O.P.Godin's Store

Family Histories, Part 24



Peterson, Elmer Lawrence
Submitted by Melaine Bueckert

Elmer Peterson.

Elmer Peterson.

Elmer was the second of eight children born to Andrew and Anna (Schmidtz) Peterson, on December 4, 1923 at Floral, Saskatchewan. He lived in the Floral area for his first twenty-five years, attending elementary school at the Lone Star School, then attending the Technical Collegiate in Saskatoon. He helped his family and neighbors farm during the summers.

From 1948 to 1955, he owned and operated a road construction trucking business working in Saskatchewan and Manitoba during the summer months, and in the winter months worked at the Palo Salt Mine, west of Biggar, stock-piling salt. Elmer and Lenora Waite were married November, 23, 1955. He and Ed Wirtz purchased and operated a garage for a few years. Elmer then went to work with Waite Fisheries Limited, buying and packing fish and was stationed in Big River, Dore Lake and Buffalo Narrows.

Elmer and Lenora's family grew to three children: Leonard Lawrence born Aug 23, 1956, Melanie Kay born March 25, 1958, and Marlen John born March 16, 1960. They separated in 1966 and Elmer moved to Rosetown to work as a mechanic. After two years, he went to work with his brother, Norman, who owns Mid West Tire Limited, as a mechanic and specializing in wheel alignments. He worked with Norm for 13 years.

Elmer was very involved with his music, playing the piano, organ, violin, sax, guitar and other instruments. He played in many bands throughout his life spreading his love of music.

Elmer passed away in Rosetown, June 4, 1984, after sustaining injuries due to a fall, at the age of 60.

Peterson, Leonard and Linda

Leonard Peterson.

Leonard and Linda.

Leonard Lawrence Peterson was born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan August 23, 1956, the oldest child of three born to Elmer and Lenora (Waite) Peterson of Big River, Saskatchewan.

I attended all of my schoolings in Big River, except for two years spent at Luther College in Regina. After I graduated from Big River High School, June 1974, I moved to Buffalo Narrows, Saskatchewan to work as an Aircraft Mechanic with C&M Airways. In 1976, I married Linda Klyne.

After moving back 'home' in 1980, I worked for Earl Beebe Trucking as a mechanic and then purchased Northwestern Helicopters Ltd. in June 1987. For the next twelve years, our focus was forest fire fighting which enabled me to see exotic places like La Loche, Dillon, Brabant Lake, and Pelican Narrows. We also did some seismic work in Southern Saskatchewan and Texas. We were based out of Big River at 514 George Street.

In 1994, I bought into a helicopter blade repair shop in Kissimmee, Florida. In 2001, we decided to give up the exciting life of chasing across Northern Saskatchewan to extinguish forest fires, so that we could move to Florida to manage Aviation Blade Services, Inc., where we repair and overhaul helicopter rotor blades.

I have been blessed with a wife of 27 years, three wonderful children, and some great friends over the years, and the privilege of growing up in a small and close-knit community.

Linda (Klyne) Peterson was born in Big River, Saskatchewan on May 24, 1958, the youngest child of twelve born to Robert & Margaret (Campbell) Klyne of Erinferry, Saskatchewan. I attended my first three years of school at Winter Lake School until the country schools were closed, and I was bused into Big River where I finished the rest of my schooling. I graduated from Big River High School in June 1976.

I married my high school sweetheart, Leonard Lawrence Peterson on December 18, 1976. We lived our first three years of our married life in Buffalo Narrows, Saskatchewan, where I worked in the clerical field for the Government of Saskatchewan. On August 10, 1979, we celebrated the birth of our first child, Jillian Margaret. We moved back 'home' in 1980. On January 22, 1983, we were blessed with the birth of our second child, Kimberly Roberta. Then on September 5, 1983, we rejoiced over the birth of our third and last child, Ian Leonard.

During those years of raising our three children, I worked part-time for the CIBC, Department of Tourism & Renewable Resources, Parkland School Division, the T.D. Michel School and doing books for my husband. I was very active with the church, volunteering at the school and coaching softball and volleyball. I also enjoyed volunteering my time and abilities for the Minor Sports Board and the Local School Board.

My biggest joy has always been what God has called me to be, a wife and a mom. Our children are now grown, with Jillian married to Jeremy Batting of Hepburn, Saskatchewan. They are residing in Saskatoon, where both are finishing their schooling. Jillian is finishing her Computer Graphics & Web Design course, and Jeremy is finishing his Finance Degree in Commerce. Kimberly is training as a Navigational Communicator with the Canadian Navy. She is able to pursue her desire to travel and explore new places. Ian has just finished his one year training in School of Evangelism where he travelled Canada and the world.

Leonard and I are now residing in St. Cloud, Florida. We praise God for our roots in such a wonderful and rich community like Big River. We always felt safe and secure knowing such good people were our neighbours.


Leonard Peterson.

Ian, Kimberly.

Jeremy and Jillian.

Jeremy and Jillian.

Peterson, Marlen John

Marlen Peterson.

Marlen, Judy, holding Nicholas.

I was born March 16, 1960, the youngest of three to Elmer and Lenora Peterson. I spent my childhood growing up in Big River until 1974 when I moved to Buffalo Narrows with my mom. I went to school there until 1976, when at that time, I thought I'd make my millions as a truck driver! I held a couple of jobs in Buffalo, then I bought my semi-truck in 1979 and started hauling freight north to the mines (Key Lake, Cluff Lake, Rabbit Lake, and Cigar Lake) from Saskatoon. In 1984, I took time off from driving to get my pilot's license then spent many summers working for John Midgett at his tourist camps flying supplies in. I would fly during the tourist season, then drive semi the rest of the year until Mom and JF retired from the tourist industry in 1998. After selling my truck in 1993, I went to work for Les Bueckert Trucking Ltd. hauling freight north under Earl Beebe Trucking Ltd., then hauling under NRT until 1999. I went to work at Key Lake Mine hauling uranium slurry from McArthur River to Key Lake for Cameco Corporation in 1999 and have been there since.

