Back Row: Debbie, David, Nadine. Front Row: Sasha, Jarret. Taya.
David and Debbie moved to the Big River area in the spring of 1982. David originally was from Prince Albert and Debbie (Rath) was born and raised near Swift Current. They were married in Prince Albert in 1980.
The lure of the country living surrounded by lakes and bush brought the couple north. They bought land and built their existing home north of Erinferry, Saskatchewan. The river "Big River" runs through our property.
David has worked at various jobs from roofing, carpentry, stone and concrete work, raising and selling rainbow trout, and working independently running a greenhouse, (DNJ Gardens), for ten years.
Debbie, a registered nurse, has worked at the Big River Union Hospital for the twenty years and now at the Big River Health Centre, doing shift work and full-time hours. This lent itself to David being home with their four children.
Nadine Dawn was born in September 1980. She completed her very active high school terms and became active in the community, teaching swimming lessons at Delaronde and Nesslin Lake, was a ski instructor at Ski Timber Ridge and was a day coordinator. She moved to Saskatoon where she completed her Recreation Leisure Management Course and returned for a short period of time as the Recreation Director in Big River. Nadine now lives in Saskatoon where she is pursuing more education while working full time with children at a day care.
Jarret Wesley was born in May 1983. He graduated from grade twelve and was active in sports at school. His favourite was basketball and soccer. Most of all he enjoyed snowboarding at the Ski Timber Ridge and trips to the mountains. He now lives in Saskatoon and works for Commercial Sand Blasting and Painting Company. The job gives him opportunities to work all across Saskatchewan and into Alberta.
Taya Marie was born in October of 1985. She completed her grade twelve at the Big River High School a year ago. She has been working at local businesses since she was in grade ten. She has always shown great independence with an appreciation of where she was born and raised.
Sasha Gordon was born in January of 1991 and is presently in grade seven at the Big River Community High School. He spends time with family, skiing, snowboarding and golfing and is known for his "on line" computer time. His latest passion is lacrosse and he plays for the Big River Extremes.
Heather. Lynne, Allan, Bruce.
Allan was born in 1945 in Canwood, Saskatchewan and spent his first two years on the farm in Lake Four before moving to Big River in 1947 with his parents, Jalmer and Dorothy, sister, Doris and brother, Bill. He attended Big River Public School and Big River High School, graduating in 1963. He attended DeVry Technical Institute in Toronto from 1963-1964, and received a Diploma in Communications Technology. He then joined Saskatchewan Government Telephones (now SaskTel) in Saskatoon as an apprentice switchman, where he installed and maintained business telephone systems.
In 1967, he married Lynne Fennell of Melfort. In 1968, he received a leave of absence from SaskTel to attend the University of Saskatchewan, College of Engineering. Each summer he returned to SaskTel's installation and maintenance department, and upon graduation he accepted a position in the Special Services Engineering group in Regina. He remained with SaskTel until 1981, when he accepted a position with Mitel Corporation as their Regional Manager in Winnipeg. He was responsible for sales and service of Mitel equipment in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. While they lived in Regina and Winnipeg, Lynne attended the University of Regina and the University of Manitoba and earned a Bachelor of Commerce degree.
In 1986, Allan accepted a transfer to Mitel's head office in Kanata, Ontario (just outside Ottawa) and continued with Mitel in various positions in the Marketing and Service departments. In 1991, he left during a company downsizing. He then worked as a contract employee for Agriculture Canada in Ottawa managing their telecommunications department.
In 1994, he purchased a Mail Boxes Etc. franchise in Nepean, Ontario. This turned out to be a true family business as both Lynne, Allan and their two children, Heather and Bruce all worked there at various times. They sold the business in January 2003. Lynne continues to work as an independent accountant for various clients. Heather is living in Toronto and works as a technical writer. Bruce lives in Ottawa and works as a lighting technician for concerts and festivals. Allan is semi-retired.
Johnson, Anton and Georgina
Submitted by Maxine Gerow
Anton Johnson came to Big River in March, 1916 from Minneapolis, Wisconsin. He was hired by the Big River Lumber Company to work in the mill as an edgerman. His family; wife Georgina, sons Charlie and Clarence and daughters Hazel, Eva and Madeline, arrived in May of 1916.
Mr. Johnson worked in the mill until the big fire in 1919 and when the Lumber Company talked of closing down and moving out because of the great loss of timber. Mr. Johnson was faced with the possibility of moving or finding new employment.
Being a man of vision, he felt there was still a future for Big River and he was determined to remain here with his family. Rallying four other interested men, they joined in a group to form the Big River Development Company and bought the entire town, buildings and property from the lumber company. The administration was divided up among the members of the settlement committee and at one time Mr Johnson owned one-quarter of the town including the theatre. It was his pleasure to donate the use of this building to the Anglican congregation each Sunday until they obtained their building. He also donated some land next to a public reserve and this became Big River's first sports ground, next to the present day high school.
Mr Johnson served as overseer of the village for two terms.
The family lived in town (near where the Legion Hall is now) until 1930 when their home was destroyed by fire. They then moved to the farm on the north edge of town.
Mr Johnson passed away in 1956. Georgina lived to her ninety-fourth year. She passed away two days after the mill burnt in 1968.
Submitted by Maxine Gerow
Ida and Bernard Johnson.
Bernard was born on April 23, 1923, to Charles and Edith (Morrish) in The Pas, Manitoba. The Johnson family left The Pas and went to Crooked River for a while before heading back to Big River.
Bernard Johnson first began working in Dore Lake as a fisherman, at the age of fifteen. In 1938, he was employed by Eric Swanson. In 1941, he left home to join the armed forces. He served in the "Queens Own Cameron Highlanders" in the infantry during World War II. He fought on continental Europe and returned to Canada in 1946.
In 1951, Bernard married Ida LaFontaine. Alfred LaFontaine (Ida's dad) was born at McDowell, Saskatchewan in 1894. Alfred married Erma Metzger on August 31, 1919. They made their home at Rabbit Lake, Saskatchewan. Alfred did some bush work, trapping, hunting and other odd jobs to support his wife and family of nine children. Ida, the sixth child, was born to Alfred and Erma, on January 7, 1931, in Rabbit Lake, Saskatchewan. In 1936, Alfred moved his family to Greenmantle, Saskatchewan. Ida received most of her education in Big River. As a young girl, Ida worked at the fish plant in Dore Lake.
During their early years together, Ida and Bernard lived in Big River. During the winter and summer fishing seasons, they would move to Dore Lake, where Bernard did commercial fishing for a living. The first winter of their marriage they lived in Tom McBride's one-room log "cabin". They then purchased Swanson's camp and lived there during winter fishing and at the fish plant at Murray's Point during summer fishing.
In 1961, they bought Erick Viden's mink ranch at the southern end of Dore Lake and had their new house built in 1965. In 1962, they sold their home in Big River and moved permanently to Dore Lake.
They continued to commercial fish and run the mink ranch until 1987 when Bernard became ill. They sold their beloved lakefront home and moved back to Big River. Bernard passed away in September of 1987. Ida lived in Big River until her passing in August of 2002.
Bernard and Ida had five children. Wayne lives in Prince George, British Columbia, with his wife, Janet. They have three children, Trevor, Jason and Colin. Jordon lives in Saskatoon and has three children, Janelle, Thomas and Lindsay. Maxine is in Big River and married to Bill Gerow. They have two daughters, Regine and Erin. Stewart resides in Big River with his three sons Tyson, Cody and Jordon, and Lisa, their youngest, is married to Blaine Fradette and lives in Red Deer, Alberta with their twins, Dexter and Doree.
Standing: Maxine. Sitting: Jordan, Wayne, Stewart, Lisa.
Johnson, Charles and Edith
Submitted by Maxine Gerow
Edith, Charlie Johnson
Mr and Mrs Johnson were married in 1921 in La Pas, Manitoba. They came to Big River in 1930 and made their home. Mrs Johnson remembers picnics held at Ladder Lake, which was at one time a lovely swimming area. Logrolling contests and various activities would be held for everyone's fun and enjoyment.
Edith's father, Thomas Morrish and four other men (brother-in-law Joseph Compton, nephew Bill Jennings, nephew Lance Compton, and a friend Albert Damery) left New Brunswick for the Wild West, heading for Alberta in 1910. However, upon reaching Prince Albert in the fall, they heard numerous stories and advertisements about Big River and were drawn to the area. Mr Morrish established a good job at the sawmill and sent for his family in 1911. When the mill closed in 1921, the family moved to La Pas, Manitoba, but later returned in 1930. During this time Mr Morrish freighted and worked on a farm.
Charles and Edith had eight children: Irene, Bernard, May, Stanley, Donald, Eugene, Gerald, and Shirley.
Back Row: May, Stanley, Donald. Middle Row: Eugene, Gerald.
Front Row: Shirley. June 1945.
Johnson, George and Elisabeth
Back Row: Dion, Twila (holding Kristjan), Kara, Karla,
Armand, Brennae, April and Darrell.
Middle Row: Liz. Dustin (holding Jake). Jolene, George.
Front Row: Lyndon, Jordanna, Jordan, Garrett.
George Mervin Johnson is the son of J.K. (John Kristjan) and Huldah Johnson. He was born on May 1, 1943, in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. George was raised with his family in Big River. Elisabeth McCullough was born October 1, 1945, in Buffalo Narrows. She grew up with her family in Cree Lake where she met George while he was there working as a fisherman. George and Liz were married on October 3, 1964, in North Battleford. They lived for a short time in Meadow Lake until they returned to Big River to raise their family. George has worked the majority of his life as a truck driver and most of those years for Max and then Wallace Wilson. Liz worked for many years as a labourer at the tree nursery until it was shut down. George and Liz have always been active in the community and still spend many hours at the hockey rink. George and Liz had four children: Darrell, Karla, Dion and Dustin.
Darrell was born on December 12, 1964, in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan. Darrell works for Big River Lumber. He married April Olson on May 19, 1990. April was born on July 3, 1965, in Big River, Saskatchewan. She is the daughter of Leslie and Ida Olson. She works at the Big River Health Center in medical records. Darrell and April live in Big River and have two children. Jordanna was born on June 26, 1993, and Lyndon was born on August 29, 1995. Both children were born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.
Karla was born on March 12, 1967, in Big River, Saskatchewan. Karla works as a Teacher Assistant at the T.D. Michel Elementary School. Karla married Armand Kazmiruk on May 30, 1987. Armand was born on May 16, 1959, in Big River, Saskatchewan and is the son of Alec and Therese Kazmiruk. He works for Big River Lumber as a Millwright. Armand and Karla have three children. Kara was born on August 17, 1989, Brennae was born on January 26, 1992, and Garrett was born on August 19, 1993, all in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.
Dion was born on October 25, 1973, in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Dion works for Big River Lumber. He married Twila Dziurzynski on October 7, 2000. Twila was born on November 19, 1975, in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Twila is the daughter of Ron and Jeannette Dziurzynski and grew up on the farm in Stump Lake, Saskatchewan. Twila works for Big River Lumber as a lumber grader. Dion and Twila have one child Kristjan who was born on May 21, 2003, in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.
