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Family Histories, Part 20

Midgett, John Franklin

John Midgett.
John Midgett.

John was born in Red Cross (by Paradise Hill), Saskatchewan on October 27, 1921, to John Harvey and Eula (Buchanan) Midgett, the youngest of six children. He has four brothers: Wayne, Clyde, Weldon and Cecil (who died as an infant) and one sister, Mary. He took his schooling in Rabbit Ridge.

In the early '40s, John went to work packing fish in Buffalo Narrows for Clarke Fisheries from Meadow Lake. He hauled fish by bombardier from Descharme and Egar Lakes. For many years, he farmed with his dad in Makwa and during the winter months, he freighted fish for Waite Fisheries Limited in Big River. Here, he hauled fish by cat from Dore Lake to Big River. John married Agnes Petch and had four children: Leolla, Lavourne, Diane and Jewel. They were later divorced.

John was the first person to make an overland trip from Buffalo Narrows to Uranium City with a bombardier checking for land road location in the '50s. He was a fish buyer in the north in the '50s and 60's buying fish for Clarke Fisheries.

In 1956, he got his private pilot's license and flew fish out of northern lakes into Buffalo Narrows. Soon after getting his license, he formed C&M Airways with Grover Clarke from Meadow Lake based in La Loche, Saskatchewan. He hauled fish with the Norseman, Blanca Sky-rocket, Beaver, Otter, 180 and the Stinson aircraft, flying them from Lake Athabaska to the fish-packing plant in Descharme, Saskatchewan. The fish were then trucked into Meadow Lake to Clarke Fisheries. John married Rita Nadeau from Meadow Lake and had a daughter, Sandra. They, also, were divorced.

In the early '60s, John and Lloyd Rueling scouted out the northern lakes to find an area to start a fly-in tourist fish camp. They settled on Lloyd Lake located sixty miles north of La Loche. Here, John purchased the land and built up a camp to contain four cabins, a kitchen/dining cabin, a recreation room and quarters for the hired help. The camp was powered by an International D9 generator, which ran on diesel. An airstrip was built for wheeled planes.

In 1973, Lenora Peterson moved to Buffalo Narrows to help him with the business. In 1979, the hanger in Buffalo Narrows burnt to the ground; so they moved to La Loche and built a new hanger there. At one time, they had eight planes operating out of C&M Airways. They flew fish out from the lakes to the packing plants, tourists to northern lakes or camps, medivacs to Saskatoon or Fort McMurray, trappers to their traplines, the locals to their homes that weren't accessible by roads, and, mostly, prospectors looking for uranium. In 1979 they sold the Lloyd Lake camp, as the Cluff Lake road was making the camp accessible by road.

They purchased Crystal Lodge on Cree Lake, in 1980, with Al Maier. Here, the tourists would drive to La Loche to be taken in by a floatplane. John built an airstrip behind the camp to accommodate the tourists that would themselves fly up or drive up the Key Lake road to km 176 and utilize the existing airstrip there. They were then picked up in their Navajo or 206 and flown into camp. They spent their spring, summer and fall months in camp with tourists and hunters. The winter months, he made the winter road off the Key Lake road into camp to bring in fuel and supplies for the following season. John and Lenora were married in Las Vegas on October 27, 1984. In 1998, they sold Crystal Lodge.

John spent most winters making winter roads and maintaining them into the weather station on Cree Lake, and any other tourist camps in the area. He also opened and maintained the roads into Fond Du Lac and Black Lake taking up supplies and fuel to the businesses and transporting the fish out to Buffalo Narrows to Waite & Company. He continued this until the early 1990s. John and Lenora moved back to Big River in 1985 where they still reside.

Midgett, Lenora Maude (Waite)

Lenora Waite.
Lenora (Waite) Midgett.

Lenora was born to Leonard and Martha (Meyers) Waite on October 9, 1929, in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. She had one brother, Richard John.

Lenora took her high school at Luther College, in Regina, and then her nurse's training at Regina General Hospital. She came home in 1953 and commenced working in the then Red Cross Hospital which later became the Big River Union Hospital with many reconstructions.

Lenora married Elmer Lawrence Peterson of Saskatoon in 1955. They had three children: Leonard Lawrence in 1956, Melanie Kay in 1958, and Marlen John in 1960. Lenora was divorced in 1969 and continued working at the hospital until 1973. She moved to Buffalo Narrows in 1973 to help John Midgett with C and M Airways and his fly-in fishing camp on Lloyd Lake in northern Saskatchewan. They moved to La Loche in 1979. They were married in Las Vegas in October 1984.

Lenora and John moved back to Big River in 1985 when Lenora's mother became ill with cancer. She took over running Waite Fisheries Limited store until 1989 when it was sold.

Millard, Ethel (Panter)

I was born in Canwood, Saskatchewan in 1932, and the second daughter to Tony and Neta Panter. I moved with my family in 1933 to where they homesteaded, east of Big River. I received my education at Rapid Bend School and also Canwood. After completing high school, I was hired as a "Study Supervisor" at Rapid Bend School. At this time (1949 and before bussing) there was a severe shortage of trained teachers, and high school graduates (with very little instruction), were hired in many rural schools.

I married Cliff Millard in 1950. He was a Warden in the Prince Albert National Park. We were blessed with two daughters, Joanne MagAta's (Rene) and Janet Pritchard (Jack). Joanne has two sons Michael and Robert Vanstone. Michael married Emily Petrinic and they have two sons Tyler and Mathew. Janet has two sons, Christopher and Derek Hill.

After his army service, Cliff was hired by Parks Canada and served as a Park Warden for forty-one years. After retiring from that position, he worked as a Commissioner in Prince Albert for ten years. While residing in Prince Albert National Park, I was employed by Parks Canada. After moving to Prince Albert, I worked for several years as a secretary in the Real Estate Industry. Cliff passed away in the summer of 2004. I am presently residing in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

Miller, Mr and Mrs Jake

Excerpts from Timber Trails, 1979

Jake and Mrs Miller moved from Timberlost quite a few years ago and purchased the farm once belonging to Mr and Mrs William Wilson. They farmed and raised a family there until they moved to Saskatoon. Mr and Mrs Norman Ethier now own that farm.

Miller, Richard and Shirley

Richard Isaac was born in 1953 in Big River to parents, Sam and Eva Miller. He went to school in Big River, graduating from grade twelve in 1971. He worked at the Big River Sawmill, his dad's shop and Earl Emdes' Apiary on and off for three years. In 1974 he moved to Prince Albert and worked for the forestry division of the provincial government for four years. He spent his summers on fly-in field trips in Northern Saskatchewan doing forest inventories. In 1979, he moved to Winnipeg. There he took a photography course where he won the student of the year award. He spent the next several years doing custom film processing and working for Lumby Productions. He took photographs of heavy-duty equipment for their training programs in the mines and spent several months on-site at Cluff Lake.

