O.P.Godin's Store

Family Histories, Part 9



Edson, Ivan and Gladys (Edson) Doyle

Nels and Karin Edson

Nels and Karin Edson.

Ivan Edson was born in Canwood in 1928 and Gladys (Edson) Doyle was born in Wadena in 1932. They were both raised in Big River.

Our home was located 2 and 1/42 miles north-west of Big River. Our parents, Nels and Karin Edson were born in Sweden and came to Big River in the early 1900s. Nels started as a mill worker around 1918, and then took up trapping, fishing, and freighting to and from the northern lakes, Dore, Laplonge, Snake, and Cree. He was also in the logging and sawmill business with John Swanson at Green Lake.

The Swansons were our neighbours a little to the north of us. Dad also farmed a section of land during the 1920s until his retirement in the 1960s.

Ivan, in his early teens, once rode his horse, Skeeter, to a racing event at the Lake Four Stampede. The race didn't take place until it became dark and a storm was happening. Ivan got lost, which was his fault for not allowing Skeeter to go his way. He was disappointed as he was told they would have won. In any case, the Skilliters felt sorry for Ivan and had him stay overnight before heading for home.

Gladys remembers her first aeroplane ride when she was six years old. Ernie Boffa piloted the bush plane, which flew her and Ivan to Dore Lake to spend Christmas with their parents who were at their fishing camp for the winter. Before her Dad went north, he assured Gladys that Mr Boffa was the best pilot ever, so she need not be afraid. She and Ivan were placed in among the freight in the small plane and were dressed warmly as the plane was not heated.

Ivan had his schooling in Big River and later when living in British Columbia he upgraded his skills with a welding and mechanical course. Gladys went to school in Big River and later attended a Catholic academy in Prince Albert.

The family attended services at the United and Anglican churches in Big River when the harvest season was over.

Ivan drove truck hauling freight and fish to and from northern areas out of Big River for Waite Fisheries. One difficult haul was transporting one of the large freight boats from Waite Fisheries, Big River to Green Lake because of its size and the poor road conditions. The boat was so large, wide, and heavy that it required the whole width of the road. The trip took up to a week to travel the distance between the two places as the roads were very muddy and slippery.

In 1950, he married Jean Anderson from Bodmin and they had two daughters, Joanne and Cheryl. The family later moved to Port Alberni, British Columbia, and eventually made their home in North Vancouver. Jean died in 1986 and the following year Ivan married Ann Pederson who lived in Lake Four as a child. He and Ann make their home in Chilliwack, British Columbia.

Gladys went to live in Port Alberni in 1948 and was employed at B.C. Telephone for several years. In 1950, she married Frank Wale. They had three sons, Frank, Bruce, and Joe and one daughter, Karin.

Ivan took early retirement in 1987 and travelled with his fifth-wheel trailer to various places in Canada and the United States. This included trips to Big River to visit with his many friends.

Karin Edson died in 1953 and Nels died in 1987. They are both resting in the beautiful setting at the cemetery in Big River.


Gladys, Ivan.

Gladys and Ivan Edson going to school
on horseback in 1939.

Eikel, Oscar and Evelyn

Oscar Magnus Olsen was born on November 27, 1906, near Stavanger in Norway. He came to Canada on the Stavangerfjord, leaving on March 30, 1924. His first job was in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba on the Batter's dairy farm. When the fall work was finished, he could have stayed as he was offered a substantial increase in wages. However, the West was calling. He got a job as a cook for a wood-cutting crew in the Big River area, which lasted until the New Year. He was paid an extra fifty cents a day for serving rabbit that he had to snare and prepare for the meal. The boss pulled out, but, Oscar and another man stayed and cut enough to keep in supplies, augmented by hunting.

At this time, George Anderson needed men in his bush camp so Oscar, along with Pete Dahl and others, went there to work.

He took out a homestead on October 30, 1925. He wanted to go fishing and one had to have a homestead or a farm to be able to get a fishing license.

He bought a team of horses and was to pay five carloads of firewood for them. That winter the horses went out on the ice and drowned. The next spring, after renting another team, he had three carloads cut and piled when a trapper's fire got away. Oscar had put some bread on to rise and walked down to where the trapper had camped when he noticed the fire. He ploughed a furrow around the cabin and hauled the cabin contents to a wet spot. He saved a suitcase and a double-barrel shotgun. The next day he came back with firefighters, but everything had burned: the cut wood, the cabin and all. However, he found the bread nicely baked although black on the outside. They were hungry so they ate it for lunch. He was called "Tough-luck" for some time.

In Big River, at the same time, there was another Oscar Olsen from the same place in Norway. To avoid mail mix-ups Dad took his "farm" name of Eikel and added it to Olsen.

On July 23, 1931, Oscar married Evelyn "Grace" Anderson, daughter of George and Mary Ellen Anderson. They were married in the Shellbrook United Church with her sister, Marguerite Anderson and his brother, Henrik Olsen, as witnesses. Marguerite's daughter Joyce tells of her Mom's mention of several flat tires on the trip there and back-and it was a hot day.

Their first child, a son, Glen Thorvald, was born on October 13, 1932, followed by a daughter, Evelyn Gunhild, on June 22, 1934, and then Ellen "Ilene" (writer of this history) on July 22, 1935.

My first remembered home was on the bank of the lake across from Ausland's farm. At that time Dad worked for J. K. Johnson at the sawmill. Andy Sundby and Joe Friedman had started a mill with new equipment on Stoney Lake around 1940 and Dad operated it for them. The logging was done at North Stoney.

On June 13, 1940, our brother Norman Oscar Olaf was born. We were still in Big River, but moved to Stoney Lake not long afterwards, and lived in a big log house on the lakeshore, with the sawmill on one side and the planer on the other.

Dad built a new house nearby and about this time George Roland came along on May 20, 1942. John Stanley was born on December 5, 1943.

In 1943, Dad bought the Jack Rae farm at Stoney. This used to be a stopping place for the freight teams that came down the lake. There were a couple of huge barns to stable the horses. We had a few milk cows and some pigs as well as workhorses and a couple of light horses that we used for driving to school. I remember one winter when the snow was too deep for Dad to take the horses to Big River so he walked the seven miles. The farm was the scene of our first tragedy when little John, at about a year and a half of age, ran out behind a moving vehicle and was struck. Dad was driving the truck, backing up to load some bags of feed. He and Mom drove to Big River to see Dr Afanaseiff but to no avail. It was very hard on Dad. Uncle Wesley told me that Dad didn't leave his bedroom for three days afterwards.

Driving to school could be quite an adventure for us, as a few times found us jumping from the wagon or sleigh when the horses got out of control. One time, we had the one horse and cutter and were driving across one of George Dunn's fields with the teacher on board. The front of the cutter came apart and we all ended up in the snowdrift!

For a few years, we lived in Big River during the winter and at Stoney the rest of the year, likely to make it easier for us to get to school.

In 1945, Dad partnered with Reidar Lomsnes and they bought the sawmill and the planing mill at Stoney Lake (Delaronde). They logged at Sled Lake.

The lumber business prospered during those early years, enough that they were able to purchase a D7 Caterpillar tractor for cash. They started planing in Big River in 1948 (to 1953) and used the old burner that was a landmark for many years.

