JAMES A CAMPBELL
Brown county is one of the most attractive, progressive and prosperous divisions of the state of Kansas, justly claiming a high order of citizenship and a spirit of enterprise which tends to conserve continuous development and marked advancement in the material upbuilding of this section. The county has been and is signally favored in the class of men who have controlled its business affairs and in this connection the subject of this review demands representation as one who has been prominent in commercial circles. He is now a well-known druggist of Hiawatha and for many years has been engaged in this line of business in northeastern Kansas.
James A. Campbell was born on a farm in Lee county, Iowa, on the 1st of October, 1842, and is of Scotch lineage, as the family name well indicates. His more immediate ancestors, however, resided in the mountainous regions of North Carolina and Tennessee and were related to Colonel Campbell, one of the important leaders of the patriot mountaineers who swooped down upon the British and Tories and inflicted upon them the crushing defeat at King's mountain during the Revolutionary war. William A. Campbell, the father of our subject, was born in the eastern part of Tennessee, where he married Mary P. Mason, and early in the '40s they removed to the west, becoming pioneer settlers of Lee county, Iowa, but soon afterward taking up their abode in Henry county, that state, where their last days were spent. They had five children, all boys, namely: Joseph P., who was born in Tennessee, becoming a physician and druggist of Oskaloosa, Iowa, where he died in the fall of 1867; James A. is the next younger; Archibald S., born in Henry county, Iowa, and died in Highland, Kansas, in April, 1886; Jasper, born in Henry county, Iowa, and died in the fall of 1864 of wounds received in the United States service; and William A., also born in Henry county and died in December, 1890.
James A. Campbell, of this review, was left an orphan at the early age of thirteen years, at which time his mother died. Five years previously his father had passed away and when thus left alone the children found homes wherever they could, generally with farmers. In his youth he attended school as opportunities offered during the three months of winter, and on evenings, mornings and Sundays he would feed and attend to stock, chop wood and perform such other labors as his strength enabled him to execute. During the summer months he assisted in the work of the fields and was thus employed until eighteen years of age, when, desirous of securing a better education he entered Mount Pleasant (Iowa) Academy in the fall of 1860. That winter the slavery agitation was at its highest and in the spring of 1861 the Civil war was inaugurated by the attack on Fort Sumter. Mr. Campbell then put aside his text books to enlist in Company E, of the First Regiment of Iowa Cavalry, and was mustered into the service June 13. 1861. After his term had expired he re-enlisted and continued at the front until honorably discharged March 16, 1866. He participated in most of the battles west of the Mississippi and in many of those east of the river, besides engaging in numerous raids and scouts. He served under such distinguished leaders as Generals Grant, Steele, Davidson, Sheridan, Custer and Pleasanton and was several times promoted for meritorious conduct. He was never wounded, although he had three horses shot under him.
In 1867, his oldest brother having died, James A. Campbell succeeded him in the drug business at Oskaloosa, Iowa, but the following fall sold his interest in the store to his partner and became a traveling representative for a wholesale drug house in Chicago, with which he continued until the fall of 1871, when he came to Severance, Kansas, and established a drug store in connection with his brother, Archibald, whose interest he afterward purchased. He then conducted the enterprise alone, with one brief interruption, until June, 1891, when he took in Dr. C. F. McCormick as a partner and afterward sold out to him, on July 1, 1899, and purchased the interest of Grant Cullimore in the drug business of Pyle & Cullimore, of Hiawatha, Kansas. They have a well-appointed store, completely stocked with everything found in a first-class establishment of the kind, and their patronage is large and well deserved. Mr. Campbell has not only enlisted in the drug business in Hiawatha, but he has purchased a fine residence moved his family into it and became a bona fide resident of the city. He still owns his Severance property and owns a thousand good acres of Kansas land.
Mr. Campbell has been twice married. On the 24th of June, 1868, he married Miss Belle J. Fletcher, who died April 3, 1869, and on the 24th of December, 1874, he married Miss Mary E. Scott, a native of Pennsylvania, who had been engaged in teaching in Kansas. Four children have been born to them: William T., Blanche M., James A., Jr., and Mary Belle.
In his political affiliations Mr. Campbell is a Republican and while residing in Severance held a number of public offices. He was elected the mayor of the town and for many years was a justice of the peace of Wolf River township. He was also the postmaster at Severance from June, 1889, until November, 1892, when he resigned, having been elected to represent his district in the legislature. For that office he received a majority of ten hundred and fifty, running far ahead of his ticket, and was a member of what will henceforth be known as the memorable legislature of 1893, he having, notwithstanding his immense majority, been one of those whose seats were disputed. He was again nominated and elected in 1894 and served during the session of 1895. He has always taken an active interest in political affairs and labors earnestly to secure the adoption of the principles in which he so firmly believes. Mr. Campbell is recognized as one of the most prominent secret society men in the state. He is a member of the order of Odd Fellows and of the Encampment; not only has he filled all the chairs in the subordinate and grand lodges, but he is also a past grand master and a past grand representative. As a Freemason he is a member of Severance Lodge, No. 313; Troy Chapter, No. 16, R. A. M., and of Hiawatha Commandery, No. 13, K. T., and is a past chancellor of Severance Lodge, No. 211, K. of P., and past post commander of Severance Post, No. 191, G. A. R.
As a public officer he has been encouraging, obliging and thoroughly capable, and these facts have not lacked recognition on the part of the people who have accorded them due consideration. His popularity in the community is unmistakable and he is clearly entitled to consideration in this work as one of the representative citizens of northeastern Kansas.