In 1980-81, he did forestry contracts in "steam analysis" for the provincial government. In 1982, he went into the backhoe business. In 1984 he married Shirley Dodge, a registered nurse. They built a home along Cowan Lake in 1986. In 1988, he bought his fathers septic tank business which he operates today. In 2002, he quit the backhoe business and enjoys spending more time hunting, fishing and his favourite past time motorbiking. He has taken many more trips with the biking group and plans on taking many more.

Shirley Miller grew up in Makwa, Saskatchewan, graduating in 1971 and went into nursing. She worked in medicine, surgery, level 1V, rehab, and ambulance and clinic settings. She moved to Big River and worked in the hospital, nursing home and in Community Health in the north, which she enjoyed the most in her career. She is now retired and enjoys hiking, bird watching, canoeing, fishing, boating and one of her favourites, biking with Rick. They have a little shit-Tzu dog called Muffin, which brings them a lot of laughter, love and joy. They plan on spending the rest of their lives in Big River.

Miller, Ronald and Susanne (Michel)

Ronald was born on June 29, 1958, and spent most of his life in Big River growing up. He moved with family, a couple of times for work, but always ended up coming home. Ron lost his dad when he was eleven years old. He worked at Weir's Esso while going to school, and then drove a truck for Earl Beebe Trucking for six years. But, service station work would not leave his blood, and he purchased Mid-Town Service in 1982 and is still running it in 2003.

I (Susanne), was born on July 26, 1958, and went to school in Big River until Grade Twelve. I then took a business course at Robertson's Secretarial School in Saskatoon. I came back to Big River and worked in the bank, at the Town Office, and L & H Service (Service Station) before going into business with Ron in 1982. While I was growing up, my parents operated Michel's Resort on Delaronde Lake, where my siblings and I were known for our fish-filleting expertise!!

Ron and Susanne married in November 1980 and had three boys: Michael, William, and Milo. We lived in Big River for ten years before moving to the farm SE I7-57-7-W3rd in 1990. Ron wanted a different kind of animal, so we raise Scottish Highland Cattle.

In 2003, Michael is in the Armed Forces, peacekeeping in Afghanistan. William is working for Weyerhaeuser at the Bodmin Sawmill. Milo is going to school in Prince Albert and playing AAA Midget hockey.

Milligan, Anne (Giesbrecht)

Anne Milligan (Giesbrecht).
Anne and Bill Giesbrecht.

I was born in Great Deer, Saskatchewan (located near the Petrofka Bridge enroute to Saskatoon) on October 20, 1916, to Bernhard and Katherine Giesbrecht. Our family moved to Big River in 1925 when I was nine years old. I started working at the age of sixteen for Mike Thibeault doing housework and helping care for their children. I started working at the Rex Cafe waitressing, doing laundry and cleaning for Jim Derchong. I made twelve dollars a month plus my board. I also worked for Nels Edson where I met my future husband, Walter Hegland.

Walter and I were married in November 1940. Walter ran a fish camp in Lac La Plonge, Saskatchewan from December to March and I cooked for the men. We returned to Big River every spring and Walter fought forest fires in the summer.

In the fall of 1946, we moved to Sled Lake where Walter ran a logging camp and I once again cooked for the men and had three children to care for. Gordon was born in 1941, Gary in 1942, and LaVerne in 1944.

Anne Milligan and family.
Back Row: Dianne, Laverne and Gordon. Front Row: Gary, Anne and Glen.

In the fall of 1948, we moved to the forks, near Cowan Dam, and opened a coffee shop with gas pumps for the truckers hauling logs to the Big River sawmill. Walter continued logging in the winter while I ran the shop. Walter's dad, Eric Hegland, stayed with us and helped out.

In June of 1949, our second daughter Dianne was born. While I was in Big River awaiting her arrival a forest fire swept through the forks area. It burnt an area several miles long and went right through our yard. It burnt our outbuildings and even part of our doorstep, but amazingly the house was left otherwise untouched.

In 1951, we decided to move back to Big River as our school-aged children were boarding there to attend school. From 1955 to 1957 we lived in La Ronge where Walter and I both worked for Ernst Tourist Camps. This is where our oldest son, Gordon, met his future wife, Lynne Williams.

In the fall of 1957, it was back to Big River again, this time to try our hand at farming. We lived on Nel's Edson farm, presently owned by Robert Halsall. This was a wonderful time in our lives. We raised cattle, chickens, turkey, and a few horses and farmed the land.

The next year, in 1958, our youngest son Glen was born. The following year we bought property presently owned by Leonard and Marlene Lomsnes, a couple of miles north of town. We moved a log house in and started fixing it up. An indoor bathroom would have been a real treat. Unfortunately, when the house was only partially finished, Walter took sick. He passed away in October 1960 at 39 years of age.

A year later I moved into Saskatoon with the three youngest children. LaVerne went to hairdressing school and I worked at various jobs as I still had Dianne and Glen to put through school.

Two years later the city was enough and it was back to Big River. In 1965, I married Bill Milligan who had farmed in the Delaronde area since 1932. Bill was the son of John and Caroline Milligan and had been born in Estevan. For a fifty-plus bachelor, it was quite a change and challenge to suddenly become husband, step-dad, and grandpa all in one day.

Bill moved into town but continued farming until getting on at the sawmill, where he continued until his retirement in 1976.

One of the things we enjoyed doing was travelling. We toured western provinces, North West Territories, east to Ontario, and into North Dakota several times visiting family and friends. We made many good memories during this time and often took grandchildren with us. We continued our travels as long as our health allowed.

We both enjoyed gardening and putting up the summer produce. Bill also loved going out to the woods to put up firewood. I'm sure he was enough ahead for several winters.

Bill passed away in 1994 at the age of 83. A few years later I moved into the seniors' apartments on the hospital hill. My sisters, Tena and Mary, are my neighbours here.

I now gave ten grandchildren, twenty-three great-grandchildren, and two great, great-grandchildren, many of whom live, in Big River.

This place seems to have been a real magnet in life, always drawing me back, and it seems to do the same for many others in the family. I guess that is what home is all about.

Anne and Walter.
Anne and Walter.

Millikin, John and Catherine

Excerpts from Timber Trails, 1979

John and Catherine had nine children: Bill, Andrew, George, Mary, Cathy, Annie, Jean, Eva, and Jack.

Andrew came from Scotland in 1924 and took up a homestead in Hanley, Saskatchewan. He then signed for the rest of the family to move over from Scotland, which they did, but at different times. Within two years, all the family had left Greenock, Scotland and was living in Hanley. In 1928, they moved to Saskatoon and the children attended school there. John Millikin died in 1930 at Saskatoon. In 1931, Andrew moved to Big River and took up a homestead at South Delaronde Lake. All the unmarried brothers and sisters, and his mother, Catherine, came with him. In the next year, the other married members of the family were also homesteading in the Big River district.

In September 1939, the war was declared. One day after the declaration, George and Bill joined the Canadian Army. Three months later they were sent to England with a minimum of training. They remained overseas for six years. When they returned home they joined the Saskatoon Light Infantry, later on, Bill became a sniper and George joined the Royal Engineers as Sergeant. They spent most of their time in Scotland, England, and Italy.