I moved to Battleford from Saskatoon in 1997. I married Judy Clarke from Buffalo Narrows, in August 1998 and have since had two children, Nicholas John born June 16, 2001, and Etta Abigail born January 25, 2003.


Peterson, Maurice Niels

Maurice Peterson was born in 1884 in Sjalland, Denmark. Before moving to the Winter Lake/Lake Four area, he resided in Wakaw, Saskatchewan.

Maurice had a sister named Mrs Day who lived at Park Valley. At age thirty-six, he applied for a Soldier Grant on NE 25-54-7 W3rd. He lived on this quarter from July 15, 1921, to October 1924. He broke sixteen additional acres and had a crop in thirty-two acres. He also had eighteen head of cattle and four horses. He continued to live on this quarter. Times were difficult. Wheat sold for twenty-four cents a bushel and the fire burnt through his settlement in 1932, leaving only the house. Mr Peterson also received a returned soldier grant of $80.00 to help pay for his homestead.

A story as told by Frank Smith: Maurice always allowed the Smith boys on his land to go fishing. The boys would catch minnows and leave them on the dock to dry. They were getting a sizeable pile there. One day Maurice had said to them that they had better do something with those fish because he could hardly stand to go on the dock anymore. Maurice was a very good friend of both Hans Hanson and Hans Fredrikson, as they were all from the same place.


Petit, Debbie and Kevin
Submitted by Linda Anderson

Debbie is the daughter of Delbert and Linda Anderson. She was born in Prince Albert on February 17, 1978. She attended school in Big River until she graduated in 1996. She met Kevin Petit, who was born in Ile-a-la-Crosse on May 1, 1967, and raised in Buffalo Narrows, while visiting relations in Regina. Kevin was working in Saskatoon at Flex-a-Coil at the time. Kevin made regular trips to Big River to see Debbie. He got a job working at the Rabbit Lake mine in 1996 and moved to Big River. Debbie and Kevin were married in Big River on September 1, 2001.

Petit children.

Shae-Lynne, Jordan, Brianna.

They have three beautiful children, Shae-Lynn born 1996, Brianna born 1997, and Jordan born in 2002. Kevin volunteers with mine safety and they bought a house in Big River in June 2001 and plan to live in Big River forever.


Petkau, Dorlene

I, Dorlene Catherine (Carter) (Miller) Petkau was born in Humboldt, Saskatchewan in 1938 and was the oldest of eight children born to Albert and Lucille Carter. At the age of eight, I moved with my parents and three siblings to the homestead 12 miles northeast of Big River, owned by my grandparents John and Catherine Breker.

My Dad farmed on the homestead until we moved to Victor Dunbar farm west of Delaronde Lake in 1959.

My formal schooling was limited as I stayed at home to help on the farm until I married Bill in 1957.

We had four children: Ron Miller was born in 1958 and married Susanne Michel in 1980. Brenda was born in 1960 and married Don Thiessen in 1977. Gerald was born in 1963 and married Brenda Reed in 1984. Jeff was born in 1969.

In 1970, while hauling lumber over Dore Lake, one very cold night in February, Bill and his truck went through the ice and his body was not found until three days later. I was widowed with four children ages eleven, nine, six and eight months for eight and one-half years. In 1978 I married Dave Petkau of Three Hills Alberta. He also had four children.

My two youngest children and I moved to Three Hills Alberta in July and lived there until 1980.

Later that year, we joined Northern Canada Evangelical Mission and moved to La Ronge, Saskatchewan. In 1982 we moved to Lac La Biche, Alberta where Dave was a teacher and together we did PR at Key Way Tin Bible Institute. In 1998 Dave also became director of the school and I filled in as main office secretary in 2001.

We still reside in Lac La Biche and continue to work at Key Way Tin Bible Institute with Northern Canada Evangelical Mission. Both of us are turning sixty-five this year.

One incident that comes to mind was humorous and yet potentially dangerous. Our Mother and some of us young girls had been out blueberry picking out in the Nesslin area. Having our pails filled we were making our way home. Mom was driving our old tractor with us sitting on the back of the tractor on a homemade platform behind the tractor seat hanging onto our berries. Well, the tractor powered out going up a pronounced incline, Mom quickly shifted down to a lower gear but not before the tractor had rolled back some and sent kids and berries flying. Except for some bumps and lost berries, all was safe.


Philibert, Peter and Roxanne (Wilson)

I am the only child of Barry and Simone Wilson. I was born on September 3, 1970. I graduated from the Big River High School in June of 1988. From there I moved to Prince Albert and took a cooking class. I also met my husband and we were married on August 31, 1991. Peter works at the Prince Albert Correctional Centre and I am a stay-at-home mom.

We have two children: a daughter, Morgan, born February 22, 1996. She is in Grade Two at Bellview and then Jordan was born October 29, 1998, and he is in pre-school.


Phillips, Barbara Ann
Submitted by Nicole Klassen

Barbara Phillips.

Barbara-Ann.

Barbara Ann Phillips was born in Big River on July 21, 1955. She attended school in Big River and graduated in 1973.

In 1980, she received her Business Education Certificate and from there went to work for Ted McKenzie Trucking Ltd.

Barbara Ann Barbara-Ann. worked as their book-keeper for twenty years. During this time she went on to receive her Business Administration-Accounting Diploma. She is now employed as the Director of Finance for the Buffalo River Dene Nation in Dillon, Saskatchewan.

Barbara Ann has two children, a daughter Nicole Dawn born March 5, 1976, (see own history) and a son Courtney Vaughan born October 31, 1977.

Courtney works as a welder in Calgary, Alberta. He married Danette Wall on November 8, 2000, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. They have three children, Dakota, Lane and Liam.


Phillips, Harry and Barbara
Submitted by Nicole Klassen

Harry Phillips.

Harry and Barb Phillips, 1987.

Henry James Phillips was born in Big River on November 12, 1921, to John and Grace Phillips. He grew up and attended school in Prince Albert. He enlisted into WWII and was overseas for five years, returning home to Big River in the fall of 1945.

Barbara Ellen Harper was born in Mildred, Saskatchewan on January 16, 1925. She grew up in Mildred and attended Business College in Prince Albert. Barbara came to Big River in 1944 when she married Robert Leslie Dunbar. They had three children, Sandra, Robert and Audrey. Leslie passed away on August 29, 1951.

