Klukas-Norris Family fonds. – [1900-2010]. –1 cm of textual records. – 79 photographs.
Herman Klukas was born in Russia on July 18, 1892, and came to Canada with his family in 1894. His parents homesteaded in Leduc where his mother died in childbirth. His father moved on to the United States, and Herman went up to the Peace Country over the Long Trail in 1908, driving team for Mr. Henry Roper. He found work looking after the horses at A.M. Bezanson’s Stopping Place near the old townsite of Bezanson, and was there when Dorothy Bezanson died after giving birth to her son in 1908.
In May 1912, Herman filed on the SE 1/4 of Township 71 Range 6, just north of the new townsite of Grande Prairie. He abandoned this in 1913 and moved on to the Bad Heart district where, according to the Grande Prairie Herald, he would build a cabin at the mouth of the Bad Heart on the Smoky River and spend the winter trapping in that district. Later he took a job hauling freight from Edmonton. It was while he was working as a teamster that Herman enlisted in World War I, on July 22, 1915. He was with the 66th Battalion of the Loyal Edmonton Regiment but was later transferred to the 49th Battalion. He was wounded at Vimy Ridge in 1916, but returned to the fight and attained the rank of Sergent. He was discharged in 1919.
After the war, Herman worked for the Egg Lake Ranch near Eaglesham which used the Bad Heart prairie as their summer grazing lease. Taking a great liking to the land at Bad Heart, in 1920 he filed for a homestead on the SW of Section 28, Township 75, West of the 6th Meridian. This homestead was abandoned in 1922 for a position as game warden in Wood Buffalo Park, in the northeastern corner of Alberta. Here he worked with Malcolm Norris, who was harvesting hay for the winter feeding of the buffalo, and met Malcolm’s sister, Catherine Jessie Norris.
Catherine Jessie Norris was Metis, born in Edmonton ca. 1905 to Euphrosine Plante, an Iroquois-Cree Metis from St. Albert and John Norris, who had come to Canada from Scotland as an indentured employee of the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1946. She grew up in St. Albert with siblings Emily, Malcolm, and Thomas. The Norris home on the St. Albert Trail was a gathering place for the community, and they were recognized as being among the elite in early Edmonton”. In 1924, when her brother Malcolm was working in Wood Buffalo National Park, Jessie decided to go up and visit him, taking her own route by canoe.
In Wood Buffalo Park she met Ranger Herman Klukas. They returned to Edmonton where they were married in May 1925. Their first son, Malcolm, was born in 1926. Around 1930 Herman and Jessie moved back to the Bad Heart district. Herman became a blacksmith and mechanic as well as proving up on his homestead where they raised their six children: Malcolm, who never married; Norman, who married Betty Carter; Campbell, who married Anne Jannie; Johanna, who married Ben Palser of Grande Prairie; Barbara, who married Mathew Wozniak of Eaglesham; and Robert, who married Helen Johnson.
As Herman grew older, the old war wounds became more troublesome and he was confined to a wheel chair at Mackenzie Place for the last few years of his life. He died on February 24, 1979, and Jessie in October 1982. They are buried in the Bad Heart cemetery.
Preserved by Malcolm Klukas, the oldest son of Herman and Jessie Klukas, and passed on to Barbara (Klukas) Wozniak after his death. Records were deposited at South Peace Regional Archives by Mathew Wozniak, husband to Barbara, after her death.
Scope and Content
The fonds consists of the records of Herman Klukas, his wife Jessie Norris Klukas, and their daughter Barbara Elizabeth Klukas.
Title based on the contents of the fonds.
Accession No. 2013.035
Biographical notes taken from the contents of the fonds.
This fonds has been identified as having Indigenous related content. Researchers may encounter language that is outdated and offensive. To learn more about Indigenous records at the South Peace Regional Archives please see our guide.
Table of Contents
|Series 635.01||Herman Klukas|
|Series 635.02||Catherine Jessie Norris|
|Series 635.03||Barbara Elizabeth Klukas|
|Series 635.01||Herman Klukas. — [1917-1980]. — 13 photographs.
Herman Klukas served in World War I from September 9, 1915 until he was injured in France on November 22, 1918. He fought in the Battle of the Somme, and was injured the first time at Vimy Ridge in 1916. Returning to service, he was at the Battle of Sanctuary Wookds, Ypres, Observatory Ridge, and then was injured a second time north of Paschendale. He was discharged January 8, 1919, and returned to the Peace Country where he took a homestead in the Bad Heart district. He abandoned this claim in 1922 when he became a warden in Wood Buffalo National Park. Wood Buffalo National Park was created in 1922 to protect the last remaining herds of wood bison in northern Canada. Under O.S. Finnie, the Department of the Interior’s Northwest Territories Branch actively promoted Ottawa’s presence through government initiatives in the north. RCMP posts were set up throughout the NWT and the Yulon, the Eastern Arctic Patrol was established, and games preserves were created. To supplement the waning herds in Wood Buffalo Park, plains bison were shipped in from Wainwright, Alberta, between 1925 and 1928, and men were hired to be wardens in the park as well as harvesters to preserve hay for winter feed for the buffalo. This active conservation ended in 1931, with the onset of the Great Depression and O.S. Finnie’s department from the position. By this time, Herman and Jessie were married with one child. They returned to the Bad Heart district to farm and raise their family.
