The Big Store


Two of Stewart's best-known merchants during the 1920s and '30s were Howard Campbell and Charles Duke.

A baker and confectioner, Howard Campbell learned his trade from his father in Sidney, N. S., where he served as an alderman before heading west to Hazelton, Prince Rupert and, in 1920, Stewart.

Here, he joined forces with Charles Duke to become "Campbell and Duke", general merchants. Charles, the younger of the two, was a cook, and had worked throughout much of British Columbia.

His first job in the Portland Canal district had been with Walter Blanton, in Hyder, Alaska. With Howard Campbell as partner, he helped to build up a good business.

During the summer of 1932, they made numerous improvements to their store and, in November, brought in two carloads of groceries and flour, to fill both store and warehouse with some of the fanciest Christmas articles ever seen in Stewart.

But, when the tragic fire of December 6 wiped out much of the town's business section, Campbell and Duke were among the hardest hit. To make matters worse, they had neglected to renew their fire insurance for the first time in years.

However, they managed to survive, Campbell continuing his interest in public affairs, serving as director of the Loyal Order of Moose, as a village commissioner, as president of the local Liberal Association, and as an active member of the board of trade and chairman of the hospital board.

Charles Duke was employed for a time in the Canadian customs office at Hyder, B. C., and in the liquor store in Stewart, before moving to Prince Rupert to join the engineering department of the national service at Barrett Point.

It came as quite a shock to the Portland Canal district to hear of the passing of these highly-esteemed members of the community, within three days of each other.

Charles passed away at Rupert on January 11, 1941, Howard Campbell following his old business partner on the 14th at Stewart.


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