Alice Westhead




An early rancher in the Alix area. The Village of Alix was renamed for her by William Van Horne.

Alice Charlotte Westhead (nee Byng-Hall) was born in England in the 1860s. She was educated in England and India by governesses....She was quite young when she married Captain Crofton of the British Imperial Army and for some time lived in India where his regiment was stationed. After his death, she lived in England, and later married Charles Westhead of Devonshire.

It was in about 1890 that the Westheads first came to Alberta.... In 1892 the Westheads came north to settle on ... Sec 19-22-40, almost 30 miles straight east of Lacombe. Alice was the first white woman to settle in this part.

The Westheads established a cattle and horse ranch.... Many a young man coming to this country found his first job on the Westhead Ranch. There was a succession of foremen who bore much of the Ranch operations; among these were T.I.P. Willett and Charles Jamieson.

1898 brought the stampede of fortune hunters to the Klondike. A small party left the Ranch including Charles and Alice Westhead, T.I.P. Willett...the only one of the party to reach the Klondike.

The Boer War had broken out and Charlie returned to his old regiment [Imperial Yeomanry] and was soon in south Africa. In his absence, Alice Westhead managed the Ranch very efficiently...When the first Agricultural Society was formed, Alice was made the president.

Mrs. Westhead made a trip to England during the time the C.P.R. was being built between Lacombe and Stettler (later on to Coronation). On her return journey she travelled on the same ship as Sir Wm. Van Horne, at that time president of the C.P. Railway. They became personal friends and Sir William asked Alice if he might name a town in her honour.....Now renamed as ALIX...(form of Alice).

Times were changing and in 1910 Mrs. Westhead sold out and returned to England [died there 22 June, 1942]. Charlie later returned to Canada and lived in Victoria, B.C. where he died [16 Jan. 1932].

from "Charles and Alice Westhead - by B.G.Parlby" in Pioneers and Progress, Alic Clive Historical Club 1974.