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Mapp Family

Lester MappThomas Mapp, the oldest of 10 siblings, was born in Georgia in 1884 and moved with his family to Wilikie, Oklahoma, where he worked on his father’s corn farm.

When Thomas married Misouri Brooks in 1906, he left his family to start one of his own: Thomas and Misouri left for their new home in Kansas, where they had three children: Veola, Genieva, and Ferris. In 1912, the family relocated temporarily to Edmonton, where Thomas worked on construction for the Macdonald Hotel. Although they did not stay long in Edmonton, Thomas and Misouri had yet another child there, a daughter they named Eva, before moving out to a homestead in Amber Valley later that same year.

While living in Amber Valley, Thomas Mapp formed a partnership in the freighting business with Amber Valley resident, Willis Bowen. Mapp and Bowen travelled east to Athabasca to move goods from there to Lac La Biche, Fort McMurray, and Fort Chipewyan. Thomas, with his horse team Topsy and Shorty, won several pulling contests at the Amber Valley picnics. He was also active in the community as a school board trustee and member of the local Pioneer Club.

The Mapps cleared and farmed their homestead, using machinery that Thomas shared with Willis Bowen. The Mapp family eventually had four more children: Raphael, O.C., Lester, and Carl. Unfortunately, tragedy struck in 1919, when the whole family got sick with influenza. O.C. never recovered and died the same year; the following year, Misouri also succumbed to influenza.

Thereafter, the oldest sisters took care of the homestead and the younger children. Eventually, Veola married Boadie Bowen and moved away. Genieva also moved away after marrying David Medlock. Their brother Ferris left to work in Edmonton; their 15-year-old sister Eva was left to take care of the youngest children, Lester and Carl. Eva married Obadiah Bowen in 1936 and moved to his homestead. Raphael and Carl moved to Edmonton, leaving Lester to take responsibility of the house, a job that caused him to quit school. He continued his domestic work until his father Thomas took Rebecca June as his second wife.

Lester Mapp loved to hunt and play sports. At the age of 16, he joined the famous Amber Valley Baseball Team, where he played from 1935 until 1942, when he quit to enlist in the army. His brother Carl also enlisted, and the baseball team disbanded. In 1944, Lester returned to Amber Valley and married Margaret Saunders. Lester’s father Thomas gave them a team of horses as a wedding gift; this surely served them well in their life of farming on Thomas’s homestead.

Lester and Margaret had four children: Thomas Leslie, Wesley Orville, Ronald Dennis, and Paulette Maxine Hope. By the 1950s, the Mapps had a tractor and were doing modern farming. In 1964, at the age of 80, Thomas broke his hip and was forced to retire to Edmonton. Lester continued to farm. In 1973, Margaret and Lester bought David Saunders’s homestead in Amber Valley. Thomas died the following year.

Lester Mapp’s children all moved out of Amber Valley. His son Thomas took a trade in asbestos and moved to Fort McMurray. Paulette became a secretary at the University of Alberta before moving to Vancouver to supervise exports and imports. Orville married Arlene Kulsa and had one child. Ronald married Geraldine Spierling and had one child. Ronald became a drilling engineer and a professional baseball player, playing for the Iowa Ghosts team in the United States' Negro Baseball League.

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