Now Hiring

The South Peace Regional Archives is currently hiring two contract positions to assist with upcoming projects: Archives Technician (Indigenous Records Project) and Archives Technician (Multimedia Project).

Are you interested in Indigenous records, Reconciliation, or historical photographs? The Indigenous Records Project will examine records within 56 fonds, previously identified as containing Indigenous content, in order to provide culturally-appropriate descriptions and contextual information. The project will increase access to approximately 300 Indigenous-related archival photographs and paper artifacts through digitization and promotion on social media.

Are you interested in film, educational outreach, or social media? The Multimedia Project will increase public access to the South Peace Regional Archives’ film collections using our YouTube, blog, and Facebook page. By increasing access to our archival films, this project will help us educate, inform, and inspire our community on local history.

Visit www.SouthPeaceArchives.org/careers for full details of both positions.

Soldier Spotlight: Private Herbert Stewart

Image: An excerpt from Herbert’s military service file with details about his injury (Library & Archives Canada)

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

Regimental Number: 446753
Rank: Private
Branch: 49th Battalion; Canadian Forestry Corps

Herbert was born in Scotland on July 6, 1888. It is unknown when he came to Canada, but he enlisted in the Canadian Army in Calgary in May of 1915. In June of 1916, Herbert received slight shrapnel wounds to his right hand. He remained at duty in spite of the injury, but was unable to completely close his fingers after that injury. While on leave in England in August 1917, Herbert developed symptoms of shell shock and was transferred to the Canadian Forestry Corps. His right leg was fractured at Ampthill, England in 1918 when a log fell from a wagon onto his leg (see pages 105 and 107 of his service file for images of the injury). Herbert’s leg was shortened by 2 inches and he had difficulty walking. In October of 1918, Herbert was invalided to Canada. He filed on the eastern half of 1-75-3-W6 in 1930. Herbert died on December 29, 1957 and was buried in the Teepee Creek Cemetery.

Soldier Spotlight: Sergeant Clifford Burbee

Image: Lymburn Train Station, ca. 1930 (SPRA 2000.73.171)

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

Clifford Burbee was born in 1907, being one of 8 siblings, in Kenville MB. His education was taken at Pretty Valley School in Kenville. At age 14 he had to start working, and he had a job on a big steam threshing outfit. In 1924, at Bowsman MB, he worked at a sawmill where he got caught in a belt, but luckily only his overalls were ripped off. He worked one summer in Tisdale SK. Coming to the Peace Country in 1927, he worked in Grande Prairie as a butcher, and in construction. In Wembley, he worked at the roundhouse, and when the railroad came to Hythe, he worked there. Clifford filed on a homestead in Lymburn in 1929 where he lived for the winter. In 1930 he married Mabel Large, and they had a daughter, Eileen. Sadly, Mabel contracted tuberculosis, and died in 1936. Two years later, Clifford married again, to Carrie McDonald, and they had a daughter, Connie. During World War II, Clifford served in the army and was posted in France and Italy. Having attained the rank of Sergeant, he was discharged in September 1945. He then bought a farm 3 miles from Hythe, and Carrie and Clifford had 3 sons: Benny, Donald, and Herbert. Since World War II, Clifford worked in carpentry, and he was a member of the Hythe Canadian Legion. In 1963, he sold the farm, and built a house in Hythe. In November that year he moved to Prince George where he built two more houses. At the age of 84, Clifford passed away on January 13, 1992 in Prince George.

Source: Pioneer Round-Up pp. 185-187
South Peace Regional Archives: Family and Personal Life Reference Files – Obituary

Welcome, Stephanie!

The South Peace Regional Archives is pleased to introduce the newest member of our team. Stephanie Friesen has recently moved from Vancouver, BC to work as the new SPRA Archivist. Please join us in welcoming her to Grande Prairie and the Archives!

Hello everyone, my name is Stephanie Friesen and I originally hail from a small town in Manitoba. I recently graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Masters in Archival Studies. Before starting my master’s degree in BC, I completed an undergraduate degree in Archaeology at the University of Saskatchewan. During my time completing that degree, I was fascinated to learn how archival sources contributed immensely to a particular archaeological study. I also wanted to be able to facilitate research and widen people’s knowledge into the past (without personally digging in the dirt). This led me to becoming an Archivist!

My most recent position before coming to the South Peace region was as the Archivist and Records Manager at an independent school in Metro Vancouver. Another previous position I held was as a Collections Assistant at the Residential School History and Dialogue Centre. In that position I was involved in a digitization pilot program where I digitized records held at a partner institution in order to make them more accessible to Survivors and other researcher through the RSHDC’s website. Before that, I was a records management co-op student with a large department at UBC where I was involved in a server migration project. I also spent a summer working for the Rossland Museum & Discover Centre as their Assistant Archivist.

I’m so excited to be the new Archivist at the South Peace Regional Archives and to begin learning all about this community. I look forward to meeting with many of you in the future.