Andrew and Jack tried to join the army at various times but were rejected, Andrew because of his handicapped hand and Jack because of poor hearing.

During the war (1940) Andrew and Jack worked at firefighting, cutting and hauling cordwood for a dollar fifty per cord. The cordwood was hauled eight miles into Big River. They did odd jobs at home, and it was during this time that they constructed a log dance hall at Stoney. There, benefit dances were held. Later, the building was to be used as the first school in that district.

In 1941, Jack moved to Big River to work at the sawmill. He boarded at his sister Eva's in town. He did various jobs at the mill; his last was firing the steam engine for the power to cut the logs.

Andrew had also moved into town to work at the mill doing the various jobs there. His last job also was firing the engine. Jack worked at the mill for three years and Andrew for one and a half years. Mother Catherine, Andrew and Jack rented the second floor of the Brownfield residence and lived there for approximately two years.

On September 6, 1944, Jack began a job that would last him until retirement in 1977. Jack began work on the railroad. He was under the direction of section foreman Steve Kowalyk. Steve retired after sixteen years and Jack worked under different foremen for the total of thirty-three years.

In 1945, Doris Hopkins arrived from Outlook, Saskatchewan to teach at the South Stoney School. Upon arrival on the train, Jack met her to take her to her boarding place, which, luckily, happened to be his sister Annie's. Annie lived out at South Stoney so; it wasn't far to walk to school. The dance hall was to act as the school until one could be constructed. Doris had thirty-three pupils. These pupils were from grades one to eight and she had one pupil taking grade nine by correspondence. It was during this first year of teaching that Jack and Doris started their courtship.

Jack was part of the three-piece band that played on the pavilion at South Stoney and later at the one on Ladder Lake. Mrs Godin played the piano, Ameede Chamberlain played the drums, and Jack played the banjo and the fiddle. Jack played in the band while he worked at the mill and into the first few years on the railroad. Music was heard coming off the pavilions every Saturday night from early spring to late fall. They played at other dances in town also. Many wedding, Elk, Legion and benefit dances were held. Sometimes they played up to three dances a week. A few years later when Mrs Godin decided to quit, she asked Doris to take on the job as a pianist.

Andrew moved to Canwood to work at the Municipal Affairs Office for a few years then move back to the homestead in Big River.

Jack and Doris were married on July 17, 1946 and they had their first child, Janice Lee, born September 1947, who died at birth. That same year, Jack and Doris' house burnt to the ground while they were enjoying a day at the lake. Very few things were saved. That house stood where Larson's trailer home is today (1978). The town held a benefit dance and another building, twelve by eighteen feet, was bought and hauled onto their same lot, which they lived in for four years. They later bought a house from Jack's brother-in-law, Howard Martin. His house stood where the Esso fuel building is today. In 1960, they moved it to their present location. The land was sold to the Imperial Oil Company. Mother Catherine passed away in 1963.

Jack and Doris reside in Big River. Their children are Stanley, Leslie, Don and Cheryl.

Andrew Millikin now resides in Saskatoon. Annie Pukanski still resides at South Stoney. Her home is where the schoolhouse used to stand. The remaining sisters, Cathy, Jean and Eva are living on the West Coast.

Millikin, Stanley and Geraldine

Stanley Milliken.
Kevin and Geraldine, holding Bailey, Stan, Rhonda and Clay.

Geraldine (Geri) Louise Gunderson was born on August 19, 1951, to Roy and Mildred Gunderson. She is the fifth child of six boys and six girls, which included Darlene Vivian (twin sister to Norman), who died twenty-four hours after birth.

Geri lived in Timberlost until she was four years old. Her family then moved to Big River. Geri continued to live in the Big River area until she got married and moved away.

Stanley (Stan) Maxfield Millikin, the eldest son of Doris and Jack Millikin, was born on May 2, 1949. Four years later his sister, Leslie Belle was born. His brother Donald, was born four years after Leslie Belle and his second sister was born four years after Don.

Jack and Doris.
Jack and Doris on CNR Train enroute to Expo. September, 1986.

Geri and Stan started "going out" together in 1966, when Geri was in grade nine. Stan lived in Big River until he graduated from high school in 1968. He then went to Prince Albert where he worked for the DNR (Department of Natural Resources). Stan and Geri dated for four years until they were married on May 16, 1970, in Big River. They lived in Prince Albert for four months and then moved to Thompson, Manitoba, where Stan worked underground mining for I.N.C.O. (International Nickel Company). Geri worked as a Pharmacist's Assistant in three pharmacies owned by Florian Sable. Stan and Geri lived in Thompson for three years.

In 1973, Stan and Geri moved to Saskatoon where Geri received her Diploma in Beauty School, after which she worked at a Beauty Salon on Avenue P and 33rd Street. In the meantime, Stan got a job at Allan Potash Mine which was another underground mine site.

Stan and Geri had their first baby on October 2, 1975. Stan named her Rhonda Traylene.

After three years in Saskatoon, Stan became tired of the 35-mile drive to work in Allan and back every day. In 1976, Stan and Geri decided to buy a house trailer and move to Allan to avoid the daily commute. Soon after Stan developed a skin condition which they thought might be the result of working underground in mines for so long, so in June of 1978 they moved "back home" to Big River.

They bought five acres of land from Geri's sister and brother-in-law Grace and Bud Forbes and moved their house trailer, three and a half miles southwest of Big River (land location SW 35-55-7 W3rd) to where Geri lived as a child from age seven until she left home. Stan began working casually at the sawmill in Big River for Saskatchewan Forest Products, which later developed into a permanent full-time position. Saskatchewan Forest Products later became Weyerhaeuser Canada, Big River Lumber.

On December 29, 1978, a baby boy was born to Stan and Geri. They named him Kevin Stanley.

Geri worked for Sandra Gilbert as a hairdresser for a while. Then when Kevin was eight months old, Geri was asked by Lillian Randall to work as a Nurse's Aide at the Big River Union Hospital. Geri had previous work experience at the hospital, so she decided she would work at the hospital for at least a couple of years until Stan would get on full time at the mill. Geri began working at the Big River Union Hospital on her 28th birthday (August 19, 1979) and has continued to work there to this day (September 29, 2003).

From 1997 through to 2000, Stan went to B.C.I.T. (British Columbia Institute of Technology) for one month each year to acquire his Saw Filers Ticket. In 2000, Stan received his ticket and is presently working for Weyerhaeuser Canada at Big River Lumber as a Saw Filer.

Rhonda graduated from Big River High School in 1993. Rhonda then moved to Saskatoon where she continued her post-secondary education at the University of Saskatchewan. Rhonda majored in finance and general business and completed her Bachelor of Commerce in 1997.

On May 16, 1998, Rhonda married her high school sweetheart Clay Cowan. They now live in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan where they both work for Clay's parents, and also have their own trucking business. Clay and Rhonda have a daughter Bailey Jenay, born April 13, 2001, and a son Drew Evan, born October 27, 2004, at Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon. Bailey and Drew are Stan and Geri's pride and joy!

