O.P.Godin's Store

Big River Families Histories
Part Five

Log Hauling

Trees. Trees.
Peter and Petra Figeland.

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.

Dog Derby Days with Myrtle, Mr. Figeland.
Dog Derby Days with Myrtle, Mr. Figeland, Ingolf Figeland,
Dorothy, Mrs. Figeland, Kelly, Fern, and Mrs. Goodman.

James Forbes.

Mr Jim Forbes was born in Kinistino but was raised in Big River. Jim went to school in Big River and also was married here. He married Georgina Anderson and seven children were born to the Forbes family: Doris, James (Bud), Gladys, Grace, Kenny, Donald, and Lorraine. Mr. Forbes' second marriage was to Jean Luke in 1966. He has been employed in a variety of jobs, working at the mill, logging, and selling wood. He operated the dray for several years and the Forbes Funeral Home, which is located in the old United Church.

James S Forbes.

Mr. Forbes came to Canada from Ireland around the turn of the century. He came to this district to work in the sawmill in June 1911 and suffered the loss of a leg in September of that year in a mill accident. He became assistant in the Post Office for a time but was appointed postmaster in 1914 and served faithfully in this position for forty years. The office was also an accounting office before 1948 and Mr Forbes did all this work alone. An extremely community-minded person, Mr Forbes served in many public offices. He was Secretary-Treasurer of the Big River School District for years and helped incorporate the district into a village. He was Secretary of the village from 1928 to 1948 and was the Red Cross Secretary and a representative from 1914 to the time of his death. He was Superintendent of Sunday School as well as Trustee for the United Church and acted as Secretary-Treasurer for many years. He was friend and advisor to all the young student ministers, extending his home and hospitality to each Mr Forbes married Agnes Jarvais and they had two sons, James and Robert.

Left: Mr. Fred Buckley, Right: Mr. James Forbes.
L: Mr. Fred Buckley, R: Mr. James Forbes.

Mr. and Mrs. Peter Fraser.

The Fraser family came to Big River in the spring of 1914. Mr and Mrs Peter Fraser had four children: Milton, Harold, Kenneth, and Gordon. Mr Fraser worked at the sawmill that unfortunately burned down in the summer. It was reconstructed and took the name Big River Sawmill. Later, this was changed to the Ladder Lake Lumber Company owned by the Winton Brothers of the United States. Mr Fraser was millwright in the new mill until the last year it ran in 1920. The Frasers moved to a new homestead at the southeast end of the lake. These two sections were later sold to Bob Wood.

Kenneth left Big River in 1929 and took up residence in Prince Albert. He married Florence Crawford in 1932, and they had two children.

Milton joined the army in 1914 to fight in the trenches of France. He returned to marry a Big River school teacher, Miss Luella Shaw. The two later moved to Ontario.

Harold moved to Idaho after marrying his high school sweetheart, Edith McLeod.

Gordon married a girl from Ladder Valley, Nellie Garner. He took a job on the railroad at Eldred, then moved to Medstead.

Gordon Fraser with ducks.
Gordon Fraser with ducks.

Jack Fyfe.

Mr. Jack Fyfe arrived in Big River in 1910. The family came from Scotland to join him in 1911. Mr Fyfe worked at the company store.

Jack Gagnon.

Submitted by Mrs. G. Flaws

Jack Gagnon came from Ontario in 1910 and obtained employment in the Lumber Mill at Big River. In 1912, he married Myrtle LaBelle, daughter of Sam and Zuella LaBelle, at the Roman Catholic Church, Reverend Normand Gagne officiating. Sam was foreman of the Lathe Mill. He and Myrtle had four children: Lillian, Myrtle, Hazel and John. Lillian and Myrtle worked in the Company Store, and Hazel worked at the Post Office for Jimmy Forbes. John moved to the United States in 1925 and is now retired and residing in Wisconsin. Sam and Zuella later moved to the United States and both are now deceased - so are the daughters.