Soldier Spotlight: Captain Arthur Craig

Image:  Convalescent home at Paignton, Devon, England, 1918 (SPRA 1969.59.331)

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this new blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

Rank: Lieutenant; Captain
Branch: South African Cavalry; South African Infantry; Royal Air Force

Arthur was born in Cape Town, South Africa on February 22, 1889. He served in West Africa and France with the South African Army during World War I. Arthur was severely wounded at Delville Wood during the Battle of the Somme on July 16, 1916. A citation reads:

“A bombing party under Lieut. Craig attempted to rush across 40 yards of ground which lay between the British and enemy trenches. Coming under very heavy rifle and machine gun fire the officer and the majority of the party were killed or wounded. Unable to move, Lieut. Craig lay midway between the two lines of trench, the ground being quite open. In full daylight Pte. Faulds, accompanied by two other men, climbed over the parapet, ran out, and picked up the officer, and carried him back, one man being severely wounded in so doing.”

Arthur eventually arrived in the South African Military Hospital in Richmond, England, having been taken to the dressing station and then by stretcher bearers to the South African Hospital at Abberville, the closest to the front line. Once he healed, he left the South African Infantry and joined the Royal Flying Corps (later the RAF). It was with the Corps that he was shot down in the observational balloon, again injured, this time receiving the steel plate in his head.

In 1919, Arthur came to the Peace Country with his brother George and filed on homesteads at NW 7-73-11-W6, NW 12-74-11-W6, and NE 12-73-12-W6. He canceled all three. Arthur met his wife, Marjorie Lily Marshall, in Edmonton in 1924. He later worked in silver mines in different parts of Idaho. Arthur died in Idaho in 1958 (1968?).

Sources: news clippings

Soldier Spotlight: Vernon “Bill” Cunningham

Image: The HMCS Bayfield was a minesweeper which patrolled the east coast from Boston to Halifax, dragging the ocean waters for mines planted by German U-boats. (SPRA 264.02)

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this new blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

Vernon, known as “Bill” Cunningham, the eldest son of Berl and Ella (Perron) Cunningham, was born on November 9, 1922 in St. Albert AB. At age one he and his parents moved to St. Front SK. Then they returned to St. Albert in 1929, and he lived with his grandparents while starting school. In 1934 he rejoined is family in Mearns and attended Egg Lake School. The family moved to Girouxville AB in 1937, but Bill stayed behind because he was hired for farm chores by a neighbor. Unfortunately he did not continue his education.

When Vernon enlisted with the navy in 1943, he was nicknamed “Bill”, and he was known by that name from then on. (His brothers, Norman and Raymond also served in WW II.) After brief basic training, he was on active duty serving on corvettes (ships) Nonsuch, Naden, Stadacona, and Avalon. It was dangerous work aboard these ships as they were used for minesweeping and anti-aircraft protection. Bill received honorable discharge in 1945.

For several years he hauled gasoline by truck from Turner Valley to Edmonton. Then he worked for Mills Motors in Alcomdale AB, and he was also a school bus driver. Bill met his future wife, Hilda Janke, while coaching a ladies’ softball team. They married on March 11, 1949 and lived in Alcomdale. With help from the VLA, Bill acquired land in the Whitemud area which he cleared in 1950, and planted a crop in spring of 1951. That summer their Alcomdale house burnt down; shortly afterward their cabin on the homestead also burned to the ground. Bill went into partnership with his brothers in the logging and sawmill business. In 1955 he went to Prince George finding work falling trees, and he moved his family there. After some severe injuries at his job, Bill took up carpentry and built a beautiful house for his family. But a short time later they returned to the homestead, and now having a full line of farm machinery, they prospered at farming. In 1981 Bill was diagnosed with lung cancer, and he passed away that December 7. Hilda moved back to Prince George. Bill and Hilda had 4 children: Gary, Vicki, Cindy, and Sandra.

Source: Reflexions pp. 467- 468, Photos pp. 469, 231

Cecile’s Western Birds

If you’ve received your copy of Telling Our Stories, you will already have had a glimpse inside the “Western Birds” book written and illustrated by eleven-year-old Cecile Sandboe Angen in 1931. Cecile’s family contributed a digitized copy of this book, as well as a selection of family photographs, to be shared in our magazine. The following biography was written by Cecile’s daughter, Gail Risvold.

It is appropriate to write about my mom in this edition of your magazine because she was always interested in birds.  She put bird feeders out and she took great pleasure in observing which birds would come to visit.  One time when she was visiting us in Hinton my husband Ross and Mom sat on our patio and watched the different birds that came for a drink in our backyard pond.  I decided it was time to clean the pond and put in fresh water but I also added an ingredient that got rid of algae.  The instructions stated that it was safe to use and it would not cause harm to any animals including birds.  BUT the birds did not agree!  They did not come back for a drink and I felt bad because I deprived Mom of the pleasure they had experienced. They quickly drained the water without me knowing and the birds returned.

Mom started school in Taco, Saskatchewan.  Then the family moved back to LaGlace and she attended Buffalo Lake School, a one-room schoolhouse.  Mom and her siblings would walk 3.5 miles each way and in winter they traveled to school with a horse and sleigh.

