By Carol Snyder
Since 1983 I have lived on the land once claimed as River Lot 32 in what became the City of Edmonton. I became very interested in the first people who settled on this land and have spent many years researching the families, and meeting many descendants.
The Gullion brothers had arrived from Scotland to work in the fur trade with the Hudson’s Bay Company. River Lot 32 was settled by James Ingram Gullion, and his brother George Gullion claimed River Lot 34, just to the east.
An article I wrote for The Highlands Record, Fall 2013, (Before The Highlands: Gullion Homesteads Circa 1870) was posted on the internet and Andrew Gullion, a great grandson of George Gullion, saw the article and contacted me. He was very interested in his Gullion family roots. Born and raised in Slave Lake area, Andy, the youngest of 11 children, had early contact with many of his Gullion relatives. At the time Andy contacted me, I had started to write a book “After the Fur Trade: Living on the Land”, with stories of four of the families that claimed River Lots in the area that became The Highlands. Andy travelled extensively in Alberta and B.C. searching for cousins, gathering their family tree information, and early family photos. Much of the information gleaned by Andy is included in the book, providing a very large chapter about George Gullion and his descendants.
As a direct result of my book, enough interest was created within the extended Gullion family that they decided to hold a family reunion. I was very pleased to attend the event, held in Athabasca, in August 2019. The photo shows a large group of 50 adults and about 6 children. Another 50 people had also expressed interest but had other events that prevented them from attending. Andy is enthusiastic about hosting another Gullion Family Reunion in 2021, with ample notice given so that more people will be able to attend. Many Gullion cousins were pleased to be in touch again after years with no contact. I was very pleased to meet people whose names had been recorded in my book. It is interesting to note that two of Andy’s cousins, whose families had lost contact, turned up living on the same street in St. Albert one block apart. Because of my book “After the Fur Trade”, they reconnected and are continuing a friendship that began in childhood.
Many of the Gullion descendants have visited The Highlands area, and have also taken photos at the James Ingram Gullion bench at 64th Street and Ada Blvd. We hope that a planned look out near the stairs to the 50th steet pedestrian bridge, will be named George Gullion Look Out.
Writing about and meeting the Gullions has been a wonderful experience for me. Who knew that the “side effects” of delving into this family would provide me with such good friends and acquaintances? It has been very rewarding!
– Carol Snyder https://carolsnyder.ca/