Fonds med-510 - Hope Hargrave Michael fonds

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Hope Hargrave Michael fonds

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CA MED med-510

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  • [ca. 1783-2001]; predominantly 1894-2001 (Creation)
    Michael, Hope Hargrave

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Physical description

3.18 m of textual records. -- 10 photograph albums (1116 photographs). -- 1 audio cassette.

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Wenonah Hope Hargrave was born in 1908 to Thomas and Mary (nee Whimster) Hargrave in Medicine Hat. Hope attended Calgary Normal School and the University of Alberta, attaining a bachelor of arts degree. She later took Masters level courses at the University of Saskatchewan, University of Alberta, and Washington State University. In 1933 Hope married David Michael and the couple had two daughters, Lorna Butler and Mary-Helen Harle. Along with Hope's teaching career, she was a founding member of the Medicine Hat Historical Society, an author of many historical publications, and a member of the Medicine Hat Genealogical Society. Hope Hargrave Michael passed away on December 1, 1994 at the age of 86.

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([ca. 1880- 1985])

Biographical history

James Hargrave (1846-1935), an eminent western pioneer and founder of a prominent local ranching family, was born in Chateauguay, Quebec. His grandparents, Joseph Hargrave and Jane (nee Melrose) Hargrave, of Kelso, Roxburgshire county, and Selkirkshire county respectively, in southern Scotland, came to Canada in 1817, and settled on a farm in Beech Ridge with James' father, John, and his 7 siblings. James' mother, Jemima (nee Moffat) (1818-1869), was also of Scottish descent, having come from Dumfreeshire. James worked as a factor for the Hudson Bay Company for 15 years. While at Portage La Prairie, he met Alexandra Sissons. Alexandra (1853-1932), born in St. Thomas, Ontario, had travelled west with her family by stage coach. They married February 17, 1875, and had a family of 9 children. After leaving the Hudson Bay Co. and farming in Portage LaPrairie for 2 years, James decided to move west. In 1883, he and his brother-in-law, Daniel Sissons, arrived in Medicine Hat and opened a general store at the corner of 2nd and South Railway Streets. He also purchased land on the north side of the river where he built a home. Mrs. Hargrave, with their 6 children, joined him in 1884. In 1906, a large cement block house was built on this property. It remained the family home until 1949, when it was sold to the Presbyterian Church. The Hargrave and Sissons store carried on business as general merchants and fur traders until 1896, when it was sold to J.K. Drinnan. Besides his interest in the general store, James took up ranching. His first ranch, on Little Plume Creek, was destroyed by fire, so he relocated to the Walsh area to a site suggested by Cree Indians, Little Corn and Peeper. It was considered to be very suitable because the buffalo wintered there. This area was called by them "Lake of Many Islands With Grass up to Horses Bellies". It came to be known as Many Islands Lake, and finally dried up in 1982. A very successful ranch was established at this site which the Hargrave family still owns and operates. James Hargrave was a member of the first Board of School Trustees and acted as Secretary for some time. He was interested in the industrial development of the west and at the time of his death was President of the Redcliff Pressed Brick Co. and Medicine Hat Brick and Tile Co. He was one of the first members of St. John's Church and attended regularly all his life. He also served as church elder for many years. John Campbell Sissons (1876-1941), James and Alexandra's first child, was born in Portage La Prairie and came to the Hat in 1884, with his mother. He attended McGill University and graduated with a D.V.S. in 1895. In 1900, he joined the Federal Government Animal Quarantine Inspection Service. He became the Chief Inspector of the Health and Animals Branch for Alberta, and remained in that position until he retired. Like his father before him, he was an active member of St. John's Church, serving as an elder and on the Board of Management. John married Mary Jane McKee Dundas Porter (1874-1962), who arrived in Medicine Hat from Ontario, at the age of 8, in 1883. Her father, Samuel Porter, was the first farmer in the area of the city now known as Porter's Hill. Mary was the first female employee in Medicine Hat, working as a bookkeeper for "The Trading Company". She received a set of Royal Crown Derby dishes as a wedding gift from her employers. John and Mary Jane had five children: James Howard (1903-1982), Thomas Campbell McKee (1905-1989), Elaine Alexandra (1906), Mary Edith (1908) and Margaret Lissa (1910). Thomas Albert (1877-1954), second son of James and Alexandra, was born in Fort Francis, Ontario. He travelled west with his family arriving in Medicine Hat as a boy of 7. The family resided on Riverside and Tom and his sisters walked to Toronto Street school across the train bridge. He completed high school in Toronto and attended the University of Toronto majoring in Political Economy. On leaving university, he took over management of the Hargrave ranch. He was a fine horseman and under his management, the family ranch produced large numbers of well-bred cattle and work horses. He was an active community leader serving on the Cypress School