THE SINGER FAMILY
by William Singer (age 57 years) of Frog Lake Reserve
I was born November 4, 1919 on the Frog Lake Reservation in a log, mud-covered cabin. This was fifty-seven years ago. I had two older sisters and one brother who died at an early age. Actually I was the fourth oldest. After me there were three girls and one boy. They also passed away. Then Thomas was born on April 2, 1929. Unfortunately, our mother died two nights after giving birth to him, on April 4, 1929. She left behind my dad, Eli, myself, and Thomas. Thomas was raised by our grandmother, Nancy Berland. I was coming ten that year. Thomas is now forty- seven.
When I reached the age of sixteen, my dad and I started out on the important task of working. This was an important experience for me. In the fall we would do some threshing. If a person was single-handed, this means he wasn't using a team of horses, he received a rate of $2.50 per day. However, if horses were used the rate of pay was $3.00 per day. There was also stooking; barley and wheat at a rate of fifteen cents an acre, and oats at ten cents an acre. During the summer we used a team of horses for transportation to go brushing at $2.50 per acre, which was a good wage back in those days. We also did some trapping and hunting for food. There wasn't any Social Assistance then.
When I was twenty-two years old I met and married Sarah Masson from Onion Lake, Saskatchewan. This was the first time I was separated from my dad; to support my wife. I made my living much the same way, by working on farms.
Later on we had children. We used to live north of Clearwater Lake before we moved to Frog Lake Reserve. When I came here I drove a horse-drawn bus for the South School for seven years. By then most of my children had grown up.
We had seven children; five girls - Clara, Louise, Ellen, Freda and Laura, and two boys - David, the oldest of our family, and Charlie. Three of the girls and one of the boys are married. I have three children who have graduated from Grade XII. We have fourteen grandchildren - five boys and nine girls. For my grandchildren, I expect in the future that most of them will have a good education.
I think that I have been well blessed. I have many grandchildren, and I receive welfare so that I am no longer poor as I used to be. My wife and I are not that much in good health; maybe it is because we worked too hard when we were young. We have been married for thirty-five years now.
I thank our heavenly Father for such a big family, since my dad and I were always alone.