O.P.Godin's Store

Family Histories, Part 5



Caissie, Edward and Bella

Excerpts from Timber Trails, 1979

Mr. "Ned" Caissie (as he was called) arrived at Bodmin in 1921 from New Brunswick.

In 1927, he married Bella Corbiel and they had eight children, all of whom were born in Bodmin: Juillette, Doreen, Lucoene, Eugene, Annette, Marcel, Louis and Roland.

Louis and Eugene are still living in the Bodmin district. In 1956, Ned and Bella moved from Bodmin to Prince Albert and Ned passed away in 1976. Bella is still living in Prince Albert (1978).


Caissie, Mr and Mrs Joseph

Excerpts from Timber Trails, 1979

Joseph and Bibianne.

Joseph and Bibianne.

Joseph Caissie came from Charlo, New Brunswick to Big River in 1911. While in Big River he worked at the sawmill for two years, and in 1913 he bought a homestead.

In 1919, Anna Gallant came to Big River from Moncton, New Brunswick.

Joseph and Anna were married in 1921. They lived in Big River for one year, then moved to the homestead in 1922. Six children were born to the Caissie, two boys and four girls. Mr and Mrs Caissie remained on the farm until 1951 and then moved back into Big River.


Campbell, George and Mary (Reimer)

Submitted by Doris Mitchell

Bill Lowe, Belle Ranier, George Campbell, Mary Campbell.

Bill Lowe, Belle Ranier,
George Campbell, Mary Campbell.

George was born in 1905, the son of Elgin and Maude Campbell. He had a homestead in Park Valley.

Mary was born in 1907, the daughter of John and Anna Reimer. She was married to Louis Martin. They had one son, also named Louis, who lives in Big River.

Mary contracted tuberculosis (T.B.) and was in a sanatorium for four years. After returning home, she and George moved to Swede Lake where they had cattle and mink. In 1941, they moved to Halls Bay on Delaronde Lake with their cattle and mink. In 1942, Bill Lowe, George's cousin, also moved there to raise cattle. They also had some sheep for a while.

Later, they all moved about fifteen miles north of Big River, not far off the north highway. They still raised cattle and had several horses.

Mary was often very sick, but, when she was well she had a big garden and helped with making hay and all the other work involved in cattle ranching. She also made beautiful quilts and did beading on leather, something she learned in the sanatorium. She passed away in 1970.

In 1975, George retired and he and Bill moved into Big River. George passed away in 1976.


Campbell, James Elgin and Fanny Maude

Submitted by Doris Mitchell

Elgin was born in 1874 at Kingston, Ontario. When he was sixteen, he went to "The Land of Opportunity" looking for work, ending up in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

Elgin hauled freight with horses into northern Saskatchewan and worked in logging camps. He rode log booms down the Shell River into the Saskatchewan River.

Maude was born in Prince Albert in 1883. Elgin and Maude were married in Prince Albert on February 4, 1903. They farmed in several areas near Shellbrook.

In 1928, they moved to a homestead in Park Valley. They farmed, had a big garden, and Maude planted flowers around her house.

pAround 1950, they moved to Big River and lived in Charlie Lowe's little house near the lake. Then they built a two-room house of their own in the same area of town.


Fanny, James (1953).

Fanny, James (1953).

Elgin dearly loved his horses and was able to keep them in town near his house. When his health started to fail, they had to be sold but he always missed them.

Around 1960, they moved into a small house next door to their daughter and son-in-law, Dorothy and Jalmer Johnson.

Elgin passed away in Big River on December 25, 1963, and Maude at Pineview Terrace Lodge in Prince Albert on June 16, 1969. They had six children:


Gertrude (Midge) married Paul Ernst and lived on a farm in Sturgeon Valley, Saskatchewan. She died in 1985.
George - see own history
Dorothy - see Jalmer Johnson history
John was born in 1907. Died in 1911 in a flu epidemic.
Robert married Ruby Newman and farmed in Park Valley. In 1950, they moved to British Columbia. He died in 1994 at Chase, British Columbia.
Dianna was born October 1917 and died May 1918 in a flu epidemic.

Campbell, John Donald
and Estelle Blanche Davis

John Donald Campbell was born on June 6, 1926. Estelle Blanche Davis Campbell was born on April 5, 1928. Both were born and raised in Paddockwood, Saskatchewan. They married on April 17, 1947. They moved to Big River in November 1947. John was working for the L.I.D.

John worked at Shorty La Rose's garage for a while and also for Percy Cunningham for a time. Then he went to work for Andrew Sundby. He started his garage with Harry Phillips. The garage burnt down in March 1959.

John and Estelle moved to Lloydminster in May 1959 and then again in August 1968 to Kelowna, British Columbia.

Lazy me, I stayed home and raised five children. Four were born in Big River. They are:


(1) Donald Raymond - born February 16, 1949.
(2) John Edward - born October 1, 1950.
(3) Ian Gordon - born March 31, 1956.
(4) Enid Judith - born October 28, 1957.
(5) Judy Estelle - born January 27, 1968, in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan.

Oh yes, I did get off my tush and went to work at Capri Lanes from 1977 to 1990.

John retired in 1990 and we travelled to Canada and the United States in the summers until 2002. Now we are too old to cut the mustard so we will stay put in our condo in Kelowna, British Columbia.


Carlson, Marjorie (Ausland)

Standing: Halvor, George. Sitting: Judy, Marjorie, Irvine.

Standing: Halvor, George. Sitting: Judy, Marjorie, Irvine.

My parents were Mary and Halvor Ausland.

There were six children in the family: Marjorie, Annie, Mary, Irene, Halvor, and Selmer.

I was born in Ile-a-la-Crosse hospital and raised at my father's mink ranch at Deep River in Northen Saskatchewan. When we were older, we moved to Big River to go to school. Mrs Rita Bouchard was one of the teachers and Mr Gould was the principal.

All of my siblings went to school in Big River, Ann, Irene, and the boys. Later, Halvor and Selmer stayed in the Nesbit Home in Prince Albert to go to school.

Halvor (Darlene), had a home not far from Mom and Dad in Big River where they raised five children. My brother, Selmer, is in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He is married with five children. My sister, Mary, is in Bellingham, Washington. Irene is in Edmonton and Ann is in Calgary. We also have three half-sisters Olivia, Karen, and Helen.

I came to Grand Forks, British Columbia in 1949 and married in 1950. My husband is a retired carpenter - he worked on large projects such as dams etc. George and I raised three children: Halvor, Judy, and Irvine. Halvor (Olga) Carlson has two children, Chris and Sherry. Irvine Carlson has four children, Susan, Neil, Haden, and Chloe. They live in Calgary, Alberta. Judy is not married and lives in Trail, British Columbia.


Marjorie Ausland and mother, Mary Ausland at Deep River.

Marjorie Ausland and mother, Mary Ausland at Deep River, late 1920s.

Mary Ausland and children at Big River.

Mary Ausland and children at Big River, early 1940s.
Left to right, Irene, Mary, Mrs Ausland, Ann, and Marjorie.
front: left - Halvor and Selmer

Mary Ausland and children at Big River.

