Black and white portrait of F.R. Haythorne. Credit: Strathcona County Museum

Francis (Frank) Richard Haythorne (also known as F.R. Haythorne), third eldest of nine children, was born to Thomas Skirrow Haythornthwaite and Isabella Maudsley on August 6, 1880, in Lancashire, England. He married Elizabeth (Lizzie) Jane Reed in April of 1906. One month later, they boarded the ship Kensington and arrived in Montreal and headed west to Edmonton. It was here that their two sons, Thomas and George, were born.

Frank soon found work with the Post Office where he was employed as a Jr. 3rd Class Clerk. He opened and operated the West Salisbury post office and store until he began farming in the Salisbury district in 1912.

Frank and Lizzie became active members of the Salisbury community, hosting community picnics on their farm and participating in local sports days. They were involved in the local church community, with Frank serving for a time as superintendent of the West Salisbury United Church, and occasionally taking charge of Sunday services at West Salisbury, Bremner and Clover Bar.

In early 1928, tragedy struck the Haythorne family with the sudden death of Lizzie after she suffered a fall. Lizzie was laid to rest in Mount Pleasant Municipal Cemetery. Frank would remarry, wedding Winnifred McKitrick on New Year’s Eve 1929. Frank and Winnie had three sons: Donald, Richard and Owen.

Frank’s involvement in the agricultural life of the Salisbury district became a lifelong commitment. He regularly showed sheep at local events, winning many prizes over the years. In 1918, he became a director of the Alberta Provincial Sheep Breeders’ Association, beginning his long involvement with the organization. He would go on to serve two terms as president. From 1942 to 1943, Frank would serve at the national level, holding the position of president of the Canadian Sheep Breeders’ Association.

Other areas of agriculture also benefitted from Frank’s involvement. In the late 1920s, Frank became the secretary of the Alberta Wheat Pool for the Edmonton district and he served as a delegate to the annual United Farmers of Alberta convention. During the 1930s, he became president of the Alberta Dairymen’s Association, was elected as director of the Alberta Holstein-Fresian Association, and was elected director of the Edmonton District Milk and Cream Producers Association.

Frank’s entry into public service began around 1917, when he served as the secretary-treasurer of the Salisbury school district. By the mid-1920s, Frank was elected vice-president of the Clover Bar School Fair Association. It was also around this time that Frank became involved in local politics, serving as a councillor of the Municipal District (MD) of Strathcona No. 518. In 1930, Frank was appointed reeve of the MD of Strathcona No. 518, a position he would hold until 1938, and then again from 1941 to 1943. When the MD of Clover Bar No. 517 and the MD of Strathcona No. 518 merged into one single municipal district, Frank continued to serve as reeve of the larger MD of Strathcona No. 517 from 1943 to 1945. (The province renumbered all Alberta municipal districts in 1945 when the municipality became the MD of Strathcona No. 83.) In 1938, Frank became the first president of the Edmonton Union of Municipal Districts. During the war years, Frank would also serve his community as Honorary Chairman of the Strathcona District Salvage Campaign, overseeing the gathering of items such as metals, bottles, and paper to support the war effort.

When Frank’s term as reeve ended in 1945, he went on to work with the Advisory Power Committee, working on the plans to bring electrification to the entire municipality. He would go on to serve as secretary-treasurer of the Salisbury Cooperative Light and Power Co.

Frank passed away in 1958 at the age of 77. Both Frank and Winnifred were laid to rest in Evergreen Memorial Gardens in Edmonton.

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Last updated: Wednesday, March 15, 2023
Page ID: 51386