Jack & Betty Lowe fonds. — 36 photographs. — 10 postcards.
In 1929, John “Jack” and Betty Lowe and their eight-year old daughter Dorothy made a trip by car into the Peace River Country. They were living near Vegreville at the time, but a number of their family members had recently moved to the South Peace.
Jack’s family, the Jacob Lowes, had come west from Huntsville, Ontario with fourteen children to the Stony Plain area in 1909. Jack was one of the oldest. Two of his brothers, Maurice and Chester, served in World War I, while Jack stayed and helped on the farm. After the mother (Prudence Lowe) died in 1924, the family moved to Vegreville, and in 1926, Maurice and Chester made a trip north to the Peace Country by car. Chester homesteaded in the Beaverlodge area, marrying Thelma Chandler, and only returned to Vegreville after serving again in World War II. Maurice stayed for the remainder of his life. Esther Lowe married Bert Cunningham, from Vegreville, and they also moved to Beaverlodge, taking with them Joseph, the youngest Lowe child, and later the father, Jacob P. Lowe. Susan Lowe married Peter Whelan and they farmed at Prestville, east of Rycroft.
Betty’s father, Amiel Ziegler, had also scouted out the Peace Country. This was in 1912, when he was 19 years old, and the route was over the Edson Trail. He decided not to stay and returned to his family in Spruce Grove. In 1913-1914 he and his wife bought Section 9 in the Park Grove District near Vegreville. This is where Betty grew up and where she married Jack Lowe. Jack himself had visited the Peace River Country looking for land in 1927, but also made the decision to return to the Vegreville area.
With this background of interest in the Peace Country, and the family connections already there, it is not surprising that Jack and Betty Lowe would make this trip by car. They started their trip north from Edmonton on October 10th, 1929, at 6:00 a.m., taking the road to Athabasca, then to Smith, where they took a ferry over the Athabasca River. From the north shore of Slave Lake, they followed the main road to Peace River, then down to Dunvegan and over the Peace River on the Dunvegan Ferry. From Dunvegan they traveled south to Sexsmith and Grande Prairie, then west to Beaverlodge and Hythe. At each of these places they took or purchased photographs to document their trip.
Along the way they stopped and visited family. At Prestville they photographed the P.J. Whalen family sawing up their winter wood supply, then on to Beaverlodge where they photographed Chester & Thelma Lowe’s home and Bert & Esther Cunningham’s farm. Finally they arrived in the Hythe area where Chester Lowe was building a house on his homestead. The roads must have been in good condition for they reached Hythe on October 16th, only 6 days after they had left Edmonton.
After their visit to the Peace Country, Jack & Betty Lowe returned to farm in the Vegreville area, where Jack passed away in 1974, and Betty in 1988.
The album was preserved by Elizabeth (Lowe) Durie, the youngest daughter of Jack and Betty Lowe, who had purchased the family farm and found the album in the farmhouse. After Elizabeth passed away, her family gave the album to her long-time friend, Enid (Timanson) Theophile. Because the photographs were mainly from the Grande Prairie area, she in turn passed it on to her brother D.M. (Mort) Timanson who lived in Grande Prairie. Mr. Timanson donated the album to South Peace Regional Archives in December 2014.
Scope and Content
The fonds consists of 36 photographs and 5 postcards collected by Jack and Betty Lowe on their trip into the Peace Country in 1929, on Jack’s trip to the Peace in 1927, and from the trip of Betty’s father (Mr. Zeigler) into the Peace Country in 1913. The photographs are glued into a 6 x 8 in. black album, and some are identified with accompanying notes.
Title based on the contents of the fonds.
Biographical notes taken from a letter written by Mort Timanson which accompanied the donation of the album; Jack Chandler story (Chester Lowe married Thelma Chandler), p. 11, Beaverlodge to the Rockies; Bert and Esther (Lowe) Cunningham story, p. 13, Beaverlodge to the Rockies; Maurice and Lena Lowe story, p. 246, Beaverlodge to the Rockies; Peter and Susan (Lowe) Whelan story, p. 560, Wheatfields and Wildflowers; Chester and Thelma Lowe story, p. 641, History of Vegreville, Volume Two; Lowe and Zeigler family stories, Park Grove Echoes pp. 97-98, 179-180; and History of Vegreville, Volume I p. 397-398.