Nick & Mary Poohkay. — 1938-2007. — 60 cm of textual records. — 59 photographs. — 22 negatives. — 1 sound recordings.
Nicholas Charles Poohkay was born at Slava, Alberta (east of Vegreville) in 1926 to Mike and Mary Poohkay. He attended Brierfield School, then high school in Edmonton, and after graduation worked as a school supervisor at Stanley School. In 1947 he acquired land in the Eaglesham area where his brother Peter, an army veteran, had taken a Veteran’s land grant. He then went on to Yellowknife and worked as a miner for Consolidated Mining and Smelting for two years. In 1950 he finally settled on his land in Eaglesham, adding to it by filing on a homestead in the Lassiter Project in 1952. While he was breaking land in 1957 he plowed up an Indian artifact, a scraper. This led to a great interest in archaeology, and over his lifetime he located hundreds of pieces. He was also involved in many community organizations including co-operatives, the Farmers’ Union, and the Advisory Committee for Improvement District #19. He married Mary Dworakowski in 1968.
Mary Margaret Zahara was born in Oravka, Poland, in 1923, and immigrated to Canada with her family in 1939, just before World War II began. Before she left Poland, she was engaged to Jan Dmuchacz. The Zahara family settled near Sexsmith where, as a teenager, Mary worked as a mother’s helper for the Hriskow family. When she realized that her fiancé would not be allowed to immigrate to Canada, around 1940 she married Charles Dworakowski, also from Poland, who farmed south of Sexsmith. Their daughter Irene was born in 1942, and they settled in a large home on the south-west corner of the intersection between Highway 2 and Emerson Trail. Mary was an avid gardener, and this house was soon surrounded by flower beds, ornamental shrubs, and a shelterbelt. In 1964, they could finally afford to travel back to Poland. After Charles died in 1966, Mary married Nick Poohkay in 1968 and moved to Eaglesham.
After their marriage, Nick and Mary continued to farm, eventually owning five quarters of land. Once again Mary established vegetable gardens, flower beds and a shelterbelt around their farm. In 1989, they received the Northlands Farm Family Award for the Birch Hills Improvement District No. 19. Mary’s daughter Irene passed away in 1987, and in 1989 Nick and Mary retired to Grande Prairie, where once again she planted a vegetable garden and flower beds. In later years, Mary was afflicted with Alzheimer disease and for the final years lived at Mackenzie Place. She passed away in 2006.
The records were donated to the South Peace Regional Archives by Nick Poohkay over several years from 2007 to 2015.
Scope and Content
The fonds consists of the personal papers and photographs of Nick Poohkay and his wife Mary (Dworakowski) Poohkay, an interview of Nick Poohkay regarding the development of the Eaglesham area, records for their farm near Eaglesham from the first crop in 1950, records of organizations which Nick was involved in, and financial records for the couple.
Accession numbers: 2008.042; 2012.055; 2013.032; 2014.069; 2015.038
Related records: Nick and Mary (Dworakowski) Poohkay photo in Panda Camera collection (Item 0190.00140-P30).
Related records: Smoky West Rural Electrification Association Ltd fonds 130
Tangent Municipal Nursing Society fonds 321
Eaglesham Consumers’ Cooperative Association Ltd. fonds 322
Eaglesham Savings & Credit Union fonds 323
Eaglesham Senior Social Centre Club fonds 324
Village of Eaglesham fonds 325
Tom Lessard fonds 326
Smoky West Rural Electrification Association fonds
Table of Contents
|Series 329.01||Personal Papers and Photographs|
|Series 329.02||Farm Records|
|Series 329.03||Activity Records|
|Series 329.04||Financial Records|
|Series 329.01||Personal Papers and Photographs. — 1938-2007. — 6 cm of textual records. — 59 photographs. — 22 negatives. — 1 sound recordings.
The series consists of personal papers and photographs relating to Nick Poohkay, his wife Mary Poohkay, and her daughter, Irene Dworakowski.
|SubSeries 329.01.01||Personal Papers of Nick Poohkay. — 1966-2007. — 0.5 cm of textual records. — 16 negatives. — 1 sound recordings.
The sub-series consists of stories, certificates and news clippings giving Nick’s history and community involvement; some slides of brother Peter Poohkay’s funeral; and an oral history detailing Nick’s life in the Lassiter area north of Eaglesham. The stories include an article on the various spellings of the Poohkay name, the story of his parents’ (Mike and Mary Poohkay) immigration to Canada, and “The Story of the Blue Vase”, an article donated to the Grande Prairie Museum. There is some documentation regarding Fredrick Koch, the son of Helena (Ellis) Koch, a nurse who had homesteaded in the Eaglesham district with five other nurses after World War I.
|SubSeries 329.01.02||Personal Papers of Mary (Zahara) (Dworakowski) Poohkay. — 1938-1968. — 0.5 cm of textual records. — 5 photographs. — 6 negatives.
