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This Livingston-Anderson story begins in the British Isles in the early 19th century. For the past two generations we have called Saskatchewan home. This story relates information from written and oral history and from genealogical facts. I will also note some historical developments that have affected our lives. In the early years of our relationship, Roy and I joked, “We’ll see Saskatchewan first.” As our life together unfolded, we never seriously considered leaving the province of our birth. This is the Livingston-Anderson story as seen through my eyes.

The Livingston family emigrated from Kirkcudbright, Scotland to Muirkirk, Ontario in the 1830’s. Boyd Livingston (1890-1958) was born in Swan River, Manitoba to John Clawson (1851-1937) and Eliza Catherine (Powell) Livingston (1861-1910). As a young man Boyd left home and worked in the USA and Canada. In 1913 he filed on a homestead in the Winding Creek district (NE20, Range23, Township54 West of the 3rd Meridian). In 1924 Boyd and his brother, Perley, opened a Machine Shop which became an International Harvester franchise. The Livingston Brothers remained partners until Boyd retired in the summer of 1957. Boyd was a keen outdoorsman, avidly fishing and hunting in season, and was a faithful member of the Masonic Lodge. He met a Buick family which shared these interests, and he became a family friend. There he met his future wife, Laura Buick.

Boyd & Laura Livingston Year: 1929 Place Name: St. Walburg, SK Wedding photo.

Boyd & Laura Livingston
Year: 1929
Place Name: St. Walburg, SK
Wedding photo.

Laura Duthie Buick (1906-1974), accompanied her parents Peter (1860-1941) and Margaret (McDonald) (1867-1928) Buick from the village of Auchmithie, Scotland where Peter was a “Farm Overseer” for a landowner. Laura often talked about life in Auchmithie. Her brothers used to scramble down the cliffs to the North Sea to collect gull’s eggs to supplement the family’s diet. Fish were also plentiful. The Buick family settled in the Winding Creek district near St. Walburg, Saskatchewan in 1917 where Laura completed her schooling. The patent for NE27T54R23W3rd was issued to Peter Buick, Esq. of Glenbogie, Saskatchewan, on January 25th 1921.

Laura and Boyd Livingston were married on January 22, 1929 and lived the remainder of their lives in the home they built on First Avenue East in St. Walburg. Laura took pride in her role as a homemaker, wife and mother, and she was an active member of the United Church and community. She had close ties with her siblings as well as the McDonald cousins in Scotland and those who had emigrated to South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Boyd was respected as a sensitive businessman; many of his customers were immigrants from Europe who were fleeing the invasion of their homelands by the Nazis in the 1930’s. Others had emigrated from Great Britain, Europe, United States or moved from Eastern Canada in search of homesteads and a brighter future. After Boyd died, Laura returned to visit Auchmithie several times after an absence of fifty-eight years. When Roy and I visited Auchmithie in 1993 a family was renovating the former Buick home in order to take up occupancy. The bothy (bunkhouse) where the hired men slept was standing then. Boyd and Laura were honored in 2005 on the occasion of the Centennial of Saskatchewan with a plaque in the Memorial Garden located on the site of the former Livingston Brothers International Harvester dealership and Machine Shop.

Walter & Ethel Anderson Year: 1980 Place Name: Shellbrook, SKY

Walter & Ethel Anderson
Year: 1980
Place Name: Shellbrook, SKY

Roy William Livingston was born in St. Walburg on February 12, 1931. An only child, Roy grew up surrounded by cousins and friends. Roy attended the Public School in St. Walburg and then an integrated High School with the students from the Separate Catholic School. He completed his last two years of High School at the Technical Collegiate in Saskatoon. In 1961 Roy became a candidate for ministry in the United Church of Canada (UCC). He received a Bachelor of Theology and was ordained at the Annual Conference of the UCC in 1969.

My paternal ancestors, the Andersons, also emigrated from Scotland. Gilbert Anderson (1794-1872) was born in Glasgow. He married Margaret (Young) Maitland (1802-1886) at Kirkintilloch, a suburb of Glasgow where Gilbert was a weaver. Roy and I visited the museum in Kirkintilloch in 1993 and discovered there had been a brisk cottage industry of linen weaving. The demand for linen declined when cotton, produced by cheap slave labour, was shipped from the Americas to the port of Glasgow. This may have been a factor in the Anderson’s decision to emigrate.

