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Olive Blewett Ross, 1850-1932

Olive Blewett Ross, wife to Edmonton's first hotelier, started married life in a log cabin near the shaft of her husband's coalmine.

English-born, Olive Blewett came to Canada as a child and to Edmonton in 1878. There she met and married Donald Ross, who mined for coal below what is 101st Street in Edmonton today. Her wedding ring was made from gold washed from the gravel of the North Saskatchewan River. Donald became a hotelkeeper, and the Edmonton Hotel was reputed to be the first built west of Brandon, Manitoba. Ross' hotel became a meeting place for newcomers. During the Yukon gold rush, the hotel was so crowded people competed to sleep on the billiard tables.

Olive and Donald had three children: James, Olive (Dolly), and Donald, all born in Edmonton. Olive was a keen gardener and was well-known locally for the variety of produce that she grew. Active in community and church affairs, Olive was 82 when she died in Edmonton, her home for more than 54 years.

Excerpted from 200 Remarkable Alberta Women by Kay Sanderson with permission from the Famous Five Foundation

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