ROBERT WILSON CAMPBELL came into Meade County in 1884, a single man, driving a mule team hitched to a wagon, and the chief articles of value in his vehicle were his "grub box" and his personal baggage. Mr. Campbell has been more than ordinarily successful in avoiding the pitfalls and hardships of Western Kansas life, and hard work and good management have brought him prosperity, which he now enjoys in a retired home at Meade. He is one of the oldest citizens of that county.
He was born in Guernsey County, Ohio, October 18, 1856. His grandfather, Robert W. Campbell, was a real Scotchman and came to America from that country. He died in Guernsey County, and among his numerous children were John Murdoch, Joseph, Finley, Margaret and William H.
John Murdoch Campbell, father of Robert W., was a native of Pennsylvania but spent his active life in Ohio and died on his farm in Guernsey County. He married Mary Ann McBride. Their children were: John M., on the old Campbell homestead in Guernsey County; Rebecca, also at the old home; Sarah and Mary, who died unmarried; Robert Wilson; and Elizabeth, who is unmarried and lives at the old Campbell home.
Robert Wilson Campbell grew up on the Guernsey County homestead, had an education in the country districts and also attended the United Presbyterian College in Ohio. Having been reared on the farm, he took to that as a permanent vocation and had considerable experience before he came west. After prospecting over several western states, including South Dakota and Iowa, he came to Kansas and attempted farming in Barber County. From there he drove overland to his location in Meade County.
In the month of June Mr. Campbell arrived in Meade County and entered a homestead five miles southeast of the Town of Meade. He built a single room sod shanty, and to that several years later he brought his bride, and in that humble home all but one of their children were born. Farming and stock raising provided for his domestic wants. As a stockman he began with a bunch of calves, later handled cows, and kept increasing his herd until he had about 300 head, which marked him as one of the most substantial stock farmers in the locality. After he and his family had occupied the sod house for about ten years it was succeeded by a substantial cottage of six rooms. His pioneer stock shelter was a typical "Kansas barn," but some years later it was succeeded by a real barn of large dimensions. As his prosperity warranted he bought up land adjacent, and when he finally sold his property in the country and moved into Meade he had about 1,000 acres. As a farmer and cultivator of the soil his experience in raising wheat marked him out conspicuously among the farmers in that section. Mr. Campbell while on the farm never was without feed. He always had a surplus from his own land, and kept a reasonable quantity of it from one season to the next so as to be provided against any emergency. While Western Kansas was undergoing its critical phases of development Mr. Campbell never abandoned his farm and only worked for others when he occasionally cultivated tree claims for non residents.
By no means all his career has been devoted to his individual interests. He was a member of the school board of district No. 25 during the most of the years he lived there. He was also an officer of both the township and county, being justice of the peace and was elected county treasurer after his removal to Meade. He served two years, and was the successor in office of John Sweet. Politically a republican, he began voting for president for Garfield in 1880 and has never missed a general election since that time and always as a sturdy exponent of the Grand Old Party. He was reared in the strict faith of the United Presbyterian Church and is a member of the Presbyterian Church at Meade. He is still interested in business as a stockholder and director of the First National Bank of Meade and a stockholder in the Kansas Casualty Company of Wichita.
On March 21, 1888, in Meade County, Mr. Campbell married Clara B. Baxter. Her parents, Samuel and Mary (Thompson) Baxter, came with their family to this region in 1887 from Allen County. Mr. Baxter had settled in Allen County in 1870, establishing a home east of Humboldt. On coming to Meade County he pre-empted, but remained only a short time and then went back to Allen County. He is now living as a farmer in Ellis County, Oklahoma, where he homesteaded. His has been a quiet and industrious life. He is a republican, and with his family is a Methodist. Samuel Baxter was born in Shelby County, Indiana, son of Samuel Baxter, a native of Maryland and a blacksmith, who died in Iroquois County, Illinois. Mary Thompson, mother of Mrs. Campbell, was born in London, England, in 1843, and when one year old was brought to America by her father, John Thompson. Samuel Baxter and wife had the following children: Mrs. Campbell, born in Iroquois County, Illinois, September 11, 1863; Elizabeth, wife of Alfred Hill, of Medford, Oklahoma; George M., of Phillips County, Colorado; Edward, of Gage, Oklahoma; Oliver, of Ellis County, Oklahoma; and Jennie, wife of Dallas Sharp, of Portland, Colorado.
The eldest child of Mr. and Mrs. Campbell is John Ross Campbell, who has the degrees A. B. and M. D. from Kansas University and is now in the Medical Corps of the United States Army for the World war. Samuel Earl, the second son, graduated Bachelor of Science in Kansas University in the mechanical engineering department and is now a corporal in Company I of the One Hundred and Sixty-Third Department Brigade, and is serving in France. Robert F., the third son, is pursuing medical studies in Kansas University. Lida M., the older daughter, is in the sophomore class of Kansas University, while Mary Jane is a sophomore in the Meade High School.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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