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Other Name
KNITTING BAG
Date Range From
1870
Date Range To
1999
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
CANVAS, FABRIC, THREAD
Catalogue Number
P20160003005
  1 image  
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
KNITTING BAG
Date Range From
1870
Date Range To
1999
Materials
CANVAS, FABRIC, THREAD
No. Pieces
1
Length
41
Width
36
Description
HANDMADE BAG MADE OF 3 SECTIONS OF STRIPS OF ABOUT 5 INCHES (APPROX. 13 CM) EACH. IT IS RED WITH BLUE, YELLOW, GREEN, AND RAW MATERIAL ACCENTS. THE TRIM AT THE TOP OF THE BAG IS BLUE WITH A HANDLE OF THE SAME FABRIC ON EITHER SIDE. THERE IS A STRIP OF RAW, NOT PATTERNED FABRIC AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG. BOTH SIDES OF THE BAG HAVE THE SAME ARRANGEMENT OF PATTERNED STRIPS. THERE IS ONE SEAM CONNECTING THE FRONT AND THE BACK OF THE BAG ON BOTH SIDES. THE INSIDE IS UNLINED. GOOD TO VERY GOOD CONDITION. THERE IS SOME STITCHING COMING LOOSE AT VARIOUS POINTS OF THE PATTERNING.
Subjects
CONTAINER
Historical Association
DOMESTIC
ETHNOGRAPHIC
History
THE KONKINS WERE A RUSSIAN-SPEAKING FAMILY FROM THE TOWN OF SHOULDICE, ALBERTA, NEAR CALGARY. THEY AND MANY OTHER RUSSIAN FAMILIES COMPOSED THAT TOWN’S DOUKHOBOR COLONY. IT WAS THERE WILLIAM KONKIN MARRIED ELIZABETH WISHLOW. IN 1928 THEIR DAUGHTER, ELSIE WAS BORN. THEY LATER MOVED TO A FARM IN VAUXHALL, ALBERTA. THE PRECEDING AND FOLLOWING INFORMATION HAS BEEN EXTRACTED FROM A TWO-PART INTERVIEW WITH DONOR ELSIE MORRIS, WHICH WAS CONDUCTED BY COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN ON FEBRUARY 17, 2016. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION COMES FROM FAMILY HISTORIES AND TEXTS PROVIDED BY THE DONOR. A FULL HISTORY OF THE KONKIN FAMILY CAN BE FOUND WITH THE RECORD P20160003001. A STATEMENT WRITTEN BY MORRIS ATTACHED TO THE BAG STATES THAT THE MATERIAL OF THE BAG ORIGINATES FROM THE 1870S. THE STATEMENT READS: “THIS BAG WAS HAND WOVEN IN STRIPS [THAT WERE USED] TO SEW ON THE BOTTOM OF PETTICOATS. THE GIRLS AT THAT TIME HAD TO HAVE A TROUSEUA [SIC] TO LAST A LIFETIME BECAUSE AFTER MARRIAGE THERE WOULD BE NO TIME TO MAKE CLOTHES SO WHAT THEY MADE WAS STURDY. THEY STARTED ON THEIR TROUSEUS [SIC] AS SOON AS THEY COULD HOLD A NEEDLE. WHEN IT WAS HAYING TIME THE GIRLS WENT OUT INTO THE FIELD TO RAKE THE HAY. THEY WORE PETTICOATS OF LINEN TO WHICH THESE BANDS WERE SEWN. THE LONG SKIRTS WERE PICKED UP AT THE SIDES AND TUCKED INTO THE WAISTBANDS SO THAT THE BOTTOMS OF THE PETTICOATS WERE ON DISPLAY.” “THESE BANDS WERE ORIGINALLY MY GREAT GRANDMOTHER’S WHO CAME OUT OF RUSSIA WITH THE DOUKHOBOR SETTLEMENT IN 1899. THEY WERE PASSED ON TO MY MOTHER, ELIZABETH KONKIN, WHO MADE THEM INTO A BAG IN THE 1940S” THE STRIPS THAT MAKE UP THE BAG SERVED A UTILITARIAN PURPOSE WHEN SEWN TO THE BOTTOM OF THE PETTICOATS. IN THE INTERVIEW, MORRIS EXPLAINS: “… THESE STRIPS ARE VERY STRONG. THEY’RE LIKE CANVAS. THEY WERE SEWN ONTO THE