Biography of Wallace B. Campbell

WALLACE B. CAMPBELL has been closely identified with the business life of Anderson since coming to the city in 1895, He is well and favorably remembered as editor and owner of the Anderson Herald, which he built up to be one of the best equipped printing establishments in any city of similar size in the state. After several years of very successful newspaper work he turned his attention to real estate, developing one of the largest flat, apartment and business properties in the city. In addition to looking after his own property interests during the past eight years, he has been secretary of the Anderson Commercial Club, which has been a most efficient organization in the promotion of the city’s industrial development.

Mr. Campbell was born on a farm in DeWitt County, Illinois, June 8, 1857, His father was Joseph Wallace Campbell, who was born near Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky, 0n April 1, 1820, and who came to Indiana about 1840, settling on a farm near Bloomington, Mr. Campbell’s mother, Mary Ann (Blakely) Campbell, was born near May’s Lick, Mason County, Kentucky, on February 5, 1824, and moved to a farm near Bloomington in 1834, She married Joseph W. Campbell on October 19, 1843, and in 1849 they entered eighty acres of land in DeWitt County, Illinois, There were eight children born of this union. William O., the first born, served three years in the Union army before he came of age, The others were Louise J., Alice, Sarah E., Laura, Wallace B., Hilary J., and Lawrence E., all living today with the single exception of Louise J. The mother died on March 5, 1894, and the father followed her on November 18, 1896, at Roberts, Illinois. Both were almost lifelong members of the Christian church and lived exemplary lives for simplicity, integrity, gentleness and neighborly kindness.

Wallace B. Campbell lived on a farm until he was twenty-two years of age, His early education was obtained in the district schools, with the exception of two short terms in a village school, He taught school near his father’s farm in Ford County, Illinois, for two years and during that time assisted at home on the farm and did one year’s work in preparation for college, without an instructor. He entered the freshman class in Indiana University in 1880 and was graduated with the class of 1886, During his last year he had charge of the laboratory work in Botany with W. S. Blatchley who graduated the following year and who was afterward State Geologist for many years, He taught school in Montgomery County two years before graduating from the university, it being necessary to earn his college expenses in that manner, He entered the university on less than $50 and boarded himself for two years. He was elected principal of the Paxton (Ills,) high school in the fall of 1886, and the next year he read law with Messrs, Paul, White and Humphreys of Crawfordsville, Indiana, and was admitted to the bar in that city, He opened a law, real estate and loan office at Roberts, Ford County, Illinois, but it proved a poor location, as Ford County was largely agricultural, without saloons and with very little crime to be contended with, so that the “pickings” for a young lawyer were disagreeably sparse. However, during his residence there, he tried about a dozen cases, winning each of them.

Mr. Campbell had acquired some taste for newspaper work while in college and as waiting for “cases” made no strong appeal to a man of his native energy and activity, he decided to accept the invitation of Hon. N. E. Stevens, of Paxton, Illinois, to become associated with Mr. Stevens’ son, Arthur H. Stevens, in newspaper work at Auburn, Indiana, There the two young men bought the Auburn Dispatch, June 1, 1889. This proved to be a successful venture in a business way, and five years later Mr. Campbell bought Mr. Stevens’ interest in the paper and ran it alone for a year, selling it in June, 1895, to buy the Anderson Herald.

When Mr. Campbell bought the Herald in the year named, as far as equipment was concerned, the plant was a veritable junk shop, barring the presence of some good type and one small job press. It was manned, however, with a number of good employees, among whom was Charles H. Neff, one of the present owners, Mr. Campbell brought Mr. Edward C. Toner, of Martinsville, now another of the owners of the paper, to the Herald as city editor in October, 1895, and about the same time Harry T. Hallam, of Auburn, came as foreman of the mechanical department, a position he still holds, Mr. Campbell’s next step was to equip the plant with the best machinery money could buy, In this equipment was a Cox angle-bar web perfecting press, the first one installed in Indiana, and a Mergenthaler linotype machine, the second or third to be installed in the smaller cities of the state, The first paper published from type set on this machine was issued on July 4, 1897.