Kevin graduated from grade twelve and received his High School Diploma in 1996. He was not interested in post-secondary education and instead got a job working at Randy River (a clothing store) in Saskatoon. By the age of 18, Kevin was managing a store. He lived in Saskatoon and managed three different Randy River stores over five years.

In May of 2001, Kevin moved to Vancouver, British Columbia where he managed a clothing store called Mexx on Robson Street. A year later he moved over to B-2 Shoes where he worked for sixteen months. In August of 2003, Kevin decided he needed a change and began a new career with B.C. Telus in Burnaby.

Currently, Stan and Geri live in Big River and have no plans on moving shortly. Their children Rhonda and Kevin both have promising careers and fulfilling personal lives. Although Kevin lives quite a distance away, they make time to regularly visit each other. Who knows what lies ahead.

Mitchell, Bertrum and Annie

Submitted by Raymond Mitchell

William Bertrum.
William and Annie Bertrum.

William Bertrum was born at Cochran, Ontario in 1900. Bert moved to Wimmer, Saskatchewan, near Quill Lake at an early age with his mother and sister Gertrude.

Elizabeth Annie was born in Lachute, Quebec in 1896. She lived there until her early twenties and then came west to find employment. She found employment but more importantly, she found Bert. They were married in 1918 and shortly after moved to North Battleford. There, Bert worked for a company called Crown Fruit.

When the economic crash came in the early thirties, Bert was unemployed and moved his family back to Wimmer. Bert and Annie had eight children by this time: Lillian, Dorothy, Kenneth, Leslie, Gertrude, Gordon, Robert and Raymond.

In 1938, the family moved from Wimmer, via C.N Rail, to Big River, then to Timberlost, by team and wagon where Bert had filed on a homestead of white clay and boulders. Not being able to make a go of farming he started a forestry operation west of Big River that lasted from 1940 to 1952. The Big River-based forest operation consisted of cutting pulpwood for Abitibi Pulp and Paper in Ontario, boxwood for a mill in Prince Albert and saw logs for Saskatchewan Forest Products sawmill in Big River. They also sold cordwood to people in Big River for heating their homes. His counterparts in the forest industry knew Bert as the "Pulp King" where everyone sold most of their products to Fred Coates who acted as an agent for Abitibi Pulp and Paper Company.

Bert died in 1956 in Hinton, Alberta. Annie died in 1971 in Taylor, British Columbia.

Mitchell, Laurie and Oldfield, Mark

I (Laurie) was born at the Big River Hospital to parents Ray and Doris Mitchell. I have lived most of my life in Big River but managed to venture to other communities for varied periods. I have lived in Slave Lake, Alberta; Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Meadow Lake and Redvers, Saskatchewan. At present, July 2004, Mark and I live in Fort St. James, British Columbia. Throughout the years I have worked as a cook, waitress, tree planter, nursery grower, bookkeeper, and accountant.

My sons Gavin and Lyndsey Millikin are living in Saskatoon. They are both fortunate enough to have inherited the "Millikin musical talent", writing their music and lyrics with a definite flair for entertaining. Mark and I began our relationship in 1997 and are hopeful of spending many more years together.

We own property outside of Big River, near Clearwater Lake and hope to return to what we consider "our Paradise" in the future.

Mark was born in Cambridge, Ontario to parents Joy and Norm Oldfield. His father is a forester and worked full time for the Ontario Government as well as running a large cattle operation. Mark was the typical farm boy, working hard at a very young age. The result is a true love for the farm. Like his father, he has a forestry degree and has worked years in the industry.

In 1999, Mark decided to try farming on his own. We raised elk, wild boar, bison, and cattle. Unfortunately, within our first four years, the farming industry experienced Chronic Wasting Disease, drought and BSE making the farm venture less than viable for new farmers. A job offer in the summer of 2003 put a quick end to the farm. Mark is now working as a sawmill production superintendent in Fort St. James, British Columbia. When we return to our farm, I can't imagine it animal-free.

Mitchell, Raymond and Doris

Raymond Mitchell.
Doris, Leila and Raymond.

Raymond was born in North Battleford on February 2, 1932, the youngest child of Bert and Annie Mitchell. The family moved to Timberlost in 1938. At a young age, he started working in the bush with his dad and brothers, cutting pulpwood. Later he worked at Andy Sundby's Mill.

I, Doris, was born in Canwood on December 28, 1934, the oldest child of Jalmer and Dorothy Johnson, who farmed at Lake Four, Saskatchewan.

In 1947, we moved to Big River. While still in school I worked for Mrs Bouchard in the cafe next to the movie theatre.

When I left school I went to work for Mr Joe Freidman in the office of O.P. Godin's store.

Raymond and I were married on August 18, 1954, in the Anglican Church in Big River. Raymond worked for the Saskatchewan Timber Board at the planer and became a lumber grader.

We have five children, Steve born in 1955, Laurie in 1957, Christine in 1960, Carol in 1964 and Julie in 1966.

For several years in the 1960s, we made wooden fish boxes for Waite Fisheries while Raymond also worked at the planer. We were living in a house next to the drug store and made the boxes in the garage and back yard. That came to an end when wooden boxes were no longer used.

In 1972, we moved to Slave Lake, Alberta and in 1975 to Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan. Raymond was a lumber grader and also did some carpentry in both places. I worked in a grocery store than in libraries in Slave Lake and Meadow Lake.

In 1979, Raymond became a grading inspector and we moved to Hudson Bay, Saskatchewan.

A year later we came back to Big River. We bought the old Evangelical Free Church on 3rd Avenue North and renovated it while living in a rented house.

We bought a piece of land north of the mill at Bodmin and built a workshop where Raymond made strips for the mill and building supplies for fourteen lumber yards in Saskatchewan. The business was called Sask. Can Wood Specialties. I was the bookkeeper and had a small fabric shop for a while and did some custom sewing and alterations.

In 1993, we bought my mother's house on 3rd Avenue North and built on to it, where we still live.

In 1996, we sold the business to Earl Meyers and retired.

Steve - see own history

Laurie - see own history

Christine started school in Big River and finished in Meadow Lake. She had two children while living in Meadow Lake, Jason and Melissa Bell. In 1988, she and her two children moved to Saskatoon and Chris started University where she received a degree in Education.

Christine Mitchell.
Melissa and Jason Bell, Christine and Caleb Mitchell.

She lives in Saskatoon with Melissa and her seven-year-old son Caleb and works at St. Mary's Elementary School. Jason is working in Edmonton and Melissa in Saskatoon.


Carol graduated in Big River and went to University in Saskatoon. She has a degree in Education. She taught in Big River for half a year while someone was on maternity leave and several First Nations Reserves. She has taught English in Japan twice and once in Korea. She is now principal at Dorintosh, Saskatchewan but will be teaching in Meadow Lake in the fall of 2003. She lives in Meadow Lake with her three-year-old daughter Leila.


