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Archibald "Archie" McPhail

Born Born 20 Oct 1850 Schooner Pond, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
Married Married 25 Sept 1874 Agnes Roe Cameron at Caledonia, Cape Breton Is.
Died Died 25 May 1923 Calgary, Alberta
Buried   Union Cemetery at Calgary, Alberta

Photo Album - Family album of photos and documents.


  • Father: unknown
  • Mother: unknown


  1. Alexander McPhail; b. 16 April 1875; d. 29 July 1947
  2. John McPhail; b. 8 May 1877; d. 3 June 1945
  3. William McPhail; b. 11 Feb 1879; d. 22 May 1902
  4. James Henry McPhail; b. 14 Dec 1880; d. 5 May 1917
  5. Archibald McPhail; b. 27 July 1883; d. 1 Dec 1949
  6. Annie McPhail; b. 18 Aug 1885; d. 16 Aug 1976
  7. Agnes McPhail; b. 10 Sept 1886; d. 8 Jan 1937
  8. Stanley McPhail; b. 15 Jan 1888; d. 24 Feb 1938
  9. Catherine McPhail; b. 30 Jan 1890; d. 29 July 1968
  10. Mary McPhail; b. 5 Jan 1892; d. 12 June 1892, age 5 months
  11. Gordon McPhail; b. 31 Oct 1896; d. 2 Nov 1896, age 3 days
  12. Mildred McPhail; b. 22 Jan 1905; d. 26 July 1906, age 6 months

Archie’s Early Years

Agnes Cameron

Archie and Agnes

Agnes was born in Nova Scotia on Dec. 30, 1857 and passed away on Jan. 20, 1935 in Calgary Alberta. They are both buried at Union Cemetery in Calgary.

Frank, Alberta

In 1900, American entrepreneurs Sam Gebo and Henry Frank developed the first of many coal mines in the Crowsnest Pass, in the base of Turtle Mountain. In May that year the first buildings were erected in the new community of Frank, located on flat land between the Canadian Pacific Railroad tracks and the mine. The town’s grand opening on September 10, 1901 was an all-day event that included sporting competitions (with engraved medals for the victors), tours of the mine, a banquet, and a dance. Two special trains brought in the guests, and the gourmet food (including a ton of ice cream).

The Final Years for Archie

By 1911, the McPHail family had been settled in Calgary for eight years, living at house 323 on Eleventh Avenue East. Father Archie was working for the Canadian Pacific Railway as a machinist. Sisters Annie and Kate (Kittie) both lived at home and worked at the downtown Hudsons Bay Company store as clerks. James was a contractor, livihng at 1139 Sixth Avenue West, and Stanley was a machinist for Union Iron Works, living at his parents' house.
Source: Hendersons Calgary Directory for 1911; page 497.

Agnes Passes Away

"Mrs. Robert Cudhea [of] Main St. received sad news last night of the death of her sister, Mrs. Agnes McPhail of West Calgary Alberta. The late Mrs. McPhail was 78 years of age and had been ill for only two weeks. She was planning to visit Cape Breton when she took sick suddenly. The family resided in Glace Bay thirty-five years ago and moved west where they [have] since resided and had a large number of friends throughout the colliery districts who will regret her sudden passing. She was the widow of the late Archie McPhail who died twelve years ago. Four sons survive: John At Blairmore; Archie in Saskatoon; Stanley and Alex at home; three daughters, Mrs. George Benedict, Calgary; Annie and Kate at home; Mrs. Robert Cudhea is the only surviving sister; four brothers, Alex Cameron, of Fernie, B.C.; Henry Cameron, Moncton, N.B.; Donald Cameron of Luscar, Alberta and James Cameron of Glace Bay. Burial will take place in Calgary."

Published in The Glace Bay Gazette on 21 Jan 1935; submitted by Maureen McNeil.


Death notices in the family bible:1
  • Maggie Cameron died Sept. 5, 1911
  • John Cameron died Feb. 11, 1912
  • Mrs. W. D. Matthews died August 9, 1923
  • William Matthews died April 5, 1938
  • Joseph Cameron died May 1948

Letter from Kathryn Ward of Springhill NS, dated 30 January 1972; original with Mr. Ritchie Benedict of Calgary.