The series consists of two certificates from World War I for his War Service Badge and his Service Chevron Certificate; a Weapon Permit for a Colt Auto Revolver dated 1922; some general store receipts from the Richards-McNaughton General Store in Sexsmith dated 1921; thirteen photographs of his time in the war and as a ranger in Wood Buffalo National Park; and a Pioneer Award for Herman Klukas, 1908. There are also copies of newspaper articles about Herman from the Grande Prairie Herald; his World War I attestation paper; an account of his life written by Herman for the Sexsmith History, “Wagon Trails Grown Over”; and a detailed biography written by his son-in-law Mathew Wozniak.
|Series 635.02||Catherine Jessie Norris. — [1900-1980]. — 52 photographs.
Catherine Jessie Norris was the daughter of John “Jack” Norris, one of Edmonton’s early entrepreneurs. Jack Norris was born in Scotland and came to Canada as a labourer for the Hudson’s Bay in 1846. He served as a voyageur on the York boats between Fort York and Edmonton, and after completing his contract with the Hudson’s Bay Co., went into business for himself. About 1879, he and a few partners built a saw and grist mill east of the hamlet of Edmonton, and by 1882 had one of the first stores outside of Fort Edmonton. Norris was first married in 1854 to Marie Pelletier, daughter of Kayattowe, a Cree Indian and Josephte Chatelain, Metis. Marie had been born at Edmonton ca. 1840. Her liaison with the Metis community was a great asset to Norris in his business. Later Norris married Euphrosine Plante, a Metis from St. Albert. The Norris home on the St. Albert Trail was a gathering place for the community, and they were recognized as being among the elite in early Edmonton”. Their son Malcolm became a Metis leader and a founder of the Metis Nation of Alberta. Jessie Norris was born ca. 1905 to John Norris and Euphosine Plante and grew up in St. Albert along with siblings Emily, Malcolm, and Thomas. While she was visiting her brother Malcolm in Wood Buffalo National Park, Jessie met Herman Klukas. They returned to Edmonton where they were married in May 1925.
The series consists of 52 photographs of the Norris and Klukas families; and copies of articles about the Norris family titled “Jack Norris–An Edmonton Pioneer”, “An Aristocrat of Early Edmonton”, “Week-Long Reunion for [Norris] Family”. There is also an article about Metis leader Miles Norris and a Descendency Chart for John Norris.
|Series 635.03||Barbara Elizabeth Klukas. — 1947-. — 14 photographs.
Barbara Elizabeth Klukas was born June 15, 1930 to Herman and Jessie Klukas, and grew up in the Bad Heart area, about 20 miles north of Teepee Creek. She attended Bad Heart School about a mile south east of their home for grades one to eight, and in about 1947 went on to take grade 9 at St. Joseph’s School in Grande Prairie. After her education was finished, Barbara went to work at Fimrites Store in Wanham, boarding at Mrs. Prevost’s and taking her meals at Gaspard’s Café. That summer she met Mathew Wozniak. Barbara and Mathew were married on November 15, 1949. They started farming from a “shack” on Mathew’s parents farm and 15 acres broken on their quarter of land. They farmed together, at one time taking turns driving the tractor for 24 hours so that the whole quarter was ready to seed in record time. When Mathew’s father retired in 1964, they purchased the Wozniak farm consisting of seven quarters of farmland and four quarters of pasture by the lake which became the Eaglesham Golf Course. Eventually the farm increased to 22 quarters of land. Barbara and Mathew’s first baby, Evalda Irene, was born in 1950 but died within hours. In 1952 Patrick was born, and in 1953 Elizabeth Jean. When the children were in grade school Barbara began to work for the Eaglesham Co-op and was manager for five years before it burned in 1969. Barabara was an excellent crafter, teaching herself to make hardanger lace, crochet, knit, ceramics and Easter egg painting. She was also a fabulous sewer and quilter, and painted on ceramics and canvas. She entered her articles in the agricultural fairs at Falher, Eaglesham, Wanham and Spirit River and won numerous prizes. In their later years, Mathew and Barbara spent time traveling to the Canary Island, Malasia, Hawaii, and Scotland. They also bought a motor home and toured the United States. In 2000, Barbara was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She passed away on January 29, 2001 and her ashes were scattered at the mouth of the Bad Heart River where she had played as a child.
The series consists of a 1947-1948 report card from St. Joseph’s R.C. Separate School; 14 photographs of Barbara Klukas’ adult and married life; her memorial card in 2001; and a biographical account of her life written by husband Mathew Wozniak.