My Genealogy and History Page of
 Lignite School #1357


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Lignite School #1357

Lignite School Drawing from Reunion Book
Picture above drawn by Olga Kingdon, nee Moskaluk
 The School was located on SE 25, T2, R6, W2
It was built in 1906
It was a one room wooden frame building built on a foundation of stone.
It was named after the Lignite coal which was mined in the district..
In the School District there was settlers from many Nationalities
There was English Coal Mining Families,
a Group of Scandinavian Farm families from Minnesota,
Europeans from Germany and the Ukraine,
including some Jewish families
 from the Settlement area around Hirsch.

1927 Map of the Lignite School Location
Each small Square on this map is 1 mile Sq
You can see this school was built on the old Highway 18
between Bienfait and Hirsch
Today Highway 18 runs parallel to the train tracks shown on the map
It would be 4 miles south of Highway 18 today


Some of the Early Families
Joseph (Joe) Mould
John Froh
L. Fast
Christ P. Mandt
Thomas Bennett
George Threlfall
J. Frank Bulmer
Gunder Bjorgo
J. Goldberg
Jas B. Rock
Ole Christenson
Isaac Christenson
Gilbert Anderson
George Schroeder
Frank Smith
Carl Johnson
Oscar Sandberg
H. Nixon
Names and info from a Reunion Book from 1991
written by Alton Finstad


Many Teachers only taught for one year
My Uncle Ed Gesell was an exception
as he taught for 4 years

Here is a list of Teachers from the 1991 Reunion Book
Miss Vera Brown 1907-08
Mr. George D. Campbell 1909-1910
Mr. Leo Zealand 1911-
Mr. Adams 1915-1916
Miss Vera B. Addie 1917-
Mrs Francis Ryson
Mrs Vera J. Rock 1918-1919
Ann Galloway
Mr. William Dunbar 1922-
Mr David Dunbar- 1924-
Mr. Jack Mould 1925-
Mrs Grace Rawelcliffe 1925-1926
Mrs Myra Wright 1927-
Mrs Florence Dale 1928-1929
Mrs Grace Jamison 1930
Mr. Gordon Mackenzie 1931-1935

Photo from North Bienfait School, shows teacher Georgina Graham
Mrs Georgina Graham 1935-1936
(picture courtesy her son Stan Graham)

Mr. J. B. Joyce - 1937

Mr Ed Gesell
(My Uncle) Mr Edward Gesell 1938-1941
(only son of Gustav August Gesell and Mae Wendel)

Mr Gordon Mackenzie 1941-1942
Miss Magdalene Melton 1943
Mrs Della Matz 1943
Mrs Clara Nordby 1944
Miss Elsie Ellis 1944-1945
Mr Bill Johner 1946
Miss Doris Hamilton 1947-1948
Miss Alice Kolke 1948-1949
Miss Zada Book 1949-1951
Mrs Ellen McCowan (sub) 1950
Miss Edna Christenson 1951- 1952

List of Known Students
as printed in the 1991 Reunion Book 
Moses Fieldman 
Edith Bulmer
John Vizniowski
Philip Christenson
Igna Christenson
Lowel Christenson
Dora Anderson
Hans Anderson
Steve Fai
Anna Christenson
Annie Moskaluk
Johnnie Christenson
Willard Peterson
Annie Fai
Joe Bodlack
Lena Bodlack
Julia Marchuk
Millard Ellingson
Mary Krupka
David Stock
Willie Christenson
Nickie Fai
Anna Brown
John Rosner
Anges Molyneaux
Jack Taylor
Christian Fedderson
Stanley Taylor
Arthur Fedderson
Irene Moskaluk
Ernest Fedderson
Freda Fedderson
Alex Fai
Jean Moskaluk
Joe Schroeder
Frank Schroeder
John Brown
Ethel Finstad
Edna Christenson
Donald Krupka
Yvonne Fai
Doreen Ferguson
Elmer Ferguson
Eileen Ferguson
Bernice Lishinsky
Lila Fedderson
Orvill Ferguson
Victoria Moskaluk
Gordon Finstad
David Molyneaux
George Molyneaux
Olga Moskaluk
Verna Wise
Jerry Anderson
Fern Finstad
Marlene Winter
Marvin Finstad
Gloria Anderson
Barbara McCowan
Christina Christenson
Ettie Fieldman
Mike Vizniowski
Nick Vizniowski
Steve Ciepliski
Irvin Christenson
Carrie Anderson
Walter Anderson
Joe Mencevich
Sophie Lichach
Ethel Moskaluk
Mary Lichach
Mary Fai
Katie Lichach
Susie Butchko
Vivian  Anderson
Stella Christenson
Mary Moskaluk
Annie Marchuk
John Taylor
Walter Stock
Stanley Taylor
Barbara Moskaluk
Dora Dee
Janet Brown
Roy Taylor
Agda Fedderson
Holger Fedderson
Halef Fedderson
Thora Ternan
Rose Marchuk
Stella Moskaluk
Christina Fedderson
Tony Rosner
Mike Krupka
Jim Brown
John Todd
Doris Christenson
Rose Fai
Hester Brown
Charles Ferguson
Walter Christenson
William Brown
Alton Finstad
Theodore Fai
Marjorie Krupka
Floyd Christenson
Elizabeth Glosser
George Todd
Hans Anderson
Clifford Finstad
Walter Ciepliski
Fredrick Nordby
Donald Ciepliski
Marion Ciepliski
Edwina Wirth
Beverly Christenson
Joan Crobko
Basil Ciepliski
Muriel Rosner
Arthur Rosner