Mary Ausland and children at Big River, early 1940s.
Front: left to right: Olivia (Tudy), Helen and Karen.

Carter, Albert (1911-1987)
and Lucille (Breker 1920- )

Germaine, Les, Thelma, Geraldine, Lorraine, Lloyd, Delphine, Dorlene.

Standing: Germaine, Les, Thelma, Geraldine, Lorraine, Lloyd, Delphine, Dorlene.
Sitting: Lucille. Inset Albert Chalifour.

Albert and Lucille were married in 1938. Albert also had homestead property but helped with building up the Breker homestead and did not keep his own. In the fall of 1947, Albert and Lucille and four children moved from Romance to the Breker homestead. Here two more were added to the family. During this time, the Shantyman missionaries were very influential and helped them find purpose and meaning in their lives. In 1953, the Carters moved to the Victor Dunbar farm on Delaronde Lake next to the Big River Bible Camp (SE 26-56-7 W3rd). Two more children were added to their family, making a total of eight: Dorlene (Bill Millar, Dave Petkau), Lorraine (Tom Millar, Jake Fehr), Germaine (John Giesbrecht), Delphine (Benny Peterson, Jake Bergen), Thelma (Art Koop), Lloyd (Pearl Beebe), Leslie (Betty Friesen), and Geraldine (Archie Kittler).

In 1960, they sold the farm and moved to Big River (Chamberlain House). Albert became caretaker at the schools, a job he kept for seventeen years. In 1965, they moved next to Ladder Lake.

In the early 1970s, they purchased the Big River Bakery with Lloyd and Pearl Carter and worked at it for five years. In 1985, Albert and Lucille built a new home at Big River Bible Camp where they did maintenance for the camp in their retirement years. In 1987, Albert went to be with the God whom he loved and served. In 1991, Lucille moved back to Big River (Kaese - 119 2nd Avenue North) where she presently resides with her pet dog, Nikki.

Thelma Carter (1948 - ) attended school in Big River. After high school, she attended college in Moose Jaw and Pambrun. She returned to work in Big River for several summers. She also worked in Prince Albert and Lac La Biche.

In 1975, she married Art Koop and moved to Swift Current. In 1983, they moved near Ste. Anne, Manitoba. They have four grown children. Stan (Rhonda), Valery, Dwayne (Pamela), and Eileen.


Chalifour, Beatrice (Huxted)

Beatrice Huxted.

Back Row: Bill, Heather, Thomas.
Front Row: Merilyn, Bea, Janet.

I was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. When I was a few weeks old, I travelled with my mother to Bodmin by train. We were met there by my father and travelled to our farm in Ladder Valley by horse and buggy. My parents Thomas and Ellen Huxted and my twin sisters Viola and Violet made our home on a farm near Ladder Valley.

We had lots of relatives in the area. My grandparents, Alex and Erma Fletcher, farmed nearby but soon gave it up to move to Moose Jaw. Bill Fletcher took over the farm. Mom's sister, Betty and Carl Myelin with daughter Emma, also farmed nearby. Another sister, Lena and Alex Doucette, farmed at Bodmin.

My dad supplemented his farm income by sawing wood, which was loaded in boxcars and shipped to the Prairies. Dad had a terrible accident losing two of his fingers. That ended the farming at Ladder Valley. We moved to the town of Big River where I was able to attend school with my sisters.

Growing up in Big River holds wonderful memories. There were many winter activities including sledding down Waite's hill past the hospital and down to the river. In later years, the skating rink was built in the town where we attended great hockey games, complete with a few fights. I also remember Girl Guide sleigh rides with loads of hay. A great addition to the winter activities was the curling rink. Mr Cummings, the town banker, taught us to curl. It was a good winter sport. Dad and I went into lots of bonspiels. I cherish those memories and still have some of the prizes we won.

In the spring, I remember picking crocuses on the sandy hill. Warmer weather was just around the corner and with it came all the joys of summer. After school, we loved to go down to the river and swim in the swimming hole. I also have fond memories of Saturday night dances at the open-air pavilion at Ladder Lake. Ma Godin was on the piano and her orchestra kept us entertained. The Big River theatre was also a fun night out. In those days, there was not much money. The girls paid their way in and when the lights went out our boyfriends came to sit with us.

I quit school early to help my parents run their business, T.E. Huxted General Merchant Store.

In those days there was no self-serve. Customers came in with their lists and we put the order together for them. I loved working in the store and meeting new people. I stayed there until I married Bill Chalifour in 1957 at the Big River United Church. My friends Shirley Johnson and Shirley Bengston were in the wedding party. Once married, we moved to Debden where we farmed in the summer and Bill ran a logging camp in the Big River area during the winter months.

We had four children and seven grandchildren. Our eldest Heather (Stu Innes), Dylan, and Karen are in Regina. Merilyn (Morris O'Bryan), Tyler, and Trevor are in Calgary. Our son Tom (Cass Gillies) and Janet (Max O'Keefe), Jessica, Sarah, and Megan are in Victoria.

In 1981, Bill and I moved to Vancouver. We are now retired in Victoria, British Columbia.


Chamberland, John and Eleanore

Angelique, Germaine, Delia, John,Roland, Wilfred, Alonzo, 1934.

Angelique, Germaine, Delia, John,
Roland, Wilfred, Alonzo, 1934.

Alexandre Chamberland, my grandfather, was born February 6, 1867, at Tadussac, Saguenay, Quebec to Joseph Octave Chamberland and Marie Rose Morin. He married Marie Louise Perron (daughter of Regule Perron and Clarisse St. Pierre) on February 26, 1892, in Tadoussac.

We are not sure just when Alexandre came to Big River with his wife, Marie Louise Perron and their children - Alphonse (December 7, 1893, St. Paul du Nord, de Mille Vaches, Quebec), Alonzo (March 15, 1896, Cap-St-Ignace, Montmagny, Quebec), Amede (Middy) (October 10, 1907, Cap-St-Ignace, Montmagny, Quebec), Marie Louise (December 27, 1908, Cap-St-Ignace, Montmagny, Quebec) and two stepsons - Sylvio Demeules (April 9, 1891), and Armand Demeules (August 12, 1892). We do know that Alexandre, on June 18, 1912, applied for a homestead in the Clearwater Lake area (southeast of Bodmin). There was no record of any improvements on the land. Alexandre was a blacksmith and the sawmill was under construction when he arrived.

Alonzo Chamberland (my father) was a steward on the R.M.S. Makura, sailing from Sydney, Australia, to Vancouver, Canada. He was discharged on June 23, 1914. Alonzo applied for his homestead, which was 1 1/2 miles northeast of town, and soon began clearing the land and building a log house. He married Marie Angelique Le Gouffe (daughter of John Le Gouffe and Emma Le Blanc of Bodmin) on August 5, 1915. They lived on the homestead and operated a blacksmith shop with his father, Alexandre, until shortly before their son, John, was born in 1927. They then moved into Big River. After Alexandre's death (Alexandre is buried in the Big River Cemetery) on July 20, 1930, Alonzo continued to operate the blacksmith shop until 1941. Alonzo and Angelique moved to Port Alberni, British Columbia. Alonzo died on March 16, 1970, and Angelique died on January 12, 1971. They are both buried in Kamloops, British Columbia. Alonzo and Angelique had eleven children:


Adrienne was born on the homestead on November 23, 1916. She married Christian Nygaard on October 16, 1942, in Big River.

