.O.R.P. of Big River.
Margaret continued living in her own home until the age of 94, at which time she moved into a nursing home. She passed away on September 2002, at the age of 95. Margaret was predeceased by her son, Arnold Johnson, first husband, Verner Johnson, second husband, Kai Hansen, three brothers, Henry, Carl, and Ed, sister, Anna, and her longtime companion, Bob Evans.
Margaret and Kai Hansen.
Margaret's son, Carl Johnson, married Peggy McAteer in 1950. They lived at Dore Lake where they ran a large mink ranch and raised two children. Their son, Richard, is retired from the air force and is commercial fishing on Dore Lake. Their daughter, Susan, married Richard Wuorinen in 1982. They live in Grand Cache. Susan teaches in the elementary school and her husband teaches in high school. Carl passed away in 1995 and Peggy now resides in Sherwood Park Care Center.
Submitted by Linda Anderson
Shelley, Jacqueline, Ralph, Nicole, Cindy.
Ralph is the son of Ralph and Susan Hansen. He attended school in Big River until 1964 when he quit and went to work in British Columbia. He married Peggy Gunderson, daughter of Lloyd and Rachel Gunderson, in 1971 in Golden. He has three children from this marriage; Cindy (Shane Aldoff), Shelley (Dean Davis) and Jacqueline. He moved back to Big River alone in 1982.
He met Korean Tylor and they bought a house west of Big River where they lived along with Korean's three children, Judy, John, Koralee and their daughter Nicole who was born in 1984. When their home burned down out there Ralph built a new one on the same land. They sold this home to Jack Morgan and moved to town. Ralph bought a trailer from George Johnson next to the T.D. Michel School.
Korean moved to British Columbia. Ralph has three grandchildren, Shelley has twin girls: Blaire and Megan born August 29, 2000. Shelley and Dean also had a son, Nicholas Hansen Davis born June 8, 2002. Unfortunately, he passed away from SIDS at six months of age. Nicole has a daughter Sonia. Shelley will be making him grandfather again in late 2003. He also has several step-grandchildren too numerous to name. He is called Grandpa Ralph by them all and all are very happy to see him when they come around.
Ralph worked in construction most of his life and specialized in drywalling. He contracted on his own most of the time. He is presently working for Cole Dunn. His favourite time of the year is hunting season and he is a fine cook of the meat that he gets hunting. He now spends his time with Linda Anderson.
Hansen, Ralph S. and Susan
Submitted by Linda Anderson
Ralph and Susan Hansen Family.
Ralph and Susan homesteaded in Timberlost in the late 1930s. They moved to Big River in the early 1950s. Ralph worked in the bush cutting pulp in the summer and logs in the winter.
They had twelve children, Lillian, Violet, Daisy, Bernice, Alfred, Betty, Florence, Alvina, Ralph, Leona, Linda, and Marlene. Lillian is deceased.
Violet (Uren) lives in Port Coquitlam
Daisy (Kilbreath) lived in Big River until her passing in 2003
Bernice (Kilbreath) lives in Big River
Alfred lives in Prince George
Betty (Gunderson) lives in Prince George
Florence is deceased
Alvena (McCaslin) lives in North Battleford
Ralph lives in Big River
Leona (Dunn) lives in Port Coquitlam
Linda (Anderson) and Marlene (Howe) both live in Prince George
Ralph S. lived in Big River until his passing in 1984
Susan lived in Big River until her passing in approximately 1995.
Hanson, Martin and Brenda
Martin and Brenda Hanson moved to Big River in 1978 to set up Big River Auto Body. Martin is originally from Hanson's Hill in Spruce Home, Saskatchewan which is on the highway north of Prince Albert to Waskesiu/La Ronge. Brenda is originally from Sturgeon Valley, Saskatchewan which is about ten miles north of Holbein, between Prince Albert and Shellbrook. Her parents were Ken and Betty Miller. Betty was a daughter of Jake and Marie Bickert of Big River and sister to Agnes Hyllestad, Vi Langford, Eddie and Dick Bickert of Big River. Martin and Brenda met in high school and were married on June 29, 1974.
