Archive for May, 2018|Monthly archive page

150 years since Irene Parlby was born…

In Alix, Alberta on May 30, 2018 at 9:40 AM

The famous historical figure, Irene Parlby, was born 150 years ago and the museum has decided to celebrate it. If you don’t know who she was or maybe aren’t clear on why Irene was so important then you should read more below!

The Famous Five was a group of women from Alberta who wanted to change the way women were viewed in politics. Emily Murphy was the leader of the Famous Five, however each woman achieved several great accomplishments on their own before becoming apart of the Famous Five.

Emily Murphy was born in Cookstown, Ontario, March 14, 1868. After starting a family, Emily became a best-selling author and journalist, using the name Janey Canuck. Emily Murphy’s family settled in Edmonton in 1907 where she began her social activism.


  • She was the first woman appointed to the Edmonton Hospital Board (1910)
  • She worked to have the Dower Act passed in Alberta (1910) (which established a wife’s right to one-third of her husband’s estate)
  • Emily became the first woman in the Commonwealth appointed a police magistrate (1916)
  • A member of the Canadian Women’s Press Club (she was president from 1913-1920)
  • A member of the National Council of women, the Federated Women’s Institutes and 20 other organizations


Henrietta Muir Edwards was born in Montreal, December 18, 1849. She was involved in feminist activities prior to coming to Alberta. Henrietta and her family moved to Fort Macleod, Alberta in 1903 where she continued her human rights activism.


  • She founded the Working Girls’ Association
  • Published Canada’s first magazine for women (Women’s Work in Canada)
  • She lobbied for the first Dower Act (1910)
  • She was the Convenor of Laws for the National Council of Women for 35 years
  • Prepared two handbooks, Legal Status of Women in Canada (1917), and Legal Status of Women in Alberta (1921)
  • Helped establish the National Council of Women (1893), the Victorian Order of Nurses (1897) and the prototype of the Canadian YWCA


Louise McKinney was born in Frankville, Ontario, September 22, 1868 where she was a teacher. Louise moved to North Dakota to organize for the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. There she met her husband and had one son, later, the McKinney’s moved to Claresholm, Alberta in 1903.


  • She ran as an independent candidate in the first election in which Canadian (or British) women could run for office or vote (1917) this was a provincial election in Alberta
  • Being sworn in first, McKinney became the first female MLA in the British Empire
  • Member of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union
  • One of four women to sign the Basis of Union in 1925, which created the United Church of Canada
  • Supported the Alberta Dower Act
  • While in the Alberta legislature, she urged the adoption of social welfare measures for immigrants and widows


Irene Parlby was born in London, England on January 9, 1868. One of Irene’s famous quotes was “Evolution cannot be brought about by the use of dynamite”. Irene was visiting friends at Lacombe, Alberta when she met and married a local farmer in 1898. The Parlby’s were early settlers in the Buffalo Lake District, which today is Alix, Alberta. That’s why we have an exhibit dedicated to her and are very proud to have one of the Famous Five from this area.


  • Early supporter of the United Farmers of Alberta (political party)
  • Helped form the first women’s local (which is a group of women discussing political issues) in 1913
  • Parlby was elected president of the Women’s Auxiliary in 1916 and transformed it into the United Farm Women of Alberta
  • She was elected to the Alberta Legislature in 1921
  • She was appointed Minister Without Portfolio, the first woman Cabinet Minister in Alberta History in 1921
  • Parlby represented Canada at the League of Nations in Geneva (1930)
  • She was the first woman awarded an honourary doctorate from the University of Alberta in 1935
  • She successfully sponsored the Minimum Wage for Women Act (1925)


Nellie McClung was born in Chatsworth, Ontario on October 20, 1873. She met her husband in Manitoba and married him in 1896. Through her mother-in-law McClung became involved with the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and continued her social activism in Alberta.