The CCF government wanted to phase out the independent operators and consequently, the years brought extensive moves of the logging sites and the sawmill, Smoothstone, Carrot River, Primrose Lake Air Weapons Range, Niska Lake, Canoe Lake, Turner Lake, Rosser Bay on Ile a la Crosse Lake. In 1953-54, the planing mill was moved to Meadow Lake and that's about when the sawmill moved to Primrose. I don't recall any allowance for moving the equipment. After twenty years or so of moving sites, and ever-narrower profit margins, the company was having financial problems. They had diversified into road building in the summer to make use of the heavy equipment year-round. In a good summer this could be profitable, but in a wet one, another drain on the business.

Fire was always a threat in the lumber industry and the company had their share. I remember when the planing mill at Meadow Lake burned down and was rebuilt. Later, the sawmill at Rosser Bay burned and was rebuilt also. About this time, the welfare given to northern residents was such that many of them chose not to work, making it difficult to find enough men for each crew. Hindsight is always much clearer, and one could wish that the company had chosen to just take the insurance money and forget about rebuilding the sawmill.

Mom had been unwell for some time and required surgery so I returned home to do the books for the company. Once she had recovered and was able to take over the books once again, I went to work for the Royal Bank in Meadow Lake under Art Quinn. In 1958 she became worse, and finally, in April of 1959 it was requested that she be examined by a specialist, so she was taken to Saskatoon where she was admitted to hospital for tests. It was a great shock to learn that she passed away in her sleep that first night, on May 1st.

Glen, the oldest in the family, trained in Diesel mechanics and welding and was doing well managing the road-building operations. He married Merle Mae Kellett of Loon Lake and their first child, John Stephen Eikel, was born on May 15, 1958. On September 3, 1960, their daughter, Karen Marjorie was born.

In the spring of 1960, Dad and I went to Norway. He had a brother, two sisters and their families still living. We also met Ragna Skei Folkvord and her daughter Bergylot. Ragna and Dad had attended school together in Norway.

On August 18, 1960, Dad and Ragna were married in Regina on Ragna's arrival in that city. Our family is much indebted to Ragna; first, for her love and care of Dad, but also for bringing the Norwegian culture to us. Her "julekage" and "ris krem" were out of this world! She was an admirable lady-to think of leaving her son and daughter and their families to come to a new country to make a new life with Dad in Meadow Lake.

In 1961, Glen was killed in a car accident coming home from Canoe Lake. With him in the car were Merle, Norman and Andrew. All sustained severe injuries and were fortunate that Flo Clark, a nurse, came by and administered help until the ambulance got there.

Norman and Leonard (Lomsnes) were just graduating from university with engineering degrees and it was decided that they would take over the road-building operations. They did their best, but with a year of heavy rains and losing money on the sawmill at Rosser Bay, the company went into receivership. This was very hard on both families, not to mention the many others affected.

Dad later took over the planing mill in Boyle, Alberta, remaining as millwright well into his 70's. He had always enjoyed good health-probably from all that exercise.

They gave him a retirement party in 1982, but kept him on the payroll for a couple of years after that. He was always able to fix or make a part as needed if one couldn't be bought.

It was very distressing to Ragna and the rest of the family to learn that she had Alzheimer's disease. She was able to be at home with Dad caring for her for several years, and then she was placed in the Athabasca Care Home where she died on February 20, 1993. Her son and daughter were both able to come from Norway for her funeral.

Dad continued in good health until late 1995 when he was unable to go to Norway as planned. He was found to have prostate cancer, which required surgery. It wasn't a cure, and his health kept deteriorating. On Thanksgiving weekend 1996, the family put on a 90th birthday party for him (his birthday wasn't until November 27, but that wasn't a good time for travelling and we didn't know what his health would be by then.) It was a wonderful time of visiting with people from Boyle and with friends from earlier years in Big River and Meadow Lake as well as family and friends from farther away. Ragna's daughter Bergljot and grandson Torvold were there, plus two nephews, Gabriel and Trygve Haga, and their wives from Norway.

By November, it was decided to sell the house and for Dad to come and live with Harry and me in Portage la Prairie. He had come full circle-his first job in Canada was for a dairy farmer in Portage. The family of Oscar Magnus Olsen Eikel and Evelyn Grace Anderson:


Glen Thorvald Eikel - October 10, 1932, to July 23, 1961. He married Merle Mae Kellet. Children: John and Karen

Evelyn Gunhild Eikel - June 22, 1934 - December 30, 1978. She married Erling Karl Prochner. Children: Richard, Glen, Stephen, Darryl, Warren

Ellen "Ilene" Eikel - July 22, 1935. She married Harry Lyn Jackson. Children: Cameron and Catherine (both adopted)

Norman Oscar Olaf Eikel - June 13, 1940. He married Merle Mae Kellett Eikel. Children: John and Karen (adopted), and Blaine

George Roland Eikel - May 20, 1942. He married Cecelia Bohrson. Children: Brian and Brent (deceased Mar. 17, 2000)

John Stanley Eikel - December 6, 1943 - June 1945

Andrew Brian Eikel - May 20, 1947. He married Adelle Zary. Children: Melanie and Mark At the time of this writing, Norman, George and Andrew and spouses spend their time between Saskatoon (Langham) and Points North Landing. Erling and Myrna are in Saskatoon and Ilene and Harry are in Winnipeg.


Eismann, Max and Frieda
Submitted by Loretta Barnes (Eisman)

Eisdsmann Family.

Standing: Norman, Cindy, Albert, Loretta, Lionel, Jason, Audrey, Troy, Natalie.
Sitting: Horace, Alfrida. Missing Renee.

Max and Frieda Eismann immigrated to Canada from Germany in 1924 with their two sons, twelve-year-old Horace and three-year-old Fred. Immigrating with them was Frieda's brother Frank Runge and his wife Cora (who was Max's sister) with their son, thirteen-year-old Frank Jr. and five-year-old daughter, Ursula.

After landing in Eastern Canada, they travelled by train to Kenaston, Saskatchewan where relatives had settled a few years before. There they spent their first Canadian winter. The men worked as farmhands for local farmers while they set about to purchase homesteads. Land was available in the Big River area so after a year and a half in Kenaston they headed north. Arriving in Big River they remained in town that first year finding work wherever they could. Fred remembers his dad, working for Clemens Otte, coming home at night totally black from cutting burnt trees from a previous forest fire. Frieda took in boarders and also did washing and ironing.

In the spring of 1927, they headed out to the homestead in the Black Duck Lake area about eight miles, north-west of Big River. As with most settlers at that time, they lived in a small shack while they built their house and cleared the land. Max and Frieda lived there until 1940, then sold the homestead to Joe Stuesser and moved to Prince Albert where Max worked for "Grosser Parts". When the company moved to Edmonton, Alberta in 1949 they moved there also. Max passed away in Edmonton in September 1952 and Frieda in July 1981 in Stony Plain, Alberta.

