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Clyde and Myrle Campbell settled in the Peace Country with their 12 year old daughter Isabel in 1919. The move to the Halcourt area, south of Beaverlodge in the Peace River Country, was made after Clyde needed a less stressfull environment after a bout with the Spanish Influenza in 1918.
Clyde Edridge Campbell was born May 18, 1885 in Toledo, Ohio. He had the ability to become a concert pianist but instead studied to be a pharmacist. He graduated from Ohio Northern University and ran a drugstore in Sundance, Wyoming. In 1906 he married Myrtle (Myrle) McGuire, who was born January 10, 1885. Their only child, Isabel May Campbell, was born March 18, 1907 in Rock Springs, Wyoming.
When Isabel was five years of age, Clyde returned to university to study metallurgy. After the completion of this course, he moved the family to Louisville Kentucky where he worked as a research engineer, then back to Toledo in 1916 when he took a position with the Overland Auto Company in metallurgy.
In 1918 Clyde joined the Ordnance Division of the American War Department as a travelling supervisor of ammunition manufacturing sites, often travelling into Canada to do his job. After being very sick with the flu, Clyde was forced to give up this career and began to look towards Canada as a future with less stress on his nervous system. In 1919 he made a visit to the Peace Country and was so impressed by the quiet beauty and the potential of the land, that he decided to stake a homestead claim in the Elmworth area. Isabel and her mother came to join him later that year. For nine years the family homesteaded in Halcourt, but in 1928 they were forced to return to Toledo, Ohio, because of Clyde’s ill health. He died in 1930 and was buried in the Toledo Cemetery.
Myrle Campbell remained in the U.S. until she married Franklin T. Brewer, a one-time neighbour on the homestead, on July 8, 1945. She returned to the Elmworth area and lived there until her death on October 9, 1964. She was buried in the Halcourt Cemetery.
Isabel remained in the U.S. until 1951, when she returned to the Peace River Country. She worked first at the Beaverlodge research station, then as a reporter for the Daily Herald Tribune, writing regular history columns such as “What’s In A Name” and “This Was Yesterday”.
Miss Campbell has made numerous contributions to preserving the history of the Peace Country. She featured a daily radio program entitled “Heritage” on CJXX. She gathered archival material for preservation from organizations, government, social groups and individuals. Painstakingly, she indexed and cross-indexed all articles in Grande Prairie newspapers from 1913 to 1961 for research purposes. This information is preserved at the Grande Prairie Public Library.
Using her carefully amassed collection, Miss Campbell published Grande Prairie--Capitol of the Peace for the city’s 10th anniversary in 1968, edited Pioneers of the Peace which was published in 1975, and provided substantial information to historian J.G. MacGregor for the publication of Grande Prairie in 1983, the city’s 25th anniversary. In 1988, her father’s letters from the Peace Country to family in the USA were published in Challenge of the Homestead.
Miss Campbell has received recognition for her efforts to preserve the history of the Peace Region: In 1983, she received the Alberta Achievement Award for the preservation of history; in 1985 she was nominated for the Sir Frederick Haultain Prize which is presented to individuals who have attained exceptionally high standings in the arts, sciences and humanities; and in 1988, she received the George Repka Award for community contributions in arts, culture and social areas.
Isabel was also dedicated to establishing community facilities for the preservation of history. She was the first secretary for the Pioneer Museum Society of Grande Prairie and District when it was formed in 1961. In 1988 she began to pursue the idea of having a replica of her family’s homesteading cabin built in the museum’s Pioneer Village. The cabin was built by volunteers using traditional skills (with some assistance from modern machinery) and the actual windows from the original cabin. The interior of the cabin was decorated by Isabel Campbell to duplicate her child-hood home.
Isabel Myrle Campbell passed away in 1998, and is buried in the Halcourt Cemetery. A portion of her estate was willed to the Pioneer Museum Society of Grande Prairie and District, and many artefacts from her life can be found there.
Grande Prairie, Alberta
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Daughter: Isabel Campbell
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