Martin and his brother, Paul, of North Battleford, Saskatchewan designed and built the shop in the summer of 1978 with help from other family and friends. Sy Minovich wired the shop and when the inspector came to check it, Sy grabbed the welding equipment wire that hadn't yet been connected to explain why it was sticking out. The wire was hot and he flew backwards about ten feet, fell on the floor and his hat blew off! The inspector was not impressed! Eventually, the building passed inspection and opened in September 1978. Brenda started teaching Art and English at Big River High School in the fall.
Martin had many employees through the years: Alvin Johnson, Mike Beebe, Colin Tyler, Mike Laird, Connie Donald, Gary Donald, Bob Lee, Dallas Bogner, Paul Hanson, Brian Sawatzky, Corey Kuxhaus, Luanne Price, Grace Forsberg, Frank Goodwin and Billy Barclough.
Martin and Brenda originally lived in the rectory of the old Evangelical Free Church. They purchased the field between Riddle Place and Bud Swanson's from Len Riddle. Ritchie Construction built their house in 1986.
On January 8, 1987, their daughter, Kenzie, was born. Their son, Skipp, was born on October 24, 1988. They owned many dogs but one, in particular, was well-known in the community. Kato, was a crippled, black and white St. Bernard that visited the many winter fishing huts on the lake. He stole the odd fish or bag of bait but perhaps, because he was so very friendly, or, because he was handicapped, everyone seemed to tolerate him.
Martin is well-known for his love of old Chevys, motorcycles and antiques. He has restored a 1955 Bel-Air Chev convertible with a continental kit, a 1957 Bel-Air convertible and a two-door hardtop. Martin has been Exalted Ruler of the Elks' Club. He has coached hockey and softball.
Brenda taught school both in the Big River High School and in the T.D. Michel Elementary School. She has done a great deal of decorating for Klondike, $50-a-plate suppers (turning the gym into Paris and the hall into Hawaii) and for grads at the high school and curling rink. She has entertained at various events throughout the years by singing, acting and doing comedy. Brenda runs the clock for hockey games and has emceed often at the rink and many functions in Big River. She is an artist and a potter. She now does Healing Touch and Jin Shin Jyutsu (a form of Japanese healing). In the past, Brenda became very sick at the school. She worked to have repairs made at T.D. Michel to fix sewer gas leaks, natural gas leaks from furnace problems and mould problems.
Kenzie has been involved in hockey, soccer, softball, volleyball, horse jumping, Tae Kwon Do, golf and badminton. She has won many awards in these sports. In Tae Kwon Do she received gold in sparring and form at the Can-Am games held in Winnipeg in 1999. In Badminton, she won second place in singles at the Provincial High School Championship held in Swift Current in 2003. Kenzie also took part in the Students' Representative Council at the high school, worked on the school yearbook and newspaper and won several art competitions.
Skipp has been involved in hockey, softball, Tae Kwon Do, golf, badminton and, especially, motor cross. In his first year of motor cross competition, Skipp finished 21st out of 80 riding a 125 Honda. This was in a field of over forty with ages ranging from fourteen to twenty-three years. Skipp had built a deco bicycle, a replica of Peter Fonda's Easy Rider motorbike that won 2nd place at the Saskatchewan Place Car Show. He works at restoring cars with his Dad and, at the age of fourteen, is skilled at painting motorbikes and cars. In 2003, Skipp and his friend, Kyle Darbyshire, travelled to Norway for seventeen days as part of a student exchange program.
Our wish for Big River is that everyone stays healthy and happy for many years to come. May God bless all!
Harrison, Ellen and James
Excerpts from Timber Trails, 1979
Ellen and James Harrison came to Big River from Prince Albert in 1915 and James worked in the lumber mill. Two daughters were born to them while they were here, Mary Bernice and Charlotte May. The family moved to the United States in 1920.