By 1942, Fred had spent time fishing for Carl Brownfield, Vern Johnson, and Tony Erickson at the northern lakes. He also spent some time at Waskesiu at Olafson's Fish Company. In the summer Fred worked for the J.K. Johnson lumber mill in Big River and the Harry Boyd lumber mill at Stoney Lake. Called into the army in 1942, Fred went overseas. In Britain he met Leila Tigg. They were married in April 1945 at Catherington, England. Fred returned to Canada in January 1946 and settled in Prince Albert where he made carpentry his career. Leila came over in July 1946. They remained in Prince Albert until 1950 and then moved to Edmonton, Alberta. They moved out to their farm south of Spruce Grove, Alberta in 1967 where they lived until December 2002. They now live in Spruce Grove. They raised a family of eight children, and now have seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Their oldest son Horace, being in his teenage years upon arriving in Big River, was soon working and earning wages to help out. He worked for Mr. Rizer at the Consolidated Fish Company where he hung nets. Many winters were spent fishing for Carl Brownfield at Churchill Lake (Clear Lake), La Plonge, and Patuanak. In the summer he worked at the J.K. Johnson lumber mill in Big River and the Harry Boyd lumber mill at Stoney Lake.

Horace married Alfrida Schelstad from Canwood in June 1942. They met while Alfrida was a cook at the J.K. Johnson lumber mill. (Evelyn Walker, a Big River girl, was a cook at the mill at the same time). Horace and Alfrida lived in a house on Railway Avenue until Horace was called to serve in the army two weeks later. Alfrida returned to Canwood and stayed until the end of the war. Then in 1945, they returned to Big River, buying a house on Second Avenue (from Jim and Ursula Dawson) where they resided for twenty years and raised a family of three (Loretta 1943, Lionel 1952, Norman 1954). Horace and Alfrida recall many happy memories in Big River with friends and neighbors.

Horace was employed by Waite Fisheries for a time before becoming a District Supervisor for the Saskatchewan Timber Board. Many miles were traveled to various private sawmills in the area; Leoville, Chitek, Pascal, Victoire, Debden, as well as north toward Green Lake. It doesn't seem like a big area today but back then most roads to these areas were no more than trails. In 1965, he was transferred to Meadow Lake and 1972, to Prince Albert. In Prince Albert he was Safety Supervisor for Saskatchewan Forest Products. Mention should be made also of a long time employee of the Timber Board, Mrs. Joyce Harris, who was a secretary in Big River and Meadow Lake. In 1975, Horace retired and moved to Camrose, Alberta. Horace passed away in September 2000. Alfrida continues to reside in Camrose.

Loretta completed school in Big River in 1961. Taking a stenographer course in Prince Albert Business College, she worked at Prince Albert City Hall for a number of months prior to entering nurses training at Saskatoon City Hospital. Following graduation in 1965 she worked in Wetaskiwin and Edmonton, Alberta, marrying Albert Barnes in 1967. They live on an acreage south of Spruce Grove, Alberta where they have been since 1970. Their son, Troy (1969), is a pipeline welder and has his own company "Comtex Ventures Inc." and lives in Spruce Grove. Their daughter, Natalie (1971), is living in Burlington, Ontario where Andy works for a moving company.

Lionel is employed by Saskatchewan Power, (since 1974) and presently lives at Christopher Lake. He married Audrey Lajeunesse from Meadow Lake in 1972. They have a daughter, Renee (1976) and son Jason (1977). Renee is a hairstylist and lives in Medicine Hat, Alberta, where Jason also presently attends college. Lionel and Audrey have started a lawn and garden ornament business, Countryside Creations, which they run from their acreage along Highway 2 to Waskesiu.

Norman worked for both the Saskatchewan and Alberta Departments of Highways as well as the Saskatchewan Department of Tourism and Renewable Resources for several years before settling in Camrose, Alberta. He has been employed since 1986 by the Battle River School District out of Camrose. He has a daughter, Cindy (1980), who is presently attending Augustana University College in Camrose.


Ells, Murray and Judy (Warriner)

Outdoor Rink behind Elk's Hall.

Back Row: Lee (holding Charlyze), Judy, Steve.
Middle Row: Karen (holding Jordyn), Karol (holding Trinity).
Front Row: Aspen, Murray (holding Payton).

Eldest of twelve children born to Thomas and Barbara Warriner, Judith Ann was born at 24 Hunter Street, Northampton, England on June 15, 1942. Judy and Linda came to Canada with their mother in January 1946. Travelling from Halifax by train, we arrived in Big River on a cold night to be met by father Tom and his mother, Granny Warriner. My first memories of this great country were travelling from town to Granny's farm and having to sit on the floor of the sleigh box snuggled between Granny's legs and covered with blankets, including my head so that I would not get cold. I couldn't see anything and could hardly breathe but the sounds of the horses' hooves and sleigh runners on the icy snow and the jingle of the harness have remained a source of pleasure to this day.

The second thing I remember is having to be treated for head lice. I think they used coal oil, and I think I fought the process as I remember standing on a table in Granny's kitchen with a towel over my head, stamping my feet and screaming bloody murder. I also think Auntie Connie was involved in the process. We soon adapted to the harsh Saskatchewan winter as pictures show us bundled up and playing outside with Alfie and Trigger who also lived with Granny at the time. I wonder where everyone slept in her little house. The front room must have been set up like a barracks with at least eleven people living there for the remainder of that winter.

Growing up west of Big River, we lived first in the two-room tar paper shack across the field from where Granny and Olive lived and then in what was affectionately known as the "new house", two miles farther south. Wonderful memories, far too many to list, including Granny's homemade Christmas toffee, fresh bannock which she made in a dry, cast iron frying pan, roast goose with sage and onion stuffing for New Year's Day dinner, and of course the delicious Yorkshire Puddings.

In late summer, Olive, Linda, and I had the thrill of going west to look for the cattle which had ranged there since late spring. We each rode a horse bareback, took lots of lunch and saw deer and beaver and blue berries, the odd bear but seldom any cattle. Riding home, we wondered how to explain that the cattle had disappeared in this great expanse of wilderness. Were we amazed to catch up with them as they headed home! This has always puzzled me. Another favourite recollection was seeing the new green foliage on the way home from school on June 9th for the first wild rose for Granny's birthday. I always think of Granny now when I see that first wild rose in the spring.

Leaving home for Saskatoon and completing Grades 11 and 12 at City Park Collegiate, then taking a business course at Robertson's Secretarial School started me on the road of life. My first real job was at the Bessborough Hotel where I met my husband Murray. We went west in 1966, living for short periods in Vancouver, Victoria, Vernon, and finally settling in Armstrong, British Columbia, where we still reside. Murray and I were blessed with two wonderful daughters, Karen Kathryn and Karol Kathlene. During their school years, we were very involved in their activities, mainly horses, so you can imagine how empty life suddenly became when they both left home to continue their education, careers, and lives. However, there is always something that needs to be done and we always manage to find it. Murray and I have curled for many years and been involved with the operation of the local club. Now, as we slow down in life, we are involved with the strata council of the condominium in which we live, as well as helping our girls and their families with whatever needs to be done.

In June 2002, I retired after 28 years with the local Parks and Recreation Department, and have now become a professional babysitter for my five darling granddaughters, while Murray assists with our son-in-law's vinyl siding business. The hours are generally longer than paid work hours and there is no union, but I wouldn't trade my life for all the tea in China.

Anyone driving the Trans Canada Highway through British Columbia, Armstrong is only thirty minutes from Sicamous/Salmon Arm on Highway 97 and we would love to have the company.


Embree, Sid
Taken from the Memories of the Smith Family

Sid Embree.

Sid Embree.

Sid Embree came to this area about 1948. He came from British Columbia where he had owned a chicken farm. He traded his chicken farm to Roy Hanes who owned SW 14-54-7-W3'.

