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Saskatchewan Evolutionary Changes

27 May

Saskatchewan Evolutionary Changes

1900 Map of Manitoba and the North-West Territories

Manitoba and the North West Territories in 1900

In many instances, the boundaries and names of current place names have changed from historical accounts, correspondences and census enumeration regions. In fact, the province of Saskatchewan established the current provincial boundaries on September 1, 1905. Even though the provisional districts of Assiniboia, Saskatchewan and Athabaska of the North-west Territories were amalgamated to form the new province, the boundaries of these early provisional districts were similar to the new provincial boundaries, the boundaries were not concurrent with each other.

Genealogical research centers around discovering ancestral lines by delving into research focusing on the ancestral family name, the time period, momentous occasions, birth and death dates and thirdly the location where the family lived. These three, name, date and place names can help to draw a picture of the history of the family. From the place names, the education and occupation can be sought after. The region also will uncover documents such as newspaper obituaries, birth, christening and marriage announcements, wills, land patent titles and scrip to name just a few. Census enumerators canvassed the population by region as well, so if an historical census is released for online viewing which covers the time period of the ancestral family, it can be perused by region. Neighbouring family members can be ascertained from the census along with occupation and residence.

The province’s boundaries are:

1. The 4th Meridian of the Dominion Land Survey or 110°W longitude at the western demarkation between the province of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

2. The 49th parallel US-Canada international boundary line makes the southern provincial border.

3. Upon breaking apart from the North-west Territories into a separate province, the North-west Territories continued on north of 60th parallel, the province’s northern boundary.

4. The eastern boundary does not lie upon the 2nd Meridian, but is rather east of the 102nd meridian west (the 2nd Meridian of the Dominion Land Survey) thus forming the division between the province of Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Some confusion has arisen regarding historical and current place names. For example if one possesses historical letters which may provide an address say of Cannington Manor, Assa, NWT. Assa was a common abbreviation for the provisional district of Assiniboia in the North-West Territories (1882-1905). (The hyphen in North-west Territories was removed in 1906 becoming Northwest Territories) The District of Assiniboia is described as the 33rd township (about 51.97 degrees north) southward to the U.S.A.- Canada border. The eastern border of Assiniboia abutted the western boundary of the province of Manitoba which was between 101 and 102 line of longitude. Assiniboia’s western border likewise extended past the fourth meridian, the current westerly provincial border to meet with the provisional district of Alberta. The provisional district of Assiniboia extended westward to the further than the fourth meridian to about 112 °W meridian longitude between about range 10 and 11, past the fourth meridian (110°W longitude).

For example, historical maps show Medicine Hat section 31, township 12, range 5, west of the fourth meridian as being within the boundaries of the District of Assiniboia, NWT. Medicine Hat is within the province of Alberta boundaries after 1905.


Likewise, Brandon located at section 23, township 10, range 19 west of the prime meridian or latitude longitude 49º 50′ 49” N, 99º 57′ 8” W was outside of the boundaries of the original :postage stamp” province of Manitoba which had a western boundary at the 99th line of longitude. However, Brandon was not within the boundaries of Assiniboia, NWT whose eastern boundary was between the 101 and 102 line of longitude. Currently Brandon is within the province of Manitoba.

Fort Pelly and Fort Ellice were both close to the Provisional District of Assiniboia – Province of Manitoba boundary. Fort Ellice within Manitoba, and Fort Pelly within the Provisional District of Assiniboia. It is interesting to note that Fort Livingstone, headquarters for the North-West Mounted Police was the first capital of the North-West Territories 1876-1877. Fort Pelly is the closest settlement to Fort Livingstone. The current village of Fort Pelly is close to the Hudson Bay Company post of Fort Pelly existing between 1824-1912.