George was born on the homestead on November 21, 1917. He married Constance Maher on October 24, 1949, in Vancouver, British Columbia. He died on March 28, 1973, in Kamloops, British Columbia.

Germaine was born on the homestead on August 7, 1919. She married Paul Bunyon on September 23, 1935, in Big River. They moved to Fir Mountain, Saskatchewan, where Paul farmed for many years. They retired to Lafleche, Saskatchewan and Paul died in 1983.

Matilda was born on the homestead on March 28, 1921, and died on May 24, 1927, in Big River.

Delia was born on the homestead on April 9, 1923. She married Jerome Delere on April 24, 1938, in Big River.

Angel Marie was born on September 14, 1925, but died on November 14, 1925.

John was born on May 10, 1927, in Big River. He married Elenore Pollock on August 6, 1949, in Port Alberni, British Columbia

Roland was born on August 10, 1929, in Big River. He married Margorie Oakes on December 28, 1956, in Port Alberni, British Columbia. Roland died on March 18, 1987, and is buried in Kamloops, British Columbia.
Rose Marie was born on May 11, 1931, but died shortly after.

Wilfred was born on December 25, 1932, in Big River. He died on January 19, 1937, in Big River.

Antionette was born on May 23, 1935, and died on June 1, 1935.

I, John Chamberland, was born on May 10, 1927, and was baptized Joseph Jean Bruno Chamberland on May 22, 1927, at the Parish of Notre Dame de Sacre Coeur in Big River, Saskatchewan, by the Reverend Father Lionel Gosselin. My sponsors were George Chamberland and Adrienne Chamberland. I was confirmed on March 31, 1936, by Reverend Father Wilfred Desfosse.

Our house in town was across the tracks from Brownfield's Hotel. There was a ravine, which has since been filled in, in front of the house. Our nearest neighbour was Mr Jeffries. McNeil Airways was just below the blacksmith shop and next door was a Chinese laundry.

They used to build scows on the shore of the lake. The scows were used in freighting fish from up north to Waite Fisheries.

Mrs. Bouchard was my favorite teacher. I had the opportunity to chat with her in 1959 when we both happened to be in Big River at the same time. I remember asking her if she still had my slingshot. She said that there had been many boys who had gone through her class and had had their slingshots confiscated. I heard later that she had died not long after our visit.

After leaving Big River, I worked for a time on a farm at Forget, Saskatchewan. For the last fifteen years I have returned to visit the Wilkes family every summer. I worked at various locations for several years before going to Port Alberni, British Columbia (where my folks were living).

In 1949, I married Elenore Pollock (daughter of Alexander Pollock and Beatrice Bigsworth). We have two children - James and Janet (both living in Kamloops) and five grandchildren.

I was a heavy-duty mechanic and worked at various road construction jobs throughout British Columbia before settling in Kamloops, in 1962. In 1977, my brother, Roland and I, opened our own truck and tractor repair which my son James, has today. Four generations of Blacksmiths and mechanics.


Chamberland, Middy and Jean

As told by daughter Wendy Lebek

Middy. Jeannie, Aug.3, 1935.

Middy. Jeannie, Aug.3, 1935.

Our dad used to tell great stories. A favorite when we were growing up was the story about him going to jail for speeding with a team of horses. The story we were told was that the local authorities at the time were a little over enthusiastic about issuing tickets for one thing or another, and that Dad and his good friends, Leo Clement and Fred Nadeau, decided to make a point by not paying the fine. Instead of generating money, the municipality was forced to pay for a hotel (while they waited for the next train), a guard, and train tickets so they could be sent to jail in Prince Albert for three days. Apparently, there was a "welcome home" crowd on the platform when they returned. Dad used to laugh about the great holiday they had; he had a wonderful sense of humor and a love of life.

He was born Joseph Gerard Amede (Middy) Chamberland to Alexandre Chamberland and Marie Louise Perron in Cap St. Ignace, Quebec on October 10, 1907. There were two older brothers in the family, Alphonse and Alonzo, two half brothers from his mother's previous marriage, Sylvio and Armand Desmeules, and a younger sister, Marie Louise Eugenie.

The only documentation of the family's arrival in the Big River area is a homestead application for the eastern section of the Bodmin area in 1912. There are no other papers with that application so they probably did not develop the land, but instead moved to Big River. Sometime after they arrived in Big River, Dad's mother left the family, and on her journey back to Quebec, placed Dad and his younger sister in an orphanage in Prince Albert. We don't know how long they stayed there, but he occasionally told stories about living with the nuns. One of the older brothers eventually brought them back to Big River to be reunited with their father, and for a time Alexandre and the two children lived with the newly married Alonzo and his wife Angelique.

As a very young man, one of the ways that Dad made his living was by ice fishing on Maria Lake (now called Nesslin Lake). Horses were his only means of transporting the fish. He said it was so cold that the horses could not be allowed to stand still, and when they pulled up the nets the fish froze solid in the air.

In the early thirties, he worked for Doc Sissons, who had a guiding company on Waskesiu Lake. Despite his Liberal leanings, he took the opportunity to guide John Diefenbaker on a fishing trip. He knew Grey Owl, the famous Englishman turned "Indian" naturalist who made his home in the Prince Albert National Park. Dad regularly delivered apples to Grey Owl's pet beavers.

Mom was born Jeannie Leslie Millikin to John Millikin and Catherine Leslie in Glasgow, Scotland, September 25, 1917. She had four brothers, William, Andrew, George, and Jack, and four sisters, Mary, Cathy, Annie, and Eva. Her father was employed as a machinist in the ship building yards, but during hard times in Scotland in the twenties, he was often left unemployed. It was decided that Andrew should go to Canada, set up a homestead, and then sponsor the rest of the family. That was arranged and in 1926, the family moved to Hanley, Saskatchewan. Later, they moved to Saskatoon for the children to attend school, and when their father died, Andrew applied for a homestead in the Big River area.

He filed for a homestead near the south end of Delaronde Lake, and in the fall of 1931, the family moved. Andrew had purchased a Model T Ford which he used for the move, while furniture and some of the family members came by transport truck. At that time, the highway did not extend all the way to Big River and their belongings were unloaded by the wagon train about twenty miles from town.

On the homestead, they relied on small game and fish and what little they could harvest and store from the garden. Once a month they would walk seven miles to town to buy groceries. It was on those trips to town that they met Dad. He worked as a clerk at the Red and White Store, which later became Huxted's Store. Dad couldn't understand Grandma's Scottish brogue and he always tried to get someone else to serve her.

