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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.

KIMBEL, Edward Elgin

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KIMBEL, Edward Elgin. (Dubuque, IA, February 19, 1892-Kimbel's Park--South Fork Camp, October 20, 1970) Edward was the 21st child of Captain Richard KIMBEL, a river boat captain on the MISSISSIPPI RIVER. His mother was the third of Richard's four wives. Edward went to Alaska in about 1917 and cooked in mining camps near Iditarod.
Draft Boys
Edward, a banjo player, was a member of a band called the Draft boys in Alaska in 1918. He also won the feather weight boxing championship in Alaska. When he left Alaska, the government presented him with a diamond belt buckle to recognize his boxing feats. Edward also had sled dog teams and won several dog races in Flat & Ruby, Alaska.

When WORLD WAR I broke out, Edward went to Seattle to join up. When they discovered he was a boat builder, they kept him behind to work in the ship yards. He went to Mayo in 1919, but continued to run his dog team and build river boats. He was an avid hunter and even tried his hand as taxidermist. In 1928 he drove the first truck from Whitehorse to Mayo, hauling in the first tractor. He eventually had several trucks.

Edward was a sawyer and along with his brother, Carl, built a sawmill in Mayo and operated the logging and lumber business. Edward also dabbled in prospecting. He partnered with Jack Wilson of Willow Creek district on the discovery of a rich quartz vein. As far as the family knows they never did get rich on this venture. He built several buildings, log and lumber in and around Mayo.

In January 1951 with 48 degrees below zero temperature, Edward Kimbel and Fred Harper were hauling a load of hay from Kimbel’s ranch to the saw mill using the frozen winter route over the Stewart River. The truck plunged through an air hole into 15 feet of water. The men escaped the sinking truck and ran the 4 miles to the saw mill, crawling the last ¼ mile. They were hospitalized and only suffered some frostbite. (1)

In 1964 Edward moved out to British Columbia to live with his daughter Gail and her family. He passed away in his sleep, October 20 1970, at his daughter home in South Fort George, Prince George BC.



1. Kincaid, Dorothy," 'It Was Run or Die'-Arctic Sage Told by Ex-Dubuquer," Telegraph Herald, February 5, 1950, p. 17. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=aEyKTaVlRPYC&dat=19500205&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

Edward Elgin Kimbel, Geni. Online: http://www.geni.com/people/Edward-Kimbel/5443541235460052665