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

Friday, November 23, 2012


About 1926 - sharing a chocolate bar 

Married: 22 December 1926
Place: Cardston, Alberta, Canada
Sealed: 22 December 1926
Cardston, Alberta LDS Temple

Alberta, Canada Marriage Certificate 

About 1974 my grandfather wrote a short history of his life. I quote his own words to tell his story.

"I, William David Campbell, met my wife Elna Bohne in 1924, on the street in Cardston. She was with my sister Pearl. It was on a Conference day."

Pearl Campbell and Elna Bohne 1922

In a short biography written about the same time, Grandma Elna says,"In 1924 I came to Hillspring to visit my sister, Annie Orr, who had moved there.  At this time I met William D. Campbell and on Dec. 26 1926 we were married in the Cardston Temple."  From her personal record we learn their first date was 24 July 1924 to the 24 of July celebration in Hill Spring, Alberta, Canada.

Temple Certificate of Marriage, copy courtesy of Allen Campbell and family

She also tells us, "We came to Hillspring and lived on the farm west of Hillspring by the Waterton River for two years.  Then built us a home about 1 mile east from the river.  Here we farmed for about 10 years." In the 90's while visiting Hillspring, my mother pointed out the lot this home was built on and we took a picture of the lot looking SW. An old log building there was falling down but mom did not know if it was something from the past or more recent.

view of lot where home in Hill Spring was built circa 1990

Grandpa Campbell continues, "We were married one year later on December 22, 1926 in the Cardston Mormon Temple. Then we came to live in Hillspring on the farm 4 miles west of the town. Here we built us a home and lived there for about 10 years. Then sold the farm and moved into town as our children grew old enough to go to school. We have ten children, 6 boys and 5 girls. One little girl passed away.
Elna and Bill Campbell

"Our first child, a girl, Laura Ruth [Campbell] was born in Hillspring. My mother and another lady, a Mrs. Meekum were the ones who took care of my wife and child. The roads were blocked with snow and ice. It was a bad storm on the 21st of September 1927. Ruth did her schooling in Hillspring and passed most of her school grades with honors. …

"Our son Walton [William Campbell], born in Cardston, also did his schooling in Hillspring. He likes mechanics, and is now a truck driver [1974]. He worked in the mountains cutting mine props after he left school. …

Elna Campbell with baby Jean circa 1931

"Elna Jean [Campbell], born in Cardston, attended school in Hillspring. She married Garth Forsyth, farmer and carpenter in 1948 Oct 14th. …

"Flora Bell [Campbell] was born on the farm … a very cold and stormy day. She also had her schooling in Hillspring. …

"Allen Garth [Campbell], born in Hillspring … My mother took care of him at birth. He also had his schooling in Hillspring and High School in Cardston for grades 11 and 12. …

"Colleen Alice [Campbell]… also did her schooling in Hillspring. …

buried in Hill Spring Alberta Canada

"Annetta Lou [Campbell] born February 23, 1938 died one year later of pneumonia March 31, 1939…

"David Junior [Campbell] … got his schooling in Hillspring. Then he was trained as a welder by Horten Steel Company. He worked for them for some time, travelling as far north as Enuvic, and East to Montreal, and many places in Alberta. …

"Blaine Bohne [Campbell], born … at home in Hillspring. The snow was so deep cars couldn't move. The roads were all blocked. He went to school in Hillspring. When he was about 12 years old he was thrown from a horse. He landed on his shoulder, mashing the shoulder sockets together. He spent some time in the Cardston Hospital, then in Lethbridge. It took about 6 weeks for it to heal. …

"Darrel Henry [Campbell] …  He attended school in Hillspring and Glenwood.

"Wendell Glen [Campbell] … He took his Junior schooling at Hillspring and Glenwood. Then took his High School at Pincher Creek. He passed with honors. He worked for Palmer Ranch for 2 years ....

Bill and Elna Campbell's 50th Wedding Anniversary with their children.

"We had a good life together, sharing our joys and sorrows all together, with fishing trips and the boys and their father. Camping trips in the summer, was holiday time with the whole family together.

We have been married 48 years and have 48 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren now." [1974] 

In 1989 The Lethbridge Herald published an article honoring my grandparents. They had 101 great grandchildren.

We have had so many fun family camps and reunions.*

Elna Campbell far left, with all her daughters at Westcastle camp

It seemed Grandpa and Grandma could do almost anything they put their mind to - if they thought about doing things and tried them they accomplished what they set out to do.  Grandpa could usually be found in his shops painting or carving when we visited and was always glad to take time to show off his many collections of rocks, bottles, coins, pictures  (he liked to take photographs and develop them), antique tools and other memorabilia.  And always his own paintings - we always looked at all his paintings. He sold many oil paintings but likely gave away almost as many as he sold. He was always giving away something.

Oil Paintings for sale in Grandpa's studio

Their home and yard was a marvel of interesting things to look at, as well as a large garden, many trees, flowers, and works in progress. His humour always delighted me. I will never forget driving into the yard and seeing realistic paintings of birds of prey in the trees or other places. At first I was so surprised - then I realized it was a painting. He loved that - my surprise -  and gave me a similar shaped eagle painting.

Grandpa and Grandma in their yard in front of the garden. about mid 1990's

Grandma made hand embroidered quilts for most of her great grandchildren. Her stitches were even and her piece work skillful. She was a skilled seamstress and almost always wore an apron as she bustled about cooking and cleaning, smiling and serving.

Their posterity consists of 11 children, 54 grandchildren, 165 great grandchildren** and now, an exponential number of great great grandchildren. The yearly camps and reunions each summer in the mountains are a known refuge we carry close to our hearts in sweet memories.

I will never forget standing in the timber with my grandfather next to a tree so large he could not have spanned it with his arms - and he had long arms! It was majestic and so was he. I carry that image indelibly printed in my very soul. We had him and grandma print and sign their own names in some family history books my mother gave each of our children that year

Elna with 9 of her 10 living children at her brother Mike Bohne's funeral 1989

They both lived a long time and were relatively healthy and physically active all of their life. Many of their siblings passed away before they did and I particularly remember how Grandma missed her brothers and sisters. She often spoke of them and how she was the last one to go. She outlived each one and was alone left after the last living sister died 2 years before she did.

* Family and friends are invited to share memories you may have of Grandpa and Grandma (and pictures if you happen to have any available). It would be especially nice to have a picture of their family as children. Does anyone happen to have one?

** Last count was taken in 2011. If you can correct or add to these numbers please let me know.

The numbers breakdown as follow: 
     Ruth -      grandchildren 15
     Walton -  grandchildren 12
     Jean -      grandchildren 55 ... great grandchildren 110
     Flora -     grandchildren 10
     Allen -     grandchildren 19
     Colleen - grandchildren 16
     Annetta Lou - died as a child
     David -      grandchildren  4
     Blaine -    grandchildren  5
     Darrell -  grandchildren 19
    Wendell - grandchildren 10