The provisional district of Assiniboia in the North-west Territories can be seen to encompass a sizeable district, quite distinct from the current place name of Assiniboia which is a town in the province of Saskatchewan located at section 10 township 8 range 30 west of the 2nd meridian or latitude, longitude 49º 37′ 45” N, 105º 59′ 19” W.*

It is of note that this provisional district of Assiniboia was created as a regional administrative district in 1882 by the North-West Territories. The first district of Assiniboia (1812-1869) referred to the Red River Colony as created from the 1811 Selkirk Concession with the United States.

Similarly, Athabaska (also spelled Athabasca) was the provisional district of the North West Territories for the northern portion of present day Saskatchewan (Township 71 and northward to the District of MacKenzie NWT at the present border between Saskatchewan and the NWT). In 1882, the eastern boundary of the provisional district followed the routes taken by the Athabasca and Slave rivers to an area south of the Clearwater River fork. The eastern boundary then separated from following natural features and was a straight line between the 111th and 112th meridian longitude. By 1895, the eastern border of Athabasca extended easterly absorbing area from the North-west Territories. The eastern border became now the 100th meridian longitude. The western boundary followed along the 120th meridian abutting the province of British Columbia which had been formed on July 20, 1871. The southerly edge of the Athabasca provisional district ran along the provisional districts of Alberta and Saskatchewan along the 18th correction line just north of 54 degrees latitude north. The provisional district of Athabasca lost land to the province of Alberta, and the NWT Keewatin district in 1905 when the province was created. (As an aside, Manitoba’s borders were extended northward absorbing land from the NWT Keewatin District in 1912.)

Within the provisional district of Athabasca was a post office located at north west section 20, township 66, range 22, west of the 4 meridian which opened in 1901 under the name of Athabaska Landing, changing names in 1914 to Athabaska, and again seeing a name change in 1950 to Athabasca. Athabasca is currently located within the province of Alberta boundaries.

Of note is the provisional district of Saskatchewan, NWT, which possessed boundaries very different from the current province of Saskatchewan. In 1882, the eastern boundary of the provisional district was the 100th meridian longitude alongside the District of Keewatin. These borders were modified in 1898, when the provisional district of Saskatchewan did in fact make use of natural geographical features in its boundary, extending eastward to Lake Winnipeg (now wholly within the province of Manitoba) and the Nelson River. Between the 111th and the 112th meridian longitude was a straight line border which formed the border with the provisional district of Alberta. The northern reach extended as far as the Dominion Survey of township 70 about 54 degrees north, and the southern boundary was township 35 located at about 51.97 degrees north. The provisional district of Saskatchewan lost land to the province of Alberta, and the NWT Keewatin district in 1905 when the province was created.

The post office named Saskatchewan operated between 1884 and 1891 at the eastern half of section 35 township 38 range 4 west of the third meridian placing it in the provisional district of Saskatchewan NWT. However Fort Saskatchewan (former name Edmonton) located at Section 32, Township 54, Range 22, West of the fourth meridian, was located in the provisional District of Alberta, NWT. Fort Saskatchewan currently locates in the province of Alberta.

The settlement of Saskatoon (which changed names to Nutana in 1902) was located at section 28 township 36 range 5 west of the third meridian and is usually shown on maps as being within the Provisional District of Saskatchewan, NWT. Nutana, Riversdale and West Saskatoon (change of names in 1902 to Saskatoon) were three villages which amalgamated to form the city of Saskatoon in 1903 latitude longitude 52º 8′ 23” N, 106º 41′ 10” W.

Saskatchewan is commonly abbreviated Sask, and Saskatoon may sometimes be seen as S’toon. The current abbreviation for the province of Saskatchewan adopted by Postal Canada is SK.

