• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

Monday, April 16, 2012


Born: 17 April 1901
Bentley, Alberta Canada

My mother's father was born on his parent's first wedding anniversary.

He was also born in a hospital. That was so unusual for his time that it was remembered and noted by every person that knew of his birth. That is perhaps the only thing agreed upon. Although his family resided in the area of a small town that became Rimbey, Alberta [called 'Kansas Ridge' in what was known as the 'Northwest Territories' of Canada] I have been told that the nearest hosptial was in Bentley, Alberta, Canada.

Family records and traditions and some more formal records such as marriage and death records state his birth occurred in Rimbey and also Lacombe. His birth certificate lists Bentley, Alberta, Canada. The informant was W. Burris at Lacombe on 17 June 1901 and the return was made the 18 June 1901 at Innisfail, Alberta.

I note that a correction in Grandma Campbell's handwriting on a 'personal record' changes the place of birth from Rimbey to Bentley but on a personal record that I suspect is printed by Grandpa it says 'recorded as Bentley'. Other official records, that he filled out, say Rimbey.

Map from Google maps April 2012
Father:  William Warren Campbell (3 Aug 1871)
Son of  David William Campbell and
             Kizzie Ann Averett

Mother: Phoebe Alice Tolman (21 Aug 1875)
Daughter of William August Tolman and
                     Mirantha Althera Bates

Grandpa William David 'Bill' Campbell [about 1974] wrote: 

"My father was born in Panquitch Garfield, Utah, USA ... When he was 13 years old he started working with his father on the Union Pacific Railroad. He also herded sheep along the Grand Canyon. In 1897 he got a job with a sheepman, William Tolman, whose daughter became my mother, ... My father was with him during the sheep and cattleman war in Idaho. It was during this time that he met my mother...

" My father started to court my mother, Phebe Alice Tolman, and they were married in the spring, April 17, 1900. They decided to take the sheep camp wagon and started for Cardston, Alberta, Canada. In 1900 they were in Cardston for a short time, then decided to go further north to Lacombe, Alberta. Here they homesteaded at Bentley in the same area as the Tolmans that were already there. In September they built a sod house and broke some land. I, William David, was born in the spring of 1901 one year later and my brother 
Edward was born in 1902."

On page 47 in a book titled 'Pas-ka-poo: An Early History of Rimbey and the Upper Blindman Valley' we find Great Grandpa Tolman homesteading with 3 of his sons, William Cyrus, Ormus Albert, and Erin Layfette.

Grandpa continues, "At that time it was so wet for two years. the grain that was planted didn't ripen so they decided to move back to Cardston.

"In 1905 they started back in the same covered wagon. On the way we camped by a bridge. I wanted to play on the bridge. Mother said if you go on that bridge it will go up with you, that stopped me.

"On the way it seemed like there were a thousand Indians. Sometimes my father was away from the camp to get the horses. That was when the Indians would come into camp to bother mother. She had my brother Edward in a baby carriage. The squaws wanted to take him out of the carriage. Mother always carried a six shooter. She got it out from under the pillow and started shooting in the air.

"We arrived in Cardston in the fall of 1906 and my father started to work as operator of the Card Estate in Cardston until 1907. Then the Tolmans moved back to Cardston and built a new home there in 1907 and also a home on Belly River 3 miles south of where Hillspring is now. My father left the Cardston job and went to work for Grandfather Tolman freighting lumber from the Henery Hansen Saw Mill at Waterton Lakes. In 1909 my father bought 1/4 section of land on the East shore of Strawberry Lake south of Hillspring."

Baptized: 3 July 1910 by Robert Alroyd
Confirmed: William Warren Campbell

On Grandpa's personal record it is recorded he was confirmed in Hillspring Ward, Alberta Stake and that his father was an Elder [of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints]. The dates and other particulars for his own Priesthood ordinations and Patriarchal Blessing are also recorded.

