Fonds 178 Jim Somerville fonds

fonds-178

Click Here To Order Photos

1905-1968. — 3 cm of textual records. — 63 photographs. — 5 postcards.


Back to Finding Aids

Biographical Sketch

James Somerville (Jim) was born in Hawksville, Ontario in 1882. In 1900 he moved west to Manitoba, and later continued on to Viking, a community in Southern Alberta. Here Jim homesteaded from 1904 to 1910. Jim worked for many survey crews in the Peace Country. In 1904 he came to Grande Prairie with surveyor J.B. St.Cyr. A year later, 1905, he was the packer in charge of the horse train for Henry Selby’s survey crew when they re-surveyed the sixth meridian from the 18th base line to Peace River. The crew came back via the Grande Prairie and Bezanson, and re-surveyed the eighteenth baseline from west of the sixth to Vallyview. From 1909 to 1911 Jim worked in Walter McFarlane’s crew which was surveying out sections and quarter sections in anticipation of settlement. In 1910 McFarlane’s crew surveyed the Rio Grande area, and in 1911 it surveyed the Pouce Coupe, Dawson Creek and Rolla districts. In 1911 Jim moved to Grande Prairie and settled on the south Buffalo Lake. He married Eva Woolston in 1927. Eva was born in Sandy, England in 1894, had done war service as a nurse for St. John’s Ambulance during World War I, and was visiting a friend (Mrs. Brebucks) in Canada when she met Jim. She had a lovely voice and sang for community events as well as for the soldiers during World War II. Eva and Jim had two children: Daniel and Rosemary (Smith). They lived on their Buffalo Lakes farm unitl Jim died in 1971. Eva passed away three years later in 1974.

Custodial History

Copies of the original photographs were deposited in South Pece Regional Archives by Dan Somerville, son of James Somerville, in 2005 and an accrual of paper artefacts was deposited in 2009.

Scope and Content

The Jim Somerville collection follows his career as a surveyor in the Peace region, and his life as a homesteader. The first series of photographs is from Henry Selby’s 1905 survey of the 20th base line west of the fifth meridian. The photographs show the environment of the area east of the Smoky River, the activities of his survey crew, and the life of a surveyor. There are also several photographs of buildings in Grouard and Stopping Places in the area. From 1909 to 1911 Jim Somerville worked as a packer in Walter McFarlane’s survey crew. The photographs from this series show the environment of the land which was surveyed and the life of the surveyors at work. The regions which were covered stretch from Edmonton to Fort St. John, B.C. The last series of photographs show Jim’s life as a homesteader in southern Alberta and the Peace Country.

An accrual of paper records include a Riley & McCormick cowboy equipment catalogue (1925); 6 small booklets recording activities and purchases (1912-1948), bank account (1926-1944), and a diary (1927); land tax documents(1920-1932),a notice of caveat (1949); gasoline ration coupons (1943), correspondence concerning the Buffalo Lakes Swine Improvement Association and a letter from J.B. Oliver; 4 personal cards, 2 pages of accounts with R.G. Maclean, assorted financial records (1913-1948), and a Buffalo Lakes newspaper article

Table of Contents

Series 178.011905 Base-line Survey
Series 178.02Walter McFarlane Survey
Series 178.03Homesteading

 

Series 178.011905 Base-line Survey. — 1905. — 48 photographs.The series consists of photographs taken in 1905 when Jim Somerville was a member of Henry Selby’s survey crew. Some of the photographs are taken at the 20th base line camp as that was the starting point. The photographs show the environment of the area east of the Smoky River, the activities of his survey crew, and the life of a surveyor. There are also several photographs of buildings in Grouard and Stopping Places in the area.
 
