Oral Histories

Dr. Andrew Murray Carlisle

Dr. Carlisle moved to the Grande Prairie area in 1921 and had many fascinating and humorous stories to tell about his early years as a country doctor in this region.  One of our volunteers has been working on a transcript of the recording Dr. Carlisle made in the 1960s-1970s (the exact date is unknown) and we are excited to share her work with you.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Carlisle family, we have a biography and an extensive collection of family photographs available here.

If you wish to listen to the whole recording, you can find it on our YouTube page.

The complete transcript is available here: Dr. Andrew Murray Carlisle 


Mary Belcourt-Davis

On May 26, 2005, Mary Nutting conducted an interview with Vera Miles and Cindy Derosier, Mary Belcourt-Davis’s daughter and granddaughter, to learn more about Mary’s life.  She was born in Slave Lake ca. 1900 and spent her childhood and youth in the South Peace.

If you are interested in finding out more about Mary Belcourt-Davis, you can read a biography here.  The finding aid also includes a listing of photographs held in the archives.

The complete transcript is available here: Mary Belcourt Davis

Please note that this transcript has been slightly edited for readability, but every effort was made to maintain the integrity of the content.


Dorothy Comeau

Dorothy Comeau moved out to the South Wapiti Forest Ranger Station with her husband Pete in 1939. He had been the ranger there since 1933. The family lived year round at the station, and Dorothy considered it “such a natural way of living.” This tape covers the work demands on a ranger’s time; her typical work day; getting food (Last Chance grocery store, canning moose meat); the amount of firewood needed for a year; horses and dogs, bears and moose; crossing the Wapiti in all seasons; the social aspects of ranger life, which included neighbourhood dances and religious instruction as well as nursing care from the Van Ladies, two Anglican Missionaries. At the time of the interview, Mrs. Comeau was 94 years of age.  If you wish to listen to the recording, it is available on our YouTube page.

The complete transcript is available here: Dorothy Comeau


Betty Coone

On October 28, 1983, Beth Sheehan conducted an interview with Betty Coone, a former postmistress of Woking, Alberta.  Betty was showing Beth the photos she had taken on her trip to England in conjunction with the twinning of Woking, England, and Woking, Alberta.

The complete transcript is available here: Betty Coone Visit to England


Bill LeMarquand

Bill LeMarquand and his brother George were homesteaders in Wanham.  In this interview, conducted by Margaret Heath, Bill describes homesteading with the Lassiter Project.  If you are interested in finding out more about Bill, you can read a biography here.

The complete transcript is available here: Bill LeMarquand (118.02.01)


Pete McCullough

Pete McCullough started trapping in the South Wapiti District in 1928, when he was 11 years old.  Pete talks about famous guides from the early days: Paul Wanyandie, Wapiti Brown. He worked with Bert Osborne on the 1937 pack trip taken by students from Upper Canada College, then started guiding with his brother Henry in 1938, but when he married in 1946, his wife became his guiding partner. He also worked with geologists and speaks of gold. Pete’s “country knowledge” includes how to eat porcupine and using moss for eye medicine. He sold off his pack string of more than 100 horses in 1985 because of the effect industry was having on game in the area.  If you wish to listen to a recording, you can find it on our YouTube page.

The complete transcript is available here: Pete McCullough


Nick Poohkay

In this August 2007 interview with Mary Nutting, Nick Poohkay shares about his experiences working in the mining industry in Yellowknife, as well as homesteading in the South Peace in the 1950s.  Visit his finding aid for a complete biography.

The complete transcript is available here: Nick Poohkay


Eleanor Clifford Thorpe

In 1990, Beth Sheehan conducted an interview with Eleanor Thorpe.  Maude Clifford, Eleanor’s mother, was the first white woman to settle in the Grande Prairie area.  Eleanor lived for forty years in Ontario.  She and her first husband, M.H. McNaughton (“Mac”), had four sons, and Eleanor owned a travel business and led tours to Europe.  Some time after Mac’s death, Eleanor married Walker (also known as Frank or Slim) Thorpe, whom she had met previously during a visit to her eldest son in Lloydminster, and it was then that she moved out west again.

In this interview, Eleanor shares memories of her childhood in the Grande Prairie area with her parents, as well as her married life.  Later, she and Beth reminisce about former residents of the Grande Prairie area.

The complete transcript is available here: Eleanor Thorpe