Deacon: 4 May 1913
              Hillspring Ward, Alberta Stake
              by Thomas Davies - Elder

Patriarchal Blessing:18 June 1913
              Hillspring Ward, Alberta Stake 
              by Patriarch Henry L Hinman

Teacher: 15 or 17April 1917 
              Hillspring Ward, Alberta Stake
              by Thomas Davies - Elder

Priest: 7 or 17 January 1923 
             Hillspring Ward, Alberta Stake
             by W. H. Caldwell

Elder: 20 December 1926 
           Hillspring Ward, Alberta Stake
           by William Warren Campbell - Elder

High Priest:27 August 1978
            Hillspring Ward, Cardston Alberta Stake
            by Raymond Keith Olsen - High Priest

Endowed: 22 December 1926 6:30 pm session
           Cardston Alberta Temple

I again pick up the thread of Grandfather's autobiography, "In 1918 [my father] bought the Walter Caldwell place; 1/2 section North side of the lake. That winter I went to Claresholm Agricutlure College, with Magrath Merrill, Lorenzo Davies, Grant Caldwell.

"In 1919 [Bill is about 18 years of age] the great drought began. We planted 200 acres of wheat and got 300 bu of wheat off the Stawberry Lake bed. That fall Dad bought a new double bedded wagon box. In June we took a load of wheat to Cardston.
"When we forded the river on the way home there had been a heavy rain storm. The river had risen up and was still rising fast and the rain was still pouring down. It was dark and we could not see. We went into the river the wagon pointed straight down and the horses swimming. I could see dad. He had cut the horses loose and I was still in the box which had floated off the wheels and I was floating down river. Father had followed the horses acrossed and came looking for me. I had landed on the right side and was trying to hold onto the box which was on a sand bar. We left it there and went home going back for it the next day.

"There is a funny story attached to this wagon box also. At this time there was several coal mines in the district. As a boy I had been in these mines several times and had saw the miners set the cap and fuse for the dinamite . One day father and mother were away from home so I took some dynamite caps and started using them as firecrackers.

"One two fuses [? original wording retained] I gave it a throw and the wind blew it into the wagon box. It blew a hole about a inch long. I was really scared. I was afraid to tell what I had done. One day Father saw it. He looked at it and came over to the house and said, 'did you see that hole in the wagon box?' and I said, 'what hole?' He said, 'I just can't figure out what done it.' I did not say anything. Every day he would look at the box and wonder how it got there. I never did tell him what I had done.

"There is another story about this dinamite . It was not funny at the time. I had a stick or two hid out under the granary. I heard one day that when it got old it got hard and dangerous. So I thought I had better get rid of it.

"So I was alone this day. Father in hauling firewood from the river had hauled a large grant log or wood almost 3 feet thick. It was so tough he couldn't cut it up with axe or saw. One day I heard him say, 'If I had a stick of dinamite I'd blow it up.' So this day I got a stick of it, drilled a hole in the log centre, tamped it in, put a plug in it, set the fuse, and ran behind the house. The log disappeared. There was nothing left of it. Some was almost down at the barn.

"Then I thought, 'how am I going to explain this?' The log was right by the gate.

"When they returned home I was really scared this time. At the gate he stood looking all around. He said, 'did somebody move that log?' He never did say anything more about it. He must of had some idea."
Grandpa says he often wondered if he was the only young one to play around with dynamite. Later when working with some other men they got to talking and grandpa repeats several dynamite stories they told him from when they did similar things.

"In 1919 and 1920 there was no feed in the country. Father and Marion Brooks each took a team of horses and went north to Cold Lake. All the rest of our animals died. We had 18 head of horses die. Cattle and pigs also. Marion Brooks had one cow. His son Willard Brooks and I butchered her.

"We lost this farm and got another 1/2 section west of Hillspring on the Waterton River and lived there for 6 years. In 1917 my mother, Phebe Alice Tolman Campbell, took a nursing course under Dr. Ellis R Shipley, a lady doctor. Mother was a wonderful person and served in her nursing night and day bringing a great number of babies into the world - while raising a family of 9 children, 2 girls and 7 boys ... Edward [Ted] Lawerence... , Alberta Pearl... , Parley Merlin... , Warren Earl... , Lowell Tolman... , George Albert... , Ray Everett... , and my youngest sister Elsie May..."

William David Campbell and Elna Bohne eating chocolate
Aunt LuRay says this is just before they were married. 

Spouse: Elna Bohne
Married: 22 December 1926
               Cardston, Alberta, Canada

Sealed: 22 December 1926 
             Cardston, Alberta, Canada
             by Edward J Wood

Died: 13 July 1990 
           Cardston, Alberta, Canada

Buried: 17 July 1990 
             Hill Spring, Alberta, Canada