By watching the dates of historic documents, it is easier to ascertain correctly the placenames of Saskatchewan ancestors. Oral history may recollect that an ancestor lived in a certain district, which may indeed refer to one of the three provisional districts, Assiniboia, Saskatchewan or Athabasca or it may refer to a One Room Schoolhouse District. Canada became a nation in 1867. Saskatchewan didn’t become a province of Canada until 1905, before this it was a part of the NorthWest Territories (1868-1905). The Rupert’s Land Act 1868 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, authorized the transfer of Rupert’s Land from the control of the Hudson’s Bay Company to the Dominion of Canada. The North West Territories was divided into districts in 1870. The British (in 1670) had given Rupert’s Land to the Hudson Bay Company which gave the company dominion over lands where there was water passageway from the Hudson Bay.

~Article written by Julia Adamson

For further information:

Adamson, Julia. Placenames of Saskatchewan Saskatchewan Gen Web. 03-May-2012. Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Adamson, Julia. Placenames of Saskatchewan Comments Saskatchewan Gen Web. 05-Jun-2005. Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Adamson, Julia. An analysis of Saskatchewan placenames Saskatchewan Wheat Pool Maps. 30-Apr-2005. Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Adamson, Julia. Saskatchewan One Room Schoolhouse project. Saskatchewan Gen Web. 31-May-2013. Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Adamson, Julia. Saskatchewan History Saskatchewan Gen Web. 25-Mar-2014. Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Adamson, Julia Maps of Saskatchewan 15-May-2014 Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Adamson, Julia. Rural Municipalities of Sakatchewan Saskatchewan Gen Web E-magazine. May 15, 2014. Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Adamson, Julia 1921 Canada Census: Place of Habitation :: Rural Municipalities Saskatchewan Gen Web E-magazine. March 24, 2014. Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Adamson, Julia. How do I locate my Ancestors Home Town in Saskatchewan? February 23, 2014. Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Adamson, Julia. Where were Saskatchewan Homesteads Located? February 10, 2012. Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Adamson, Julia. Why were Canadian “Last Best West” homesteads created? February 7, 2012. Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Adamson, Julia. When Were Saskatchewan Homestead Applications Available? February 16, 2012. Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Adamson, Julia. Maps of Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan Gen Web Project 15-May-2014. Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Adopted by Saskatchewan Gen Web and Julia Adamson. Saskatchewan Historical Geography May 25, 2014. Family Search. org Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Adopted by Saskatchewan Gen Web and Julia Adamson. Saskatchewan May 25, 2014. Family Search. org 24 October 2013. Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Adopted by Saskatchewan Gen Web and Julia Adamson. Saskatchewan History. 31 July 2013. Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Barry, Bill. Geographic Names of Saskatchewan. 2005. People Places Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-897021-19-2

Comprehensive Atlas of Canada and the World. George Philip. London. 1985.

Daly, Ronald C. The Macmillan School Atlas Revised Metric Edition. Gage Educational Publishing Company. Toronto, ON. 1982. ISBN 0-7715-8268-4.

Evolution Boundaries 1882 Atlas of Saskatchewan. Page 10
RICHARDS, J. Howard & FUNG, K.I. (1969). Atlas of Saskatchewan. Saskatoon: Modern Press. republish date online Saskatchewan Gen Web Saturday, 11-Mar-2000. Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Evolution Boundaries 195 Map Atlas of Saskatchewan. Page 10
RICHARDS, J. Howard & FUNG, K.I. (1969). Atlas of Saskatchewan. Saskatoon: Modern Press. republish date online Saskatchewan Gen Web Saturday, 11-Mar-2000. Date accessed May 26, 2014.

File:Manitoba and Northwest Territories (1900).jpg Date accessed May 26, 2014

The First Boundary Extension The Association of Manitoba Land Surveyors Date accessed May 26, 2014

Fort Esperance, Fort Pelly, Fort Livingstone National Historic Sites of Canada Management Plan. Parks Canada. ISBN 978-0-662-49893-3. Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Fung, K.I., Bill Barry and Michael Wilson. (1999) Atlas of Saskatchewan Celebrating the Millennium. Saskatoon: Printwest.

