Fonds 0378 - C. S. Hook & Sons fonds

Robert Hook, Toronto, Ontario. Grande Prairie, Alberta. Harry Kigiona.

Title and statement of responsibility area

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C. S. Hook & Sons fonds

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  • Textual record
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  • Source of title proper: Title of fonds based on contents.

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Reference code

CA GPR 0378

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1932-[ca. 2000] (Creation)
    C.S. Hook Family

Physical description area

Physical description

62.5 cm of textual records
12 photographs
6 negatives
10 postcards

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Clifford Stanley Hook was born in Somerset, England in 1884. Jessica Beatrice Williams was born in Weston-Super-Mare in 1887. Clifford and Jessica were married sometime before 1909. The couple's first child, Irene, was born in England sometime before 1911 and died of burns in 1912. A second daughter, Evelyn Beatrice, was born in Summerset, England on April 25, 1911. The Hook family emigrated to Canada in 1913. They stayed awhile with Jessica's brother in Regina before moving to Edmonton to find work. While in Edmonton, Clifford, a jeweller and watchmaker, was employed by G. F. Watcher for five years, as the expert in the repair department of Watcher's jewellery business. A son, Herbert E. Hook (Ted) was born in 1914. Although Clifford tried to enlist during World War I, he was refused for medical reasons. The Hook family moved to Grande Prairie when Clifford purchased the R. H. Watcher business in March 1918. When he formed a partnership with Mr. J. Leonard shortly thereafter, the business became known as Hook & Leonard. Realizing that the Peace country was in need of professional eye care, Clifford left Grande Prairie briefly and went to Ontario to attend the College of Optometry. His family remained in Grande Prairie during the period. Clifford graduated April 20, 1920 and returned to Grande Prairie, becoming the first Optometrist in the region. Upon his return he continued in the jewellery business and added an Optometry section. His business took him to many Peace River country communities including Waterhole, Spirit River, Brainard, Pouce Coupe, and even individual farms. He carried on his travels using a Model T in summer and a team and cutter in winter. In 1920, the Grande Prairie store burned down. Leonard decided to try farming north of Sexsmith while Clifford continued practicing optometry and opened a new store. In May 1926, C. S. Hook closed his Grande Prairie jewelry and watch repair shop and moved the business to Waterhole. At various times, Clifford also operated jewellery stores in other towns including Sexsmith and Wembley. A second son, Robert Clifford Hook, was born on June 12, 1918 in Grande Prairie. A third son, Jack Edgar Hook, was born on November 5, 1926. After spending 15 years in Grande Prairie, Jessica Hook moved to Vancouver for medical reasons, taking her three sons with her. Clifford and Evelyn remained in Grande Prairie. Jessica died August 16, 1940 in Edmonton at the age of 53 and is buried in the Edmonton Cemetery. She had moved to Edmonton a year before her death. C. S. Hook died in Grande Prairie on December 16, 1966 at the age of 87 after falling and breaking his hip. Sometime before May 1931, Evelyn married Henry (Harry) Newton. The couple had one son, Stanley "Val" Newton, born February 14, 1938. Harry died on June 22, 1946 following a long illness. His son died a few years later on April 12, 1953 at age 15. On March 6, 1948, Evelyn married William Clemens McBryan of Clairmont. The couple had one daughter, Marilee. Evelyn McBryan died in Grande Prairie at age 74 on October 19, 1985. She had lived in Grande Prairie from 1916 until her death, having become a successful artist. Her second husband William McBryan died in February 1987 at the age of 68. Ted Hook died in Vancouver on Saturday June 15, 1935 at the age of 22 from blood poisoning after getting a sliver under his nail a few days before his death. He had travelled to Vancouver only a few weeks previously and planned to return to Grande Prairie soon. He had been employed at the Grande Prairie Municipal District office and living at the home of his sister, Evelyn Newton. Robert Hook was educated in Grande Prairie then lived in Vancouver for six years, working in a planing mill, and in Edmonton for one year, working as a washing machine repairman. He returned to Grande Prairie and joined his father's business in 1940, apprenticing under him as a watchmaker for five years. The business now became known as C. S. Hook and Son. Robert Hook married Myrtle Viola Radley, the oldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Radley of Rolla, B. C., on Wednesday November 11, 1942. Myrtle had been born on March 21, 1922 in Khydive, Saskatchewan. She and her family moved to the Dawson Creek area in 1928. Robert and Myrtle had two daughters, Valerie and Lynne, and one son, Stan. Although he was old enough to serve in World War II and registered for service, Robert received a medical exemption from military training in 1944. In September 1945, after attending upgrading classes, Robert left Grande Prairie to attend the University of Toronto's College of Optometry, graduating on May 18, 1949. Following his graduation, he joined his father's practice, both in Grande Prairie and in traveling to smaller outlying communities including Manning, Slave Lake, Fort St. John, Watson Lake, Cassiar, Hines Creek, Fort Nelson, and Dawson Creek. In 1962, Robert started own practice and continued with it until 1992 when he had a heart attack. He later joined the Paziuk and Campbell optometry office, where he practiced until his retirement in December 1994. By this time he had