James W. Campbell, farmer, banker and stockman, of Dellvale, Kan., and pioneer hunter and trapper of the West, was born in Lafayette county, Missouri, November 30, 1848, son of Adam Campbell and Sarah F. (Rankin) Campbell, the former a native of Kentucky and the latter of Tennessee. James Campbell, grandfather of the subject, went to California before the gold rush of 1849 and made considerable of a fortune in gold claims. He started home in a boat, but becoming sea sick he stopped at San Diego and bought Mexican ponies, with which he started overland. It took him three or four years to get back home, and when he arrived he had very little money left. However, he started the agitation to go to California and a party started from Missouri. It was made up of his relativesgrandfather, father and uncleswho had been early pioneers in Missouri. They went into winter quarters in Mills county, Iowa. Here they located, and the father of our subject was the second settler to receive a deed from the Council Bluffs land office. This was about 1852. In 1865 James Campbell became a freighter, driving an ox team over the plains.
On account of poor health our subject came to Kansas, in July, 1873, for the purpose of buffalo hunting. His health improved and as the people wanted them to locate here he and his brother-in-law, W. Ennis Pack, put filing papers on the southwest quarter, section 20, and southeast quarter, section 19, township 3, range 24. Mr. Campbell and Mr. Pack filed on the land now owned by the former, and went back to Iowa after their families. The Campbells started from Iowa with three mules and a wagon, but when about forty miles from home one mule went lame, and after delaying a week with it they were obliged to drive on with the other two. The overland trip took about four weeks' time, and they reached their destination October 9, 1873.
Although Mr. Campbell had been through this country only on a buffalo hunt, he never lost his way a single time and was clever enough to avoid the up-hill pulls for his team by following the top of the divide from a few miles west of Republican City, Neb., to the Norton and Decatur county line. The night before arriving at their claim they camped in a log house just east of their destination. In the morning Mrs. Campbell remarked that someone lived near, as she heard turkeys. But Mr. Campbell, knowing that they were wild turkeys, got up and shot several near the house before dressing. His first filing papers were dated August 1, 1873, and he settled on the southwest quarter of section 20, town 3, range 24. He paid out on this land and bought the southeast quarter of section 19, town 3, range 24, which his brother-in-law had filed upon before he went back to Iowa for a visit with his family. While Mr. Pack was gone the grasshoppers came and ate up his crops. Hearing of this he came from Iowa and took everything away, even to the doors and windows of his sod house. Mr. Campbell met him and traded him a cow in Iowa for his claim in Kansas.
The family lived in the house where Mr. Campbell shot the turkeys until he could build a dugout on the claim. This dwelling, when completed, had but one nail in it. It was five feet under ground, with side logs and three ridge poles, on which was laid sticks, over which was hay, then sod and then fine dirt. The door was a quilt. After moving his family into it he drove to a place 130 miles away (ten miles east of Beloit), where he bought one hundred bushels of corn to feed teams the next summer while breaking prairie. Having no crib he stored the corn under the home-made beds in the dug-out. After putting in the corn he drove 120 miles to Kearney, Neb., where he bought flour enough to last a year. The first year he broke up sixty-five acres of prairie, which he planted to corn. After trading for the claim of Mr. Pack he put a timber file on the northeast quarter of section 30, town 3, range 24, making three-quarters of a section of land joining together.
As a hunter Mr. Campbell was noted from Kansas to New York. He was an accurate marksman and scientific in his methods. An old hunter, Gill Wiley, who with his wife ofen[sic] went hunting with Mr. and Mrs. Campbell, taught Mr. Campbell the science of buffalo hunting, which is to never take them by surprise (not to shoot until they have seen you), shoot as many as you can in the abdomen, which makes them sick, and then when others of the herd drop back to help the sick ones to shoot them dead. In this way the herd is not stampeded. Mr. Campbell has often shot two buffaloes with one shot and killed eight out of a herd of nine. The fall that he built his dug-out he killed two buffaloes on Long Branch, besides a few antelopes and beaver. They lived on buffalo meat mainly, and he killed game for the whole neighborhood. The first summer he was in Kansas he went out on a hide hunt with other parties. They killed about 200 buffaloes, from which they took two wagon loads of hides, which they took to Wallace and sold. Wallace was 200 miles away. On July 1, about 4 o'clock in the morning, Mr. Campbell left his companions, John Humphrey and James Maloney, at Wallace and started for home to attend the Fourth of July dance, traveling across the country in a northeasterly direction alone and without any roads. He went the whole 200 miles without seeing but one person. He and his wife often went on hunting trips together, taking their two babies with them, and Mrs. Campbell is probably the only woman now living in Kansas who has ever shot a buffalo. She was the first person to pull over and hold down the buffalo now mounted in the Denver, Col., museum. Her husband had lassoed him by both hind legs, but did not dare trust his horse to hold the buffalo. He was catching the buffalo for William Wilson, of New York. He was afraid of the buffalo, but cared for the team and babies till Mrs. Campbell had tied the animal. They took the hides to Trego (now Wamego).