Julie started school in Slave Lake and graduated in Big River in 1984. After she graduated she went to Quebec and Ontario with the Katimavik program. She went to University in Saskatoon for three years and one year at Kelsey. She is a Rehabilitation Worker. She worked in Redvers, Saskatchewan for two years and then moved to Regina where she now lives with her partner Peter Rudd. She works at a group home for women with disabilities.

Mitchell, Steven

Steven Mitchell.
Back Row: Aimee and Yvette. Front Row: Yvonne, Steve and Stephanie.

Steven Mitchell, son of Raymond and Doris Mitchell, was born in Prince Albert in 1955. Along with his sisters: Laurie, Christine, Carol and Julie, he grew up and attended school in Big River. After completing his grade eleven years, Steve moved with his family to Slave Lake, Alberta, finishing grade twelve there. He then went on to the University of Alberta where he received his Bachelor of Education degree in 1978. His teaching career in the primary and elementary grades has taken him to several Saskatchewan locations: Patuanak, Loon Lake, Goodsoil, Ceylon and Caronport.

In 1980, Steve married Yvonne Leonard of Ogema, Saskatchewan. They have three girls: Aimee (17), Yvette (14) and Stephanie (12). Their family resides in Caronport where both Steve and Yvonne teach at Caronport Elementary School.

Modine, Tina

As told to Anne Khan (Modine)

Tina Modine.
Tina Modine.

I was born on January 4, 1912, in Chortitz, Manitoba. My parents Ben and Katharina (Tina) Giesbrecht and I left Manitoba when I was a baby and settled in Great Deer, Saskatchewan.

My sisters Mary, Susie, and Anne were all born in Great Deer. When we were still young, we moved back to Manitoba, where my brothers Ben, Jake, and Henry were born. It wasn't long until we were on the move again and finally settled in Big River in the fall of 1925. My youngest brother Peter and sister Helen were born in Big River.

I started working away from home when I was fourteen years old. My first job was for John Reimer and family, who lived in the Lake Four District. I was paid five dollars per month. My next job was with Albert and Nona Fortine, who lived past the forestry station west of town. My job was to do housework, cook, babysit, and milk the cows. It was here that I met my first husband Sid Holmes.

Sid was born in England on July 3, 1900. He came to Big River to do fishing north of town and also to do farm work around the area. Sid and I were married on August 29, 1929. We moved to our first home by the forestry station, and our first baby was born there. Our son, Arther Albert, only lived for one month. After that, we moved into town, close to the train tracks down by the lake.

I was pregnant with our second child then. Our daughter, Irene May, was born March 19, 1932, and passed away on June 2, 1932.

After she died, we bought one hundred and sixty acres, seven miles northwest of town (NW 4-57-7-W3'd), not far from Delaronde Lake (Stoney). We moved to the farm in the summer of 1932. We spent the whole summer living in a tent, while we built our house. It was a log house with the roof made from rough planks with tarpaper on top. The house was ready by the fall and we were able to move in before the cold weather arrived. We made a stove from rock in the kitchen, where I baked bread and did all the cooking. When we were going to put new flooring in, we had to break our stone stove and discovered that it had started to burn the floor beneath. We were very lucky we didn't lose our first home to fire!

Our sons, Cyril and Don were born June 23, 1934, Ron was born April 13, 1936, and Norman was born April 24, 1938. I had all the babies born at home with the help of the neighbours' wife if she was available, and sometimes on my own.

Our closest neighbours were George Dunn and family, Enik Christianson, Herb Hutt, the Eriksons, Louis and Viola Bradley, Sweeney's, then Ivan Leach and family.

Life on the farm was a lot of hard work; which resulted in two miscarriages, but farm life was also rewarding, with the use of fresh vegetables from the garden and fresh meat from chickens, cows and sheep, along with eggs and milk. I used to make cottage cheese and butter from the fresh milk. I sold eggs, butter, cheese and cream to make a few extra dollars.

In 1940, we sold the animals and moved to Saskatoon. We had lived in Saskatoon for six months when Sid decided that he was going to England to join the army. Pregnant with our fourth child I stayed in Saskatoon with the three boys. Joan was born on April 7, 1941.

Sid notified me from England, that I should take the family and move back to Big River, so with the money he sent me from England, we moved back to the farm when Joan was ten months old. Sid came back to Big River in 1946, and we were divorced shortly after.

The children all went to the Delaronde School, which was built on our property. In 1945, a mutual friend named Deelia Eldridge introduced me to one of the men who worked for them fishing. His name was Sven Modine. Sven Modine was born in Lillhardal, Sweden, on December 30, 1904. He came to Canada in 1927, bought some land and settled in Stump Lake, Saskatchewan. He farmed and worked around the area and Parkside, Saskatchewan, and then fished for Eldridges for eight years before I met him. Sven and I were married and stayed living on the farm. We added on to the house to make more room for the family. He kept fishing for another year after we married, but then worked at the sawmill at Stoney Lake (Delaronde) until they moved the mill.

Sven and I had three children: Harold was born January 3, 1946, in Canwood, David was born May 12, 1947, at home, and Anne was born November 20, 1953. All the later children attended school in town.

In 1968, Sven, Anne, and I moved to Lake Cowichan, British Columbia, until 1972 when Sven and I moved to Deer Ridge, Saskatchewan, and stayed with Joan and her husband, Bertil and family for a while before returning to Big River. We moved into the seniors housing by the hospital hill across from the junior school and had my mother, Tina Giesbrecht, lived with us until her death in July 1974. Sven passed away March 6, 1976, in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, and is buried in the Big River Cemetery.

After Sven died, I lived in my own house on Joan and Bertil's property until Bertil's death in 1981, after which Joan, her family, and I moved to Prince Albert, but eventually, I found my way back to Big River. I lived down by the lake in the seniors housing until 2002, when I moved back up on the hill once more. I now live with my sister Mary on one side of me and my sister Anne on the other. I am blessed to have them both so close to me.

As of 2003, I am ninety-one years young and have lived in Big River for about seventy years. My family is scattered from Ontario to British Columbia. Don lives in Coquitlam, British Columbia, Ron in Hafford, Saskatchewan, Norman in Crutwell, Saskatchewan, Joan in Payton, Saskatchewan, Harold in Maidstone, Saskatchewan, David in Hafford, and Anne in Lake Cowichan, British Columbia. I have twenty-seven grandchildren and thirty-eight great-grandchildren. I have been in many directions, but I'll always consider Big River my home.

Tina Modine family.
Back Row: Harold, Norman, David, Ron and Don.
Front Row: Ann, Tina and Joan, August, 2001.
Monsebroten, Betty (Brunet) and Henry

Betty and Urgel.
Betty and Urgel in 1955.

I, Betty, was raised in Glaslyn, Saskatchewan and moved to Debden to work in the L.I.D. office. I met Urgel Brunet, who was raised in Debden, and we were married on August 16, 1950. We moved to Erinferry in 1951 and took over the store there.

We have many fond memories of the years we were at Erinferry. The old school was the gathering place for all social functions where we danced the night away. Sam McKee was the best at doing the step polka. I recall one night at the Christmas Party we had a fashion show where all the men dressed up in the female finery. Another place where we had fun times was at the home of Jack and Alice Dolmage. Alice Mae was great on the piano, so singing and dancing was the order of the day. Around Christmas, there was always a party at Bobby and Jean Banks, which was also attended by Hector and Irene Brunet.

