January 18, 2017 – Shipping Fleas to England: Arthur Douglas Gregson in Early Blackfalds.
Ms. Judy Carleton became interested in Arthur Douglas Greyson’s contributions to the Central Alberta area as a Blackfalds resident and researcher. She is president of the Blackfalds and Area Historical Society, and curator of the Blackfalds archives. She has also authored several books on Blackfalds history, one specifically for the Blackfalds centennial in 2004.
Mr. Gregson was raised in England, (next door to Charles Darwin), and developed an interest in entomology. Together with his brother, they began the Northwest (Canada) Entomological Society in 1899. This society was concerned with classifying the flora and fauna of the Northwest Territories, studying injurious pests, weeds, and other matters of economic entomology, and was the parent of related institutions in Red Deer and Calgary.
Mr. Gregson’s main business upon settling in Blackfalds in the early 1890s was raising Pine Martens, but an interesting side business was collecting their fleas! These he sent to home to England to become a part of a Rothschild collection, which was later donated to the British Museum. He was to become appointed Weed Inspector, and later, a newspaperman.