Fonds PR1966 - George Edwin Cornell fonds

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George Edwin Cornell fonds

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    • 1905-1932 (Creation)

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    Physical description

    0.08 m of textual records -- 18 negatives.

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    Name of creator


    Biographical history

    George Edwin Cornell was born April 27, 1878 in Stanbridge East, Québec to Mathew and Julia Cornell. In 1900 he traveled west for the harvest (on a "harvest excursion"). He was forced to return home after contracting tuberculosis, but soon traveled west again.

    George spent a year on a ranch in Great Falls, Montana during 1904 and 1905. There he met Scott Pitzer, who would become his travel companion. On their first journey together they attempted to trek from Great Falls to Swan Hills, Alberta, but after losing the trail somewhere around Lac St. Anne, they became lost for about a month and nearly starved, forcing them to eat their horses. After being rescued by a Métis man named Albert Cunningham, they travelled to Edmonton where they recovered from their ordeal.

    George spent most of the next five years based in Edmonton working various jobs and making trips around the province, until 1910. George Cornell returned to Stanbridge and married Sara (Dollie) Moore (1891-1980) on January 1, 1918. They moved to Alberta, settling on a homestead in Kinuso. They had five children together: Elisabeth (Dent), Ruth (Hamson), Loren (1923-2015), Matthew (1927-1958), and Douglas.

    George Cornell died in High Prairie in December of 1974 at the age of 96.

    Custodial history

    Scope and content

    The fonds consists of diaries written by George Edwin Cornell on his travels in the unsurveyed lands of Western Canada and the United States; correspondence of George Cornell; and images of gold mining on the North Saskatchewan River and the homestead at Kinuso.

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    Immediate source of acquisition

    Ruth Cornell Hamson, the daughter of George Cornell, allowed the Provincial Archives of Alberta to copy the records in 1977. She donated more records to the Provincial Archives in 2000.


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        The material is in English

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        Access Conditions: None

        Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

        Use Conditions: Permission for use required. Subject to the Copyright Act.

        Finding aids

        File list is not available.

        Associated materials

        See also the Ruth and Leo Hamson fonds which includes Staying Alive: Tracing the Adventures of George Cornell and W. Scott Pitzer by Ruth Hamson.

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        Further accruals are not expected.

        General note

        Information for the biographical sketch is taken from the Record-Gazette of Peace River obituaries, the 1901 Census of Canada and from the records. Transcripts of the diaries can be found in the Ruth and Leo Hamson fonds in PR1977.0220 and PR1995.0065. The images can be located in the A. file of the Provincial Archives of Alberta reference prints under the numbers A.20,644 through A.20,647. Included in accessions PR1977.0220 and PR2000.0739 are records belonging to the Ruth and Leo Hamson fonds (PR0082).

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        Includes accessions PR1977.0220 and PR2000.0739.

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