Fonds 112 Croken-Tomshak Family fonds

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Croken-Tomshak Family fonds. — [ca. 1920] -1986. — 28 cm of textual records. — 48 photographs.

Biographical Sketch

Patrick Vincent (Patty) and Gregory Rudoph (Rudy) Croken were born in Emerald, Prince Edward Island. In 1916 they made their first trip into the Peace Country, bringing cattle and machinery up to Bezanson, where they hoped to farm.
Patrick bought his first store in the Bezanson town site from Peterson and McDonald—a big two-storey building with 12 rooms upstairs and a store downstairs. It was the beginning of a long career in the store and hotel business.
When the railway went to Peace River instead of through Bezanson, Patrick and Rudolph sold the store and their cattle and moved back to Winnipeg. Patty married Rose Desiree Fromont of Belgium in Grande Prairie in 1919. In 1923, Patty and Rose (known as Daisy) returned to the Peace River Country and rented a store in Grande Prairie, calling it the P.V. Croken General Store. Rudy Croken also returned to work as a U.G.G. grain elevator agent in Clairmont. He married Jennie Tomshak in 1936. The Tomshak family had immigrated from Poland, arriving in the Grande Prairie area over the Edson Trail in 1911. Rudy & Jennie lived in Clairmont for 18 years before moving to Grande Prairie in 1954. Jennie worked at the Post Office, both in Clairmont and Grande Prairie.
Patrick and Daisy had one son, also named Patrick, who received his education in Grande Prairie, and worked as a draftsman in Edmonton. Rudy and Jennie had three sons, Eugene, Dennis and John and one daughter, Betty.  Jennie Croken died in Grande Prairie on May 16, 2015.

Custodial History

The P.V. Croken records were donated to Grande Prairie Regional Archives in 2002 by John Croken. The Rudy & Jennie Croken series photographs were donated by Jennie Croken in 2011, and a further accural made by Jennie in 2014 when she wrote her memoirs.

Scope and Content

The records consist of photographs and personal records from Patty and Rudy Croken and Jennie (Tomshak) Croken. They include P.V. Croken financial records from the P.V Croken Store; Patty’s correspondence from 1956-1973; personal income tax returns for Rudy & Jennie Croken from 1953-1958, and for Patty & Daisy Croken from 1958-1966; farm accounts and wheat board certificates; the papers for building Rudy & Jennie’s home in 1954; and two stories about living in Clairmont, and working in the Grande Prairie Post Office, written by Jennie Croken in 2014. The photographs are a wide assortment of subjects from the Peace Celebration in Grande Prairie in 1919, to Jennie on her travels in 1986.

