My uncle also filed on land at the same time. In March of 1917 my father came to get us — my mother and five children. Bernard, my youngest brother was born here in 1919.
We started from Ste. Anisette, a village about sixty miles from Montreal and arrived at Spirit River, the end of steel, about a week later. Mr. ____ took us over the old winding trail from Spirit River, through the bush, until we reached Tremblay’s about three days later.
At one of the stopping places we met Rev. Kerr, an Anglican minister of the early days, who held services at Kilkerran. We slept in the bunkhouse, and I remember the Reverend came to tuck us in for the night, my brother and I. We were covered with blankets and over all was a horsehide.
In January 1918, school began in Molnar’s shack, one mile west of the home place. The first teacher was English — his name was Mr. Ray Simpson. He taught at Landry from the fall of 1918 to June 1926.
In the fall of 1918 Pouce Coupe Central School was opened with Miss Christina Anderson as teacher. She stayed until 1920 and left at Christmas of that year. In March 1921, Miss Winnifred Henderson from New Zealand arrived, but she taught for only four months. The following July it was Mr. M. C. Simmons, who taught twelve years in that school. Pouce Coupe Central School is now part of the pioneer village recently started in the city.
I wrote my Grade VIII examination in 1922 but failed, but I passed in 1923. I had to go to the old Pouce Coupe School to do this. Mr. Clarke was the teacher.
In 1924 my sister, now Mrs. Dumont, and I went to Rolla to write our Grade IX. Mr. Simmons had taught us this grade at the local school. In 1924-5-6, I attended at Rolla. It was a Superior School and taught up to Grade X. In the fall of 1925 Miss Patricia Robinson kindly consented to teach Grade XI. We needed this grade to get our Normal School Course in 1926-27 in Victoria, B.C.
My father died in 1924. He is buried in the old cemetery near Pouce Coupe. I am sorry to say it is now in a very neglected condition. While in Rolla I stayed with Olingers and with Mr. Grotheim, a colourful character sometimes called the “Mayor of Rolla”.
Then I began teaching here. In 1927 I went to teach at Kelly Lake. The place was wild and very isolated. Inspector Gower, inspector of schools for the Peace River Block came in February 1928, to inspect the school. When he left he shook hands with me and told me to keep up my courage. It was a very lonely year.
In January 1929 I went to North Swan Lake School, and stayed there until 1932. It was in the depths of the depression and times were hard. If it hadn’t been for the rabbits, they would have starved. We had good times, though, at the school dances and especially at the Christmas concerts.
In 1932 we had a local baseball team, and we enjoyed the many games. In 1933-34, I taught at South Dawson. In 1935-46 I was at Devereaux in the old log school for eleven years. It was really home away from home as the old school was built on my uncle’s place. In 1946 I retired as it was getting hard for me to get around in the winter.
In conclusion I should like to say “Hello” to all my pupils I taught during nineteen years of tenure in the rural schools of the Peace River Block. I wish them all the best. I know that they are doing their best in building up this fine country of ours.
I now live in Dawson Creek, retired, and on the Old Age Pension, but I often think of the days long ago. Good-bye everyone.