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Alfred Ernest Cross, 1861-1932, was born in Montreal and came to Alberta in 1884. The following year he started the A7 Ranche west of Nanton, Alberta. He founded the Calgary Brewing and Malting Company in 1892, and was president until his death. He served on the North-West Assembly from 1899 to1902. He was a founding member of the Western Stock Growers' Association, Calgary Board of Trade and the Ranchmen's Club (for which he served as president, 1906-1908 and 1911-1912), and was one of the "Big Four" who founded the Calgary Stampede.
Cross was also instrumental in establishing Alberta's petroleum industry. He started Calgary Petroleum Products in 1912, and was a director of Canadian Western Natural Gas. In 1964 A. E. Cross School in Calgary was named in his honour and in 2007 he was inducted into the Calgary Business Hall of Fame. In 1971 the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada designated Cross as a National Historic Person. In 1899 he married Helen Rothney Macleod, 1878-1959, daughter of renowned North-West Mounted Police (NWMP) Commissioner James F. Macleod. The Crosses had seven children, five of whom survived: James Braehead Cross, 1903-1990, Mary (Dover), 1905-1994, Margaret "Marmo" (Shakespeare), 1912-1979, Alexander R. "Sandy" Cross, 1914-2003, and John M. Cross, 1916-1991. Two died in infancy: Helen Macleod, 1900-1904, and Selkirk Macleod, 1901-1904.
Helen was very active in the Calgary Diocese Women's Auxiliary (Anglican church) and the Calgary General Hospital Ladies Aid. J.B. Cross succeeded his father as president of the Calgary Brewing and Malting Company in 1932, and also managed the A7 Ranche from 1932 to 1945. Sandy Cross was a well-known breeder of Galloway and Shorthorn cattle on Rothney Farm, south of Calgary.
For further biographical information about the family, see Braehead : Three Founding Families in Nineteenth Century Canada / Sherrill MacLaren. -- Toronto : McClelland and Stewart, 1986; Henry Klassen's article, "Entrepreneurship in the Canadian West : The Enterprises of A.E. Cross, 1886-1920" in Western Historical Quarterly, vol. 22, no. 3, (August 1991), p. 313-333; and Gayle Thrift's article, "This is our War, Too: Mary Dover, Commandant of the Canadian Women's Army Corps", in Alberta History, vol. 59, no. 3, (summer 2011), p. 2-12.