Dustin was born on July 4, 1976, in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Dustin works as a Construction Safety Officer for Guthrie Mechanical Services. Dustin married Jolene Leach on July 12, 2003. Jolene was born on January 16, 1975, in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Jolene is the daughter of Melvin and Jeanette Leach. Jolene works as a Pharmacist for Shoppers Drug Mart. Dustin and Jolene live in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Jolene's daughter Jordon was born on May 27, 1991, in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and their son, Jake, was born on March 1, 2003, in Fort McMurray, Alberta.
Johnson, Jalmer and Dorothy
Submitted by Doris Mitchell
Dorothy and Jalmer Johnson.
Jalmer was born in Moholl, North Dakota in 1903. When he was two years old his parents moved to Crescent Hills. near Kinistino. Saskatchewan. In 1927, Jalmer moved to a homestead in the Lake Four area
Dorothy Campbell was born in Shellbrook in 1909 and lived in the Rozilee and Three Creeks district near Shellbrook. In 1928 she moved with her parents Elgin and Maude Campbell to Park Valley.
Jalmer and his brothers Ted and Oscar played music at country dances and it was at a dance that Jalmer met Dorothy. They were married in 1932. Dorothy always said it wasn't much fun being married to a musician, she seldom got to dance with her husband. They farmed, had chickens, cows, pigs and of course horses, which was the only way to travel, especially in the wintertime. Jalmer had a small sawmill and sawed lumber for neighbours, repaired tractors, trucks, or anything that needed fixing.
They had three children: Doris (Raymond Mitchell), Bill and Allan (see own histories). In 1947, the family moved to Big River. For the first winter, Jalmer worked at a sawmill north of town. They rented Gus and Bernice Tremblay's house on Fourth Avenue North, where the United Church now stands. At that time it was a quiet dead-end street, now it is the highway through town.
In 1948, Jalmer bought a half a block of land from an elderly man named Jim Clay. The land extended from the lot where the Fire Hall is now to the railway land. That same year he and Dan Rogowski built a welding and general repair shop where the Fire Hall now stands. They sold the business in 1952 to Mike Skopyk. Jalmer then worked at Andy Sundby's lumber mill.
In about 1949, Jalmer moved a small building on to his land and the family crowded into it while he built three bedrooms down the side. The original part became the kitchen and living room.
Jalmer was on the village council from 1957 to 1963. He was Overseer for the year of 1964. He was on the museum committee and helped build the museum. Jalmer and Dorothy belonged to the senior citizens' group and enjoyed going on trips with the seniors.
Jalmer also worked as a janitor at Waite Fisheries and then retired. He seemed to be just as busy in retirement doing small motor repairs in his garage in the back yard. Dorothy was a good cook and enjoyed trying new recipes, especially cakes and cookies for Jalmer's many coffee breaks. She also loved to sew and made many quilts, a lot of her clothes, and many outfits for her grandchildren. She always had some embroidery work in progress. Many evenings were spent with Jalmer playing his autoharp and Dorothy working on her embroidery.
Jalmer was active until a few months before his death on August 11, 1983. Dorothy lived alone in her house until 1988 when she moved into the senior's apartment on the hill. In 1990, she moved to Lakewood Lodge where she passed away on October 13, 1997.
Johnson, John K and family
Based on the article written by R. Huldah Johnson in 1980
Submitted by Ruth Buckingham
Huldah and J.K. Johnson, 1942.
John Kristjan Johnson was born in Eyjafford, Iceland, May 6, 1895, to Thorstein and Gudrun Ingeborg (Thordottier) Johnson. There were also three girls born to this marriage, all of them younger than John. I do not know the names of the two older girls but John's youngest sister was Fanny Johnson.
John's parents immigrated to Canada when John was between seven and eight years old and Fanny was a baby. They arrived in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and soon after moved to Leslie, Saskatchewan. Thorstein took out a homestead at Leslie.
John's mother passed away soon after they arrived in Leslie. One sister died near the same time. The other sister also passed away while she was very young.
I think those years after John's mother's death was very hard and unhappy ones. John left home at the age of thirteen and went to a family by the name of Bilfeld in Foam Lake, Saskatchewan, where he worked. They treated him as one of their family. John worked and lived with them until he grew up.
Fanny left home at fifteen or sixteen years of age and started supporting herself. When she was eighteen she went to Winnipeg and worked in homes for a while and then got a job at Eaton's. Her health was not very good and I think it was the spring of 1925 that John went to Winnipeg and brought her back to Big River to live with him. Fanny was always very frail but in between sick spells, she worked very hard and supported herself.
John came to Big River with some Icelandic fisherman from Foam Lake, in the fall of 1917. They fished at Dore Lake during the winter. He then went in training for the Army at Regina, going from there to Aldershot, England, to finish his training. As World War I was over soon after he arrived in Aldershot, John was on guard duty for over six months in Belgium and Germany. I believe most of his guard duty was in Belgium. After being discharged from the army in 1919, John came back to Big River in the winter and fished on Dore Lake. He sold out to Edward Lundy in 1929. I know that John spent two summers on Dore Lake with a couple of other fishermen. He also looked after and fed about twelve or fourteen dog teams. It was permissible in those days to feed some moose meat to dogs, but mostly they fished for dog food.
John usually, except for those two summers, came out in the spring and went to Winnipeg to visit Fanny. He then worked the balance of the summer and fall on Bilfield's or other farms at Foam Lake, coming up to Big River and on to Dore Lake to fish every winter. He also worked as a carpenter on the hotel in Big River. It was built in 1925-26, mostly in the summer of 1926.
In 1925, John and a man named Harvey Cann formed a partnership calling themselves "The Northern Woodworkers." They purchased a large piece of land on which stood the old burner. John set up a small mill there, which he gradually enlarged over the years. They sawed and planed their lumber and made fish boxes, folding campstools, etc. The partnership was dissolved in 1929. John then carried on alone. He was also retailing fish on a small scale each winter and the money from fishing helped to enlarge his sawmill.
In 1928, John bought the old I.C.Fisheries buildings, which were along the railroad tracks near the bridge over the river. He started a boarding house there and rented the fish warehouse to Ingvar Olafson. They both used it to retail their fish.
John and I (Huldah Lundy) were married on June 24, 1929. In 1928, my mother and I had started cooking for John in the boarding house that catered to fish freighters. He had a bunkhouse for the men and a barn for their horses. We carried on with the boarding house business, besides John's millwork until 1932. At that time we moved up near the mill and then we boarded our mill workers.
In 1938, John purchased a large planer mill from the West Coast. They worked all summer making pulleys and getting it set up, finally in October, they started the planer up for a few hours to see what adjustments would be necessary. John had a night watchman on duty but that night a fire started and burned everything. There was no insurance in those days and John had to start all over. John also had his logging camps and boomed his logs and towed them down Cowan Lake with a scow. Several summers John ran summer logging camps but mostly it was winter logging.
After the first C.C.F government came into power in Saskatchewan, John sold a piece of his land and his mill to them. The Government started the first "Timber Board" outlet here in Big River and hired John as the manager for three years. This was about 1946.
When John quit the "Timber Board," he fished one winter on Dore Lake for Geir Thordan. The following spring, Len Waite took several old Big River fishermen to Cree Lake for spring fishing. That fall John went back to Cree Lake and the following spring he bought Barney Feldahl's camp on Cree Lake, at Waite's Camp 1 site. John fished from there for two full years, after which Len Waite started building a fish filleting plant on Turner Island about twelve miles north and east of Camp 1. John then managed the plant and our boys, Jack, Bob, Dick, George, and Randy took over the fishing. The first two years Carl Brownfield ran the little training store for Waite's, later John took it over on his own.
In March of 1959, John had a mild stroke and had to be flown home to Big River. He recovered well enough to go back in June and start working again. I went to Cree with him each time after that. The filleting was just starting heavier than ever and John did the filleting. Our son, George, and I took over the managing of the candling, wrapping and packing as well as running the two-way radio. We carried on until John had a severe stroke in July of 1965.
Back Row: Richard, Doris, Jack, George, Robert.
Front Row: AliceMay, Shirley, Joyce, Ruth (holding Randy).
John and I had eleven children, Joyce, John E. (Jack), Ruth, Richard and Robert (twins), Eileen, Shirley, Alice May, George, Doris, and Randy.
Eileen died at two years of age, Bob was killed in a logging accident when he was nineteen years old, and Shirley died at the age of 26 leaving a husband and two small girls. John passed away on January 10, 1983. Huldah lived on in her house for some time and then spent the last few years of her life in the Lakewood Lodge until her death January 5, 1996.
Johnson, Richard (Dick)
Irwin and Dorothy Jean (Patrick)
Pam, Paul, Pat, Robert, Fran, Robin, Renee.
Seated: Dick, Dorothy.
Memories of moving to Big River in 1939 begin with a ride in a large truck with a bench across the front of the box where we ten children sat, while the back held our belongings. We arrived in the evening near South Stoney at the home of the Millikin's, where we were greeted with supper. Granny Millikin made beds for us on the living room floor, where we nestled in, listening to the beautiful music of Jackie and Andrew.
Granny brought us a night snack of homemade bread and butter. I still remember the delicious taste. They were such wonderful people! We moved into our first living quarters, home to George and Irene Millikin, and spent the first winter there while our home was being completed. There was a lot of hard work on the farm for our mother and my family. Grace and Carl were married in 1940. Jim joined the army in 1941.
Caroline went to Winnipeg in 1942 to work, and Gordon was in the hospital in Saskatoon with polio for several months. Robert became the oldest child on the farm. In the fall, we picked berries saskatoons, blueberries and raspberries. It seemed the buckets would never fill so we could go to play! We were fortunate to live by the creek as it provided us with fish. We lived ten miles from Big River and having only a horse and wagon for transportation, it was a whole days trip. We exchanged turns going to town with the Brekers to take the eggs, cream and butter. We would then bring back a months supply of groceries. On one occasion while Mother was in town, Gail's ankle was cut severely. We knew we had to put flour on the wound to stop the bleeding, as that was one of Mother's remedies. Another remedy was molasses and sulfur taken every spring and fall, to improve your general health.
I remember one cold winter day when a sleigh of Indians drove up to the house. We younger children were so frightened we ran upstairs to hide but my mother welcomed the Keenatch family into our home with lunch and coffee. My mother often traded sugar, flour and coffee for wild meat with the natives. Mr Keenatch never forgot her kindness, for when my mother passed away, he was the one who put the handful of earth on her casket.
We lived in the county with no school for three years, so we often had picnics at South Stoney Lake and then danced to Millikin's' music at the Old Log Hall, which became our schoolhouse for a time.