While in Big River, Jack Gagnon had supervision of the manufacture of lumber in the sawmill. He was in charge of the lumber from the green-chain to the pile, back through the planer and into the cars. In 1920, the Lumber Company having finished its cut, the Gagnon family moved to The Pas, Manitoba, where Jack held the position of plant superintendent for The Pas Lumber Company. It was now under the management of Mr A.L. Mattess. In 1924, the family moved to Giscome, British Columbia. Jack was employed by Mr W.K. Nichols, Manager of the Eagle Lake Spruce Mills until 1929 when the family moved to Edmonton, Alberta.

Jack and Myrtle Gagnon, who are now deceased, have one daughter Mildred, who was always very active in the organization of community and sports events, passed away in 1970 at the age of 85 and Myrtle passed away in 1965 at the age of 71.

Henri and Elise Gallant.

In 1911, when Alonzo was only six years old, his parents, Henry and Elise, came to Big River from Moncton, New Brunswick. They travelled by train and spent eight days in Prince Albert while waiting for their papers to be cleared to venture up North. Henry was a fisherman, who had decided to head north after reading a newspaper article about getting rich in the North. After arriving in Big River, Henry Gallant built a house on Third Avenue. Henry took a job at the sawmill and later moved to a homestead where their ten children were raised: Alonzo, Richard, Dellard, Pat, Paul, Marion, Sarah, Alice, Lily and Edmay. Edmay died of jaundice at the age of twelve. Alonzo is the only member of the family who didn't get sick in the 1918 flu epidemic.

Alonzo freighted for twenty-two winters, logged for fifteen years and worked in the sawmill for fourteen summers. He also worked in the Nursery for five years and hauled fish for Mr Leveck, Sam Lyons, and Gaudoise Tremblay. Fish sold for five cents a pound, and that was delivered!

In all of his freighting experiences, Alonzo lost only one horse. It fell through the ice into thirty feet of water. A rope was put around the horse's neck and when the team tried to pull it out, the horse's neck was broken.

Henry Gallant died of burns received in a fire at his fish camp on Keeley Lake.

Alonzo married Genevieve Arsenault, and they had four children: Gail, Gloria, Loretta, and Gerard.

Alonzo and Genevieve Gallant.
Alonzo and Genevieve Gallant.

The Gibson Family.

George Gibson came to Big River with his parents in 1920. They homesteaded in the Ladder Valley district. George enlisted in the Second World War and while overseas married Ruth E. Jones of London, England. The couple returned to Canada in 1946 and settled in the Ladder Valley area. Mr Gibson passed away in 1966 and at that time Mrs Gibson moved into town where she still resides.

Mr. and Mrs. C.H. Gilbert.

Mr. and Mrs C.H. Gilbert came to Big River in the early 1900s, approximately 1910. Mr Gilbert was involved in three businesses in the town: a pool room, a barbershop, and later on a butcher shop. Mrs Gilbert was a nurse and worked in Big River at the hospital. Mr and Mrs Gilbert then moved to a farm in Ladder Valley, and it was here that his title of "Wheat King" was established. His wheat, flax, oats, and field peas received national recognition for their quality. The only reward for his efforts were small cash prizes and ribbons from the exhibitions he entered. Perhaps the most memorable award was in 1931 when he received first prize for his Hard Red Spring Wheat in the Chicago Exhibitions. This variety of wheat, as well as his award-winning Victory Oats, is no longer grown.

Family members recall the tedious hours spent producing the grain under the supervision of their father. The grain was weeded and cut, and harvested by hand. After the grain was harvested the difficult work began. Each kernel had to be analyzed, selected, and polished, to qualify as the award-winning produce.

Mr. and Mrs Gilbert had a family of five: Guilda, Joe, Helen, Richard, and Cuthbert, four of whom are still living in Big River.

Mr. and Mrs. Glendinning.

The Glendinning family came to the north in 1925. They lived in Bodmin for one year before moving into Big River. Bodmin was a French community during this time, and therefore one of the daughters (Alice) decided to take the opportunity to learn French. Alice arrived home and proudly displayed her ability to speak French. Her father could understand some of the language, which was why she was never allowed to repeat the new words she had learned. The French lessons ended.

Mr. Glendinning was a carpenter and worked at several different jobs. He also worked for the R.C.A.F. at LaRonge.

In 1933, the family moved onto a farm east of Ladder Lake and remained there until 1942. From there they moved to Prince Albert and then to British Columbia.