Board and was involved with St. John's Church. He also took an active interst in history and was instrumental in the establishment of the city's first museum in Riverside Park. Thomas married Mary Hope Whimster (1884-1977), on December 31, 1906. They had six children: Wenonah Hope (1908-1994), James Henry "Harry" (1909), Muriel Alexandra (1911), Anna Mary "Nancy" (1915), Herbert Thomas "Bert" (1917-1996) and John Huxley (1918). Mary Whimster Hargrave was an artist of note. She was the first member of the Medicine Hat Art Club, started in 1945. William Howard (1878-1965), third son of James and Alexandra, married Margaret Grassick (1879-1944). They had 3 children; Percival Duncan (1909-1992), who served as superintendant of the Brooks Horticultural Research Station from 1936 to 1969, William Grassick (1910), and Douglas Blais (1915). The fourth child and first daughter born to James and Alexandra, was Helenora Jemima (1880-1970), known to the family as "Queenie". She and her husband, James Mitchell, married in 1907, and had 3 children; Helen Elizabeth (1908), Robert Hargrave (1910-1981) and Nora Alexandra (1914). Mary Lillian Melrose (1882-1972), their fifth child, married Dr. W.L. Hawke, a local veterinarian in 1914. They did not have a family. The sixth child born to James and Alexandra was Cecil Shepard (1884-1886). Cecil died in infancy and his gravesite was the first grave in Hillside cemetery. His father had helped to acquire the property there from the government. Lissa Bella Ruth (1886-1964), the Hargrave's seventh child, married Herbert J. Sissons (1881-1949). They had 5 children: James and Joseph (1917-1918), Herbert Gordon Hargrave (1920), Thomas Eaton Alexander (1923) and William John Carse (1923). The eighth child born to James and Alexandra, was Willena Heather Izene (1888-1957). She married Thomas Murray (1883-1971), in 1913. They had 6 children: Heather Alexandra "Zanie" (1913), Melrose Isabel (1916), Aimee Alberta (1918-1921), James Hargrave (1919), Lorna Luetta (1923), and Thomas Minor (1925-1977). The last child in the Hargrave family was Andrew Ralph Carlton (1891-1979). He married Aimee June Woodcock (1892-?). They had three children: Ralph Carlton (1920), Donald Reese Freemont (1925), and Richard Stanley (1927). Three children of Thomas Hargrave, (second child of James and Alexandra), Hope Michael, Bert and Harry Hargrave have made significant contributions as citizens of Medicine Hat and area. Hope, Thomas and Mary Hope Hargrave's first child, was born in 1908. She married David Michael in 1933. They had 2 daughters: Mary Helen Alexandra (1934), and Lorna Ruth (1939). Hope and David were divorced in 1942. Hope Michael received her elementary and secondary education in Medicine Hat. She attended Calgary Normal School in 1926, and later earned a degree from the University of Alberta with a major in Home Economics. She regularly took courses and attended workshops to keep her knowledge current. She taught in a number of rural schools and later with the Medicine Hat School District #76 (1947-1970). When she retired in 1970, she received an Honorary Life Membership from the Alberta Teaching Association in recognition of her outstanding contribution to her students and profession. Keenly interested in history, Hope was a founding member of the Historical Society of Medicine Hat and served as their first Secretary. She has been an active member, helping to organize and research various personalities and events of historical interest. She has also completed extensive geneological reasearch on the Hargrave, Sissons, Whimster and Marlatt families. In 1948, she wrote a series of articles in the Medicine Hat News, relating to the history of the Elkwater area. These articles were compiled and published in 1972, under the title "90 years at Elkwater Lake, Cypress Hills, Alberta". In 1981, she and Hope Johnson, a well known local artist and amateur paleontologist, collaborated to update and expand the material into the newly titled "Down the Years at Elkwater". She and others also assisted Senator F.W. Gershaw with the preparation of "Saamis-A History of Medicine Hat", for the local celebration of Canada's centenary year. In March 1984, Hope received the Heritage Merit Award from the Alberta Historic Resources Foundation for "deep and ongoing commitment to preservation and promotion of Medicine Hat's heritage." In 1983, she had received a Heritage Merit Award from the Medicine Hat Museum and Art Gallery. Hope passed away in Medicine Hat on December 1, 1994. James Henry "Harry" (1909-1984), the second son of Thomas and Mary Hope Hargrave, was married to Ruth McElroy in 1935. They had two daughters, Barbara and Norma. Harry graduated from the University of Alberta in 1932, specializing in animal husbandry. His first job was managing a large ranch near Fort MacLeod. In 1934, he joined the Federal Government and was posted to the Manyberries reaserch substation. Later, he became Station Superintendent. In 1947, he transferred to Swift Current, and in 1949, to Lethbridge, where he spent 10 years in animal research at the Lethbridge Research Station. From 1959 until his retirement in 1970, he was Deputy Director of the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration at Regina. In this capacity, he showed great sympathy for the plight of native people and did his best to help many of them set up grazing industries on the reserves. During his years of dedicated service to agriculture, Harry received many awards. Some of these include the Silver Bull Award from the U.S. C

