Visit this blog for regular posts about Your Archives: The Histories We Share throughout 2020. Visit the Archives of Manitoba to see the records in person.

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July 10, 2020

Legislative Building architect’s files — Submission by Zenon Gawron, researcher

“Some of F.W. Simon’s architectural drawings have great visual appeal and it is the building’s centennial after all.”

Sketches of sculptures and carvings for Manitoba Legislative Building
Sketches  of sculptures and carvings for Manitoba Legislative Building
Sketches of sculptures and carvings for Manitoba Legislative Building
Archives of Manitoba, A 0273 Legislative Building architect’s files, GR13326, Sketches of carving and sculpture with envelope from Piccirilli Bros. (file no. 20), D191/3.

Want to know more? Search Keystone for other records related to the Legislative Building, architectural plans, and Frank W. Simon. You can read a past blog about the construction of the New Parliament Building. You can also Visit Us in person at the Archives of Manitoba.

Want to participate in Your Archives? See Submit Your Story for details. You may e-mail us at yourarchives@gov.mb.ca with a comment about this blog post and your comments may be included on this page.


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July 3, 2020

Hudson’s Bay Company’s 300th anniversary press kit — Submission by Joan Craig, Archivist, Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, 1968-1973

“The Company celebrated its 300th anniversary in 1970 by commissioning the building of a replica of the 1668 Nonsuch at Appledore, North Devon, and by putting on an exhibition at Beaver House, the Company's London office, in June and July of 1970.

Cover of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s 300th anniversary press kit
Cover of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s 300th anniversary press kit
Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba, “The Beaver” magazine vertical files, “Ye Olde Hudson’s Bay Co. Press Kit, 1670,” 1970, H4-84-1-6.
Nonsuch’ replica, 1970.
Nonsuch’ replica, 1970
Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba, “The Beaver” magazine vertical files, “Nonsuch” replica, 1970, H4-84-1-6.

“In June Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh visited the exhibition and were shown around by the HBC Governor, Viscount Amory. The visit concluded with the presentation to the Queen of furs. Several of the HBC London staff, including myself and Gwen Kemp, had the honour of being presented to the Queen.  Gwen Kemp had also worked in the archives department, probably from the late 1940's to 1974.



“The formal transfer of the Company to Canada took place on 29 May 1970 with granting by the Queen of two Charters, one in London and one in Ottawa.”



Want to know more? Search Keystone for other records related to the Hudson’s Bay Company’s 300th Anniversary.


Want to participate in Your Archives? See Submit Your Story for details. You may e-mail us at yourarchives@gov.mb.ca with a comment about this blog post and your comments may be included on this page.


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June 26, 2020

Exhibits and other records related to the Winnipeg General Strike trials — Submission by Zenon Gawron, researcher

“The Winnipeg General Strike was a signature event in Manitoba history with good visuals, posters, banners and photos. If I remember correctly there was a large collection of left wing pamphlets as well. Provenance of the records was indicated by the police in the course of their raids.”



Socialist Party of Canada banner
Socialist Party of Canada banner
Archives of Manitoba, A0272 Exhibits and other records related to the Winnipeg General Strike trials, GR3081, R v. Ivens et al exhibit 456, ca. 1918, D193/4.
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photo of crowd of people listening to a man giving a speech
Exhibits used in trial for William Ivens
Archives of Manitoba, A0272 Exhibits and other records related to the Winnipeg General Strike trials, GR3081, R v. Ivens et al exhibit 987, June 1919, G 7494 file 2.


Want to know more? Search Keystone for other records related to the Winnipeg General Strike, exhibits for the Winnipeg General Strike trials, and court records.

Want to participate in Your Archives? See Submit Your Story for details. You may e-mail us at yourarchives@gov.mb.ca with a comment about this blog post and your comments may be included on this page.


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June 18, 2020

Samuel Taylor’s journal entry, November 15, 1862 — Submission by Maureen Dolyniuk, retired Archivist [former Keeper of the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives

“Samuel Taylor (1812-1894) was born in the parish of Firth, Orkney, Scotland on 22 December 1812 and entered the service of the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1836. He worked as a stonemason and carpenter first in the Moose Factory area and later in the Red River Settlement. He married Nancy McKay in 1847 and they had eight children together. Nancy was a daughter of William McKay, a chief clerk and postmaster for the HBC. The Taylors lived in the Mapleton area and later had a farm in Selkirk. Samuel Taylor is interred in the cemetery at St. Clements Church, Mapleton, along with his wife Nancy and a number of his family members.



