Sheridan Lawrence, pioneer, farmer, rancher (b at South Stukely, Que 8 April 1870; d at Peace River, Alta 1 February 1952). One of the most prominent names in the history of northwestern Alberta, Sheridan Lawrence came to the district in 1886 with his parents, Henry and Margaret, where they established a farm on the north side of the PEACE RIVER, 20 km west of FORT VERMILION. Seven years earlier Sheridan's uncle, Erastus J. Lawrence, had established the Irene Training School near the Anglican mission at Fort Vermilion. This was the first serious attempt to train Aboriginals in northwestern Canada to become farmers.
The farm of Henry and Margaret Lawrence quickly expanded to about 650 ha, much of this used for the grazing of cattle, hogs and horses. In 1901 his parents left the farm to Sheridan, who continued to expand the operation, including land east of Fort Vermilion. He also operated a flour mill, dairy and sawmill. In additional to the local population, much of the produce was sold along the Peace and MACKENZIE rivers. Its success drew national attention for the mere fact that such a large farm could be successful that far north. It did much to persuade the Canadian government to establish the Fort Vermilion Agricultural Experimental Station (see alsoRESEARCH STATIONS, AGRICULTURAL), opened by Sheridan's cousin, Fred (Erastus' son), in 1907. In 1900 Sheridan Lawrence married Julia (Juey) Scott, and over the years they raised 15 children before moving to Peace River in 1936. (See also: PEACE RIVER LOWLAND.)