top of page


Campsie/Barrhead Settlers:

Beaver, Risby, Lewis, Bailey, Walker, Smith, 

Walker Beaver Farm.jpg

This small community is located 10 miles west of Barrhead. The early Scottish settlers named the area
Campsie, as it reminded them of the rolling Campsie Hills they left behind in Scotland. Campsie was
home to approximately forty Black Pioneer families. Many returned to the United States after the first
two or three years. Many of the pioneers were homesick, and they longed to live near their extended
families. Campsie was the only community that was truly integrated. Many of the Blacks acquired
homesteads next to their White neighbours. Once again, the first pioneers became farmers. Many failed
miserably, so they left their families on the farm, and they worked in Edmonton for months at a
time. They would send the money home to the families.
The final significant area that Black Pioneers
established was in the small community of
Maidstone, Saskatchewan. Maidstone is
approximately 90 miles northeast of Lloydminster.
Most of the settlers picked the Eldon District in
Maidstone as few White settlers lived in the area
and the pioneers could have homesteads that ran
adjacent to each other. Homestead of Lewis Williams and Lillie (Clark)
LaFeayette, who migrated to Canada in 1906 and in
1909 built the homestead.
Napoleon Sneed, Gladys Smith, Iona Smith (small girl in front),
Frank Crawford, Mary Beaver, (small girl Doreen Beaver), Oretha
Smith, Annie Beaver, Alice Smith
The Keystone community was
one of four rural communities
in Alberta established by
African American

s who
migrated to Western Canada
from1908-1911. Keystone
consisted of the rural area
located north and west from
the present day Village of
Breton, Alberta.
William Allen and family were among the first black settlers in Keystone. They were instrumental
in encouraging other black families from Oklahoma that the area would be an ideal place for a
black settlement. Most black settlers who came to the Keystone area came in extended family
groups, and homesteaded land close to one another. At one time there were 52 black families who
called Keystone home.
Among the first priorities of the community was the establishment of the Good Hope Baptist
Church. The church was a modest log building which served the religious needs of the community.
One Sunday service boasted an attendance of 51 people with the collection plate yielding 82 cents.
The community also established the Keystone Cemetery where at least 27 community members are
at rest. The black families were also instrumental in establishing the Funnell School District in
1912 which provided for the educational needs of their children.
In 1927 the Lacombe North Western Railway reached the area and the new community that
developed at the terminus of the railway was named Breton in honor of Douglas Breton the MLA
for the area. The arrival of the railway brought many new settlers and businesses to the area. By the
1930 the black population started to diminish and as time went on the numbers continued to
dwindle. By the late 1940 the numbers had dwindle to a small minority of the overall community.
Today descendants of only a few of the families reside in the area. Little physical evidence of
Keystone remains, however the Keystone Cemetery stands as a silent testament to many of the
original black families of the area and is care for by the Breton and District Historical Society.
The Breton Museum has a major focus on the history of Keystone preserves the story and history
of Keystone and the trials and tribulation that the black settlers encountered in a new land.
Keystone was later renamed Breton.
Campsie also had the only segregated school in Western Canada. In 1915, the school board created
the Benton School District 3319. This was the Black only school, but the actual school was not built
until 1928. Once the school opened, many white families boycotted the original school in favor of
sending their children to Benton. Only one farmyard in Campsie still has the remains of the Black
Pioneers who lived there. The Bethel Baptist Cemetery in 1921 and after its closure in 1948, the
province granted the two-acre plot a historic site designation

James Beaver - Campsie
Unidentified People
School kids
Debbie Beaver7
Debbie Beaver8_Carvell School
bottom of page