Mr. Campbell was a close student of newspaper and job printing, He frequently consulted a number of the most successful newspaper men in the state and profited by their experience, He served at different times as secretary and president of the Indiana Republican Editorial Association, and was several times sent as a delegate to the National Editorial Association meetings. He was frequently to be found on the program in state and national meetings, He attributes his success in newspaper work, which is recognized throughout the state, to three things-good equipment of his plant, surrounding himself with loyal and competent workmen, and conscientious and faithful service to the community served.

The Herald was sold to Edward C. Toner and Charles H. Neff on June 1, 1901, since which time Mr. Campbell has given his attention to the buying and developing of the Campbell, Annex, Jefferson and Lincoln flat, apartment and business properties.

When the Anderson Commercial Club was organized in December, 1905, the first board of directors selected Mr. Campbell as Club Secretary, He was reelected each succeeding year up to the present time, During the entire time he has served in the office at a personal sacrifice, but always with the highest regard for whatever would promote the best interests of the city, The city has enjoyed marked industrial development during the eight years of Mr. Campbell’s service, much of which has been directly due to the work of the Commercial Club. The new industries brought to the city, or the old ones retained, through work of the Commercial Club, have during that period paid out more than *3,500,000 in wages, Of this sum from ten to fifteen per cent is net profit to the city.

Mr. Campbell has always been greatly interested in the public schools. In June, 1909, he was unanimously elected a member of the School Board, serving as secretary two years and as president one year. He was president of the Board when the present new high school building was completed in 1912. During his service he stood for the most rigid economy in the expenditure of the public funds, but he especially favored an increased wage for the grade teachers, with a view of holding more of the best teachers where the greatest number of pupils might be benefited. He urged the largest development of the manual training and vocational courses and the establishment of a business course in the high school, with the hope of making all of the school work more practi- cal and useful to the great body of pupils who must depend upon the public schools for their entire education, His work on the board was carried on in a direct line with the ideas and plans of the advocates of vocational education, which has so lately come to be an issue of greatest importance in the public schools generally.

On October 19, 1892, Mr. Campbell married Miss Sarah E. Tarney, daughter of Samuel J. and Nancy Tarney, of Auburn, Indiana. Mrs. Campbell was graduated from the State Normal at Terre Haute, Indiana, in 1884, and after serving as principal of the Bourbon (Indiana) high school for one year, was elected a member of the State Normal Faculty, which position she held up to the time she was married. In the fall of 1895 she was elected supervisor of instruction in the Anderson schools, serving in that capacity for three years, and declining reelection for a fourth year, because of her wish to retire from the teaching profession. Probably no woman in Madison County has done more practical work for the cause of education than has Mrs. Campbell, For years she was instructor in many County institutes throughout the state, and she has revised several school readers for the American School Book Company. In addition to Mrs. Campbell’s enthusiastic interest in education, which she still retains, she is greatly interested in public charity and in the work of the correctional institutions of the state. She was appointed by Governor Hanly as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Indiana Girls’ School, was reappointed by Governor Marshall and for the past three years has been president of the board, She is president of the Madison County Children’s Home Association, and has been since the organization of the association thirteen years ago.

Mr. Campbell, also, has a keen interest in all of these matters, and is a director and treasurer of this board of which his wife is president, Both are members of the Tourist Club and Mrs. Campbell is a member of the Clio ‘Club, both being literary organizations of representative order.



MLA Source Citation:

Forkner, John. History of Madison County, Indiana: a narrative account of its historical progress, its people and its principal interests. Chicago: The Lewis publishing company, 1914. AccessGenealogy.com. Web. 23 December 2014. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/indiana/biography-of-wallace-b-campbell.htm - Last updated on Aug 29th, 2012


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