Nicholas Sheran

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Nicholas Sheran (1841–1882) was an entrepreneur born in New York City. He spent his early years apprenticing as a printer, working on Arctic whalers, and serving in the United States Army.

History[edit]

After his service in the American Civil War, Sheran followed a fellow soldier (Joseph Healy, a member of the Kainai Nation who was adopted by the Healy family) to Montana where he worked as a prospecter and trader. In 1870, he went north in search of gold to Fort Whoop-Up, a whiskey-trading post started by Healy's older adoptive brother John J Healy near what is now Lethbridge, Alberta where he found coal instead.

While in the area, Sheran started a ferry service across the Belly River (now Oldman). In addition, he also mined coal from a seam in the nearby coulees and sold it to traders who came to the fort. With this, Sheran was responsible for the creation of Alberta's first commercial coal mine. [1] He was able to sell his coal for $5 a ton. [2]

From 1878-1882, Sheran lived common-law with a Peigan woman named Mary Brown, and they had two sons together: Charles and William.[3] Sheran drowned the May before his second son was born. In 1899, the Supreme Court for the North-West Territories ruled that Sheran's two sons were ineligible to inherit his estate. [4] This ruling was made because the court believed Sheran could have legally married Mary Brown, but did not.[5]

Namesakes[edit]

A park, leisure centre, a pool, and an elementary school in Lethbridge are named after Sheran.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bly, David. "Coal fired Alberta's past: Black mineral's value debated from early days." The Calgary Herald, May 9, 2004.
  2. ^ Bly, David. "Coal fired Alberta's past: Black mineral's value debated from early days." The Calgary Herald, May 9, 2004.
  3. ^ Carter, Sarah. "Categories and terrains of exclusion: constructing the "Indian Woman" in the early settlement era in Western Canada." Great Plains Quarterly 13, no. 3 (Summer 1993): 147-61.
  4. ^ Carter, Sarah. "Categories and terrains of exclusion: constructing the "Indian Woman" in the early settlement era in Western Canada." Great Plains Quarterly 13, no. 3 (Summer 1993): 147-61.
  5. ^ Brian Slattery and Linda Charlton, ed., Canadian Native Law Cases 3, 1891-1910 (Saskatoon: Native Law Centre, 1985): 636-44.

External links[edit]