BOTTOM OF THE LADY’S PETTICOATS AND THEY WORE A SKIRT ON TOP OF THE PETTICOATS. THESE STRIPS LASTED A LIFETIME, IN FACT MORE THAN ONE LIFETIME BECAUSE I’VE GOT THEM NOW. THEY WOULD TUCK THE SKIRTS INTO THEIR WAISTBAND ON THE SIDE SO THEIR PETTICOATS SHOWED AND THEY WERE TRYING TO PRESERVE THEIR SKIRTS NOT TO GET CAUGHT IN THE GRAIN. THE GIRLS LIKED TO WEAR THEM TO SHOW OFF BECAUSE THE BOYS WERE THERE AND THEY ALWAYS WORE THEIR VERY BEST SUNDAY CLOTHES WHEN THEY WENT CUTTING WHEAT OR GRAIN." “[THE FABRIC] CAME FROM RUSSIA. WITH THE AREA WHERE THEY CAME FROM IS NOW GEORGIA AND THEY LIVED ABOUT SEVEN MILES NORTH OF THE TURKISH BORDER, THE PRESENT DAY TURKISH BORDER… [THE DOUKHOBORS] CAME TO CANADA IN 1897 AND 1899.” MORRIS EXPLAINS THAT SURPLUS FABRIC WOULD HAVE BEEN BROUGHT TO CANADA FROM RUSSIA BY HER MATERNAL GRANDMOTHER FOR FUTURE USE AND TO AID THE GIRLS IN MAKING THEIR TROUSSEAUS: “THE TROUSSEAU THE GIRLS MADE HAD TO LAST THEM A LIFETIME BECAUSE THEY WOULDN’T HAVE TIME BUT RAISING CHILDREN TO SEWING THINGS. SEWING MACHINES WERE UNKNOWN THEN.” THE BANDS OF FABRIC THAT MAKE UP THE BAG WOULD HAVE BEEN REMAINS NEVER USED FROM ELIZABETH KONKIN’S TROUSSEAU. SHE HAND WOVE THE BAG WHILE SHE WAS LIVING IN SHOULDICE. THE BAG WAS USED BY MORRIS’ MOTHER TO STORE HER KNITTING SUPPLIES. WHEN MORRIS ACQUIRED THE BAG IN THE 1990S, IT MAINTAINED A SIMILAR PURPOSE: “WELL I USED TO CARRY MY STUFF FOR THE WEAVER’S GUILD BUT NOW I DON’T USE IT FOR ANYTHING. IT’S VERY HANDY YOU KNOW IT DOESN’T WEAR OUT.” THERE WAS ONLY ONE BAG MADE OUT OF THESE REMNANTS BY MORRIS’ MOTHER. PLEASE SEE THE PERMANENT FILE FOR MORE INFORMATION INCLUDING FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTION, OBITUARIES, PHOTOGRAPHS, AND FAMILY HISTORIES.
Catalogue Number
P20160003005
Acquisition Date
2016-02
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail
Other Name
"113TH BATTALION...LETHBRIDGE HIGHLANDERS"
Date Range From
1915
Date Range To
1930
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
WOOD, WICKER, PAINT
Catalogue Number
P20190007005
  2 images  
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
"113TH BATTALION...LETHBRIDGE HIGHLANDERS"
Date Range From
1915
Date Range To
1930
Materials
WOOD, WICKER, PAINT
No. Pieces
1
Height
8.5
Length
52.6
Width
41.5
Description
BROWN WOOD TRAY WITH WICKER SIDES AND HANDLES; INSIDE OF TRAY HAS LARGE STENCILLED AND PAINTED CREST COMPRISED OF AN OVAL WITH BLACK OUTLINE, A BLACK, YELLOW, AND RED CROWN AT THE TOP, A GREEN MAPLE LEAF IN THE CENTER OF THE OVAL WITH “113” IN YELLOW, A BLACK BANNER ACROSS THE BASE OF THE OVAL WITH “CANADA” IN YELLOW, GREEN THISTLES AROUND THE BANNER, AND YELLOW TEXT ON BROWN BACKGROUND AROUND THE EDGES OF THE OVAL, “OVERSEAS BATTALION, LETHBRIDGE HIGHLANDERS”. WICKER SIDES ARE DISCOLOURED AND WORN; BASE IS SCRATCHED AND HAS BROKEN AND FRAYED WICKER ENDS AROUND EDGES; INSIDE OF TRAY HAS CRACKLING OF FINISH, IS SCRATCHED, AND PAINT IS FADED; OVERALL VERY GOOD CONDITION.
