Fonds F0176 - Alexander Begg fonds

Identity area

Reference code



Alexander Begg fonds


  • 1843-1914 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

50 cm of textual records. -- 36 photographs

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Alexander Begg, 1825-1905, was born in Scotland, where he received a teaching diploma. In 1846, he emigrated to Ontario where he resumed teaching. In 1854, he turned to journalism and established a number of newspapers. He married Emily Maria Luke, ?-1932, in 1858 and they had eleven children. One of their sons, Magnus, became agent at the Blackfoot (Siksika) Indian Agency in Alberta. For a number of years Alexander was employed by the Department of Internal Revenue and was Collector of Customs for the North-West Territories in 1869. In 1872 he was appointed Emigration Commissioner in Scotland for the Province of Ontario and persuaded thousands of crofters to settle in Canada. He later attempted to promote a similar scheme as Commissioner for the British Columbia government but this was abandoned as impractical. In the 1870s he established a temperance colony at Parry Sound and Beggsboro. In 1881, he visited the West as a Toronto Mail correspondent. He then acquired the Dunbow Ranche near Davisburg and High River, Alberta in 1883. In 1887 he moved to Victoria where he and three of his sons later formed the Stickeen and Teslin Railway, Navigation and Colonization Co. The following year he was employed by the Dominion Government to assist in defining the Canada-Alaska border. He retired to New York City in 1903. For further information see Jill Wade's entry, "Alexander Begg", in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. XIII. - Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 1994, p. 56-58.

Name of creator


Biographical history

Robert Anstruther Begg, 1864-1942, was born in Quebec City and attended the Agricultural College in Guelph, Ontario. He accompanied his family to Alberta when they purchased the Dunbow Ranche. While living at the ranch he was secretary at the Davisburg Ranchers Society. He later was a cattle buyer in Alberta and British Columbia for the Vancouver-Prince Rupert Meat Company. In 1902 he married Lavinia Frances Golding, ?-1917, and they had three children, Lavinia (Hunter), Nora Marina Golding (Fortune), 1903-?, and G. Alexander. He later remarried.


Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Gifts of Mrs. A.M. Fortune, 1964, and G. Alexander Begg, 1980.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

  • The fonds consists of correspondence (1854-1905) relating to his newspaper businesses, the Temperance Colonization Society, the crofters' immigration scheme, the Alaskan boundary, and the Dunbow Ranche; legal records; diaries (1842-1904); correspondence, minutes and incorporation documents for the railway company; and certificates, appointments and commissions. Includes Emily's correspondence (1853-1914) and photographs of the Begg family.
  • RECORDS RELATED TO THE FOLLOWING SUBJECTS ARE ALSO IN THIS FONDS. SEE INVENTORY FOR DETAILS: Robert Begg, Bow River Ranch, Canadian Yukon Railway Co., D.W. Davis, William Duncan, Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, Richard C. Hardisty, J.J. Hill, Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) lands, Louis Riel, St. Joseph's Industrial School (Dunbow School), Sir Thomas Shaughnessy, and James Wallace.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


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Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

No restrictions on access.

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

The material is in English.

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

  • A small amount of Alexander Begg's records are held at the City of Vancouver Archives and the British Columbia Archives and Records Service. Magnus Beggs' correspondence as Indian agent is in the Blackfoot Indian Agency records at Glenbow.
  • The records of son Robert A. Begg are also held by Glenbow.

Related descriptions

Notes area


Title based on contents of records.


NA-867-4 is a photographic reproduction from M-74.


NA-867-5 is a copy of PA-702.


NA-3867 is a copy of PA-2040.

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Friday, January 23, 2015




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