My grandmother met my grandfather Harry Phillips and they were married on July 16, 1952. They had five children, Joan, Barbara Ann, Murray, Orlan-Lee and baby Harry John. Baby Harry passed away at two months of age. Murray and Orlan-Lee passed away in a tragic accident in 1965.

Grandma started work when my Auntie Joan began school. She worked at Waite Fisheries Limited.

My grandfather was a truck driver and heavy-duty mechanic for Wilson Motors. In 1968, Harry and Barb also had boats for rent on Cowan Lake (Harry's Boating).

Their home was on the south end of Delaronde Lake. The land location is NE 26-57-6 W3rd. My grandparents had sub-divided their land into eleven lots. It was these original cabin owners that paid tribute to my grandparents by naming it Phillips Grove: the Cowans, Stillings, Kerns, Lucius, Kraus, Toles, and Kyles were the first of the cabin owners. Later came the Blampins, Lloyd and Bit Gerow, Husulaks and Al and Loretta Osinchuk.

Harry retired when he was 65. Grandpa spent lots of time in his garden, mostly I think to keep us kids out of it. Most of our summer holidays, I remember travelling with my grandparents across Western Canada.

Barbara retired in 1989. Harry and Barb took time when they both were retired to go travelling without us kids. On December 21, 1990, my grandfather passed away. Grandma continues to live in Big River. She is an active member of the Royal Purple and Seniors Club. She also enjoys playing cards and visiting with her friends and family.


Phillips, Jack and Grace
Submitted by Nicole Klassen

Jack Phillips.

Nellie and Jack Phillips.

John William (Jack) Phillips was born in Northumberland, England. Nellie Grace Phillips (Prior) was born in Ashford Kent, England in 1899.

In 1909, Mr Phillips walked on the railroad tracks to Big River to get a job at the Big River Mill as an accountant.

Jack enlisted in the army and went back to England for World War I. During the time of the war, he met and married Nellie Grace Prior, my great grandmother. Jack returned to Canada after the war. Grace and their baby daughter came over in a separate ship with other war brides, one of which was Mrs Mike Thibeault.

They lived in Big River. In 1921, they had their second child, Henry James Phillips, my grandfather.

Jack and Grace moved back to Prince Albert. He was working as an accountant there. Sometime in the 1940s, they returned to Big River where Waite Fisheries Limited employed my great grandfather as their accountant.

Their daughter passed away in her early teens. Jack Phillips passed away in the summer of 1948. Grace Phillips passed away in 1968.


Piche, Bill and Margarette
Submitted by Linda Anderson

Bill and Margarette were both born and raised in Big River. Bill is the son of Dave and Gertrude Piche. Margarette is the daughter of Art and Lisette Anderson.

Bill and Margarette were married in October 1967 in the Anglican Church. They moved to Saskatoon where Bill worked on the power lines for Wanhill Construction. Margarette worked as a housekeeper in various motels. From there they moved to Meath Park, Saskatchewan and Bill went logging in Camp 7 for the Prince Albert Pulp Mill. Their daughter Janet was born in Big River in 1969.

They then moved to Pine Point Northwest Territories where Bill worked in the mine for a year. Their next move was to Edmonton with Bill working back on the power lines. They had a son, William Dean born September 1972. They decided city life was not what they wanted so they moved back to Pine Point. Their son died February 1973 in Hay River, Northwest Territories.

In June 1974 they moved back to Big River. They lived on Gilbert Street. Bill and Don McGrath started a logging business and logged the Big River Area. Their second daughter, Stacey was born in Big River in 1975.

In 1979, their daughter Carolyn was born and Bill started his own logging business. He was transferred to the Carrot River, Hudson Bay area where he is still working.

Margarette worked at the Big River Hotel for Wayne and Audrey Hamon from 1977-1979. In July 1980 she started at the Big River Union Hospital and worked in housekeeping, laundry, kitchen and maintenance until 1997. She now works in the bush camp cooking for Bill's crew. Their Children:


Janet - Born January 1969 in Big River. Went to school and graduated in Big River. She married Lauren Dziurzynski in 1988 in Big River. They have four children: two daughters, Chelaine and Rachelle and two sons, David and Darian. They presently reside in Lloydminster, Alberta.

Stacey - Born in Big River in 1975. Went to school in Big River. Married Lucien (JR) Beaulac in 1998. They have three children Kody Bailey, Tessa Beaulac and Blaine Beaulac. They live in Big River.

Carolyn - Born in Big River in 1979. Went to school and graduated in Big River. She is presently a Teachers Aide in Lashburn, Saskatchewan. She currently lives in Lloydminster, Alberta.

William Dean - Born September 1972 in Edmonton, Alberta. Passed away in September 1973 in Hay River, Northwest Territories.

In 1989, they moved to an acreage north-west of Big River. They then bought other land and tried the farming business. They found they did not have enough time for the farm and the bush so they sold the farm in 2000 and moved to the Cowan Lake Subdivision.

Some of the things Bill and Margarette enjoy are quading and jeeping out west of Big River. They also love trail riding with their horses and have not missed many trail rides to the Leoville rodeo.

Bill also keeps up maintenance of his brother Harry's cabin out west of Big River.


Piche, Dave and Gertrude
Submitted by Linda Anderson

Gertrude (Hodgson) and Dave Piche lived in Timberlost. They had seven children; Art Hodgson, Florence Hodgson, Lillian, Margaret, Bill, Vern and Harry. Vern was the unfortunate victim of a shooting accident and passed away in Timberlost in approximately 1949 at seven years old. They moved ten miles west of Big River in 1955, which at that time was called Greenmantle. Art joined the army in the early forties. Florence went to Toronto to work in the ammunition factory in the early forties during the war. She was married while in Toronto. Lillian went to Toronto in 1950. Margaret went to Toronto in 1956. Bill and Harry settled in Big River. Lillian came back to Big River to get married on October 11, 1958. She was married in the Anglican Church in Big River and the reception was held at their home in Greenmantle. Dave passed away on October 15, 1958, and was buried one week after Lillian's wedding. Gertrude moved right into Big River after Dave passed away. She lived in Big River until due to poor health she was sent to the Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert. She passed away in 1984.