Every week dance and potluck was held at someone's house. Music was provided by the wealth of talent available in the community. Dad played the drums in a variety of such bands, and there were good times with their neighbours the Dunbars, the Fiddlers, the Colbys, the McCutcheon's, the Brekers, the Klassens, Alec Pukanski, John Hayes, and Jimmy Sheperd. Those who could sing offered up favourites like "Galway Bay", "The Little Rosewood Casket", and "Sleepy Hollow".

During the war, Dad joined Mom's brother, Jack Milikin, on banjo, violin, and saxophone, and Blanche Newton on piano, to form a band called "The Small Fry". They travelled as far as Canwood and Eldred to play for dances. Some of the other musicians that dad played with over the years were: on piano-Laura Gould, Yvette Godin, Therese Godin, and Jack's wife Doris; on violin - Emery Trann; and Howard Darbyshire on saxophone and banjo. They played in the pavilion at Ladder Lake and various halls around Big River well into the fifties.

In 1935, Mom and Dad were married on the family homestead. Mom's dress was a welcome change from the dresses made of flour sacks that she was used to. She ordered the white Celanese wedding dress from the Eaton's catalogue and picked wildflowers for her bouquet.

Their first house was on the homestead that they had about a mile from Andrew's. When Dad got a job with the government liquor store, they moved to a house on the shore of Ladder Lake. Not long after, they bought property on the shore of Cowan Lake and built a house by the sawmill on what was later named Pederson Street. Their first daughter, Phyllis, was born there on August 22, 1936. Their second daughter, Iris, arrived on August 11, 1941. When the government changed, Dad lost the liquor store job and went to work for O.P. Godin. Later, Len Waite offered him a position at Waite Fisheries. I (Wendy) was born on January 20, 1952.


Back Row: Wendy, Iris, Phyllis. Front Row: Jean, Middy.

Back Row: Wendy, Iris, Phyllis.
Front Row: Jean and Middy.

In his role as manager of Waite Fisheries, Dad was often called upon after hours for someone who needed some last-minute item. This prompted him to "get away" on the weekends, and we started going picnicking to Maria Lake. When we first went there, we rarely met anyone on the beach. Later, Dad made a deal with Bruce Scorgie to use his trapping cabin in the summer, and we would go every weekend from early spring when ice could still be seen on the lake to late fall. In Dad's last years, Nesslin was just beginning as a popular recreational spot.

Dad died of cancer on June 17, 1968. Mom moved to Saskatoon and now lives in an apartment in Duncan, British Columbia. Phyllis left Big River in 1955 and is now retired from the restaurant business. She also lives in Duncan. Iris left in 1958 and lived for many years in Uranium City, Saskatchewan. She is retired and living in Saskatoon. I moved away from Big River in 1966 and lived with Iris in Uranium City while finishing high school. I completed a Bachelor of Education at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, and am presently teaching elementary school in Duncan.


Champigny, Linda, Leo and family

Linda, John and Minnie Hoehn's third child, left Big River in July of 1970. She met her husband, Leo Champigny, at her sister, Marlene's nineteenth birthday party. Linda took her Registered Nurse's training at the Grey Nuns' Hospital in Regina. After graduation, Linda and Leo were married and moved to Weyburn into their life-long home. Linda worked at the Weyburn Union Hospital where she also served as the Head Nurse on the men's medical ward for several years. Linda is exceptional at crafts and has her own small business. Leo worked at the Weyburn Psychiatric Centre as a therapist. Leo enjoys hunting and photography. Linda and Leo retired in 2003 and plan to enjoy the outdoors with their recent purchase of a truck and fifth wheel.

Angela, the oldest of Linda and Leo's children, is working on her Masters of Psychology degree and wants to become a counsellor. She recently married Kurtis Thiels who is a plumber by trade.

Chad went to Devry's Institute in Calgary and is an Electronics Engineer. He has been working in Bosnia for a couple of years. He enjoys hunting and has recently purchased a Trans Am.


Chaykowski, David and Gloria

Before moving to Big River in 1990, David and Gloria both grew up in the Porcupine Plain, Saskatchewan area. David, second son of Steve (now deceased) and Sally Chaykowski, moved to Hudson Bay, Saskatchewan in March of 1970 where he worked as a millwright for Simpson Timber. Gloria, daughter of Stan and Maud Smith, moved to Hudson Bay in 1971 where she house cleaned and babysat for a family until David and Gloria were married October 28, 1972. Their oldest daughter, Pamela Tina, was born in December of 1973, and their second daughter, Trischa Caroline, was born on March 18, 1975.

After that, Gloria went to work for Sask Forest Products for about a year and a half. On January 19, 1980, their daughter, Sandy Jean, was born. She was the New Year's baby in Porcupine Plain where the first two daughters were also born. Gloria then went to work at MacMillian Bloedel. On January 19, 1982, their only son, fourth child, Dallas David Joseph, was born in Saskatoon.

In 1989 to 1990, Gloria went back to high school and finished her Grade Twelve. In May of 1990, Simpson Timber mill shut down for good and David found work in a mine in Flin Flon, Manitoba. The following July, the rest of the family moved there and they resided at Denare Beach, Saskatchewan.

In November of 1990, David found employment at the Big River Lumber Mill as a millwright and in December, the rest of the family moved again and joined him in Big River. The following spring, David and Gloria purchased a house on Waite Street on top of the hill and still reside there.

In 1994, Gloria began working for Joan Abbott in the butcher shop at Waite Fisheries. After the store closed down, Gloria opened her own business, Chay's Florist, on July 2, 1997, in Waite's building. On August 28, 2001, Gloria had a grand opening in her new building along Main Street. Her business has a large selection of retail, ranging from live-cut flowers, giftware, water, trophies, engraving, and fishing supplies. She also has the Sears outlet site in her building. One of two greatest rewards of owning her business in Big River is all the wonderful people that reside in Big River and all the tourists that come back year after year.

Their oldest daughter, Pam, resides in Sudbury, Ontario and has three children: Dylan, Dawson, and Destiny. Their second daughter, Trischa, married Ian Doucette of Big River, on July 27, 1996. They have two boys: Matthew and Andrew. They reside on a farm about ten kilometres out of Big River. Ian works full time at Big River Lumber and Trischa works part-time at the Big River Health Center. Sandy, their third daughter, lives in Big River and is employed at her Mom's store. Dallas does mechanical, carpentry, and farm work in the Big River area.


Chenard, Chim and Viola
Submitted by Viola Granberg

Viola and Chim.

Viola and Chim.

Everyone knew Armand Wilfred Chenard as "Chim". He got the nickname when he went to school and it stayed with him. Chim was born in Big River on June 2, 1919, and took his schooling there. He worked out, fishing in different places and he played the guitar. Then Chim went to The Pas and baked bread with his aunt and uncle J. Edmond Godin. From there he went to Winnipeg and joined the navy. After the war, he came back to Big River and went fishing for Len Waite.

Chim met Viola Huxted on Dore Lake. We were married in Big River on March 10, 1948. At the end of March, we flew to Cree Lake, Saskatchewan. Jim Barber was the pilot that flew us there. When we got there the snow was so deep I could hardly walk! Our place was a one-room shack with a tarpaper and moss roof. My furniture was made of fish boxes: two chairs, table, cupboard, and fish boxes for a floor. The rest of the furniture was a bunk bed with spruce boughs and a straw mattress with homemade blankets and bedroll. We were there until September and then came back to Big River. Chim worked at the mill until he bought the milk business from George Otte. He had it for a year and then sold it to Hubert Michel, at which time he went logging.

