Fonds 701 Thomas Edmund Cooke fonds

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Summary information

Repository: South Peace Regional Archives
Title: Thomas Edmund Cooke Fonds
Reference code: 0701
Date: 1951 – 1958 (date of creation)
Physical description: 0.5cm of textual material
Language: English

Administrative history / Biographical sketch

Thomas Edmund Cooke was born in Arundel, Quebec in 1880. By 1910 when looking to homestead in Northern Alberta, Thomas had become an experience sawmill operator and was married to Emma Boyd. Thomas and his family first journeyed to to the Grande Prairie area in 1911 and by 1913 they had purchased a Sawmill in Spruce Grove and shipped the machinery to Big Smoky with Benny Boyd.

The sawmill was successful, having produced the lumber for many settlers building new homes in the region. In one instance, the sawmill provided a large amount of lumber to the construction of the Bezanson town site. As the original owners of those buildings were not able to pay for the lumber, Thomas and Benny took ownership of the hamlet under a mortgage arrangement. The saw mill had continued success until 1935, when large floods damaged the river banks and the mill’s steam engine and lumber fell into the river. Thomas Edmund Cooke continued operating the mill though with his son Donald R. Cooke joining as a partner between 1950 to 1957. Thomas also ran a large threshing operation until 1966 when he retired to Dimsdale at the age of 86. Thomas Edmund Cooke passed away in 1967.

Thomas and Emma had five children together after moving to the South Peace; Ramona, Eunice, Boyd, Donald, and Lois. Ramona is perhaps most remembered as a celebrated pianist, who has a memorial award (The Mona Memorial Cup) named in her honour after passing away at the age of 34 in 1934.

Scope and content

This fonds contains a ledger from the sawmill owned by Thomas Edmund Cooke and his family and tracked financial aspects including payroll, expenses, and income between 1951 to 1958.