Adeline Clark, Jean Becker and I always took our families for a warm day swim at Mineral Lake. In 1958 to 1961, I drove the Bodmin school children to Big River.

In 1958, the highway was relocated east of the railway tracks and approximately one mile from the store. In 1959 we purchased acreage from George Dodd Sr. and planned a move to the new highway. We expanded the store and living quarters, including running water and sewage disposal were added. In 1961 Urgel purchased a larger school bus and transported children from Erinferry and Bodmin to the school in Big River.

After a total of thirteen years, in March of 1965, we sold the store to Leonce April and moved to Prince Albert. Urgel passed away in 1975. We had three children from this marriage:

Judy Weatherby (Sheldon) married on May 16, 1977. They have three children.

Karen Ann Mandel (Joe) was born on October 5, 1977. They have two children: Bailey, born on May 4, 1999, and Kaylee, born on June 30, 2000.

Lindsey Marie was born on April 24, 1981, and she married Danny Fowler on July 12, 2003. Michele Lynn was born on May 22, 1984.

Ron, Betty, Judy, Urgel.
Back Row: Ron, Betty, Judy and Urgel.
Front Row: Randy, 1969.

Our son, Ron, was born on June 4, 1954. He married Kim Mahon from Prince Albert. His children are Alison, born on May 7, 1986, and Stefanie born February 13, 1988. They still reside in Edmonton. Ron passed away on February 15, 2001.

Our last son, Randy, was born on August 24, 1961. He is married to Tarri Anne Armstrong from Regina. They live in Regina and have one child, Kashia, born on May 2, 1996.

I have many fond memories of our business venture and of the good times we had and wonderful people we got to know. I remarried in 1985 to Henry Monsebroten and we now reside in Spruce Grove, Alberta.

Montgomery, Warren E

Submitted by Dan Rogowski

In 1950, Warren E. Montgomery and his wife Mae moved to Big River. Warren was the millwright for the Big River mill. Warren designed and built the paddlewheel boat that was used in towing rafts of logs along the thirty-mile journey from Cowan Lake to Big River.

The children of Warren and Mae are Marion (Eli Zoerb), Lloyd (Mae) Montgomery, Vernon (Judy) Montgomery, Jack (Bernice) Montgomery, Gerald Montgomery, Rosalie Rogers and Dorothy (Dan Rogowski).

Morgan, John and Beverly

John Morgan.
Back Row: Chandra, Jeanne, Edith and Jack.
Front Row: Rae-Ann and Beverly.

Jack and Bev Morgan arrived in the West Cowan community in 1996. Jack had just retired after working in the accounting field and later, the hotel industry. The Morgan's bought a quarter of land, which had historical significance in the area. SW 22-56-8 W3rd was the last quarter of land given out for homesteading in 1937 to Connie Warriner and her husband Walter Olafson.

During the summer of 2003, approximately fifty descendants of the Warriner family did a walking tour of the land and the adjoining quarter. There they found evidence of the old house known as the original George and Eleanor Warriner yard site.

Jack Morgan is from Prince Albert and has spent many summers at Dore Lake with his friend Teddy Johnson. Teddy lived with the Morgan family for several years while attending school in Prince Albert. This introduction to the Big River, Dore Lake area gave Jack the desire to live in "God's Country."

Beverly is from an old Saskatchewan family. Her ancestors arrived in Osgoode, Ontario during the mid-1800s. In 1892, they moved west to Moosomin and then North to New Osgoode (North of Tisdale) in 1904. Members of her family named the village built the church and served on Municipal Governments. Many pieces of land in the rural municipality still carry the "Howes" names on their titles.

Jack and Bev love the great outdoors. Animals visit their yard frequently coming in from the crown owned forests beside and behind them. They are very happy to have found their retirement home.

The Morgan's have two daughters, Chandra, a nurse, lives in Saskatoon. Rae-Anne is an administrator at WestJet in Calgary. Her three sons Nathan, Ryan and Jordan spend every holiday with John Teer and their grandparents in the beautiful West Cowan Community.

Morin, Chuck and Tammy (Magrath)

Chuck Morgan.
Tammy and Chuck, 1997.

I was born on August 3, 1963, in Estevan, Saskatchewan and named Tammy Lee by my parents, Donna (Pho) and Gary Magrath. My mother passed away in 1981 at the age of thirty-five and my father still lives in Big River with his wife, Ilsa. I have two brothers and one sister: Allan Magrath (August 18, 1964 - July 28, 2000), Kurt Magrath born in 1976 and living in Barriere, British Columbia, and Tanya Warttig born in 1969 and living in Williams Lake, British Columbia. My young years were spent in British Columbia, but I graduated from Big River High School in 1981.

I moved to Saskatoon to attend university and my children, Talia Sarah Dawn Warriner (July 12, 1983) and Thomas Robert Warriner (March 3, 1986) were born there. I returned to Big River in 1988 with a young family and two degrees - a B.A. and B.ED. I taught school at Big River First Nation for eight years and began teaching at T.D. Michel in Big River in 1999, where I am still employed. On February 14, 1999, Chuck Morin and I were married. We live at the Morin family farm, eleven miles south-east of Big River, where Chuck's dad homesteaded and where Chuck has always farmed.

Chuck was born on April 30, 1955, in Big River, Saskatchewan and named Frank Charles Morin by his parents, Edith (Smith) and Louis Morin. Chuck's father passed away in 1968 at the age of seventy-two and his mother still lives in Big River at the Big River Health Centre. Chuck has four brothers and three sisters: Lorraine, Ralph (d. 1982), Willie, Joe, Meada, Louella, and Tom. Chuck attended school in Big River. After grade ten, he attended SIAST (Kelsey) in Saskatoon to take his apprenticeship training in plumbing. Chuck is a journeyman plumber and has been operating his own business, Morin Plumbing, Heating, & Gas for twenty years in the Big River area. A few years ago, Chuck completed his grade twelve G.E.D. (grade equivalency diploma).

Chuck has two sons: Jeremy Charles, born on December 28, 1976; and Jarrett Thomas Louis, born on January 18, 1983. Chuck has six grandchildren. Jeremy Morin and Shay LaPlante have five children: Chaneil, Kaden, Roan, Rhea, and Damon. Jarrett Morin and Christine Sjogren have one son - James.

Morin, Jarrett and Sjogren, Christine

Jarrett Morin.
Jarrett (holding James) and Christine.

Jarrett Thomas Louis Morin was born January 18, 1983, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to Charles (Chuck) Morin (son of Louis Morin and Edith Smith) and Nova Warriner (daughter of Thomas Warriner and Barbara Cornwell).

Jarrett took all his schooling in Big River, graduating from high school in 2001.

Christine Susan Sjogren was born September 2, 1982, in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan to Arden Sjogren and Laurel Holmes. Christine took all her schooling in Big River, graduating from high school in 2001.

