Fonds F1273 - McHugh family fonds

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McHugh family fonds


  • 1879-1991 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

25 cm of textual records.
132 photographs

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

John Joseph (J.J.) McHugh, 1855-1928, came west from Ontario in 1878 as a farm instructor for the Indian Department. In 1883 he and his brother, Thomas P. McHugh, established the JJ Ranch on the south side of the Bow River just outside the Blackfoot (Siksika) reserve in southern Alberta. In 1885 they were joined by another brother, Felix Alexander McHugh, 1851-1912. The McHughs brought the first purebred Clydesdale horses and shorthorn cattle to Alberta in 1884. In 1893 Tom withdrew from the partnership and established a ranch at Queenstown, and the JJ was renamed the H2 Ranch.

John O'Dougherty (H2 Jack) McHugh, 1895-1967, was the son of F.A. McHugh. He worked on the H2 Ranch for many years and also in the contracting business. Frank Bowes McHugh, 1885-1957, was the son of J.J. McHugh. He worked on the H2 Ranch until 1905, then operated a teamster and construction business in Calgary until taking up his own ranch in 1915 near Dunbow.

For further information see Dallas Banister Wright's article "Where the Highwood Meets the Bow" in Canadian Cattlemen, vol.18, no.1 (January 1955), p. 8, 27.


Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Gifts of John O. McHugh, Mrs. Frank McHugh, Mrs. F.M. Piercy and Mrs. Pat Phillips, 1960-1979.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The fonds consists of business and personal correspondence of various family members (1879-1952); contracts and legal agreements; reminiscences and will of H2 Jack; transcript of horse stealing trial (1903); and photographs of the McHugh family, the H2 Ranch, and ranching activities. Includes a diary (1880-1881) kept by Lily Bowes (later Mrs. J.J. McHugh) while attending school in a Quebec convent.

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No restrictions on access.

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Script of material

Language and script notes

The material is in English.

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No finding aid

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Existence and location of copies

Digital content is available for the diary

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Notes area


Title based on contents of records.


All the M's should be amalgamated.


Portions of H2 Jack's memoirs were published in Canadian Cattlemen, vol. 28, no.10 (October 1965), p. 40-43; no. 11 (November 1965), p. 22-25; no.12 (December 1965), p. 9, 12, 17-19; vol. 29, no. 2 (February 1966), p. 34-36; and no. 4 (April 1966), p. 18-19-39-40.

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Wednesday, November 01, 2017




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