Subjects
CONTAINER
Historical Association
MILITARY
COMMEMORATIVE
History
ON MARCH 28, 2019, COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN INTERVIEWED CAROL AND BRETT CLIFTON REGARDING THEIR DONATION OF VARIOUS LETHBRIDGE AND MILITARY MEMORABILIA. THE OBJECTS WERE COLLECTED BY CAROL’S LATE HUSBAND, CHRIS CLIFTON, AND DONATED IN HIS MEMORY. ON THE TRAY, BRETT CLIFTON NOTED, “THE ONES [I FIND IMPORTANT], AFTER MY BREAK- IN, THERE WERE SOME OTHER THINGS THAT WERE TOTALLY IRREPLACEABLE TO ME, NOT NECESSARILY THE HIGHEST MONETARY VALUE, BUT SOMETHING WHERE I’D BE LIKE, “OH, DARN WHERE AM I EVER GOING TO FIND ANOTHER LETHBRIDGE HIGHLANDERS TRAY AGAIN?...SOME OF THE THINGS TOO THAT I CHOSE, THE PENNANTS AND THE TRAY IN PARTICULAR AND THE SPORRAN, ARE JUST THINGS LIKE, THEY’RE REALLY COOL FOR ME TO HAVE AND THEY’RE AWESOME TO SIT IN MY BASEMENT AND I CAN GO LOOK AT THEM ANY TIME I WANT, BUT NO ONE ELSE GETS TO SEE THEM. THERE’S A BROADER STORY TO BE TOLD IN A MORE, COMMUNITY APPRECIATION, I THINK, THAN JUST SITTING IN MY BASEMENT, IN MY MAN CAVE, LOOKING AT IT.” ON CHRIS CLIFTON’S ACQUISITIONS OF THE OBJECTS, CAROL CLIFTON NOTED, “[CHRIS SEARCHED ON] AUCTION WEB…HE WAS A VERY EARLY USER. THESE THINGS COST MONEY. CHRIS AND I WERE ALWAYS LIKE, ‘OH WELL, ONE DAY WE’LL DONATE THEM AND IT’LL BE OUR GIFT TO CHARITY SO IT’S NO BIG DEAL, WE’LL DO ANYTHING WE CAN AFFORD TO GET THE STUFF.’” “MUCH OF THE REST [OF THE COLLECTION] WAS FOUND BY CHRIS ON EBAY…IT COULD BE THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT [AND CHRIS WOULD SAY], ‘HEY, BRETT, GUESS WHAT’S ON EBAY?’” “HE DIDN’T THINK TWICE. IF [AN ITEM] WAS THERE AND HE COULD AFFORD IT, HE GOT IT. HE WORRIED ABOUT [IT] LATER, “WELL, GEE, SHOULD I HAVE BOUGHT IT OR NOT? YEAH, OF COURSE I SHOULD HAVE BOUGHT IT.” IT WAS LIKE HE FELT LIKE HE WAS SAVING IT. I SUPPOSE, AS A MUSEUM, YOU CAN’T NECESSARILY JUST BUY WITH THAT ABANDON BECAUSE YOU HAVE PEOPLE YOU HAVE TO ANSWER TO. WELL, HE DIDN’T HAVE TO ANSWER TO ANYONE BUT HIS CREDIT CARD COMPANY AND HIM. IF HE FELT IT BELONGED IN LETHBRIDGE HE BOUGHT IT AND ASKED QUESTIONS LATER. [HE WAS] BRINGING IT HOME.” ON HER HUSBAND’S INTEREST IN SOUTERN ALBERTA HISTORY, CAROL CLIFTON ELABORATED, “CHRIS PASSED AWAY…[HE] REALLY MADE US INTERESTED IN HISTORY. FOR HIM IT WAS ALL ABOUT LOCAL HISTORY, SO ANYTHING THAT HE COLLECTED HAD