Mary Margaret Zahara was born in Oravka, Poland, in 1923, and immigrated to Canada with her family in 1939. They settled near Sexsmith, where, as a teenager Mary worked as a mother’s helper for the Hriskow family. Around 1940 she married Charles Dworakowski, also from Poland, who farmed south of Sexsmith. Their daughter Irene was born in 1942, and they settled in a large home on the south-west corner of the intersection between Highway 2 and Emerson Trail. Mary was an avid gardener, and this house was surrounded by flowers, ornamental shrubs, and a shelterbelt. In 1964, they could finally afford to travel back to Poland. After Charles died in 1966, Mary married Nick Poohkay in 1968 and moved to Eaglesham. There she farmed with Nick, once again building flower beds and a shelterbelt around their farm. Her daughter Irene passed away in 1987, and in 1989 Nick and Mary retired to Grande Prairie, where once again she planted vegetables and flowers. In later years, Mary was afflicted with Alzheimer disease and for the final years lived at Mackenzie Place. She passed away in 2006.
The sub-series consists of documentation regarding the sale of Mary Poohkay’s land in 1968, and 25 photographic images of Mary as a teenager, the Dworakowski home and gardens on Emerson Trail, the Dworakowski family, and two photographs from the trip back to Poland in 1964.
|SubSeries 329.01.03||Personal Papers of Irene Dworakowski. — 1938-2007. — 5 cm of textual records. — 54 photographs.
Irene Margaret Dworakowski was born September 20, 1942 at Sexsmith, Alberta. She grew up on a farm on the intersection of Highway 2 and Emerson Trail, and spent her school years in Sexsmith and Grande Prairie. After graduating from St. Joesph’s High School in 1959, she trained as a laboratory technician in Edmonton in 1961, and remained there to work. She died in Edmonton on December 30, 1987, and is buried in the Emerson Trail Cemetery.
The sub-series consists of a few cards, including a postcard from Sister St. Glorian; 54 photographs of school, family and home from ca. 1943 to 1962, two yearbooks from St. Joseph’s High School in 1960 and 1961, and some papers regarding her death in 1987. There are also two news articles, one about her accomplishments in piano, and the other a photo of her grad class in 1961.
|Series 329.02||Farm Records. — 1950-1989. — 32 cm of textual records.
The series consists of Canadian Wheat Board Permits and files of Income and Expenses detailing the work involved in the Poohkay farm near Eaglesham.
|Series 329.03||Activity Records. — 1938-2007. — 16 cm of textual records.
The series consists of files regarding two organizations with which Nick Poohkay was involved, namely Farmers Union Local 116, and the Advisory Committee for Improvement District #19.
|SubSeries 329.03.01||Farmers Union of Alberta Local 116. — 1962-1987. — 3 cm of textual records.
The sub-series contains 1962 correspondence generated by Nick Poohkay on behalf of the Farmers Union Local 116 and the Eaglesham Board of Trade regarding grain handling, livestock shipping, post office activity and banking in the community of Eaglesham; a 1963 report on a group fact-finding trip to Ottawa regarding possibilities for western co-operatives; some 1970 studies on Co-operative Marketing; and the papers for the founding convention amalgamating the Farmers’ Union of Alberta and the Alberta Federation of Agriculture in 1970. On the back of the amalgamation diagram is a list of members from Eaglesham, Tangent, and Wanham. The file also contains an agenda and passenger list for a Vancouver Grain Industry Tour sponsored by the Alberta Wheat Pool in 1979, and a programme for the 1987 Regional Meeting of the Association of Alberta Co-op Seed Cleaning Plants.
|SubSeries 329.03.02||I.D. #19 Land Use Order. — 1981. — 2 cm of textual records.
The Improvement District No. 19 Land Use Order contains general information such as definitions and regulations and information about the agencies (development officers, planning commission, development appeal board); development permits, rules and procedures; appeals; enforcement and administration; and supplementary regulations. Also included in the report are related maps and diagrams.
|Series 329.04||Financial Records. — 1950-1989. — 6 cm of textual records.
The series consists of income tax and investment records for Nick & Mary Poohkay which give an overall snapshot of financial records for the Poohkay farm.