George Hill, Picket Man, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
In 1905, Henry Selby surveyed land and base lines west of the fifth meridian. George Hill was a picket man on his crew.
Location: 0178.01.01
20th Base Camp – 1905 Survey Party, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
A base camp from Henry Selby’s 1905 survey expedition west of the fifth meridian.
Location: 0178.01.02
Survey Party, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
The survey party from Henry Selby’s 1905 survey expedition west of the fifth meridian.
Location: 0178.01.03
Two Surveyors, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
William Blair and George Hill, two surveyors from Henry Selby’s 1905 survey west of the fifth meridian.
Location: 0178.01.04
Anderson and Wagon, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
In 1905 Henry Selby surveyed land west of the fifth meridian. Anderson was a member of the crew.
Location: 0178.01.05
Survey Crew, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
In 1905 Henry Selby surveyed land west of the fifth meridian. R. Reid and Sinclair Gunn were members of his survey crew.
Location: 0178.01.06
Survey Camp, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
The crew from Henry Selby’s 1905 survey west of the fifth meridian.
Location: 0178.01.07
Survey Camp, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
In 1905 Henry Selby surveyed land west of the fifth meridian. Selby stands to the right of the tent.
Location: 0178.01.08
Survey Camp, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
In 1905 Henry Selby surveyed land west of the fifth meridian. Billy Blair (the camp cook) and Jim Somerville stand by the cook tent.
Location: 0178.01.09
Survey Camp, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
One of the survey camps from Henry Selby’s 1905 survey, west of the fifth meridian.
Location: 0178.01.10
Survey Camp, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
A tent in one of the camps from Henry Selby’s 1905 survey, west of the fifth meridian.
Location: 0178.01.11
Frank Smith, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
Frank Smith, a member of Henry Selby’s 1905 survey crew west of the fifth meridian.
Location: 0178.01.12
Frank Smith from Michigan, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
Frank Smith, from Michigan, was a member of Henry Selby’s 1905 survey crew.
Location: 0178.01.13
Washing Clothes on a Sunday, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
A member of Henry Selby’s 1905 survey crew washes his clothing on a day off from work.
Location: 0178.01.14
Getting a Haircut, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
Allan Stuart, Larry Maney, Lou Hislop, and William Blair, members of Henry Selby’s 1905 survey crew, involved in the task of getting and giving haircuts.
Location: 0178.01.15
Fishing on the Survey Party, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
Members of Henry Selby’s 1905 survey crew display their catch of fish.
Location: 0178.01.16
Horses on the Survey Party, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
Horses were important members of Henry Selby’s 1905 survey crew.
Location: 0178.01.17
Survey Crew at Slave Lake, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
Henry Selby’s 1905 survey crew at Slave Lake. This crew surveyed land west of the fifth meridian.
Location: 0178.01.18
Slave Lake, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
Hudson’s Bay Company Trading Post office at Slave Lake when it was visited by Henry Selby’s 1905 survey crew.
Location: 0178.01.19
Stopping Place at Grouard, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
A stopping place at Grouard encountered by Henry Selby’s 1905 survey crew. The sign above the door reads: Meals 35 cents, $1.00 per day.
Location: 0178.01.20
Anglican Church at Grouard, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
Anglican Church at Grouard when visited by Henry Selby’s 1905 survey crew.
Location: 0178.01.21
Blacksmith Shop at Grouard, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
Blacksmith Shop at Grouard at the time of Henry Selby’s 1905 survey. The name Barney Morris is written on the back of the photo.
Location: 0178.01.22
Bredin and Cornwall Trading Post at Grouard, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
Bredin and Cornwall Trading Post at Grouard at the time of Henry Selby’s 1905 survey.
Location: 0178.01.23
George Moran at Grouard, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
Four men stand in front of a log building at Grouard. The photograph was taken during Henry Selby’s 1905 survey of land west of the fifth meridian.
Location: 0178.01.24
Grouard, Alberta, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
Buildings at Grouard at the time of Henry Selby’s 1905 survey.
Location: 0178.01.25
Larry Maney at Grouard, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
Larry Maney, a member of Henry Selby’s 1905 survey crew, in front of the Bredin and Cornwall warehouse at Grouard.
Location: 0178.01.26
Hudsons Bay Company, Grouard, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
Hudsons Bay Company Trading Post at Grouard as seen by Henry Selby’s 1905 survey crew.
Location: 0178.01.27
Beaver Meadow, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
Survey pack ponies grazing in Beaver Meadow, during the 1905 survey by Henry Selby’s crew west of the 5th Meridian.
Location: 0178.01.28
Stinking Lake, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
Charlie York and Prudhomme at Prudhomme’s Stopping Place on Stinking (Wanagami) Lake, visited by Henry Selby’s 1905 survey crew west of the fifth meridian.
Location: 0178.01.29
Stopping Place, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
Prudhomme’s Stopping place at Stinking Lake visited by Henry Selby’s 1905 survey crew west of the fifth meridian. Prudhomme stands centre.
Location: 0178.01.30
Prudhomme’s Stopping Place, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
Prudhomme’s Stopping Place cabin at Stinking Lake, when it was visited by Henry Selby’s 1905 survey crew.
Location: 0178.01.31
“Brule”, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
Henry Selby’s 1905 survey crew sometimes had to survey through “brule”, land littered with fallen timber caused by forest fires or strong winds.
Location: 0178.01.32
On the South Heart River, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
A canoe on the South Heart River. The photograph was taken during Henry Selby’s 1905 survey west of the fifth meridian.
Location: 0178.01.33
Anderson on the South Heart River, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
Anderson in a canoe on the South Heart River. Taken during Henry Selby’s 1905 survey of land west of the fifth meridian.
Location: 0178.01.34
Lake at McLennon, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
Lake at McLennon, taken during Henry Selby’s 1905 survey of land west of the fifth meridian.
Location: 0178.01.35
Little Smoky River, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
The Little Smoky River, taken during Henry Selby’s 1905 survey of land west of the fifth meridian.
Location: 0178.01.36
Little Smoky River, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
The Little Smoky River, taken during Henry Selby’s 1905 survey of the 20th base line, west of the fifth meridian.
Location: 0178.01.37
Bert Shaw at the Little Smoky, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
Bert Shaw at the Little Smoky River during Henry Selby’s 1905 survey of land west of the fifth meridian.
Location: 0178.01.38
Little Smoky River, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
Bert Shaw, Jim Somverville, and Larry Maney at the Little Smoky River. Taken during Henry Selby’s 1905 survey west of the fifth meridian.
Location: 0178.01.39
Surveying on the Little Smoky, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
Part of Henry Selby’s survey crew at the Little Smoky River. In 1905 Selby conducted a survey of the land west of the fifth meridian.
Location: 0178.01.40
Survey Camp Horses, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
Horses from Henry Selby’s survey camp at the Little Smoky River.
Location: 0178.01.41
Horses in the Survey Camp, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
Horses from Henry Selby’s survey camp at the Little Smoky River.
Location: 0178.01.42
Ready to Cross the Big Smoky, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
Henry Selby’s survey crew and their horses prepare to cross the Big Smoky River. In 1905 Selby (on the far right) conducted a survey of land west of the fifth meridian.
Location: 0178.01.43
Crossing the Big Smoky, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
The horses of Henry Selby’s survey crew swim to the east side of the Big Smoky. In 1905 Selby conducted a survey of land west of the fifth meridian.
Location: 0178.01.44
Big Smoky River, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
The Big Smoky River, taken during Henry Selby’s 1905 survey of land west of the fifth meridian.
Location: 0178.01.45
Little Smoky River, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
The Little Smoky River, taken during Henry Selby’s 1905 survey of land west of the fifth meridian.
Location: 0178.01.46
Going Home, 1905
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
Henry Selby’s 1905 survey crew leaving the Peace Country to return to home base in Edmonton.
Location: 0178.01.47
Back to Table of Contents
Series 178.02Walter McFarlane Survey. — 1909-1911. — 8 photographs. — 2 postcards.The series consists of photographs taken from 1909 to 1911 Jim Somerville worked as a packer in Walter McFarlane’s survey crew. In 1910 McFarlane’s crew surveyed the Rio Grande area, and in 1911 it surveyed the Pouce Coupe, Dawson Creek and Rolla districts. The photographs show the environment of the land which was surveyed and the life of the surveyors at work. The regions which were covered stretch from Edmonton to Fort St. John, B.C.
 
