Mennonite
Historical
Society

of Alberta

Ben Peters fonds, undated, c. 2002, 2cm

Ben Peters fonds, undated, c. 2002, 2cm.

Biographical History

Ben Peters was born and lived north of Saskatoon until 1937.  The crops during the 1930s were very poor and it was hard to make a living.  In the 192o’s many of the relatives and friends had moved to Mexico because the Saskatchewan government made school attendance in Public Schools compulsory.  That was regarded by Mennonites as a violation of promises made to them when their people migrated to Canada from Ukraine in 1870, granting them permission ot have their own schools in their own language.  The Peters were too poor to move to Mexico.  Then they found out that the Alberta government did not require the building of public schools in some of the most remote northern disctricts.  There residents could establish their own schools.  So the Peters family decided to move to northern Alberta.

Scope and Content

The fonds consists of five essays or articles written by Ben Peters describing conditions and experiences in northern Alberta. He describes travels by truck to Peace River and then by boat to La Crete.  He mentions many hardships experienced by family members, including lack of milk for the small baby, sleeping under the stars, etc.  The Peters family became real pioneers and made to with the materials at hand.  There was plenty of wood, but to clear land they used axes and spades and plowed the land by horse drawn plow.  Ben Peters also mentions how times changed over the years.  He and his family were very resourceful, as becomes clear from reading his stories.

Source of Acquisition

Donated by Ben Peters in 2003.

Related materials

David C. Peters fonds, Dwan Bowen fonds

Notes

Accession 2003.009

File Inventory

“A Trip to Peace River That I’ll Never Forget” undated copy of a 7 page manuscript

“A True Story of a Grain Farmer in Northern Alberta, 22 Mary 1882, copy of a 3 page maunscript

“Some Answers of qeustions asked about the North,”undated copy of a 3 page manuscript

untitled mansucript on education in the North, 2002, copy of a3 page manuscript with copies of 6 La Crete pioneering photographs

Two drafts of “Tractor Train to Peace River in 1950,” 2 page manuscript.