Mowat Pioneers Update

Well, it’s been another couple of months since my previous post in May. I was successful in finding my grand uncle’s grave within ‘St. Michael’s Cemetery’ at SW-14-29-18-W1.

st michael's cemetery

Unfortunately, the cemetery was overgrown and I don’t know how many other graves were suppose to be in there. Where I thought the graves would be located was just grass, unless the headstones have been buried, while the rest of the graves were found in the trees/brush.

Anton Masiowski's headstone

There were a handful of other headstones that I was able to take pictures of but I was unable to get all sides.

st michael's grave 01

st michael's grave 02

st michael's grave 03

st michael's grave 04

st michael's grave 05

A surprising find was the grave of Peter Demczyszyn (1909-1930) who was murdered in a case of mistaken identity. You can read more in the previous blog post here.

Peter Demczyszyn headstone

Another interesting find was this mysterious grave at the crossroads of Road 170 North and Road 105 West.

mystery grave 1

mystery grave 2

This is what I have been able to decipher from the headstone.

В. чесьт
славу най Сь
Серцю Г.Н.Ю
Христа

Памятка Се

триць з рок 1921
фундаторка

Анна Чорнобай

From what I can understand it is related to the Chornoboy family, specifically, Anna Chornoboy (1904-). If this is correct then Anna was only 17 years old when she died. Historically, burial at a crossroads was the method for persons who have committed suicide. Was this the case for poor Anna? I am going to do some more investigation in this case.

Update and Travel

It has been a very busy few weeks at my job and so I haven’t had much time to devote to my blog recently.

In order to let off some steam I decided to take a trip up north to Mowat to stay at the family farm.

My primary goal during this trip is an attempt to find my grand uncle’s grave and get a photograph of his headstone.

Anton Masiowski was born to my great-grandparents John Masiowski and Anastasia Kotlarchuk on Oct 10, 1906. He was their second born child in Canada. Anton was described as a sickly child and died on Oct 11, 1925 at the tender age of 19. I have it in my mind that he drowned in the river however I might be mixing up the cause of death with someone else.

I dug up somewhere, my memory alludes me exactly where from, that Anton was buried north of North Lake School No. 1431 (NW-11-29-18-W1), at SW-14-29-18-W1. I always thought he was buried by his lonesome, however recent research would indicate that his grave is likely in the Fork River Roman Catholic Cemetery. In all honestly I’m not sure why they named it after ‘Fork River’ as the cemetery’s location is actually closer to Oak Brae but I suppose Oak Brae might have already established a Roman Catholic cemetery.

Previously, I was under the belief that the Fork River Roman Catholic Cemetery was located across the river of the Fork River Cemetery, just before Fork River on Route 20, as this is where a number of my family members are buried who were Roman Catholics. I stand corrected. I suppose this is simply the burial spot for Roman Catholics within the Fork River Cemetery at SW-25-29-19-W1.

Now that I’ve hopefully located the correct coordinates of the Fork River Roman Catholic Cemetery I will be able to take photographs of not just Anton’s grave but of other family members who were buried there as well.

My only concern is whether vandals or time might have destroyed the graves at this cemetery such as what occurred at the Fork River Cemetery. I have better hopes as it’s on a quieter roadway and is away from the river where it’s less likely to flood or be damaged by ice.

Mowat School District History Spans 64 Years

Below is an interesting article I located about the Mowat School that was published on Aug 4, 1967 in the Dauphin Herald. Mentioned is my 2nd great-grandfather, Noah Johnston, as well as my great-grand uncle, George Basham. The article mentions that it cost $600 to furnish the school-house in 1903 and by using the Bank of Canada’s inflation calculator based on the year 1914 (earliest year available) it would have cost them over $12,430 based on today’s standards.

Mowat School District History Spans 64 Years

When Peter Rudkevitch of Whitehorse, Yukon, arrived in Fork River for his grand-niece’s wedding, everyone began renewing acquaintances and memories went back to school days. School days where? At Mowat school!

The general feeling was “Let’s get together and have some pictures taken for Centennial year.” The old school chums and classmates phoned around and the gathering took place at the new school, as they called it, on Tuesday, July 25. The result was the following history of Mowat school:

This is the original Mowat school located on the boundary of Mossey River and Dauphin.

This is the original Mowat school located on the boundary of Mossey River and Dauphin. Seen grouped in front of it are former pupils who attended school there prior to World War II.

From left to right, front row, are Joe Masiowski, Peter Rudkevitch, Jim Richardson, Joe Rudkevitch; second row, Metro Brezden, Jim Johnston; back row, Tom Miller, George Miller and Mike Brezden.

Mowat school was organized by George Lacey in the year 1903. He spent many days walking from home to home by trails, as there were may children of school age, but no roads or phones, but he felt the necessity of an education for all, and his many miles of walking resulted in a first general meeting being held at the home of Noah Johnston, N.E. ½ S12-29-19 in June of 1903.

The first trustees were George Lacey, Charles Clarke and Noah Johnston, with George Frame as chairman and Thomas Richardson as secretary.

The first school was built and furnished for approximately $600. The name was chosen to honour Sir Oliver Mowat who served as one of the Fathers of Confederation.

Students prior to 1939

This is a group of former pupils shown at the present school. They attended prior to World War I and prior to 1939.

They are from left to right, front row, Joe Masiowski, Joe Rudkevitch, John Zabiaka, Fred Solomon, Mike Brezden; second row, Earl Gower, Tom Miller, Jim Johnston, Mrs. Joe Masiowski, Henry Solomon; third row, Ernest Johnston, Metro Boreyko, Peter Rudkevitch, Mrs. L. Carriere, Mrs. Jim Johnston; back row, Jim Richardson and William Zabiaka.

In the Mowat school vicinity still reside Mrs. W. Mullen, formerly Hattie Lacey, and Joe Rudkevitch, who entered school when the doors were first opened in 1904 with George Basham as teacher. Mrs. Emma Rice and Jim Lintick were teachers well remembered prior to World War I.

Between the two World Wars, teachers who were spoken of at the reunion were: Miss Grace Beach, Mr. Jarvis, John Main, Miss Reta Breaker, and C.D. Voigt Others were mentioned, but names seemed difficult to recall.

  • In 1920 a new school containing two rooms was built to accommodate some 80 pupils. The primary room included grades 1 to 4, and the secondary room grades 5 to 11. in 1921 the present school inspector, C.D. Voigt was the primary teacher and D.A. Dahlgren (brother of C.N. Dahlgren, Dauphin) was the principal.
  • Since the Second World War, the two-room school was destroyed by fire and a one-room school was replaced by the Dauphin-Ochre Area board in 1951.

Many prominent men and women of Canada have been products of this country school. One in our Canada’s present field of education, John Slobodzian is federal inspector of Indian schools.

In September 1967, one hundred years after Sir Oliver Mowat prominently figured in Confederation, the school doors will open again for another year with Mrs. Stanley behind the desk to teach grades 1 to 7.

And so the school bell will still ring for Mowat school after a history dating back to 1903.

Fred Solomon and Peter Rudkevitch

It is a note of interest to learn that Fred Solomon and Peter Rudkevitch, right and left respectively, sat in a double desk in the school for seven successive years. The two seen here in happy frame of mind, no doubt have been reminiscing about some of the mischief they got into when teacher had her back turned.