Cross-posted: 18-067: Arnold Munch of Chetwynd
Mr. Munch is sixty-seven years old [in 1973] and was born at Esterhazy, Saskatchewan. He left home in 1931 in a covered wagon and accompanied by another family by the name of Hofstrand. Some of these folks are still at Montney, B.C. They started on May 5th and arrived in Fort St. John on June 29th, 1931. They had a nice trip traveling quietly every day and killing partridges for meat on the road.
Arnold took up a homestead at Fort St. John and stayed on it for three years. He built a little cabin and barn on it, but when he came to Little Prairie his lease was canceled. He was trapping here so he never went back. He trapped with George Goodrich for two winters and later trapped at Twidwell Bend.
Mr. Munch lived at Middle Forks for five years and then bought land at Little Prairie, as he couldn’t homestead again. There were only three white families in Little Prairie (Chetwynd) at this time — Bob Nicholson, Fred Mansberry and the Windrems.
Fred Mansberry got a homestead and later had a few cattle, chickens and rabbits. Being an alien, he couldn’t get a title to his land when the war broke out. This land is where “Valley Esso” and surrounding area is now [in downtown Chetwynd]. After the war, Mr. Mansberry sold his stock and other belongings and moved to Victoria.
Mr. Munch helped cut the road from Little Prairie to East Pine, thus cutting a great deal of mileage off the trip via Jack Fish Lake and back. Wabi Creek was always hard to get across in the spring. They built bridges but they often got washed out. The Windrems had about ten acres of land broke when they were here. They also had some chickens and a garden. They sold out to Gordon Moore when he put his mill in Little Prairie. Their grain field was right where the hotel now stands.
Arnold rented land from Mr. Twidwell [Treadwell] for five years before he died. After his death, Bob Nicholson bought it and Arnold again rented the land for several years till the Nicholsons moved there to live. The land was rich and gardens grew in abundance. Another really good garden spot was where Ivor Johnson lives.
Mrs. Tommy Napoleon was the grandmother of Arnold’s wife, Florence. Mrs. Napoleon was born in McLennan but died when she was eighty-nine years old, after living about forty years at Moberly Lake. Mrs. Napoleon lived in a teepee in her younger years but still had one in the summer time, even the last few years she lived. They were nomads, so never built houses in the early years, but would cut small poplars, split them and make a teepee. The cracks were filled with moss and tarps were placed over this to make a warmer shelter. The children had no opportunity to go to school, but had learned to read in Cree language.
Tommy Napoleon and John Thomas were brothers, also Felix Napoleon. Mrs. Nancy Savard is a daughter and has a great many descendants. Mrs. Florence Munch is an older daughter of hers (Nancy’s).