Piche, Harry
Submitted by Linda Anderson

Harry was born in 1946 in Timberlost to Gertrude and Dave Piche. Harry moved with his family ten miles west of Big River in 1955. That area was called Greenmantle at the time. His father passed away in 1958 at which time Harry went to live with his brother Art Hodgson and his wife Jessie. He attended school in Big River. He left Big River at a young age to go to work in Alberta and British Columbia.

In 1966 he moved to Leoville and married Donna. They had two daughters: Chantelle, Nicole and a son, Ryan. He moved back to Big River in 1976. Donna moved away in 1978 but Harry stayed in Big River. At this time he met Mary Johnson. She moved to Big River with her children in 1980. Up until this time Harry had been logging in the bush. He logged for his brother Bill and other contractors in the community. He built a log cabin in the forest west of Big River where he spent a lot of his time. The cabin became a busy place for family and friends. He went tree planting and met Debbie Yanko, she joined him in Big River. They spent most of their time at the cabin. Harry was a great storyteller and family and friends loved to listen to them. Harry passed away on September 2, 1995, but he lives on in the memories of family and friends. His cabin is still standing in the bush west of Big River and is still visited regularly.


Pister, Clarence and Priscilla

Clarence Pister.

Back Row: David. Ryan. Brad. Brent, Jayson.
Middle Row: Matthew. Linda, Priscilla, Rachel, Rhonda, Becky. Clarence, Brenda. Gaytan (holding Meagan).
Front Row: Jordan, Gwen. James. Cody.

Clarence Pister, son of Pete and Martha Pister, was born on June 16, 1937, in the Garthland District southwest of Prince Albert. He moved to Big River with his parents and siblings in 1945 or '46 when he was eight or nine years old. He attended school in town and started working for Saskatchewan Timber Board when he was sixteen years old. Clarence continued to work in Big River's lumber industry until he retired in 1994. As well as working in the forestry business, he owned and operated a family farm. Clarence is well remembered for his goaltending ability. He played hockey for thirty years with teams from Big River, Debden, and Leask. Clarence married Priscilla Nicholson on May 8, 1958.

Priscilla Rose Nicholson, daughter of Tom and Florence Nicholson was born on July 10, 1938, on the old homestead near Egg Lake. She attended school at the Stoney Lake School until Grade Seven and then the students were bussed to the new school in town. Over the years, Priscilla worked at the telephone office, the Bank of Commerce, and the Saskatchewan Government Insurance office for Mac Scriven. Clarence and Priscilla have four children:


Brent, 1958, (Linda Smith) has two sons, Jayson and Matthew and at present lives near Saskatoon.

Brenda, 1960, has three children, David Crashley, Gwen and Rebecca Bradley and at present lives in Big River.

Rhonda, 1963, (Brad Thiessen) has two children: Jordan and Rachel and at present lives in Big River.

Ryan, 1965, (Gaytan Christiansen) has three children: Cody Christiansen, James and Megan Pister and at present lives in Big River.

Clarence and Priscilla live on Martin Olsen's (Priscilla's Grandfather) old homestead on Delaronde Lake and continue to enjoy retired life.


Pister, Marlow and Judy

Marlow Pister.

Marlow, Judy, Aimee and Cole.

Judy Stella (Gunderson) Pister was born on October 30, 1960, to Roy and Mildred Gunderson, in the Big River Union Hospital. I was the eleventh of twelve children.

I was raised in Big River and attended school in Big River for a few years. Then we moved to Pine Point North West Territories. We lived there for a couple of years and I attended school there and worked as a waitress in the local restaurant and also did some babysitting. We then returned to Big River and I went back to school until 1977. I then got a job at the Planer Mill for Sask. Forest Products in the winter of 1977. The planer was located down by the lake next to Clarence Peterson. The summer of 1978, I went to work out at the sawmill by Bodmin. In 1985, I resigned from Sask. Forest Products.

The summer of 1976, I met Marlow Pister, son of Wilfred and Florence (Tootsi) Pister. Marlow and his family lived in Big River all their life. Most of his family was employed with the Sawmill and Planer. Marlow started work for Sask Forest in 1971. He is currently still employed at the sawmill, which is now owned by Weyerhaeuser.

Marlow and I were married on June 30, 1979. When we got married we lived in a little two-room shack on Bing Avenue, also known as Ladder Lake Subdivision. It was heated with a small wood stove and oil burner and no running water. In 1981, we bought Ross and Dode Dunn's two-story house and moved it out to our lot. In 1984, we built a new house on lot 1 Block 4 on Bing Avenue.

In 1999, we bought land NE 26-56-W3rd on Cowan Lake. We have plans for building and retiring there.

In May 1986, we took over D and D Video from my brother, Doug and Debbie Gunderson. It was in the old Theater across the street from the CIBC. There was an arcade room and movie rentals so we added chips, bars and pop. On July of 1986, we bought a slush machine and soft ice cream machine. In the summer of 1986, Laurie Leach started working for us. It is 2004 and she is still working for us. She is a very committed worker. I have employed many local workers over the years at the store. In April of 1989, we bought the building located on 400 Main Street, part of Lot 1 Block 8, next to Ted Mckenzie. This building was originally called Maple Lane Confectionery and we bought it from Orvil Leach.

We renovated and moved in there the first part of May 1989. In 1992, we added a Laundromat with three dryers, three double and one triple washer. We also built a two-bay car wash at the same time as the Laundromat. Since then we have added two more triple loaders, one double loader and four dryers.

In the winter of 2000, we bought the empty lot across from the Post Office. At one time there was a Mini Golf and Hard Ice Cream shop there. Martin and Brenda Hansen first put it there. It then changed hands a few more times before closing.

When we added the Laundromat and car wash to our store there was another family at the same time thinking of doing it. They came and talked to us and we all decided there was no sense in both building so we decided to flip a coin and Marlow and I won the flip.