In 1949, he sold his quarter of land to the Richard Smith family and worked with them. In 1955, he moved to live and work at the farm of Mary Smith and Bill Smith, in the Winter Lake area. He brought a team of horses, a sleigh with a fish rack, and all his worldly goods in a steamer trunk. He lived there for several years. When he left, he stated he was going to Nova Scotia.


Emery, George and Bessie

Bessie and George.

Bessie and George.

George Emery first came to the Wrixon district in 1930 to check out the land. He came from Woodrow Saskatchewan, where he owned a barbershop and a grain farm. George filed a claim and returned the following summer with his wife and youngest daughter, Bernice. He shipped a partly assembled two-roomed house, two horses, one cow and calf, calf, some machinery, and furniture by train. Sam McKee, a family friend and employee, accompanied the shipment. The family came by car. They stayed on the farm until 1934 when their oldest daughter Wilma got married and then gave the homestead to her and her new husband, Ernie Doucet. The Emery's had five children:


Wilma - born in 1909, a schoolteacher married Ernie Doucet. They had 8 children. Wilma died in 1957.

Hazel - born in 1911, a nurse, married Frank Lewry. They had one son - George. Hazel is a widow and lives on her own at the age of 92, in Moose Jaw.

Charles - born in 1913, married Veda Dickenson. He managed an asbestos factory in Toronto until his death in 1971. They have two children - David and Sue. They also raised Wilma's youngest daughter - Glenda after Wilma's death in 1957.

Malcolm - born in 1918, died in the flu epidemic in 1919.

Bernice - born in 1920, married Les Hall. She was a stenographer at Sasktel. She is retired and living in Regina. She had no children.

George Emery died two years after returning to Woodrow, in 1936. Bessie lived with her daughter Bernice until her death in 1974.

Emery Family.

Wilma, holding Malcolm, Charles, Hazel.

Erickson, Carl and Helga
Submitted by Dan Erickson

Mrs Erickson and children.

Back Row: Helga, Shirley, Raymond.
Front Row: Lawrence, Lorraine, Dan.

Carl W. Erickson was born in Kalmar, Sweden on August 4, 1894. Helga Erickson (nee Ma1m) was born on March 9, 1899, in Copenhagen, Denmark, to Carl and Louise Ma1m. She immigrated with her parents and two older brothers in 1905 to Perry in southern Saskatchewan. She married Carl W. Erickson in 1917 and had 15 children and 59 grandchildren. She passed away on July 2, 1970, and is buried next to her father, Carl Maim in the Big River Cemetery.

In the spring of 1932, my parents moved from the city of Moose Jaw to take a homestead about ten miles outside of Big River. They packed up what few belongings they owned, including a government standard-issue milk cow. They arrived with nine children ranging in age from a new baby girl to the eldest who was fourteen. There was not even a house of any kind ready to move into, extraordinary perhaps, but not unusual for the times. This very large family was welcomed for their first night in the area into the farm home of the Martin's. While this was my mother's first experience of genuine hospitality from strangers, who would ultimately become life long friends, it was not to be her last.

As was common, people often had to rely on close neighbours and mother spoke with a warm memory of her dear friends, Louie and Mrs Bradley, as well as the Milligan family. After experiencing very difficult hardship for twelve years on the homestead and the birth of five additional children, my mother moved her family into town in the spring of 1944. We lived briefly in two different locations near the outskirts of Big River. Then mother moved us into a rental home owned by Nels Edson in the fall of 1945. It was only a three-room house, so it was very crowded with mom and nine children still at home. Again, this was not uncommon for the times. There was no electricity, no basement to accommodate central heating and only the kitchen woodstove; as well as four benches for seating and of course, the kitchen table and a small cot that served as a sofa. The washstand near the single entrance door completed the inventory of "furniture" with the beds in the other two rooms rounding out the list of things we owned. We were very poor, but most people in town lived under similar circumstances. Our mom gave us a secure and happy home. I have many good memories of my childhood, growing up with brothers and sisters in Big River. I enjoyed hanging out with numerous friends, swimming during summer months and many hours of skating at the local ice rink or playing hockey during winter months.

My old black dog Sport refused to be trained as a sleigh dog. Lawrence, my older brother, did make a brief attempt at training Sport. I recall sitting on my small sleigh which was attached by a homemade binder twine harness to an unwilling and uncooperative, Sport. Lawrence, however, was not to be easily denied. His attempts at persuasion (petting and begging) failed miserably, but when Lawrence spotted another dog about a thousand yards up the street, success was but a heartbeat away.

Sic-em. Sport! Sic-em! In the shorter side of a minute, a partially terrified small boy, a little hand sleigh and of course, Sport, arrived in a tangle of binder twine at our destination. Fortunately, I was able to safely bail off, a brief moment before impact. Other family members from this marriage are as follows:


Violet, who married Paul Papsdorf, are both deceased. They have four children.

Henry lives in London, Ontario and has two children.

Ellen was deceased at eleven months.

James and his wife Grace live at Goderich, Ontario and have two children.

Virginia and her husband Ray Lamonte live at Chatham, Ontario and have two children.

Elsie and her first husband, Richard, had eight children. She now lives in Salmon Arm, British Columbia with her husband, Charles Bannister.

Carl, whose first wife Doreen (deceased) had four children, now lives in London, Ontario with his wife Violet. Raymond and his first wife, Mickey had eight children. He now lives in Kitchener, Ontario with his wife, Betty and one child.

Juan and wife Majorie are both deceased but had two children.

Helen and husbands Dave and Dick are all deceased. Helen and husband Dave had eight children.

Lawrence and wife Barbara live at Picture Butte, Alberta and have three children.

Gerald and first wife Gwen (deceased) had three children. He later married his second wife Shana and had one child. He presently lives at Sundre, Alberta with his third wife Nadine.

Shirley, who is deceased, married Dan Thomas and had two children. He presently resides in London, Ontario.

Lorraine and husband Ben Pelletier have five children and live in Sorrento, British Columbia.

My wife Phyllis, and I Dan live in Vancouver, British Columbia and have four children.

Erickson children.

Shirley, Gerald, Lawrence, Helen, Juan, Raymond,
Carl, Elsie, holding Dan, 1942.


Erickson, Mr and Mrs Svien
Excerpts from Timber Trails, 1979

Mr and Mrs Svein Erickson came to Big River to retire in 1937 from Foam Lake, Saskatchewan. They lived in Big River until their deaths. They had two sons, Erick and Anton (Tony).

Erick came to Big River in 1912. He spent most of his life in Big River and Beauval where he had a mill and a stopping place for many years. He later moved to Meadow Lake where he had a sawmill and box factory until he passed away.

Anton Erickson spent most of his adult years in the North, fishing Dore, La Plonge, and Buffalo Lakes. He also had a sawmill in Buffalo Narrows.


Ethier, Alfred
(Father of Ernest Ethier)

Alfred was born in Sorrel, Quebec in 1866 to Pierre Ethier and Elizabeth Lefebvre. He was the oldest child in a family of eight. At a young age, Alfred helped his father who was a shipbuilder.

Alfred met Lucinda Morinville who was born in Low, Quebec. She was eight years old when her family moved to Sorrel. Later the couple met, was married, and raised a family of twelve living children.