Miss Margaret Pottie was our first teacher. Going three miles to school wasn't very pleasant, especially in the winter. Often jackfruit would touch our nose or cheeks, so we would vigorously rub a handful of snow on our face to cure ourselves. Robert Halsall and I would pull our younger sister, Hope, on a sleigh. I remember giving Hope her first haircut before she started school and needless to say my Mother was not impressed! We had loads of fun with our neighbours: the Brekers, the Klassens, the Thibeault's, the Bovils and the Fehrs, the Bickerts and the Walls. Playing ball, cards, anti eye over, fishing in our creek and running at the beaver pond were some of our enjoyments. Our fishing pole was unique. It was a wooden pole with a wire snare at the end and one had to be quick to catch your fish. In winter, we played fox and geese and our invention, the whirlygig sleigh ride. Once we finished grade eight, it was out of school and off to work.
I got my first paying job as a cook at the Red Cross Hospital in Big River. Miss Orton was the first matron followed by Miss North. There I met Eva Vaugn, Ceceil and Margaret Watier and we all became great friends. I worked a year there, then off to Creston, British Columbia, where again I worked in a hospital. My mother had become ill in 1950 so I moved back to Big River to help look after my younger brothers and sister and found employment with Dr Crux in the Drug Store. There I met Richard Irwin Johnson, twin brother to Robert Allen. They were a pair of mischievous boys. When they weren't busy chopping wood or hauling ice or doing chores, they were playing hockey. Their team won the pennant in 1948 despite the fact they had no coach. I remember the local boys playing hockey in the outdoor rink. The fifty below weather never stopped them. They were true hockey players. Between periods, we would huddle around the wood stove and warm our near-frozen feet. There was a lot of hand-clapping and feet stomping to keep warm.
We had a great hill for tobogganing. It stretched from the hospital to Main Street and if you were really good, you could make it to Cowan Lake. In the summer, the old swimming hole was a fun place until my brother, Wilmot, nearly drowned. Dick came to his rescue. There was many a wiener roast down the track. One could buy a dozen buns and wieners for less than a dollar. The boys took care of putting the fire out. I shall never forget the day I volunteered to be a part of the donkey baseball team. The donkey I got to ride was very stubborn. After hitting the ball to centre field, I mounted the donkey and he decided to lie down. No matter how hard I twisted his ears it didn't do any good. So needless to say I was put out on first base. Tragically, an accident took Robert's life at age eighteen.
Dick and I were married at the United Church on September 9, 1953, by Reverend Ray Hefflefinger. After losing two premature babies, we had a healthy girl, Robin Shelly, born January 18, 1956. Richard had many jobs. He drove trucks and did work for the Planer Mill. He operated road-building equipment for the L.I.D. (Local Improvement District) then in the spring, he hunted beavers with his uncle in Shellbrook.
In search of steadier work, he decided to go with his Uncle Irwin to Hinton to work on construction of the pulp mill. In September, I found a ride to Hinton with Al Osinchuk and Ruth and Art Buckingham. So my brother Winston, who was living with us, Robin and I set out for what was to become our new home.
The living quarters were rather small for four adults, two teenage boys, a ten-month baby, and pregnant me. Aunt Ester and Uncle Irwin slept in the back of a truck, the table was made into a bed for the two boys, and Richard and I slept in a roll down bed at the other end of the eight-foot trailer. With the men working twelve-hour shifts, everyone was up early and the table was made for breakfast. During their few hours off, Uncle Irwin and Richard built an eight by twelve-foot building of two by fours and Perma board. An oil stove heated it and the wallpaper was black tar paper. We were able to move in before the snow fell. Renee Beth was born that December 1956, in Edson, 50 miles away. It was quite a trip to the hospital in a snowstorm.
My youngest sister, Gail and Inez Hagen came to Hinton to seek employment in 1956. The girls stayed with us for a short while until they found their living quarters. Not long after that, Shirley, Dick's sister came looking for work. We always enjoyed having family come, even though the living space was limited.
After completion of the Pulp Mill, Dick worked for the company among various other jobs and Winston found work in the only grocery store in Hinton. With the money from both of Richard's jobs, we managed to save money for a down payment on our first modern three-bedroom home by July. During our ten years in Hinton, we were blessed with four more children: Pamela Gay, Robert Allen, Patrick Richard and Fern Marie.
We moved to Prince George in 1966. Dick worked for the Prince George Pulp and Paper Mill until he retired. We also opened our home to newborn babies waiting to go on to an adopting home. It was then that we were blessed with another chosen child, Paul Emile Cardinal, born on March 28, 1968. Once he was in school, I worked in a senior home and had several other jobs as a cook. Later I decided to open a day care-that gave me many great memories. For the past twenty years, I have cared for seniors in our home, which is very rewarding.
Richard enjoys retirement. He takes the opportunity to fish and we can travel together keeping up with our fifteen grandchildren and five great-grandchildren as well as to follow our local hockey team, the Cougars.
Johnson, William (Bill) and Mary (Wicinski)
Mary and Bill Johnson.
Bill, the oldest son of Jalmer and Dorothy Johnson, was born November 20, 1938, in Canwood, but lived on the farm in Lake Four. He attended the Lake Four School for two or three years until the family moved to Big River. At one time the Lake Four teacher boarded with the Johnson's. Bill, who was always small for his age, often got a piggyback ride on the teacher's back on the way to school. Going home he seemed to have no problem and could make it on his own.
Mary is the youngest child of Stephan and Katharine Wicinski and was born in Ladder Valley on December 1, 1935. "Going to school we had to walk two miles or more, rain or shine, hot or cold, even 50 below. The only time we got a ride was when our parents went to our Christmas Concerts with horses and an open sleigh." Mary admits that attending school on the coldest days when she was very small was not so bad. The attendance was low, discipline eased and little Mary could revel in being "teacher's pet".
Bill's parents moved to Big River in 1947 where Bill completed his schooling. Bill followed in his dad's footsteps and went to work at Sundby's mill near Stoney (Delaronde) Lake where Jalmer was working.
In 1953, Mary decided to look for work in Big River, ready to do something other than farm chores. She had to make a quick choice, working at the Post Office during the Christmas mail rush, or going to work at Waite Fisheries store with a possible permanent position. She chooses Waite Fisheries and was fortunate in that her sister Jenny was already renting a two-room suite above the store and Mary was able to move in with her. Mary continued to live in the suite until her marriage. After Jenny left she had various other roommates.
In 1959, Bill decided he wanted to be a mechanic, so he got a job at Miller's Garage, located at First Street and Third Avenue. Under the excellent training of Sam Miller, Bill went on to write his test and get his inter-provincial journeyman certificate.
In 1960, Bill and Mary were married by Deacon Payton in the Anglican Church in Big River. The church on Third Avenue is still in use in 2004. They continued to live in the Waite Fisheries apartments, this time in a three-room suite. In 1965, they built a house at 215 3rd Avenue North.
When Miller's garage was sold in 1969 to Dunn Brothers, Bill continued working there for Dunn Brothers. He then worked for Wilson Trucking at their location on Main Street across from the present post office.
In 1972, Bill got a job as a mechanic for Saskatchewan Forest Products and continued thereafter the company, was bought by Weyerhaeuser.
Bill's big dream was to learn to fly an aeroplane. He drove to Prince Albert on weekends to take lessons. After getting his pilot's license, he bought himself a 150 Cessna. He loved to fly over the countryside, the pattern of fields, trees and lakes, ever-changing with the seasons, giving him great pleasure. He also enjoyed checking up on what the farmers were doing.
In 1976, Mary decided to take life easier after working for 22 years at Waite Fisheries Store; the last few years as manager of the grocery department. She got another opportunity to work at the Post Office part-time with Bill McKnight as the postmaster.
Bill became head mechanic for Weyerhaeuser. Being a dedicated worker, he worked long days and many weekends to make sure everything was repaired and ready to go on Monday morning. In 1999, Bill decided to retire. He enjoyed puttering in his shop, fixing everything from vacuum cleaners to lawn tractors or making machine parts for Weyerhaeuser or local farmers.
Bill and Mary have no children but they are a favoured aunt and uncle to many nieces and nephews and an honorary aunt and uncle to many more young people. With no family, they were able to spend much quality time with each other. They took many trips together, travelling to Hawaii, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, China, Yukon and Alaska, The Bahamas, Barbados, on a Caribbean cruise and several points in the United States as well as across Canada from Quebec City to the west coast.
Mary continues to work part-time at the Post Office; she also takes pleasure in her big garden, the produce from which she loves to give away to her senior friends.
Bill passed away suddenly on July 26, 2003, his loss a devastating shock to Mary with so many plans left undone. "I am so grateful to have such caring families and good friends that are keeping me going. Somewhere down the road, they say things get better. Bill left a legacy that will be remembered for years."
Johnston, Harris and Rhoda
Excerpts from Timber Trails, 1979
Harris Johnston was born in Notre Dame, New Brunswick in 1877. Rhoda was born in England in 1889.
Constable Johnston was a member of the Royal North-West Mounted Police Force, but when Saskatchewan changed to Provincial Police, Constable Johnston was transferred to this force.
The Johnston's came from Cutknife, Saskatchewan to Big River in 1922, where Harris was in charge of the Detachment Office. He was responsible for a large area, which included Big River, Bodmin, Debden and the Reserve. He also patrolled into far northern regions whenever necessary. Sometimes on trips to the south, a jigger was used on the railway tracks as this method of transportation was much faster than an automobile in those days.
Three of their five children were born in Cut Knife; Ernest, Ella Mae and Rhoda Alice, while Gordon and Elenor were born in Big River. Rhoda Alice is buried in the Big River Cemetery having died in her fourth year.
Rhoda worked tirelessly for the Anglican Church and was instrumental in raising funds to help build the first church here and to obtain the organ, which was used in St. Mary's for many years. Memories of the numerous bush fires and the time the boarding house burnt are still clear to Rhoda as is the loss of the hospital and several other buildings, all destroyed by fire. She also recalls the night of the big riot, when she was alone with her children and the police were away in Shellbrook. Her memories include the colourful Treaty Party that came from Ottawa to distribute the money among the Indian Reserves.
In spite of the many trials and experiences connected with police work in the early days, the Johnstons loved their life in Big River. It was rough and tough, but exciting with never a dull moment. They made many lasting and dear friends here. One, in particular, was Mrs John Waite, who came to Canada on the same ship as Rhoda did (The Tunisian), in 1913.
Constable Harris Johnston died in 1947 and is buried in Prince Albert. Ernest and Ella (Mrs. Coker) live in Alberta. Rhoda remarried in 1959 to William Crook.
Jonasson, Dianne (Hegland-Potts)
Back Row: Rory, Dallas, Steven.
Middle Row: Ken, Pam, Alicia, Diane, Ryan.
Front Row: Karly, Dawson.
I was born in June 1949 to Walter and Anne (Milligan) Hegland in Big River. My family lived at the Forks, near the Cowan Dam, where they owned and operated a small coffee shop and gas station for a few years. When they decided to move into Big River a couple of years later, they sold the business to my aunt and uncle, Mary and Ivor Fonos.
I started school in Big River, then we moved to La Ronge for a few years and then back to Big River.