Government of Manitoba Postage Stamp Province
Historic Sites of Manitoba Postage Stamp Province 1870 (RM of Alexander) Manitoba Historical Society. 2014. Date accessed May 26, 2014.

Historical Maps of Canada. Canadian Geographic Magazine. 2014. Date accessed May 26, 2014

Historical Boundaries Canadian Heritage Government of Canada. 2013-08-28. Date accessed May 26, 2014

Kerr, D.G.G., editor. Historical Atlas of Canada. Page 66, 67 Canadian Historical Associations Committee on a Historical Atlas of Canada. 1960. Thomas Nelson and Sons (Canada) Ltd. Library of Congress catalog card number 60-9189.

Southern Alberta 2012 Aerial Imagery MD of Willow Creek. July 15, 2012. Date accessed May 26, 2014

Watson, J. Wreford, editor. Nelson’s Canadian School Atlas. 1958.

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One Room Schoolhouse Naming

18 Feb

GTP in blue

One Room Schoolhouse Naming

An article printed in the Saskatchewan Weekly Newspaper, The Potashville Miner-Journal, “From Bert’s NotebookPlace names, discusses the derivation of the names for schools in the Churchbridge / Langenburg area of Saskatchewan was submitted from the Esterhazy 1939 newspaper by Verna Brenner, which is intriguing and fascinating.

Web master note: Still awaiting permissions from the Saskatchewan Weekly Newspaper, The Miner-Journal and the family of Bert McKay for re-publication, a small paraphrasing of the article comes next. The following page takes the derivation for the name from the article written by Bert McKay, and further verification of these facts have been found in several other sources as noted in the bibliography.

Before we begin with these selected eleven one room school district names, just a note about the historical naming process of the one room school districts in the province of Saskatchewan. John C. Charyk noted in “Syrup Pails and Gopher Tails” that the naming of the school was left to the local residents in the community. “Today as a result of that policy, knowing how a school district derived its name often brings an insight into the very heart of local history and traditions.”Charyk 1984 p. 12 The procedure of determining the name was set before all the community ratepayers requesting a suitable name. The school District organisers would hold a meeting, and of these names, the committee would submit a list of four or five names. The Department of Education set before the community the request for a list, as very often if only one name were submitted, it may be in use already at another school site. So the final choice for the school district name lay with the Department of Education.

At this same time, a school district number was allotted to the school district by the Department of Education. The numbers began with Moose Jaw School District No. 1 of the North West Territories and kept incrementing to Bow Valley School District No. 1409, North West Territories. At this time, for provisional districts of the Northwest Territories were merged to form the twin provinces of Alberta, and Saskatchewan on September 1, 1905. The Department of Education then decided that to keep record keeping for the two provinces separate in these provincial fledgling years, the province of Alberta would continue numbering her schools from School District No. 1410 onwards, and new schools formed in the province of Saskatchewan would fill up the empty numbers between 1 and 1409 vacated by the province of Alberta and proceeding forward from there. And now to delve into the heritage of the naming of these school districts near Churchbridge and Langenburg, Saskatchewan. (Another note, the Department of Education is now termed the Ministry of Education in Saskatchewan.)