They moved from Quebec to Boston, later working their way to Minnesota. They lived near Terrebonne and Red Lake Falls. Some of the girls were born there. Another move was all the way to the Domremy, Saskatchewan area. Here Alfred and the boys farmed, trying hard to make a living and to keep food on the table. Leo and Ernest were born in this area.

In 1911, the family moved to Big River, where Alfred tried his hand at different jobs. At one point, they moved to the Debden, Wanakena area.

Alfred died in the Holy Family Hospital on October 9, 1931, at the age of 71. He had a bad leg and possibly died of gangrene.

Lucinda started to become blind with cataracts and had surgery on both eyes. The operations were not successful and before long she was blind. She could still keep the house and cook. Lucinda died at the age of 77 years. They had twelve living children:


1. Rosa Ethier was born in 1889 and died in 1910 at the age of 21

2. Parmella Ethier was born on November 4, 1890, and died on February 26, 1959. She married Jim Sweeny who was born on June 2, 1884, and died on January 13, 1965. They were married on March 24, 1913, and have five children.

3. Laura Ethier was born on April 14, 1893, and died on September 16, 1975. She married William Wilson who was born on July 28, 1875, and died on October 12, 1968. They were married on September 12, 1912.

4. Rosalba Ethier was born on February 2, 1895, and died on May 4, 1969. She married Joseph Isabelle who was born on November 2, 1889, and died on August 10, 1971. They were married on January 27, 1913, and had one child.

5. Alma Ethier was born on November 27, 1896, and died on April 22, 1984. She married Fabien Blanchette whose birth date is unknown. He died in 1928. They were married on October 6, 1913, and had four children. She then married Jack Rae who was born on June 26, 1885, and died on January 20, 1978.

6. Delina Ethier was born on March 27, 1898, and died on February 22, 1974. She married John Dalton whose birth date is unknown. He died in 1957. They were married on August 11, 1919, and had eight children.

7. Emile Ethier was born on March 5, 1900

8. Leo Ethier was born on May 1904 and died in 1945. He married Martha Swanson. They were married on February 16, 1931, and had four children.

9. Zenon Ethier was born on November 14, 1906, and died on March 24, 1983. He married Laura Gaudreault who was born on September 14, 1921. They were married on December 28, 1940, and had eight children.

10. Ernest Ethier was born on April 22, 1909, and died on October 14, 1987. He married Cecile Chartrand who was born on June 18, 1917, and died on January 6, 2002. They were married on May 1, 1943, and had six children.

11. William Ethier was born on August 29, 1911, and died on November 19, 2000. He married Anne Redekopp who was born on December 12, 1916. They were married on August 11, 1934, and had two children.

12. Andrew Ethier was born on September 23, 1914 and died on January 13, 1990. He married Rosedelima Arcand on November 10, 1949. He then married Leona.

Ethier Family.

Back Row: Alma, Laura, Parmelia, RoseAlba.
Middle Row: Lucinda (holding William), Zenon, Delina, Alfred, Leo.
Front Row: Emile, Ernest. Insert Andrew.

Ethier, Ernest and Cecile
Submitted by Louella Park

Ernest Ethier family.

Back Row: Evelyn, Norman, Ernest, Simone.
Front Row: Louella, Cecile, Deanna.

Ernest Ethier was born to Alfred and Lucinda (Morinville) Ethier on April 22, 1909, in Domremy, Saskatchewan, the tenth child in a family of twelve living children. Ernest moved to Big River, with his parents at the age of two. We are not sure where the family first lived in Big River, but we know that at one time they lived along the tracks, by Cowan Lake.

Producing lumber and fishing were the main sources of income in the area. Ernest worked in bush camps and later as a foreman for George Anderson. While Ernest was working for George, he met and fell in love with the cook's helper, Cecile Chartrand. Cecile was born in Marcelin, on June 18, 1917. Wedding plans were made and Ernest and Cecile were married on May 1, 1943. Mrs Rae, Ernest's sister, put on a lovely reception for them.

Ernest and Cecile went back to work for George Anderson and Ernest built a small house where Edwin Olsen lived. Louella came along on June 4, 1945, and the family moved into Big River along the north highway. Ernest worked for Freddy Coates loading pulp for a time.

In May of 1947, Ernest and Cecile bought a farm from the McNabb's at Big River, NW 35-55-8-W3rd. He broke twenty acres to add to the eight acres that were already broken.

Deanna was born on August 16, 1947. Simone made her appearance on October 27, 1949. At this time Ernest was working at the Mill in Big River. He had to walk four miles to work then. If he got too cold he would stop at Billy and Laura Wilson's, his sister and brother-in-law, who lived halfway.

In 1953, a school bus was a great blessing.

Norman was born on April 5, 1951. Evelyn was born on November 14, 1953. In 1959, Ernest was hurt at the mill. This ended the years of a bit of money and harder times began.

Ernest and Cecile moved into town to take care of Laura (Ernest's sister) when she could no longer stay alone. When Laura passed away Ernest and Cecile stayed on, as she had left her place to them. Simone and Barry Wilson bought the farm.

Ernest was diagnosed with fast-moving cancer and passed away on October 14, 1987. Cecile developed Alzheimer's and was placed in the Lakewood Lodge in Big River in 1990 where she lived for twelve years. Cecile passed away on January 6, 2002. Ernest and Cecile had six children:


1. Louella Ethier - (born June 4, 1945) married Leonard Park (born March 27, 1938) on November 23, 1963. They had three children: Merlin, JoAnn, and Elaine. Merlin Park (born September 15, 1964) married Wilma Funk (born February 16, 1962) on April 25, 1987, and had two children: Katelynn (born January 18, 1989) and Shelby (born February 12, 1993). JoAnn Park (born January 14, 1966) married Wilfred Young (born January 19, 1959) on May 18, 1985 and had three children: Krystal (born June 16, 1986), Janine (born October 20, 1988), and Brendan (born March 6, 1991). Elaine Park (born November 12, 1970) married Don Ulriksen (born March 14, 1964) on September 28, 1996, and had two children: Hayden (born May 13, 2003) and Chace (born May 13, 2003).

2. Deanna Ethier - (born August 16, 1947) married Euclid Dore (born May 6, 1938) on June 28, 1965, and had four children: Cecile, Vivian, Donald, and Darryl. Cecile Dore (born May 14, 1966) married Greg Marquis (born June 15, 1962) on October 25, 1986, and had two children: Tyler (born April 24, 1991) and Andrew (born July 12, 1995). Vivian Dore (born February 20, 1968) married Kim Moody (born July 4, 1968) on September 5, 1992, and had three children: Alexander (born July 31, 1996), Lucas (born April 23, 1999), and Jacob (born August 27, 2002). Donald Dore (born August 2, 1969) married Carmen Morgan (born December 6, 1971) on May 9, 1992, and had two children: Danielle (born October 24, 1996) and Caleb (born April 27, 1999). Darryl Dore (born September 16, 1975) married Audrey Arcand (born June 14, 1982) on June 21, 2003.

3. Simone Ethier - (born September 27, 1949) married Barry Wilson (born December 25, 1943) on April 4, 1970, and had one child, Roxanne (born September 3, 1970). She married Peter Philibert (born April 10, 1968) on August 31, 1991, and had two children: Morgan (born February 22, 1996) and Jordan (born October 29, 1999).