We lived on the farm for a few years. Those were the best years of my childhood. I loved the animals and the country way of life. My dad passed away when I was only eleven years old, a hard thing for a child to bear or understand. We spent a few years in Saskatoon after this. I made some dear friends that I still have to this day, but the home was still in Big River. We returned and I finished my schooling with those I had started grade one with.
A year after graduating, I married Ken Potts, son of Bill and Mary Potts, also of Big River. Ken worked at the Planer and I worked at the Hospital. We had a house fire two months after we were married and lost most everything we owned, many wedding presents that hadn't been used. The town put on a shower for us a few days later and replaced all the necessities. How thankful we were to be living in such a place.
We had our first child, Pamela, while living in Edmonton in 1969. We spent a few years living in British Columbia at Canal Flats and later on Vancouver Island. Soon it was back home to Big River.
Back in Big River, the home was an acreage a few miles north of town. Ken once again worked at the sawmill and I worked at the Forest Nursery for several years.
We had our second daughter, Karly, in 1975 and a son, Dallas, in 1979. In 1983, Ken and I divorced and I moved to Prince Albert in 1985. There I worked at the Prince Albert Forest Nursery for twelve years.
In 1985, Pam married Rory Sharp of Big River. They have two children, Alicia and Steven, and a grandson Blake. They lived in various places in Alberta, but are now back in Big River. Karly lives in Provost, Alberta with her fiancee, Ryan Tucker, and son Dawson. Dallas also lives in Provost, Alberta and works on the service rigs.
In 1997, I married Larry Jonasson of Canal Flats, British Columbia. He too grew up in the Big River area. He is the oldest son of Margaret and Alban Jonasson and has two children, Ken and Tanzice, from a previous marriage to Karen Clarke, and five grandchildren.
Larry and Diane.
Larry has worked at the Canal Flats Mill for thirty-two years. We have started a greenhouse business, The Briar Patch, which keeps us very busy for a few months every year. Larry also does a lot of woodworking and is hoping to do more when he retires. Every summer our vacation takes us back home to Big River and area to visit both our families and friends. Once Larry retires, we hope to divide our time between a home in British Columbia and back home in Saskatchewan.
Olga and Joe Joubert.
Joseph L.A Joubert, born in Domremy, Saskatchewan in 1913 and passed away in 1995.
He married Olga Michalchuk from Bellevue, Saskatchewan. They had three children: Lionel, Dianne and Sylvia.
Lionel graduated in Big River in 1966 and immediately joined the R.C.M.P. He served in British Columbia and later was sent to Los Angeles, California for seven and a half years. He returned to Vancouver and retired from the force in the year 2001 after 35 years of service. He now resides in Victoria, British Columbia. He has two children: Kevin and Troy.
Dianne attended school in Big River. She moved to Saskatoon in 1968 and married the love of her life, Don Riley. They have two sons: Dwayne and Darren.
Sylvia was born in Big River Hospital with the assistance of Dr Crux and Lenora Waite. She works in Saskatoon and is married to Dr Don Johnson (Dentist).
Joseph was employed at Intercontinental Packers in Saskatoon and then moved to Mattes, Saskatchewan where he worked as a grain buyer for Searle Company. Allergies prompted a move to Big River in 1951. He went cutting trees with Mr Camille Dion, north of Big River and later worked for the Timber Board and Planer. By this time we had two children, Lionel and Dianne. Our last child was born on July 27, 1954 (Sylvia).
Dianne, Olga, Sylvia in 2002.
I (Olga) worked as a housekeeper and in the laundry at Big River Hospital. I remember well the hospital board, consisting of Mr Benoit, Dr Crux, Dr Oldroyd and Dr Kiltz. Mrs Ev Charlton was the matron, Lenora Waite was a nurse and Mrs J. Dunn and Mrs Belfry were the cooks.
We rented a house for twenty dollars per month. Mr Watson owned it. Our neighbours were Chim and Viola Chenard and across the road were Dorothy and Bob Skilliter and Steve and Mary Kowalyk. When Mr Watson sold the house, we moved to Gus Tremblay's little house. Our neighbours then were Horace Chenard and on the other side was a sweet little lady, Mrs Doucette. She babysat for us and our children called her "Grandma". She showed us how to make a french candy called "La Teer". It was made by boiling brown sugar and water. When it was getting thick, she'd put in some nice clean snow and stretch it until it was caramel colour and cut it into candy size pieces.
We made many good friends in Big River. It was a good place to raise children. There was lots of entertainment (we loved sports) - hockey games, curling, ball games, square dancing, fishing and swimming. On Sundays, we'd drive to Stoney Lake for a dip (after Sunday Mass, of course) At one particular mass, apparently some local boys- the Dougherty's, the Swansons, L. Joubert and M. Halter, had tipped over Father Luc Gaudet's outhouse, as a prank, some time previous to Mass. I'll never forget Mass!
I also remember an incident when Mr Johnson's grandson fell into a twelve-inch hole (about an eight-foot deep well) and how hard the town people worked to get him out.
One Halloween night, Jack Millikin and Joe Joubert decided to dress up as women (both were smaller men) and have some fun around town. They were enjoying themselves (drink glasses in hand) until the local Police apprehended them and told them to go home as it was past their curfew - the Police had no idea of their age!
We both loved music and parties. I'll never forget Jack and Doris Millikin's parties, or the ones at Roland and Eileen Dubes and 0llie and Joyce Harris. How many perogies could you eat Billy?
We were able to buy our own home from Mr Pister in 1961. It had a big living room, nice for dancing. The younger generation wore the floor down doing the dances of those days; "The Twist", "Jiving" and "Limbo Rock" by Chubby Checker.
I (Olga) enjoy golfing, dancing, and curling and still do at the age of eighty years. I travel somewhat and enjoy visiting my children and extended families. I call Prince Albert my home now.
Kalawsky, Doris Elaine (Johnson)
I, Doris, was born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan on August 23, 1945. I was raised in Big River, Saskatchewan. Our first home was north of the old burner. In 1948, we moved uptown on Main Street.
My parents were John Kristjan Johnson and Rachel Huldah (Lundy) Johnson. Both are deceased. They had eleven children, of which eight are still living: Joyce, Jack, Ruth, Richard, Robert (deceased), Eileen (deceased), Shirley (deceased), Alice, George, Doris, and Randy.
I had a great upbringing in Big River, with many friends: Karen Ausland, Rae Mackenzie, Cheryl Nesbit, Clarice Pederson, Lynn Clark, Gloria Gallant, Rose Skilliter, Lorne Sundby, Peter Edson, Bob Kemp, Leonard Zinovich, and numerous others.
We had many good times sliding down the hill, skating at the old outside skating rink behind the Elks Hall, swimming at the old swimming hole, playing in the old burnt out sawdust pile across from Waite Fisheries, running the booms by the old Sawmill, as well as family picnics at Cowan Dam and Stoney Lake.
Doris Johnson and Lynne Clarke.
My father, known to most people as J.K., was away from home for most of my early years, fishing at Cree Lake, Saskatchewan. I spent two of my summers at Cree. I worked in the fish plant, which was my first real job and paycheck. J.K. died in January 1983. My mother, Huldah, or Grandma Johnson to most, did her best while dad was away working. She worked very hard, but still had time for everyone. I remember one time I wanted a dress from the catalogue and as money was short she stayed up one night sewing the exact dress for me. Huldah died on January 5, 1996.
I moved away from Big River in 1960 and attended school in Hinton, Alberta. I stayed with my sister Shirley and her husband Jim Laughy. She became sick with cancer in the second year, and we moved to Flatbush, Alberta. Shirley died on January 11, 1964, leaving behind two girls Laurie and Vonnie and husband Jim.
I moved back to Hinton, Alberta and stayed with my brother Dick and his wife Dorothy, for a couple of years. I worked at two different jobs before leaving Hinton to go to Edmonton, where I took my Nurses Aide Training. After graduating, I moved back to Hinton and worked at the Hinton General Hospital for four years.
I met Orest Kalawsky while in Hinton, and we were married on January 24, 1970, in Big River. We have two beautiful children, Lesley Nichole and Warren William. Lesley and Corrie Flett live in Grande Prairie, Alberta, and have three children; Curtis Cole, born April 18, 1998; Abigayle Rachael, born May 22, 2000; and Ryan Connor, born February 14, 2003. Warren is still single, lives in Whistler, British Columbia, and works as the Manager of the Whistler Cascade Lodge.
In January of 1971, we moved from Hinton to Edson, Alberta, where we lived until 1982. We moved to Devon, Alberta for two years, then to Bonnyville, Alberta for nine years, then on to Prince George, British Columbia, where we currently live and have for the last nine years.
In 1934, Sam and Mary Karaloff arrived in Ladder Valley at their homestead on the SE 3-56-7-W3rd. With them was their one-year-old daughter, Victoria Jean. Sam and Mary lived with the Glowaski's until they were able to build a house on their homestead. Neighbours who also got homesteads were the Worobeys, Wicinskis, Diakows, Homeniuks, Yurs, Choynickis, and Martons, all being of Ukrainian and Polish ancestry. Sam and Mary had two more children, Eli Gordon born in 1936 and Angeline Pauline born in 1943. They eventually were able to buy more land and for many years worked the soil with teams of horses. Sam and Mary retired from farming in 1961 and moved to North Battleford to be closer to their children. In April of 1982, Victoria died from complications of Multiple Sclerosis. She was married and had one son Raymond Dale. Eli married and had two children, Gordon Grant and Dana Lorraine. Eli is presently living in Medicine Hat, Alberta. Angeline married and has two boys, Shawn Edward and Norman William. She is presently living in Kamloops, British Columbia. Sam passed away in 1992 at the age of 98, and Mary passed away in September of 2003 at the age of 97.
Kazmiruk, Alec and Therese
Alec came to Canada with his parents Daniel and Barbara and two sisters. They came from the Republic of Byelorussia and were of Ukrainian origin. They travelled by ship to Halifax then by train to Saskatchewan in 1925. They settled in Ladder Valley in 1926. They farmed there until 1947. Daniel died in 1937 leaving Barbara to bring up eight children alone, three boys Alec, George and Andrew, and five daughters Annie, Mary, Helen, Sophie, and Katrina. Alec joined the army but was medically discharged. He worked different jobs, putting up fire towers, working as a stevedore at Churchill, Manitoba and the Big River Nursery. He worked at the sawmill where he injured his right hand and at Waite Fisheries for twenty-five years as a warehouse clerk loading trucks and travelling to Northern Saskatchewan and doing the billing. He also ran the refrigeration unit for the fish plant, spending many nights repairing the system so there would be ice for the packing plant in the morning. Alec enjoyed hunting, fishing, sports and playing cards. With his boys, he spent many evenings duck hunting and scouting for deer and moose. He hunted with several Americans who came up from North Dakota. He enjoyed watching his sons Armand and Lee play hockey and did a lot of travelling in the winter to all their games and tournaments. Alec died in 1980 after hip surgery in Saskatoon.
