Hugh & Christy Ann McLean

Christy Ann and Hugh McLean, 1898.
Photo Courtesy of Dorothy Stewart.

Located in Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park are the remains of Glenbow Quarry. The Quinlan-Carter company ran this sandstone quarry during its heyday, from 1909 to 1912. Hugh McLean was their community-minded carpentry foreman.

Hugh had come west in 1890, and while homesteading near Edmonton, he had built churches and schools, as well as wooden bridges for the new Calgary and Edmonton Railway. Living near Hugh’s homestead was the McKinlay family.

In 1888, the McKinlays had trudged for a month through rain and mud to reach their homestead. Christy Ann, just thirteen years old at the time, was in charge of the family’s domestic duties. She later become an Edmonton seamstress, and in 1898, she and Hugh married.

In 1903, Hugh sold his farm and moved his family to Edmonton, where he was employed by Mr. Carter. Then, the McLeans moved to Glenbow village with their five children, all under the age of ten. Concerned about the children’s education, Hugh joined the first school board, serving until the family returned to Edmonton in September 1911.

During WWI, Hugh yearned to serve his country; although too old, he lied about his age and enlisted. He was eventually discharged when his age was discovered, but not before he had received a head injury at the Somme.

The McLeans are an example of the hard-working Canadians who helped build the schools, churches, railways, and industries of Alberta. They taught their children about perseverance and the importance of serving others. These children learned their lessons well; five of Hugh and Christy Ann’s seven children became teachers in rural schools.

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