In the fall of 1952, Chim went fishing and then looked after mink for Verner Johnson for a year and a half. When he came back to Big River, he went logging for the Saskatchewan government logging camp at Smoothstone Lake. After that, he worked again for the Big River mill. When Chim left there he went to Slave Lake, Alberta, for the winter and then came home. After this, he went to Vanderhoof, British Columbia, where I moved after school was out. Chim worked for Park Brothers Planer and Mill in Vanderhoof, and I worked in the hospital there as a nurses' aide.

We have five children, Ellen, born January 3, 1949. Ellen married John Yuill. They have five children, Darla, Cheryl, Tammara, Tyler, and Kari Ellen. Ellen and John live in Williams Lake, British Columbia.

Cary Chenard was born on September 28, 1950. Cary married Shirley McKay. Cary had three children with his first wife Karen Mortenson; Thomas, Michel, and Troy. Cary and Shirley live in Fort St. James, British Columbia.

Sussanne was born November 9, 1952. Sussanne Oedgaard lives in Saskatoon.

Annette was born on November 3, 1955. She married Brian Randall. They have five children: Jennifer, Alicia,
Sussanne, Geard, and Reanna. Annette and Brian live in Snow Lake, Manitoba.
Beatrice was born on April 6, 1960. She married Blaine Brown and they have three children: Justin, Joshua and Jordan. Beatrice and Blaine live in Red Deer, Alberta.

Chim passed away on February 17, 1977. I came back to Big River and married Karl Granberg. We moved to Polwarth and later to Canwood. I now live in the seniors' housing in Canwood. I have twenty-six grandchildren and twenty-one great-grandchildren.


Back Row: Beatrice, Cary, Edwin, Pauline, Sussanne. Front Row: Annette, Viola, Ellen.

Back Row: Beatrice, Cary, Edwin, Pauline, Sussanne.
Front Row: Annette, Viola, Ellen.

Chenard, Horace
Submitted by Paulette Cooper

Horace, Valeda and Marie.

Horace, Valeda and Marie.

In the early 1900s, a group of lumberjacks in Ottawa applied for tickets to Prince Rupert. The ticket salesman, misunderstanding their request, gave them train passes to Prince Albert instead. Horace Chenard took the train to Eldred and then walked to Big River from there. He got a job helping Joe Nicholson to locate clay suitable for bricks to be used in the sawmill. Later, Horace worked in the mill by day and in the evening he made shoes. It is said by many of the old-time loggers that Mr Chenard's handmade boots were the finest one could get anywhere. He made special shoes for one gentleman who had frozen his feet and was unable to wear ordinary shoes.

Mr Chenard was a man of many talents. He was an excellent baker and cook. He was a first-rate carpenter who worked for many years at the mission in Beauval and later for Waite Fisheries Ltd. He and Medard Clement built a scow in 1938 which they took to Buffalo Narrows for fishing. Upon reaching their destination they took the scow apart and used the lumber to build their cabin. Mr Chenard also logged for George Rizer and was a millwright for a time for Jack Rae. In the early years, Horace was a Department of Natural Resources forest ranger. Many of the schools and churches in Northern Saskatchewan have been built by Mr Chenard.

Horace was born in St. Anne Des Mont, Quebec on April 21, 1886. He died in Big River on July 4, 1971. Horace married Marie Godin who was born on May 4, 1893, in St. Raymond, Quebec. Marie died in Prince Albert on October 9, 1974. Horace and Marie had nine children:


Valeda (Chenard) Kainz was born in Big River on June 27, 1912. She married Albert Kainz and now resides in Port Alberni, British Columbia.

Louis Chenard was born in Big River on July 4, 1914. He married Kathleen Smith. Louis died in Prince George, British Columbia on August 6, 1991.

Napoleon Chenard was born in Big River on November 16, 1915. He married Therese Caisse and still resides in Big River.

Antoinette (Chenard) Otte was born in Big River on November 19, 1917. She married George Otte and still resides in Big River.

Armand Chenard was born in Big River on June 2, 1919. He married Viola Huxted. Armand died in Prince George on February 17, 1977.

Margaret (Chenard) Swanson was born in Big River on October 8, 1921. She married Howard Swanson. Margaret died in Prince Albert on December 20, 1997.

Therese Chenard was born in Big River on November 14, 1924, and died in Big River on December 1, 1925.

Camille Chenard was born in Prince Albert on April 23, 1928, and died in Vancouver on August 31, 1987.

Edmond Chenard was born in Prince Albert on August 22, 1937. He married Muriel Forbes. Edmond now resides in Perth, Ontario.

Chenard, Napoleon and Therese

Napoleon (Nap) Chenard was born in Big River on November 16, 1915. He was the third child of Maria (Godin) and Horace Chenard. He attended school in Big River and left just before Grade Seven final exams because of a case of the measles.

When Nap was fourteen, his father took him and his brother, Louis, to Beauval to work in a mill. After three months, Louis became ill and their father sent them home. They made the trip home via the Beaver River and Green Lake by canoe, on foot, and by ponies and wagon.

Nap then went back to school and attained his Grade Eight. One of his favourite leisure activities was baseball. The family then moved to the farm on the N 31-56-7-W3'. Their neighbours at various times were Mike Thibeault, Reidar Lomsnes, John Swanson, Howard Swanson, and Joseph Caissie. During the winter, Nap helped haul fish and Hudson's Bay freight by horse and sleigh to Peter Pond.

In 1941, at the age of 26, Nap volunteered for service and joined the navy. He received his naval training in Saskatoon, Esquimalt, and Halifax. He then worked on the H.M.S. Sackville, a corvette escort ship, which escorted supply ships between the ports of St. Johns and Londonderry. Nap worked aboard ship first as an anti-aircraft gunner and later as a leading seaman in charge of the "red watch".

Nap married Therese Caissie on June 25, 1945, while home on leave and was discharged from the navy a month later. He worked with his father as a carpenter at Waite Fisheries until April of the following year. He then bought a small herd of cattle and moved back to the family farm. He sold milk to his brother-in-law, George Otte, who was the local milkman. During the following years, Nap worked as a carpenter, first with Fred Emde as a partner and later with Jack Olson. In 1958 he spent four months in Buffalo Narrows building a cafe.


Exelda Emde, Therese Chenard, Nap Chenard, Camille Chenard, June 25, 1945.

Exelda Emde, Therese Chenard, Nap Chenard,
Camille Chenard, June 25, 1945.

Until the children were old enough to help out, Nap often hired help for the farm while he worked in town doing carpentry. He usually hired Earl Leach or Nelson Lavoie. Nap retired in 1980.

