The Snell Family
by Bernice Snell.
Andrew Snell was born September 21, 1890, in Orso Sweden. In 1908, at the age of eighteen, Andrew immigrated to Canada. Canada was a land of opportunity. Assured employment and cheap land attracted Andrew to Canada. While in Winnipeg, Andrew met and married, Josephine Olson. Josephine was born in Bergen, Norway and immigrated to Canada in 1907, at the age of seventeen. Andrew and Josephine moved to Kincade, Saskatchewan. There, Andrew worked for a farmer. In 1919, Andrew and Josephine moved to Big River. In Big River, Andrew obtained a job at the mill. The family had no home to go to, so they resided at the Mill's tenement building. When the mill dismantled, because of the fire in 1919, Andrew followed it to The Pas, and then to Giscome, British Columbia. However, the climate of British Columbia did not agree with him, so he returned to his family, he had left behind in Big River.
Andrew began working in Dore Lake during the late 1920s. He freighted supplies into the north and hauled fish for the fishermen, back to Big River to the Fisheries. Andrew was also a carpenter by trade, but he yielded to the "Call of the North", as so many people did during the thirties. When Andrew gave up the freight haul, he operated a fishing outfit and became engaged in carpentry for Waite's Fisheries in Big River and Dore Lake. During the winter months, he logged, until his death on January 4, 1947.
Robert Snell was born on July 14, 1921. He was the third child born to Josephine. During the pre-war years, Bob logged with his father. He left Big River in the early part of the second world war to join the army and serve overseas, at the age of nineteen. After the war, he returned to Big River. In 1946, he came to Dore Lake to operate his father's fishing outfit.
My father Jacob Belfry, was born on March 16, 1893. The Belfry family resided in Kinmount, Ontario. Attracted to cheap land advertised in western Canada, by the government, Albert decided to move his family from Ontario, to Shellbrook area. He wished to try his luck at homesteading.
On December 27, 1901, Jacob Belfry married Eleanor Jones. Eleanor was born on October 11, 1899, in England, and immigrated to Canada with her family in 1905. During their first years together, Jacob and Eleanor resided on a homestead in the Pinegrove district.
I, Bernice Belfry was born on May 20th, 1928. I was the second child of Jacob and Eleanor. In 1941, Jacob gave up homesteading and moved to Big River, to work in the lumber camps and mills. This style of life seemed to suit him better. In 1967, Jacob and Eleanor went to Regina until Jacob's death on January 5, 1979. Eleanor died on November 17, 1975.
Robert and I met after the war and were married in December of 1946, in Prince Albert. We moved to Dore Lake in the winter of 1947, where Bob was previously operating his father's fishing outfit and doing some logging.
Our first home consisted of a small, one-roomed log house, near the Fish Plant on Murry's Point. The house was just bare logs, but with a couple of rolls of building paper, a gallon of paint, a bit of new furniture, some ruffled curtains on the windows, and a few arguments in making the renovations, it was pretty much home. We lived there until the late fall. Then we moved into a new four-roomed house, we constructed ourselves.
We began mink ranching in 1952. At that time, thinking, we would try it for a few years, then move onto something else. But it is now twenty-eight years later, and we still have the furry monsters.
In 1961, due to schooling for our children, we moved to the south end area of the Lake. This was done by hiring a professional mover from Prince Albert, who came and jacked up the house, loaded it (furniture and all contents intact) upon a large trailer truck and journeyed down a wide snow ploughed road, across the ice, to our present location. It was then loaded onto a basement, which had been prepared the previous summer.
In July 1947, in Prince Albert our first son, Robert, was born. In July 1950, in Big River our second son, Kenneth was born. The boys attended Dore Lake Elementary School and received their high school at Carpenter High in Meadow Lake. In 1976, Bob married Simone Casavant of Prince Albert. They have one son, Shawn. The family resides in Prince Albert. Ken married Karen Brauer of Middle Lake, Saskatchewan in 1974. They have one daughter, Charma, and one son Paul, and reside in Saskatoon.
There are a few episodes that happened in our lives, that will not be forgotten.
Over the years we have had many good times. The New Year's Eve get-togethers were always fun. Everyone would pack up and head across the Lake to Harold Eldridge's, to see the Old Year out and the New Year in. Harold, Delea and their family of four, would be ready and waiting for us. Delea had food prepared for an army. We did justice to it though, I assure you. We would dine and dance until the wee hours of the morning; then pack up, wish everyone a Happy New Year and depart for home.
Berry season was a time for social gatherings as well. Again we would spread the word. We would pack up with pails, insect repellent, and food. We would then gather at the berry patch, where we picked berries. After we tired of picking berries, we would roast wieners. Mrs Ida Johnson made luscious cranberry pie. She insisted on one quarter, a pie per serving. Those are times we'll never forget.
Early spring, 1955. Lance LaFontaine, Ken Snell.
Robert and Bernice Snell, early 1950's.
Henry Mason (Saskatoon) holding fish. Wife Terry (far right),
Darlene Viden (center) Gary Viden and Bob Snell seated, Early 1950's.
Bob and Ken Snell, 1952.
March, 1958. Robert Snell holding fish.
Sons, Bob and Ken, standing by.
Fish measured 42 inches long.