Excerpts from Timber Trails, 1979
The first member of the Hartnett family to venture into the Big River area was Gordon, in 1931. The depression was on, and the rest of the family was living in Saskatoon at this time.
The Hartnett farm, located about fifty miles west of Saskatoon had been rented out, but due to drought, dust, and the infestation of grasshoppers, it was unproductive.
When Gordon returned from a weekend trip to Big River, bearing a big bag of wild fruit and a lot of enthusiasm for the country, it was decided to move. The Hartnett family moved to Big River in 1932, taking up a homestead a few miles north of town.
Alick and Mary Ellen (Hartnett) McVean were very able gardeners, so as soon as some land was cleared and a log cabin built, a garden was sown. The result was a rewarding harvest.
Gordon, Jim and Hec, along with Les Mithelmore, were successful in building a small sawmill. Logs were cut and hauled by horses and the lumber produced from this small mill went to build a very decent home on the 'Homestead'. This was later to become a regular meeting place for many people and the scene of many good get-togethers.
Gordon by now was married to Jean Clement of Big River and was living in town. When he heard news of the gold strike at the 'Goldfields' he could not resist the challenge, so he left Big River. He was later joined by Jean and young son, Morgan. The following year another son, Jack, was born.
Gordon Hartnett passed away in 1969. Jean, Morgan, and Jack make their home in Quesnel, British Colombia.
Maurice, the eldest brother, never lived at Big River, but he enjoyed coming to Big River on weekends and holidays. He married Ruth Lerox of Saskatoon and they had two sons and one daughter. They retired to Kelowna where Maurice passed away in 1969.
Jack, the third son, had earlier joined the RCMP and was stationed for the most part, in the Yukon. He died by drowning in the Yukon River.
Eileen, the next in line, married Herb Ketchum in Vancouver. They had two sons. Eileen now widowed lives in Quesnel, British Columbia.
Jim the fifth member of the family stayed on the farm in Big River. In 1962, he became administrator of the Big River Union Hospital. Over some time, the demands of his job made maintaining his farm too much and therefore, he moved to town. He is still Administrator of the Hospital.
Jim married Mary Buckingham of Shellbrook. They have four children: Pat, Bob, Larry and Donna.
Hec, the youngest of the Hartnett family, married Walda Brownfield of Big River. They have one daughter, Sharon.
Mr and Mrs McVean, in search of a warmer climate, moved to Vancouver in 1942. Alick passed away there, and in 1968, after moving to Quesnel, British Columbia, Mrs Hartnett passed away.
Harty, Grant, Linda and Family
Standing: Jody, Michael, Adam
Sitting: Lynda, Grant.
Grant Harty and Linda Lindskog were married on August 18, 1979. During our first year of married life, we rented a mobile home from Joe and Fern Wall.
In October of 1980, we moved into our first house and became next door neighbours to Grant's parents, Sherman and Alida Harty.
Being a student was not Grant's idea of time well spent. In June of 1977, he decided to quit school and got a job working at the Big River Sawmill where he is still employed.
I have held a variety of jobs over the years, including seasonal work at Big River Nursery, Clearwater Greenhouses, Ski Timber Ridge, cleaning at the RCMP office and subbing in the janitorial department at the schools.
We have three children. Our daughter Jody was born on January 18, 1979, followed by her brothers, Michael on June 16, 1981, and Adam on May 8, 1984. They have all attended and graduated from the school in Big River.
When our kids were small we enjoyed camping at Nesslin Lake and as they got older we spent more time camping and fishing at Hackett Lake. We also put in a lot of time at the rink as both boys played hockey. Grant has also been involved with team roping for several years.
Following her high school graduation, Jody moved to Lloydminister and was soon employed as a secretary. She met Merdi Osbourne and is now busy looking after their two sons, Mason, born December 4, 2001, and Dawson born November 15, 2002. Mason developed health problems shortly after birth and has spent many weeks of his two years in Saskatoon University Hospital.
