Ernest R. Archambeau, amateur historian, was born on December 25, 1891, in Perry, Missouri. He arrived in the Texas Panhandle in 1914 as a student at West Texas State Normal College (now West Texas State University), where he received his bachelor's degree in economics. During World War I he served in France for fifteen months. He also attended Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, and the University of Montpellier in France. He married Zerah McReynolds in 1920, and they had one son. In 1926 Archambeau moved permanently to Amarillo, where he pursued a long career in the insurance business.
His interest in Panhandle history began when he interviewed José (Chencho) Romero, the adopted son of Tascosa pioneer Casimero Romero. Historical research remained his chief hobby, and over the years he made many noteworthy contributions to the field. He traced Josiah Gregg's Fort Smith-Santa Fe Trail through the Panhandle, including the area where Amarillo was later founded; his location of the wagon ruts on the property of the new Palo Duro High School led to the placement of a granite monument there and the founding of the school's annual Pioneer Day. Archambeau also became an authority on the region's railroad lines. Many of his findings were published in the Panhandle-Plains Historical Review and other history journals. He often spoke at meetings and once was invited to address the British Historical Society in London.
Archambeau was an active member of Polk Street United Methodist Church in Amarillo, where he taught Sunday school for fifty years. He was a member of the American Legion, the American Red Cross, Friends of the Library, the Westerners Club, and the Potter County Historical Society. He was on the Cerebral Palsy board and United Way board. He was a president and district governor of the American Business Club and president of the Knife and Fork Club. He was president of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society in 1959–60 and served on its publications committee for several years. Throughout his life Archambeau spent much time and energy promoting Amarillo and the Panhandle. Just before his death he was involved in the "Faces of Amarillo" television spots for the city's centennial. He died on March 3, 1987, and was buried in Llano Cemetery.