A LETHBRIDGE OR SOUTHERN ALBERTA CONNECTION OR HE DIDN’T COLLECT IT. HE LIKED TO RESEARCH THEM.” “[CHRIS] WAS VERY PROUD TO HAVE BEEN RAISED MORMON FROM A MORMON FAMILY THAT HAD DEEP PIONEER ROOTS INTO UTAH, AND WERE ORIGINALS TO UTAH AND ORIGINALS TO SOUTHERN ALBERTA. ALONG WITH THAT MORMONS…REALLY ENCOURAGE HISTORY IN TERMS OF COLLECTING THEIR ARTIFACTS OR RELIGIOUS ARTIFACTS, AND GENEALOGY. [CHRIS DID] ALL OF HIS OWN GENEALOGY AND HE WOULD DO GENEALOGY FOR ANYONE HE KNEW. WE JUST LITERALLY HAVE REAMS OF PERSONAL HISTORY AND GENEALOGY IN THAT FORM. IT GREW FROM THERE. [CHRIS] WAS A COLLECTOR AT HEART, HE BEGAN COIN COLLECTING AND DID A LOT OF WORK FOUNDING A NUMISMATICS SOCIETY IN TOWN AND BELONGED TO SEVERAL, AND DISPLAYED ON A NATIONAL LEVEL.” “IN TERMS OF THE MILITARY ITEMS, I WOULD SAY [HIS INTEREST BEGAN] WITH HIS DAD BEING FROM THE CALGARY TANK REGIMENT IN DIEPPE AND A PRISONER OF WAR. HIS DAD’S MOTHER HAD SAVED A BUNCH OF ITEMS AND BEFORE CHRIS’S DAD PASSED AWAY, HE GAVE EVERYTHING TO CHRIS…THAT KIND OF FOSTERED [HIS INTEREST IN MILITARY COLLECTIONS] AND THEN IT JUST GREW INTO INTERESTING LOCAL THINGS.” “CHRIS LOVED SOUTHERN ALBERTA, AND NO MATTER WHAT, HE NEVER WOULD HAVE LEFT SOUTHERN ALBERTA. HE LOVED TO TRAVEL BUT HE NEVER WOULD HAVE MOVED. HE LIVED IN MAGRATH AND LETHBRIDGE HIS WHOLE LIFE AND HAD NO INTEREST IN ANY OTHER PLACE BUT HERE.” ON CHRIS’S RESEARCH EFFORTS, CAROL CLIFTON RECALLED, “CHRIS WAS METICULOUS. ANYTHING CHRIS DID, HE DID IT TEN TIMES MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE WOULD. HE WOULD NOT GIVE UP…WHEN BRETT [CLIFTON] DID THE CENOTAPH WORK, CHRIS WOULD HELP HIM IDENTIFY [THE NAMES] AND IT WOULD BE A DEAD END AFTER ANOTHER DEAD END, AND THE NEXT THING YOU KNEW WAS CHRIS HAD FOUND A RELATIVE IN ENGLAND WHO WAS A GREAT GRANDDAUGHTER’S NEIGHBOR. HE WOULD LITERALLY SPEND YEARS RESEARCHING ONE THING. IT WAS JUST HIS PERSONALITY AND HIS LEVEL OF INTEREST AND HE DIDN’T STOP THERE, HE WOULD DO IT FOR ANYONE…HE WAS A VERY GIVING PERSON AND HE WAS SO FANTASTICALLY GOOD AT THAT TYPE OF RESEARCH.” “[CHRIS] AND BRETT TOGETHER WOULD DO [THE RESEARCH] AND I WOULD DO IT OUT OF INTEREST…I DON’T KNOW OF ANYONE WHO DID IT TO THE LEVEL HE DID. HE WOULD BE UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT FOLLOWING A LEAD IN EUROPE ON SOMEONE HE DIDN’T KNOW FOR SOMEONE HE BARELY