"In tardy reply to your letter which appeared in the Springhill Record on October 28, 1971 - my great grandfather, John Cameron, died February 11, 1912 at the age of 81 years. His wife, Ann, died on October 31, 1883 at the age of 60 years. A daughter, Mary Ann Cameron, died on November 28, 1890 at the age of 20 years. The Margaret (Maggie), whom you mentioned, was a daughter who died on September 5, 1911, aged 46 years. My mother's mother was another of John Cameron's daughters, Catherine McLellan, (1860-1923) who married William Matthews. Agnes Cameron (our Aunt Ag of fond recollection) was another daughter who married Archie McPhail and the McPhails went west and settled in Calgary.
Among the pictures which came from Grandfather Matthews' home are five photographs of very handsome Benedicts, which if our memory serves us correctly, are the family of a McPhail daughter (Agnes], who married George Benedict. Among the photos are the wedding couple, two little boys, George Benedict and daughter, John Archibald Benedict with dog (wearing a cap), and a group picture of five boys. I shall enclose the one which will fit into this envelope.
My mother, Annette Matthews, died in 1964 and I'm doing most of this from memory, although I checked on dates and names on the stones in the cemetery in the Cameron lot.
If, from this brief bit of information, you feel that you are in contact with the right Cameron offsprings, I shall dig around and see what further information I can find. There was another daughter, Elizabeth (Aunt Lib) and two brothers, James and Henry, whom I remember.
This is interesting to us, and all of us in Springhill will be anxious to know whether you Benedicts of Calgary have the same Cameron ancestor as we."

Yours sincerely,
(Mrs.) Kathryn Ward

Census of 1881

Taken at Lingan, Cape Breton.

Person Sex Age Relation Birthplace Occupation Religion
McPHAIL, Archie M 31 married N.S. Engineer Presbyterian Canada
Agnes F 34 married N.S.   Presbyterian Canada
Alexander M 6   N.S.   Presbyterian Canada
John M 4   N.S.   Presbyterian Canada
William M 4   N.S.   Presbyterian Canada
James M 4m   N.S.   Presbyterian Canada
- 1881 Census for Lingan, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia; District #6, Subdistrict I, page 144; microfilm C-13166.

Census of 1901

Taken at Glace Bay, Cape Breton on May 9, 1901.

Person Sex Age Relation Status Birthdate Birthplace Occupation Origin
McPHAIL, Archie M 50 head married 20 Oct 1850 N.S. Engineer Scotch
Agnes F 43 wife married 30 Dec 1857 N.S.   Scotch
William M 22 son single 11 Feb 1879 N.S. Engineer Scotch
Archie M 17 son single 27 July 1883 N.S. Blacksmith Scotch
Annie F 15 daughter single 18 Aug 1885 N.S.   Scotch
Agnes F 14 daughter single 10 Sept 1886 N.S.   Scotch
Stanley M 13 son single 15 Jan 1888 N.S.   Scotch
Katie F 11 daughter single 30 Jan 1890 N.S.   Scotch
- 1901 Census for Glace Bay, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia; District #28, Subdistrict M-2, page 53; microfilm T-6447.

Note: Agnes Roe (Cameron) McPhail may have been living next to her relatives. The Camerons were in the adjoining house during the 1901 census.

Census of 1906

Person Sex Age Relation Status Birthplace Location
McPHAIL, Archie M 55 head married N.S. 1405 4 Street
Agnes F 48 wife married N.S. 1405 4 Street
Alex M 31 son single N.S. 1405 4 Street
Annie F 20 daughter single N.S. 1405 4 Street
Stanley M 18 son single N.S. 1405 4 Street
Katie F 16 daughter single N.S. 1405 4 Street
Mildred F 1 daughter single Alta 1405 4 Street
BENEDICT, George M 27 head married Ont. 521 8 Avenue
Agnes F 19 wife married N.S. 521 8 Avenue

- 1906 Census for Calgary; District #19, Subdistrict 26. From transcription at Alberta Family Histories Society website.


  1. Family bible for McPhail; birth, marriage and death entries; in posession of Dorothy [Benedict] Lamont of Calgary.

-- JimBenedict - 30 Dec 2007
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