Tom Lessard fonds. — 1950-1972. — 7 cm of textual records.
Thomas Lessard was born in Inverness, P.Q. in 1906, and came west to Legal, Alberta with his parents in 1916. In 1927 he married Alberta Trudel, and in 1933 he brought his wife and young son to a farm about 3 miles northwest of the settlement of Tangent. He worked at a custom saw mill where the wages, in 1935, were 100 board feet of lumber per day. He also earned money doing odd jobs such as carpentry and mechanical work. When there was a shortage of sugar during the war, he started raising honey bees.
In April 1940, Tom and Alberta with son Emilien moved into the hamlet of Eaglesham, where Tom bought a house and shop and became a “jack of all trades”. He established the first light plant in Eaglesham, starting with a six kilowatt plant that gave light to his own house and one house across the street, then expanding across the tracks to supply power to the café and the post office. He then purchased a ten kilowatt plant, and at its peak in 1952, he supplied power to nearly every business in the immediate area of Eaglesham, calling his business Eaglesham Light and Power. When the plant burned down in 1954, the Village of Eaglesham purchased a plant and for a few years Tom was the “meter man”.
The Lessard’s major commercial venture, however, was Lessard’s Garage, a fifty foot auto repair shop made from home-made lumber where he repaired automobiles. For some time his son Emilien worked in the garage with Tom, but then opened a garage in Slave Lake. By 1955, Tom’s wife, Alberta, was also operating a laundry, washing sheets, towels and uniforms for businesses such as the Eaglesham Hotel and the D & K Store, and the occasional family in the town. She continued to do this even after Lessard’s Garage closed in 1970.
Tom was also active in the commercial and social affairs of the community. When the Eaglesham Co-op was started in 1946, Tom was elected President, a position he held until the Co-op burned down in December 1969. He was instrumental in starting the Senior’s club, and after the garage closed in 1970, the building was renovated to make what is now the Seniors’ Social Centre. Alberta died in 1986, and in 1988 Tom moved to “Our Lady of the Lake” Seniors Home in McLennan. The town park in Eaglesham is named after Thomas Lessard.
The records were deposited in the South Peace Regional Archives By Nick Poohkay in 2007.
Scope and Content
The fonds consists of four billing books from Lessard’s Garage, two for “Lavage” or laundry from 1955 to 1972, and two for Eaglesham Light and Power from 1950 to 1954. A list of accounts covers many businesses in Eaglesham: hotels, restaurants, retail stores, garages, dealerships, grain elevators, community hall, pool hall, school, teacherage, family residences, church and convent, and railway station. There is also a letter and a newsletter from The Utility Operator in 1970-71 when Tom attended First Year Operator’s School.
Title based on the contents of the fonds.