Fonds 144 A.J. Watt family fonds

A.J. Watt family fonds. — 1886-1992. — 1.5 cm of textual records. — 2 blueprints.

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Biographical Sketch

A.J. Watt was born Albert Edward Watts in Suderland, Ontario on December 23, 1873 to Samuel and Bridgit Watts. On December 29, 1897, in the Diocese of Toronto, he married Mary Frances Purvis, of the Township of Brock. The couple had two children: Ernest Russell born Feb. 19, 1899, and Earl Edward born August 26, 1903.

In 1906 the family moved to Dundurn, Saskatchewan, and in 1914 to the Grande Prairie area, coming in over the Edson Trail, a month-long trip. They filed on three homesteads in the Flying Shot area, the home place being SW 3-71-6-W6. Ernie and Earl completed their schooling at Flying Shot Lake School and supplemented the family income by trapping – mostly coyotes.

By 1924, Albert Edward Watts was going by the name Arthur James Watt. In 1951, when the Old Age Security Act was passed, he applied to the federal government for a birth certificate under that name in order to prove that he qualified for the pension; the reply stated that there was no record of his birth. He then re-applied under the name Albert Edward Watts. No explanation is available for the change of name, but all income tax, correspondence and family stories in the Along the Wapiti history book are recorded under the name Arthur James Watt.

Ernie took out his own homestead, SE 31-70-6-W6, and he and A.J. farmed together. During the 1930s Ernie and Earl worked in the Globe coal mine.

Mary Frances Watt passed away in 1944, and A.J. Watt in 1957. Earl married Olive Ethel Mutch and lived first in High Prairie and then Grande Prairie. He passed away in 1978. Ernie continued to farm the three homesteads as well as Dr. Little’s homestead. In later life he resided in Wild Rose Manor and then Mackenzie Place. He died in 1998 at age 99.

Custodial History

The records were donated to Grande Prairie Museum by Ernie Watt in 1993. In 2000 the responsibility for the collection was transferred to the Grande Prairie Regional Archives.

Scope and Content

The fonds consist of personal papers in the form of genealogy records, income tax returns and correspondence; farm records consisting of income receipts and crop statements; hand-written recipes; a collection of booklets: coupon premium catalogues, cookbooks and household remedies; and some clippings on the Royal family from 1921-1938.


Title based on the contents of the fonds.
Donated with this collection was a blueprint for the Toronto Dominion Bank (1968) included in the Map Library, and booklets: Personal Hygiene for every Woman and Girl (1951), The Boy Scout & Wolf Cub Proficiency Badge Reference Book (1948), and The School Ordinance (for the NWT, 1901).
Many artifacts from the Watt family home are included in Grande Prairie Museum collections.

Table of Contents

Series 144.01 Personal Papers
Series 144.02 Farm Records
Series 144.03 Recipes
Series 144.04 Homemaking Booklets
Series 144.05 Royal Family Clippings
Series 144.06 Description of Surveyed Townships in the Peace River District in the Provinces of Alberta and British Columbia
Series 144.01 Personal Papers. — 1886-1992. — 1 cm of textual records.

The series consists of genealogical information found in the Watt family bible when it was donated to Grande Prairie Museum relating to the descendants of Samuel and Bridgit Watts, Albert Edward and Mary Frances Watt, and Earl and Olive Watt; WW II ration booklets in the names of Ernest and Arthur Watt; income tax forms for 1942 to 1947; land tax receipts for 1947 to 1953; Ernie Watt’s 1984 Grande Prairie Pioneer Museum Society Life Member certificate; correspondence with federal government departments regarding obtaining a birth certificate and the Old Age Pension; and a newspaper article on Ernie Watt in 1992.

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Series 144.02 Farm Records. — 1924-1981. — 1 cm of textual records.

The series consists of receipts for cream delivered to Burns Creamery in Grande Prairie from 1924-1926; a 1946 fire permit; Alberta Wheat Pool, United Grain Growers and Canadian Wheat Board permits and statements from 1948-1969; farming magazine and record-keeping book from 1956-1962; and miscellaneous bills and receipts. There is also a 1981 blueprint of an aerial photograph showing the Watt family farm on an Alberta Power Ltd. Route Map from the Flyingshot Substation to Grande Prairie.

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Series 144.03 Recipes. — n.d.. — 1 cm of textual records.

The series consists of un-dated, hand-written recipes deserts, breads and meals. The series includes a recipe for washing blankets using castile soap and Borax.

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Series 144.04 Homemaking Booklets. — 1922-1956. — 2 cm of textual records.

The series consists of Premium Catalogues from Blue Ribbon, Nabob and Gillett; cookbooks from various brands and companies; household hints and remedies for housekeepers; and a booklet on “Home-drying of Fruits and Vegetables” produced by the Alberta Women’s Institute and the Alberta Department of Agriculture.

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Series 144.05 Royal Family Clippings. — 1921-1959.

The series consists of poster of Royal crest, newspaper clippings about the British Royal family of the day: King George V, Queen Mary and their children Prince of Wales (Edward), Duke of York (Albert—later King George VI), and Princess Mary.

Royal Crest, 
Full colour Royal Crest published by the Family Herald and Weekly Star, Montreal, Canada.
Location: 1993.60.51

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Series 144.06 Description of Surveyed Townships in the Peace River District in the Provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. — 1916. — 1.5 cm of textual records.

A book of the description of ranges 9 W-5 to the BC border and townships 68-112, plus the BC Peace River block from reports of explorers and surveyors. It covers the Peace River district of Alberta and BC.

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