“Samuel Taylor’s personal journals spanning the years 1849-1869 record his work as a carpenter and stonemason for the Hudson’s Bay Company and later his life in the Red River Settlement. Amongst his many fascinating entries is one for November 15, 1862 that is of particular interest to me. He describes a dark and cold evening when workers struggled under difficult conditions to erect a new bell at St. Clements, Mapleton Church (near Selkirk, Manitoba). They likely were working against time to have it mounted before Sunday services the next day. Taylor did the stonework on St. Clements Church built a year earlier. Samuel Taylor writes in his journal simply and understated:

‘There was a fine bell put up at St. Clement’s on Saturday 15 after dark at night with fire and lantern light.’

journal
journal
Samuel Taylor journal, 1849-1863, cover page and entry for November 1862.
Archives of Manitoba, Samuel Taylor fonds, Samuel Taylor journal, 1849-1862, P 4641/1.


“The bell erected at St. Clement’s Church on November 15th, 1862, was no ordinary bell.  It was the original bell that came to the Red River Settlement with the first Anglican Missionary, The Reverend John West, in 1820 so it is 200 years old this year!  It was mounted at the first Church Missionary Establishment which later became St. John’s Cathedral in the north end of Winnipeg.  The bell was moved to St. Clement’s when the 1862 Cathedral was built. John West’s bell continues to welcome the congregation to services at St. Clement’s Church to this day.  This story is detailed in a Winnipeg Free Press article written by historian and author, Margaret Arnett Mcleod, published in 1937 and reproduced with permission in a Diocese of Rupert’s Land publication, Centenary 1861-1961, St. Clement’s Church Mapleton.  It took quite a bit of detective work on Margaret Arnett Macleod’s part to discover that the John West bell had been moved to St. Clement’s, since at the time few were aware of its whereabouts, only that it was likely installed in one of the river churches.



“Samuel Taylor’s journals are not only a remarkable record of daily life in the Red River Settlement, they demonstrate that the history of Manitoba, the Hudson’s Bay Company and the Anglican Church in Western Canada are interwoven – all three celebrating significant anniversaries this year!  They also demonstrate how records from the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, the private holdings of the Archives of Manitoba and the records of Red River Settlement churches complement one another in providing a full and rich picture of how our province developed over time.”

Want to know more? Search Keystone for other records related to the Red River Settlement and the Hudson’s Bay Company. Learn more Red River Settlement on Spotlight - The Selkirk Treaty and Map, and Francis Heron's account of the Red River Flood of 1826.

Want to participate in Your Archives? See Submit Your Story for details. You may e-mail us at yourarchives@gov.mb.ca with a comment about this blog post and your comments may be included on this page.


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June 11, 2020

The Spanish Flu and the Death of a Cavalryman: Diaries of George Hambley — Submission by Warren Breckman, Sheldon and Lucy Hackney Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania

“Many boys are getting this sickness which we call the ‘Spanish flu’ – Have just heard that Big Bill Prime, the roysterer, is very seriously ill – Little Jackson – who used to play the piano has been reported dead in hospital with it.  – McConville of ‘C’ Squad has died last week with it.  –  And now the latest rumor is that Joe Scanlon is dead!!  I do not, cannot believe it yet. Joe went to hospital from Somain. Was not so terribly bad but Joe has a weak constitution. I will never forget his heroism in his dash up the long field on the big old broken-winded mare – his saddle cut off yet he drew out his sword – got up somehow [illegible] the old mare and away past me and old Nix dead – never a machine [gun] bullet hit him though many tried for him.””

George Hambley, 10 November 1918.

journal

Archives of Manitoba, George Henry Hambley fonds, George Henry Hambley diary (#8), P7413/8.

“The first wave of the new influenza pandemic had already struck in Spring 1918, but the second wave in the Fall was much more contagious and much more dangerous. It was known as the Spanish flu only because Spain, which was not in the Great War, did not censor news of the pandemic. The belligerent nations of the war all suppressed information of the disease’s spread, but clearly soldiers in the front lines knew its nickname and its dangers. My grandfather George Hambley first mentioned the Spanish flu in his diary just a couple of days before the war’s end on November 11. His shock and grief at the rumor about Joe Scanlon reveal a moving evolution in a relationship that began very shakily.



“Joe and George were both cavalrymen in the Canadian Light Horse, but in a war of trenches, barbed wire, and machine guns, the cavalry was put to other uses, many of which were very distant from my grandfather’s dreams of valor and glory. Joe Scanlon first appears in George’s diary in January, 1917, when both were working to tunnel under the German line. One day, George received a package of food and clothing from home, and Joe stole it.