We have two children. Our first child, Cole Ian was born on June 14, 1982, at the Big River Union Hospital. He went to school in Big River and graduated in June of 2001. He is now employed with Weyerhaeuser. He lives in a house-trailer on our land on Cowan Lake.

Our second child was born in Big River Union Hospital on Jan 29, 1985, and we named her Aimee Dawn. She attended school in Big River and graduated in June of 2003. Aimee is now moving to Lloydminster. It is now 2004 and we still own and operate the business. Thanks to my good working staff and all my valuable customers over the years.


Pister, Peter and Martha
Submitted by Kay Whitehead, (daughter)

Peter Pister.

Barbara, Kay, Gladys, Vern, Stan, Clarence, Wilfred, Martha.
Seated in middle Edna, Peter (1961).

Peter and Martha (Baun) were married on March 2, 1930, in Rosthern, Saskatchewan. They lived for many years in the Garthland area near Duck Lake, Saskatchewan, where Peter, with his truck, went into the sawmill and wood business. This was a very remote area. However, the family enjoyed many picnics, fishing in the North Saskatchewan River, picking blueberries and saskatoons, and spent many evenings having card parties.

The children got their education in a one-room schoolhouse, where up to fifty pupils were taught by its one teacher.

Peter and Martha had nine children born to them. Katherine (also known as Kay or Katie) married Wesley Whitehead and lived in Edmonton for many years before moving to Vernon, British Columbia. Kay spent many years in the nursing field. They have one daughter, Verlee, who lives in Vancouver.

Edna married Gilbert Anderson and was widowed in 1972. Now she is married to Delbert Sundby and lives in the Kamloops area. Edna spent many years in the Drive-Inn Restaurant Business. She had seven children, Linda, Douglas, Lyle, Brian, Perry, Dale, and Darcey.

Wilfred married Florence (Tootsie) Anderson and worked until retirement at the Big River Mill. They still live in Big River. They had five children, Marlow, Heather, Kyle, Treena, and Vonda.

Gladys married Peter Page and was widowed in 1976. She had one daughter Lisa and lives in the coastal area. Clarence married Priscilla Nicholson. He also was employed for many years at the Big River Mill and lives on the shore of Delaronde Lake. They have four children, Brent, Brenda, Rhonda, and Ryan.

Vernon married Sherry Provincial. He has worked and lived in Edmonton for many years. They have two daughters, Tracy and Jan.

Shirley Ann passed away as an infant.

Stanley married Elaine Jensen. They had three children, Cathy, Brenda, and Barry. He spent most of his life in the construction field. He is now remarried and lives with his wife Minnie on Vancouver Island.

Barbara married Darcy White. They lived in the Vernon, British Columbia area for many years before moving to Sydney, Australia. Barb is a Notary Public and had an office in Vernon and now in Sydney. She holds a position with the Qantas Airlines. They have two sons, Zachary and Joshua.

In about 1947, Peter and Martha moved with their family to Big River and Peter had a sawmill moved to a wooded area north of Big River. A home was purchased with Frank Runge and the Eisman families as immediate neighbours. Here we had electricity but no running water, so it had to be carried by pail from the town well. Rainwater was caught in barrels to do the laundry, which was done on a washboard and hung out on a line to dry. Ironing was done with sad irons heated on the kitchen woodstove. We didn't have a fridge so most foods were processed in jars. There were no televisions, but we listened to the radio for the news and music.

We enjoyed going to a movie in the Bouchard Hall. Here we also went to many dances, dancing the fox-trot, the two-step, the polka, and the old-time waltz, then the jive came in and it wasn't long before we mastered that dance, too.

Most of our shopping was done at the 0.P Godin's store or the Waite Fisheries Store. Mail was collected at the Post Office in the Forbes House. A stamp to mail a letter cost two cents. Telephones were run from a switchboard office and if you had a telephone it probably would have been a party line.

We have come a long way since those days. We now have wireless cell phones with call display and large televisions in several rooms, as well as computers and fax machines.

Some memories that are still with our family are:

Because of all businesses throughout the town closed on Wednesday afternoons, many weddings took place that afternoon. Hockey and skating were on an open-air rink. For several winters, tickets were sold to choose a winter queen for Big River. The Waite Fisheries Packing Plant was run every summer at Dore Lake. Because there were no roads people had to be flown in and out by a plane flown by George Greening. Waskesiu Lake Resort in the Prince Albert National Park was a great holiday place even though there were no streetlights and the bears roamed freely throughout the resort at night And not to forget the Big River Sawmill in the downtown area with its stately burner, which in our opinion should never have been demolished.

From Big River, Peter and Martha moved to Edmonton where Peter went into the construction field and after several years there, they moved on to Vernon, British Columbia. Here they enjoyed the climate, the fruit, the lakes and the mountains.

Peter enjoyed the outdoors and spent many days fishing on one of the many lakes in the area. He often went hunting and always cut his winter supply of wood for the fireplace.

Martha enjoyed gardening and every summer filled many jars with fruit, jam and pickles. She always prided herself with her flowerbeds and a tidy house.

Both Peter and Martha were keen card players and over the years had many family card parties-the challenges always was to beat dad, which didn't happen very often as he knew every play as it happened.

In 1979, our family all went back to Big River for a family reunion. During the day we played ball and at night we partied. We ate, we drank, and we danced the night away to jukebox music. Peter and Martha were very good dancers, often stole the dance floor.

They now have both passed on and to this day we miss them dearly but their memories live on.


Porter, Patrice and Donald

Patrice Porter.

Don and Pat.

Patrice Sandra (Moulding) was born to Herb and Rita Moulding in Regina, Saskatchewan. I along with my other siblings, Allan, Linda and Gail lived there for 18 years, before moving to Winnipeg, Manitoba. In 1984, we moved to Big River, Saskatchewan, along with my husband Harry Schwenk and son, Juergen.

After Juergen received his grade 12 education, he went on to obtain his philosophy and psychology degree, and then moved to Asia to teach English.

I received my grade 12 education and was later a swimming instructor and certified lifeguard. I also was owner and manager of a coniferous seedling nursery, a tree planter, and continued to grow seedlings and bedding plants, with a large garden to supply vegetables for the Farmer's Market. I have also worked at the racetrack in Winnipeg as a groom and shed foreman, for several years.