4. Norman Ethier - (born April 5, 1951) married Linda Breker (born August 20, 1954) on July 7, 1973, and had three children: Keith, Michelle, and Julie. Keith (born October 2, 1974) married Dianne Reimer (born November 30, 1975) on August 10, 1996, and had two children: Dane (born February 16, 2000) and Brett (born September 20, 2002). Michelle (born July 27, 1977). Julie (born October 3, 1979) married Mark Katona (born March 4, 1976) on August 17, 2002.

5. Evelyn Ethier - (born November 14, 1953) married Armand Chretien (born March 30, 1952) on September 12, 1976, and had five children: Marianne, Amanda, Angela, Charity, and Marc. Marianne (born February 2, 1977) married Kevin Shiach (born August 28, 1973) on June 19, 1999, and had one child, Kendal (born March 5, 2001). Amanda (born August 26, 1979) married Norman Cyr (born January 4, 1977) on August 30, 2003. Angela was born on May 14, 1981, Charity was born on July 7, 1984, and Marc was born on April 13, 1987.

6. Roland Ethier - was born on October 31, 1955, and died at birth.

Ethier, Leo Regis and Martha (Swanson)
Submitted by Louella Park

Leo was born just outside of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan at St. Isodore de Bellevue in May 1904.

He met and married Martha Swanson, the fourth child of John and Ingeborg Swanson of Big River. They lived in Prince Albert in 1930. The bride's father gave them a gift of a milk cow that they hitched to the back of a wagon and moved to their first home at Stump Lake (now Park Valley area) under land acquisition provided by Pre-emption Law.

Leo and Martha homesteaded at Park Valley for two years during which time two daughters, Myrtle (Ferne) and Fay, were born. The family then moved to Big River and took up homestead rights three miles north of town where the first son, Robert, was born.

Leo was a fight fan and his first son was named after a great heavyweight of the time, Robert Fitzsimmons.

When the children reached school age, Leo and Martha moved the family into town where he had built a home on the lakeshore. This was where their second son Dale was born. Leo worked in the Big River sawmill, in the woods, at farming, trapping, and doing what most men of the time did to support a family during the depression and war years.

Leo was self-educated, a fighter for justice and truth had a natural musical talent and a great passion for gardening. At the young age of forty-one, he became ill and died suddenly at Prince Albert Hospital in 1945. With children too young to carry on the farming business, Martha let the properties go and moved to British Columbia.


Ewers, Magda and Janet
Submitted by Janet Carey (nee Ewers)

Magda Ewers.

Magda Ewers.

My mother, Magda Ewers, came to Big River as a secretary for the L.I.D. She had worked for the Prince Albert Health Region before coming to Big River. While in Big River she rented a suite in the Waite Fisheries building.

I, Janet, came to Big River and began my grade two at the Junior School with Diane Johnson as my teacher.

Our sojourn in Big River was but for a brief period before the mother decided to move back to Prince Albert. It was while I was in Big River that I got to know Ernie and Leona Smith. As a result, I spent my weekends and holidays at their farm. I became a part of the Stump Lake community.

Several years later we moved to Vancouver until Mom's retirement. She chose to retire in beautiful White Rock, British Columbia. She remained there until her death. I completed my schooling and took training as a dental technician. My children are: Meagan, Lindsay, Ryan and I live in Langley, British Columbia.


Janet Ewers.

Janet Ewers.

Fabish, Henry and May

Fabish Family.

Back Row: Barry, Garry, Misty, Grant, Sherlene, Guy.
Middle Row: Rae-Anne, Kirsten, Brandon, Brad, Marilyn, Shirley.
Front Row: Evan, Henry, May, Adam, Dane.

Henry was born and raised in Shipman, Saskatchewan. His parents, Pauline and John Fabish, farmed in this area. Henry attended school in Celtic, just south of Shipman.

May was born in Prince Albert and raised in Smeaton. Her parents were Alonzo and Maggie (Langford) Inglehart.

May and Henry began their life together when they were married in 1963. Henry was employed as a patrolman by the Department of Natural Resources and the move to Big River occurred when Henry was transferred there in 1967. Henry continued to work for the DNR until 1976 when he was injured at work.

May started to work for the Nursery in 1978 and continued until the Nursery was closed in 1997. Following the closing of the Nursery, May became employed by Lakewood Lodge, where she is still presently employed (2004).

May and Henry raised a family of five children: Barry resides in Big River and is employed at Big River Lumber.


Garry (Misty Olson) - resides in Big River and is employed by Big River Lumber.

Shirley - resides in Big River and is employed at the Big River Credit Union. She has three boys: Brandon, Evan and Adam.

Marilyn (Guy Beaulac) - resides in Big River and is employed at Lakewood Lodge. Guy and Marilyn have two sons: Brad and Dane.

Grant (Sherlene Kennedy) - resides in Big River. Grant is employed at Big River Lumber and Sherlene is employed at Lakewood Lodge. They have two daughters, Kirsten and Rae-Anne.

Farthing, Ed and Lynne (Panter)

Lynne, Ed and Courtney Farthing.

Lynne, Ed and Courtney Farthing.

I, Lynne Farthing, was born on December 19, 1975, at the Shellbrook Hospital to my proud parents - Doug and Kathy Panter. I grew up in Big River and attended the T.D. Michel Elementary School and the Big River High School graduating in May 1993. Following high school, I enrolled in the the University of Saskatchewan with future hopes of becoming a registered nurse. In May 1998, I convocated from the College of Nursing. Following my convocation, I was employed at Lakewood Lodge, Wheatland Lodge (Leask), and finally settled at Shellbrook Hospital. My life changed when on June 5, 1999, I married Ed Farthing, son of Bill and Alma Farthing, of Leask. Following our marriage, we moved to his parent's farm near Leask where we presently reside. Ed is a self-employed mechanic and is also trying his hand at farming. Being happily married brought even more change in our lives. On October 23, 2000, our daughter Courtney Katelynne was born. Courtney was born three months premature and faced many health challenges as an infant. Today she is a healthy four-year-old. Our son Riley Albert was born July 1, 2004, in Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon.

Today, Ed continues to work as a mechanic (specializing in air conditioning) and I am working full time at the Shellbrook Hospital.


Faschauner, Josef and Marie

Josef and Marie Faschauner settled on NE 4-547 W3rd in the Winter Lake area on March 2, 1930. They had a family of four children: Joe, Marie, Katie, and Frank. Josef was killed in a farming accident in 1931. Marie was granted the deed for the homestead in 1934, when she was thirty years old. In a document dated October 14, 1932, she worked for Herbert Stearns (age twenty-seven) who was a farmer in that area.


Fehr, Lorraine (Carter/Miller)

I was born on the Carter homestead near Englefield, Saskatchewan. I moved, along with my parents and three sisters, from Mr Davidner's farm at Briarlea near Prince Albert where my dad worked at the time. We moved to the John Breker homestead quarter northeast of Big River, where the Ness Creek Festival now takes place each year.

We arrived at Grandma and Grandpa's place late in the evening, after travelling all day in the back of a big truck. I still don't understand why the cattle had to be in the front half of the truck box and us kids in the back. Anyhow, we arrived safely.

It was the late evening in the latter half of August 1947. I remember the excitement upon our arrival. Grandma and Grandpa and their youngest daughter Edna still lived there. They later moved to the west side of Cowan.