Custodial history

Materials received by Esplanade Archives from Joanne Taylor, descendant of Hope Hargrave Michaels, in 2002.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of: Eight Series:;1. Hope Michael and her family. -- 1908-[ca. 2001]. -- 65 cm of textual records. -- 9 photograph albums;Series consists of: folders containing information on the Sissons family, Nancy & John Fulton, Lorna & Bob Butler, Mary & Rod Harle, John Hargrave, Hope H. Michael, JH Ranch History, Family Recipes, Royal Antler Ranch, Will Hargrave, various friends, St. John's Presbyterian Church, Harry Hargrave Jr., Harry Hargrave Sr., random family members, and Muriel & Joe Gilchrist; three boxes of family letters, photo albums, and family portraits and photographs. 2. Hope Michael's genealogy and family history research. -- [ca. 1783]-2001. -- 1.23 m of textual records. -- 1 audio cassette;Series consists of: genealogical and family history research on the Marlatts, the Sissons, the Whimsters, and the Hargraves; Medicine Hat Genealogical Society material; family portraits. 3. Literary Club material. -- 1911-1967. -- 39 cm of textual records;Series consists of: various Medicine Hat Literary Club material; literary papers written by Hope H. Michael and Mary W. Hargrave. 4. Hope Michael's Teaching Career. -- 1931-[ca. 1989]. -- 13 cm of textual records;Series consists of: school pictures of Hope H. Michael; various documents regarding Hope's retirement; clippings and various documents regarding Hope's teaching career. 5. Mary Whimster Hargrave. -- 1894-1977. -- 52 cm of textual records;Series consists of: clippings taken by Mary W. Hargrave regarding various family members; negatives and photographs; various appointment books; material from the Banff School of Fine Arts; family letters; documents regarding Mary W. Hargrave's death; mementos saved by Mary W. Hargrave. 6. Medicine Hat Historical Society material. -- [196-?]-1990. -- 13 cm of textual records;Series consists of: Medicine Hat Historical Society material; documents regarding Hope H. Michael's Heritabe Merit Award; documents regarding Hope H. Michael's life membership to the Medicine Hat Historical Society. 7. Bert Hargrave material. -- 1956-[ca. 1990]. -- 13 cm of textual records;Series consists of: folders containing information on Bert's government career, Bert's military career, Bert's ranching career, Bert's Honourary degree, and Bert's death. 8. Photographs. -- [ca. 1880]-1999. -- 383 photographs. -- 541 negatives;Series consists of: various photographs of the Hargraves, the Whimsters, the Marlatts, and other random family members from various locations in North America and Europe. Photographs were taken of scenery, people, buildings, family vacations, holidays, and things regarding family history.

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Physical condition

Photograph albums include 1116 photographs.

Immediate source of acquisition

Taylor, Joanne;P 0420 -- Gift of the Redcliff Library, May 1983.


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Hargrave family fonds;Sissons family fonds

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Record No. M2006.6;P 0420;P 0769; P 0894<br><br>

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