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Scollen family fonds

1861-1998, predominant 1862-1902 and 1969-1986

Physical Description:
89 cm of textual records. -- 1 audio cassette. -- 5 photographs

Constantine Scollen, 1841-1902, was born in County Fermanagh, Ireland, and joined the Oblates at Sicklinghall near Leeds, England. In 1860 he was sent to Dublin to teach, and in 1862 asked to be sent to Canada. He arrived in St. Boniface, Manitoba that year and accompanied Father Albert Lacombe to Fort Edmonton, Alberta, where he taught at the first elementary school in the North-West Territories until 1868. From 1868-1872 Father Scollen worked with Father Lacombe on the Cree dictionary and grammar, went on prairie missions to native people and taught Cree to new missionaries at St. Albert, Alberta. He was ordained to the Catholic priesthood in 1873 and became Superior of the Southern Missions, a position he held until 1882. He was the first resident priest among the Blackfoot and was stationed at Our Lady of Peace Mission near Calgary. He was an interpreter and witness of the Treaty 7 signing in 1877. He also assisted the Commissioner of Indian Affairs with native negotiations in 1879 and acted as intermediary at Hobbema during the 1885 Riel Rebellion (North West Rebellion). He was a parish priest in Edmonton ca. 1881, and in 1884 was director of Notre Dame des Sept Douleurs at Hobbema. Around 1885 he left the Oblates, moved to the Winnipeg area, and then to the USA where he served as a parish priest in Montana, Wyoming, Ohio and Illinois. He died in Dayton, Ohio. Father Scollen School in Calgary was named in his honour. For further information see Bernice Venini's article, "Father Constantine Scollen, Founder of the Calgary Mission" in Canadian Catholic Historical Association's Study Sessions. -- vol. 9 (1942), p. 75-86; Michael Cottrell's article, "Constantine Scollen : Missionaries, Treaties and Assimilation at St. Albert" in Canadian Catholic Historical Association, Historical Studies. -- vol. 66 (2000), p. 56-73; Raymond Huel's article, "Constantine Scollen : The Forgotten Missionary" in Alberta History, vol.59, no.4, (Autumn, 2011), p. 10-18; and Father Con : The Whoop Up Trail Priest : The Life, Times and Letters of Father Constantine Michael Scollen 1841-1902 / Ian Fletcher. -- n.p. Ian Fletcher, 2015. Father Scollen's step-brother, William, 1854/55-1899, was born in England, worked in coal mines there and formed a musical band. In 1877 he emigrated to Calgary and became manager at the Our Lady of Peace Mission farm. In 1878 he married a Metis, Margret Ward, and they had at least eight children, Thomas, Patrick, Peter, Constantine, Jack, Edward, Mary and Katie. After his marriage William began farming for himself in what is now the Elbow Park area in Calgary. He and his family eventually moved to the Kamloops, British Columbia area where he taught band music. For further information see Thomas Dust and George H. Buck's article, "William Scollen : Alberta Pioneer Band Teacher", in Alberta History, vol. 58, no. 4 (Autumn, 2010), p. 11-17. William's grandnephew, Vincent J. Scollen, ?-ca. 1987, was in the Ontario civil service beginning in the 1960s. He and his wife, Bertha, ?-1981, lived in Toronto. Vincent spent almost twenty years researching William and Father Scollen in the hopes of publishing a book.

Custodial History:
Phillip Signey, who donated the original letters of Father Scollen, is the great-grandson of David Scollen, half-brother of Constantine. The letters passed to David Scollen's son, then his granddaughter Anne Scollen Signey (who lived in Northern England), then to Phillip in California.

Scope and Content:
The fonds consists of Father Scollen's correspondence with his family, superiors, other priests and Canadian government officials (1861-1902); William's letters to his family in Ireland, discussing Treaty 7, John Glenn, Sam Livingston, etc. (1877-1890); and Vincent's reference notes, newsclippings, genealogical information, rough drafts of chapters, research correspondence (1969-1986) and personal letters to him and Bertha (1969-1977). Includes a recorded interview with William's grandson, William E. Scollen (1973); Scollen family photographs (1860s, 1900s); and letters to Father Scollen School regarding family history.

Source of Acquisition:
Gifts of Vincent Scollen, William E. Scollen, Phillip Signey and Father Scollen School, 1973-2003.

The material is in English.

Originals and Reproductions:
Originals of Father Scollen's letters are at Library and Archives Canada and the Provincial Archives of Alberta.

William's letters are restricted due to fragile condition. Photocopies available for research purposes.

Finding Aids:
Inventory and interview outline available. Please consult before requesting material.

View finding aid / scanned documents:

Constantine Scollen mentions in one letter that he was sending off his memoirs "Thirty Years Among the Indians of the Northwest" to New York for publication. That publication apparently did not happen but the memoirs were serialized in the Buffalo Bulletin newspaper (Wyoming) between March 1893 and April 1894.

Call Numbers:
(M=manuscript; N&P=photos; R=sound recordings; S=slides; F=films)
M-1108, M-4343, M-8038, M-8873, M-8937, RCT-108, RCT-866, NA-2670, NA-3022

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