After high school, Michael spent a year working on the construction of the new sawmill. When that job ended he moved on to Beebe's trucking. He also decided to pursue employment with Weyerhaeuser and worked at the sawmill on weekends while keeping his weekday job at Beebe's. He continued with this work schedule for five or six months, before deciding he didn't want to follow in his Dad's footsteps after all and chose to make trucking his full-time career. Michael's daughter, Mikaela, was born on April 19, 2001.
Adam worked part-time at Beebe's while he was still in high school and was hired on full time after graduation. He and Michael both have their class one license. Adam is now working in Lloydminister and Grant and I are adjusting to life without kids at home.
My father was Leo William Harty. He was born in Wessington, South Dakota in 1896, immigrated to Shaunavon, Saskatchewan in 1909, was deceased in 1980 in Calgary, Alberta and is interred in Big River.
My mother was Marie Angeline Harty (Ganley). She was born in Bow Belles, North Dakota in 1906, immigrated to Shaunavon, Saskatchewan in 1910, was deceased 1981 in North Battleford, Saskatchewan and is interred in Big River. My mother and father have eight children:
1. Philip Lloyd - Born 1926
2. Sherman Anthony - Born 1930
3. Daniel William - Born 1931 - Deceased 1998 in Winnipeg, Manitoba
4. Joseph George - Born 1932
5. Louise Ann - Born 1934
6. Ruth Agnes - Born 1935
7. Shirley Marie - Born 1938
8. Patrick Gerald - Born 1942
Leo, Marie and family moved from Shaunavon to Witchekan Lake District of Saskatchewan in 1931. In 1939, the family now considerably larger with the addition of Joe, Louise, Ruth and Shirley moved to Timberlost Saskatchewan, 25 miles west of Big River. The family, after living in this basically wilderness community for ten years, purchased land in Ladder Valley, Saskatchewan and moved from Timberlost to Ladder Valley in the fall of 1948. At that time, Joe, Louise, Ruth, Shirley and Pat attended school in Big River.
Correspondence indicates that William Hay was searching for a homestead in the Winter Lake Area. He enquired about SW 36-54-7 W3rd. The quarter was available (in 1927) but records do not indicate any follow-up.
Head, Marie Victoria (Mirasty)
John, Vicki (1993).
Marie Victoria was born on July 13, 1935, in Green Lake, Saskatchewan to Narcisse and Rose (Villbrune) Mirasty. She is the third of eight children, Alan, Ronald, Vicki, Florence, Wilfred, Peter, Georgina and Blanche.
In 1953-54, Vicki cooked for Gear Thordon in Dore Lake for the fishermen for $200.00 a month. This is where she met John Bogner, who worked for Harold and Deliah Eldridge at the mink ranch. In the summer of 1954, she worked for W.R. Vincent in Shellbrook, cooking for the farmhands.
She lived at Sled Lake until 1955, when she married John Bogner in November 1955 in Big River, Saskatchewan. They resided in Ladder Valley and had six children, Terry, Val, Rosemary, Ted, Vern and Lynn. From 1971-74, she ran the hotel cafe for Ernie and Chris Meiklejohn. John farmed and worked at the Big River Mill. John and Vicki separated in 1974. From 1974-92, she lived with Walter Choynicki in Allan, Hudson Bay, Weirdale and Prince Albert. Vicki is a great cook and has always been employed doing just that. Over the years, she has worked at restaurants, hospitals and highway construction camps until she retired in 1993. After nine years of retirement, she returned to work for Botkin Construction in 2002 for one season.
Back Row: Terry, Ted. Vern. Rosemary.
Front Row: Vicki. Lynn. Val.
Vicki's mother died on January 13, 1975, at the age of 70. Her father died on December 24, 1997, at the age of 91.
Vicki married William (Bill) Head in November 1992. They lived in Delburne, Alberta but spent their winters in Penticton, British Columbia. In August 1996 she lost Bill to cancer. She now resides in Drumheller, with Ken Leonhardt. Vicki is involved in curling, bowling, and golfing. She also continues to cook, knit, and crochet. Together she and Ken enjoy camping, travelling, dancing and church functions. She makes regular trips to Big River to visit with her children and grandchildren. She has 17 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Gary Hegland, 1961.