Gilbert and Margaret Anderson came to Lanark, Ontario in 1833. They moved to the Bulloch Settlement near Hopetown in 1835. A family legend is that Margaret pulled a two-wheeled cart with all their belongings to Edmondville where they were able to buy oxen. There they laid in supplies and rested. They blazed a trail through the woods to the farm west of Kippen, Ontario in 1846. It became known as the Anderson Farm and descendants of Gilbert and Margaret lived there until John, son of Arthur Anderson, died in 1987.

My great-great grandfather, Robert was born at Kippen (1832-1912). He married Susan Phillipo (1836-1905) from London, England. They were married in Brantford, Ontario on Jan 3, 1854. In 1880, Robert and Susan emigrated to Cass County in North Dakota, USA. Their seventh child was Robert Maitland (1865-1928). In 1889, he homesteaded southwest of Langdon, North Dakota.

On April 21, 1901, Robert Maitland Anderson married Isabelle Mary Bethune (1878-1939). Bella, as she was known was born in Dunvegan, Ontario to Norman Bethune (1844-1927) and Catherine McDonald. Norman’s parents were Hector Bethune and Mary McLeod.

Robert and Bella Anderson’s first son, Walter Robert was born in Langdon, North Dakota (1902-1993). The next year the Anderson family with Bella’s daughter, Elsie, moved to Dundurn, Saskatchewan, part of the Saskatoon Settlement.

As the depression years approached, Robert and Bella left their home in the Dundurn district and moved to Fir Lake, near Mont Nebo, Saskatchewan. Walter worked at farming, bridge building and ranching. When his father died, Walter assumed responsibility for his mother and siblings who were still at home and rented “the Broadfield place” near Parkside, SK. Bella, who suffered from arthritis, died in the Provincial Hospital, North Battleford. Although this was the institution that cared for the mentally ill, it was the only free hospital at that time. Years later my father, Walter Anderson, was able to pay a settlement to the collection agency for his Mother’s stay at the Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert.

Ethel Evelyn Mason (1908 -1987) was born at Hilldrop, Saskatchewan. After attending Hilldrop School, Ethel was given the opportunity to live with her Aunt Emily and her Grandmother, Mary Mason, in Saskatoon. She took piano lessons from her aunt and completed her Grade 11 successfully at Nutana Collegiate. Her goal was to become a nurse, but her father denied her this wish, saying she was needed at home to help on the farm. He compensated her by buying her a piano. But she did not take this piano with her when she married and moved to her own home. She finally got her inheritance, the piano, in the 1960’s after her parents died. Her six brothers each received a quarter section of land.

See “Mason, Will and Violet” story at www.wdmprairiegamble.com

On October 29, 1930, Ethel married Walter Anderson. Ethel and Walter moved to his home near Parkside. Late one night they heard clashing noises outside and opened the door to find friends banging pots and shouting. The newlyweds were being honored with a “chivaree” which was a popular wedding party of the 30’s.

Roy & Elsie Livingston Year: 1953 & 2003 Wedding and 50th anniversary.

Roy & Elsie Livingston
Year: 1953 & 2003
Wedding and 50th anniversary.

In 1934 Walter and Ethel moved by wagons and horses to NE36T50W3rd in Sturgeon Valley, Saskatchewan. The Anderson family grew to five girls and five boys. There we were raised and still call it “home.” Walter and Ethel were supporters of Brant School #3018 and Walter served on the School Board. One winter Ethel, who had read about hot school lunches, probably in Emma Oddies’ column of the Western Producer, made pots of soup or stew. We carried these to school in the sleigh and warmed them up on the wood-burning heater. The next year the mothers organized a cooperative hot lunch program. The Andersons were also part of the Holy Trinity Anglican Church community. The log church had been built about 1915 and was originally teamed with the “mission” on the Sturgeon Lake Indian Reserve.

