Fonds F3207 - Usher Ranch fonds

Original Digital object not accessible

Identity area

Reference code



Usher Ranch fonds


  • 1904-2011 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

3.96 m of textual records
2,979 photographs.
8 sound recordings
4 film reels

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Tom Usher, 1882-1972, and his brother Charlie were born in Scotland and came to Alberta in 1902 and 1903 respectively to work for William Roper Hull on his ranches. They purchased land near Scollard and Big Valley, Alberta where they established their own ranches. Their sister, Eliza Jane Usher, kept house for them. Tom was a long-time member and director of the Western Stock Growers' Association. Thomas married Dorothy, 1884-1974. In 1990 the Rumsey Ecological Reserve was established on Usher's leased lands and the remaining portion was declared a natural area. The lease was sold in 1999 and the remaining deeded land in 2008.

For further information see Thomas Usher, Cattleman of Alberta, 1882-1972 / Barbara Villy Cormack. -- n.p : 197?.

Name of creator

(October 22, 1923 – September 9, 2018)

Biographical history

Charles Leslie 'Les' Usher was the son of Thomas and Margaret Dorothy Usher. Born in Scollard Alberta, he grew up on the Usher family ranch in the Big Valley, AB area. He graduated from University School in Victoria B.C. in 1942, then completed the No. 1 Canadian Army Training Course. He served as 2nd Lt. in the field artillery during World War II. After the war, he returned to Alberta and completed an Agriculture degree from the University of Alberta in Edmonton.

In the 1970’s, Les served as Deputy Minister of Culture under Horst Schmid, and Peter Lougheed. He last worked as Manager of Program Implementation with Agriculture Canada before retiring in 1993. Highlights career of public service include: Deputy Minister of Department of Youth in Alberta; President of 4-H Clubs in Alberta and Canadian Council of 4-H Clubs; Member of Board of Governors & Senate at UofA; National President of IPAC in 1976; President of Alberta Forestry Association & Jr. Forest Wardens; President of Alberta Institute of Agrologists – Edmonton; and People’s Warden at All Saints’ Anglican Cathedral.

He continued to ranch on the family ranch on weekends and created the Rumsey Ecological reserve on former Usher Ranch lease land.

He married Lillian May Popoff in 1955 and had two children, Laurel and Thomas. Les died on September 9, 2018.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Gift of Les Usher, 2014-2015 and Thomas Usher, 2022

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The fonds consists of papers related to ranch operations including a letterbook (1905-1920), legal papers (1932-2011), and financial records (1904-2010); family papers including newspaper clippings about family members, Eliza Jane Usher's diary of ranch activities (1904-1905), estate records, and interviews with Tom and Harry; and extensive photographs of the Usher Ranch, Scollard, Alberta, and the family. The fonds also consists of Western Stock Growers' Association convention reports, minutes, briefs, correspondence and clippings.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Fonds has been intellectually arranged across all accessions

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

      Digital content is available

      Related units of description

      Related descriptions

      Notes area


      Title based on contents of records.

      Alternative identifier(s)

      Access points

      Subject access points

      Place access points

      Name access points

      Genre access points

      Description control area

      Description identifier

      Institution identifier

      Rules and/or conventions used


      Level of detail

      Dates of creation revision deletion

      Thursday, April 05, 2018




          Digital object (Master) rights area

          Digital object (Reference) rights area

          Digital object (Thumbnail) rights area

          Accession area