Walter McFarlane’s Survey Crew, 1909
1 print; b & w; 3 x 5
“Some of McFarlane’s survey crew, 1909. Razors were left in civilization.” From L to R (back row): (?) Davis, unknown, Doc Montgomery (?), Leo –, Ring Reid, and Jarvis; (front row): Bill Wiliamson.
Location: 0178.02.02
Billy Williamson, 1910 ca.
1 print; b & w; 2 x 3
Billy Williamson at Pouce Coupe with the McFarlane survey.
Location: 0178.02.03
Moose Portage, Athabasca River, 1910 ca.
1 print; b & w; 3 x 5
Moose Portage on the Athabasca River, taken during a McFarlane survey around 1910.
Location: 0178.02.04
Ferry Over Peace River, Hudson’s Hope, 1910 ca.
1 print; b & w; 3 x 5
Boats on the banks of the Peace River by Hudson’s Hope.
Location: 0178.02.05
Survey Crew by the River, 1910 ca.
1 postcard; b & w; 3 x 5
A survey crew on the bank of a river, possibly crossing it.
Location: 0178.02.06
Early Morning Catch, 1910 ca.
1 print; b & w; 3 x 5
Harry Phillip, of McFarlane’s survey outfit, catches a nice string of fish.
Location: 0178.02.07
Beaton’s Claim, Fort St. John, 1910 ca.
1 print; b & w; 3 x 5
Beaton’s Claim at Fort St. John. A man stands in a garden in front of a small wooden cabin.
Location: 0178.02.08
Rose Prairie, 1910 ca.
1 print; b & w; 3 x 5
“These are the Gardins of the Desert. June, Rose Prairie.”
Location: 0178.02.09
Harry Tuffill, 1911
1 postcard; b & w; 3 x 5
Harry Tuffill gets his hair cut on Walter McFarlane’s survey crew.
Location: 0178.02.10
Leaving Edmonton, 1911
1 print; b & w; 3 x 5
Jim Somerville leaving Edmonton to homestead in the Buffalo Lakes area near Grande Prairie in March, 1911.
Location: 0178.03.04a
Back to Table of Contents
Series 178.03Homesteading. — 1904-1968. — 7 photographs. — 3 postcards.The series consists of photographs taken from 1904 to 1968 showing Jim Somerville’s original homestead in Viking, a community in Southern Alberta, his trip to Grande Prairie in 1911, and his homestead at Buffalo Lake where he lived until his death in 1971. There is also a photograph of Jim and Eva Somerville and their good friends Ed and Eva Gummer, taken in 1968. An accrual of paper records include a Riley & McCormick cowboy equipment catalogue (1925); 6 small booklets recording activities and purchases (1912-1948), bank account (1926-1944), and a diary (1927); land tax documents(1920-1932),a notice of caveat (1949); gasoline ration coupons (1943), correspondence concerning the Buffalo Lakes Swine Improvement Association and a letter from J.B. Oliver; 4 personal cards, 2 pages of accounts with R.G. Maclean, assorted financial records (1913-1949), and a Buffalo Lakes newspaper article.
 
