K.F. (Knox) McCusker

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Knox McCusker, ALS
Known for Noted explorer and "bushman"

Knox Freeman McCusker, Dominion and Alberta Land Surveyor, passed away suddenly on April 8, 1955, at Fort St. John, British Columbia, at the age of 65 years.

"Mac" the son of the late Reverend Samuel McCusker and Mrs. McCusker (nee Mary Orr) was born on April 6, 1890, at Hawkesbury, Ontario. He received his education at the Gault Institute, Valleyfield, Quebec, and at Queen's University.

In 1909, he joined the staff of the former Topographical Surveys Branch, Department of the Interior, and was commissioned as a Dominion Land Surveyor in 1914.

He left the Federal Government service in 1931 but returned to it in 1944 in order to undertake the survey of the boundaries of the Alaska Highway right-of-way across the Yukon Territory. From 1950 until his passing, he was in the employ of the Department of Public Works, Edmonton, making subdivision and other surveys in the Peace River Country.

His work with the Topographical Surveys Branch included initial meridian, baseline and subdivision surveys and exploratory mapping. In 1927, he guided officials of the Marland Oil Company in prospecting an area to the west and north of Fort St. John and from the information gained drafted the original Hudson Hope eight mile to one inch map sheet.

From 1931 to 1944, besides attending to his extensive ranch at Fort St. John he undertook the guidance of various exploration and hunting parties into the Liard and Dease river areas and on up into the Yukon. Among these were the expeditions of the late Dr. Norman Henry and Mrs. Henry of Philadelphia, whose purpose was to study the geology and flora of this little known country. It was on one of these expeditions that he visited and located the "Tropical Valley."

His knowledge of this vast territory in northwestern Alberta and northeastern British Columbia was of inestimable value in the location and construction of the Northwest Staging air route and the Alaska Highway, both wartime projects of high priority. For his work in connection with the latter, "Mac" received the Certificate of Merit from the United States Public Roads Administration and from it his fame as an explorer and "bushman" has spread far beyond the bounds of Canada.

At Edmonton in May, 1944, Mr. McCusker married Gwendolyn D. Elliot who survived him, together with one brother, William, of. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and two sisters, Miss Lois McCusker, and Mrs. R.P.D. Hicks of London, Ontario. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church at Fort St. John, a true Christian with wide sympathies and a kindly, humorous disposition which endeared him to his many friends across Canada.

The Canadian Surveyor, July 1955