I was born in Big River in September 1942, to Walter and Anne (Milligan) Hegland. I was raised in the area except for a few years spent in La Ronge in the mid-fifties. After dad passed away in 1960, I moved to Edmonton and worked for my uncle, Shorty Hegland in his tire shop. While in Edmonton, I attended flight school and after returning to Big River, I bought a small aircraft. I also worked at the sawmill for awhile.
In the early '70s, I moved to Vancouver Island and worked at the sawmill in Yaubou. On returning to Big River in the mid 70's I bought a gravel truck and worked on the north highway.
I've always been mechanically inclined since a child, apparently taking apart watches and whatever else I could get my hands on, and have always done a lot of work in that field. In the mid-'80s, I moved to Saskatoon and worked at Eldorado Aviation until the company closed. The last number of years I've worked in orthopaedic and also as a mechanic. In the future, I plan to leave the city for a quieter rural area.
I was born in Big River in August 1958, the youngest son of Walter and Anne (Milligan) Hegland. My siblings named me after a dear friend, that the family had known in La Ronge.
I was only two years old when my dad passed away so I never had the privilege of knowing him. After his passing Mom moved to Saskatoon for a couple of years and then back to Big River.
In 1965, Mom married Bill Milligan. Bill had farmed in the Delaronde Lake area for years. It was Bill who introduced me to the love of horses at an early age. My brother, Gordie, also had and loved horses. When I was about thirteen years of age, I was riding at Gordie's, and got thrown off and ended up with not one but two broken arms. Even that didn't stop me, as I still have a great love of horses today.
Over the years I've worked with horses a lot in the Big River area as well as in the United States, breaking, training, shoeing, helping my brother with his chuckwagons, roping at various rodeos, doing trail rides in the summer and sleigh rides in the winter, and I've even done a little horse logging. One summer I rode solo from Calgary to Big River; that was quite an experience. At family gatherings, I usually have my team and enjoy taking everyone out for rides.
Over the past few years, I've spent my summers working for the Ness Creek Festival. I've enjoyed travelling throughout the United States and in 2002 spent a few months working in Ireland and travelling in Europe. No matter where I go it is always nice to come back home.
Standing: Kathy, Candy, Paigeann, Cole, Kevin
Seated: Gordon. Lynne (1985).
Lacey, Rachelle, Desiree, Chance, Jordon, James, Jade,
Madison, Brooklyn, Eddie, Rocky, Henrie, Chase, Brinney,
Michael, Lynden, Gordon. Missing Lance.
Gordie was born in Canwood, Saskatchewan. His parents were on their way to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan but didn't make it. He is the oldest son of Walter and Anne (Milligan) Hegland. He was raised in Big River but did live in Lac La Ronge for awhile.
He met Lynne Williams in Lac La Ronge in the early 1960s. They moved to Edmonton where Lynne took her Lab Technician course and they were married in 1964. They moved back to Big River where Lynne worked at the Big River Hospital for 34 years. Gordie drove a truck for Dawson's Transport, Les Dunn Logging, Max Wilson Trucking and Weyerhaeuser Lumber. Gordie's love for horses and the rodeo had him drive chuckwagons for a few years at various rodeos. When the Big River Rodeo was underway you would find his yard full of campers and friends from the rodeo circuit. Gordie and Lynne built a house at Hay Bay on Delaronde Lake in 1979. They had horses, pigs, goats, geese, and the occasional cow. Their children have fond memories of their time there.
Gordie and Lynne raised five children: Paige, Candy, Cole, Kathy, and Kevin. They have 18 grandchildren. Lynne passed away on November 1999 at the age of 55.
Gordie married Lynn Potts, daughter of Bill and Irene Clark, in February of 1991. Lynn was a schoolteacher in Big River and the two of them raised Arabian horses. Lynn passed away on October 1998 at the age of 52.