Therese Caissie was born on April 27, 1923, on the family homestead three miles north of Big River. She was the third child of Bibianne (Gallant) and Joseph Caissie. Therese started school at the age of nine. She walked three miles to school in the summer and during the winter she went by horse and cutter. At recess, they played baseball and basketball. Therese attended school until she attained Grade Eight in 1940. During her childhood years, she and her siblings would pick strawberries and walk to town with a pail to sell. The money would be used for the 1st of July sports day.

When Therese left home, she worked at the Red & White store and in the house of the owners, the Halle family, for one and one-half years. She then went to work for Nap's sister, Valeda Kainz, for a few months. Following that, she worked in the cookhouse for Oscar Eikel's mill at Stoney Lake for six months. Her next job was a housekeeper for Mrs Martha Waite for two years. During this time, as a single woman, she enjoyed attending movies and dances and going on picnics with "the gang" every Sunday at Ladder Valley.

In 1945, Therese married Nap and spent the next years as a homemaker and farm wife. She worked hard on the farm, made all of the family clothing, knitted, and crocheted. She was a member of the Catholic Women's League for many years.

In 1990, Nap and Therese moved to town and are still enjoying their retirement years. Therese taught catechism for two years. She joined the senior's club and enjoyed meetings, potlucks, carpet bowling, card games, and bus trips. Therese likes to travel and she has been across Canada by bus and train and has taken two trips to Denver, as well, as an Alaskan cruise with her sisters. Therese now spends much of her spare time knitting toques and booties for newborn babies in hospitals. Nap and Therese raised eight children:


1. Camilla (born in 1946) - presently residing in Port Alberni, British Columbia - married Larry Audet in 1968 - has two children, Corey and Colyn (Tara) and one grandchild, Emma.

2. Ronald (born in 1950) - presently residing in Big River - married Wendy Kennedy in 1973 - has two children Jill (Kevin Reimer) and Jodi, and has three grandchildren, Madison, Landon and Sara.

3. Donald (born in 1950) - presently residing in Port Alberni, British Columbia - married Dorothy (Dolly) Lennon in 1979, has two children, John (Nicole) and Ryan, and one grandchild, Jayden.

4. Janet (born in 1953) - presently residing in Hafford, Saskatchewan - married Fred Small in 1984 - has two children, Rachel and Rebecca.

5. Jacqueline (born in 1955) - presently residing in Montreal, a Sister with the order of Sion.

6. Paul (born in 1960) - presently residing in Camrose, Alberta - married Verna Bueckert in 1982 - has three children, Jesse, Matthew, and Jonathan.

7. Norman (born in 1962) - presently residing in Edmonton, Alberta - married Sherley Kramer in 1990 - has three children, Cassie, Dylan and Jordon.

8. Paula (born in 1963) - presently residing in Medicine Hat, Alberta - married John Reeder in 1984 - has two children, Shanda and Kalin.

Outdoor Rink behind Elk's Hall.

Back Row: Norman, Ron, Nap, Don, Paul.
Front Row: Jackie, Janet, Therese, Paula, Camilla.

Chenard, Ron

Deb and Ron.

Deb and Ron

I was born at the Big River Union Hospital, along with my twin brother Don, on May 25, 1950. We are the second oldest in a family of eight children. My sister, Cam, lives in Port Alberni, British Columbia. Don also lives in Port Alberni. Janet lives in Hafford, Saskatchewan. Jackie lives in Montreal, Quebec. Paul lives in Camrose, Alberta. Norm lives in Edmonton, Alberta. Paula is in Medicine Hat, Alberta. My parents, Nap and Therese, still reside in Big River.

My family lived on a farm three miles north of Big River. My father ran three-quarter sections where he grew grain and had a herd of about twenty-five cattle. He supplemented the farm income by doing carpenter work.

I lived on the farm until I graduated from Big River High School in June of 1968. During the fall of 1968, I went to DeVry College in Toronto where I enrolled in an electronics course. I stayed in Toronto for six months after which I returned to Big River. The mill had burned down in the spring of 1969 and four small mills and had been set up along Cowan Lake.

That summer I went to work at the Boychuk sawmill. In the spring of 1970, I went out to Port Alberni. I worked at various mills and eventually went to work on Booming/Sorting Grounds, which was a fifteen-minute flight out of Campbell River. I worked there until the summer of 1971 when I returned to Big River.

I went to work for Saskatchewan Forest Products in the new mill, which had been built where the skating rink is now. In 1975 the mill moved to Bodmin. In 1986 the sawmill was sold to Weyerhaeuser Canada. I did many different jobs while working at the mill. I operated a forklift and a front-end log loader. I was the shipping clerk, a lumber grader, a millwright, a planer man and ran weigh scales. In December of 1990, I left the mill and went to work for Weyerhaeuser Forestlands as a scaler in the woods.

I work there today as an Operations Forester supervising logging contractors.

In 1973, I was married. Our first daughter, Jill, was born in April of 1976 and our second daughter, Jodi, was born in July of 1978. After Jodi was born we decided to move to the farm. My father and I built a house on one of Dad's quarter sections north of Big River. We lived there until 1992 when my wife and I separated. In the fall of 1993, I sold the farm and moved back to town. I have been together with my new partner, Deb Desrosiers, since 1997. Deb had come from Kapuskasing, Ontario to Big River to work as a Silviculture Forester with Weyerhaeuser Forestlands in 1993. Deb is still employed with Forestlands working as an Operations Forester supervising logging and hauling contractors.

Both my daughters also live in Big River. Jodi works at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC). Jill is married to Kevin Reimer and has three children: Madison, Landon and Sara.


Chin, Lily and Joe.

Lily and brother, George, arrived in Big River in 1961. She started Grade 4 at the Big River Junior School and graduated from the Big River High School in 1969. She lived with her oldest brother Art Chu and his wife, May, who owned and operated the Rex Cafe on Main Street.

After high school graduation, she moved to Saskatoon to attend post-secondary education at the University of Saskatchewan. She initially entered the College of Arts and Sciences, but later switched to Education.

Lily's parents, Ta San and Yek Seen Chu, arrived in Canada and Big River in 1969. They moved to Saskatoon when Lily and George graduated to help set up a home for them to attend university. Mr Ta San Chu passed away in 1990 and Mrs Yek Seen Chu is presently residing in Saskatoon.

Lily married Joe Chin in 1972. They have two children, Garrett (21) and Sheldon (19) born in 1981 and 1984 respectively. She is currently working at the Law Library with the University of Saskatchewan and very much enjoys her work there.


Choynicki Family
Excerpts from Timber Trails, 1979

Mr Choynicki came from Poland in 1927. He settled in the Blaine Lake area and two years later, Mrs Choynicki joined her husband.

In 1937, Branislaw and Stanislawa bought a farm in Ladder Valley and in 1938, they moved into their new home. Mr and Mrs Choynicki farmed in the district for many years. They had five children: Mary, Doris, Johnny, Dennis, and Walter.


Christiansen, Christian and Josephine
Out of Timber Trails with additions.

Josephine, Chris at the Narrows on Stoney Lake (1953).

Josephine, Chris at the Narrows on Stoney Lake, 1953.

