Fonds 422 Gordon & Edna Moyer fonds


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Summary information

Repository: South Peace Regional Archives
Title: Gordon & Edna Moyer fonds
Reference code: 0422
Date: 1911-2015 (date of creation)
Physical description: 4.5 cm of textual records

12 photographs

Language: English
Dates of creation, revision and deletion: Processed in July 2010
Added to new database January 2023 – TD

Administrative history / Biographical sketch

Gordon was born in Breslau, Ontario on September 25, 1894. He came to the Elmworth area in 1915, walking all the way from the Smoky River with a heavy pack on his back. In September of that year, he and two of his neighbors, Hubert and Harry Black, walked to Grande Prairie to enlist. Harry was accepted, but Hubert was turned down for being too slender and Gordon for having flat feet – ironic, as he had just walked forty miles to enlist.

Gordon spent his first winter in Carl Schieldge’s cabin where he and George Grant and Irish Beggs lived on saddles of five rabbits a day supplemented by the sourdough bread that George Grant taught them to make. Gordon filed on a homestead at NE 15-70-11-W6. His first cabin cost him $6.00 for glass and a door; a cabin where it rained for three days inside after it had ceased outside because of the sod roof. Gordon worked with and was a friend of Mr. Albright at what was known then as “The Illustration Station”. He was drafted into the Canadian Army in May of 1918, then struck off strength on September 14, 1918.

Gordon was very active in the Wheat Pool and U.F.A. business and was honored at the Seed Growers’ Convention in Edmonton in 1949 as a Robertson Associate for his 20 years of service in seed growing. In 1951 his sample of Victory Oats won the World Championship in Chicago’s Hay and Grain Show and in 1953, and his Alsike Clover won the World Championship for small-seed varieties. Gordon passed away in 1953 at the age of 58.

Edna Pearl Small was born in Mt. Forest, Ontario, October 22, 1900. Between 1918-1919, she came to teach at Teeters S.D. near Czar, Alberta. In March , 1919, instead of starting Normal School training, she was recruited to come to Elmworth School as their first teacher. Edna spent the summer of 1920 in the Brewer home in the Elmworth district of the Peace country and in 1921, she attended Camrose Normal School and began teaching in Vahalla in 1921-22 and in Halcourt in 1922-23. She then spent several years teaching in central and southern Alberta but always spent summer holidays in Elmworth. In 1925 she taught in Currie School near Clairmont and in 1926 she taught in Crystal Creek near Grande Prairie. She then left for Hartford, Connecticut, where she lived with her aunt and uncle for three years. On August 31, 1929, Edna married Gordon Moyer who farmed in Elmworth. The couple had two children, Gordon Jr. and Alice. During her married years she taught at Elmworth for two years in 1933-34, at Itipaw for a few months in 1939-40, at Haven School in Hinton Trail for a year in 1941-1942, and in Elmworth between 1946-1948.

Following her husband’s death in 1953, Edna became a member of the teaching staff in Grande Prairie and was principal of Swanavon School until her retirement in 1969. She retired to Kelowna and died in September, 1996, at the age of 96.

Custodial History

These records were donated to the South Peace Regional Archives by Alice Lewis, daughter of Gordon and Edna Moyer, in 2008. An accrual was added from Isabel Campbell’s reference files which were acquired from the Grande Prairie Public Library in 2013. These materials were part of a bequest by Isabel Campbell to the Library. The files were then donated to the archives in 2013. An accrual was added by Alice Lewis in 2016.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of records of Edna’s Camrose Normal School “criticism of lesson” reports and other documents related to teacher training (1921-1958), a sample lesson plan (1922), two teaching certificates,(1923, 1958), superintendents’ reports from the schools where she taught (1925-1926), correspondence from school authorities and from students’ parents, (1923-1977), a biography by Gordon, the given by J.E. Birdsall in honour of Gordon, a speech given at his funeral and two issues of the Ford Farming magazine (Spring, Fall 1953), a Swanavon School opening program, a copy of a travel itinerary, her Christmas greetings letter (1989), and seven photographs related to her school history. Gordon’s records include a Dept. of Agriculture letter asking him to serve as a director of the W.W. Albright Scholarship Fund, a news clipping showing a group of Canadians admiring his prize oat sample (1946-1953) and “The Book of Mom” which Alice Moyer Lewis has written about growing up in Elmworth.


