Lignite School #1357

Bienfait, Saskatchewan, Canada

Picture above drawn by Olga Kingdon, nee Moskaluk

The School was located on SE 25, T2, R6, W2

It was built in 1906

July 14, 1905 the School District was officially designated by the Government
Senior Trustee- Hans Berg, address- Coalfields, Assiniboia

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.

Part of my Dad's 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

  • Joseph (Joe) Mould
  • John Froh
  • L. Fast
  • Christ P. Mandt
  • H. M. Berg
  • Thomas Bennett
  • George Threlfall
  • J. Frank Bulmer
  • Gunder Bjorgo
  • J. Goldberg
  • James 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

  • 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
  • Mrs Georgina Graham 1935-1936 click for photo
  • Mr. J. B. Joyce - 1937
  • Mr Ed Gesell click for photo
  • 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

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

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


  • 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

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 trustees 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.
-Tony Rosner was the successful bidder for the school yard.
- Presently (ca 1991) 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.


  • Last modified: 2018/02/28 19:16
  • by dlgent