Thomas D. Campbell
Thomas D. Campbell was born in Grand Forks in 1882. Campbell’s parents were wheat farmers, and it was in this field that Campbell earned the title of Wheat King.
Campbell had been fascinated with machinery since childhood, and took his vision of large-scale mechanized farming to D.C. He persuaded federal officials to help him lease land on Indian Reservations in Montana. New York financiers gave him a two million dollar loan, which he used to buy fifty plows, sixty seed drills and dozens of trucks and wagons. He also bought thirty-four tractors; each weighed 26,000-pounds, had 8-foot-high steel wheels, and could pull a plow, a disc, a seed drill, and a packer all at the same time.
Thomas Campbell died on this date in 1966 at the age of 84. One of his final requests was that his childhood home be saved and dedicated to the memory of pioneer women, in particular his mother. The house can be toured at the Grand Forks County Historical Society.
Written by Merry Helm
(Sources: Thomas D. Campbell Papers, Center for Southwest Research, General Library, University of New Mexico; Don Spritzer, 100 Most Influential Montanans of the Century (number 28), The Missoulian, 1999; Grand Forks County Historical Society)