Therese Kazmiruk was born to Desnieges and Henri Bouchard in 1927. Henri was a blacksmith and mechanic. He came to Big River from Quebec in 1910. Desnieges Thibeault came to Big River from Quebec with her parents and siblings in 1910. Henri and Desnieges were married in 1922 and they raised five children, Therese, Rita, Yvette, Marcel and Roland. Henri Bouchard made the cross on the Catholic Church. After leaving high school Therese worked for O.P. Godin's for nine years, at Waites, the Hotel for St. Arnaud's and several other jobs.
Therese and Alec were married in the fifties, bringing up six children, living just north of town by the lake. After raising her children, Therese worked at Waites for ten years in the dry goods department. After Alec's death in 1980, she babysat for Len and Vivian Zinovich and Neil and Johanne Otte.
Today Therese still lives in her house by the lake, she enjoys crocheting, knitting, painting and visiting with family and friends. Therese and Alec's family consisted of Janice, Eloise, Barbara, Armand, Lee and Cheryle.
Janice is married to Bryan Fredrickson, they have three children, Kelly is married to Michelle Corbeil and they have a daughter, Olivia Therese. Todd and Janelle live and work in Saskatoon. All the family are avid soccer players. Janice has worked for the Saskatoon Credit Union for 27 years.
Eloise works as a Registered Nurse at the Big River Health Center; she has worked there for 27 years.
Barbara married Phillip Gibson. She has worked as a cook at the Big River Health Center for 17 years. She enjoys gardening and sewing, especially sewing doll clothes.
Armand married Karla Johnson; they have three children, Kara, Brennae and Garret. Armand has worked at the Big River Lumber Corporation for 25 years. He is an avid sports fan, played ball, hockey and golfs.
Lee graduated from high school in 1978, He as well, enjoyed sports and was active in them. He enjoyed spending time with his many friends. He became ill and passed away in 1979 at the age of 19 years.
Cheryle lives in Leoville. She and George Arcand have three children, Ashley, Chauna and Jordan. Cheryle works at the Evergreen Health Center in the laundry department. She and her family enjoy the outdoors and spending time with the family.
Kazmiruk, Daniel and Family
Submitted by Mrs Helen Olson
Excerpts from Timber Trails, 1979
The Kazmiruk family, of Ukrainian origin, arrived in Canada from the Republic of Byelorussia in the Soviet Union on August 8, 1925. At the time of arrival in Canada, the family consisted of Daniel, his wife Barbara, and three children, Annie age six, Alex age three, and Mary two months old.
Upon arrival in Saskatoon, they were warned to go no further north, as the Indians in the area would kill them or the mosquitoes would eat them. In spite of this, they moved to Ladder Valley in January, of 1926 and took up a homestead on the NW 34-55-7 W3rd. The family moved onto the homestead in April of 1926 and completed building their first log cabin on October 26, 1926, on the homestead. They had two horses and in May obtained two cows and some chickens.
There were no roads in the area, as we know them now, but only "Indian Trails". The quarter section on which they homesteaded was heavily treed, very near Ladder Lake, which was full of fish at the time, and the soil was very rich. They cleared a garden area immediately but had to hire someone to break the ground, as they did not have a plough.
Daniel proceeded to earn a living for the family by cutting cordwood valued from one dollar and fifty cents to three dollars per cord which he exchanged for groceries and supplies at the OP Godin Store at Big River, six and a half miles away. They could not get cash in exchange for the cordwood at first. At the time, one hundred pounds of flour was worth three dollars. As soon as they acquired the cows and chickens, Barbara began to sell butter and eggs at OP Godin's Store. She received ten cents a pound for butter and ten cents a dozen for eggs. In 1929, Daniel purchased a breaking plough for twenty-five dollars and paid for it with eggs and butter. He was then able to begin breaking up the land he had cleared.
During the first years, the game was very plentiful and Daniel hunted partridges, rabbits, deer and moose for food. In 1929, he and his brother-in-law, who arrived that year to take up a homestead on the next quarter section, shot four moose. They grew vegetables, and there were plenty of raspberries, saskatoons, blueberries, and cranberries, as well as mushrooms, to supplement their diet.
Naturally, they were afraid of Indians at first but soon found out that they were friendly. One day, when Daniel was away cutting hay, an Indian arrived on horseback while Barbara was working in the garden. She could not understand what he was saying and of course, she was quite frightened, but he finally spoke the German word for "bread" and she could understand the language so she understood he wanted food. She had just baked some bread and gave the Indian a loaf of bread and water to drink and he went away.
There were a lot of bears in the area at one time and one night, when Daniel was away, a bear tried to break into the chicken house. He broke the glass window but there were boards nailed across it, "just in case a bear would try to get in". He could not get at the chickens. Barbara got the shotgun and was going to fire at him through the window of the house but could not fire the gun. The dog and bear chased each other around the yard for an hour or so and the bear finally left and did not come back. This was the only serious incident with bears.
No other Ukrainians were living in Ladder Valley until the thirties and in the first years their nearest neighbours were the Batanoffs, a Russian doctor and his wife, also a doctor, who were homesteading until they could obtain licenses to practice medicine in Canada. The Kazmiruks spoke Russian and the Batanoffs were very friendly and the Batanoffs delivered most of the Kazmiruk children born in Canada at home.
A school was built for Ladder Valley in approximately 1930 and the elder children started school. Until this time the family spoke very little English, but after the children started school, they quickly learned English and in turn taught their parents the language.
In 1935, Daniel completed a larger two-story log house on the homestead for the family, which by that time had grown to nine members with the addition of Andrew, George, Helen and Sophie. The new house had two large rooms on the first floor and three on the second floor with a large attic and also a large cellar for storing vegetables, this house is still standing.
In March 1937, two months after the birth of his youngest daughter, Katrina, Daniel Kazmiruk died in Prince Albert hospital after undergoing an operation for kidney stones. Barbara Kazmiruk continued to live on the homestead until 1946 when she rented out the farm and bought a small house in the village of Big River so that the three youngest children could attend high school.
Barbara Kazmiruk (Pecharsky), who is now eighty-two years old, is still in good health and lives alone at Wakaw, Saskatchewan. Her daughter Annie (Kuryk) lives in Burnaby, British Columbia, Her eldest son Alex lives in Big River, Saskatchewan. Her son Andrew lives in New Westminster, British Columbia. Her son George lives in Victoria, British Columbia. Her daughter Helen (Olson) lives in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Daughter Sophie (Zehner) lives on Cardinal Road, Mission, British Columbia. Daughter Katrina (Goett) lives in Edmonton, Alberta. Written on August 31, 1978.
Kelly, Phillip and Matilda
Excerpts from Timber Trails, 1979
Henrietta Matilda Kelly was born in Jamaica and trained as a nurse in England. She came to Canada in 1911 as a volunteer under the Christian Missionary Society, to nurse patients at Green Lake who were suffering from typhus. In 1918, she met and married Phillip who was a caretaker of the dam and some years later they settled in Bodmin.
Mrs Kelly was often called on to assist the doctor and was always ready and willing to help. She had a wonderful memory and could relate events that happened during the Boer War as well as the time she saw Queen Victoria. Mrs Kelly nursed for some time in the City Hospital in Saskatoon and also in a private clinic.
The Kelly's grew lovely gardens each year at their home in Bodmin and had many visitors at Kelly's Grove.
They both lived long lives reaching close to one hundred years and are buried in the Big River Cemetery.
Back Row: Pat, Art, Ethel, Cindy.
Front Row: Fern, Wendy, Robert, Donna, Lois.
Arthur Stephen Kennedy (June 29, 1914-Feb 15, 2001), son of William Kennedy and Margaret Stephen Kennedy (Ross) married Minnie Ethel Mary Vankoughnett, daughter of Norman Hurbert Vankoughnett and Frances Rebecca Vankoughnett (Warren) on March 5, 1938.
They resided in Prince Albert from 1938-1947 where four children were born - Patricia* 1939, Robert* 1941, Lois * 1944 and an infant daughter 1947 (deceased) (*see own history).
During this time, Art served in the army from May 19, 1944, until May 9, 1946, as a rifleman with the Regina Regiment.
For two years, Ethel was on her own raising three children in Prince Albert and Lucky Lake where she worked on her husband's aunt's farm. Upon returning from overseas, Art and Ethel sold their home in Prince Albert and moved to Torch River. Here, they cut rails and made a home for approximately one year.
In August 1948, Art and Ethel moved to the Ladder Valley District where they purchased a quarter of land from Clarence and Liz Becker (SE 25-55-7-W3rd).
After moving to the farm, five more children were born - Fern* 1949, Linda 1951 (infant deceased), Donna* 1952, Wendy* 1954, Cindy* 1958 (*see own history).
Two years after coming to Ladder Valley, they were joined by Art's widowed mother, Margaret Kennedy, Grandma "Mac", who resided with them until her death in 1970 at the age of 93.
While being part of Art and Ethel's family, Grandma "Mac" contributed in many ways. Besides looking out for all the kids, she did dishes, housework, hauled water and wood. Ethel counted on Grandma "Mac" for companionship and support as Art worked away from home.
Art and Ethel ran a mixed farm on which all the children helped with the work. Art worked road construction and managed community pastures to supplement his farm. He was actively involved in politics and the community. He started the first 4-H Beef Club in 1956-57, put on rodeos with Mr. Gaudry started a snowplough club and was a leader in putting in the first telephones. In Art's later years he supported a local dance group, the farmers market, and Parkland Fiddlers, and when individuals in the community needed support or financial help, Art was out canvassing the community. Art was a great believer in preserving our history. He donated the land on which the Ladder Valley Hall is located. Years later, Art had a boulder placed there with a commemorative plaque on which all the teacher's names are inscribed.
Ethel was very active with farming as Art worked off the farm for long periods at a time. She always had a large garden and picked and canned many jars of wild fruit. Ethel made most of the kid's clothes when they were younger. She also knit many socks, mitts, and sweaters. When Mrs Parent was unable to get to town to have her baby, Ethel was her midwife and delivered the baby. (The Parent family were neighbours who ran the Ladder Valley Store. They later moved to Debden.) Ethel took in two extra children, Bill and Tom Sweet, when their mother became ill. She spent a year in the sanatorium, ill with tuberculosis, from 1963-1964, when her youngest child was only five. In later years, Ethel worked as matron of RCMP and was on the local school board. She worked for Edwin and Alice Olsen harvesting fur in the fall. She also worked for Warriners, extracting honey. Upon retirement, Ethel enjoyed many bingo and card games with her lady friends. With a major bingo win, she bought a car. As a family member, you would have to make sure it was not a bingo day if you wanted to go visit her.
Ethel and Art were happy to have grandchildren stay over and could always be counted on when a sitter was needed.
Ethel passed away at the age of 80 in the Big River Hospital on October 7, 1998. Art passed away at the age of 86 in the Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert on February 15, 2001.
