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Pioneer Women Profiled on Web
The Calgary Herald, July 5th, 2003
By David Bly
(Copyright Calgary Herald 2003)
CALGARY – Click on any name in the Women of Aspenland Web site, and you'll find a story.
The site (www.albertasource.ca/aspenland/) was launched recently at the Red Deer Public Library by the Heritage Community Foundation and the Central Alberta Regional Museums Network in collaboration with the Virtual Museum of Canada.
Women of Aspenland: Images from Central Alberta presents the profiles of dozens of women from central Alberta. They include some well known names, such as Irene Parlby, one of the Famous Five, and Marjorie Bowker, a lawyer who has written best-selling books on national issues.
They also include many who lived quiet, but meaningful lives, who changed the world around them through their efforts.
The site offers intriguing glimpses of daily life in another time.
"She would bake her Christmas cake by propping her cake pan up on one side to keep it level in the oven -- the floor in the old house was sinking in one corner," writes June Campbell of her grandmother, Emily Mary Allison, who came from Yorkshire to the Great Bend district with her husband Edwin in 1906.
Margaret Morrison Lucas (1860 - 1922) came to Canada from Ireland in 1875 with her family, then to the West in 1884 with her husband Francis. She took on the challenges of homestead life without hesitation.
"Margaret was quick with a shotgun or revolver inhibiting any predator wishing to take one of her fowl," says the Web site. "She was known for her wonderful hospitality from those who frequented the farm. This included stagecoach passengers, Northwest Mounted Police, settlers, missionaries and any others requiring accommodation."
The Web site illustrates the vital role women played in Alberta's political and social evolution.
Adriana Davies, executive director of the Heritage Community Foundation, said the site is a success. Genealogists and family historians are enthused, and other communities are asking when they can become involved, she said. "From our perspective, it's significant because we're showcasing local research."