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Bill Barry

Bill Barry
Bill Barry, Saskatchewan's place name expert

Known to one and all throughout his long life as Paddy, Patrick Doyle was born at Enniscorthy, Wexford, Ireland. He enlisted in the North West Mounted Police at Toronto in 1885 and arrived in Regina in time to see Louis Riel executed in November of that year.

After serving with the force for nine years, Paddy decided to go ranching and took out a homestead at SW1-15-28-W2, about 10 miles northeast of Old Wives Lake. He didn't have too many neighbours at the outset. After a decade or so, though, there were enough kids in the district to start thinking about a school.

The City View School District No. 2553 was organized in 1910. The name was selected because the lights of Moose Jaw were easily visible from the hills at night. The school was built a little over two miles west of Paddy's ranch, and he happily enrolled his children in it.

From the beginning, there were tensions in the City View district. There was a group of ratepayers in the northern part who were resentful of the school's location, and wanted it moved to what would be a more "central" site - at least in their view. In 1914, they took matters into their own hands.

Under cover of darkness, according to the local history, they hitched several teams to the school and dragged it almost three miles north - where it sat for another 50+ years! Paddy Doyle was so disgusted, especially since the move had not been authorized by the school board, that he withdrew his daughters and sent them to school in Moose Jaw.

When Paddy died at the age of 95 in 1958, he was the last surviving member of the NWMP.

The school just to the west of City View is also an interesting story. RANCH No. 2235 was not organized until 1921; its utterly appropriate name reflected its location in the ranchlands north of Old Wives Lake.

The school opened at NE24-15-29-W2, a site on the extreme eastern boundary of the district. The Department of Education normally refused to permit a school that was much more than a mile from the centre of the district it served. However, the Ranch ratepayers insisted that that is where the kids were. Eventually, the department relented on the condition that the school be built on skids so that it could readily be moved! It never was, and it lasted until 1967 - one of the last one room rural schools in Saskatchewan.

Not far away was the DONJEAN post office (1915-23). Sort of looks like a French name, doesn't it? Perhaps it was pronounced (don zhawn) and came from something like Jean Valjean, the hero of Victor Hugo's Les Misérables. Nothing so exotic, I'm afraid! The locals pronounced it (don GENE) and it was named for Jean M. Keays, the only postmaster, and her son Donald.

Much of this area was served by the post office (1914-84), elevators and store at CRESTWYND. This is a name that has always intrigued me. The records of the CPR, which assigned the name, say that the "geographic aspect (station on a hill, the road winds) suggested the name." However this lacks the ring of authenticity, particularly with the unusual spelling of "wynd". It seems more likely that it was named for another place, possibly in Scotland. A wynd is said to be "an alley in a Scottish town". Interestingly, when I did an Internet search on the name, I discovered that the 14th hole at the Craigowan golf course at Woodstock, Ontario, is called Crestwynd I contacted the pro there and he was really intrigued, but so far he hasn't been able to come up with an explanation for the name either.

The search continues!

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