It was in my Grandmother Anderson’s home that I, Elsie Violet Anderson, was born on July 20, 1931. I completed Grade 10 at Brant School, utilizing the Government Correspondence School curriculum. As a result of changes made by the Provincial Government led by Tommy Douglas our local school became part of the Prince Albert Rural School Unit in 1945. This enabled students to attend Secondary School in Prince Albert tuition-free. I graduated from Prince Albert Collegiate Institute in 1949. Then I spent one year at Saskatoon Normal School and was granted an Interim First Class Teaching Certificate #3107200. In 1982, I received a Bachelor of Education from the University of Saskatchewan.

After one year of teaching fifteen pupils in eight grades at Moose Valley School #3106, I was offered a position with the St. Walburg School #1270 to teach Grades four, five and six. I accepted without hesitation. So I set out on a day long journey by bus from Holbein to North Battleford and on to St. Walburg.

Roy Livingston was sent by my future landlady to meet the bus and was the first person I met in St. Walburg. Two years later we were married on July 16, 1953 in Holy Trinity Church, Sturgeon Valley by Canon W. F. Payton. After a honeymoon at Waskesiu we moved into a two bedroom home we rented for $35 a month. Roy continued his work with Livingston Bros. By 1955 he recognized that the family business was not the best option for our future. Roy began to look for a career change. Roy applied for two jobs and responses did not arrive immediately. But by the winter of 1955 he had accepted an offer from Boyd Brothers Chev-Olds dealership in North Battleford as Parts Manager. Then in 1959 we were surprised when Roy had an offer of employment from Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI). We lived in Regina while he trained. Roy began adjusting claims at the Prince Albert office on January 1, 1960.

Roy had attended Sunday School at St. Paul’s United Church in St. Walburg and had fond memories of some of the ministers who served there. He mentioned the Reverends Leonard Schnell and G. Whitehorn, who also led the Boy Scouts and Cubs. We all enjoyed the story about the Sunday morning his mother sent him off to Sunday School with a nickel in his hand for the collection. As he passed the Cafe, run by the only Chinese person in St. Walburg, he gave into temptation and bought an ice cream cone with the nickel. Roy’s Sunday School teacher, also the local General Store owner, noted to his mother when she went shopping that week that Roy must have lost his collection the previous Sunday. On investigation, the truth came out and Roy was punished appropriately.

In 1951, the new teachers and other young adults were invited to join the United Church choir. This brought Roy back to involvement with the church of his youth. After we were married he led Boy Scouts as well. The Rev. Glynn Firth became our minister in St. Walburg. He and Ruth Scoular, who was Deaconess at Loon Lake, became our friends and, as we realized later, our mentors. When we lived in North Battleford the Rev. Allan Logie was an encouraging and sincere spiritual leader. After his early death his wife, Laura Logie gave Roy her husband’s books to begin his theological library. When the North Battleford News-Optomist noted Roy’s ordination in 1969, it stated that Roy had belonged to Third Avenue United Church and had been “one of our best Sunday School teachers.”

Livingston Family Year: 2009 Place Name: Saskatoon, SK Top row: Patricia Jickling, Elsie Livingston, and Gail Borowsky Bottom row: Douglas, Brian, and Lloyd Livingston

Livingston Family
Year: 2009
Place Name: Saskatoon, SK
Top row: Patricia Jickling, Elsie Livingston, and Gail Borowsky
Bottom row: Douglas, Brian, and Lloyd Livingston

When we moved to Regina in August, 1959 we attended St. John’s United Church, and volunteered to teach Sunday School as we were lonely to be part of a community. Then another woman and I were asked to initiate a Church Women’s group in our neighbourhood. We had an enthusiastic response of about fifteen young women. I had a model to follow as Helen Smith, when she came to live in St. Walburg in 1953, had started an evening Women’s Auxiliary. I was the first Treasurer of that group and was short on the count of the first evening’s offering, which was ten cents per person. I just added the dime from my purse, but learned to never become the Treasurer of any organization for the rest of my life.

After four months in Regina, we moved to Prince Albert. Our family began a long and rewarding relationship with Calvary United Church. The Rev. Bob McLellan was in ministry there; he and his wife Rowena lived next door with their children. We were soon teaching Sunday School, serving on the Church Board, leading CGIT (Canadian Girls in Training) and attending the Women’s Federation. What a gift to be welcomed and valued in this church community!