We built a house on a parcel of land NW 35-547-W-3'. Garry McLean was the main carpenter and we traded labour with others in the community, for most of the people in the Clearwater community were building at that time, so we would have work bees or trade for labour. I divorced from Harry and built another house across the road and live there still.

I decided to start a greenhouse business and needed more land so I moved up the hill Pt NE-3453-7-W3' and again with Garry McLean and my dad and brother, we built a demo greenhouse. I got the contract for growing coniferous seedlings for reforestation and went into partnership with Garry McLean and Willy Buckingham for five years. Then I moved down the hill to another parcel of land NW-35-54-7-W3' and met Don Porter who had moved into the parcel of land next door. We were married on June 21, 1987, and moved onto his land. He was an electrician and worked his trade plus tree planted and drove a grader. He and his brother built a shop in Big River and ran a small motor repair shop for a few years. He later returned to his trade working as an electrician.


Potter, Cecil and Ethel
Excerpts from Timber Trails, 1979

The Potter family moved to Big River in 1920; Mr Potter took a job as the Natural Resources Officer and Game Warden.

Cecil Potter started one of the first tree nurseries in the province. The Potters, along with sons Rex and Fred, spent their first year in our district in a log cabin known as "The Otter Creek Cabin". All travel in the early years was done by horse and wagon. Mr Potter spent many days and nights, even into winter, in tents or log cabins built for the men who patrolled the area.

In 1945, Mr Potter was transferred to Madge Lake. However, he returned to Big River after retirement in 1946 and took employment with Waite Fisheries. In 1953, the Potters moved to Vancouver.


Potts, Bill and Mary

Bill Potts.

Ken, Mary, Bill, Doreen,
Lawrence, Myrtle.

Bill was born William Edward Potts on January 16, 1915, in Woodrow, Saskatchewan to Edward and Bertha Potts. Bill was raised in the Big River area and had one brother Les. Mary was born Mary Jane Christina Klyne on July 18, 1920, in Spokane, Washington to Fred and Clara Klyne. Mary moved to the Big River area when she was a young girl. Mary had two brothers Lawrence, who was killed in World War II, and Robert. Bill and Mary were married in Big River on April 5, 1939, where they resided until Bill went into the army. They had four children, Myrtle, Lawrence, Doreen and Kenneth. When Bill joined the army and started serving overseas, Mary and the children moved to Rosetown, Saskatchewan. They lived in Rosetown until 1947 when they moved back to Big River.

Bill was employed by the Saskatchewan Timber Board at different jobs until he retired as planer man. After his retirement, he drove a school bus on the north route, for a few years and also drove a minibus for the Big River Nursing Home when needed. They moved north of town in the 1960s and farmed there until moving to town in the late 1980s. They were very active in the community and were even voted King and Queen of the Winter Festival when they were in their 70's. Bill was a member of the Big River Legion and Mary was one of the original members of the Legion Auxiliary. They looked after the Legion Hall for many years, tending bar, for numerous occasions in town and also worked at the bingos. They both curled and Bill was still curling when he was in his eighty's.

Besides raising their four children, they also raised two grandsons, Cameron and Shawn. Myrtle married William McMeckan and they live in Edmonton, Alberta. They have two children, Cameron (Kelly) Potts, who lives in Port Hope, Ontario and Greg (Elan) McMeckan who lives in Grand Cayman, British West Indies.

Lawrence married Lynne Clarke and they had 3 children: Kevin, who lives in Whitecourt, Alberta; Loreena (Jody) LaPlante who lives in Regina, Saskatchewan, and Larry who lives in Big River. Lawrence passed away in 1994.

Doreen married Gavin Holmes and they live in Fort St. John. She has one son Shaun (Lorrie) Potts who lives in Moberly Lake, British Columbia, and a stepdaughter Correen of Fort St. John.

Ken married Dianne Hegland and they had 3 children, Pam (Rory) Sharp, who lives in Big River, Karly Potts who lives in Provost, Alberta, and Dallas Potts who also lives in Provost. Ken and Dianne divorced and Ken married Jacqy Johnson. They had a daughter Kayln. They are now divorced and Ken lives in Victoria, British Columbia. Bill and Mary have 12 grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

Due to poor health, they both moved into Lakewood Lodge Nursing Home in the summer of 2001. Mary passed away on August 17, 2002, and Bill remained a resident at the Lodge until his passing on August 5, 2003.


Premischook, Mitchel
Excerpts from Timber Trails, 1979

Mitchel Premischook and two sons, John and Walter, worked for the mill in camp Six. Walter was a swamper and a log canter.

The following year, he worked as sandman on Jim Sweeney's outfit. His job was to stand on the sleigh and dribble sand from a pail into the ruts to slow the loads going downhills. When he heard them shout "pour it to it", he would dump sand out as fast as he could onto the trail. John Premischook worked at Camp Six as a flunky.


Price, Kelly and Julie

Kelly Price.

Julie, Kendra, Quintin, Kelly, 2002.

Julianna May Price (Maiden name Kuffert) was the sixth of eight children, born to Harry and Irene Kuffert of Rabbit Lake, Saskatchewan. She was born on November 30, 1960, in the Rabbit Lake hospital. She grew up on her parent's farm just outside of the town and attended the community school from grade one to twelve. During this time, she was actively involved in Sunday school, the 4-H Club, figure skating, piano lessons and played most school and community sports. After graduation, she moved to North Battleford for a year of intense study in music and skating. She was accepted into the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon and after four years of study, received her Bachelor of Education. She was hired by the Broadview School Division and taught grade three in Whitewood, Saskatchewan for four years.

It was during this time that she met Kelly Irvin Price, the fifth and final child, born to Arthur and Margaret Price from Sandwith, Saskatchewan. Kelly was born on August 27, 1960. He lived at the Hatherleigh Community Pasture and attended school in Glenbush and later Medstead. He was involved in the 4-H Club and played broomball. When he wasn't helping in the pasture, he was breaking or riding horses. The city lights lured him and so he moved to Calgary and worked his way up to foreman in a door factory. But the open grasslands and great outdoors called him home again and he worked as pasture rider on the land he grew up on.