Amidst all the excitement, my youngest sister at the time, Delphine and Aunt Edna, who were six months apart in age, decided to go pick some blueberries in the dark. They grew in abundance near the homestead. We were all very concerned when we realized they were missing, but they were soon safely back, and a little wiser.

I have fond memories of the six years that were spent on the homestead. They were good years. We were poor, but so was everyone else around us, poor, but as I recall, happy. We always had enough food to eat.

My sisters and I walked 3"/42 miles to school and back each day. This was very hard in the winter. We walked until my oldest sister and I was big enough to handle a team of horses. There was a barn built to house the horses during the day. Other children drove horses to school.

In the spring, I remember removing our shoes to walk through mud puddles. We couldn't get around, because we couldn't afford boots and the boots that we could buy, at the time, always seemed to have holes in them. Later, my uncle, Lewis Breker, who worked in Flin Flon, Manitoba, sent us two large men's bikes, which we learned to ride. It was hard learning to ride those big bikes because we were not very big yet. Once we mastered the art of riding those big bikes, we rode them to school in the summer. By then, four of us were going to school so we had to ride double. It was sure hard going up those hills but going down was sure fun, and sometimes downright dangerous.

Later, I managed to save enough money to buy my own bike, and then I thought I didn't have to give anyone else a ride, but I wasn't allowed to get away with that. I still had to give someone else a ride.

We went to the South Stoney School until I went into Grade Seven. That's when my parents, Albert and Lucille Carter, moved to the NE 22-56-7 W3" on the west side of Delaronde Lake, which they bought from Victor Dunbar. We were then able to ride the school bus into Big River for a better education.

The school bus was a made-over van that had padded board seats down both sides and one down the middle. It sure was hard getting the legs and feet all stacked in there, just right. Clayton Martin owned and drove this bus. He continued to drive this route until all of my children were in school.

I went to school in Big River through Grade Ten, and then it was time to go out working. My first job was a summer job working at the Post Office in Big River. Mr James S. Forbes was the postmaster and the Post Office was in his home.

In the summer of 1955 or 1956, a young man who delivered groceries for Joe Friedman, joined my dad in farming, as well as working at the store. I was very impressed with this young man, and we started dating.

On July 1, 1958, Tom Miller and I were married. Ours was the first wedding held in the Old Greenmantle School, which had been moved into Big River to become the First Evangelical Free Church.

In the fall of 1962, when our eldest daughter, Roxie, was a year old, Tom and I bought and moved to the farm where my parents had been. By then, my parents had moved into Big River. God blessed our marriage with three lovely daughters, Roxie, Myrna and Jennifer.

Tom worked at the sawmill in Big River and Bodmin and farmed cattle until he retired in July 1989. He enjoyed his retirement very much; however, it was much too short. Tom passed away on June 28, 1990, after an accident with a ditch witch which resulted in his death six days later, and life changed dramatically for us.

Our eldest daughter, Roxie, met a lovely young man at Nipawin Bible Institute, whom she later married on October 30, 1982. They lived and farmed at Borden, Saskatchewan until November 1, 1991, when they and their three children moved to Big River. They lived in town and took over the farming. Elloyd and Roxie brought cattle with them to the farm. Roxie and Elloyd moved out to the farm the end of May 1993.

May 22, 1993, I married Jake Fehr and moved to Eldred. In July 2000, Jake and I moved from his farm into Debden where we now reside. Our second daughter, Myrna Miller, lives and works at Rosthern.

Our youngest daughter, Jennifer Miller, lives in Prince Albert and works at SIAST.

Tom Miller came to the Timberlost area with his parents, Issac and Susanne Miller, and his five siblings in 1932-33. He worked at the Big River tree nursery the summer he was 12 years old. He also worked in sawmills for Sundby and Eikel and Lomsnes on the west shore of Delaronde Lake. He also spent time on the tug boats bringing booms of logs down from the north end of Delaronde Lake through the narrows to the sawmill. When I first got to know him, he was Joe Friedman's delivery boy and right-hand man. Later in 1955-56, he spent the winter in the bush, loading trucks around the clock. We corresponded by letter. In summers, he worked at the sawmill riding carriage.

In the winter of '56 and '57, we both went to Morley, Alberta, near Calgary, to work in an Indian Residential School, in different jobs. We were engaged just before we came home, by train, for Christmas of 1957 and were married July 1, 1958.


Felt, Cliff, Freda and Family
Submitted by Mabel Miller

Cliff Felt family.

Back Row: Dennis. Hank, Leonard, Cliff.
Front Row: Mabel, Peggy. Anne, Freda. 1976.

Roy Clifford Felt was born on the family farm near Fosterton, Saskatchewan on August 31, 1913, and passed away on November 4, 1997, at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The Felts came from Sweden in 1885 to Bemidji, MN, United States. Cliff's grandfather set up a sawmill and built the first bridge across the Mississippi River at the headwaters of Lake Itasca. In 1910, Cliff's parents travelled by train with a boxcar of belongings, mostly lumber, to their homestead in Canada. Cliff achieved grade eight while helping his father on the farm. They had a thrashing machine and would travel from farm to farm in Saskatchewan and Alberta each fall. Cliff headed north in 1934, riding his bicycle and hitching rides, working for board along the way.

He arrived in Big River in 1936 and fell in love with the lakes and forest. This was home! He worked for commercial fishermen at Dore Lake and the sawmill for Eikel and Lomsnes at Stoney Lake.

Freda Frances McKnight was born in Nuneaton, England on December 17, 1917, and passed away on December 20, 1990, at Big River. Her father, George, was serving overseas where he met and married Frances. George returned home with his wife and daughter in 1919. They lived very crudely in a log cabin across Ladder Lake, for a few years.

It was hard getting to school, by boat in the summer, around the lake by horse in the winter. Freda achieved her grade eleven. She helped her mother in the bakery, played her piano, and was active with the Anglican Church and community functions. She wanted to go to university but there was no funding at that time. (Later in life she told me that she would have loved to be a hippie.) In 1936, Frances and the five kids went to England for a while. Freda and her mother worked at Woolworth's in Nuneaton. They returned to Big River, as George was unable to sell their house. Freda went to Turner Valley, Alberta to work as a housekeeper. Her employer insisted that she wash the chickens with soap and rinse them well to kill all the germs. She was given a pearl handle revolver to protect herself when she was left alone. She returned to Big River when her father died.

Cliff and Freda were married on May 8, 1940. They purchased their first house from Harry Boyd, a 16 foot by 28 foot two storey, for $60.00. In 1948, the house was moved from Stoney into town when Cliff started working at the sawmill. The family moved to Wabowdin, Manitoba in 1951 for a year. Cliff worked with Alan Anderson. Cliff was very busy setting up or repairing mills all over Saskatchewan. The family lived at Reserve, Preeceville, Hudson Bay, and Savona, British Columbia and Sapawe, Ontario. They returned to Big River in 1972 to construct the mill at Bodmin. Cliff retired from the Saskatchewan Timber Board in 1978. They loved to hunt and fish and were busy in the community. Freda was busy raising three daughters, sewing, spending time at her many hobbies, and entertaining family and friends. She was a member of the Seniors Club and also of the museum committee.

Cliff was a member of the Elks for fifty-three years. He filed saws, made wooden coffee tables, lamps and over eighty jewellery boxes that he gave away as gifts. They spent hours playing cards.