Mom was very responsible and obedient.  Ted Heimdal sat behind Mom in school.  He would bug and aggravate Mom on a regular basis.  One day Ted kept poking Mom with his stick pen.  Mom got so mad she smacked him with her ruler.  The class, including the teacher, heard the smack.  Mom thought she would get in trouble but instead she noticed Mrs. Maple turn away to hide her smile.  I guess she thought Ted deserved what he got.

Mom was also a hard worker, a wonderful cook and a great home maker.  She was intelligent and very creative.  She started oil painting later in life and did fantastic paintings.  We laughed at her when we played Pictionary because she was not able to draw a simple, quick picture.  She painstakingly tried to draw a perfect picture but she always ran out of time.

Mom was the daughter of Carl and Clara Sandboe.  She was born on September 27, 1920 in LaGlace.  She was their first child and she was delivered by a midwife in the house where Ed and Guero Torgerson lived, about a mile north of LaGlace. Carl and Clara had six other children and the bond was very strong with the Sandboe family.

Mom married Olaf Angen on June 21, 1941.  They had three children – Garry, Gail and Rosemarie.  They had four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.  Family was so important to Mom and she treasured time spent with family members.

Mom lived her final years in Pioneer Lodge and she died on December 7, 2015 at the age of 95 years.

View Cecile’s “Western Birds” here

Carl and Clara Sandboe and their family on their La Glace farm, ca. 1939. Back: Eunice, Cecile, Clara, Carl Front: Raymond, Talbert, Chester, Cyril, Gordon. Contributed by Cecile’s family.

Soldier Spotlight: Private William Hannigan

Image: clip from November 1, 1916 Grande Prairie Herald

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this new blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

Regimental Number: 101381
Rank: Private
Branch: 66th Battalion; 49th Battalion

William was born in Nashua, Iowa on June 1, 1876. He enlisted in Grande Prairie on September 21, 1915. On October 10, 1916, just four months after arriving in France, William died at the Casualty Clearing Station Special Hospital in Warloy-Baillon, France. He had been wounded in the legs on the German wire and bound up his own wounds and those of two other soldiers. According to Col. Griesbach’s battle report, “German bombers endeavored to bomb the shell hole… he caught the German bombs in his hands and threw them away… he crawled away from his shell hole and was again bombed; endeavoring to catch and throw these latter bombs away, one of them exploded in his hands…” Col. Griesbach gives further details of Hannigan’s injuries and journey to the Field Ambulance where he died of his wounds (see link below).

Soldier Spotlight: Alphonse Deslauriers

Image: Home of Maxim Gervais, Falher, Alberta. June 16, 1931. Used in 1937 Not By Bread Alone lecture as B. 22. SPRA 362.02.13.062

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this new blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

Alphonse Deslauriers, son of Ernest and Monique (Lapointe), was born in St. Laurent, Quebec, on January 23, 1917. In April 1928 he and his family moved to Girouxville AB. Whereas he had started school in St. Laurent, he continued his education in Falher AB, staying in the convent. In 1930 he attended Girouxville School. When Alphonse was older, he worked for farmers, clearing many quarters of land by ax with his father and brothers. Joining the Army in 1942, Alphonse took basic training in Canada, and then served in England, France, Holland, Belgium, and Germany. In 1946 he was involved in a convoy, delivering trucks to Czechoslovakia. He also traveled through Nuremberg, the site of the Nazi rally. After his discharge in 1946, he returned to the Girouxville area to homestead the land SW 5-78-22-W5. Through the Veteran’s Land Act he obtained the land SW 5-78-21-W5. Alphonse married Marie-Louise Remillard, a nurse from Falher, on October 14, 1947. While he farmed in the warmer seasons, Alphonse worked in lumber camps in the winters. In 1952 the Deslauriers moved to the village of Girouxville where he worked at the Co-op for nine years. From 1962 to 1981 he was postmaster until he retired. Alphonse and Marie-Louise had 2 sons: Raymond and George.

Source: Reflexions Vol. II, pp. 479-481 (photo p. 480)

Closed to the Public

On March 16th, the South Peace Regional Archives closed to the public, amid rising cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) throughout Alberta and the rest of Canada. This closure resulted in an abrupt halt to all in-person donations, research requests, and volunteer work at the Archives as well as the cancellation of all public outreach events. The Board of Directors voted to postponed the AGM, originally scheduled for March 28th, until further notice.

The safety of our staff, volunteers, and members of the public remains the Archives’ first priority. The Archives will remain closed to the public until it is possible for us to reopen safely. Updates on the Archives’ services, including any plans for reopening, will be posted on our website and Facebook page.

While the South Peace Regional Archives remain closed to the public, our staff have been hard at work completing vital behind-the-scenes tasks to support our mission of gathering, preserving, and sharing the historical records of our region. Archives staff are also available via phone and email during regular business hours to provide remote research assistance. Thank you for your ongoing support!