Title notes

  • Source of title proper: Title of fonds based on contents

Related material

Edna wrote several articles about her early life in Elmworth in “Beaverlodge to the Rockies”, p. 255-259

Access points

  • Graphic material – photograph (documentary form)
  • Textual record (documentary form)
  • Education (subject)
  • Family and personal life* (subject)
  • Agriculture (subject)

Series descriptions

Reference code Title Dates Physical description
CT3200 M69 B66 2015 Item – The Book of Mom
Alice Moyer
2015 1 book (225 pages) : 16.5 x 23 cm
Scope and content:

Alice Moyer was born in Elmworth, Alberta and compiled a collection of stories about growing up in that rural community. The stories include Alice tasting her first banana, learning to sew, rural farming and domestic life.

2008.068.01 Item – First Beaverlodge School  1911 1 photograph : b&w ; 5.5. x 3.5 in.
Scope and content:

Beaverlodge School District 2341 was the first public school in the Grande Prairie district. This first log school was built in 1911.

2008.068.02 Item – Currie School & Children  1926 1 photograph : b&w ; 5.5 x 3.5 in.
Scope and content:

Currie School children in front of their school

2008.068.03 Item – Gordon Moyer Exams his Oat Crop  ca. 1953 1 photograph : b&w ; 4 x 6 in.
Scope and content:

Copy of a photograph of Gordon having a close-up look at his award-winning oat crop, a gentleman from Ford is in the background.

2008.068.04 Item – Swanavon School Opening  1958 1 photograph : b&w ; 5 x 7 in.
Scope and content:

Swanavon School opened in January , 1958 and Edna Moyer became principal. L-R: Ted Gammon, Board Chairman of G.P. School District 2357, Harold McNeil, County of G.P. Superintendent, Frank Riddle, Superintendent G.P.S.D. 2357.

2008.068.05 Item – Edna Moyer Meets County Reps  1958 1 photograph : b&w ; 4 x 8 in.
Scope and content:

Swanavon School opened in January , 1958 and Edna Moyer became principal.

2016.035.01 Item – Gordon & Edna’s Wedding  1929 1 photograph : b&w ; 4 x 6 in.
Scope and content:

Photocopy of a photograph showing Gordon Moyer and Edna Small on their wedding day August 29, 1929 in Elmworth.

2016.035.02 Item – The Moyer Wedding Party  1929 1 photograph : b&w ; 4 x 6 in.
Scope and content:

Photocopy of a photograph showing Gordon and Edna Moyer and their guests at the Brewer home in Elmworth on August 29, 1929.

2016.035.03 Item – Gordon Moyer Being Interviewed by CBC  ca. 1953 1 photograph : b&w ; 4 x 6 in.
Scope and content:

Copy of a photograph showing Gordon Moyer standing by his award-winning oat crop and being interviewed by someone from CBC.

2016.035.04 Item – The Moyer Family  1951 1 photograph : b&w ; 4 x 6 in
Scope and content:

Copy of a photograph showing the Moyer family on their way to the celebrations in honour of Gordon’s crop successes held in Beaverlodge.

2016.035.05 Item – First Swanavon School Staff  1958 1 photograph : b&w; 3.5 x 5 in.
Scope and content:

Pictured are the staff of seven ladies of the Swanavon school.

2016.035.06 Item – Edna Moyer  1958 1 photograph : b&w; 3.5 x 5 in.
Scope and content:

A headshot of Edna Moyer teaching at Swanavon school.

2016.035.07 Item – Swanavon School Sign  n.d. 1 photograph : b&w ; 7 x 4.5 in.
Scope and content:

Photograph showing the Swanavon School sign.