After graduation, Jarrett and Christine started a home together in Big River. Jarrett worked at Gould Fuels during his last year of school. From there he worked for an asphalt company, G & C Asphalt out of North Battleford. Their son, James Grant Charles Morin, was born on July 3, 2002, in Prince Albert. A forest fire burning west of Prince Albert forced the closure of the highway into Prince Albert. Jarrett and Christine had to travel through Sturgeon Lake to get to the hospital.

Jarrett decided to stay closer to home so he got a job working as a bartender at the Big River Hotel. In the spring of 2003, he got a job working at the Big River Co-op Home Center. Christine works with her mother who owns and operates the Big River Hotel Cafe.

Morin, Jeremy and Laplante, Shaye

Jeremy Morin.
Back Row: Shaye and Jeremy.
Front Row: Kaden, holding Damon, Chaneil, Roan and Rhea.

Jeremy Charles Morin was born December 28, 1976, to Charles (Chuck) Morin (son of Louis Morin and Edith Smith) and Nova Warriner (daughter of Thomas Warriner and Barbara Cornwell).

Shaye Lynn LaPlante was born June 30, 1977, to Gerald LaPlante (son of Hercules LaPlante and Jean Anderson) and Rosemary Bogner (daughter of John Bogner and Victoria Merasty).

Jeremy and Shaye both received their schooling in Big River. After graduating from grade twelve, Jeremy enrolled into a four-year apprenticeship-plumbing course and Shaye became a full-time mom. Jeremy now raises cattle and elk and works along with his dad for Morin Plumbing, Heating and Gas.

Jeremy and Shaye have five children, the firstborn was Chaneil Victoria Lynn on March 29, 1995. She enjoyed being the only child until November 15, 2000, when Kaden Jeremy Paul was born. A few short eleven months later the twins Roan John Louis and Rhea Barbara Jean were born on October 24, 2001, with Roan being the oldest by seven minutes. On September 17, 2003, the baby of the family was born, Damon William.

Jeremy, Shaye, and family reside south of Big River in the area known as Dumble. They live on the homestead of Louis and Edith Morin.

Morin, Louis, and family

Submitted by Meada Wilson

Louis Morin.
Back Row: Ralph, Chuck, Tom, Joe and Willy. Front Row: Maeda, Lorraine, Edith and Louella.

Louis Morin, son of Maryanne Landry and Raphael Morin, was born on August 31, 1893. He was a brother to Mary, Christie and Bernice. Mary married Joe Pruden and raised a family of fourteen children. Christie married Jim Cowie and had two children: Meada (Ed) Peterson and Joe (Bertha) Cowie.

Louis lived in the Winterlake area, homesteading on NE 35-54-7 W3rd. He became very ill with rheumatic fever and was cured by an Indian remedy given to his mother. A special tea was made from the root of a wild plant. The story was told how excited he was when one day he could move his little toe. After that, he made daily progress until he was well.

The Tom Smith family homesteaded on SW 3654-7 W3rd was close to the Morin quarter. It was somewhere in these woods that Louis met Edith Smith, daughter of Tom and Mary Esther (Eshelby) Smith. Edith was born on February 5, 1916 at Silverton, Manitoba, a sister to Linda (Percy) Dewing, Alice (John) Eliason, William (Clara) Smith, Frank (Bertha) Smith, Ernest (Leona) Smith, Lewis (Evelyn) Smith, Albert Smith, Richard (Lily) Smith and Bob Smith.

Edith went to school in Angusville, Manitoba only until grade four. The family moved to Saskatchewan on April 17, 1928, and lived on the Parker Place just north of Pete Hildebrand for one year. The following year, they moved to the quarter where the family was raised. Edith did not have the opportunity to go back to school because she had to stay home and help her mother.

Louis and Edith were married on October 18, 1936. They raised a large family as they farmed their homestead. At this time, Louis' mother lived with the family in the small log house. She passed away in 1942.

Around 1949, Louis and Edith purchased their first lumber house from Rene Brin. This house was situated near "Hanson's Hill" as everyone referred to that particular area. Edith helped on the farm by milking cows and shipping cream and also raising chickens for eggs and meat to gain some income for the family. Louis attended to the farming, raising pigs and cattle and cutting pulp.

There was no power or telephone or any modern conveniences. Wash day was an all-day job with everyone who was old enough helping out. Reading beside coal oil lamps as we tried to learn how to read and do arithmetic (as it was called in those days) was a huge task for the family.

Family outings were few and far between and when the time came for the family to go to school in Big River, we were all devastated. When Chuck started school, it was not until the first report card home, that it was discovered that something was certainly wrong. When Mom was reading the report card, she told Chuck that this report card was not his and he would have to return it. The name read, "Jack Morin". Six-year-old Chuck said it was okay since that is what they called him in Big River! Their family consisted of:

Lorraine Morin.
Back Row: Gordie and Leonard.
Front Row: Lorraine, Edith and Melody.

Lorraine (Gerald) Lepage born on December 20, 1935. Lorraine and Gerald had four children: Linda, Marilyn, Alan (Norma) Lepage, and Leonard (Brenda) Lepage. The family lived in the Debden area. Later on, Lorraine lived with Alex Mair and from this relationship Melody and Gordon were born. Lorraine and her children: Melody and Gordon live in Edmonton where Lorraine has now retired.

Shirley Morin.
Back Row: Nolan, Shirley and Bobbi-Jo.
Front Row: Clayton, Edith and Yolanda.

Ralph (Shirley) Morin born on December 23, 1937 - Ralph lived with Lynn Wilson (Sinclair) for a few years and from this relationship, Dale, Kelly and Sheila Morin were born. Later on, Ralph married Shirley Blackwell and they raised a family consisting of Nolan, Bobbi-Jo, Yolanda and Clayton. Ralph passed away on July 11, 1981, due to asthma. He was buried in the Big River Cemetery right beside his father, Louis Morin.

Helen Morin.
Back Row: Helen and Willie. Front Row: Linda and Edith.

Willie (Helen) Morin was born on October 11, 1939. Willie and Helen still farm the land that belonged, at one time, to Hanson and later Rene Brin. Louis and Edith bought this quarter from Rene Brin in about 1949. This was the first "lumber" house they lived in.

Frances Morin.
Back Row: Jayne, Luanne and Dorothy.
Middle Row: Francis. Edith and Joe. Front Row: Dana.

Joe (Fran) Morin was born on November 17, 1941. Joe worked on the farm and in the bush, cutting logs most of his life. He married Diane Campbell and they had a family of four children. Stanley (Nancy) resides in Saskatoon with one son, Nathaniel. Luanne (Joe) Price resides in Big River where she is the Big River Community School Co-ordinator. Joe and Luanne have a family of three children: Charidee, Airik and Hillary. Jayne (Clint Albers) lives around Paddockwood and has a family of six children: Melissa, AJ, Joey, Lairen, Jordanna and Jenaya. Dorothy lives in Edmonton with her daughter Kennedy. Later on, Joe married Frances Skidmore. They have one daughter, Dana. They are also foster parents to several children all whom they dearly love.