Mr. George Threlfall
Christ Mandt
Gilbert Anderson
George Schroeder
Frank Smith
Joe Mould
Mrs. Tekle Anderson
Isaac Christenson
Philip Christenson
Gunder Bjorgo
Nick Krupka
Steve Ciepliski
Gunner Anderson
John Christenson
Peter Dillman
Theodore Fai

J. F. Bulmer
Christ Mandt
Mrs. Joe Mould
Isacc Christenson
A. Nelson
Anton Finstad
Steve Ciepliski
Alton Finstad

Hans Berg
Christ Mandt
Thomas Bennet
Gilbert Anderson
Frank Smith
Carl Johnson
Alex Mencvich
Isaac Christenson
Philip Christenson
Peter Dillman
Raymond Lafrentz
Tony Walliser
J. Goldberg
John Froh
J. F. Bulmer
George Schroeder
Joe Mould
Bunder Bjorgo
Mike Fai
Nick Krupka
Gunder Anderson
John Christenson
Hans Anderson

Representing Lignite
on the Bienfait Central Board
Peter Dillman
Hans Anderson
Theodore Fai
Alton Finstad
Tony Walliser 

Other Tidbits from the Reunion book
Lunches were brought to the school in Lard or Syrup Pails
as they had a wire handle and a lid
In the winter it would take all day to heat up the School Room
 as no heat was kept on thru the night.
Electricity was never installed in this School.
Recreation at school were games made up by the children
 as there was very little sports equipment. 
 Games they played were "Anti-I-Over", "Stealing Sticks",
 "Tag", "Kick the Can", and "Fox and Geese" 
Christmas Concerts were the highlight of the year.
They held Pie Socials, Bridal Showers, Dances and Whist Drives in the School.

Info Below from Board Minutes
-First recorded Board Minutes were Feb 26, 1906.
They elected 2 tustees to replace Mr. H. M. Berg and Mr J. Goldberg.
Mr C. Mandt and Mr. John Froh were elected.
Mr C. Mandt was elected Chairman,
Mr O. Christenson Treasurer, Mr. J. F. Bulmer Secretary and John Froh Trustee.
-On July 14,1906 one acre was purchased from
 Hoidale and Sumsen on the SE 26, T2, R6, W2.
The board arranged to borrow $1,000.00 from J. W. Nay of Regina,
repayable in 10 equal payments at 5 1/2% to construct and furnish the school.
John Fast's tender for $865.00 was accepted
on condition the school was built by Aug 13, 1906.
-The first teacher was hired Jan 14, 1907 at $55.00/mo
-On Jan 11,1908 it was reported the school was open 139 days,
12 girls and 4 boys attended.
-in 1913 it was decided to install a phone in the school,
but not to hire a teacher  and not to collect any taxes.
-In 1914- a water well was dug by C. P. Mandt
-In March 1915 2 more acres were bought for $17.50
an acre from Mrs. Henreitta Thornton.
-Isaac Christenson built a 16' x 28' stable in 1918.
and a second well had to be dug by James Rock.
-In 1920 and 1921 the school was closed due to lack of students.
It was reopened on Apr 1, 1922.
-On Feb 5, 1923 it was proposed to fence the yard and plant some trees.
-On Nov 10, 1928 it was decided to partition off the school
 to provide living quarters for the teacher.
-In 1932 the teacher's salary was reduced
to $800.00/yr due to difficult financial times
-In 1933 the salary was reduced to $650.00/yr
-Apr 1938 they passed a motion to purchase
 a Teacherage from the Crescent Mine
with the moving and repairing to be done by the families of the students.
-Aug of 1938 my Uncle Edward (Ed) Gesell was hired
 at $500.00 for 200 teaching days.
 He and Gudrun were the first family to live in the teacherage.
-In 1941 the teachers salary was raised to $700.00.
-The well was filled in in 1944 as a safety measure.
-In 1945 the Estevan School Unit was organized and Lignite School 
was absorbed into that unit.
-Steve Ciepliski transported the students to Bienfait for a few years. 
School buses were then used to take the children 
to the Bienfait Junior School and Weldon High School.
-The Teacherage and barn were sold in 1954. 
The barn to Tony Rosner, and the teacherage to Theodore Fai.
-TonyRosner was the successful bidder for the school yard.
- Presently Alton and Virginia Finstad own the school acreage. 


Last Reunion
July 5 & 6, 1991
Reunion Chairman was Ted Fai
125 Former Teachers and Students attended
and they erected a Cairn on the site of the old Lignite School.
It is a Bronze Plaque mounted on a local large stone.
The old School Bell was rung by Ted Fai
 to start the Dedication Ceremony. 
Olga Kingdon (nee Moskaluk) opened with a scripture reading.
  Steve Ciepliski and Philip Christenson, two of the oldest students,
 unveiled the cairn.
  Pastor Wayne Berg of Trinity Lutheran Church in Estevan
 led the Dedication Service.
Edna Peterson, the last teacher in the school, and also a former student,
 brought greetings.  Ethel Haukeness and Nick Fai, two former students,
 recalled some of their school memories from the 30's and 40's. 
 The site was marked by Alton Finstad,
 to show the location of the original buildings, and playground equipment.
They had an auction of handcrafted items, with Olga Kingdon's picture
 of the old School yard bringing the highest price.

Lignite School Cairn

The Building was closed in 1952
 with the students transported to Bienfait School.
The Building was then moved to M&S mines
 to be used as a classroom there. 
 A few years later the building was sold
and moved again to a farm south of Frobisher

This building was also used as a church from 1930 -1950
by the Zion Lutheran Church Congregation in the area.

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No Reproduction in Whole or in Part may be made
without the express Written Permission
 of Doug Gent

Page created by Doug Gent 2016
Created Jan 13, 2002
Revised June 24, 2009

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