Notes

Title based on the contents of the fonds.
Accession Numbers: 2002.06, 2002.07

Table of Contents

Series 112.01P.V. Croken
Series 112.02Rudy and Jenny Croken

Series 112.01P.V. Croken. — 1944-1966. — 27 cm of textual records.In 1926 Patty and Daisy built their own store and stocked it with men’s, women’s, and children’s wear as well as groceries. In 1958, Patty sold the store to the Hudson’s Bay Company and retired to their home on 98th Street and Richmond Avenue in Grande Prairie. This home was later used as a Women’s Shelter and named Croken House. P V Croken had many investments besides the store. He retained an interest in three farms: one co-owned with the Crummy family, one known as the Field farm, and the original homestead at Bezanson. He held mortgages on Hotels and other businesses in Grande Prairie and had a good number of rental properties. He also made personal loans to local entrepreneurs, supported the community through bursaries for high school students going on to post-secondary education, handicapped children needing educational support, Senior Citizens in need, and students interested in the Catholic priesthood.The series consists of financial records, general store records and correspondence, including two counter books with records of sales from 1944-1966. Interleaved within the counter book is correspondence regarding payment of accounts.
SubSeries 112.01.01Financial Records. — 1944-1973. — 12 cm of textual records.The sub-series consists of a general ledger from 1944-1957, showing both personal and business accounts including expenses, revenue, inventories, debts, wages and loans; income tax records from 1958-1966 consisting of nine Individual Income Tax Return forms for Patrick Vincent Croken and his wife Rose Desiree Croken as well as summaries of store, rental and farm income, schedules of Capital Cost Allowance, notices of assessment, statements of investment income and dividend receipts, lists of assets, summaries of charitable donations, documentation of his investment in the Park Hotel in Grande Prairie and the Grand Park Hotel in Dawson Creek, and correspondence with the Department of National Revenue; farm accounts from 1957-1962; medical records from1961-1973; home and travel receipts from 1957-1973; and building receipts from 1959-1972.
SubSeries 112.01.02P. V. Croken General Store. — 1958-1966. — 14 cm of textual records.The investments held by P.V. Croken were many and varied. The sub-series consists of customer accounts including 4 counter receipt books from 1948-1957 and a Customer Accounts Ledger from 1953-1957, listing charges incurred and containing letters from customers regarding ability to pay; and a payroll ledger from 1954 to 1957 with a few inserts from Workman’s Compensation and the Department of National Revenue.
SubSeries 112.01.03Correspondence. — 1956-1973. — 1 cm of textual records.The sub-series consists of letters from lawyers, accountants, Chamber of Commerce, County of Grande Prairie, various charitable organizations and miscellaneous correspondence.
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Series 112.02Rudy and Jenny Croken. — [ca. 1920] – 1986. — 48 photographs.Rudy Croken worked as a United Grain Growers elevator agent in Clairmont. He married Jennie Tomshak, and in 1954 the couple built a home on 105 Avenue in Grande Prairie. Jennie Tomshak was born to Joseph and Nellie Tomshak who homesteaded near what became Sexsmith. Joseph had immigrated to Canada from Poland in 1887 and worked on the building of the Edson Trail in 1910-1911. Nellie’s parents, Andrew and Victoria Kozina came from Poland to the Peace country in 1914 with four of their six children, Joseph, Nellie, Tillie and Peter and settled near Sexsmith as well. Nellie married Joseph Tomshak in 1915. She was a talented seamstress and became the mother to eight children: Jennie, Helen, Mary, Frank, Tony, Joe, Albert and Edward. Affter Nellie died, Joseph and his second wife retired to Grande Prairie.The series consists of 48 photographs of family and community life in the Clairmont and Grande Prairie area (ca. 1920-1960), paper work detailing the costs of building their home in Grande Prairie and the process required to do so, and income tax returns.
SubSeries 112.02.01Tomshak-Croken Family Photographs. — [ca. 1920] – 1986. — 48 photographs.The sub-series consists of 48 photographs of the Tomshak and Croken families and community life in the Clairmont and Grande Prairie area.
“Recreation for All” Float, ca. 1960
1 photograph; colour; 4 x 6 in.
A float for a parade featuring a large group of people on a flat deck trailer and titled, “Recreation for All”.
Location: 0112.02.01
Rudy Croken with Parade Float – Kinsmen Train Engine, 1960 c.
1 photograph; colour; 4 x 6 in.
Parade Float – Kinsmen Train Engine. Hudson Bay Store in the background. Rudy Croken worked for the railroad.