  • Chatsworth S.D. No. 1810, (1907) was named after not a place, but a road in the Clapton subdivision of London, England. McKay points out that the school district secretary suggested the name after his previous residential street. Chatsworth road is a market road serving people in the area with a diverse selection of shops and restaurants, including, African, Turkish, Asian and Caribbean produce alongside butchers, bakers and greengrocers according to Wikipedia.
  • Hohenlohe S.D. NO. 2705, (1910) received its appellation from Count Hohenlohe-Langenburg. According to Alan Anderson, the Count Hohenlohe-Langenburg was invited to the west as part of the great immigration scheme by Canadian immigration authorities. The Count, as president of the German Colonial Association was instrumental in encouraging large colonies, notably Colony Hohenlohe which later received the name Langenburg.
  • MacNutt S.D. No. 793, (1912) is next on the list. John Hawkes echoes the sentiments of Bert Mckay, writing of the Honourable Thomas MacNutt, that he was a farmer and stock raiser in the Saltcoats area, and also turned his attentions to the political arena serving the Saltcoats constituency as both Member of the Legislative Assembly and Member of Parliament. MacNutt is renowned for being the first Speaker of the Saskatchewan Legislature.
  • Zorn S.D. No. 3697, (1916) received its calling from Phillip Zorn, a school district administrator actively promoting school district organisation during the formative year, 1916. From the Western Land Grants Records, it can be seen that Fillipp Zorn was successful at proving up a homestead land grant on the Northwest quarter of section 34 township 23 range 30 West of the 1st Meridian.
  • Landestrew S.D. No. 2698, (1916) was named after Landestreu, Galicia by the immigrant Galician German settlers who arrived in this new land. According to Manfred Prokop, Professor of German (emeritus), Modern Languages and Cultural Studies they established the large colony named Hoffnungstal near Langenburg and Landstrew in the late 1800s. The Landestrew post office opened in 1892, the school not until 1916.
  • Dressler S.D. No. 3732, (1916) located on the north east quarter of section 5, township 23, range 31, west of the first meridian was located amidst the Dressler homesteaders. Daniel DRESSLER and Anna BUSCH arrived to the Langenburg area about 1890. Daniel began proving up the land on the south east quarter of section 18 of the same township mentioned above. They had ten children and their sons Frederick, Andrew, John also homesteaded the area. Daniel DRESSLER immigrated with four siblings from Galicia, and this area was home to a number of DRESSLER homesteads. According to LAC Western Land Grants, Section 5 was Canadian Pacific Railway Land. A portion of this land was donated by Frederick DRESSLER to the community on which to build the Dressler Schoolhouse reported Bill Barry.
  • Churchbridge S.D. No. 124, (1887) honours the Anglican Church Colonization Land Company administered by Mr. Church and Reverend Bridges, who purchased land for settlement in the township 22 range 32, west of the 1st meridian. In Ruth Swanson’s compilation, The first hundred years : around Churchbridge, 1880-1980, settlers also remember a Mr. Eden belonging to this English Colonization Company as well, and a preliminary name being Edenbridge which was changed to Churchbridge due to a conflict with Edenbridge, Manitoba.
  • Rothbury S.D. No. 204 (1891) recognizes the town of Rothbury in Northumberland, England. Robert Athey suggested the title at a school district meeting. The land around the Rothbury school district is characterized by rolling and open prairie. Rothbury, Northumberland is nestled within the Simonside and Cheviot Hills.
  • Goehring S.D. 910, (1903) has as its namesake an early trustee, Ludwig Goehring a school district trustee. Goehring successfully proved up on three quarter sections in the area.
  • Kensington Lake S.D. No. 1083, (1904) assumed its name from the nearby physical feature, Kensington Lake. McKay mentions that Kensington Lake, in turn, assumed its name from E.D. Kensington who farmed near the lake.
  • Flower Valley S.D. No. 1098, (1904) derived its name from the German word “Blummenthal” which translated means Flower Valley. McKay points out that George Haas suggested the German term, and Niel McFadyen put forward the English translation. Mrs. Louise (George) Haas recalls that the school district was situated upon the old Pelly Trail

Webmaster note: The newspaper article recorded Chatsworth S.D. as number 1771, however other sources provide the school with the name of Homeland as School District No. 1771, and Chatsworth School District as No. 1810. The spelling was provided as Landstrew S.D. 2698 in the newspaper article, however other sources gave it as Landestrew S.D. No. 3698, And Budweis School District received the S.D. number of 2698. If anyone else has further information or clarification on any of these schools, school districts or Bert McKay, it would be a pleasure to add the same notes as provided. Kind Regards Julia Adamson.


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