Pioneer gets overdue commemoration

For years, Edward Seebach was the unsung postscript to the Huble story.

As one half of Seebach and Huble General Merchants, the Ontario-born pioneer had a direct hand in shaping the community.

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But where the activities of Albert Huble - namesake of the Huble Historic Site - were well documented, Seebach's memory fell through the cracks.

But this year, the staff at the Huble Homestead is working to rectify that oversight and are giving Seebach full recognition.

On Saturday afternoon, members of the Huble Homestead/Giscome Portage Heritage Society and descendants of Albert Huble and Edward Seebach gathered at the Memorial Cemetery to dedicate a brand new memorial to Seebach.

Buried in section G, plot 9 of the cemetery since his death in 1932, the grave has gone unmarked for reasons unknown, explained society operations manager Krystal Leason.

"We've always wanted to do more for Ed. It's always the same problem with a small organization. You need the time and the money to really look for it and get it down," she said.

But with some extra money last year that could be put towards doing extra research and a collaboration with Assman's Funeral Home to purchase and install a headstone, everything has come together just in time.

The historic site is marking the opening of the 2012 season on May 20 and 21 with Seebach Days. The two days will celebrate the pioneer's life and contribution and will feature the unveiling of a new exhibit - Seebach's Cabin - on his original plot of land that currently houses the blacksmith shop.

"He seems like an interesting person, so if you read the diaries or you listen to the oral histories he seems like a really tough guy... I like to think he was the kind of man who wouldn't want us to fuss over this, but I hope he's pleased. I think the stone turned out beautifully," Leason said.

Born in 1880, Seebach made his way west from Ontario and by 1904 had entered into a partnership with Huble. They established themselves north of Fort George at Giscome Portage and built their business to include trapping, trading, freighting and merchandising. Huble married and had a large family, but Seebach remained a bachelor, which contributed to the lack of information about his legacy.

On the opening day, Ron Soeder will come up from 108 Mile Ranch to cut the ribbon on the new exhibit. Soeder is Seebach's second cousin, twice removed.

He said he knew a little bit about Seebach's story and had visited Huble Homestead about three years ago when he exchanged information with Leason. He said he was surprised she held onto it and got in contact with him this spring about the new exhibit.

"It's one thing to be honoured at the time or five years afterwards when people that directly knew him thought they should do something, but those were tough times, that was the Depression, people weren't doing that. Now, 80 years later, for people to think enough about him to come out here and put a stone up and now to recreate to his house... that's an incredible story," Soeder said.

He was touched by the warmth of the historic society who wanted to rectify the Seebach oversight.

"Obviously its something that's concerned them and they wanted to make it right," he said.

Seebach's Cabin will be unveiled Sunday, May 20 at noon at the Huble Homestead.

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