In 1933, the Christiansens left Shell Lake due to the depression; they were searching for better land. They intended to go to Montreal Lake, but they could not get through, so the family established a home at Stoney Lake. The Christiansen family moved between Shell Lake and Big River, trapping here in the winter months. The family later moved to Soup Kitchen Bay (Deep Bay), and then later to the Narrows on Delaronde Lake. At each new home, Chris would trap and fish for their livelihood.

The Christiansens spent 15 years at Ship Island. Here, they raised cattle, fished in the waters provided, and had a mink ranch.

After leaving Delaronde Lake, Chris and Josephine built a home on their farm three miles NE of Big River. When the family moved there they transported their animals, two or three at a time by boat.

During the first winter, the Christiansens had a hard time adjusting to the north; they were used to trapping on the prairies. However, they soon adapted to their surroundings and enjoyed the plentiful game such as partridge, caribou, deer, and wolves. These animals not only provided food and fur but a sense of wild beauty that drew the Christiansens closer to the environment.

Chris can remember coming to town by skis from Ship Island. The groceries and mail had to be transported north by plane. Now people have Skidoos and bombardiers so there is no worry about communication.

In 1996, Chris and Josephine moved into the Lakewood Lodge nursing home in Big River. Chris passed away in October of 2001 and Josephine passed away in April of 2004.

Chris and Josephine raised seven children Stanley, Shirley, Elenore, Gordon, Evelyn, Eloise, and Iris. One son Gordon (Lorraine) Christiansen stayed and raised a family in Big River.


Christiansen, Gordon and Lorraine
Submitted by Gaytan Christiansen

Christiansen, Gordon and Lorraine.

Back Row: Chess, Jennie, Glen.
Front Row: Gale, Verna, Paulene, Margaret Hansen, Irene missing.

Lorraine is the daughter of Margaret and Howard Swanson. She grew up on the family farm two miles north of Big River with six siblings. Lorraine completed high school and then married Gordon in 1967. She stayed at home and raised three children. Lorraine works at home keeping company books, cooking for their logging company and doing various other jobs.

Gordon is the son of Josephine and Christian Christiansen. He grew up at The Narrows and Ship Island on Delaronde Lake with five sisters and one brother. Gordon worked at various jobs when he left home. He worked at The International Nickel The refinery in Thompson, Manitoba, at a sawmill in British Columbia, for Bethleham Copper Mine in British Columbia, on a railroad bed in Hay River, Northwest Territories and at the United Kenu Hill Co. (Elsa) Mine, 275 miles north of Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. When he would return to Big River he would commercial fish, mink ranch, trap and do contract logging.

Lorraine and Gordon live on an acreage by Delaronde Lake, six and a half miles northeast of Big River. Gordon and Lorraine currently own and operate a commercial fishing business and a logging contracting business. They have three children and seven grandchildren: Dean and his daughter, Erika; Maxine Christiansen (Calvin Tobey) and their children, Jonathan, Jordan, and Ashley; Gaytan Christiansen (Ryan Pister) and their children, Cody, James and Megan.


Christopherson, Chester and Jeannie (Bell)

Jeannie Bell was born in Brandon, Manitoba in 1907. Chester Christopherson was born in Racine, Wisconsin, on July 24, 1900.

Chester's parents, Mildred and Christopher, emigrated from Denmark to Racine and then moved to Canada in 1904. Jeannie and Ches were married in Calgary, Alberta. They later lived in Parkside and Ches went to work for Len Waite running the fish camp at Buffalo Narrows.

Their family of four girls and one boy lived in the house next to Kai Hansen's (now McTaggart's). They later moved to the Kootenays were Ches and family lived and worked in Nelson, British Columbia. Ymir worked for Canada Exploration at Sallma until retiring in 1972.

Over the years, Jeannie and Chester had four girls - Irene, Paulene, Verna, and Gale and one son - Glen. Irene married George Logazor and lives in Edmonton. Paulene and Jim Hutchison have five girls and live in Vernon, British Columbia. Verna passed away two years ago and had one daughter. Glen and Ann live in Kamloops and have three boys and one girl.

Jeannie and Chester had fifteen grandchildren - ten granddaughters and five grandsons. They also have nineteen great-grandchildren. Jeannie passed away August 1991 and Chester on June 7, 1992.


Clark, Joyce (Johnson)

Louie, holding April, Joyce, Byron, Joy, holding Rosemary.

Louie, holding April, Joyce, Byron, Joy, holding Rosemary.

I was born in 1930, the oldest of John and Huldah Johnson's family. Life was pretty much of a struggle for everyone in those days and a big family compounded the problems. It is a marvel to me that my Mother and Dad were able to cope with everything that happened and still went on providing us with the necessities. In my mother's writings in this book, she doesn't mention the fact that Eileen died two months before Dad's mill burned or that a few days before George was born Jack was accidentally shot. Jack required months of hospital treatment in Prince Albert and several years to recover his health. And there was no hospitalization at this time. While times like those were traumatic for all of us, our home was usually a warm and happy place.

Mom always had a huge garden and canned hundreds of quarts of vegetables and fruit. We enjoyed outings to pick blueberries and cranberries. Mom loved to pick berries and the only time I remember her being irritable was when kids started tramping around on berries she was heading to pick. We kids gathered mushrooms and they were canned as well.

We always had extra people eating at our place. In the summer when Dad's mill was running, there were perhaps ten to twelve fellows who stayed in bunkhouses and boarded with us. Mom would have hired help then. In the winter we might have only one or two bachelors eating with us and at that time Dad would make breakfast so Mom could sleep in. Mom made a lot of our clothing. She often stayed up late to sew, when things were quiet. She also knitted our scarves and mitts. We kids didn't always want the porridge and pancakes Dad provided and so when we were of school age we started to make our breakfast. My twin brothers' speciality was "navy fried eggs." They made a hole in a slice of bread, laid it in a buttery frying pan, and broke an egg into the hole, then fried the whole thing.

Looking back I realize we kids were fortunate to have extra adults around us. Dad's sister, Fanny, lived with us part of the time. She was always helpful and kind to all of us. On Mom's side were her parents, Elizabeth and Edward Lundy, her brother Irwin, and sister Mabel. Aunt Mabel lived in the United States but she came to visit us every year. Uncle Irwin was often away working, but when he was home there were canoe or dog team rides. All of these relatives were very good to us and contributed in many ways to our upbringing.

It was always interesting to go to my grandparents' place. They lived by the lake just north of town in a log house. The uncultivated part of their yard was full of wildflowers. They grew things like watermelon and popping corn. The watermelon grew near the well so it was handy to give the plants some extra water. They had a cow for a time and my Grandmother made butter. They also had a unique way of keeping their food cool in the summer. It was a cabinet about two feet by two feet by four feet tall and was partly screened. A tub was built into the top to hold water. Four lengths of burlap were used to drape over the sides of the cabinet. One end of each length was secured into the tub. Water would wick down the burlap and the evaporation cooled the contents inside.

