of Alberta

Ben Peters fonds

Accession 2003.009, 2019.020 [all filed as 2003.009]

Title and Physical Description

Ben Peters fonds. –  [ca. 2002.] –  1 cm of textual records

Administrative/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 districts.  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 do 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 and by Henry and Erna Goerzen, 2019.

Related materials

David C. Peters fonds, Dawn Bowen fonds


Accession 2003.009

File List

“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 1982, copy of a 3 page manuscript

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

untitled manuscript on education in the North, 2002, copy of a 3 page manuscript with copies of 6 La Crete pioneering photographs

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

Accession 2019.020

Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta Newsletter, May 2003, in which several Northern Alberta stories were published.

Articles, letters, low resolution copies of photographs and one poem