A Trapped Trapper

When a large bear took over his cabin, Jim Fells of Bezanson retreated to the attic, where he was trapped until the next day. His rescuers didn’t believe there was a big bear in the cabin which wouldn’t leave, so Jim shot at the bear with his .22. When the bear attempted to leave the cabin through a window, the visitors believed him!

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger
The Herald Tribune – Jan 31, 1946

Photo description – Cabin in Winter, [1915]
A cabin in winter showing icicles along the roof edge.
Location: 0344.02.07

A Christmas Extravaganza on the Radio

Many adjectives are used in this article to describe the Christmas Day radio programming being planned by the Canadian Radio Commission – unheard of, daring, thrilling.  It was to begin with the Christmas message from King George V.  There would also be choirs, interviews, and stories from across Canada, requiring the services of over 1000 people and technicians and using 32 000 miles of wire.  I wonder if it lived up to this report.  As a sign of our times, I looked and you could actually listen to King George’s speech on YouTube.

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Grande Prairie Herald ~ December 20, 1935

Grande Prairie Herald ~ December 20, 1935

A Different Kind of Christmas Gift

Blood transfusions seem to still have been a bit unconventional in the area, even though blood typing, a key in the process, was discovered in 1910.  It is gratifying that so many citizens volunteered for the testing, and the surgery to help the man who was ill was a success.  It is certainly one of the medical procedures we may take for granted, but volunteers still have to come forward to donate blood.

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Grande Prairie Herald ~ December 15, 1933

Grande Prairie Herald ~ December 15, 1933

Dashing Through the Snow

This dash through the snow was not in a sleigh, but on foot, by a young fellow who had just robbed the pool hall.  He apparently didn’t think about being tracked by the intrepid Constable Burgess, who was even able to match boot prints in the snow to the perpetrator.  I was surprised at the high bail.

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Grande Prairie Herald ~ December 15, 1933

Grande Prairie Herald ~ December 15, 1933

What the World Needs Now…

This list of inventions needed by the world is a bit odd, with some fairly practical suggestions as well as some strange ones – why would the world need an aeroplane that could be managed easily by a youngster?  Many items from the list do exist now, such as highly efficient furnaces, bendable glass, and talking movies, which were introduced the same year this list was published.

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Grande Prairie Herald ~ June 12, 1923

Grande Prairie Herald ~ June 12, 1923

The Railway Moves West

Nine years after the railway arrived in Grande Prairie, it was extended west to what became the town of Wembley.  The first passenger train arrived on November 18, carrying many people from Grande Prairie, who went to look over the new town and take part in the festivities.  There was a huge supper and a dance.  Most of the people stayed overnight and returned home on the freight train the next morning.

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Grande Prairie Herald ~ November 25, 1924

Grande Prairie Herald ~ November 25, 1924

It Could Be Worse

While we have had a reprieve from the awful weather and the snow is mostly gone, I’m sure we all feel let down by the kind of fall we had.  Since the only thing we can do about the weather is complain about it, when I noticed this headline in the November 15, 1935 paper, I read it and decided things sure could be a lot worse!

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Grande Prairie Herald ~ November 15, 1935

Grande Prairie Herald ~ November 15, 1935

 

Post Office Woes

A Baby Moose By an Old Post Office, 1923

A Baby Moose By an Old Post Office, 1923

Having just had a card from Smithers, BC take two weeks to get here, I wasn’t feeling to happy with the Post Office, but the old Postie in me reacted with indignation to this article from 1917.  Business had quadrupled but the number of staff remained the same.  I was also surprised at the quantity of mail coming in this district at that time.  700 sacks of mail a month is a lot; that’s over 23 a day, plus 50 registered letters a day, for the 21 offices in the area that Grande Prairie distributed the mail to.

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

November 18, 1917

November 18, 1917

Lieutenant James Archibald Foote

James Archibald Foote was born in Perth, Ontario to David and Catherine Foote.  His service files show some conflict regarding his date of birth, with his initial Attestation Paper stating July 23, 1880 and subsequent documents stating July 20, 1887.  In August of 1914, at the onset of the First World War, James enlisted in the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry and shipped overseas to serve on the Western Front.

The Princess Patricia’s fought at the Second Battle of Ypres, which lasted from April 22 until May 25, 1915.  It was the first mass use of German poison gas, and also the battle during which Lt. John McCrae penned “In Flanders Fields.”  In the days preceding the battle, James was digging communication trenches at Polygon Wood, near Ypres.  On April 11, he “got a rifle bullet through left thigh, about 8 inches above the knee.”  He spent eleven weeks in hospitals in France and England, but the wound had been a severe one and after leaving the hospital James still walked with a limp and experienced pain in his leg.  He was discharged from the army and returned to Canada in January of 1916.

But James by no means left army life behind him.  He was influential in recruiting for the 257th Railway Construction & Forestry Battalion; his forceful public speaking skills made him successful at securing men.  On January 1, 1917 he reenlisted in the 256th Railway Construction Battalion.  This time he left behind a wife; on March 22, 1917, four days before his departure, James married Nellie Alice Mason in Toronto.

James was a dedicated and courageous officer.  On August 16, 1918, he was awarded the Military Cross “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty while engaged in the maintenance of light railways. The area where he was working was subjected to intense shell fire, and the line was broken in six places. He repeatedly reorganised his working parties, who had suffered casualties, and by his example and encouragement kept his men at work under most difficult conditions. By his efforts the line was kept open, and the supply of ammunition was ensured.”

When he returned from overseas in 1919, James and Nellie moved to Sexsmith.  James passed away in Edmonton on August 14, 1949 and was buried in the Soldiers’ Plot at Beechmount Cemetery.

Sources:

Service file at Library & Archives Canada

Canadian Great War Project

Military Cross Citation

“The storied Princess Patricias regiment born during deadly conflict” 

The Second Battle of Ypres

Grande Prairie Herald ~ April 9, 1918

Grande Prairie Herald ~ April 9, 1918

The Herald-Tribune ~ Obituary ~ August 18, 1949

The Herald-Tribune ~ Obituary ~ August 18, 1949

Shining Moments of Youthful Gladness

Halloween Box Social lunches, 1936

Halloween Box Social lunches, 1936

This column from the Eaglesham correspondent is written in very extravagant language, but it can be said that some of the rural writers were a bit too matter of fact.  There does seem to have been a lot of interesting activity around Eaglesham just then.

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Grande Prairie Herald-Tribune ~ November 2, 1939

Grande Prairie Herald-Tribune ~ November 2, 1939