James Preble Campbell.Industry, honesty of purpose and intelligent effort have achieved distinction and affluence for "Jim" Campbell, born on a farm in Kankakee county, Illinois, Aug. 11, 1857, and reared under conditions which permitted only limited schooling. He is one of the most prominent stock men of Kansas, owning and operating an estate of 20,000 acres in Clark county. He came to this state from Illinois in 1877, and initiated his career in the cattle business as a cowboy on ranches in Barber and Comanche counties, thus acquiring a practical knowledge of the work. At this time Southwest Kansas was an open range and "Jim Campbell" took part in all duties of range work, becoming a true type of the saddle and lariat. He was a close observer, frugal and ambitious, and in 1879 he became a cattle owner of his own account. He prospered from the start, and in 1882, with his brother, Melville C. Campbell, he bought stock cattle on a large scale in Texas and drove them to Kansas to graze upon the range until ready for the market. He continued at this until 1889, when he established a large ranch in the old Indian Territory south of Caldwell, which he operated with signal success for a few years, handling both cattle and horses in great herds. The name of "Jim Campbell" is a familiar one among stockmen throughout the Southwest. In 1891, he viewed out and purchased unimproved land in Clark county, which he fenced and improved, making it one of the most modern cattle ranches to be found in the United States, having at this time (1912) a total of 20,000 acres under fence. From it he sends to market over 3,000 head of cattle annually. About 2,000 acres of this estate are under cultivation, growing alfalfa, Kafir-corn, wheat, etc. The entire ranch is watered by numerous wind pumps, the Cimarron river and several running streams. Jay Willis, a brother-in-law of Mr. Campbell, is general superintendent of the ranch and occupies a modern bungalow built at a cost enumerated in four figures. James P. Campbell is a son of Rev. James Campbell, who was born in Greene county, Ohio, in 1808, his father being Henry Campbell of South Carolina, a Revolutionary soldier, and a cousin, Robert Campbell, one of the commanders of the patrotic[sic] forces which defeated the British under General Ferguson at King's Mountain.
James Campbell, in his youth, went with his parents from his birthplace to Montgomery county, Indiana, where he subsequently became acquainted with, and married Miss Priscilla, daughter of John Mick, an export merchant of that county. Mrs. Campbell was born in Flemingsburg, Ky., and was of German origin, a descendant of an excellent family which made its advent into the New World several generations before. After his marriage James Campbell engaged in agriculture in the Hoosier State until 1846, when he removed with his family to Will county, Illinois, and three years later, to Kankakee county of the same state. There he became considerable of a land owner, from which he subsequently improved several farms. In 1862, inspired by that patriotic spirit which pervaded the loyal North during the dark hours of the rebelllion,[sic] he enlisted at the age of fifty-four years, in Company H, Seventy-sixth Illinois infantry, and served gallantly until the last of the Confederates had surrendered to the authority of the Federal government. He participated in the campaign through central Mississippi; was taken prisoner at Holly Springs by Gen. Earl Van Dorn, but feigning sickness was released without parole, and immediately joined the command. After that, he participated in the siege of Vicksburg and the operations around Mobile, including the charge at Fort Blakely. In 1865, after the general surrender of the Confederate forces, Elder Campbell, as he was called, returned to his home in Kankakee county, Illinois, and reëngaged in civil pursuits. In 1875, taking just pride in his honorable war record, he came to Kansas for the purpose of availing himself of his right to a tract of government land to leave as a further evidence of his having been a soldier. He obtained a homestead, in Barton county, and after residing upon it the necessary length of time, to secure his title from the government, he returned to his old home in Illinois, and resumed his usual pursuits, continuing thus occupied until 1880, when he retired from active business. He died on Jan. 6, 1888, his wife's death having occurred Aug. 9, 1886. They were members of the Methodist Episcopal church. They reared a family of nine children, James P. Campbell being the youngest.
James P. Campbell was married at Caldwell, Kan., Dec. 3, 1884, to Miss Ida H. Willis, daughter of Omar C. and Elizabeth C. (Moore) Willis, of Newark, Ohio, born Jan. 11, 1858. She is a woman of culture and popular in social circles. Mr. Campbell is a Republican in politics, but has never sought political perferment. He is a Shriner and a Scottish Rite Mason, belonging at Wichita. He is also a member of the Commercial, Business Men's and County clubs of Wichita, and the Northwest Texas Cattle Raisers' Association, being actively associated for the past twenty-five years. He finds recreation in travel and hunting, and entertains extensively at his ranch, which is famous for its duck hunting. His home at 1327 North Lawrence avenue, Wichita, is one of the largest and most modern in Kansas. He is in every way a high type of the active virile American, diligent in his duties and business affairs and conscientious in all things.Pages 397-399 from volume III, part 1 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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