practiced in Grande Prairie and the Peace country for 49 years. In 1987 Robert was granted a Doctor of Optometry diploma from the University of Waterloo. Robert was also active in the community of Grande Prairie, being involved in the Grande Prairie JayCee club and a member of the Lions Club for 30 years. Myrtle had been involved in the Grande Prairie Jaycettes. Robert and Myrtle were divorced in the early 1960s. Myrtle later became known as Buryl Koly. She died on February 3, 2003. Robert Hook died in Grande Prairie on January 27, 2009. Jack E. Hook joined the family business in 1945 and it was once again renamed, becoming C. S. Hook and Sons. Jack studied gemology and was a graduate Jeweller and Watchmaker. He was granted his Certified Watchmaker's degree in June 1947 following several years of apprenticeship and a written examination. He received a Graduate Jeweller's degree in 1952. Jack married Pearl A. M. Nicholson, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. Nicholson of Wainwright, on September 20, 1948 in Grande Prairie. She had previously trained as a nurse at the University Hospital School of Nursing and worked for a year at Grande Prairie Municipal Hospital. In September 1949, Pearl and Myrtle opened P. & M. Gift Box, a ladies' wear shop and both women later became directors of C. S. Hook & Sons Ltd. Pearl also worked as the firm's accountant. After completing a two-year Canadian Retail Jeweller's Course in 1953, Pearl received her G. J. Jack and Pearl had three daughters, Shelley (now an optometrist), Kerry, and Tally, and one son, Ted. In 1965, the Jack Hook family moved to Edmonton. While in Grande Prairie, Jack was involved in the community as a volunteer fireman, and a member of the Lions' Club, JayCees, U.C.T., and the Retail Merchants' Association. Pearl was a member of the Jaycettes and the Grande Prairie Citizen's Committee. Jack E. Hook died on June 28, 1993. C. S. Hook & Sons expanded and renovated their Grande Prairie store was in 1945 and in 1948 the business opened a branch store in Dawson Creek. This store changed locations in Dawson Creek in 1950 and expanded further in 1954, bringing it up to par with the Grande Prairie store. In the late 1940s, C. S. Hook, J. E. Hook and Evy McBryan ran Alberta 5¢ to $1.00 Store, which separate from C. S. Hook & Sons. The store had been started by Harry Newton and was inherited by Evy on his death. In 1953, a partnership agreement was signed between C. S. Hook, R. C. Hook, J. E. Hook, Pearl A. Hook, and Myrtle V. Hook to operate as "C. S. Hook and Sons" with a head office in Grande Prairie and a branch office in Dawson Creek. In 1956 the firm was incorporated as C. S. Hook & Sons Ltd. and included the optometry, jewellery, and ladies' wear branches. In June 1959, the business expanded again with the opening of a new store in Fort St. John. During the 1960s, C. S. Hook & Sons went through a number of changes. By 1963 C. S. Hook & Sons had locations in Grande Prairie, Dawson Creek, Fort St. John, and Peace River. By 1962, P. & M. Gift Box had been renamed The Shelly Shoppes. Around 1965, C. S. Hook & Sons split up and its assets, including several properties, were divided among the partners. The section of the business known as Valshel Holdings went to Robert Hook. The remainder of the business went bankrupt shortly thereafter. In the time between C. S. Hook & Sons' bankruptcy and C. S. Hook's death in 1966, Robert Hook started Clifstan Jewellers as a retirement project for his father and hired a couple of former C. S. Hook & Sons employees to help run it. The store closed with C. S. Hook's injury and death. Robert Hook continued to operate his optometric practice under the name of Valshel Holdings until the Alberta optometric association required him to form a separate professional corporation. Upon Robert Hook's death, Valshel Holdings became the property of his daughter Valerie. The company is still in operation.

Custodial history

The records were donated to the South Peace Regional Archives by the family of Dr. Robert C. Hook. The records had been assembled and kept by Dr. Robert Hook and his father Dr. C. S. Hook. An accrual was donated by Dr. Robert Hook's daughter Valerie in 2010.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of records relating to the business interests of C. S. Hook & Sons, including businesses run by the company and subsequent businesses related to the company, and personal records of various members of the Hook family. The records date predominantly from the 1940s to the 1970s. Geographically, the records relate to the Peace Country of Alberta and British Columbia, particularly Grande Prairie, where the head office was located and members of the family lived, and Dawson Creek, Fort St. John, and Peace River, where the business operated branch stores.

The fonds is arranged in two series: Business and Personal, each with several subseries. An order has been established by the processing archivist based primarily on the content and chronology of the records as the original order had been disrupted.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The records were donated to the South Peace Regional Archives by the family of Dr. Robert C. Hook in 2007. The records had been assembled and kept by Dr. Robert Hook and his father Dr. C. S. Hook. An accrual was donated by Dr. Robert Hook's daughter Valerie in 2010.


Language of material

  • English

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There are no restrictions on access.

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Further accruals expected.

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Accession numbers: 2007.016; 2010.05

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South Peace Regional Archives

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  • English

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