T. W. Lawlor was born in Killarney, Manitoba, in 1890. There he received his schooling, and went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Manitoba in 1914. He then came to the University of Alberta to study law, articling with the law firm of Hineman, Milner and Matheson. Between 1916-1919 his studies were interrupted when he joined the 196th University Battalion to serve with the Canadian Machine Gun Corps in France and later the Royal Air Force in Egypt. Returning to Edmonton after the War, he completed his L.L.B. in 1920. He set up his first practice as Barrister & Solicitor in Spirit River in 1920. On May 2, 1921, he married Sarah McCrimmon, R.N. In 1924, he moved his family to Grande Prairie and set up a law practice with J. H. Sissons on Richmond Ave. By 1930, Mr. Lawlor had been appointed agent for the Attorney General of Alberta, then was named King’s Counsellor in 1944. He held the post of crown counsel for the judicial district of Grande Prairie until ill health forced his resignation in 1958.
Mr. Lawlor was very community minded, active in the United Church, the Masons, the Legion, the Board of Trade, the Hospital Board, the Canadian Club, the Canadian Legion, and the School Board. He became Mayor of Grande Prairie in 1939, and hosted an official visit from the Governor General, Lord Tweedsmuir, in August of that year, just before the declaration of war in September. As mayor, Lawlor decided the time had come to pave Richmond Avenue and extend water and sewer systems. He remained in office until 1942, caught up with changes brought about by the war effort. These included a Basic Training Army Base set up in the south end of the town, and improvements to the town’s airport which included an Americam Army Base, established as part of the Northwest Staging Route.
Mr. And Mrs. Lawlor had three daughters: Flora (Mrs. Charles Rankin), Enid and Agnes (Mrs. Arthur Soversign).
The records were donated to the Grande Prairie Regional Archives by T.W. Lawlor’s daughters, Agnes Sovereign in 2000 and 2004, and Flora Rankin in 2003.
Scope and Content
The fonds consists of 1 portrait of T. W. Lawlor as barrister and mayor; 14 photographs relating to civic duties, including the official visit of Governor General Lord Tweedsmuir, in 1939; 3 post cards (one of which shows a military parade) of Richmond Avenue, Grande Prairie; 1 news article, June 2, 1959, and 1 tribute obituary.
J. H. Sissons, Barrister, 1921 1 photograph; b & w; 3 X 5 J .H. Sissons and his secretary Eva Loney in his law office. J. H. Sissons was the partner of T.W. Lawlor who moved from Spirit River to Grande Prairie in the spring of 1924. Location: 2000.30.01
First Train into Dawson Creek, 1931 1 photograph; b & w; 3 x 5 T.W. Lawlor, president of the G.P. Board of Trade, and P.J. Tooley representing the town of Grande Prairie at the arrival of the first train in Dawson Creek, Jan.15, 1931. Location: 2000.30.02
Picnicking on the River Bank, 1931 1 photograph; b & w; 3.5 x 6 Dr. L Fredette, veterinarian, and T.W. and Mrs. Lawlor picnicking on the banks of a river, with the attentions of a uniformed chauffer. The date was June 11, 1931. Location: 2000.30.03
Sir Edward Beattie, CPR President, 1935 1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 5.5 T.W.L. Lawlor and P.J. Tooley, for the Board of Trade, greeting Sir Edward Beatty and party at the train station. Location: 2000.30.04
Slave Lake Flood, 1935 1 photograph; b & w; 3 x 5 A railroad speeder testing the track in front of the train during the Slave Lake Flood. Slave Lake is to the left. Location: 2000.30.05
Governor General Lord Tweedsmuir, 1939 1 photograph; b & w; 2 x 4 T.W. Lawlor, mayor of Grande Prairie, and Governor General Lord Tweedsmuir walking along a boardwalk at the Railway Station. Location: 2000.30.06
Montrose Public School, Grande Prairie, 1930 c. 1 postcard; b & w; 3 x 5 Montrose Public School was the largest brick building north of Edmonton when it was built in 1917. Location: 2000.30.07
Forbes Presbyterian Church, 1954 1 artwork; colour; 8 x 10 Painting of McQueen Presbyterian Church (although lable reads “Forbes Presbyterian Church, 1911-1926) when it still sat at the top of the hill beside the United Church and Hall. Location: 2000.30.08
25th Anniversary, United Church Women’s Missionary Circle, 1951 1 photograph; b & w; 10 x 12 Members of the Peace River Women’s Missionary Service Presbyterial in Feb. 1951: First row Mrs. Hajeck, Albright; Mrs. T.W. Lawlor, Grande Prairie; Guest Speaker Miss Dorothy McBain, Edmonton; Mrs. J.F. Swanston, recording secretary. Second row: Mrs. Dawson, Beaverlodge; Mrs. A. Boorman, Wembley; Mrs. L. Kowensky, Grande Prairie; Mrs.H.W. Patterson, Grande Prairie. Third row: Mrs. R. Clegg, McLennan; Mrs. Konschak, Wembley; Mrs. W. Umbach, Sexsmith; Mrs. J. Miles, Clarimont; Mrs. R. Harper, Grande Prairie; Mrs. J. Mc Arthur, Spirit River. Location: 2000.30.09
Thomas Wilson Lawlor, 1930 c. 1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6 A formal portrait of T.W. Lawlor in his lawyer’s gown. Location: 2003.14.01
Opening New Wing, Grande Prairie Municipal Hospital, 1950 1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6 The opening ceremony for the new wing of the hospital and nurses residence. L.J. O’Brien is the guest speaker and Lawlor is standing on his left Location: 2003.14.02
His Excellency, Lord Tweedsmuir, Governor General, Visits Grande Prairie, 1939 1 photograph; b & w; 2 x 3 Lord Tweedsmuir in the company of T W Lawlor at Grande Prairie. Location: 2003.14.03
Lady Tweedmuir & Mrs. Lawlor Inspecting the Veteran’s Guard of Honor, 1939 3 photograph; b & w; 2 x 3 Mrs. T W Lawlor and Lady Tweedsmuir, with flowers, shaking hands with honor guard. Location: 2003.14.04-06
Lord Tweedsmuir at Grande Prairie, 1939 1 photograph; b & w; 2 x 3 Lord Tweedsmuir shaking hands with local dignitaries. Location: 2003.14.07
Lord Tweedsmuir and Mayor T. W. Lawlor, 1939 1 photograph; b & w; 3 x 4 Lord Tweedsmuir and T. W. Lawlor walking along the train platform. Location: 2003.14.08
Richmond Avenue, Grande Prairie, 1940 c. 1 post card; b & w; 3 x 5 Richmond Avenue from 100 Street looking west. The arrow indicates Lawlor’s office. Location: 2003.14.09
Military Parade on Richmond Avenue, 1940 c. 1 photograph; b & w; 3 x 5 Wartime military parade with marching band stopped at the intersection of Richmond Avenue and 100Street. Location: 2003.14.10
Dr. L..J. and Alice O’Brien, 1952 1 photograph; b x w; 3 x 5 Dr. and Mrs. L.J. O’Brien pose in formal attire for a summer occasion Location: 2004.14.01