  • Earned a teaching certificate at 16 years old
  • She held a Mock Parliament in 1914 that led to Manitoba women becoming first to win the women’s rights to vote in January 28, 1916, followed by Saskatchewan (March 14) and Alberta (April 19). A mock parliament is a simulation of the events of a real legislature with activities such as voting.
  • She was the Liberal Member of the Alberta Legislature for Edmonton from 1921 to 1926.
  • First woman member of the CBC Board of Governors (1936)
  • Canadian delegate to the League of Nations (1938)
  • Proponent of the Canadian Authors Association, McClung wrote 15 books in her life.




The Persons Case

Today, the equal rights of Canadian women are protected in the 1982 Constitutional Act. It can be hard to comprehend that those rights were acknowledged formerly only 89 years ago. In Section 24 of the British North America Act, the interpretation of the world “persons” used to only pertain towards men and not women. The Famous Five challenged this interpretation.

There were several women’s groups across Canada who petitioned the government to appoint Emily Murphy to the Senate. The government responded that a woman was not eligible according to s. 24. So, Emily Murphy decided to exercise a little know right which permitted any five Canadians to ask the Supreme Court of Canada for a legal reinterpretation. She formed what is now called the Famous Five. In August 1927, these five women gathered on Emily Murphy’s veranda in Edmonton to sign and dispatch the historic petition.

In April 1928, nine months after the petition was sent away, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled against the Famous Five. Although this ruling was quite disheartening for the women, the Famous Five were more determined than ever to press on for the recognition of Canadian women as persons qualified for the Senate.

The five met again and resolved to take their case to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London, England, which was, at that time, the final court of appeal for Canadians. On October 18, 1929, the Privy Council declared Canadian women to be eligible to be summoned to and become members of the Senate of Canada. Women were finally considered persons to the government legislation.

At the time of the Persons Case, Canada was still apart of the British Commonwealth and the set of laws ruling Canada was called the British North America Act. This constitution was made in 1867 and needed to updated to reflect modern rights of women. With the perseverance of the Famous 5 women, Canada became more equal in terms of males and females.

The above research and presentation was done by our summer student Chelsey Roberts, if you’d like to learn more about Irene and the Famous Five then feel free to stop by the museum!

Alix Remember When?

In Alix, Alberta on May 29, 2018 at 12:46 PM

Alix remember when j

Alix Free Press 1929

In Alix, Alberta on May 27, 2018 at 10:08 AM

from the museum’s scrapbook

Alix free press 1929

Alix free press 19292

from Pioneers and Progress

In Alix, Alberta on May 26, 2018 at 12:26 PM

This photo from Pioneers and Progress (Alix-Clive Historical Club, 1974) shows the Todd homestead.

Alix History from “Our Little Town”

In Alix, Alberta, Business, Organizations, School on May 25, 2018 at 5:19 PM

This page is copied from “Our Little Town” a spirit master copy of a school assignment for grades 10 and 11.  You can see the whole booklet at the Alix Wagon Wheel Museum.

Early history6

1962 Alix School Grades 8.9

In Alix, Alberta, School on May 22, 2018 at 7:02 AM

Alix gr 8,9,62

Mirror Parade 2018 Alix Wagon Wheel Museum Entry

In Alix, Alberta on May 19, 2018 at 4:08 PM

Irene Parlby was born in 1868, so in this 150th anniversary year, The Alix Wagon Wheel Museum made this the theme of this year’s entry in the Mirror Parade.DSC00730DSC00732

Alix High School Students’ Union Yearbook 1950: Business Ads (1)

In Alix, Alberta, Business, School on May 18, 2018 at 11:33 AM

Happy National Museum Day!

In Alix, Alberta on May 18, 2018 at 10:52 AM

Did you know that there’s a museum in St. Petersburg, Russia that actually employs cats to take care of rodents? It’s called the Hermitage Museum. Have a good long weekend!

One more sleep!

In Alix, Alberta on May 17, 2018 at 11:28 AM

Until National Museum Day that is! Here is a fun museum fact for you: The British Museum recreated the recipe of a nearly 2,000 year old loaf of bread that was found during excavations. While, Alix Museum isn’t quite that science savvy, we do have an old fashioned kitchen exhibit that you should come see!