School Biography

Alexander Forbes Biography

Picture of Alexander Forbes

Alexander Forbes was born in St. Nicholas, Aberdeen, Scotland on February 17, 1860. In 1894, Alexander immigrated to Canada, landing in Nova Scotia. Although his listed destination was Winnipeg, he was soon sent to Edmonton. His fiancé Agnes followed in 1895, arriving in Montreal and journeying to Edmonton, where they were married.

Reverend and Mrs. Forbes did missionary work in Fort Saskatchewan for fifteen years. They came to the Peace country in 1909 to survey the feasibility of sending a missionary to the area. In 1910, they decided to serve as missionaries to the Peace River district and Grande Prairie, in particular.

The couple travelled by caboose over the Long Trail to reach Grande Prairie; a winter journey that took them 73 days. In their travelling party were members of the Argonaut Company, the development company responsible for laying out the Grande Prairie town site. The Forbes' first lived in shack provided by the Clifford Family on their homestead at Flyingshot Lake. This building and the Forbes' caboose also served as a pioneer hospital.

In the fall of 1910, Alexander Forbes purchased a homestead bordered by today's 100 Avenue, 100 Street, 108 Avenue, and 96 Street. The first building on the homestead was the pioneer hospital, built in 1911. Alexander and Agnes later built an adjoining home, Montrose House. This building is still on its original site on what is now 96 Street.

In October of 1911, Alexander was elected trustee of the Grande Prairie School Board. Montrose School was later located on their land and named after Agnes' home in Scotland. A new, larger hospital facility was constructed in 1914 to replace the Pioneer Hospital at the Forbes' house. The Kathryn Prittie Hospital was located on the Forbes homestead near the railroad tracks.

After the death of Agnes in 1917, Reverend Forbes carried on the work of the church. He remarried in 1921 to Miss Christine Smith, a nurse.

Reverend Forbes accepted a position with the Presbyterian Church in Teeswater and Belmore, Ontario, where he served for the next seven years. His final church was in Sutton and Mount Pleasant. He retired in 1936 and lived in Toronto. After death of Christine in 1944, he moved to Paris, Ontario, where he died in 1945.

Source: South Peace Regional Archives