About the Author

As the author of this website, I feel it useful to give some personal information. My name is Marvin James Penton, but I have always been known as James or Jim in order to distinguish me from my father’s only brother. I was born in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan roughly twelve miles north of the United States border and the state of Montana. That portion of Canada is a prairie area dotted by low hills and buttes traversed by creeks and rivers that flow south into the Missouri river. It was to that land that the Sioux leader Sitting Bull and much of the Sioux nation fled to escape the wrath of the United States Army after the battle of Little Big Horn, and it was there that the famous American outlaw Butch Cassidy had his most northerly hideout.

My paternal grandfather, George Edward Penton, was was born and raised in Ontario, Canada, but spent some twenty years in the United States where he studied pharmacy and medicine, became a country doctor, and married my grandmother, Margaret May Thomas, whose father came from Donegal, Ireland. My father, Levis Penton, and my uncle, Marvin Penton were both born in the American state of Wisconsin but came to Saskatchewan with their parents in 1911.

My maternal grandfather, Edwin Hanson, was born in Ontario as well. Although of English origin through his father and an Anglican in religion, he came to Western Canada and turned Catholic to marry a fourteen-year-old Metis girl of French Canadian and Indian origin named Florestine Gariepy. My mother, Ida Emily Hanson, was born in the southern Alberta,  Canada, community of Pincher Creek.

My father and my mother were married in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada on 1 July 1925, a fact that decided my father to return to Saskatchewan and take up farming. My brother, George Edwin Penton, was born in Saskatchewan on 10 July 1926 and I was born nearly six years later on 27 April 1932 in the midst of the Great Depression and the dust bowl conditions of the Great Plains. So I grew up during the the Depression and the Second World War which lasted over two years longer for Canadians than for their American neighbors.

In 1948 my parents sent me to Arizona because of ill health. There I attended high school and married my life companion, Marilyn Mae Kling, when we were both nineteen. Thereafter,  I attended the University of Arizona at Tucson where I obtained a BA in 1956. Following that, I went on to obtain an MA and PhD at the University of Iowa and began a career as a university professor in history and for a brief time in religious studies. Over the years I taught at the Universidad de Puerto Rico, Northern Michigan University, the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, and the University of Lethbridge, also in Alberta, where I now hold the rank of Professor Emeritus. I am the author of three books, and many published articles, and I am still engaged in publishing.

Along with my dear wife who passed away in death in July 2014, I have two sons, David and John and a daughter Anne; eight grand-children and five great grand-children. Besides my interest in genealogy and family history, I am committed to church and religious history and human rights. Because of the latter interest, I am a member of several human rights organizations including Amnesty International.



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