Bienfait Telephone History

Bienfait, Saskatchewan, Canada

(History from the 1955 History of Bienfait book), with my additions &corrections

  • The first telephone line was completed in 1914.
  • There was only one long distance line which ran to Estevan (on open wire), The remainder were party lines*.
  • The cost of phone calls was fifteen cents for two minutes.
  • This cost rose in 1954. (Today it is almost as cheap)
  • The first Operator was Bertha B. Kinler (Kilender in history book).
    • I believe this is her, but only a guess:
    • Bertha Kinler
      • b- Apr 20, 1898 in Ontario
      • d- Apr 8, 1979 in Stayton, Oregon, age 80
      • She married Walter Lebricht Frey on Feb 20, 1919 in San Francisco, CA son of Hugo Gustav Oscar Frey and Anna Badraun.
        they had a son and a daughter
      • in 1916 census Bertha B Kinler, age 18, born in ON , shown as Assistant Telephone Operator, Irish ancestry, Presbyterian
        boarding with Marie Clausen, age 18, born in USA, shown as Telephone Manager who immigrated in 1916, German ancestry, Lutheran religion
        Shown as speaking German as well as English
        Both shown at the Telephone Office
  • Mrs Mildred Felgate was Telephone Operator in the years 1915 and 1916.
    • Mildred McCathern (Mcather?) Felgate, nee Ryson
      • b- May 7, 1896 in Winnipeg MB
      • d- Mar 14, 1969
      • buried in Bienfait Cemetery
      • shown in 1916 as a servant for her Uncle Christopher Mandt in Bienfait
      • father- Joseph Ryson
        • b- Dec 1871 in USA
        • Joseph “Joe” Ryson was one of the first Bienfait Councillors, Division 5, at first meeting in Bienfait, Jan 6, 1913
      • mother- May Mandt
        • b- June 1882 in USA
        • d- Jan 14, 1913 in SK
      • sister- Francis Ryson
        • b- July 1899 in MB
      • Father and Mother Immigrated to Canada in 1907
      • Mildred's Husband- Howard Duke Felgate
        • father- Percy Howard Felgate- b- ca 1865, Hackney, Middlesex, England
        • mother- Edith Annie Duke

*Party lines were operated on the principal of distinctive rings
-one farmer would be 1 short & 1 long (or 1 short ring and 1 long ring)
another might be 2 longs and 1 short, etc etc.
The ringing generator was a crank on the side of the old telephone.
All long distance calls were handled by an operator, from a cord board.

A Mrs. Malarty, was an Operator, ca 1924
Ken Johns married her daughter Kathleen Malarty in 1924.

On the May 1st, 1915 map the Telephone Exchange, was located in Block 4, at lot 224, on Railway Ave.,
between Main St. and Walsh St.
It was in this location in the 30's as well, and probably later.

This is the style of phone we had on our farm in the 50's


  • Last modified: 2018/02/19 15:20
  • by dlgent