Location: 0112.02.02
Joseph Tomshak’s Threshing Outfit, 1940 c.
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Joseph Tomshak’s Threshing Outfit.
Location: 0112.02.03
Jenny and Rudy’s Wedding, 1937
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Jenny and Rudy’s Wedding at the farm, June 1937.
Location: 0112.02.04
North Star Warehouse, 1956
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
The old North Star Warehouse showing Rudy Croken in the doorway.
Location: 0112.02.05
Two Binders Work a Field at the Tomshak Farm, 1940 c.
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Two binders pulled by teams of horses work a field at the Tomshak farm.
Location: 0112.02.06
The Town of Clairmont, 1925
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
The town of Clairmont taken from the field to the east and featuring three elevators, in 1925. The UGG elevator is in the middle.
Location: 0112.02.07
Joe Tomshak and Friend, 1945 c.
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Joe Tomshak and friend from Webster sitting on the fenders of a steel wheeled tractor.
Location: 0112.02.08
Jenny Croken (Tomshak) at the Wheel of a Tractor, 1928
1 photograph; b& w; 4 x 6
Jenny Tomshak sitting at the wheel of a steel wheeled tractor with her father and others standing beside and on the fenders.
Location: 0112.02.09
Parade of RCMP and Servicemen, 1942 c.
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
A parade down Richmond Ave. (100Ave.) featuring military servicemen. The parade is passing in front of J.B. Oliver’s store.
Location: 0112.02.10
Parade of Servicemen Down 100 Avenue, Grande Prairie, 1942 c.
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
A parade down Richmond Avenue (100 Avenue) featuring military servicemen who are passing in front of the Imperial Bank of Canada.
Location: 0112.02.11
Rudy Croken and Other Railroad Workers, 1940 c.
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Rudy Croken and other railroad workers standing in front of a Canadian Pacific rail car.
Location: 0112.02.12
Joe Tomshak and Billy McNeil During Threshing, 1928
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Joe Tomshak and Billy McNeil sitting on the fenders of the tractor running the threshing machine. Billy ran the Claimont Garage.
Location: 0112.02.13
Hudson Bay Company, 1940 c.
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Hudson Bay Company with a family posing at the corner of the building.
Location: 0112.02.14
Grande Prairie Greets Lord & Lady Tweedsmuir, 1939
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Grande Prairie crowd awaits the arrival of Lord and Lady Tweedsmuir, Canada’s Governor General and his wife. A group of CGIT girls stand on the right.
Location: 0112.02.15
Trumpeter Swans, 1948
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Trumpeter Swans swim on a pond while a chicken seesm to watch them.
Location: 0112.02.16
Trumpeter Swans Being Fed By Tomshaks, 1948
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Trumpeter Swans are being fed by Joe Tomshak, children, and Gertrude Charters.
Location: 0112.02.17
Clairmont Greets Earl and Countess Bessborough, 1933
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Clairmont crowd awaits the arrival of Earl and Countess Bessborough, Canada’s Governor General and his wife. A group of small girls dressed in white stand in a group behind a young man holding the pole flying the British flag.
Location: 0112.02.18-.19
Domesticated Trumpeter Swans, 1948
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6 in.
“Domesticted Trumpeter Swans on the backdoor step of Joe Tomshak farm near Grande Prairie. This is the second winter these rare beautiful birds have spent on the farm where they were brought as small cygnets in June, 1947. Photo by Gertrude Charters
Location: 0112.02.20
St. Joseph’s Rectory, 1937
1 photograph/postcard; b & w; 4 x 6
St. Joseph’s Rectory in Grande Prairie.
Location: 0112.02.21
Clairmont, 1925 c.
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Clairmont main street in the spring showing three elevators in the background. (Courtesy of Mrs. Lee Curtis)
Location: 0112.02.22
Great War Veterans Picnic, 1920
1 photograph/postcard; b & w; 4 x 6
Postcard showing a people gathering at Bear Lake for a picnic in honor of the Great War Veterans.
Location: 0112.02.23
Threshing Outfit, ca. 1940
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Horses pulling bundle wagons line up beside the threshing machine. A huge straw stack is seem in the background.
Location: 0112.02.24
Peace Celebration, [ca. 1920]
1 photograph/postcard; b & w; 4 x 6
Main street, Grande Prairie, featuring a parade with a large crowd of onlookers, July 19, in celebration of the declaration of peace after World War 1. Morrison’s Store, Turner’s Store for Men, a café, a confectionary and the Grande Prairie Hotel are in view