“ ‘He is a thief,’ lamented George. Evidently trouble with Joe had been brewing, and this was the last straw. A reckoning was demanded. A fist fight ensued. Joe landed in hospital. George judged himself the victor, but he was bloodied up, and a front tooth was broken. It took several trips to the regimental dentist to cap the shattered tooth. Things with Joe didn’t seem to improve.



“In February of 1918, George wrote that, ‘Joe Scanlon has been called back to the regiment and we are mighty glad to get rid of him – his dirtiness was a crime as he had lice scabies + crabs were now breaking out on him – he is filthiness in person.’ Scanlon crops up in George’s diaries in the ensuing months – the two are judged to have the best saddles in the troop in May 1918, they are sent here and there on various errands, Scanlon is on and off sick leave, and so forth. Joe makes one final, remarkable appearance in the diaries.”



“After the failure of the Germans’ great offensive in March, 1918, the Western Front had become much more mobile. And with movement came greater use of the cavalry for scouting and skirmishing with the enemy. On October 10, 1918, George’s troop found itself on the outskirts of Cambrai, near the town of Iwuy, where Allied troops were in pitched battle with the Germans. An order came to capture three machine guns placed on a low ridge from which the Germans were holding back the Allied advance. Around noon time, the troop crossed a small river and labored up a steep bank. Several men and horses immediately became tangled in downed telephone wires, but the rest launched into the withering sweep of German fire.



“ ‘Bullets began to plow up the dust and sizzle through the air,’ wrote George. ‘Every horse was doing his best – Every rider urging them on toward the farm our objective.’ George and his beloved horse Nix had covered about 100 meters at full gallop when a bullet struck Nix in the temple. He went down like a stone.



“ ‘I came down on my head – Nix turned over right on top of me – quivered all over and never moved again.’ George disentangled himself and sheltered behind the carcass. From there he could see the attack unfold, the horse-borne machine guns deployed to the flanks, the German gunners tearing up clods of earth, the men and horses falling as they strained up the gentle slope. Joe Scanlon had been snagged in the telephone wires, but now, here he was. He had cut away the saddle and mounted his horse bareback. With nothing but a sword, he charged past George toward the German guns. He reached the objective, or at least so George believed. It took hours for George to make it back to safety and record the carnage among the men and horses of the troop.

journal

Archives of Manitoba, George Henry Hambley fonds, George Henry Hambley diary (#10), P7413/10.

“ ‘Joe Scanlon is dead!!!! Malheureux! Malheureux! Malheureux!’ This from George’s diary a day or so after the Armistice. The rumor was true. What a change in tone from the earliest mentions of Scanlon. It took more than one reckless act of bravery to turn my grandfather’s opinion; it was rather the slow, almost imperceptible growth of my grandfather’s love for his comrades, even the lice-ridden Joe, subtly documented over many months of daily writing. What an ironic death for Joe Scanlon, a man who one month earlier survived a daredevil charge into a wall of bullets.



“Tragic irony is inseparable from the Spanish flu pandemic that ravaged the world in 1918 and 1919. It indiscriminately killed soldiers who had faced battle and civilians who had survived the deprivations of the home front. It largely spared the very young and the very old, but struck viciously at those in the prime of life. And perhaps the greatest irony of all: one of the largest die-offs in the history of the human species was overshadowed by the seemingly greater calamity of the Great War and more or less forgotten until the pandemics of the 1990s and 2000s revived interest. Estimates of the global death toll run from 20,000,000 to 100,000,000. Roughly 50,000 Canadians died, almost as many as died on the battlefields of the Western Front.



“Spanish flu caught up to my grandfather in early 1919. By then, he was part of the Allied force occupying the Rhineland, stationed in Bad Godesberg, a town on the outskirts of Bonn. Luckily for him, he was billeted with the Lethgau family. Over the course of several weeks he had developed a tender, if chaste intimacy with the nineteen-year old Gerda Lethgau. During a two-week delirium, Gerda and her mother nursed George. He credits them with saving his life.”



Want to know more? Search Keystone for other records related to George Hambley, First World War, and Spanish Flu.  George Hambley was featured in our previous blog, At Home and Away: Remembering the First World War through records at the Archvies of Manitoba. You can read more here: 23 March 2017, 11 April 2017, and 6 Nov 2017.


Want to participate in Your Archives? See Submit Your Story for details. You may e-mail us at yourarchives@gov.mb.ca with a comment about this blog post and your comments may be included on this page.


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