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A.J. Watt family
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A.J. Watt was born Albert Edward Watts in Suderland, Ontario on December 23, 1873 to Samuel and Bridgit Watts. On December 29, 1897, in the Diocese of Toronto, he married Mary Frances Purvis, of the Township of Brock. The couple had two children: Ernest Russell born Feb. 19, 1899, and Earl Edward born August 26, 1903.
In 1906 the family moved to Dundurn, Saskatchewan, and in 1914 to the Grande Prairie area, coming in over the Edson Trail, a month-long trip. They filed on three homesteads in the Flying Shot area, the home place being SW 3-71-6-W6. Ernie and Earl completed their schooling at Flying Shot Lake School and supplimented the family income by trapping – mostly coyotes.
By 1924, Albert Edward Watts was going by the name Arthur James Watt. In 1951, when the Old Age Security Act was passed, he applied to the federal government for a birth certificate under that name in order to prove that he qualified for the pension; the reply stated that there was no record of his birth. He then re-applied under the name Albert Edward Watts. No explanation is available for the change of name, but all income tax, correspondence and family stories in the Along the Wapiti history book are recorded under the name Arthur James Watt.
Ernie took out his own homestead, SE 31-70-6-W6, and he and A.J. farmed together. During the 1930s Ernie and Earl worked in the Globe coal mine.
Mary Frances Watt passed away in 1944, and A.J. Watt in 1957. Earl married Olive Ethel Mutch and lived first in High Prairie and then Grande Prairie. He passed away in 1978. Ernie continued to farm the three homesteads as well as Dr. Little’s homestead. In later life he resided in Wild Rose Manor and then Mackenzie Place. He died in 1998 at age 99.
Grande Prairie, Alberta
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South Peace Regional Archives
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Description created by TD on June 25, 2015.