In the summer of 1985, Kelly and Julie met at a ball tournament in Rabbit Lake. They were engaged on Feb. 14, 1986, and married on July 11, 1987. They lived at the Hatherleigh Pasture, where Kelly worked, while Julie taught Grade Seven to Twelve Home Economics and some grade five subjects at Mayfair school.

In the spring of 1988, Kelly was hired as pasture manager at the Big River and Jackson Lake Pastures. Julie was hired for the Roxanne Smith maternity leave. Teaching grade seven to nine subjects was quite an experience in the portable school, quickly assembled after the high school had burned down! They resided at the Big River Community Pasture, where Kelly set up a headquarters on the West Side.

Kelly worked away in the winters, usually on seismic crews in northern Alberta. He completed a course in Oklahoma and became a professional farrier. He was an avid team roper and won many buckles and a few trophy saddles. He competed in the Canadian Team Roping finals for many consecutive years. He also received his guiding license and worked as a hunting guide in northern Alberta. He enjoyed hunting himself and received a trophy for a black bear measuring at 19 and 6/8ths from the Parkland Division.

Julie was hired in the fall of 1989 at T.D. Michel School to teach Grade Four. She was a part-time organist at the United Church and curled in the local ladies league. Her love of music led her to sing, play the piano and lead children's choirs at any community functions. Her greatest love was her role of co-coordinating the annual Christmas Concert at the school. She was involved in the playground committee that fundraised to create the school and community playground.

On January 28th, their son Quintin Ryley was born in the Spiritwood Hospital. Quintin was a determined youngster, who walked at nine months. Soon he was following his dad, and Lee Holbrook and Dallas Beebe, everywhere. He spent many hours at the roping arenas in northern Saskatchewan, sporting an empty snuff can in his Wranglers. He would dramatically go through the motions of a snuff-chewing cowboy. Those who asked his name would promptly be told, "I'm Quintin Ryley Price, King of the Cowboy Classics, Garth Brooks, George Fox, George Strait, Ron Miller!"

Kendra Dawn was born on March 14, 1993, in the Spiritwood Hospital. She was her daddy's little girl. Unfortunately, the family's life drastically changed when she was eleven months old. Her father, while working on a seismic crew in northern Alberta, was in a vehicle accident on February 24, 1994, and sustained a serious brain injury. He was in the hospitals in Saskatoon for six months where he struggled to learn to walk and talk again and to try to piece together his fragmented memory. The family relocated to Airdrie, Alberta, for a rehabilitation program at the Bethany Care Centre. Kelly resided at the centre while Julie and the children lived at home in the community.

In July of 1995, the family moved back to Big River, where Julie returned to teaching halftime while trying to set up a rehabilitation program for Kelly. This arrangement proved to be frustrating for all family members, so in the fall of 1997, Kelly moved to Prince Albert and became the first client of the newly developed ABI Program. (Acquired Brain Injury) He currently resides at the W5 Care Home and is a volunteer at the Salvation Army. He is a member of a social skills group called The Eagles. He continues to come home on certain weekends to spend time with his children.

Julie and her children live in Big River. Quintin left behind his cowboy boots, for a pair of skates. He loves hockey and is the goalie for the local Bantam team. He also refs and spends a lot of time on the computer. His newest sport is lacrosse. He overcame a serious injury in the summer of 2001, when he and a lady who saved Kendra, by pushing her out of harm's way, were pinned to the wall of the West Gate Plaza in Saskatoon, by an elderly man who had a stroke while driving his truck. Quintin has recovered and hopes he will never be attached to a bed for the entire summer ever again! Kendra enjoys figure skating and dance. She loves to sing, experiment on the piano and do crafts with her grandma. Julie continues to teach school in the community and is busy transporting her family to their various functions.


Pruden, Alma and Joe
Excerpts from Timber Trails, 1979

Alma and Joe Pruden arrived in the Big River district in the early 1900s. Mr Pruden established a job at the sawmill. They later moved to Dore Lake, where Joe took a job with the I.C. Fish Company, making fish boxes.

When the children were old enough for school, the Pruden family returned to Big River and Mr Pruden began working at the Nursery. He also fished and trapped, logged, and delivered mail up north. The mail was transported by canoe in the summer and by the team in the winter. On each journey, Joe would fish on the return trip.

While living in Big River, the Pruden house burned down and the family had to live in the forestry tent until a new place was found.

The Prudens had ten children: five are still living: Frank, Mary (McMahon), Caroline (LaFontaine), Rosie (Mann), and Violet (Gerling). The four Pruden Boys signed up for the war and the youngest son was killed overseas. Victor, his brother Fran, and a friend were out in a canoe when it overturned. They managed to get to shore, but the chill of the icy water and strenuous work made them sleepy. The men rested on the beach in the warm sun and Victor died of exposure.

Mary remembers when her sister Dora was born at Dore Lake. The children were staying at the neighbours when they heard a gunshot. Mr Pruden explained that he saw a large rabbit carrying this baby and he fired a shot to scare the rabbit. It had left the baby and ran into the bush, so that was how Dora arrived.

The Pruden children often took a bobsleigh, started from Tower Hill, now Waite's Hill, and would slide down to the old livery barn.

Mary Pruden (McMahon) worked on a farm doing chores and housework for five dollars a month. Frank worked around Big River and area all his life. He would attend to the freighters' horses and trappers' dogs in the winter. Frank worked on a farm threshing for fifty cents a day. Frank also cut ties, fished and worked on the road construction to Cree Lake. He was considered an experienced fisherman at the age of sixteen, as he had been helping his father since he was eight years old.

Out of the ten Pruden children, Mary and Frank are the only two still living in Big River.


Pruden, Margaret Helen
Submitted by Yvonne McKenzie

Margaret was born to Joe and Lena Otte in Shellbrook, on August 14, 1907. She moved to Big River with her family when she was eighteen years old, where she helped her parents with their market garden and dairy farm. She also worked as a housekeeper for the top dollar, which was $5.00 a month. She was a housekeeper for the Riesser family in the house presently owned by George and Liz Johnson.