One evening Roy did not arrive home from the Calvary Church Board meeting until long after midnight. When he came in, he woke me up to say he had talked with Bob McLellan and decided to become a candidate for ministry. Although I knew he felt that he hadn’t found his life’s work, we had never discussed this option. However, I was supportive and plans were begun for what was to become our future.

I looked for a teaching job only to find that the Prince Albert Public Schools had only one opening at the end of May. It was in the newly opened Kinsmen School for the Handicapped. The one condition was that I take a university class in Special Education that summer. In 1961 there was a survey class offered at the University of Saskatchewan and I went off to Summer School. In September, Roy resigned his job with SGI and went off every week to St. Andrew’s College where he had enrolled in the College of Arts. As he had work experience he was required to take only one undergraduate year before entering the Bachelor of Theology program.

It was a difficult year on many fronts. We had many disruptions in child care, sometimes relying on Grandmothers to fill the gaps. It was a huge life style change for Roy to leave the work world and become a student again. There were also financial challenges. Although the UCC paid the tuition and a bursary from the Order of the Eastern Star paid Roy’s living expenses, my income was barely covering our expenses at home. In April, Roy returned to Prince Albert and found summer employment as an Assessor for the city, but when the Prince Albert Presbytery offered Roy a position as Lay Minister for a year so that we could evaluate our decision, we readily accepted.

In August, 1962 we moved to our first manse in the village of Choiceland. The kind woman who was Sunday School teacher exclaimed to us on our walk home from Roy’s first church service, “How lucky we are to have you!” Only he and I seemed to be worried that they were getting a “minister” who lacked experience and theological training. Roy took services every Sunday on the “three point charge” of Choiceland, Snowden and Smeaton. The minister did his visiting at Smeaton by having lunch with each family in rotation. Of course, Roy had his favourites, but developed close relationships with many people!

We decided to check out an extension of Roy’s appointment as a Lay Minister for family reasons. We invited Carl Peterson, Chairman for the Church Board, for coffee one Saturday morning. As we sat in the kitchen, Roy explained our situation to him and asked if he thought it would be acceptable for us to spend another year at Choiceland. Carl leaped off his chair with a loud whoop. We had our answer and spent the next two years at Choiceland.

Our family spent an ideal summer at Candle Lake in 1963 as Roy managed Camp Tapawingo. We lived in a rustic cabin for five weeks. While Roy worked with the staff, counsellors and children, our children and II enjoyed the beautiful beach and the camp activities. It was the only time I had a “cook” as we ate all our meals with the campers. The next time that Roy managed the camp in 1968 I was “Assistant Cook.”

In 1965, the United Church of Canada offered the Lay Supply School. It involved serving a pastoral charge while completing some off- campus classes and attending a theological course for two months each summer. This was the option chosen by Roy.

We moved to Ethelton that year. Roy did not appear to be apprehensive about the four preaching points of Ethelton at 9am, Meskanaw at 11am, Pathlow at 2pm and Beatty at 7pm. We settled into the comfortable manse in the Hamlet of Ethelton, population 45 people and nine dogs. Our children attended the one room school with six grades. We were glad that the next year it was closed and the students went by bus to Kinistino. Of course, this was not the sentiment of many of the residents who saw this as another sign of the collapse of their rural community. Regretfully, some were resentful that we spoke out in favour of the move. Thereby we learned another lesson in community life.

In 1968-69 Roy was enrolled full-time at St. Andrew’s College to complete his Bachelor of Theology while the rest of the family moved to the town of Kinistino. In July 1968, we spent three weeks in Yorkton where Roy served as summer supply minister at St. Andrew’s United Church. I attended a course by Mrs. Anna Ingham on the Sight-Sound System of Teaching Reading. Incorporating it into my Grade One program yielded superb results and generated enthusiasm for learning for 25 six year olds in my class. Kinistino School had children enrolled from the James Smith First Nations and their integration was challenging. There was systemic and individual racism that we as a staff had to deal with. One of our successful tactics was to go to the reserve for parent-teacher interviews.

The Reverend Roy William Livingston Year: 1980s

The Reverend Roy William Livingston
Year: 1980s

Dr. Bob McClure was Moderator of the UCC in 1969 and preached at Third Avenue UC, Saskatoon for the St. Andrew’s Convocation. Roy’s Ordination Service was in St. Andrews’ UC, Moose Jaw. We hosted Roy’s mother, my parents, several friends and delegates to United Church Conference in our suite at the Travelodge. We served Orange Tang and Ginger Ale punch with cookies and cakes that I had baked ahead of time. This was a popular afternoon social.

