J. H. E. Fitzallen fonds. — 1917-1918. — 10 cm of textual records.
J.H.E. Fitzallen arrived in Grande Prairie in February 1914 following a two week journey over the Edson Trail. Although the hamlet then consisted of only a few buildings, with a population of about 50 people, there were about 5000 people settled on homesteads and farms in the district. For the first two years he lived in the community of Lake Saskatoon, where he had an insurance office. In 1916, he moved his business to Grande Prairie.
Grande Prairie had been incorporated in 1914. J.B. Taft, who operated a meat packing plant, a butcher shop, and real estate office became the first reeve. His office was used as the first village office, and A.C. McEachern became the first secretary-treasurer. In 1916 McEachern resigned and Jack Fitzallen took his place. That same year, a new council made up of H.F. Hall as reeve, and George Crummy and R. L. Michaelis as Councillors took office. An agreement signed by Hall and Fitzallen in February 1917, shows that he was paid $40.00 per month “to act as Constable, Health-Officer, and General Overseer of the Village. He was also the Secretary-Treasurer of the Grande Prairie School District.
Village affairs did not take up his entire time, however, and Mr. Fitzallen also ran an Insurance Agency. He was the agent for a number of Insurance underwriters such as Northern Assurance of England, James O. Miller, and North British Mercantile.
J.H.E. Fitzallen was the village’s secretary-treasurer until 1922, when he secured a position as Secretary to the Town of Vegreville and moved there.
The records were donated to the Grande Prairie Public Library with Charles Spencer’s book collection in 1952. In 2008, GPPL passed them on to South Peace Regional Archives.
Scope and Content
The fonds consists of correspondence written and received by J.H.E. Fitzallen at his place of business in the Village of Grande Prairie from 1917 to 1918. The major part of the correspondence is with insurance companies and individuals holding insurance policies. There is also a good volume of letters from various departments of the Government of Alberta. The letters give details about the buildings which are being insured, many of which are in Grande Prairie, and of the people who own the buildings. At the time, Mr. Fitzallen was secretary-treasurer for the Village and some of the letters are on Village stationary, giving the illusion that it is Village business. It appears he was recycling old stationary when making carbon copies of his own correspondence as the concern his business and personal life, not village affairs. There are also two block plans showing the stores along Richmond Avenue, and a 1917 agreement with The Northern Assurance Company Ltd. of England which lays out commissions and responsibilities between the Company and the broker. The personal records includes Mr. Spencer’s contract with the Village of Grande Prairie, a contract with Charles Spencer to build their house, a personal letter from a friend in Vancouver, and dentist bills for Mr. & Mrs. Fitzallen.
Title based on the contents of the fonds