In 1964, Mr Glendinning passed away. Mrs Glendinning is still living in a nursing home in B.C. at the age of eighty-seven. The names of the children are: Ray, Irene, Eddie, Ida, Stewart, Bernice, Colin, and Alice.

Henry and Marianne Goliath.

Mr. Henry Goliath came to Canada from Germany in 1927. Marianne came from Austria in 1929. She stayed in Saskatoon for two years before she and Henry moved to Dore Lake.

The trip to Dore took a total of three days. The first day and all night as well were spent travelling by skiff up Stoney. They had to portage a total of sixteen miles until they reached Sled Lake. From here they travelled into Dore. In winter, the trip to Dore was made when the freight would be taken north by horses on the freight swings.

Henry would go on the trap line in the fall and the winter he would do commercial fishing. Dog teams were used to travel across Dore Lake to the nets and to bring back the fish. Mrs. Goliath remembers the seven years spent in Dore as good times. There was steady employment and they always had enough food for their family.

Mr and Mrs Goliath remained in Dore for seven years until it was necessary to move to Big River so their children could go to school. Mr. Goliath was killed in a hunting accident and therefore Marianne was left to raise four children: Rheinhold, Gertrude, Henry, and Ernest. Mrs Goliath still lives in Big River.

Mr. and Mrs. W.R. Gould.

William Roland Gould was born in Walkerton, Ontario. He came west with his parents, William and Isobel Gould, one brother, and three sisters, to reside in Prince Albert where his father became the station agent at East Prince Albert, at that time called Goschen.

Grace Y. Gould was born in Scotland and came to Prince Albert in 1913 with her parents, Alexander and Mary Motherwell, sisters Mary and Isabella and brothers, Thomas and Robert. She took all of her schooling in Prince Albert. Grace enjoyed swimming and skating and took part in singing, concerts, drama, etc., both through the church and at school.

Grace first came to Big River in 1922 with her sister, Mrs Mary Newton. The two sisters, who had been used to electric lights, sewer and water, large schools and church, found Big River quite a change.

In 1926, having completed her business course. Grace Motherwell moved to Big River to work for Big River Consolidated Fisheries Ltd. William Gould served in Russia during the First World War and on his return to Canada attended the University of Saskatchewan, taking two years of engineering. He then attended Normal School, later obtaining his B.A. from the University. He taught school at Jansen and Harris, Saskatchewan. In August 1926, Mr Gould came to Big River as Principal of the school.

In 1927, Bill Gould and Grace Motherwell were married. The Goulds' first child, Keith George, was born in 1929 and died the same year. A daughter, Laura Grace, and son, Grant Terry were born later and have both grown up in this community and still reside here.

Both Mr and Mrs Gould have been active in the community. Mr Gould participated in many sports, having won awards for running and jumping. He played baseball, tennis, soccer, basketball and hockey. He loved the outdoors - tenting, hunting, fishing, boating, and walking through the forests. He was a long-time member of the Legion and a charter member of the Board of Trade. He was an Elder of the United Church and often played the organ as well.

Mrs. Gould has worked for many organizations in the community. She has held positions in the Curling Club, United Church Ladies Aids, United Church Board, Good Cheer Club (during the war years). She was on the Hospital Board, a charter member of the O.O.R.P. and has been Honoured Royal Lady four times and Deputy District for two terms. She was a member of the Board of Trade and at present is on the Recreation Board. Senior Citizens Branch and although retired, she remains vice-president and secretary-treasurer of Waite Fisheries Ltd.

In 1941, Mr Gould received his call from the R.C.A.F. and went to Toronto. He received his discharge in 1945 with the rank of Flying Officer. Upon his discharge, he went to Buffalo Narrows to manage Waite and Company. In 1946, Bill again became Principal of the Big River School. He retired from teaching in 1963 and died in 1968.

Mrs. Grace Gould plans to remain in her home in Big River. Her daughter, Laura, married Max Wilson and they live here in Big River. Grant married Vivian, daughter of Jack and Sylvia Servatius. They reside in Big River. Grant is the Shell Agent and operates a sporting goods store. Vivian operates its campground. The Grant Goulds have three children, Charlaine, Celynne and Travis.

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"Date Modified: July 2, 2024."

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