The first visit to Coronach for the Livingston family was on Victoria Day weekend in May 1969. The trip was long and we’d had two flat tires on our little trailer. When we drove into the village of about 350 people we saw five churches, none of them United. We thought the people here must be very good to merit so many churches. Did they need another one? The last street took us past the church we were looking for and the manse was right across the street. When we moved in, the neighbourhood children welcomed us the first day with, “Can your kids come out to play?”

We arrived in Coronach with four children and another joined our family there. Douglas Roy was born in the Red Cross Outpost Hospital at Loon Lake on April 15, 1954. We moved to North Battleford just in time for the arrival of our second child, Gail Maureen, on May 26, 1956. Patricia Ann arrived in the wee small hours of April 6, 1960 at Prince Albert Victoria Hospital. Brian William Livingston was also born there on January 20,1964 while we were living in Choiceland. Lloyd James Bear (Shoal Lake) was 3 1/2 when he came to us from a foster home in Carrot River, part of Saskatchewan’s Adopt Indian Metis program. One of the teachers in Coronach was heard to remark that it was good for the school enrollment that the new minister had a big family.

Through the years our children experienced the pain of several moves, leaving friends, schools and familiar surroundings, but it was not only a hardship. They benefited from making many friends, gaining confidence in new situations and experiencing the best of the communities where we lived. In the varied communities, our children had many options: private kindergarten, school band and private music lessons, Cubs and Boy Scouts, Canadian Girls in Training, hockey and softball as well as many school sports. We were always warmly welcomed and had the security of a home and income. All five of our children are now thankful for the stability and security of growing up in small communities.

Roy became minister of Borderlands Pastoral Charge, which included Coronach, Fife Lake, Rockglen and Killdeer. He drove 100 miles each Sunday, visiting in each community, and attending church meetings and activities. My three years in Coronach were spent mostly in the kitchen feeding our family, their friends, the Youth Group, and others. I taught Sunday School, went to United Church Women’s meetings, and community and political meetings. One late evening on the way home from a Girl Guide meeting at Rockglen we were stopped by the RCMP who checked out our car. We all got the giggles when I explained to the officer that we were just a group of Girl Guide mothers, and not likely to be carrying drugs or liquor even though we lived so close to the USA border. The officer didn’t smile, but he “let us off.”

In 1971, Dr. Calder, our local doctor referred Roy to a surgeon in Regina who confirmed his suspicion that Roy had cancer. The doctor operated right away and was successful in removing the malignancy. A series of radiation treatments was prescribed at the Cancer Clinic in Regina. The Pastoral Charge was very supportive as Roy had a month of holidays and an additional month of sick leave.

In 1972 Roy seemed to have plenty of energy and never complained, but when an invitation was extended to consider moving to a “two point charge”, it seemed like the appropriate move. As was our habit all seven of us travelled to Elrose when Roy went for an interview I was invited to join him and the church committee.. It was clear that they expected me to be involved in the life of the church. As Roy and I considered all of our life a partnership in work, play and community, I was flattered by this inclusion. Roy was minister of the Elrose-Wartime Pastoral Charge for six years. He was a Commissioner to the General Council Meeting of the UCC at Calgary in 1978 at which the Rev. Lois Wilson was elected the first female Moderator of the United Church of Canada.

In 1973 I joined the Elrose School staff for four years, teaching Grades four and five. At this time there were small villages and rural schools that were being amalgamated with this school. It was challenging for the students and parents to make this adjustment as there were discrepancies in standards even on this local level. Standardization seemed to be called for. Sometimes the option was to have a student repeat a grade, never an easy choice for them, their parents or the teacher.

In 1977 I was appointed to the Executive of Saskatchewan Conference UCC and served on the Annual Meeting Planning Committee the next year. In 1980, I became a Commissioner to the General Council meeting of the UCC in Halifax. At this time the decision was made to petition the Government of Canada to remove abortion from the Criminal Code.