Viola Anne was born on May 16, 1941, in Big River and passed away on July 17, 1989, in Manning, Alberta. Anne graduated from Grade Twelve in 1959 and then went on to teachers college in Saskatoon. She married Leonard Deutsch on July 8, 1961, at Endeavour, Saskatchewan. They farmed at Okla, Saskatchewan and moved around Alberta and finally settled down at Deadwood, Alberta. Anne loved to teach elementary grades, sewing, crocheting, but most of all she cherished her family. They raised three sons: Michael (Sheri-Lee) and children, Zachery, Benjamin, and Adam; Clayton (Pauline) and their children, Jared, Rebecca, Matthew; and Keith (Andrea) and their children, Maximillion, Nathaniel, and Jackson. Leonard continues to farm at Deadwood.

Margaret May was born on July 1, 1942, in Big River, and passed away on August 17, 1990, at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She got her nickname Peggy Lou from a family friend Joe Vino (Dempsey) when she was very young. She received her Grade Eleven and then went on to Robertson Secretary College in Saskatoon. She married Edward Tokarchik on Sept 10, 1960, at Sturgis, Saskatchewan (div. 1975). She worked for many firms and had a candle shop at Duck Lake. She was able to dress in period costume for the filming of the Riel Rebellion. She worked for CBC Television in Saskatoon for many years. She loved gardening, knitting, her trips to Mexico and driving a big car. They raised a son, Albert (Caroline) and children: Matthew, Rachel, and Rebecca; and a daughter, Carrie (Don Witzel) and their children: Andrea, Jessica, and Meghan. Ed and his wife Wanda are retired from teaching and are living in Prince Albert.

Peggy married Hank Fedyck on July 11, 1987. Hank was a pipefitter. He passed away shortly after Peggy, leaving behind a son, Douglas.

I, Mabel Frances, was born in Prince Albert on May 2, 1946. I received my Grade Eleven at Weekes, Saskatchewan. I worked at dressmaking, cake decorating, making wine and too many hobbies. I married Dennis Miller on March 26, 1966, at Atikokan, Ontario. Dennis worked for the airlines in British Columbia, North West Territories and Alberta. We are now living in Edmonton enjoying our grandchildren. We raised two sons: Seth (Colette); and Dax (Susanne) and their children: Ariel and Forest. (Bayly and Hunter later joined the family).

Growing up in multicultural Big River was such a benefit for later life. All my childhood friends shared their grannies. They were so patient and caring. Now I go home for a visit and I am one of these grannies with so many fond memories of Big River.


Fenton, Dr G.S.
Excerpts from Timber Trails, 1979

Dr George Sebright Fenton graduated from McGill Medical School in 1908 and went immediately to Big River to look after the employees of the Big River Lumber Company and the residents of the large area surrounding the town.

Dr Fenton married Mary Graham of Ottawa and they had seven children: Frederick, John, George, William, Margaret, Mary Elizabeth, and Barbara.

From historical records of the early days of Big River, the name of Dr Fenton appears many times. Not only serving as the doctor for the entire community, but he also spent many years on the school board and other public services devoting his time and talents to the people.

The Fenton's lost a son, William, in the First War, 1917 and in 1918, the year of the 'flu epidemic, an infant daughter died and is buried in the local cemetery.

Stories related to the big fire of 1919, record how Dr Fenton worked tirelessly in getting women and children onto the train to be evacuated from the danger area.

When the lumber company sold out in 1922, the Fenton family moved back to Ottawa where Dr Fenton continued his medical practice.


Fiddler, Caroline (Schloegel)

I, Caroline Fiddler (Schloegel), was born in Big River in one of the old mill houses back in 1922. I was raised partly in Dore Lake at Joseph's Point where my stepfather (Frank Schloegel) did commercial fishing, hunting and trapping.

We then moved down to the north end of Stoney Lake (Delaronde now) where we kept a stopping place for the freighters who travelled by team to Big River and back to the north. My stepfather looked after the horses and kept the bunkhouse warm so the men could spread out and get some shut-eye, as they were always on the road before daylight. My mother, Mabel, made the meals that consisted of sourdough pancakes and sowbelly along with a bowl of oatmeal and plenty of hot coffee.

We then took out a homestead at the south end of Stoney Lake, four miles from Big River. I remember living on the homestead when I went to school. They would put me on the horse, as I was too small to get on or off. They would point the horse to the road and it would just take me to the livery barn in Big River. The gentleman there would take me off and put up my horse for the day. He would give me my 'Burn's" lunch pail and tie my scarf and send me up the hill to school. After school, I would again be put on my horse and away I would go home. I was always dressed in red so I was called Little Red Ridinghood.

We then moved into Big River where my mother ran a boarding house. I attended school in Big River where I fainted the first day at school as I was a bit bushed. However, at the time, I had one of the nicest ladies for my teacher. Her name was Mrs Bouchard. She applied cold cloths to my head and I came around okay. I managed to stay in school for a couple of years. I left Big River in 1935. I have one niece, Ruth Durocher, still living at Dore Lake who still traps and fishes. I had two siblings born at Big River, a sister Marie and a brother Leo. Also, two more siblings were born at Dore Lake, Frank Jr. (Sonny) and Dorothy.

We then moved to Prince Albert where I attended Central School and then moved to the United States where I finished school. I came back to Canada and met and married my husband John Fiddler in 1939, almost sixty-three years ago. We had two sons, Jim Fiddler, Orville Fiddler and a daughter Patricia Fiddler Wadlow.

My husband and I have lived all of our married life in Prince Albert. Following retirement, we have spent equal time between our home in Prince Albert and our cottage at Whelan Bay.


Fiedler, Jim and Mary
Excerpts from Timber Trails, 1979

Jim first came to Big River in 1918 to work in the mill. He did some trapping during the winter. In 1931, the family moved from Saskatoon and resided there for the next sixteen years. Mrs Fiedler writes, "During the years, Mr Forbes was our friendly, kindly and helpful Postmaster. He knew everyone by name; it was always a joy to come into his clean, homey Post Office, canaries singing, a treasured plant blooming on the counter for all to admire. Today we do not even know our postmaster, we are just a box number!"


Fielder, Robert Henry

Robert Fielder was a twenty-one-year-old man who came from North Dakota in 1928 hoping to settle on a homestead in the Winter Lake area. He applied for a homestead at this time on NW 26-547 W3rd, and apparently, he must have moved on as records do not indicate that he improved this land.


Figeland, Peter and Petra
Excerpts from Timber Trails, 1979

Peter Figeland entered Canada from Norway in 1910, initially settling in Osler, Saskatchewan where he entered the labour market as railway foreman, a position he kept until he retired.

In 1918, the rest of the family moved to Big River being reunited after the war years as Mrs Petra Figeland with children Olga and Claude Ingolf had remained in Norway. They were unable to get passage for Canada until that time. Later, Peter's brother, Theodore, and their mother joined the family in Big River.

Peter Figeland became a partner in trust of the Big River Development Company when he and four other men bought the entire town from the Lumber Company in 1922. They began private business ventures, which encouraged growth and the survival of the community.

After finishing her education, Olga Figeland taught school at various locations, coming here in 1921. After teaching for a few years, she decided on a nursing career and left for New York where she graduated in 1926.

Claude Ingolf Figeland married in 1930 and worked as a relief agent for the C.N.R. They moved away in 1933. Mr. Peter Figeland died an accidental death in 1930.



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