In March 2003, Gordie married Debbie Heibert. They reside in Big River and Gordie has worked for the R.M. of Big River since 1997. He still raises horses and loves gardening, working outdoors, and spending time with his children and grandchildren.
Hegland, Lynne (Williams)
Hegland, Lynne (Williams)
Born Sharon Lynne Williams in Brandon, Manitoba May of 1944. Lynne had one sister Pam Roth. Her parents Ernest and June Williams moved to La Ronge and Lynne took her schooling there until meeting Gordon Hegland in the early 1960s. She moved to Edmonton and took her lab technician schooling. She and Gordon were married in 1964 and moved to Big River, Saskatchewan.
Lynne started working as a Lab Technician at the Big River Hospital in January of 1965 and remained there for 34 years. After 34 years as a Lab Tech, there are not too many people in Big River who hasn't had Lynne poke them with a needle? When she and Gordie lived at Hay Bay on Delaronde Lake and she was called in to work during the night, there were many times that she had to walk one and a half miles (because the road was to muddy for the truck) out to the main road and would get back in the door and be called to work again. Lynne enjoyed curling and was a member of the Royal Purple for a while, and had a soft spot for the animals on the farm.
She and Gordie had five children. Their oldest daughter Paige Ann now lives in Big River and her children are Lancen, Rachelle, Rocky, Eddie, Henry and Chance. Candy Hegland lives in Big River with Darren Anderson, and her children are Chase and Brittney. Candy works at the Big River Health Center. Cole Hegland lives in Big River with Holly Meyers and their children are Lynden, Brooklyn, Madison, and Jade. Cole works for Smoky Lake. Kathy Hiltz lives in Big River with her husband Kelly and their children Michael, Desiree, Jordon, and James. Kevin Hegland lives in Lloydminister and works for a stucco business. He and Marlese Rosteski have a daughter Hanna Lynne.
In 1986, Lynne and Gordie divorced. Lynne spent her remaining years with Roy Sharp. They enjoyed camping and fishing and grandchildren.
In 1996, after 31 years at the hospital, she went back to Kelsey to take a combined lab and x-ray technician course. She graduated in the top of her class with distinguished honours often teaching her teachers. Lynne was also instrumental in the design of the lab at the new Big River Health Center. Unfortunately, she never got to work in the new lab as she passed away in November of 1999 at the age of 55.
Karen Joan was born August 29, 1943, at Canwood, Saskatchewan. She is the fifth child of Ivor and Mary Fonos.
Upon finishing school she ventured to La Ronge, Saskatchewan, for summer employment at the Thompson's Cafe. While working at La Ronge she met Bob Henderson from Lyleton, Manitoba, who was employed by the Hudson's Bay Company. They were married on September 15, 1962, at Loreburn, Saskatchewan. Life with the Hudson's Bay Company consisted of many transfers. As a result, they experienced living in many different communities all across Canada.
In 1963, Terrence (Terry) James was born at Norway House, Manitoba and in 1966 Donald (Don) William was born in Souris, Manitoba. Terry and his wife Pollyann and Don all presently reside in Prince Albert.
Karen and Bob owned and operated the Green Lake Lodge for several years until they sold it in 1999. They have now retired to their residence at Candle Lake, Saskatchewan.
Submitted by Rudolph Hendrickson
Back Row: Heikki, Ruth.
Front Row: Sophia, Rudy, Ivan, Roy, Ida, Daisy (1930).
The Hendrickson Family arrived in Big River in the fall of 1923. My father came in June. Mother, Ida, Sophie and I arrived that fall after Dad had built a log house on the homestead for us. On June 9, 1923, Dad had filed on this homestead: the SW 8-56-7 W3rd in Saskatchewan. This transaction took place in Prince Albert and it cost him ten dollars.
