Robert Telford

Robert Taylor Telford (July 19, 1860 – November 26, 1933) was a Canadian pioneer and politician who served in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta from 1905 until 1913. Born in Quebec, he came to western Canada to serve with the North-West Mounted Police during the North-West Rebellion. He then settled near Leduc and became a prominent local businessman, before being elected as a Liberal in the 1905 election. He served two terms before retiring, and later served one year as mayor of Leduc.

Robert Taylor Telford
A head and shoulders shot of a middle aged white man with dark hair parted on his right and a full moustache, wearing a jacket and vest.
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta
In office
November 9, 1905 – April 17, 1913
Preceded byNew district
Succeeded byStanley Tobin
Personal details
BornJune 19, 1860
Shawville, Quebec
DiedNovember 26, 1933(1933-11-26) (aged 73)
Leduc, Alberta
Political partyLiberal
Spouse(s)Belle Howard
ChildrenTwo sons, Raymond and Lome
ResidenceLeduc, Alberta
OccupationPolice officer, lumberman, businessman, justice of the peace

Early lifeEdit

Telford was born June 19, 1860, in Shawville, Quebec, to Irish parents, Robert and Anne (Pratt) Telford.[1] He was educated at public schools in Quebec.[2] In 1880 he went to the United States, before returning to Canada in 1885 in search of adventure after reading an article about the North-West Rebellion.[3] He arrived in Calgary and worked as a carpenter until July 1886, when he joined the North-West Mounted Police.[2] In 1889 he homesteaded near what is now Leduc, on the shores of what was then called Leduc Lake.[4] That July he built a house, which was then the largest building between Calgary and Edmonton; he operated it as a "stopping house", or hotel.[3]

In the spring of 1890 he married Wisconsin native Belle Howard.[2] They married in Wisconsin, but returned to Leduc shortly afterwards.[3] Robert and Belle Telford adopted two sons, Raymond and Lome; Raymond was killed in June 1916, while serving with the 51st Battalion in World War I.[2] Besides his stopping house, which he moved closer to the railway station when the railway arrived in Leduc,[3] Robert Telford operated a general store and later a lumberyard; he ran the latter for twenty-five years before selling it in 1919.[2] He served as postmaster from 1894 until 1905,[3] and became Leduc's justice of the peace in January 1897. He was also active with the Masons.[2]

Political careerEdit

Telford ran as the Liberal candidate in Leduc in the 1905 provincial election, the first in Alberta's history. He handily defeated his Conservative opponent.[5] He was returned to office without opposition in the 1909 election,[5] and was defeated during the nomination process by Stanley Tobin in his bid for re-election in 1913.[6] In the legislature, he supported the government of Premier Alexander Cameron Rutherford against a group of dissident Liberals in the Alberta and Great Waterways Railway scandal. The Calgary Herald alleged that he had accepted a bribe of C$500 to do so, prompting Telford to sue for libel. When Rutherford's government fell and was replaced by that of Arthur Sifton which, though Liberal, followed the opposite course to Rutherford's on the railway issues that had brought down Rutherford's government, Telford supported the new government, notwithstanding its policy differences with the old.[7]

Telford was also involved in local politics: he served on the Leduc town council for several years and as mayor from 1915 to 1916.[2][3] As at 1924, he also served on the school board.[2]

Later life and legacyEdit

After selling his lumberyard in 1919, Telford entered a state of near-retirement, though he continued to derive significant income from real estate holdings in the Leduc area.[2] He died in 1933 at the age of 73.[3]

Leduc Lake was renamed Telford Lake in his honour,[4] and the hamlet of Telfordville also bears his name.[8]

Electoral recordEdit

1905 general electionEdit

1905 Alberta general election: Leduc
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Robert Telford 481 63.46%
Conservative C. E. A. Simonds 277 36.54%
Total 758
Rejected, spoiled and declined N/A
Eligible electors / turnout 758 N/A
Liberal pickup new district.
Source: "Leduc Official Results 1905 Alberta general election". Alberta Heritage Community Foundation. Retrieved May 21, 2020.

1909 general electionEdit

1909 Alberta general election: Leduc
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Robert Telford Acclaimed
Total N/A
Rejected, spoiled and declined N/A
Eligible electors / turnout N/A N/A
Liberal hold Swing N/A
Source: "Leduc Official Results 1909 Alberta general election". Alberta Heritage Community Foundation. Retrieved May 21, 2020.



  1. ^ Blue 236
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Blue 237
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Leduc bios: Robert Taylor Telford". Black Gold Regional Schools. Retrieved 2010-03-27.
  4. ^ a b "Telford Lake Master Plan". City of Leduc. October 2009. p. 3. Retrieved 2010-03-27.
  5. ^ a b "Election results for Leduc, 1905". Alberta Online Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2010-03-23.
  6. ^ Thomas 144
  7. ^ Thomas 113
  8. ^ Hulgaard; White 169

External linksEdit