Kennedy, Margaret Stephen
Margaret Stephen Kennedy (Ross) was born on August 20, 1877, in Aberdeen, Scotland. She came to Canada as a very young girl, where she earned enough money for the passage for her father, and her younger sister and brother. She married William Kennedy of Mitchell, Ontario. They resided in Manitoba for a while before moving to the Davidson area where they farmed. They had six children: Martha (Mattie) married Roy Crawford, Mathew (Sie) married Clara Weatherly, Margaret - died in infancy, William married Lily McLeod, Mary Ellen - died in infancy, and Arthur married Ethel Vankoughnett.
Margaret lived in Prince Albert for a while after the loss of her husband and moved in with her youngest son and daughter-in-law, Art and Ethel. She moved with them when they came to Ladder Valley. For a while, three of her children lived in Ladder Valley: Mattie and her son Ken Crawford, Sie and Clara, and Art and Ethel. Margaret resided there until her death on December 6, 1970.
Kennedy, Robert (Bob) and Vivian
Robert and Vivian.
Bob was born September 23, 1941, in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and moved with his parents, Art and Ethel Kennedy (see own history) to Ladder Valley - SE 25-55-7-W3rd, in late summer 1948. Bob attended school in Ladder Valley and Big River, worked on the farm with his family, and went out to work at an early age.
Vivian (Scriven) was born March 7, 1948, in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and came to Big River in the fall of 1952 with her parents, Malcolm (Mac) and Agnes Scriven (See own history). Vivian attended school in Big River.
Bob and Vivian were married December 23, 1964, lived in the town of Big River for five months, and then moved to the old Gilbert farm - NW 2355-7-W3' in Ladder Valley. In 1970, our present home on SE 13- 55-7-W3rd was built. Bob farmed with his Dad for many years and worked in the sawmill for almost 40 years. Bob and Vivian have four children, who helped on the farm as they were growing up and going to school.
Kyla, Darren, Jelaine, Riley.
Darren - born in October 1965, attended school in Big River, worked on the farm with his Dad, Grandfather (Art) and brother (Wayne). He also worked in the bush, then for Ritchie Construction, and is now employed at Big River Lumber. Darren married Jelaine Klassen (Jesse and Simone Klassen) on October 6, 1990. Jelaine works as a Public Health Nurse in Big River. They have two children, Riley born March 19, 1992, and Kyla born January 27, 1995. They live in the same yard as Bob and Vivian.
Wayne (holding Michelle), Claire, Jocelyn.
Wayne - born November 1967, attended Big River schools, worked on the farm while growing up, but later decided to opt-out of farming. He worked at Midtown Service, Pioneer Elevator for Harvey Rempel, in the bush and is presently working at Big River Lumber. Wayne married Jocelyn Klassen (Jesse and Simone Klassen) August 1, 1992. Jocelyn works as a special education teacher at Big River High School. They have two girls, Claire born July 26, 1999, and Michelle born May 12, 2003. Wayne and Joceyln built their home across from Grandma and Grandpa Kennedy's and near to Ladder Valley Hall.
Kirsten, Grant, Sherlene, Rae-Anne.
Sherlene - born July 1970 and went to school in Big River. She is presently working as a Special Care Aide at the Big River Health Centre. Sherlene married Grant Fabish (Henry and May Fabish) on August 1, 1998. Grant works at Big River Lumber and helps on the farm at the round uptime. They have two girls, Kirsten born June 15, 1992, and Rae-Anne born December 3, 1996, and live on an acreage just five minutes north of Big River.
Leanne - born August 1973, attended school in Big River and the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, attaining a degree in Education in 1995. She worked at Mery Weiss's Hardware store in Big River while going to school, taught school for two years on the Red Earth Reserve, and is presently employed at Big River Lumber. Leanne now lives in her Grandparents house in Ladder Valley (SE 25-55-7-W3rd), next to the Ladder Valley Hall.
Bob and Vivian are very fortunate to have their family living close.
Bob retired from the sawmill in January 2002. Bob and Vivian continue to work the family farm, along with Darren, Jelaine, Riley and Kyla; and Grant and Wayne lend a hand when needed. To date, there have been four generations of Kennedy's Art, Bob, Darren and Riley - farming in Ladder Valley. Grandpa Kennedy was very proud of having the four generations farming.
Back Row: Yousaf, Anne, Hukum.
Front Row: Kaleema, Dylan, Aliya.
I am the youngest in our family of seven children. My parents are Sven and Tina Modine. I was born on November 20, 1953, in Big River. I have three brothers and one sister from my mother and their father, Sid Holmes. They are Don, Ron, Norman, and Joan Holmes. My other two brothers are Harold and David Modine.
I grew up on the farm at Stoney Lake (NW 4-577-W3'). We didn't have indoor plumbing or electricity (sometimes things got a little tough) but we managed through everything. We used to bring drinking water home by tractor and wagon from Arnold and Sylvia Martin's. In the winter, we used to go to the lake and cut huge slabs of ice to use in the icehouse in the spring. Life on the farm was always busy with work to be done, but we always found time to socialize with family and friends. Mom and Dad were never too busy to visit with friends and family that stopped by. We used to buy some supplies from the Watkins and Fullerbrush men. I enjoyed their visits because they always gave out different little gifts.
When my brothers and sisters were grown up and on their own and they came home to visit, we would have our cousins come out to the farm. We would play "Kick the Can" and in the evenings sit around the big bonfire. Norman would play his guitar and sing and usually, the rest of us would join in. We all enjoyed those evenings. How I miss those together times!
I used to spend a lot of time with my cousins, aunts, and uncles. It's a real blessing to have family close by and be able to spend time with them all. The ones I hung out the most with were Dianne and Glen Hegland and Sharon Giesbrecht. Every time we would go to Aunt Anne and Uncle Bill Milligan's, Dianne and I would look through the Sear's and Eaton's catalogues to see which outfits we liked the best. (A LOT OF WISHFUL THINKING) There was also the time Dianne and I were playing our favourite song over and over until Gary finally came and put a stop to it by breaking the record. Aunt Anne used to have a fabulous garden and Glen and I shelled a lot of peas and cut a lot of beans. Glen would come to our farm and stay the weekend once in a while. We used to have a lot of fun teasing the goats and playing with all the animals. We had quite a few different animals on the farm. Springtime was a joy for me because there were always baby animals such as lambs, kids, chicks, calves, and one time a colt. The mare and her colt were in the pasture. They didn't come home one night so we went looking for them. We found the colt lying by its dead mother. A bull from a neighbour's pasture had gotten out and come into our pasture and killed the mare. Harold raised the colt by feeding it from a baby bottle. He named the colt Cyclone.
When we would go to town, I would hang out with Sharon and listen to music or do other fun things-such as sliding down the hospital hill in the wintertime. I think every kid in Big River has sledded down that hill.
On weekends Dad, Mom, and I would go and visit my aunts and uncles. We had quite a few relatives in Big River. They were Peter and Henry Giesbrecht and families, the Fonos's, the Hegland's, and my grandparents-Ben and Katharina Giesbrecht. I also chummed around with Jeannie and Caroline Leach. We would go to each other's houses almost every day to go horseback riding, fishing, skating in winter, or just listening to music. We had an old gramophone and some records that we played over and over until Mother said she was going crazy and told us to shut it down. Our favourite song was "Teenager in Love". We used to walk through the Leach's property to get to each other's house. The road went through the bush and quite often we got a good scare because my brother and Melvin Leach knew we were coming, so they would hide and start growling like bears. We ended up either running the whole way or walking the long way around.
I received most of my schooling in Big River. I went to junior school when it was located down the hill from the hospital. I remember my Grade Three teacher was Mrs Burt and my Grade Four teacher was Mr Kinnard. My memories of that school were the caragana hedges and the big trees that the children climbed on. When I was quite young and still in that school, I remember walking in the playground and found a small piece of soft, pink material. I put it in my pocket. After a while, my leg started to itch badly. I found out later that I had found a piece of insulation. I remember my brother, David, and I racing (each from their school) at noon. We usually met up by Skopyk's Garage and raced along the train tracks to our grandmothers. After a peanut butter and jam sandwich, we would head back to school.
The next two schools I attended were the Jr. and Sr. Intermediate-where the T.D. Michel Elementary School is now located. The teachers there were Mrs Wood, Mr Dunbar, and Miss Hooton (a teacher with a very strong English accent and words that we didn't understand). I remember when my friends Jeannie Leach, Nancy Tardif, and I used to bring money to school so we could go downtown for lunch. We would walk to the Chinese restaurant across from the hotel. We would order large fries and a coke and it would cost us a whole 35 cents. Chocolate bars were 5 cents and chips were 10 cents. Those were the days!
Springtime was my favourite season in Big River. The snow was melting and the weather was warm and sunny. We would leave our heavy coats and big boots at home and walk around in the slush (not caring if our shoes got wet).
Summertime was spent swimming, fishing, horseback riding, or playing where the old school used to be on our property.
I used to enjoy going to town to Louis and Viola Bradley's where we would watch TV (especially Bonanza). Whenever I think of some of our friends that were or are still in Big River, I can still remember the delicious food they used to make, Mrs. Leach's cream puffs and Tina Anderson's fresh bread and borscht. There was nothing better!
In 1968, my Dad, Mom, and I moved to Lake Cowichan, British Columbia. I had three brothers; Norman, Harold, and Ron living in the Lake Cowichan area. After we moved there, a few years later they all moved back to Saskatchewan. In March of 1972, I moved to Deer Ridge, Saskatchewan, to help my sister Joan and her husband, Bertil. While there, I had a bad vehicle accident that put me in the Prince Albert hospital for three weeks. I was in traction for my hip and then on crutches for a month. I was very lucky I wasn't killed. My mom and dad moved back to Saskatchewan to help me out after my accident. That's what I call "loving parents"! In the meantime, my brother Norman and family moved back to British Columbia. In 1973, I again moved to British Columbia to help out.
In April of 1973, I met a friend of Norman's, Hukum Khan. Hukum was born in Pakistan and came to Canada when he was 16. His family settled in Golden, British Columbia before moving to Lake Cowichan. Hukum and I were married on June 29, 1973. We will be celebrating our 30th anniversary in the summer of 2003.
Our first child, a son, was born on April 22, 1974. He only lived for 2'1/42 months as he had many heart problems and passed away after heart surgery. We have three other children; daughter, Kaleema was born July 10, 1975; daughter, Aliya was born June 28, 1978; and son, Yousaf was born February 15, 1981. We also have one beautiful grandson named Dylan who was born May 20, 1999. He is the son of Aliya and Jamie Svendson (Jamie's family is from the Stump Lake area).
We have lived in the Lake Cowichan area for more than 30 years. I love this area but Big River will always be my home! We try to come to Big River as often as possible, to see my mother and other relatives. When we get to the outskirts of town, my heart skips a beat. It feels so good to be coming home! Big River and our farm that we had held a lot of memories for me...and always will!
Klassen, Issac and Katherina
Excerpts from Timber Trails, 1979
Issac and Katherina Klassen left the government area named Mullingar to move to Timberlost in 1938. They had been told that Timberlost was a place with plenty of rich land. The government gave them a cow, a wagon and a team of horses when they moved.
