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John Ware, Lewis family fonds

1887-2002, predominant 1892-1917, 1956-1990

Physical Description:
60 cm of textual records. -- ca. 900 photographs

John Ware, 1850-1905, was born in the USA, possibly in Fort Worth, Texas. He worked as a cowboy from his youth, and drove cattle in Oregon, and into Canada for the Bar U Ranch ca. 1892. He worked for the Bar U west of High River, Alberta and on other ranches, and became Alberta's most famous black cowboy. He began his own ranch on the north fork of Sheep Creek in 1888. In 1892 he married Mildred Lewis, 1871-1905. Mildred's parents, Daniel V. and Charlotte, had come from Whitby, Ontario. John and Mildred had six children, Amanda Janet "Nettie", 1893-1989, Robert Lewis, 1894-1980, William Henry, 1898-1934, Mildred Jane, 1898-1988, Arthur Nelson, 1900-1989, and Daniel Lewis, 1901-1904. In 1902 the Wares moved to the Red Deer River, north of Brooks, to ranch. After the death of their parents the Ware children were brought up by Daniel and Charlotte in Calgary. John Ware School in Calgary was named in his honour in 1968. For further information see John Ware's Cow Country / Grant MacEwan. - Edmonton : The Institute of Applied Art, 1960. See also David H. Breen's entry, "John Ware", in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. XIII. - Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 1994, p. 1074-1075.

Scope and Content:
The fonds consists of account of John's life based on an interview with Nettie (1956); reminiscences about John by S. Marsden; John's agreements of sale of land (1901) and cattle transfer (1887); newsclipping of marriage announcement (1892); letters from Nettie Ware about the opening of the Ware cabin in Dinosaur Provincial Park (1959-1960); photocopies of letters from John and Nettie (1898, 1899); and personal files of Nettie Ware regarding her father's biography and her involvement in the Vulcan/Kirkcaldy community. Also consists of photographs of the Lewis and Ware families, the Lewis farm and Ware ranches; the Lewis' legal agreements (1911, 1912) and a statutory declaration (1917). Also consists of historical documentation regarding the Ware and Lewis families gathered by Nettie and Mildred Ware; Nettie Ware's speeches, poems, correspondence, cards, autograph books, guest books, scrapbook, and funeral service; Mallory family papers regarding the Ware and Lewis families, including correspondence, newsclippings, and genealogical information; Bob Ware's funeral service; Mildred Ware's autograph book and funeral service; Arthur Ware's Bible and postcards.

Source of Acquisition:
Gifts of Janet Ware, Robert Ware, Spencer Lewis, Harry Fowler and Mary Mallory, 1960-2014.

The material is in English.

Originals and Reproductions:
Originals of the photocopied letters are at the Brand Office, Stettler, Alberta.

No restrictions on access.

Finding Aids:
Inventory available. Please consult before requesting material.

View finding aid / scanned documents:

An interview with Nettie Ware is available at the Bert Sheppard Stockmen's Memorial Foundation Library & Archives.

Call Numbers:
(M=manuscript; N&P=photos; R=sound recordings; S=slides; F=films)
M-1281, M-1283, M-2597, M-4215, M-9677, NA-262, NA-263, NA-266, NA-2566, PA-4011, PD-412

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