KNEW…[CHRIS WAS] TOTALLY SELF-TAUGHT…OF COURSE WITH THE INTERNET IT BECAME MUCH EASIER FOR EVERYONE TO [SEARCH]. THE GENEALOGY HE DID BEFORE WAS PRE-INTERNET SO THAT INVOLVED A LOT OF ARCHIVAL THINGS…HE BEGAN RESEARCH WORK VERY EARLY IN THE INTERNET AND WE GOT OUR FIRST COMPUTER IN 1995, AND HE PRETTY MUCH DID RESEARCH FROM THEN ON. HE WAS INTERESTING IN THAT NO MATTER WHAT RESEARCH HE DID HE DIDN’T WANT CREDIT FOR IT. HE DIDN’T WANT TO BELONG TO THINGS…IN ADDITION, HE DIDN’T LIKE TO DO THE WRITING, ALTHOUGH HE COULD WRITE, BUT HE WAS THE BEST PROOF READER BECAUSE HE WAS SO METICULOUS, AND HE WOULD PROOF READ FOR ANYONE. [IF] SOMEBODY WROTE AN ARTICLE HE WOULD BE A PROOF READER OR A FACT CHECKER. IT WAS JUST HIS NATURE…[HE WAS] STUBBORN, AND COMPETITIVE, AND INTERESTED, AND METICULOUS, AND IF HE DID IT IT’S CORRECT. IF THERE’S A MISTAKE IN IT HE SURE DIDN’T KNOW IT. HE WOULD HAVE NEVER PUT ANYTHING DOWN HE WASN’T PRETTY DARN SURE OF.” ON THEIR MOTIVES FOR DONATING THE COLLECTIONS, CAROL CLIFTON NOTED, “THE FIRST REASON THAT WE DECIDED TO DONATE AT THIS TIME…IS THAT WE THOUGHT IT WOULD BE A NICE WAY TO HONOUR [CHRIS] TO MAKE SURE THAT THE COLLECTION ALWAYS STAYED IN SOUTHERN ALBERTA AND THAT IT’S AVAILABLE TO PEOPLE WITH SIMILAR INTERESTS. [THE DONATION] WOULD BE SOMETHING IN HIS MEMORY THAT WOULD KEEP HIS MEMORY ALIVE. THE SECOND REASON IS THAT BRETT HAD AN UNFORTUNATE BREAK-IN AT HIS HOUSE LAST FATHER’S DAY, AND MANY THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS OF THINGS WERE TAKEN, BUT VERY LUCKILY, NONE OF THE LOCAL HISTORY ITEMS OR THE MILITARY ITEMS WERE TOUCHED. THEY WERE FAR MORE VALUABLE THAN THE THINGS THAT WERE TAKEN, BUT WERE NOT TOUCHED, AND WE BEGAN TO REALIZE THAT WE’RE ONE BREAK-IN AWAY FROM LOSING A LOT OF HISTORY.” IN 2014 COLLECTIONS ASSISTANT JANE EDMUNDSON CONDUCTED A SURVERY OF MILITARY OBJECTS. THE FOLLOWING BRIEF HISTORY OF THE LETHBRIDGE HIGHLANDERS IS EXCERPTED FROM CHRISTOPHER R. KILFORD'S BOOK 'LETHBRIDGE AT WAR: THE MILITARY HISTORY OF LETHBRIDGE FROM 1990 TO 1996' (BATTERY BOOKS & PUBLISHING, 1996) AND COMPILED BY EDMUNDSON. "THE 113TH CANADIAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE, THE LETHBRIDGE HIGHLANDERS, WERE ORGANIZED DECEMBER 22, 1915 [AS] PART OF A CANADIAN RECRUITING DRIVE WHERE MEN FROM THE SAME REGION COULD ENLIST AND SERVE TOGETHER. THIS TYPE OF COMMUNITY