When they arrived at Timberlost, they had to start all over just as they had at Mullingar. First, the land had to be cleared with what tools were available and then a house had to be built. Long hours and many days were put into this slow process.
The family had to live in the house before it was completed, even sharing one corner with their one remaining horse. Having lost one horse, they could take no chance that harm would come to the other one, so willingly shared what shelter they had and kept it indoors during the night until a suitable barn could be built.
After all this, the Klassens still encountered more misfortunes. They discovered that there wasn't a water supply on their land. They had to go to the neighbours for their drinking water. A small reservoir in the backyard served their washing needs. They also caught rain during the summer and melted snow in the winter.
The Klassens were self-sufficient farmers. They had cows for milk and some chickens for eggs. Sometimes the neighbours would trade among themselves for what they needed, or they would sell their produce to buy groceries.
Issac and his sons would work for two days cutting and loading wood and then travel for one day bringing the wood to town. Lack of sale would make it necessary for them to sell the wood at a reduced rate - one dollar for a load.
Eva (Mrs. Sam Miller) remembers when her sister was getting married in Birch Hills. Issac and Katherine could not attend because they had no money and no way to travel. Even the trip into Big River was a treat to the family.
After ten years of hard work, Issac decided to leave the Big River district and move to British Columbia.
Issac and Katherina had seven children: Peter, Henry, Helen, Mary, Eva, George, and Suzanna. Suzanna died at a very young age and was buried in the small graveyard on the Klassen land.
Nicole, Connor and Lucas
I, Nicole Klassen (Phillips), was born in Prince George, British Columbia on March 5, 1976, and raised in Big River, Saskatchewan. I grew up on the south end of Delaronde (originally known as Stoney Lake), part of the NE 26-57-7 W3rd. My mother (Barbara Ann Phillips), myself and my younger brother Courtney, lived in a trailer in my grandparents (Harry and Barbara Phillips) back yard.
I started school at T.D. Michel Elementary School in 1981. Mrs Arlene DeVlaming was my kindergarten teacher. I had to ride the school bus to and from school. Bill Potts was the bus driver for our route at this time. One day, I had fallen asleep on the bus and Bill drove right on by our driveway. A couple of miles down the road he saw a little girl at his side... crying and saying, "you forget to drop me off", so, he turned the bus around and took me home.
I graduated from Big River High School in 1994. After my nineteenth birthday, I went to work for Duane Davidson at the Big River Hotel. I worked with Janell Dunn - Johnson, Susie Prosofsky, and Jill Reimer (Chenard) on Friday and Saturday nights. We all had fun working together. I worked at the hotel for five years. I made assistant manager and did daily bookkeeping after a few years of Bartending.
In the summer of 1996, I travelled around Africa. I spent two months over there backpacking with a friend from New Zealand.
Jason was born in Abbotsford, British Columbia on January 2, 1973, and grew up in Big River, Saskatchewan. He also attended T.D. Michel Elementary School and graduated from Big River High School in 1991. Jason joined the Armed Forces in 1992 and actively served in Bosnia in 1994.
Jason worked in Meadow Lake at Norsask Sawmill until he got on full time at Weyerhaeuser in Big River. In his spare time, Jason traps. He has a trapline at the north end of Delaronde Lake that he took over from his grandfather.
Jason and I were married in the yard where I grew up. For the first year of our marriage, we lived west of Big River, about four kilometres out of town.
I left my job at the hotel a couple of months before our son, Connor Jonathan, was born. Connor was born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan on May 20, 2001. Our second son, Lucas Jason, was born on June 22, 2004. Ever since I have been working out of our home as a bookkeeper.
We currently live on a quarter of land out by Ness Lake. The land description is NW 27-57-6-W3rd. We are within a couple of miles of several lakes, including Delaronde Lake, Ness Lake, Nesslin Lake and Hacket Lake to name a few. We enjoy camping, fishing, quadding, boating and spending time with family and friends.
Klassen, Jesse and Simone
Jesse was born in 1947 at his grandparent's home located at the south end of Delaronde Lake. He lived there with his parents, Peter and Maria (Harder) Klassen, and then lived at East Bay on Delaronde Lake until he was 5 years of age, at which time the family moved to Saskatoon and he attended school. At 14 years old, Jesse moved back to East Bay on Delaronde, to live with his father, where they trapped and did some commercial fishing. When he was 17 years of age, his father passed away and he continued to live at East Bay, and then lived in Big River for a while, working at OP Godin's Store and also putting in the sewer and water lines in town. He later did more trapping and commercial fishing on Delaronde worked in the Yukon in a sawmill for a while and then moved back to East Bay, Delaronde once more, where he started a mink ranch with Gordon Christiansen. In the early '80s, Jesse took up flying and currently flies a Cessna 180 on floats and skies, and enjoys taking to the skies whenever possible.
Simone was born in 1951 at Prince Albert and lived with her parents, Tom and Pat (Thibeault) Michel at Delaronde Lake. Simone attended school in Big River.
We were married in 1967 at Big River and moved to East Bay on Delaronde Lake, where they lived for 15 months, then purchased some property from Clarence and Priscilla Pister and moved to the south end of Delaronde Lake, (parcel C SW 35-56-7-W3rd), where we continue to live. They raised 2 daughters, Jelaine and Jocelyn, who also reside in the community. Jesse was in the commercial fishing business and then started logging in 1970, logging with partner Clarence Olsen (Del Lake Enterprises) for many years, and since Clarence's retirement, has continued to run the business. Simone worked at the RCMP Detachment in Big River for 20 years and then left to become involved in the logging business with Jesse.
Jelaine was born at Big River in 1968. She attended school in Big River and later attended the University of Saskatchewan, graduating with a Nursing Degree. She now works as a Public Health Nurse in Big River. Jelaine married Darren Kennedy (Bob and Vivian), in 1990 and they have 2 children, Riley (born 1992) and Kyla (born 1995). They live on the Kennedy Farm in Ladder Valley and Darren farms with his father and works at the Big River Sawmill.
Jocelyn was born in 1970 at Big River, attended school in Big River and then the University of Saskatchewan where she graduated as a teacher. She currently teaches Special Education at Big River High School. Jocelyn married Wayne Kennedy (Bob and Vivian), in 1992. They live in Ladder Valley and have 2 girls, Claire (born 1999) and Michelle (born 2003). Wayne works at the Big River Sawmill.
We continue to run the logging business (Del Lake Enterprises) and look forward to retirement in the community of Big River. We enjoy living close to our family and often spend time together at our family cabin at East Bay on Delaronde, taking full advantage of many outdoor activities available to us.
Excerpts from Timber Trails, 1979
Mike came from Carmel, Saskatchewan, to start farming in the West Cowan area. He married the youngest daughter of Mr and Mrs Chris Bittman, Lorraine. Mike and their four children, Edith, Mike, Joe and Sharon moved from Big River to British Columbia quite a few years ago. Mike passed away suddenly in 1978.
Clara Klyne and grandaughter, 1970.
Mrs Clara Klyne was born in Lebret, Saskatchewan in 1888, and moved to Big River in 1916. She was the second cook at the mill boarding house, which accommodated two hundred guests and was one of the main buildings of the early years. She moved to a homestead at Winter Lake in the Bodmin District where she served as a midwife in that community. She had three children, Lawrence, who was killed in World War II, Robert, and Mary (Mrs. Bill Potts). She was a member of the C.W.L, Legion Auxiliary and the senior citizen's group. Clara later lived in a trailer at her daughter Mary's farm, until due to poor health she moved to Mont St. Joseph Nursing Home in Prince Albert until her passing in July of 1983 at the age of 95. At the time of her death, she had 15 grandchildren, 30 great-grandchildren, and 5 great-great-grandchildren.
The Kohlruss Family, 1984.
The Kohlruss family moved to Big River in 1969 when they bought Alec Pukanski's farm site, east of South Delaronde Lake. The oldest Kohlruss brother, Fred married Peggy Thibeault in 1964 in Big River and that is how they came to know the area. Rudy, Teresa, Marie, Kathy and Charlene moved to the Pukanski farmhouse from Goodsoil, Saskatchewan.
In 1970, the Kohlruss Bros., Fred and Edwin bought Charlie Scrimshaw's farm, one mile north of town and moved the family there. They operated a large cattle ranch and a grain farming operation also. Fred, Peggy, Ed, Isabelle and families lived in Lloydminster and ran a construction company but spent many weekends and holidays working on the ranch.
The youngest brother Mark managed the ranch and lived there for several years. Mark married Linda Sundby in 1972 in Big River. Their oldest daughter Shelley was born in Big River in 1974. Marie, Kathy and Charlene all attended school in Big River. Marie graduated in Big River and now resides in Cold Lake with her husband Jerry and has two children. Kathy married Harvey Pederson and they reside in Lloydminster. They also have two children. Charlene moved to Saskatoon and lived there for many years. She now resides in Edmonton with her husband Ken and their two children.
Kolhruss Bros. sold the ranch in 1982 to Jim Hansen from southern Saskatchewan.
Mark and Linda then moved back to Lloydminster with their three daughters, Shelley, Melissa and Jerin. The two youngest girls had both been born in Lloydminster in 1979 and 1980, while Mark and Linda lived there for four years, from 1976 to 1980. They still reside in Lloydminster.
Kohlruss Bros. presently owns a concrete and excavating company in Lloydminster. Teresa Kohlruss passed away in 1995 in Cold Lake and Rudy in 1998 in Cold Lake where they had retired to after the ranch was sold. Fred, Ed and families still reside in Lloydminster also.
Excerpts from Timber Trails, 1979
The Kopps farmed for a few years the quarter south of Tom Warriner's and north of John Breker. They moved to Saskatoon after a few years and worked at the Forestry Farm there. They lived in Sutherland were a few years later, Mr Kopp passed away.
Submitted by Keith Kowalyk
Steve and Mary, holding Keith, 1938.
Steve was born on Christmas Day in 1899 at Sifton, Manitoba. He was raised on a farm using oxen of the day. He joined the CNR in 1917 and worked the Hudson Bay Line (Peesing and Mistatem), Meacham, Dumble and Big River section as a foreman for forty-seven years until his retirement in 1964.
Mary Dupchak (Kowalyk) entered the country at the age of five arriving at Saskatoon in 1910. Her parents, with five kids in tow (Nick, George, Doris, Pearl and Mary), picked up their land titles information and set off with oxen across a no roads prairie in a south-easterly direction about 60 miles from Saskatoon to find their quarter section vicinity of Meacham. There they built a sod house and got ready to survive their first Canadian winter.
During the first couple of years, Mary's father worked on building nearby rail branch lines to raise cash to get the farm going. Mary's mother looked after five kids and pioneered the farm. Nick fought in the First World War, George in the Second; both survived.
Steve met Mary in 1925 and was married in 1926. They moved to Dumble in 1926 and then to Big River in 1928.
