top of page
  • Writer's pictureCraig Baird

Vermilion’s First Mayor And His Indigenous Artifacts

When early settlers began to arrive in the Vermilion area, they homesteaded throughout the region. As they cleared the land to grow crops, they would find thousands of artifacts from the Indigenous that had accumulated in the area over the course of thousands of years. These could range from arrowheads, bison bones, beadwork, and much more.

One person who decided to collect these items was Matthew A. Brimacombe, the first mayor of Vermilion. He died on Jan. 18, 1939, after a long illness. Originally, he came to Canada in 1876 and settled in the Vermilion area in 1904 before the railroad had even arrived. He would become the postmaster and then served as mayor in 1906 and 1907.

Over the years, he would collect Indigenous artifacts from the region, being fascinated by the history. He would find Indigenous artwork, beadwork, arrowheads, and much more, all of which he kept. The process to gather these items took him 35 years.

Upon his death, he stipulated in his will that all of the Indigenous artifacts would be given to the Vermilion high school, where they would be used to highlight Indigenous art and history.

J.W.G Morrison, the principal of the school, would state quote:

“It was Mr. Brimacombe’s interest in the life of the Indian and the wish the young men and women coming after him would be placed in a position where they could appreciate the art and work of those fast disappearing people that led him to bequeath the most cherished of all his treasures to the Vermilion high school.”

At the time, his collection was considered to be among the largest individual collections found in all of Alberta.

The collection would be housed within glass cases at the Vermilion High School from that point on.

Contact Craig at craig@canadaehx.com

Support Craig by donating at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/craigU

Listen to his podcasts Canadian History Ehx, Canada’s Great War, From John to Justin, Pucks and Cups and Canada: A Yearly Journey on all podcast platforms.

46 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

A Big Class At The Vermilion School Of Agriculture

The largest class in the history of the Vermilion School of Agriculture, to that point, graduated in the spring of 1932. It was a major victory for the school, which had been doing well as The Great D

Sweet And Sour Burger Stir-fry

Here is a dish that is designed to be a quick and easy after-work meal. You can use ground beef, turkey, or moose. The garlic is important to help the body absorb the iron in the meat. Vinegar is prov

Vermilion 100 Years Ago This Month

It is that time again, when I journey back once a month to 100 years ago to find out what was going on in Vermilion in 1924. Let’s strap in, get up to 88 miles per hour and journey back to April 1924!

Comments


bottom of page