Meada (Reg) Wilson was born in 1944. See her personal history.

Louella (Ron) Danberg was born in 1946. See her personal history.

Tom Morin.

Back Row: Tom, Erin, Jessica. Front Row: Sandra, Kirstyn.

Tom (Sandra) Morin was born on December 2, 1952. Tom completed High School in Big River and went on to attend the University of Saskatchewan. He has been employed as a chemical technician at the Azco Chemical Plant in Saskatoon for twenty-five years. Sandra is the Supervisor of Patient Care at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon. Tom and Sandra have a family of three daughters. Erin Morin is attending the University of Saskatchewan. Jessica (Leon) Morin is employed as a dealer at the Emerald Casino in Saskatoon. She has plans to attend the University of Saskatchewan in the field of Education. Jessica has one daughter, Ayana. Kirstyn Morin is attending St. Joseph's High School in Saskatoon.

Charles "Chuck" (Tammy) Morin was born on April 30, 1955. See his personal history.

Louis was ill on several occasions and then suddenly on April 15, 1968, he had a stroke from which he did not recover. He passed away on April 21, 1968, in the Big River Hospital with all the family by his side. He was buried in the cemetery in Big River. Edith presently, in 2004, is a resident in the Lakewood Lodge in Big River.

Morrison, Jim and Mary

Submitted by Violet McLeod Morrison Hicks
Excerpts from Timber Trails, 1979

I, Violet McLeod, born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, 1914, stepdaughter of James (Jim) Morrison, resided in Big River from about 1918 to 1922 or 23. I can recall going to a birthday party (I believe at Brownfield's) and getting the dime from the birthday cake. A dime, a ring and a thimble were baked in the children's birthday cake in those days, and it was quite a thrill to find one in your piece of cake. I started school in the first grade in Big River, but cannot recall the teacher's name. I know that Charles Olson's daughter taught school there for a while.

My stepfather, Jim Morrison was lumberyard foreman and we lived next to the McCaskells and across from the Haefeys and Charles Olson (a foreman and I believe second in charge of the mill). Before moving there, my mother, Mary McLeod Morrison, was the chief cook at the company boarding house.

My brothers, Ralph McLeod and Alex McLeod lived in Big River also for a short time.

Jim Morrison and family left Big River around 1922 for St. Joe, Idaho, for one year, then moved to Giscome, British Columbia, where he again was lumberyard foreman. We then moved in 1928, to Bend, Oregon. Jim and Mary Morrison moved to Shelton, Washington in 1944.

Alex McLeod passed away about 1957 in Butte, Montana at the age of fifty and Ralph McLeod passed away at the age of fifty-three in Shelton, Washington. In 1962, my husband and I visited Big River and spoke to a Mr Chamberlain. We saw our old house still standing and occupied. I remember the barber, a Mr Beeson I believe, I liked him, as he was so nice, even named a doll after him.

My Uncle, Jim Harrison and his wife Ellen (Nell) and their two daughters, Mary and May Harrison lived across the street (next to the Haefeys I believe).

I can also remember the brickyard or lathe mill located behind our house, but I do not believe it was in operation then.

While I was in the Air Force in 1945, I married my husband Loy A. Hicks, a navy man. We now happily reside in Shelton, Washington. Both of us are retired.

Morrison, Victoria (Waite)

Submitted by Gail Morrison

Victoria Morrison.
Victoria and Lloyd Morrison.

Victoria was born Emma Agnes Victoria Waite, on October 15, 1916, in Saskatoon. The family moved to Big River shortly after her birth. She took her schooling here.

Victoria married Lloyd Samuel Morrison of Glenavon on October 12, 1938. Lloyd moved to Big River in 1934 to work as a railroad telegraph agent. From 1936 to 1938 he was in partnership in the D&M Store in Crooked River. After their marriage, they moved to Melfort, where Lloyd worked as a salesman for McDonald's Wholesale.

In the fall of 1945, he became an insurance salesman and later district supervisor with Sun Life of Canada which resulted in a move to Saskatoon. They had four children and in 1964 Lloyd accepted a transfer as manager and made their home in Portland, Oregon. Lloyd passed away on November 2, 1986. Victoria remains in Portland and keeps busy with her church bazaars.

Moule, Barry and Carolynn

Barry was born in Weyburn, Saskatchewan in 1949, and lived in the Trossachs District west of Weyburn.

Carolynn was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan in 1950, and lived in Yellow Grass, Saskatchewan. Barry and Carolynn were married on April 1, 1968, at Weyburn.

Barry worked as a steam engineer at the Weyburn Mental Hospital from 1968-1972. Our family was born at this time, Wanda 1968, Twila 1970, and Barry (Billy) 1972.

In 1972, we moved to Uranium City where Barry worked for Eldorado Nuclear Ltd. as a Steam Engineer. This is where Barry began a career as an Auctioneer in 1975.

In 1980, we moved to Swift Current, Saskatchewan and went into Auctioneering full time. The south was not where we belonged and in 1984 we bought a farm from Sylvia Servatius in the Big River area.

Carolynn worked for several years as a home-care worker. She left that job in 1996 to become a full-time farmer, raising cattle.

Barry has worked at Lakewood Lodge/Big River Health Centre as a maintenance man since 1986. In 1996, we purchased more land and increased our cattle herd.

In 1989, Twila married Lyle Meyers and they have two children, Tyler and Jessica and live at Big River.

In 1996, Wanda married Darryl Pederson of Outlook and has one child Johnathon. They live at Outlook.

In 1991, Barry (Billy) moved to Outlook and is still there employed by Elite Stord Farm.

Both Barry and Carolynn are very involved with Hockey. They started the farmer's league in 1993 and the woman's league in 1994. We are involved with both the Senior and the Junior teams.

Carolynn is very involved in 4-H as a beef leader.

Moyer, Albert and Catherine

Submitted by Linda Anderson

Albert and Catherine were married on March 7, 1958. They have two children, Robert and Margaret.

Albert was born on April 12, 1932, in Grimsby, Ontario, and died July 2, 2001, in Guelph, Ontario.

Catherine was born on February 1, 1934, in Oshawa, Ontario, where she currently resides.

Albert and Catherine moved to Big River in 1978. Albert continued his career in the Forest Industry until his retirement in 1995. Catherine continued her career as a Public Health Nurse until she returned to Ontario in 1990.

Moyer, Robert and Patsy

Submitted by Linda Anderson

Patsy is the daughter of Doug Anderson and Florence McGrath. Patsy was born in Big River on June 25, 1960.

Robert was born in Marathon, Ontario on June 25, 1960, son of Albert and Catherine Moyer. Patsy and Robert married on October 17, 1981. They have two children, born and raised in Big River. Brian was born on May 25, 1981 and Jennifer was born on November 29, 1982.

Robert still works in the forest where he started in 1979. Patsy began employment at the Big River Health Centre in 1986 and is still employed there as a Licensed Practical Nurse.

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Author: Webmaster -
"Date Modified: March 29, 2024."

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