SPIRIT RECRUITING WAS VERY POPULAR AS IT DREW IN FRIENDS, NEIGHBOURS, CO-WORKERS, ETC. WITH THE PROMISE OF SERVING TOGETHER THROUGHOUT THE WAR. THE 113TH CONSISTED OF 883 MEN AND OFFICERS AND HAD ITS BARRACKS AT THE EXHIBITION GROUNDS IN LETHBRIDGE... BASIC TRAINING IN THE CEF INVOLVED RIFLE TRAINING, BOMBING OR HAND GRENADE PRACTICE, ROUTE MARCHES, RIFLE DRILL AND MANY INSPECTIONS... IN LATE MAY 1916 THE BATTALION MOVED TO SARCEE CAMP OUTSIDE CALGARY FOR FURTHER TRAINING THAT LASTED UNTIL SEPTEMBER... ON SEPTEMBER 26TH 1916 THE 113TH EMBARKED ALONG WITH THE 111TH AND 145TH BATTALIONS ON THE SS TUSCANIA... UPON ARRIVING IN ENGLAND THE BATTALION WAS TAKEN TO A HOLDING CAMP AT SANDLING NEAR SHORNCLIFFE... THE COMMANDING OFFICER LEARNED THAT THE 113TH WOULD BE BROKEN UP FOR REPLACEMENTS AND WOULD NOT SEE ACTION AS A UNIT AFTER ALL... THE 113TH WAS TRANSFERRED TO THE 17TH RESERVE BATTALION CEF, THE NOVA SCOTIA HIGHLANDERS, AFFILIATED WITH THE SCOTTISH SEAFORTH HIGHLANDERS... ON OCTOBER 12, 1916 MOST OF THE OLD 113TH PROCEEDED TO FRANCE... ALMOST IMMEDIATELY 300 MEN OF THE OLD 113TH WERE ASSIGNED AS REPLACEMENTS TO ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS BATTALIONS IN THE CEF, THE 16TH BATTALION CANADIAN SCOTTISH." FOR MORE INFORMATION INCLUDING THE FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTION AND LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLES, PLEASE SEE THE PERMANENT FILE P20190007001-GA.
Catalogue Number
P20190007005
Acquisition Date
2019-03
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail
Date Range From
1915
Date Range To
1925
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
COTTON
Catalogue Number
P20180003002
  2 images  
Material Type
Artifact
Date Range From
1915
Date Range To
1925
Materials
COTTON
No. Pieces
1
Length
111
Width
34
Description
PURPLE FLORAL-PATTERNED SHEATH DRESS WITH CREAM MESH NECKLINE AND RUFFLED CAP SLEEVES. DRESS HAS CREAM MESH OVER TOPS OF SHOULDERS AND ALONG NECKLINE; FRONT HAS V-NECKLINE WITH HIGHER NECKLINE IN THE BACK; DRESS IS KNEE-CALF LENGTH AND FLARES AT KNEES, WITH RUFFLES ABOVE FLARE. FABRIC IS THIN; DRESS MACHINE-STITCHED WITH SEAM RUNNING ACROSS BODY UNDER CHEST. DRESS HAS PERSPIRATION STAINING UNDER SLEEVES; DRESS FRONT HAS MINOR STAINING ON MESH AND ON CHEST; SEAMS INSIDE DRESS HAVE FRAYED THREADS; OVERALL VERY GOOD CONDITION.
