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Alberta Online Encyclopedia

Akers Family

The Akers family lived in Junkins, Alberta. James Carl Akers and Bessie Akers had four children: Adele, Esther, Annie, and Leonard. The Akers, unlike most Black settlers living in the area, immigrated from Galveston, a community located outside of Houston, Texas, to Junkins in 1915. There, James (Jim) Akers served on the Municipal District Council from 1929 to 1931 and was active in local affairs. His daughters Adele, Esther, and Annie eventually moved to Vancouver. Meanwhile, his son Leonard married Eva McColman and had two sons, Donnelly and Leonard. James’s wife Bessie died a few years after settling in Junkins. James married Gertrude Salome Jeffries in 1920. They had three children: John, James (Jim Jr.), and Louise.

Several members of the Akers family played badminton, curling, and softball on local sports teams. Gertrude Akers was active in the Junkins Ladies Aid Society while still raising her family and maintaining the farm. She died in 1974 while still living in Wildwood. Her son John, who later became a surveyor for the provincial government, helped her with the farming. He married Myrna Bone and had three children: Rod, Michelle, and Trent now live in Sherwood Park.

Jim Jr. joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1942. After the Second World War, Jim Jr. started a mink ranch in Wildwood. He farmed there until 1956, when he sold most of the homestead, keeping three acres to himself. Afterward, he worked for the Department of Highways while taking a four-year electronics course. In 1961, he opened “Jim’s T.V. Service” in Wildwood. Jim Jr.'s son, James Leonard Akers, married Lynda-Rae Reid in 1979 and they had two children: James Daniel and Jennifer Louise.

Louise Akers received a teaching certificate from the University of Alberta and taught in Wildwood for a few years. She married Alton Johnson and moved to Cassiar at the northern tip of British Columbia. In Cassiar, Louise and Alton had a son, Brett, and a daughter, Teresa. Brett moved to Toronto, and Teresa moved to Edmonton. Louise (Akers) Johnson passed away in 1984 and is buried in the Evergreen Memorial Gardens in Edmonton.

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