In 1874 there was a good prospect for corn, but the grasshoppers took everything. The first seed wheat cost $2.00 per bushel, and when they went to thresh they broke down several times and had to go to Fort Leavenworth for repairs, and it was six months before they finished the job. In 1876, Mr. Campbell raised 150 acres of wheat and although the mill offered him $1.35 per bushel for it he held it for the benefit of the settlers who wanted seed and did not have the money to buy it. To them he either sold it or let it out on shares. The next year there was a crop failure and he did not receive $100 for the 2,000 bushels he let the settlers have. In 1877 the Indians raided this section and killed a great many people. In 1878, Mr. Campbell started a blacksmith shop on his place and his brother started a store. He made over a hundred ploughs, but hard years came on and he did not make anything on his plough factory. In 1880 he went to Montana, renting his farm and leaving Mrs. Campbell and the children in Kansas. He remained in Montana about eighteen months, hunting, and working at timber cutting for the mines. He drove a fourteen-mule team hauling ore from Clancey to Wickes smelters, freighted from Dillon to Bozeman, and hauled 7,000 pounds of flour and 10,000 pounds of oats from Bozeman to Wickes at one load. The flour cost at the mill $6.35 per 100, and oats 3 cents a pound. Upon his return to Kansas, in 1881, his farm was all grown to weeds, and he bought an ox team and ploughed it all summer. After this he had several good years and raised as high as seventy-five bushels of corn to the acre. In 1877 or 1878 Mr. Campbell began raising Chester White hogs along with his cattle, and had the largest drove of hogs in the country. He has always dealt in hogs and cattle and has made a specialty of Durham cattle and Poland China hogs. Mr. Campbell has 760 acres of land in his ranch, all fenced hog-tight, and cross-fenced. In 1906 he had over 1,000 head of pigs in his pastures. His ranch, which is known as the "Prairie Dog Valley Ranch," is one of the finest in the State.
At the time of the county seat fight between Leoti and Norton about the year 1876, Mr. Campbell was very active in the contest, as he owned an eighth interest in Leoti. He has always been a leader in matters of public concern, and has helped to finance public service institutions, as banks, electric light plants, power and cold storage plants, etc. He is a stockholder in the Electric Light and Power Company, of Norton, and in the First National Bank, of that city. He has not waited for the township to build roads in his neighborhood, but has built them for himself, and has the finest roads in the county. He donated the land for the school house, which stands on his place. Mr. Campbell was captain of the Norton county militia, commissioned under Governor Osborne at the time of the Indian scare in the country; has served as township trustee and member of the school board of his district; has been a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in good standing since 1872, is a member of the Grand Lodge and has a gold medal for a twenty-five-year membership. In politics he is a Democrat. His father and mother are both living, the former ninety-two years of age and the latter eigthy-eight. They live with their children, but have a good farm in Norton county, Kansas.
Mr. Campbell was married November 29, 1867, to Julia P. Pack, daughter of Rufus and Jane (Robinson) Pack, the former a native of New York and the latter of Michigan. Mr. Pack was engaged in farming and stock raising. Mrs. Campbell was born in a "prairie schooner" in Fremont county, Iowa, and was raised in Mills county, attending the common schools. Her father was killed by a mowing machine in Iowa, and her mother died while in Utah. Mr. and Mrs. Campbell have had four children: Marry Eddie, born October 13, 1869, died December 12 of that year; William Nelson, born June 20, 1871; Rosetta Ellen, born January 6, 1874, married C. L. Davis and had one child, Ray E. Davis, died December 20, 1894; Aurora Bertha, born December 25, 1887, married Harry Cope and lives in Norton county. They have two children, Cletus Leone Cope and Lyle Cope.Pages 42-45 from a supplemental volume 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 October 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM196. It is a single volume 3.
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