In 1937, she married Robert Pruden. Together they had three daughters, Rose Marie Thibeault, Yvonne McKenzie and Deanna Dunn.

Margaret and Bert struggled during the "dirty thirty's" along with most families but when Bert joined the Army in July 1940, life became a little easier with the army cheque arriving on a steady basis. She saved enough money to have her small house built where she lived until she was ninety-two. Margaret worked hard all her life, working for her brother George, who operated a milk business, then later for Hubert Michel who bought the business from George. She also washed clothes for various bachelors and families. Harvesting a large garden and canning many quarts of wild fruit ensured an abundance of vegetables and fruit for the cold winter.

In 2000, Margaret broke her hip and moved to the Lake Wood Lodge where she resided until her passing on May 4, 2002.


Pudde, Shirley

Shirley Pudde.

Shirley, Ed (1989).

I was born in Prince Albert in 1935 to parents Kurt and Aleada Bengtson. I have one sister, Esther, born in 1940, and one brother, Kurt Garnow, born in Prince Albert in 1946.

I have many fond memories of Big River. A couple of my favourites are skating on the lake (until we had an outdoor rink built), and sliding down Big River hills, starting from above the old hospital, (there were no houses up there and few cars) through town and ending at the dock. We called it Tower Hill. In the summer the kids would swim down at the old swimming hole and we would fish in town off the old bridge. When we were kids, Esther and I liked to pick wildflowers and wild berries down the railway track.

My first job was at the Big River Hotel, where I worked with Agnes Hyllestad. In 1952 we left to work at the Elite Restaurant in Saskatoon. In 1954 Beatrice Huxted and I worked at a tourist resort in the Fraser Canyon for the summer. They had a pool and I finally learned how to swim. In 1956, I worked at a dress shop in Kitchener, Ontario where I learned window decorating. Coming home I went to work in my dad's poolroom/ coffee shop and Kathy Waite's store. In 1957 Esther and I worked in Saskatoon. Esther in a jewellery store, and I cashiered for OK Economy. My husband and I were married in 1960 in Kitimat, British Columbia, where Ed worked for Alcan. We lived in Edmonton for the next ten years while raising our four daughters.

In 1971, we sold our house in the city and bought a place in the country, where we spent our holidays over the years, while we managed motels in Stettler, Hay River, Sylvan Lake, and Drayton Valley. We retired to our country place in 1989. Our family often visits from the city and the grandchildren often come for summer holidays.

Our oldest daughter, Roxanne and her husband, Grant, live in Red Deer. They have two children, Darren, 18, and Sara, 15. Kim and Dave live in Edmonton and have three boys, Spencer, 13 and twins, Ethan and Owen, 2. Bridget and Calvin live in Calgary and have two boys Chase, 6 and Connor, 4. Sharon and Todd live in Edmonton and have a girl, Carly, 8. We still enjoy our trips to Big River to visit mom and see old friends.


Pudde family.

Kim, holding Ethan, Dave, holding Owen.
Spencer, Carley, Todd and Sharon.

Pudde family.

Carly, Todd and Sharon.

Pudde family.

Calvin (holding Chase). Bridget (holding Connor).

Pudde family.

Darren, Roxanne. Sara and Grant.

Pukanski, Alexander and Annie
Submitted by Shirley Visca

Alexander Pukanski.

Alex, holding Shirley, Annie and Ken.

Alexander was born in Oroshaza, Hungary in 1906. He was a weaver by trade but had a pioneering spirit. He came to Canada at the age of 19, hoping to get a homestead. First, he had to get a job, as he didn't have much money. He went to work in Edenwald, Saskatchewan. He worked on a farm there for four hundred dollars a year plus room and board. He moved to Big River around 1928. Alex and a friend John Hayes made a small shack built into a hillside only six by six, close to the south side of Stoney Lake (Delaronde). They became hunters and fishermen and worked at whatever jobs were available. The Big River mill at that time paid one dollar a day and you were obligated to buy lunch for 50 cents of that.

After a time, Alex decided it was time for that homestead. He moved more inland and filed on SE 30-56-6 W3rd. He then decided he would build a bigger house and started on a twenty-four by twenty-four-foot log cabin on that site.

It was by the well that he met Annie Millikin who had come to Canada with her family from Greenoch, Scotland in 1925. She was one of five girls and four boys. She went to get some water and Alex was whistling, "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles". She didn't want anything to do with him at the time, but in 1933, they were married in Big River in a double wedding with John and Ivy Hayes. The roads were very bad and one day Alex carried Annie over the muskeg and he accidentally dropped her in the mud. Even with bad roads, everyone would try to get together for a dance or a party or, sometimes, even berry picking. The Millikin family was very musical, they all sang or played a musical instrument. Alex was very active in helping to build roads in the area and also was a firefighter when the need arose.

Alex and Annie's son Ken was born in 1937 and their daughter Shirley in 1940. Alex joined the Army in 1941 and was assigned to coastal defence; he remained in service for four years.

These were very tough years for Annie alone out on the homestead with two small children, as most of the other wives had moved into Big River for the duration of the war.

One day as Annie washed the floor, she was backing toward an open door when she looked around in time to see a bear. She quickly slammed the door in his face and frightened him off.

Annie and Alex were instrumental in getting a school built, actually at one end of one of their fields. That one-room school had Grades One to Eight. They also boarded many of the early teachers. Both Ken and Shirley attended that school.

Alex grew wheat, alfalfa, barley and hay that was done in the square, wire tied bales. The whole family had to participate as no one could afford hired help. He also cut and supplied firewood to many people in the area.

They sold most of the farm in 1968 but didn't move to Edmonton until 1982 or so, to be nearer the children.

Ken passed away in September 1994, leaving a wife and three children who live in and around the Edmonton area.

Shirley married and had two children. Her husband died in 1986 and she and her two children reside in Edmonton as well.

Annie passed away April 2, 2003, at the age of 88 just short of her 70th wedding anniversary.

Alex is very much alive and well at 96. He currently resides in Edmonton. Alex and Annie have 5 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.

Alex still maintains property around Delaronde Lake which the family members visit every year.



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