Location: 0112.02.25-26
Old Home Week Parade, 1995
1 photograph; colour; 4 x 6
Old Home Week Gold Cup Parade featuring the Grande Prairie Marching Band marching down a residential street in Grande Prairie.
Location: 0112.02.27
Domesticated Trumpeter Swans With Children, 1948
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
“Domesticted Trumpeter Swans on the snow with the Tomshak children. This is the second winter these rare beautiful birds have spent on the farm where they were brought as small cygnets in June, 1947. Photo by Gertrude Charters
Location: 0112.02.28
Business and Professional Women, 1960c.
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Business and Professional Women of Grande Prairie include members Jennie Croken, Jean O’Brien, Cass Remple, Mrs. Repka, Grace Wishart.
Location: 0112.02.29
Tomshak Family, 1925c.
1 photo; b & w; 4×6
Tomshak family at the homestead ca. 1925 (L-R) Frank, Joe, Tony, Jennie (9 yrs.), Albert & mother Nellie.
Location: 0112.02.30
Rudy & Gene Croken, 1925c.
1 photo; b & w; 4 x 6
Rudy Coken with son Gene on the road beside their Clairmont home, where they kept a cow, a sheep and chilckens.
Location: 0112.02.31
Gene & Rudy Croken With Their Dog, 1925c.
1 photo; b & w; 4 x 6
Rudy & Jennie Croken’s home in Clairmont with Gene, Betty & Sport the dog. The dog pulled Gene and Betty on the sled and John A. on skates.
Location: 0112.02.32
Garden Planting, 1925c.
1 photo; b & w; 4 x 6
Getting the garden ready for planting are children Gene Croken, Jean Trout, Jennifer Croken with betty and Sport. Men are Trout and Moore.
Location: 0112.02.33
Highland Dancers, 1925c.
1 photo; b & w; 4×6
Highland Dance Troupe, from L-R John A. Croken, Denis Croken, Mary Marwchuck (from the Edmonton Orphanage), Mary Rathwell, Betty Croken
Location: 0112.02.34
Clairmont Hockey Team, 1937
1 photo; b & w; 4 x 6
The 1937 Clairmont hockey team: Allan Clark, Reg Ireland, Dave Turner, Gordon Forbes, Marion Fisher, Lachlan MacDonald (coach), Howard Anderson, Frank Durda, Bud Ireland
Location: 0112.02.35
Grande Prairie Baseball Team, 1960c.
1 photo; colour; 4 x 6
Grande Prairie baseball team with Rudy Croken as manager and coach.
Location: 0112.02.36
Railway Crew, 1940 ca.
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 4 in.
Rudy Croken as a member of the NAR Railway crew, with speeder.
Location: 0112.02.37
Avondale School, 1950 ca.
1 photograph; colour; 4 x 6 in.
Class of Avondale School children ca. 1950.
Location: 0112.02.38
Frontier Days, 1950 ca.
1 photograph; colour; 4 x 4 in.
Jennie Croken dressed up for Frontier Days.
Location: 0112.02.39
Edward “Mike” Croken, 1980 ca.
1 photograph; colour; 4 x 6 in.
Edward Croken sorting mail in the Grande Prairie Post Office on the corner of 101 Avenue and 100th Street.
Location: 0112.02.40
Grande Prairie Mail Vans, 1980 ca.
1 photograph; colour; 4 x 6 in.
Edward Croken and ___________________, drivers of the Grande Prairie post Office mail vans ca.
Location: 0112.02.41
Jennie Croken Sorting Mail, 1980 ca.
1 photograph; colour; 4 x 6 in.
Jennie Croken sorting mail in her Ukranian dress
Location: 0112.02.42
Last Day at the Post Office, 1980 ca.
1 photograph; colour; 4 x 6 in.
Jennie Croken’s last day at the post office.
Location: 0112.02.43
Last Day at the Post Office, 1980 ca.
1 photograph; colour; 4 x 6 in.
Jennie Croken’s last day at the post office.
Location: 0112.02.44
Farewell Party, 1980 ca.
1 photograph; colour; 4 x 6 in.
Jennie Croken’s last day at the post office.
Location: 0112.02.45
Farewell Presentation, 1980 ca.
1 photograph; colour; 4 x 6 in.
Edward Croken presents a photograph of
Location: 0112.02.46
Rosie and Jennie Croken, January 1986
1 photograph; colour; 4 x 6 in.
Rosie and Jennie Croken with gifts given to her at the door of their home in the Philippians. As of 2006, “This Rosie is in Canada working for Beth Sheehan”, who sponsored her.
Location: 0112.02.47
Rosie and Jennie Croken, January 1986
1 photograph; colour; 4 x 6 in.
In the Philippines. “Beth Sheehan’s foster child Rosie and me.” As of 2006, Rose was in Canada, at Beth Sheehan’s, married and working in Grande Prairie.
Location: 0112.02.48
SubSeries 112.02.02Home Building Records. — 1954-1959.The sub-series consists of personal records from 1954-1959 including statements and correspondence from L.D.Moore Lumber Co., Bill’s Plumbing and Heating, a telegram, miscellanious receipts and permits; and income tax returns from 1951-1958.
SubSeries 112.02.03Income Tax Returns. — 1951-1958.The sub-series consists of income tax returns for Jennie and Rudy Croken, with supporting documentation.
SubSeries 112.02.04Jennie’s Memoirs. — 2014.The sub-series consists of two stories written by Jennie Croken, one about her early life in Clairmont, and the other about working for the post office.
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