Steve loved railroading, hunting, picnicking, berry picking, cutting his winter wood supply and playing poker. Over the years the regular poker group had a pool of players to draw from. The group included Fred Buckley, Freddy Coates, Joe Friedman, Wilfred Godin, Bill Gould, Tommy Huxted, Lyman Johnson, Bruce McTaggart, Charley McKenzie, Edwin Olson, Andy Sundby, Ted Wiggins and Len Waite, plus occasional overnight railroad people. These guys knew each other from the early 1930s to the early 1970s, were a close-knit informal group, always had a jug on the table followed by a late evening lunch and enjoyed each others company during forty years of poker.
My wife Bernice and I still have their poker table as a keepsake. If I set my mind to it I can imagine to hear and see this group of Big Riverites through the eyes of a ten-year-old (Buck the Fish Net maker, Freddy the Livery Stableman and J.P., Joe the Merchant, Lyman the L.I.D. man, Bruce the Tower man, Charley the Poolhall man, Edwin the Mink Rancher, Andy the Logger and Saw miller, Ted the Barber, and Len the Fisheries Businessman) as they carry on their enjoyable evening of poker dynamics.
Mary Kowalyk was generally a domesticated type but did seasonal work at Waite Fisheries filleting and smoking fish and sending out circular information to potential customers. Mary was a gardener, a curler and a homebody for Steve with a flair for knitting and selling siwash sweaters, much in demand at that time.
Steve died in 1975. Mary moved to Rocky Mountain House in 1982 and passed away in 1989 at the WestPark Nursing Home in Red Deer.
Mary and Steve had one son Keith who was born in 1938. Keith took his schooling in Big River, Luther College in Regina and at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver where he got a Science Degree in Forestry in 1964. Keith worked in mining and forestry in Manitoba, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Keith met his wife to be Bernice Tylucki in Prince Albert in 1966 and was married at Nanaimo in 1967. They have two sons Apollo and Garth who live in Alberta at St. Albert and Calgary.
Keith and Bernice retired from the Alberta Forest Service in 1994 and now live in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta where they have lived for the past twenty-eight years.
Submitted by Melanie Bueckert
Kathleen (Kathie) was born in 1904 in Nottingham, England and came to Canada with her family in 1913. She returned to England with an uncle shortly after coming to Canada and due to unforeseen circumstances, she remained in England for several years, making her home with her paternal grandparents. She came back to Canada in 1926. Later, she married Siegfried Kresny, a salesman out of Winnipeg and returned to England. She returned to Big River after the war and worked for Joe Friedman at his general store. She later purchased her grocery and meat store known as Shop Rite from Walter Glowaski when he went out of the meat business. Kathie died of a massive heart attack in Big River in 1960.
Krienke, Eddie and Maisie
Edward Keith (Eddie) was born January 26, 1947, to Leslie and Pallie Krienke of Quill Lake, Saskatchewan. He was one of five brothers (Larry, Terry, Raymond, Rocky). Eddie attended Quill Lake School, graduating in 1965. He took his barber training at Maurices' Barber School in Regina and operated a barbershop at the Patricia Hotel in Saskatoon for two years.
Maisie Marjorie Estelle Irene Ingram was born September 26, 1948, to Ronald and Marjorie Ingram of Quill Lake, Saskatchewan. She has three brothers (McGregor, Sandy, and Jamie) and two sisters (Barbara, Rhoda). Maisie is the niece of Stella (Jack) Hartnett and Rhoda (Bert Finlayson). Maisie attended Twin Creek, Clair, Quill Lake Schools and St. Ursula's Academy, graduating from St. Ursula's in Bruno in 1966. Maisie worked at the Big River Pharmacy for the summer of 1965, a summer student at her Uncle Jack's Pharmacy. She received her Bachelor of Arts and Teachers' certificate from the University of Saskatchewan.
Eddie and Maisie were married on July 8, 1968. Their first home was in Calgary, Alberta where Eddie worked for Engineering and Plumbing Wholesale Supplies and Maisie had her first teaching position, a Grade Two class at Currie Elementary. In 1969, they moved to Lajord, Saskatchewan where Maisie taught Grades One-Six in a single classroom while Eddie commuted to Regina to continue working for E & P.
February 1970, they purchased from Russel and Alice Coates, a barbershop and beauty salon in Big River. While barbering Eddie worked for Saskatchewan Forest Products as a scaler and took forestry training via the University of Regina. Gradually he left barbering and took a position as woods superintendent for Weyerhaeuser Canada. The barbershop and beauty salon became a video store and Saskatchewan Liquor Vendor in 1974. In 1976, the video store was changed to Krienke's T-Shirt Shop.
In September 1970, Maisie began teaching for Parkland School Division. Maisie's teaching career in Big River covered many areas from Grade Seven to Twelve. She developed a work-training program at the high school and taught in that area for seven years. She was vice principal for five years. The majority of her teaching career was in Mathematics and Home Economics. Maisie did extensive work in student leadership while serving terms on the Provincial and the National Board as a director for Saskatchewan. She received a Student Activity Advisor Award in 1994 and was later given a life membership in Provincial Association.
Eddie and Maisie have two sons Leslie and Randy.
In 1998, after 30 years, Maisie retired from teaching. Eddie continued work for Weyerhaeuser until his death July 18, 2000. Eddie is buried at the Big River Cemetery. Maisie continues to operate the T-Shirt shop and Liquor Vendor while she keeps busy with community projects, sports, travelling, grandchildren and spending summers at Nesslin Lake.
Eddie and Maisie always lived at 203-1st Avenue North as a neighbour to Mery and Donna Sundby where their business was part of their home.
Krienke, Leslie and Erryn (Wall)
Leslie Ronald Keith was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, on September 8, 1975, to Eddie and Maisie Krienke. He has one brother Randy. Leslie attended Big River High School graduating in 1993. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Saskatchewan and his Engineering Design and Drafting Diploma from SAIT, Calgary.
Erryn Rebecca Wall was born in Big River, on February 16, 1975, the youngest child of Joe and Fern Wall, and a sister to Pam, Danette and Cory. Erryn attended Big River High School graduating in 1993. Erryn attended the University of Saskatchewan and SAIT acquiring her Paralegal Diploma.
Les and Erryn were married on October 9, 1999. They have three children. Son Braiden was born May 2, 1995, daughter Ryan October 6, 2000, and son Josh on June 17, 2003. They live in Calgary where Leslie is employed as a draftsman for Energy Industries and Erryn a paralegal at Acadia Park Law.
Randy Stuart James was born in Saskatoon on April 29, 1980, to Eddie and Maisie Krienke, a brother to Leslie. He attended Big River High School graduating in 1998. Randy attended SIAST where he received his Heavy Equipment Mechanics Diploma.
Randy has a daughter Madison, born April 17, 1998. They live in Big River where Randy is employed at Big River Lumber Company.
Breanne, Cory, Ally, Raylene, Kern.
I moved to Big River with my parents John and Dorothy when I was only three months old. I took all my education in Big River and graduated the June after the high school was destroyed by fire. While in high school I worked at Midtown Service. After high school, I moved to Saskatoon to attend SIAST where I took Autobody Mechanics. After I finished I went to work at Auto Clearing. One weekend when I was home I talked to Martin Hansen and got a job there. Kern, I Breanne and I moved to Big River and lived there for eight years. Kerri worked at the hotel bar and cut hair in our home. We have two more daughters, Raylene and Ally. We moved back to Saskatoon in 2000. I work at Frontier Collision and Kerri delivers parts for Sutherland Automotive. We come back to Big River often to visit friends and go to the cabin in the summer.
Kuxhaus, John and Dorothy
John and Dorothy.
In the fall of 1970, John came to Big River to teach. Dorothy, Paul, Gina, and Cory moved from Saskatoon in December of 1970. John, eldest son of Alexander and Maria Kuxhaus was born on the farm near Duval, Saskatchewan where he grew up. He attended a country school and could speak no English, only German, when he first started school. He went to school in Strasbourg when he started Grade Ten, boarding until he finished Grade Twelve. John attended Teachers' College in Moose Jaw in 1952 and taught in country schools near Semans, Kennedy, and Craven. He also taught in the towns of Strasbourg, Silton, and Manor and then came to Big River where he taught for two years. John worked in Meadow Lake for continuing education for a year and a half and then taught one more year in Big River. In 1974, he built our house and in 1977 started driving a school bus. He drove for 24 years. His children Paul and Gina also drove the bus for their dad. In 1999, Gina took over the Delaronde bus route. She now drives her Dad's bus on the Ladder Valley route and has a driver for her route.
Dorothy was born in Moose Jaw, eldest daughter of Joseph and Violet Carpenter, while her family lived in Mortlack. Her family moved to Avonlea where she attended school until grade five. The remainder of her schooling was completed in Frobisher. Dorothy attended Teachers' College in Regina in 1963 and went to teach in Strasbourg the following year where she met John. They were married in Esterhazy on June 30, 1964. Dorothy taught in Duval, Silton, and Manor. During this time she took classes towards her Bachelor of Education, which she received in 1992. She started teaching in Big River in the fall of 1971 and retired in 1999 after teaching for 32 years.
John and Dorothy were involved in the communities where they lived. They sang in choirs for special Easter presentations, were 4H leaders, coached softball, and curling. John was a member of the Lions Club and later the Kinsmen Club. Dorothy was a Kinette member and served on executive positions. They were both involved in church work and held positions on church boards. John was a member of the Big River Town Council and became Mayor of Big River in 1980, a position he held for twelve years. He is presently still on the council.
John, Gina, Paul, Dorothy and Cory.
We have enjoyed the lakes and camping around the area. In 1995, we put our camper on a permanent lot at Pickerel Point and then bought a lot with a bigger trailer so we could spend more time there. We now live at the lake for 4 months during the summer.
Our family Cory (1970) lives in Saskatoon (see his history), Gina (1967) lives in Big River (see Gary Anderson) and Paul (1966) lives in Port Alberni, British Columbia (see his history). We enjoy visiting with our children and grandchildren. We travel to British Columbia two or three times a year to visit Paul's family. John and Dorothy have many things to keep them busy during their retirement. They enjoy life with friends and family.
Standing: Paul. Sitting: Bonnie. Kyra.
I am the oldest son of John and Dorothy Kuxhaus. I moved to Big River in the fall of 1970 when I was four years old. I received all my formal education in Big River. I worked at Midtown Service on Saturdays and after school. I have many friends in Big River. One fall evening seven of us were in a truck driving down the main street. As we headed toward the dock the brakes failed and we went into the lake. We were all rescued but were very cold.
I enjoyed many camping trips, one on the island up Cowan Lake. Fishing was always good on that lake. After high school, I continued to work at Midtown Service until September 1986, when I took a Small Engine Course at SIAST in Prince Albert then returned to Midtown Service. In January of 1989, I joined the Navy. I took my basic training in Cornwallis, Nova Scotia and was stationed at Esquimalt, British Columbia. I got to see a lot of the world. I had three trips through the Panama Canal and once around the globe. In 1994, I married Bonnie Graitson. In 1996, I left the navy and moved to Port Alberni, British Columbia where I work for Larry Audet repairing and servicing boat motors. We have two children, Riley and Kyra. We enjoy our visits to Big River but don't get there very often.