Fonds 0381 - Eldon Shail fonds

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Title proper

Eldon Shail fonds

General material designation

  • Textual record
  • Graphic material
  • Sound recording

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

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Reference code

CA GPR 0381

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 2008 (Creation)
    Shail, Eldon

Physical description area

Physical description

1 cm of textual records
1 photograph
2 audio cassettes.

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Eldon Shail was born January 14, 1924, the son of Ernie and Jessie Shail who had come to Hythe from Ontario in 1919. Ernie worked doing road work and Jessie cooked for the crew until they had their house built on the homestead. His sister, Iris, was born two years later and brother, Jarvis, seven years after that. Their homestead was on the trail to Goodfare so they had many people stopping fora cup of tea or even to spend the night. She was known also for her ability to witch water wells with a willow. Eldon went to West Hythe School where he had the job of lighting fires and sweeping the floor for ten cents a day. He remembers the railway getting to Hythe in 1928, dances that were held to raise money for the Monkman Pass highway project in the late 1930s, and later they baled hay for the survey crews and the sawmills during the building of the Alaska Highway. In 1950, Eldon married Donna Bain and their wedding dance was in Circle Bank Hall. Hythe was bigger than Beaverlodge at that time with a big mill. In 1960, Donna and Eldon adopted Randy and in 1961, Terry. They had had experience looking after other boys before that: Brian Hogan stayed with them from age 10-16; a Severson boy stayed with them to be closer to school and Eric Solty finished his high school with them. Eldon was always very involved in sports. In 1935, the Hythe Athletic Association sponsored ball, hockey and movies. In 1950 a covered outdoor rink was finished. Eldon played baseball, hockey and went skiing (behind horses) and dancing. The Patterson Ranch held yearly rodeos and many people would come and camp out for the rodeo action and the dance. Between 1950-1960 Eldon played baseball, starting with Hythe and then for the Beaverlodge Royals. He played hockey for the Mustangs in winter and later coached the team. He also loved roping in the rodeos at Hythe, Teepee Creek, Dawson, Rio Grande. He also had a slaughter house and supplied three meat markets in town. In their retirement, Eldon and Donna spent many winters in Mesa, Arizona, where Eldon continued to play baseball.

Custodial history

The records were donated to the South Peace Regional Archives by Lorne McLeod who did the recording with Eldon Shail in 2008.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of 2 audio cassette tapes (with transcript notes) which record Eldon Shail's memories of growing up and living out his adult life in the Hythe area. There is also one photograph of a dog sled race on the main street in Grande Prairie, taken around the time the Shails arrived in the area in 1919, and a hand-written book showing settlers and land locations in the Grande Prairie area, including Hythe. This was a project done by various old-timers to create a record of the homesteaders who filed on land in this area.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The records were donated to the South Peace Regional Archives by Lorne McLeod who did the recording with Eldon Shail in 2008.


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There are no restrictions on access.

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A finding aid is available at

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No accruals expected.

Alpha-numeric designations

Accession number: 2008.050

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Description record identifier


Institution identifier

South Peace Regional Archives

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Language of description

  • English

Script of description


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