Fonds MS-253 - Mary Capling Hyde fonds

Hyde Family
Open original Digital object

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Mary Capling Hyde fonds

General material designation

  • Textual record
  • Graphic material - photograph

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on contents of fonds.

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1900 - 1945 (Creation)
    Hyde, Mary Capling

Physical description area

Physical description

60 cm of textual records. - 1 photograph

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Mary Ann Capling was born 5 Nov 1870 to Elizabeth Linglebach and Louis Capling in Mornington Township, Ontario. She married Matthew Hyde on 30 Dec 1891 in Perth, Ontario. They had four children, Alice Elizabeth, David Louis, Robert John (Johnny) and Robert Deane (Robbie).

On 25 Apr 1900 they moved to a farm in Oxdrift, in northeast Ontario. Mary began keeping a diary on 1 Jun 1900 in which she recorded events about the family, friends and neighbourhood.

In spring of 1910 they sold their farm and Matt took their stock (cows and horses) to Swift Current, Saskatchewan. Mary and her children, Alice and David, went to be with Mary’s parents in Tavistock, Ontario while Matt was away. The family was separated for 9 months. The separation was a great strain on Mary and she did not write in her diary during this time. Also during this time she gave birth to her third child, Johnny, on 21 Jul 1910 in Tavistock. Johnny Hyde died six months later on 16 Jan 1911, due to infantile paralysis (polio). The family was reunited when Matt returned from Saskatchewan. He gathered his family from Tavistock in March 1911 and they returned to Oxdrift. At this time, they decided to move west to Edmonton.

On 16 Apr 1911, the family left Oxdrift by car and arrived in Edmonton on 29 Apr 1911. They first stayed at the Waverly Rooming House (on Fraser) and a few days later moved to their own home at 11740 – 83 Street (originally known as 676 Johnston). The family settled into life in Edmonton. In the diary entry for 9 Apr 1914 Mary noted there were many children, including 16 babies, at the Children’s Shelter. On 14 Apr 1914 Mary welcomed a fourth child, baby Robert Deane (Robbie) from the Children’s Shelter, into her family.

On 7 Jul 1915, Matt enlisted in the Canadian military and became a Private in the 66th Overseas Battalion (100562). Matt trained in Calgary with the 66th Battalion from August to November 1915 and then returned to Edmonton. On 21 Apr 1916, the 66th Battalion left Edmonton by train. They departed from Halifax aboard the S.S. ‘Olympic’ on April 28, 1916.
Matt was killed in action in northern France, likely near Courcelette, on 26 Sep 1916 during the battle for the Schwarn Redoubt on the Somme Front. As he dies on the field, he handed a small wallet to a fellow soldier with instructions that the photos inside be sent home to Edmonton. That soldier was also killed but the photos were passed on through many hands, eventually reaching the Chaplain of the Battalion, who sent them to a contact in Edmonton. However the contact in Edmonton did not recognize the photos so she forwarded them to the Edmonton Journal. The Edmonton Journal published one photograph (30 Oct 1916) with the headline ‘Dying Soldier Sends Photos; Recipient Now Seeks Owner’ and it was recognized by the Hyde family.

Mary and her family remained in Edmonton. Alice Hyde married Edward (Eddie) W. Cyre in 1919 in Edmonton. They moved to a farm in Vegreville and had five children – Hazel, Verda, Yvonne, Bill and Joyce. David Hyde did not marry but also farmed in the Vegreville area. David Hyde died in 1975. Robbie (Bob) Hyde married Midred L. Kerswill in 1937 in Edmonton and they had two daughters, Marion and Marlene. Bob was a Corporal in the Canadian military for many years and served overseas. Bob returned to Edmonton but later retired to British Columbia.

Mary Capling Hyde died 14 Mar 1945 and is buried at the Beechmount Cemetery. Matthew Hyde’s name is on the Vimy Memorial in France.

Custodial history

Joyce Marchak is the granddaughter of Mary Capling Hyde.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of 64 daybooks (diaries) created by Mary Capling Hyde from June 1900 to March 1945. The entries tell the daily activities of the family members, friends and events in the neighbourhood, including the move from Ontario to Edmonton. Occasionally other family members, likely her children, write an entry (noted by the different handwriting).

Upon receiving the news of her husband’s death, Mary went to the daily entry for 26 Sep 1916, crossed out her previous entry of “Matt somewhere in France” and replaced it with “Matt no more”. Mary wrote “Matt no more” in every entry for the rest of her life.
At a later point, Mary re-read some of her diaries and added extra notes on the overall feelings of the family at the time. These notes are mostly in the earlier diaries and are usually written on the side of the original entry. Some diaries also have a brief synopsis or note at the beginning of the daybook.

As Mary was very ill and in hospital the last week of her life, other members of the family wrote the diary entries (noted by the different handwriting). The last entry, following Mary’s death, is a tribute to Mary and her diary, likely written by her daughter Alice.
The photograph is a group portrait of the Hyde family, Matthew, Mary, Alice, David and Robbie, taken shortly before Matthew Hyde went off to war.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

This fonds was donated to the City of Edmonton Archives by Joyce Marchak in 2002.


The material was arranged according to the filing system of the creator.
The photograph was assigned item numbers with the prefix EA-806.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

Some files are restricted due to conservation.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Public Domain.

Finding aids

Finding aid available online.

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Related materials


No further accruals are expected.

General note

Accession numbers: A2002-67


Several diaries are fragile - handle with extreme care - see file list.
The 1930 diary survived a fire but was damaged and is extremely fragile; it has been reproduced for access purposes.

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Description record identifier

Institution identifier

City of Edmonton Archives

Rules or conventions

Rules for Archival Description (RAD)
Archives Society of Alberta Subject Terms



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Script of description


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Physical storage

  • Box: MS Room
  • Box: Library