Our closest neighbours were the Dubes. We were lucky that someone had dug a good well on the property so Dad did not have to do that. Our homestead was nearly all covered with trees: poplar, spruce and birch. At that time most of the trees were not worth much except for cordwood which Dad cut up with an axe and a swede saw. He got one dollar a cord piled in the bush. Dad was a shoemaker by trade and he built a shack near the house for a shop but as we lived about a mile from the town he did not get too much work. No one had a car then and there were no roads so people had to use horses or walk.
We had a garden and there were lots of berries growing wild so we children were able to help in this way. Also, I used to catch fish in the river about a half-mile from our place. In the winter I used to snare rabbits and sell them in town for ten cents each. Of course, we ate some of the rabbits ourselves. We did not go hungry.
My father's name was Heikki Richard Hendrickson and he was born in Finland on October 22, 1883. He grew up in Sweden.
My mother's name was Ruth Hilder Amanda Viktorsson, and she was born in Sweden on July 4, 1897.
I, Rudolph Birger Hendrickson, was born in Sweden on February 28, 1917. My parents and I immigrated to Canada in 1921 and settled in Stockholm, Saskatchewan where Mother's relatives had a farm. Then we moved to Big River in 1923. All my brothers and sisters were born in Saskatchewan. Ida was born in 1921; Sophie in 1923, Daisy in 1925, Roy in 1927 and I was born in 1917. Ida, Sophie and Roy have now passed away.
I started school in Big River in 1924 at the age of seven years. After a breakup in our family, Dad moved to Clanwilliam, Manitoba in 1930 and Ida, Sophie and I joined him in 1931. Dad died in Larder Lake, Ontario in 1949. Mother died in Penticton, British Columbia on December 7, 1981. Ida died in St. Thomas, Ontario in 1997; Sophia in 2001in Summerland, British Columbia; and Roy died in Lethbridge, Alberta on September 10, 2001. As of March 2003, I am in good health and I thank GOD for each day.
Henry, Joseph and Kimberly
Joseph D. Henry and Kimberly A. Henry (Jamieson) moved to Big River in 1999. Children include Callum James, Kieran Rory and Charlize Rianne.
Joe is originally from Ontario and Kim is from New Brunswick. Both Callum and Kieran were born in British Columbia. Charlize was born here in Saskatchewan. A job with Weyerhaeuser Forestlands brought the Henrys here. Kim works here in the school system as a Teachers Assistant. We have all settled in here and Big River is now home.
Submitted by Peter Heppner and Leona Smith
Ella Jane Heppner, 1988.
Ella Heppner was born at Waldheim, Saskatchewan on April 25, 1920, to John and Maria Heppner (Friesen).
She lived at their farm and obtained her elementary education at Carmen school, (a one-room rural seat of education). Ella often lamented the fact that she had been unable to continue her formal education, but she was needed at home to help with her younger siblings.
At an early age, she committed her life to God and lived accordingly. During her youth, she helped with the Sunday School and choir at the local church in Waldheim. During the summer she taught Vacation Bible School in various areas and provinces.
Ella had a natural talent for needlework and sewing. Many were the articles she stitched and crocheted, often as gifts for others. While she was living at home she was able to take a tailoring course taught by a local seamstress. Here she learned to cut her patterns, a craft that was very valuable to her. The family then became the recipients of many hand-me-downs, which were unrecognizable as such under her skilled workmanship.
Ella had a thirst for knowledge, particularly when it came to the teachings of the Bible. She attended Bible school in Regina and later in Swift Current where she received her diploma in Evangelical Teachers' training. The Rosthern mission board asked her to go to the Lake Four district near Big River. Here she was to teach Sunday School and do visitations until a resident minister could be found. So it was, that in 1949 Ella stayed at the Peter Hildebrand home from which she carried on her work. Later, the mission board moved a one-room building onto the Mennonite churchyard at Lake Four. Here she continued to work until a full-time minister came to stay.
Ella then moved to Big River to a building located on the Evangelical Church properties just west of where Mrs Carter lives. Raymond Mitchell formerly owned the house. After some years the church needed to expand their building so Ella moved her little house to a lot, which she purchased from Pete Bouchard next to J.K Johnson's on 2nd Avenue North. The house is still there at present. With renovations and plumbing installed it became a comfortable home for her.
