Fonds 370 J. R. Connell fonds

J. R. Connell fonds. — [1920-1956]. — 20 cm. — 1 photographs.

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John Robert (Jack) Connell was born in Peterborough, Ontario in 1884, to Alexander and Jane Connell. The family was a large one of Scottish heritage and Jack had at least ten siblings (Jane, Margret, Mary, Elizabeth, George, Thomas, David, Lewise, Barbara, and J. Henry). The family moved from Peterborough to Bobcaygeon, Ontario when Jack was a child.

Sometime before 1920, Jack moved to southern Alberta where he joined his brothers, Tom and David, and farmed. About 1920 the brothers moved north and in 1922 Jack homesteaded near Bezanson on NE 2-73-3 W6th. He later bought NE 36-72-3 W6th. Around 1925 Jack moved to Grande Prairie and was employed as a blacksmith for Bob Barley. Jack had been instructed in the blacksmith trade by his father. Jack bought a lot from Bob Barley in the fall of 1927 and started his own welding and machine shop at 4th Avenue South, Grande Prairie.

On November 30, 1937, Jack married Grace Moody in the Manse of Forbes Presbyterian Church. Grace, the daughter of George Lindsay, had previously been married to Elmer Moody with whom she had seven children, Blanche, Mae, Norma, Florence, Vayne, Forest, and Orton. In November 1938 Jack quit the Grande Prairie business, moved back to Bezanson, and established another blacksmith, welding, and machine shop there. When T. L. McEwan purchased the shop around 1948, Jack retired out to his farm. Jack died in October 1960 at the age of 76 and Grace died in 1961 at the age of 69. Both Jack and Grace Connell are buried in the Glen Leslie Cemetery.

Custodial History

The records were donated to South Peace Regional Archives by the Nelson and Blanche McLaughlin family after the old Connell house in Bezanson was cleaned out. Blanche (Moody) McLaughlin was the step-daughter of J. R. Connell.

Scope and Content

The fonds consists of records relating to Jack Connell’s business activities as a blacksmith and farm owner and to his personal life. The contents of the fonds deal primarily with his life and activities after moving to the Grande Prairie area in the 1920s. The records include various account books, receipts, invoices, and statements, legal agreements, census returns, permits, correspondence, and a photograph.

Since the original order had been disrupted, the archivist imposed an order, dividing the records by type into files and then arranging them chronologically within the files. The fonds is arranged in three series: Financial records, Other business records, and Personal records.


Title based on contents of the fonds.

Biographical information found in “Smoky River to Grande Prairie” community book.

Some of the records smell musty and may have previously been affected by mould.

Table of Contents

Series 370.01 Financial records
Series 370.02 Other business records
Series 370.03 Personal records
Series 370.01 Financial records. — 1926-1956. — 18 cm.The series consists of financial records dating from 1926 to 1956 related primarily to the operation of Jack Connell’s blacksmith and machine shops in Grande Prairie and Bezanson. His personal financial records and those related to his farm are also present. The records include shop accounts books, sales slips (bound and unbound), Income and Expenses book, shop operating statement, tax records including assessment notices, tax notices and receipts, personal Statement of Net Worth, cheque record sheets, cancelled cheques, and cheque stubs, receipts and invoices of products purchased, moving permit, delivery stubs and bills of lading, stock certificates, correspondence, and other miscellaneous documents. Many loose sales slips and some receipts and invoices were originally interfiled between the pages of the accounts book. These were removed by the archivist and the loose sales slips which had corresponding entries in the account books were discarded. The other removed records were placed in the “Sales slips” file and “Miscellaneous financial and correspondence” file.
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Series 370.02 Other business records. — [1920-1956]. — 1 cm.The series consists of records relating primarily to Jack Connell’s activities as a blacksmith and farm owner dating from approximately 1920 to 1956, predominantly the late 1930s. The records include Bills of Sale and payment records, a land rental agreement, machine shop census returns, and a notebook containing branding information and telephone numbers.
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Series 370.03 Personal records. — [1924-1956]. — 1 cm. — 1 photographs.The series consists of records from Jack Connell’s personal life dating from approximately 1924 to 1956. The records include his 1938 Driver’s Licence, 1939 vehicle registration, 1938 Certificate of Proficiency in Gas Welding, a memorial card for his father, correspondence with family members, and a photograph.
Connell family (?), Ontario, [ca. 1920]
1 photograph; b & w; 2.5 x 4.5 in.
Photograph of three older adults, possibly members of the Connell family, and a dog. From Fenelon Falls, Ontario.
Location: 0370.03.01
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