Mr. Jesse Gouge was born in Iowa in 1867, the only boy in a family of eight children.
He was a man of varied occupations — lawyer, merchant, farmer
and coal operator; all these activities occupied his attention
at one time or another, and in each of them he excelled. He
received his education in Iowa, and was called to the Bar in
1897. However, he did not practise law too long, as he moved to
Canada in 1907, settling first in Manitoba, and two years later
coming west to Calgary.
With Garnet Coyle of Montreal he founded the Newcastle Coal Company and the Alberta Block Coal Company. He was one of the most dynamic figures in an industry which has had a long line of distinguished practitioners. During his period as a coal operator in the valley, he saw the payroll expand from less than 50 names to over 2000. Copy — Western Can. Coal Review Mr. Gouge was married to Maude McGuire, and they had two children, Wilson and Helen. Mr. P. S. Brown built their fine brick family home on Second Street West, where they lived for many years. The family entered whole-heartedly in the life of the growing community, Mr. Gouge being a member of the Board of Trade and Rotary Club. The young people, Billy and Helen were interested in furthering music in the town, and Mrs. Gouge often sought unfortunate and needy people with whom she shared willingly anything she had. Many families would have had no Christmas dinners if Mrs. Gouge had not arrived with generous hampers and messages of good cheer.
Mrs. Gouge died in Drumheller in 1938, and Mr. Gouge in Victoria at the age of 86, in 1953. Surviving are his son Wilson in Victoria, two grandsons, Jesse in Victoria, John in Vancouver, and grand-daughter Ann (Mrs. Herman Lind) in Spokane and Miss Helen Gibson in Victoria, and seven great grandchildren.
This article is based on the article titled "Jesse Gouge" in the book The Hills of Home: Drumheller Valley (Drumheller
Valley History Association, 1973). The Heritage Community Foundation and the
Year of the Coal Miner Consortium would like to thank the Drumheller Valley
History Association for this contribution.