My Grandparents also grew raspberries and raised bees. We kids earned spending money picking the berries and I helped with the hives and the extraction of honey. One summer, when I was 13 or 14, Virgie and Leo Greipl asked Grandpa to place two of his hives in their garden. They had a couple of crabapple trees and they thought the bees would improve the yield. These folks lived four or five miles north of Big River and Leo drove a small open truck. The two hives were loaded into the back of the truck. They were three supers high and had slats nailed down each side to keep them together. My job was to stand in the back with a hand on each hive to steady them as Leo drove slowly along. Grandpa sat in front but turned so he could help me and watch what was happening. Things went well until we hit a rough patch in the road. Suddenly two slats came loose on one of the hives and there were angry bees all around me. It was a wild moment. I was trying to kill bees on the floor before they climbed my pant leg, shake a couple out of my hair and still hold the supers in place. We eventually got things back in order without too many stings.

In the winter Grandpa filleted fish for Waite Fisheries. I helped with wrapping and later with other aspects of the operation. It gave me some job skills that I could use later at Dore Lake and one summer at Beaver Lake. In 1950, I met Louie Olsen and we were married in August of that year. Mom and Dad were up at Cree Lake in those years and mom flew down with pilot, Jimmie Barber to get things ready for the wedding. As they were coming in for the landing on Cowan Lake they realized the plane was on fire. Jimmie said to mom "Now when we get onto the water I want you to get out on the pontoon and I'll see if I can run things into shore." He was able to do that and they escaped, but the plane burned.


Norseman burned upon landing.

Remains of the Norseman that burned on landing
with pilot Jim Barber and Huldah Johnson

Louie and I lived in Prince Albert and raised four children. Joy lives in Vancouver and has a daughter Danica Logan, and a grandson Kai. Byron lived in Rudell, Saskatchewan. He has two children, Farideh and Peter. April and Rose live in Saskatoon. Rose has a daughter Rachel. Louie's and my marriage came to an end in 1980.

In 1983, Reverend Russel Clark and I were married. In 1987, I retired from my work at the Crisis Unit in Prince Albert and we moved to an acreage near Vernon, British Columbia. Russel worked as a consultant with the United Church Stewardship Services. He continued this work on a part-time basis for a couple of years after we moved. We enjoyed camping, photography, and several other interests. Russel's health deteriorated over the last ten years. He passed away on May 24, 2003. We have found this a good place to live and I plan to stay.


Joyce and Russel, 2000.

Joyce and Russel, 2000.

Clarkson, Willamina
Excerpts from Timber Trails, 1979

Willamina and Alexander Park immigrated to Canada from Scotland in the early 1900s. They arrived in Big River when the Big River mill was in its early production.

Alexander was a sawyer at the mill. In the fall of 1911, Alexander drowned when he fell through thin ice on Cowan Lake.

Willamina's brother, Allen Brown, an orderly at the hospital, advised her to return to Scotland. She returned to live with her sister until after Rena was born on June 1912.

With Rena and four-year-old William, she returned to Big River only to have the misfortune of losing her son William six months later due to the measles and pneumonia.

Willamina remarried in 1914 to Arthur Clarkson. Arthur worked at the mill until it closed.

They moved out to a homestead across Ladder Lake. The roads were full of stumps and the ride was long. The trip around the lake was seven or eight miles. Although rowing the boat across the lake was another way of transportation to town, Rena taught at home until it was time for her to further her education, at which time the family moved to town.

Arthur now became the fire tower watchman in the summer and he trapped in the winter. In later years, Arthur worked for the Department of Natural Resources as a Field Officer. He patrolled the Sled, Smoothstone, and Dore Lake territory. He had a cabin at Smoothstone Lake and he canoed and portaged to cover his district spotting fires. The last two years of his life he worked for Mr J.K. Johnson. He cooked for the men at their mill. He also held a night watchman job at the Stoney Lake Mill during this time.

Rena lived at home when she was a young woman for there was no work for people of that age during the Depression. Rena says, "We were lucky to stay at home if our parents could supply food and clothing. She remained at home until she married Joe Sixsmith on June 9, 1936.

Willamina passed away April 7, 1942, and Arthur passed away on August 9 of that same year.


Clement Family
Excerpts from Timber Trails, 1979

Mr Napoleon Clement came to Big River in 1911, from Quebec. He was followed a year later by his wife, Alice, and their two children, Leo and Bertha.

Mr Clement was hired by the Lumber Company and worked for many years in the mill. He then took out a homestead between Big River and Stoney Lake. He farmed in the summer and trapped in the winter. In later years the Clements moved into town. While living in Big River, Napoleon was employed by 0.P Godin. The Clement family left Big River in 1937. They moved to Ontario and then to Montreal, where they resided until their deaths.

There were nine children born to the Clement family: Leo, Bertha, Jean, Hector, Julian, Rene, Julia, John Paul, and Celine.
Coates, Russell and Alice
Alice and Russell Coates.

Alice and Russell Coates.

Russell was born on the family farm in the Skipton District at Leask, Saskatchewan on November 25, 1925, to Margaret and Bert Coates. He attended Skipton School until grade eight and then went to Leask High School. After finishing school he worked at several jobs in Prince Albert and Saskatoon.

In August of 1944, Russell joined the Navy. He took the first months of training in Saskatoon and in October went to Cornwallis, Nova Scotia where he took advanced training for gunnery. He served on H.M.C.S. Neepawa. Russell was discharged in 1946.

In 1947 Russell took a course in barbering in Saskatoon. His first job was at the King George Hotel.

Alice was born at Langham, Saskatchewan on February 5, 1928, to Magnus and Bella Anderson. In 1932 the family moved to Parkside, Saskatchewan where Alice attended Parkside School and Hilldrop School. After finishing school Alice took a course in hairdressing at the Marvel School of Cosmetology in Saskatoon.

In March of 1948, Russell married Alice Anderson. They had two daughters. Judith Marie was born in Saskatoon City Hospital and Lynne Alice was born at the Shellbrook Union Hospital.

Russ worked at the King George Hotel Barbershop in 1948 and 1949. In December of 1949, he opened up a barbershop in Leask. After ten years there the Coates family moved to Big River where they opened up a barbershop and beauty salon. It was called "The Coates' Clip and Curl". This was quite a challenge as there was no running water. Russ had a bucket brigade going hauling water in and out. It takes a lot of water to operate a beauty parlour. I don't think anyone appreciated the running water more than we did when the water and sewage system came to Big River.

We had ten good years in Big River and have happy memories of the wonderful people we met through our business and the church. The church meant a lot to us there. Both Judy and Lynne were confirmed at St. Martin's Anglican Church. Russ was on the vestry and Judy was church organist for five years. Judy and Lynne also helped with Sunday School. It amazed us to see the dedicated parishioners of St. Martin's who kept this little church-going year after year even when there was no minister in charge.

In December of 1969, we sold our business to Ed and Maisie Krienke. We moved to Prince Albert as Russ had been offered a job at The Style Barber Shop. From there he moved to work at Dennis Barber Shop. After forty-nine years in the barbering business, he finally retired. Alice retired after thirty-four years of working in the world of beauty.


Standing: Russell, Judy. Sitting: Grandma. Lynne.

Standing: Russell, Judy
Sitting: Grandma. Lynne.


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