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D.W. Davis family fonds

1883-1973, predominant 1883-1929

Physical Description:
20.5 cm of textual records. -- 182 photographs

Donald Watson Davis, 1849-1906, was born and raised in Vermont, USA. He joined the Union Army during the Civil War, and later was stationed in Montana. There he became associated with trading companies with operations in southern Alberta. He moved to the Lethbridge area in 1869, and was in charge of Fort Whoop-Up when the North-West Mounted Police (NWMP) arrived in 1874. He was general manager of the I.G. Baker and Company in the Alberta district until 1890, although he had outside interests in the ranching industry. He was elected as the first Member of Parliament for Alberta in 1887 and served until 1896 when he was appointed collector of customs in the Yukon. He resigned this post in 1902 and was involved in various mining ventures until his death. He was the director of the Macleod Improvement Company, which was established in Fort Macleod in 1885 for the purpose of building a public hall for entertainment, judicial, and meeting purposes. He was married first to a native woman, Revenge Walker, ca.1855-1900, and they had four children: Jeff, John W., 1885-1928, Julia and Charlie. In 1887 he married a second time, to Lillie Elizabeth Josephine Grier, 1864-1935, Fort Macleod's first school teacher, and they had five sons including Grier Rider, 1888-1973, Donald Chester, 1890-1916, Frederick Weare, 1902-1994, D.L. Davis and E.S. Davis. D.W. and Lillie Davis were close friends of Samuel B. Steele, both in Fort Macleod and Dawson City. For further information see Beverley A. Stacey's article, "D.W. Davis : Whiskey Trader to Politician" in Alberta History. - vol. 38, no.3 (Summer, 1990). Rider was born in Wiarton, Ontario and brought to Fort Macleod while a baby. He was educated at Upper Canada College, 1902-1906, and then ranched and farmed with Chester at Belly River. Chester joined Lord Strathcona's Horse in 1913, served with the 46th Battalion overseas as a lieutenant and died of wounds. Rider articled as a lawyer with Macleod and Gray, and then A.G. Virtue. He served in First World War with the 191st Battalion, was a teacher at Long Bottom ,1920-1921, and from 1923-1933 was sheriff and clerk of Fort Macleod. He was admitted to the Bar in 1928 and in 1934 took over the J.D. Matheson practice. In 1930 he married Eloise Telford, a teacher from Owen Sound, Ontario, and they had one son, John Chester. Eloise worked in the law office with Rider, and J. Chester took it over on Rider's retirement in 1960. Rider was a council member for Fort Macleod in 1937, mayor from 1939-1956, and he ran unsuccessfully as provincial Conservative candidate in 1940.

Scope and Content:
The fonds consists of D.W.'s diaries (1896, 1898), evidence regarding fire investigation in Dawson City (1899), Macleod Improvement Company prospectus and minutes (1885-1907), and miscellaneous correspondence, programs and invitations; Rider and Chester's military photographs of Strathcona's (1909, 1913), Canadian School of Musketry (1909), military exercises and camps, and First World War views; Chester's commission; Rider's invitations and dance cards (1917-1929); and First World War postcards. Also consists of Lillie's postcards (1915-1916, 1929) and her letters with, and newsclippings about, the Samuel B. Steele family; photographs of the family, Fort Macleod, Dawson City and NWMP; and Eloise's scrapbook. Includes First World War photographs and letters of Lt. W.J. Adams, Fort Macleod.

Source of Acquisition:
Gift of Eloise Davis and J. Chester Davis, 1975-2005.

The material is in English.

Originals and Reproductions:
Also available on microfilm.

No restrictions on access.

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

View finding aid / scanned documents:

Call Numbers:
(M=manuscript; N&P=photos; R=sound recordings; S=slides; F=films)
M-304, M-305, M-7424, M-7612, M-9067, PA-1808, PA-1813, PA-2859, PA-3329, PB-724, PE-76, PE-129, NA-2883, NA-5675, Microfilm-Davis

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