Subjects
CLOTHING-OUTERWEAR
Historical Association
PERSONAL CARE
History
ON MARCH 12, 2018, COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN INTERVIEWED KERRY WRIGHT REGARDING HER DONATION OF A HANDBAG AND DRESS FROM THE 1920S. WRIGHT ACQUIRED THE OBJECTS FROM HER MOTHER UPON HER PASSING. THE OBJECTS BELONGED TO WRIGHT’S MATERNAL GRANDMOTHER, CLARA SAXON, PRIOR TO HER DEATH IN 1924. WRIGHT RECALLED HER FAMILY’S HISTORY AND THE CIRCUMSTANCES THAT LED TO WRIGHT’S MOTHER ACQUIRING THE OBJECTS, STATING, “1924. [MY] MOM [LILY WRIGHT] WAS BORN ON SEPTEMBER 29 [1924] AND CLARA PASSED AWAY…ON NOVEMBER 22 [1924].” “[MY MOTHER WAS] SIX WEEKS OLD AND HER MOTHER DIED. THERE WAS NEVER ANY QUESTION THAT HER GRANDPARENTS AUTOMATICALLY [LOOKED] AFTER HER. I REALLY DON’T KNOW TOO MUCH ABOUT CLARA’S HUSBAND [HENRY SAXON]. I KNEW HIS NAME BUT HE PASSED AWAY WHEN MY MOTHER WAS ABOUT 8. OCCASIONALLY HE WOULD COME TO VISIT BUT NOT [OFTEN].” “[MY] MOTHER HAD ALWAYS SAID THAT THE DOCTORS DIDN’T KNOW WHAT SHE DIED FROM. BOTH OF HER PARENTS WERE DIABETICS AND MY GUESS WOULD HAVE TO BE GESTATION DIABETES. I DON’T BELIEVE THERE WAS ANY KIND OF INFECTION FROM WHAT ANYBODY HAD BEEN ABLE TO TELL…[SHE WAS TAKEN] TO THE DOCTOR RIGHT AWAY AND THEY SAID, “ OH, WHO KNOWS?” SHE LEFT AND DIED. HER SISTER NEVER DID KNOW WHAT SHE DIED OF EITHER AND THEY’RE ALSO DIABETIC NOW.” “[CLARA] LIVED IN LETHBRIDGE WHEN SHE PASSED…IT WAS MY GUESS THAT HER AND JOHN WERE MARRIED IN ST. MARY’S ANGLICAN CHURCH UP ON THE NORTH SIDE.” “[I GOT THESE PIECES] THROUGH MY MOTHER [LILY WRIGHT]. SHE HAD THEM PUT AWAY. HER GRANDPARENTS WHO RAISED HER KEPT A FEW THINGS LIKE THIS AND THEY WERE ALWAYS IN THE TRUNK DOWNSTAIRS. WHEN WE HAD TO CLEAN OUT MOM’S PLACE WHEN SHE WENT IN TO A NURSING HOME, MY SISTER AND I WENT “DO YOU WANT THIS, DO YOU WANT THIS? I SAID, THAT WAS CLARA’S, I WANT THAT. THAT’S HOW IT CAME INTO MY OWNERSHIP AND I’VE BEEN CARRYING IT AROUND FOR ABOUT FIFTEEN YEARS.” “[THESE ARE OBJECTS] THAT I FELT SHE WOULD HAVE APPRECIATED THAT THEY MEANT SOMETHING TO ME, TO HANG ON TO AND STILL HAVE SOMETHING OF HERS…[THEY WERE IN] AN OLD STEAMER TRUNK, AN OLD METAL TRUNK AND I THINK PROBABLY AROUND THE TIME [MY MOTHER] AND DAD GOT MARRIED [’46…I’M PRETTY SURE THAT [MOM] HAD GOT [THE TRUNK] AS A SECONDARY HOPE CHEST. IT HAD CLARA’S WEDDING GOWN, HER SHOES…IT MEANT SOMETHING TO [MY MOTHER] SO SHE [HAD] THEM. [THERE WERE] A FEW ORNAMENTS AND GADGETS THAT MOM HAD PICKED UP OVER THE YEARS AND THERE REALLY WASN’T TOO MUCH OF CLARA’S BECAUSE SHE WAS ONLY 22 WHEN SHE PASSED.” “[THE TRUNK] WAS DOWNSTAIRS UNDER THE STAIRS AND IT WAS ONE TRUNK THAT SHE HAD ALWAYS ASKED US NOT TO GO IN. I WAS A PRECOCIOUS CHILD AND BEING TOLD THAT I