Fonds PR1507 - W. J. Blair fonds

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W. J. Blair fonds

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    • Source of title proper: Title based on the content of the records.

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    • 1911-1923 (Creation)

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    Physical description

    2.05 m of textual records. – 4 maps. – 1 photograph

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    Name of creator


    Biographical history

    William John Blair was born October 13, 1875 in Embro, Oxford County, Ontario. He was the son of John and Ellen (Smyth) Blair; they had settled in the West Zora Township of Ontario in 1857. William was educated at the Woodstock Institute and the School of Practical Science in Toronto, Ontario where he earned a Bachelor of Applied Science. He worked as a school teacher for a number of years, then spent seven years as a civil and mining engineer in Cobalt, Ontario.

    On January 1,1906 he married Lottie Mae Nethercott (1876-1956); they had two children, William D'Arcy (1906-1992) and Eleanor Smyth (Mackenzie) (1908-1981). William was the mayor of New Liskeard, Ontario in 1907 and 1908.

    In 1909, he took up farming south of Provost, Alberta on land he had acquired the year before. William owned about seven sections of land, and the family lived in a home on Section 8, Township 38, Range 2, West of the 4th Meridian (8-38-2-W4), and later in a larger home on Section 9, Township 38, Range 2, West of the 4th Meridian (9-38-2-W4).

    In provincial politics, William was defeated in a 1912 by-election and the 1913 general election. During the First World War he was president of the Northern Alberta Conservative Association. In 1917 he was elected as a Member of Parliament for the Unionist Government in the federal constituency of Battle River. He did not run again in 1921. In December 1923, he was elected leader of the provincial conservative party; he resigned his seat as opposition leader in December 1924 for medical reasons.

    In 1925 William sold his lands to a colony of Mennonites who had come to Canada through the Canadian Colonization Company; William and his family returned to Ontario. In the 1930s, William reacquired these lands, and returned to Provost to look after them. William died on April 24, 1943 near Ingersoll, Ontario.

    Custodial history

    Scope and content

    The fonds predominantly consists of the correspondence of W.J. Blair, including his personal correspondence, correspondence possibly resulting from his involvement in the Northern Alberta Conservative Association, and correspondence from his time as Member of Parliament; also included in the fonds are election returns, voters’ lists, invoices and receipts, and electoral maps.

    Notes area

    Physical condition

    The records were damaged by water and mildew.

    Immediate source of acquisition

    Peter P. Moran, County Archivist at the Simcoe County Archives in Ontario deposited the records in the Provincial Archives of Alberta in 1984. The records were found in a basement in Barrie, Ontario; no family connection to the house could be determined.


    Arrangement note: The arrangement of the records follows as closely as possible the original order of the files.

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        The material is in English.

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        Restrictions on access

        Access Conditions: Some records are restricted.

        Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

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

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        File list is available.

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        Further accruals are not expected.

        General note

        Information for the biographical sketch is taken from the records, from Early Furrows: a Story of our Early Pioneers in Provost, Hayter, Bodo, Alberta and Surrounding Districts, which is available in the Provincial Archives of Alberta Reference Library, 971.233 P949 PAA, from issues of the Calgary Albertan and from the Canadian Parliamentary Guide. The location of the homestead is represented according to the Alberta Township Survey (ATS) system.

        General note

        Includes accession PR1984.0407.


        Moldy records have been vacuumed.

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