Fonds 137 Donaldson family collection

Donaldson family collection. — 1930-1993. — 5 cm of textual records.

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Biographical Sketch

Gordon and Anne Donaldson came to the Peace Country under the Soldiers Settlement Board Lassiter Project after serving in the Armed Forces during World War II. The Lassiter Project was a land clearing scheme north of Wanham and Eaglesham, and near Belloy and Codesa, designed to create farms for veterans returning to civilian life after World War II. O.B. Lassiter’s Company agreed to clear 100,000 acres of land “ready for the seed drill” and in return receive a 1/3 share of the crops raised on the land for seven years. The government would collect an additional 3.5% of the crops instead of taxes. Hundreds of would-be farmers responded to the glowing descriptions advertising the project homesteads. Unfortunately, the project was much more costly than expected and did not achieve the hoped-for production.

The Donaldsons arrived in the spring of 1952, with high hopes of farming. After seven years of hard work, their land was re-assessed and declared unfit for farming. The family then moved to Eaglesham where Gordon trained as a mechanic and purchased Reuben Larson’s Garage, later building a new Donaldson’s Garage.

Anne was active in the community of Eaglesham in various organizations, as a census taker and enumerator, and as a writer. She edited a community history of the Eaglesham, Tangent, Watino and Codesa areas titled Smoky Peace Triangle, as well as several booklets of her own memories.

The Donaldsons had four children: David, born in 1948; Donna, 1949; Gregory, 1953 and Irma, 1959. Another son died shortly after his birth in 1958.

Custodial History

The original deposit of records was made by Morris Burroughs on Anne Donaldson’s behalf in 2000. In 2012, Greg Donaldson deposited three videotapes containing interviews of teachers from the Eaglesham Schools, and in 2014, an accrual of personal papers.

Scope and Content

The fonds consists of personal papers from Gordon and Anne Donaldson; a year book and interviews regarding Eaglesham School; election records relating to Eaglesham; and material from the Peace Valley Conservation, Recreation and Tourism Society.


Title based on the contents of the fonds.
Related Records: The Post Newspaper, fonds 606; Larson’s Garage Eaglesham, fonds 608; Eaglesham History Book Committee, fonds 612

Table of Contents

Series 137.01 Gordon Donaldson Personal Papers
Series 137.02 Anne Donaldson Personal Papers
Series 137.03 Eaglesham Community Records
Series 137.04 Peace Valley Conservation, Recreation and Tourism Society
Series 137.01 Gordon Donaldson Personal Papers. — 1944-[1960]. — 1 cm of textual records.

The series consists of a World War II pay book for Stanley Gordon Donaldson from January 1944 to October 1945, and a Statement of War Service Gratuity dated October 15, 1945. There is also a small pocket ledger recording mileage on trips from Edmonton to Tangent.

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Series 137.02 Anne Donaldson Personal Papers. — 1975-1980. — 1 cm of textual records.

The series consists of some letters from Eaglesham settlers written to Anne for the Eaglesham Reunion in 1980; and two booklets written by Anne Donaldson: As We Remember the Early Days on the North Eaglesham Project, written in 1976, and Homestead Memories, written in 1985.

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Series 137.03 Eaglesham Community Records. — 1930-[1995]. — 2 cm of textual records. — 3 video recordings.

The series consists of a copy of the 1962 Eaglesham Echoes yearbook, two videotapes about teachers and the Eaglesham School, and the records from two elections: the 1930 Alberta Election, the 1968 Federal Election and the 1984 Federal Election. The 1930 election papers include an Election Proclamation Poster, an enumeration booklet for Subdivisions 50 and 97 of the Constituency of Grande Prairie. The 1968 election papers consists of a List of Electors poster. The 1984 election papers include appointment and oath forms for Anne Donaldson, description of polling station boundaries, preliminary list of electors, poll statements and tally sheet, and handbooks for the Rural Enumerator and the Deputy Returning Officer. The videotapes contain interviews of Peggy Ulland and Alfred Pelletier, and give a tour of Eaglesham School ca. 1995.

Rural Preliminary List of Electors, 1968
1968 list of electors for the Electoral District of Peace River, published 14 May 1968.
Location: 2000.42; 137.03.01
School Days in the Past, [ca. 1995]
Video Cassette
The vhs recording consists of an interview of Mrs. Peggy Ulland, an early teacher at Eaglesham School, by her grandson Brock; and an interview of Alfred Pelletier about his seven years at the Tangent Convent, a boarding school for the Tangent Catholic Church. The interview of Peggy Ulland includes information on what the first Eaglesham School looked like, where it was located, other buildings used as classrooms, and what happened to the old school. It also includes names of students and teachers, the number of students, how they got to and from school, the games they played, and the supplies they used. The interview of Alfred Pelletier begins with his memories of playing hockey at Tangent and how they made the rink there, playing against the Watino team on the Smoky River, and making the rink at Eaglesham with the help of the water truck. He also talks about the schedule, chores and work at the Boarding School; and supplying and cooking their own food. There were over 100 boarding students at Tangent as well as day students. The film flashes on and off, although the sound is constant. Sound quality is variable and affected by static.
Location: 0137.03.01
Eaglesham School,
Video Cassette
The VHS recording consists of a tour of Eaglesham School ca. 1995. The video is narrated by Chandra Rooney and filmed by Renee Thibeault. Beginning at the kindergarten room, they give a tour of the entire K-12 school, introducing the teachers and describing the subjects and curriculum available at this rural school. The filming ends in the computer lab, with a description of the network between the computers and their individual capabilities, and showing students working in the computer lab. There is some static and background noise in the film, and the sound quality is variable.
Location: 0137.03.02

View a digitized copy of this item here.

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Series 137.04 Peace Valley Conservation, Recreation and Tourism Society. — 1993. — 1 cm of textual records.

The series consists of the 1993 Events Calendar for the Peace Valley Conservation, Recreation and Tourism Society, and pamphlets for some of the Upper Peace Valley Recreation Areas between the Town of Peace River and the British Columbia border. The pamphlets include Cotillion Park, Kieyho Park & Elk Island Park, Many Islands Recreation Area, Pratt’s Landing & Carter Camp, Strong Creek Park and Historic Sites along the Shaftesbury Trail, Tangent Park, and The Maples Dunvegan Provincial Park & Historic Site.

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