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Authority record
Esplanade Archives

Adsit, Abram

  • med
  • Person

In 1883, Abram Adsit arrived from Michigan as Manager of Louis Sands Sawmill near Elkwater Lake. Upon expiration of his contract with Sands in 1884, Adsit toured the United States as far south as the Gulf of Mexico evaluating the country for ranching. In 1885, he obtained a homestead in the Cypress Hills area. Accompanying Abram west to his new homestead were his wife Mary (nee Dietz), whom he had married in 1854, and two of their sons, William Nelson "Nels" and George Earl (additional children were added to the family at a later date). Upon Abram's death in 1891, at 57 years of age, his sons continued to operate the ranch. The oldest son "Nels", was born in Traverse City, Michigan. In the late 1880's he secured land north of Elkwater Lake and also made arrangements to secure the sawmill in 1889. In late 1892, he dismantled the mill and shipped it east because the timber in this area was too thin. In 1892, he opened one of the first butcher shops in Medicine Hat. He sold his ranch in 1898, and became Secretary-Treasurer and Clerk of the newly incorporated town of Medicine Hat, serving for 13 years. He died in 1913. His widow Mattie, moved to California. Nels and Mattie had a family of four. Their eldest son Charles Abram, was also born in Traverse City, and later moved to Los Angeles. Their second son Thomas Nelson, farmed near Medicine Hat where he died in 1923. He married Pearl Hutchings in 1914. Their two children were born in Medicine Hat: William Nelson (1915), and Dorothy Agnes (1916). Nels and Matties' third son Walter Ray, was born in 1887, in Medicine Hat and remained single. He enlisted during World War I and was killed in France. A daughter Alice, was a employed as a Clerk at the Brand Office in Medicine Hat. She married Mr. Snowdon. The second son of Abram and Mary Adsit, George Earl, was born in 1870, in Traverse City. Earl apparently spent most of his time near his homestead just east of Elkwater Lake. He spent a few winters hunting and trapping north of the Red Deer River with Charles Lennox. In 1896, Earl sold his land to Jimmy Crooks of Gros Ventre Creek. Earl took part in quest for "gold and glory" during the Klondike gold rush, and spent the rest of his life in the Yukon and British Columbia. In 1905, he married Da-Col, daughter of Ka-Gota and Lath-Ga of Tahl-Ton. She was of the Wolf clan of Cassiar, B.C.. They had five children. Earl died in Vancouver in 1944. A grandson, Bill Adsit, presently lives in Edmonton.

Burns, A.P. Burnside Development Corporation

  • med
  • Corporate body

A.P. Burns was a noted businessman, contractor, builder, and rancher in post-1900 Medicine Hat. He was born in Elinora, Ontario in 1877. He was president of the Gas City Planing Mill Ltd. And at one time was vice-president of the Medicine Hat News Ltd. when it was locally owned. He also served for two terms on City Council, was a past-president of the Chamber of Commerce, first president of the Western Reclamation Association, and chairman of the Chamber's irrigation committee. During the Second World War he was chairman of the Medicine Hat and District Committee for National War Finance. He had an interest in sports, serving as president of the old Monarch Hockey Club, and the Alberta Fish and Game Association. Arthur was married to Lila (nee?) and they couple had two children, Robert and Mrs. Bill Morrison. One of his business endeavors (which is the focus of this fonds) was as a principal in the Burnside Development Corporation (BDC) that was formed with several prominent early citizens including: H.L. Tweed, C.R. Mitchell (later provincial treasurer, and attorney general), Charles S. Pingle, and Dr. C.S. Smith. Each shareholder brought either capital or land from what is now the Burnside area into the corporation, for the purpose of developing the area into an urban subdivision. After the formation of BDC an agreement was struck with the firm of Perry Sewell and Perry in 1912 (PS&P) to market and sell the development. PS&P in turn became shareholders in a Calgary based joint stock company called Windsor Estates that was created for the purpose of selling the individual residential lots. Numerous lots were sold across the country, many apparently to real estate men and other speculators who were intending on profiting from the forecasted continued rapid economic expansion that was to occur in Medicine Hat and western Canada. Each of the deals between the parties were tied to the success of each other as unsecured loans and mortgages with small down payments were the principal method of payment employed by all. With the economic downturn in the fall of 1913 the plan started to unravel with lot sales decreasing and payments being defaulted upon. By 1915 PS&P were in default themselves and BDC was in turn forced to appeal to the City of Medicine Hat to reconsider the tax assessment for all of the lots. By 1918 with many lots being put up for judicial sale for failure to pay taxes the entire subdivision proposal was recognized as unsalvageable. Like many other failed land schemes in the province at that time, BDC applied to the Provincial Utility Commission to have the land de-accessioned from the city and turned back into rural lands. Throughout the 1920's and 1930's, BDC operated the area as a farm that was successful agriculturally but marginally viable financially as the debt load from the companies inception weighed heavily on its finances. However all debts were fully honoured by the time that A.P. Burns dissolved the company in 1941. The documents in this archive provide a first hand, in depth account of the intricacies of a land speculation scheme that were common prior to the period of the First World War. Acreage values went from the corporations original purchase price of $137/acre in 1911 to $1000/acre in 1912 when acquired by PS&P and doubling again (approximately) when individual 25 ft lots were selling for $220 in 1913. Arthur P. Burns passed away June 14, 1963 at the age of 86.