To pay her way Ella took up her trade as a seamstress sewing everything from sails for a sailboat to graduation and wedding gowns as well as patching numerous blue jeans. Ella also did housework for various people and wherever she went she walked. She sometimes complained that wherever she went she had to go up a hill. This was particularly true when she visited the former hospital located at the top of the hill. There was many an hour she spent there visiting and encouraging people and praying with them if they so desired, or reading the scriptures to them.
When the nursing home opened in Big River she was again available to help where she could, looking after the little extra needs that she saw when she visited. She was always there for Bible study and singing, bringing comfort to those who needed it.
Ella was also involved in the Religious Instruction programs at the school. She made herself available to teach Sunday School at whichever church needed her. Ella's door was always open to everyone. Because she lived alone people felt free to bring their problems to her, knowing that's where they stopped. Many a meal or lunch was served to those who came in need.
One of her greatest joys during her last years was to look after her great-niece, Leanna Gustafson; she became the sunshine in her life. Later Darrin was added to her joy.
Ella became ill and the doctors were unable to diagnose her problem. She resisted going to the hospital for she still had much to do. However, after a short illness, on November 21, 1998, God called her home.
Herdman, Bob and Marlene (Unrau)
Marlene and Bob Herdman.
I, Marlene Herdman was born on June 12, 1941, at Borden, Saskatchewan to John and Nettie Unrau. We lived in the Great Deer area west of Blaine Lake until I was about a year old. Then Mom, Dad, older sister, Ruth and I moved to the Rapid Bend district. Lake Four district was our post office and store.
I attended school at Rapid Bend through to Grade Seven, when the school closed and we were bused to Big River. I only attended there for one year. The next year I stayed at Roy and Marion Parks and took Grade Nine by correspondence at Park Valley school.
I spent the next few years working at various jobs. I also made several trips to British Columbia and worked there temporarily.
In 1959, I married Bob Herdman of Debden, (Wanakena area) whom I had met several years before. He is the son of the late Mable and Charles Herdman. We were married at New Westminster British Columbia and lived there until the fall of 1960. We then moved back to Debden to the family farm, where we still live, and have farmed until a few years ago but now rent out the land.
From 1975 to 1977, I attended "upgrading school" in Debden and got my Grade Twelve. This was the same year our oldest daughter graduated. In 1983, we had our home approved for a care home. We had one client for over fifteen years, after which we quit that. I also worked at the Big River tree nursery in the '90s for five years as a seasonal worker.
We raised a family of four girls, who all attended and graduated from Debden school. Tracey was born in October 1959 at New Westminster British Columbia. She is married to Jerome Collins of Debden. She now works as a baker in Belair's Fine Foods Store. Jerome is a grader operator for the RM of Canwood. They have three children; Jamie Lynn married to Steven Carlson, Scott and Arianne.
Back Row: Arianne, Scott.
Middle Row: Tracy, Jerome. Front Row: Jamie.
Kim was born January 1961, in Big River, and is married to Curt O'Connell of Saskatoon. They now live in the Debden area. She also works at Belair's Fine Foods store. Curt works for RNF Ventures of Prince Albert. They have four children; Stacey, Kyler, Katelin, and Shelbie.
Back Row: Katelin, Stacey, Kyler, Shelbie. Front Row: Kim, Curt.
Laurie was born in March 1962 in Big River. She married Doug England of Saskatoon. They now live in Prince George, British Columbia. Doug is a registered nurse at the hospital in Prince George and also works at the jail sometimes. They have three children; Jason, Amanda and Stephanie.
Janine was born in December 1963 in Shellbrook. She married Maurice Collins of Debden and lives in Victoire, Saskatchewan. She works a casual position at the Canwood Nursing Home and also at the Big River Nursing Home. Maurice works at the Big River Weyerhaeuser mill. They have four children; Pamela, Tanya, Jordan, and Tessa.