Pioneer Award, n.d.
certificate
Creator: certificate
A “Pioneer Award” cerificate of membership in the Old Timers Association by virtue of Jim Somerville settling in the area prior to 1916.
Location: 0178.03.10
Chatham School District #3638 Duplicate Cerificate of Title, 1925
cerificate of title
Creator: cerificate of title
Duplicate Cerificate ofTitle for the land used to create the Chatham School District #3638. Cerificate details the exact borders of the school district.
Location: 0178.03.11
Golden Jubilee Senior Citizen Award, 1955
award
Creator: award
Created for the 50th anniversary of the province of Alberta and given to all who had been residents of the province since 1905.
Location: 0178.03.12
 
Jim Somerville and Friend, 1910 ca.
1 tintype; b & w; 2 x 3
Jim Somerville and a friend pose for a formal photograph.
Location: 0178.03.01
Viking Homestead, 1900 ca.
1 print; b & w; 4 x 5
A group photograph at Viking, Alberta. L to R (back row): Jim Somerville, Aggie Somerville, and Harry Doman (?); (front row): Isabel Somerville and Mrs Finnemore (?)
Location: 0178.03.02a
Threshing the Stacks, Viking, 1910 ca.
1 postcard; b & w; 3 x 5
“Taking time out for a picture before threshing the stacks” on the Somerville homestead in Viking, Alberta.
Location: 0178.03.02b
Jim Somerville at Viking, 1900 ca.
1 print; b & w; 4 x 5
Jim Somerville’s shack at Viking where he lived from 1904 to 1910.
Location: 0178.03.03
Bringing in Supplies, 1912, 1912
1 print; b & w; 5 x 7
Sawridge, Februrary 28, 1912. The photograph includes L to R: two unknowns, Robert McLean, Jim (James) Somerville (sitting on the roof), two unknowns, Andy (Andrew) Forster (playing broom), Ed Gummer (lying on the roof), Mr. Thompson (owner), George La Perriere, five unknowns, and Joe Mantle.
Location: 0178.03.04b
South Buffalo Lake, 1913
1 postcard; b & w; 3 x 5
The South Buffalo Lake taken from McLean’s. The Somerville cabin is visible in the distance.
Location: 0178.03.05
Somerville Homestead House, 1913
1 print; b & w; 3 x 5
Jim Somerville’s homestead house on South Buffalo Lake where he lived until 1942.
Location: 0178.03.06
Ploughing Before the Days of the Tractor, 1910 ca.
1 postcard; b & w; 3 x 5
Jim Somerville and his team of horses. Ploughing before the days of the tractor was hard work for men and horses.
Location: 0178.03.07
Ed and Eva Gummer, 1957
1 print; b & w; 3 x 3
Ed and Eva Gummer in front of the piano in Jim & Eva Somerville’s Buffalo Lakes home. Ed, along with Jim Somerville, travelled from Edmonton via Sawridge in 1912 to file on land in the Buffalo Lakes area.
Location: 0178.03.08
Jim and Eva Somerville, 1968
1 print; b & w; 5 x 7
Jim and Eva Somerville in Vancouver in 1968.
Location: 0178.03.09
Back to Table of Contents