Canada Land and Irrigation Company

  • med
  • Corporate body

The Canada Land and Irrigation Co. Ltd. was formed in 1906, by Guy Tracey Robins of the Robins Irrigation Co. of London, England. An agreement was made to purchase 380,573 acres east of the Bow and Oldman River junctions, south of the CPR mainline. The Southern Alberta Land Company was formed in 1906 to carry out construction of a major irrigation project; construction costs estimated over $1,000,000.00 were to take place over a 10 year period. The completion of land sales were estimated to take 15 years. The land was found to be unsuitable for irrigation however, so agreement was made to purchase land further west of the Bow River and around Suffield. Construction began in 1909, but the company was plagued by financial problems, dam washouts and engineering mistakes. It went into receivership in 1914, and construction virtually stopped during WWI. In 1917, the receiver arranged a merger between the South Alberta Land Company and its subsidiary the Canadian Wheat Lands Ltd., and the bankrupt Alberta Land Co. Ltd. which held land adjacent to that of the South Alberta Land Co. A new company, named the Canada Land and Irrigation Co. Ltd. was formed. Sales of land began in 1918, and two reservoirs, the Little Bow Reservoir and Lake McGregor, were completed in 1919. Water was first delivered in 1920. The post war depression caused the company to again go into receivership in 1924, as it was unable to pay its debts. At that time, it had spent $15,000,000.00 on the project. In 1927, the company cleared its debt to the government by giving up land and reducing its holdings to 130,000 acres. More land was forfeited in 1941. In 1950, the system which had been named the Bow River Irrigation Project, was sold and the company ceased operations.

Daw, Ruth

  • med-840
  • Person
  • [ca.1932]-present

Ruth Daw (nee Hulland) was raised on the British Block prior to expropriation in 1941. Having a keen interest in local history, Ruth naturally became interested in the history of the British Block, and with capturing its people, sense of place and time. The 1960s and 1970s saw the creation of numerous community history books. These projects were undertaken in reaction to an ongoing loss of living memory of pioneer life, due to an aging population. Ruth was likely inspired by these undertakings and sought to compile the history of the British Block herself. She began compiling material and contacting the relocated British Block settlers, as early as 1967. Her project would span decades, resulting in the amassed material within this fonds. Ruth's intention was to create a community history book, a feat normally taken on by numerous members of a society. While, many notes, partial rough drafts and chapters can be found within her research materials, Ruth never completed a full and finished book. Regardless, her ultimate goal of capturing and preserving the people and character of the British Block was met when she donated all of her material to the Esplanade Archives.