In 1978 we moved to Biggar. Here Roy had one Sunday service and continued his involvement in Presbytery. The Christian Education work had an interesting aspect as it was shared with the Anglican, Lutheran and Presbyterian churches. Another venture new to us was the sponsorship of the Nguyen family, refugees known as the “Vietnamese Boat People.” This was undertaken by the same four churches and supported by the majority of the community. We experienced a rich community effort that proved the value of ecumenical ventures.

While in Biggar, I taught an Adult Basic Education class in the community of Willowfield, the home of the extended Pritchard family. They lived on a land grant awarded to Metis people after the Saskatchewan Rebellion. It was unique in that the folks there lived in poverty, but had maintained and honoured their heritage. My students learned some mathematics, reading and writing skills. While I was able to supply information about government, the students enlightened me concerning Metis history, language and culture. This group of eight students taught me to become an Adult Educator, which was my career path from then until retirement.

We moved to Delisle in 1981. Roy was minister at Delisle and Vanscoy and I completed my Bachelor of Education requirements at the University of Saskatchewan.

The final ten years of Roy’s ministry were in Prince Albert at Calvary United Church. It was like coming home as several of the people who had sponsored him as a candidate for ministry in 1961 were still active in the congregation. Roy was able to use his administrative and enabling skills with this congregation of about 250. We worked closely in ecumenical ventures such as world development, community events and refugee sponsorships. During the 80’s and 90’s we were part of sponsorship groups for six families or individual newcomers to Canada.

Roy and I were “empty-nesters” by this time. I taught adults at Prince Albert Community College (later SIAST). Retiring in 1991, I devoted my energy to volunteering in Family Literacy and refugee sponsorships. I was delighted to be recognized as a Woman of Distinction by the YWCA in 1992. My leadership style has always been to facilitate and work collectively, so the award aptly recognized the efforts of the many people, including family, who worked alongside me and supported me.

I recall the Sunday morning when I heard Roy’s words from the pulpit, “It’s all about a four letter word!” I focused immediately with trepidation of what would come next. Then I heard the word ”Love.” In the years since, I realize that was the key to his faith, ministry and life. At the time of Roy’s retirement from ministry in 1995 I undertook the task of summarizing his career for the Saskatchewan Conference Retirement event. I talked to a few people about this and they noted his acceptance of all people. After his death I heard from many friends who had been teenagers when he was their minister. They all mentioned how Roy had affirmed their worthiness. One person wrote in a card, “He was the best minister I ever had!” This sincere expression highlighted Roy’s relationships within the church family and the community.

Roy was active in the whole life of the communities in which we lived. He served on the Credit Union Board of Directors in Coronach, Elrose and Biggar and on the Prince Albert Community Clinic Board. He volunteered with youth such as Scouts and School Band and mentored many young leaders, particularly during his time at Camp Tapawingo. Roy thrived in his work of ministry, assisted so kindly and constantly by the people who served and guided us. Many life long friends were made.

In July 1995 we moved to our cabin at Pebble Baye on Iroquois Lake. As we were close to the village of Shell Lake, it became our business and social centre. In 1996 the United Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELCIC) congregations there considered an amalgamation. Neither congregation had ever had a resident minister. Roy was invited to join a committee of representatives from both churches. Having spent many years on Presbytery and Conference Committees, Roy had the knowledge and experience to facilitate a covenant between the Lutheran and United Churches in 2000. He willingly conducted some Church services, too.

By this time Roy and I had moved to Saskatoon, living at our cabin for the summer months. We had the privilege of family visiting and some interesting trips. Both of us volunteered in Saskatoon, Roy with the Western Development Museum and I facilitating Family Literacy with women in the Justice System. When Roy showed symptoms of cancer, which quickly took his life, we were thankful for all our lives and especially for our ten years of retirement. He died on May 6, 2006.

Fifty-five years after our first meeting, we buried Roy’s ashes beside his parents’ graves in St. Walburg. Roy and I acknowledged that our life had been fulfilling and that we were proud of our family that today carries on our ideals. My intention in sharing these memories is a testimony to the love and faith in our relationship. It is a tribute to Roy and a gift to our family.

Elsie Livingston
#311 – 315 Pinehouse Drive
Saskatoon SK S7K 7Y7