On this date in 1980, the family and friends of Archie Campbell were mourning his June 26 death. He was born to Alexander and Maude Campbell on July 13, 1897, on a farm west of Harvey.
After his mother died when he was just eight years of age, Archie was sent to live with relatives in New Brunswick. He was educated there, returning to North Dakota in 1915, where he worked with his father in road construction.
In March 1917, Archie went back to New Brunswick to marry Jessie Gilliss. They moved to North Dakota where he continued working with his father. That fall, the Campbells established their first home on a farm near Grace City. From then on, he worked in small-scale farming and in 1923 took over his father’s road construction business.
Archie modernized the operation and, in 1926, purchased a tractor to replace the horses and mules, developing one of the most efficient road building firms in North Dakota. In 1932, Archie also began a ranching operation on 2,970 acres east of New Rockford. He started out with some horses and mules and 100 head of Black Angus cattle.
During the Depression, the Campbells sold mules to the U.S. Army. They purchased the best prize-winning animals at the North Dakota Winter Show in Valley City and, by 1980, were running 2,300 head of cattle, 250 horses and 1 retired team of 37-year-old mules.
The Crystal Springs Ranch eventually grew to 11,000 acres, supporting nearly 1,000 head of Aberdeen Angus cattle, 125 horses and a team of mules as a reminder of the pioneer construction days. He took the mules to many communities for parades and other events.
Throughout his career, Archie helped his friends and neighbors with employment in construction and ranching. The Campbells didn’t have children, but took good care of their employees, personally assisting them financially. The crews were well-fed and never had to work on Sundays. When someone needed medical care, they were transported to the hospital. The Campbells were even known to pay funeral and burial expenses for area cowboys and others.
Archie donated many hours of construction equipment time to area towns, schools and parks. A remarkable man in many ways, he was inducted into the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame in June 2011.
Dakota Datebook written by Cathy A. Langemo, WritePlus Inc.
ND Cowboy Hall of Fame Cowboy Chronicle – June 2011
New Rockford Transcript – obituary – July 2, 1980