Ruth Daw (nee Hulland) was the daughter of John Cuthbert Hulland and Helen "Nellie" Brown Hulland (nee Sneddon). John was born around 1894 in Egginton, Derbyshire, England to parents Thomas John Hulland and Elizabeth Hulland (nee Bath). John had three siblings, Sarah, Ronald and Thomas. He immigrated to Canada with his family in 1913, at the age of 22. He was a farmer and a rancher. He settled around Bingville, Alberta and married Nellie Sneddon on July 8, 1928 in Redcliff. This was the last of the "old time" style settler weddings for the British Block area.

Helen Sneddon, better known as Nellie, was born March 17, 1905 in Kirkliston, West Lothian, Scotland, to parents Thomas Sneddon and Marion Sneddon (nee Meikle). Nellie immigrated to Taber, Canada with her family in 1906. She had three sisters, Elizabeth, Georgina, Margaret, and one brother, Charles. She was a teacher in the East Springs school district.

Nellie and John Hulland had six children together, namely: Esther, Marion, Nellie, John, Ruth, and Thomas Jr. The children were raised on the British Block around the Bingville District. The family left the area after expropriation of the land in 1941 by the Federal Government for military use. John and Nellie resettled in Medicine Hat, where they resided until John died on October 26th, 1954. After John's death, Nellie married Otto Berrnardus Butterman on June 16, 1956. The couple lived in Calgary until Nellie's death on August 3, 1985. Both John and Nellie are burried in Medicine Hat. Otto, born March 24, 1898 in the Netherlands, died March 1988 in Kimberly, British Columbia.

Born around 1929, Ruth Hulland married Clifford Daw of Lethbridge on July 4th, 1953. Both Ruth and Clifford had attended the Unviersity of Alberta. Clifford's parents were Charles and Gertrude Daw. He was born in Calgary and attended North Hill Schools until the age of 18, when he quit and joined the Navy. Subsequent to his university training, Cliff spent the remainder of his career as a physics teacher for Winston Churchill High School in Lethbridge. Cliff and Ruth had three daughters, Carolyn, Evelyn, and Lorraine. Clifford died on April 11, 1997, at the age of 72.

Esplanade Archives, collector

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  • Corporate body

At various times throughout the history of the Esplanade Archives there has arisen a need to create a holding for smaller miscellaneous collections that are valuable yet at the same time incomplete and therefore not fit for individual fonds status. Previous to this point smaller miscellaneous collections were added to the Medicine Hat Museum and Art Gallery fonds.

Ion, Arthur

  • med
  • Person

Arthur Ion was born in England in 1867. He came to Canada as a young man, as a stowaway on a sailboat. He was soon discovered, and was put to work scrubbing floors and packing water for the Captain of the ship. Once on land, he eventually found employment in Quebec on a dairy farm. In 1900, he was married to Emma Booth, and the couple had two children; Albert and Mary. His wife Emma, died early in the young family's life, and Arthur suffered a devestating head injury at a neighbours barn raising at Barwick, Ontario, when a beam fell and fractured his skull. The notable Dr. Bethune of Emil, Ontario, performed a life-saving operation, but as a result of the injury, Arthur experienced severe headaches for the remainder of his life. On July 6th, 1904, Arthur married Mary Ion, a trained RN at Barwick. The couple had two children: William and Dorothy. The Ion's operated a hardware store there before eventually coming west in 1909. After a brief farming venture at Marquis, SK., they eventually settled on a homestead in the British Block near the Carlstadt (Alderson) area north of Medicine Hat. Arthur and Mary Ion kept letters and diaries of their homesteading experience, recording daily chores, family events, crop results and prices, weather etc., a practice Arthur Ion faithfully recorded until he passed away on November 6, 1944.

Reuber, Alexander

  • med
  • Person
  • 1915-1990

Alexander Reuber was born in 1915. He immigrated to Canada and settled in the Kipp, Alberta area. In 1943 he enlisted in the Canadian army and after his discharge in 1946 he settled in the Medicine Hat area. He was the owner and operator of Reuber Transport, which hauled grain and feed for the farmers for thirty years. In 1946 Alexander Reuber married Jessie Dean Stanton. Together they had 2 daughters, Dawn and Heather, and one son, James. Mrs. Reuber died in 1980. Alexander Reuber died May 9, 1990.