This is a very significant year in Alberta and throughout the Canada Region, as it represents the 100-year anniversary of the Turner Valley gas field.
The Turner Valley Field currently is undergoing a true renaissance thanks to the effort of young and old geoscientists implicated in the unconventional resources sector of the North American oil industry.
As such, it seems appropriate for me to reach out to all of our readers and invite them to share any personal family history that may in some way be connected to the creation of the Canadian (and North American, for that matter) oil and gas sector.
Just as oil and gas pioneers ventured west across Canada, a considerable number also came north from the United States. And as president of the AAPG Canada Region, I hope to bring more awareness and recognition to that reality.
For instance, earlier this week a journalist from southern Alberta shared some of her family’s early history with me – she indicated that:
“… In 1900, at the age of 18, her grandfather-in-law, Jim Morrison, left Nebraska and travelled by train to Ponoka, Alberta. There, he took a job working at a local sawmill. Shortly thereafter his own father followed suite, selling his contracting business in Nebraska and moving first to Ponoka and later to Okotoks, where he bought the Alberta Hotel …”
The family was now firmly established in Alberta.
“… In Okotoks, Jim Morrison obtained employment as a clerk at the Paterson Trading Company store, and it was during the time that he worked there that he became fluent in the Sarcee language. Many years later, he took great joy in talking to First Nations people in their native tongue, as there were very few white people who knew the language …”
One hundred and one years ago in 1913:
“… Jim Morrison went to work for the Canadian Western Natural Gas, Heat, Light and Power Company Ltd., hired by the founder Eugene Coste. Until 1918 he was their agent in Okotoks. Later moving to Viking, Alberta, he became the drilling superintendent and drilled a number of gas wells to develop the Viking-Kinsella Field. Natural gas from this field was piped into Edmonton in 1924.
“In 1921 he was transferred to Calgary where he was in charge of building a gas pipeline from Turner Valley to Calgary. From 1922 to 1923 he was in charge of drilling a number of gas wells at Barnwell, and in 1924 went to Foremost, Alberta, where he was in charge of building the 10-inch pipeline to link the Foremost and Burdett gas fields
“In 1925 he went to Burdett where he was in charge of the gas company’s operations in that part of the province. In 1936, he was transferred to Lethbridge as district superintendent, where he remained until he retired in 1946 …”
By sharing the above passage with you I hope to kindle your interest in recognizing the true pioneer spirit of previous generations of individuals implicated in the creation of our oil and gas industry, both north and south of the 49th parallel.
I would like to express my utmost appreciation to Christy Morrison for providing me with the historical background, which I quoted in this letter to the best of my abilities.
We are at a point where a new tranche of young professionals and students alike will seek guidance from some of us. Let’s do the best that we can to share history’s leanings with them.