COULDN’T GO NEAR THE STUFF, I DID ANYWAY. WHEN THEY WERE ON THE FARM, CLARA’S FATHER LIVED WITH MY MOM AND DAD, MYSELF AND MY SISTER UNTIL I WAS FOUR. [MY GREAT-GRANDFATHER] PASSED AWAY WHEN I WAS FOUR. HE LIVED IN THE FARMHOUSE BASEMENT, AND I DIDN’T LIKE THAT HE WAS DOWN THERE BY HIMSELF ALL THE TIME, SO I’D SNEAK DOWN THERE. I HAD GRAMPA JOHN’S PERMISSION TO LOOK THROUGH THAT STUFF BUT MY MOTHER DIDN’T KNOW.” “I IMAGINE IT WAS [MY GREAT GRANDFATHER] THAT TOLD ME [ABOUT CLARA]. EVENTUALLY MOTHER DID TELL ME THAT CLARA’S STUFF WAS IN THAT TRUNK.” “PROBABLY ABOUT ONCE A YEAR, I’D JUST TAKE [THE OBJECTS OUT] AND LOOK AT [THEM]. IT’S BEEN A BIG DEBATE WHETHER I WOULD GO AHEAD AND FIND SOMEBODY THAT COULD RESTORE THE PURSE OR WHETHER I SHOULD JUST PASS IT ALONG. I’M NOT A WEALTHY PERSON, SO I THOUGHT THIS WOULD BE A BETTER HOME FOR IT RATHER THAN INVESTING A BUNCH OF MONEY IN SOMETHING THAT WOULD COME HERE EVENTUALLY ANYWAY.” “[THESE OBJECTS] ARE SOMETHING THAT I KNEW DIDN’T BELONG IN THE GARBAGE. I GUESS IT WAS TO GET SOME KIND OF CONNECTION WITH MY PAST. I NEVER KNEW [CLARA]. MY MOTHER, SHE NEVER KNEW HER MOTHER. IT WAS JUST REASON THAT I HUNG ON TO THEM. NOW THAT I’M DOWNSIZING, HAVING TO LIVE IN A SMALLER PLACE, I HAVE TO LET GO OF A LOT OF STUFF. THIS IS A GOOD HOME FOR [THEM]. THAT HANDBAG WAS JUST SO SPECIAL.” IN AN EMAIL FROM WRIGHT TO MACLEAN, WRIGHT ELABORATES ON THE HISTORY OF CLARA SAXON. CLARA WAS BORN CLARA MELLING IN WIGAN, LANCASHIRE, ENGLAND IN DECEMBER 1902 TO ISABELLA (SMITH) MELLING AND JOHN MELLING. IN 1912, THE MELLING FAMILY EMIGRATED TO CANADA. CLARA’S SISTER, LILY MELLING, MARRIED ANDY ALLISON. CLARA MARRIED HENRY SAXON ON NOVEMBER 21, 1923, AND HAD ONE DAUGHTER, LILY (WRIGHT) SAXON BORN SEPTEMBER 29, 1924. CLARA WENT TO A MOVIE WITH HER SISTER ON NOVEMBER 18, 1924 AND FELL ILL. SHE PASSED AWAY OF AN UNDETERMINED CAUSE. LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLES FROM NOVEMBER 20, 1924 AND DECEMBER 3, 1924, CONFIRM THAT THE CAUSE OF DEATH WAS NEVER DETERMINED. A POST-MORTEM WAS CONDUCTED AND STOMACH CONTENTS SENT TO EDMONTON, ALBERTA FOR ANALYSIS. IN A LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLE FROM DECEMBER 3, 1924, THE JURY FORMED TO ENQUIRE INTO THE DEATH OF CLARA SAXON RULED CAUSE OF DEATH UNKNOWN AFTER THE POST-MORTEM AND ANALYSIS OF STOMACH CONTENTS FOUND NO ABNORMALITIES, AND THE JURY WAS ADJOURNED. FOR MORE INFORMATION INCLUDING THE FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTION AND COPIES OF LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLES, PLEASE SEE THE PERMANENT FILE P20180003001-GA.
Catalogue Number
P20180003002
Acquisition Date
2018-03
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail