A History of Buffalo Narrows

Biographical Sketches

Buffalo Narrows Residents
Part Two

Buffalo Buffalo
Frank "Dutchy" Hansen

Frank "Dutchy" Hansen - (right in photograph), was born in Germany in 1892. He came to the Buffalo Narrows area via Pennsylvania. In 1918, Dutchy married Monique Maurice, They had thirteen children (Emilene, Cyril, Frank, Richard, John, Napoleon, Albert, Margaret, Thomas, Allan, Joseph, Therese and Marie).

In the 1920's, Dutchy and Antoine Moberly were trapping on Virginia's Point on the west side of Churchill Lake, near Buffalo Narrows. Dutchy's family lived at Souris River (near Pinehouse) for years before moving to Buffalo Narrows in 1948.

Dutchy Hansen.
A coffee break with mink rancher "Dutchy Hansen (right) barge captain Wilfred Gauthier (center) and pilot George Greening (left). Photograph was taken in 1956. (Courtesy of Sask. Archives Board: Star Phoenix Collection.)

Olaf and Alice Larson

Olaf and Alice Larson - moved to Buffalo Narrows separately in 1937. Olaf was born in Leask, Saskatchewan in 1919. Alice (MacDonald) was born in La Loche in 1923. She moved to Buffalo Narrows with her parents (Blanche and Kenneth MacDonald).

Olaf trapped with Charlie McCullough when he first came to Buffalo Narrows. Later, he stayed with Hilda and Jacob Halvorsen at Moose Point. Alice and Olaf were married in 1942 in Buffalo Narrows. Prior to 1942, Olaf had been fishing with Joe Beaulac.

After 1942, Olaf worked for Halvor Ausland at his mink Ranch. Then, he fished for himself at Moose Point for a while. Next, he worked as a patrolman for the Department of Natural Resources, before becoming a carpenter for the Department of Education.

In the late 1940's, Olaf started mink ranching at Larson's Island, near Moose Bay. They continued to mink ranch until 1968. Olaf continues to trap in the winter and fish in the summer at the present time. The Larson's are presently living in Buffalo Narrows.

Ambrose Morin

Ambrose Morin - moved to Buffalo Narrows at some point prior to 1931, when the school was built. He and his wife Rosa (Maurice) had four children (Catherine, "Frisco", Martin and Albertine). They lived on the point by the ball park until about 1938-39 when Alfred Tinker bought the house. At this point, Ambrose and his family moved to Kiezie Channel.

Ellias "Louis" Rimstad

Louis Rimstad - was born in Sunmorre, Norway. When he first came to Buffalo Narrows in 1932, he lived with Joe Beaulac. Later he stayed with Bill Ashbury. in 1940, Louis trapped with Olaf Larson. Louis died in 1942 from galloping consumption.

Charlie McCullough

Charlie McCullough - from Bapaume, Saskatchewan, was a trapper who spent his summer months in Buffalo Narrows. He first came to Buffalo Narrows in 1928. He bought Sigvold Nelson's cabin and trapped north of Frobisher Lake. Charlie had travelled extensively (Australia and New Zealand) prior to coming to Buffalo Narrows.

In 1932, Charlie McCullough and his partner, Gary Timmons, stayed with Halvorson's at Moose Point after an unsuccessful trapping venture. Charlie also worked at the Buffalo Narrows fire tower and as a radio operator at Cree Lake. He is presently living in Big River.

Halvor Ausland

Halvor Ausland.
Walcer's mink ranch on Deep River. (L-R): Joe Walcer, Mary Ausland, Mary Walcer, Violet Ausland, Halvor Ausland and Margaret Forrest. (Courtesy of John and Mary Hansen.)

Halvor Ausland - (second from right), was born in Evje, Norway 0n April 23, 1902. He came to Canada in 1920. Between 1921 and 1925, he trapped at such places as Skeleton Bay, on Island Lake (Frobisher Lake) and at the forks of the Little Deer River (Mudjatik River) In 1925, Halvor settled on Deep River where he trapped, commercial fished and raised foxes at first.

In 1928, he started mink ranching with mink bought in Quebec and the United States, as well as some wild mink. Mr Ausland originated the Palomino breed of mink in these early years. He was one of the first mink ranchers in Canada.

Halvor ran the mink ranch until 1962, when he sold out to a Mr Williams, who had Mr. Clapson run it for him.

Halvor's wife Mary, lived in Big River for much of the mink ranching period. They were married in 1925 and had six children Selmer, Halvor, Annie, Irene, Mary, and Marjorie. Halvor was later divorced and remarried (to Violet) in 1948. The Ausland's are now living in White Rock.

Joe Beaulac

Joe Beaulac - came to Buffalo Narrows from Leask, Saskatchewan in 1928 by himself. He was a French-Canadian. At first, Joe lived with Martial Kiezie. Later, he built his own log cabin. He also built several other houses in town, as he was a carpenter by trade. Joe was joined by his son, Ray, in 1933.

Webmasters note:

At present, there is not much information available on Joe Beaulac's background, and his stay in the Buffalo Narrows area. In the future, I hope to have more information on Joe to add to this history.

Joe Beaulac.
Joe Beaulac (date unknown) (Courtesy of Adele Grieve.)

Ray and Elise Beaulac

Ray Beaulac - came to Buffalo Narrows in 1933. Ray trapped and probably commercial fished in the Buffalo Narrows area in the 1930's. In the 1950's, Ray started mink ranching at Deep River not far from Buffalo Narrows. He continued to raise mink at Deep River until 1961, when he decided to leave for the south.

Three years later, because of his love for the north, Ray returned to Buffalo Narrows. He then set up another mink ranch, next to the ferry landing in Buffalo Narrows.

Because of poor fur prices, Ray quit mink ranching in 1974 and he and his family left Buffalo Narrows for good. Ray and his wife Elise had three children (Adele (Grieve), Lorraine (Reynolds) and Paul).Ray Beaulac passed away in 1979, his wife Elise is alive and lives in a nursing home in Saskatoon.

Ray Beaulac-1934.
Ray Beaulac in Buffalo Narrows in 1934. Eighteen years of age. (Courtesy of Adele Grieve.)

Bill Ashbury and Harry Viel

Bill Ashbury and Harry Viel - had a small store for a couple of years (1939-41) on Viel's Bay, which is the next bay north of Pat's Bay on Churchill Lake. By 1946, Bill had a mink Ranch on the far side of Pat's Bay opposite Tony's sawmill. Bill stayed in Buffalo Narrows until 1961, when he moved back to Ontario. Harry Viel's wife Dot was from Meadow Lake. He fished in the summer, until he left in 1943.

Alfred Tinker

Alfred Tinker - was born in Three Rivers, Quebec in 1899. He first came to Buffalo Narrows in 1925 with the freighters via Big River, Saskatchewan, Alfred was a fisherman and trapper who ran a mink ranch in later years. Alfred lived in Whitefish for a number of years before moving to Buffalo Narrows in 1938-39. He bought Ambrose Morin's house on Pedersen's Bay at that time. Alfred and his wife Adeline (Caisse) had ten children (Florence, Augustin, Emile, Kathleen, John, Arthur, Laura, Norman, Phillip and Jeremy).

A.C Krivda

A.C Krivda - was originally from Roumania. He came to Buffalo Narrows from Star Junction, Pennsylvania in 1932 via Big River. At first, he trapped near Birch Lake. During World War II, Adolph was in the air force. He was credited with having brought down his plane after the pilot and co-pilot was killed. Adolph was the radio operator. He was reported to have attended a royal dinner in England with King George in attendance. In later years, Adolph became a mink rancher. He still resides in Buffalo Narrows.

John Pederson

John Pederson - was born in Lillehammer, Norway in 1900. He came to Buffalo Narrows in 1928-29 to fish. He did some trapping while living on Petit's Point. John was quite a good carpenter. He helped Jacob Halvorsen build his freezer and constructed the Presbyterian Church. John also worked for the Department of Natural Resources.

John Swanvick

John Swanvick - was born in Norway in 1864. He first came to Canada in 1923. By 1929, he was in the Buffalo Narrows area. He had been previously been fishing at Dore Lake. At first, John fished at headquarters on the west side of Big Peter Pond Lake. During one of his fishing trips. John froze his legs in the slush and ended up having them amputated below the knee. In later years, John had a mink ranch. He died in 1968.

John Swanvick.
John Swanvick lost his legs fishing. (Photo Courtesy of John and Mary Hansen.)

Sigvold Nelson

Sigvold Nelson - was one of the first Norwegian trappers in the Buffalo Narrows area. He was born in Sondmor, Norway in 1886. Sigvold came to the Buffalo Narrows area from Ericson, Manitoba between 1914 and 1921, to trap. He almost died from typhoid fever in these early years from drinking water from a muskeg. His partner did die.

Nelson was nursed back to health by Pete Siemon. Prior to 1945, Sigvold managed the Hudson's Bay Company Post at Turnor Lake. In 1945, he quit the Bay and moved into Buffalo Narrows on a permanent basis. He died, a single man, in 1960 at age seventy four from a stroke.

Pete Siemon

Pete Siemon - (second from right in the photograph), was a Mennonite from the United States, who first came to the Buffalo Narrows area to trap in 1914. At first, he did a lot of trapping on Frobisher Lake. In 1943-44 he stayed with Hilda and Jacob Halvorsen. It was Pete Siemon who sold Halvorsen his mink to start his mink ranch, Pete died in 1954, at the age of ninety-four.

Pete Siemon.
(L-R) Martha (Pederson) Waite, Christine (Jacobson) Chartier, Pete Siemon (trapper and fisherman), and Rose (Pedersen) Ericson. (Photo Courtesy John and Mary Hansen.)

John Jacobson

John Jacobson - had a small cabin on Jacobson's Bay on Churchill Lake in 1916. Later he moved to Ile-a-la-Crosse where he married. In later years, he returned to Buffalo Narrows to mink ranch.

Louis Chartier

Louis Chartier - lived on Deep River where he fished for his father, Edmond. He married Philomene, in 1920. Philomene had been born in La Loche in 1895. They had two sons (Martin and Dominique). At some point prior to 1929, Louis moved to Chartier's Point near the Marten River where he trapped, fished and had a large farm. He kept cows and chickens, as well as growing grain and vegetables. Louis died in 1942. Philomene still lives in Buffalo Narrows.

Shorty Raymond

Shorty Raymond - worked for the Department of Natural Resources in Buffalo Narrows in the late 1920's. At first, he had a cabin on the far side of Kiezie Channel. Later he had a cabin and fire tower on the near side of Kiezie Channel. Shorty took sick and moved to Ile-a-la-Crosse in the early 1930's.

Alfred "Tana" Aubichon

Alfred "Tanna" Aubichon - lived in a bay on the far side of Kiezie Channel, in the 1930's. He was a medicine man who could cure people by means of roots and herbs. Later he lived near the location of Frank Petit's present house.

Alfred and his wife Matilda (Natomagen) had five children (Albertine, Christine, Maxine, Marie, Flavie, and Alfred). In 1947, Alfred was shot during a hunting accident. His wife died in 1974.

Anton "Tony" and Erick Erickson

Anton ("Tony") and Erick Erickson - were originally from Iceland. Their parents, Mr and Mrs. Svein Erickson, came to Big River, Saskatchewan from Foam Lake in 1937 to retire. Tony was best known for running sawmills in the Buffalo Narrows area, but, he had been fishing in the Buffalo Narrows area (1929) long before he opened his sawmill.

Tony ran a number of sawmills around Buffalo Narrows in the 1940's, 1950's and 1960's. From 1963 to 1967 he ran a second hand store in town. Tony died in 1967.

Tony's brother, Erick spent most of his life in Big River and Beauval where he had a mill and a stopping place for many years. He fished in the Buffalo Narrows area in the late 1930's. He eventually moved to Meadow Lake where he had a sawmill and a box factory until he passed away.

Tony Erickson.
Tony Ericson and Mrs Clarke.

Joe Le Houx

Joe Le Houx - trapped and looked after his garden in Buffalo Narrows in the late 1930's. He lived in Buffalo Narrows until 1948 when he moved away. He and his wife had five sons and a number of daughters, one of whom married Ralph Poffenberger.

Joe and Mary Walcer

Joe and Mary Walcer - came to Deep River in the 1930's to trap and fish. They had been living at Dipper Lake prior to this move, although they were originally from Melfort, Saskatchewan. They had a Mr Thomas staying with them at their place on Deep River.

Joe and Mary ran a mink ranch which they maintained until the late 1950's, when they moved to British Columbia. They had one son named Wally.

Frank Nordstrom

Frank Nordstrom - moved to Canada from a place near Stockholm, Sweden in 1923. By 1929, Frank was in the Buffalo Narrows area. At first, he freighted for Waite and Rizer, although he had a farm near Deer Ridge, Saskatchewan.

Later, he was one of the four partners to start the Churchill Mink Ranch, which was to become one of the largest mink ranches in the Buffalo Narrows area.

Frank sold the ranch to Claude Bouchard in the late 1960's. Frank Nordstrom was also an accomplished boat builder. For example, he built several cabin cruisers for Waites Fisheries.

Walter and Alvin Vickland

Walter and Alvin Vickland - were originally from Sweden. At, first, they lived at Deer Ridge, Saskatchewan (12 miles from Canwood). Walter Vickland was freighting into the Buffalo Narrows area by 1937. Later he sold eggs, worked on the ferry and had a mink ranch on the channel.

His wife, Alice babysat for the police. Alvin Vickland was one of the original partners in the Churchill Mink Ranch. He and Erick Kriek, eventually sold out to Waite and Nordstrom. He then moved to Ile-a-la-Crosse where he bought Lavoie's mink ranch, before moving to British Columbia to start a mink ranch.

Ragnar Engen

Ragnar Engen trapped and fished in the Buffalo Narrows area in the late 1930's. He fought in World War II.

Carl Brownfield

Carl Brownfield - was born in Big River, Saskatchewan. He fished in the Buffalo Narrows area in the 1930's He divided his time between Buffalo Narrows and Big River, until he died of cancer in the 1950's. Carls wife, Gilda, still resides in Big River.

Joe Jarusewich

Joe Jarusewich - was born in Kasperiwici in the Polish Ukraine. He had fought in the Austra-Hungarian army in World War I, after being taken prisoner in Italy. He married his wife, Mariya, in 1921, and they had a daughter named Petrouchka.

Joe came to Canada in 1930. He planned to bring his wife and daughter to Canada later, but, the Russians annexed the Polish Ukraine during World War II and would not let them go.

During the 1930's and early 1940's Joe fished for Jacob Halvorsen in Buffalo Narrows. By 1955, he had settled in Dore Lake. In 1969, his wife who was quite ill, was allowed to come to Canada. She died a short time after moving to Dore Lake.

Trigvold Olson

Trigvold Olson - had a farm near Mont Nebo, Saskatchewan. In the 1930's, he fished for Jacob Halvorsen at Buffalo Narrows. In 1969, he helped look after Williams' (Ausland's old mink ranch) mink ranch on Deep River.

Carl Lind

Carl Lind - was a Swede who brought the mail to Buffalo Narrows in the 1930's. He brought the mail by canoe in the summer and by dog team in the winter. He was the last man to haul mail to the north by dogteam. He later moved to Saint Walberg, where he and his wife became well known for their paintings.

Webmaster note:

Carl Lind trapped on the east side of Cree Lake in Northern Saskatchewan. He had a natural talent for oil painting and he could paint wildlife scenes with ease from his trapping and hunting experiences in the North. He mass produced these paintings, which he sold while traveling around the country.

Carl's wife, was the daughter of a well known Swiss artist and hand-painted ties, as well as producing oil paintings. They were both frequent visitors to Deep River and several of Carl's paintings hung on the walls of Halvor Ausland's house.

There is an interesting incident described in the book, Face The North Wind, (the story of the trapping careers of Ed Theriau and Fred Derbyshire). It involves Carl Lind and a fellow from Ile-a-la-Crosse, known as the 'Big Boss'.

The description of this event, however, is somewhat different than the version told to me by my father, who had first hand knowledge of what actually occurred. I am including the book version in this history. (Courtesy of J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing, Winnipeg.)

Jack Murray was a trapper who was in the country in the early years when I first went there. He was the best rifle shot that I ever met in the North; he never missed a flying goose within range or a running caribou in the bush. Carl Lind was another fellow in the country in those days, and every time they met, Murray and Lind would shoot at a target for a dollar. Murray took the dollar every time. Lind was very good with a rifle, but he was no match for Murray."

Carl Lind once made a deal with a fellow who was in charge of the Hudson's Bay Company brigade of freighter canoes taking winter freight to the Cree Lake outpost. Lind was to be taken with the brigade, assist them over the portages and, in turn, he and his supplies would be taken to his camp on the east side of Cree Lake.

The man in charge, a Cree half-breed, was called the 'Big Boss' This chap had a reputation for being a great bully. When the six loaded canoes eventually arrived at Cree Lake, and had to wait at Stony Narrows until a strong north wind died down, an argument developed between 'The Big Boss' and Lind. 'The Big Boss' swore he would take Lind no further, but would leave him and his supplies on the shore.

About this time, two Chipewyans with a canoe appeared at the Narrows. Lind, now assured that he could get the Chipewyans to take him home, got into a fight with 'The Big Boss'. The bully turned out to be more of a braggart than a fighter.

He got about the worst beating any man ever received in the North. Besides, there was a pot of porridge cooking on the fire, and 'Big Boss' who was barefooted, stepped into it. The men had to carry him across the portage on their return trip. There was not a Cree or a Chipewyan in the country who did not think he got exactly what he deserved".

Pete Bogaar

Pete Bogar - was a Dane who lived on the west side of Little Peter Pond Lake in the 1930's. He also trapped in the Cree Lake-American River area of Northern Saskatchewan.

Einer Nordstrom

Einer Nordstrom - was a trapper in the Buffalo Narrows area in the 1930's and early 1940's. He married a girl from Mont Nebo. In the mid 1940's he moved to Ontario to work in a paper mill.

Louis Brule

Louis Brule - was living in Buffalo Narrows in 1937. He was married to Angelique Montgrand, but she did not live very long after getting married. They had no children. Louis later married Agathe (Young).

Louis had a log cabin on Little Peter Pond Lake prior to his marriage. He helped a man by the name of Chouinard build the present day Roman Catholic church in 1945. Louis died in 1964.


The biographies listed here represent many, but, unfortunately, not all of the early settlers of Buffalo Narrows. Undoubtedly, there are some people who did not come to light during this study.

Little is known about some of the other early settlers such as Walter Laub, Alex Olson, Dave Adams, Arthur, Eugene and Joe Lejeunesse, Henry Wolfe, Mr. Enger, Richard Gallant, Albert Maurice, Charlie Ransome, and Olaf Anderson.

Indeed it is unfortunate that so little in the way of biographical information is available on these people.

The early history of Buffalo Narrows is closely tied to fishing and trapping. Most of the early settlers came either to fish, or to trap, or to do a little of each. It must be remembered that the town of Buffalo Narrows was developing during the depression years of the 1930's.

Jobs were few and far between. Wages were low and unemployment was high, but, a man could go north and make a living, or at least support himself, by fishing and trapping.

It was these people, along with the transplants from Ile-a-la-Crosse, that blended together at Buffalo Narrows to form the community that we have today".

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Author: Webmaster - jkcc.com
"Date Modified: July 11, 2024."

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By Art Karas

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