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Biography of Alexander M. Campbell Jr.

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Alexander M. Campbell, Jr. Those who scan the pages of American history with a view of selecting the personages most deserving of attention in their day and generation because of lives which have been useful and inspiring to others, could not fail to mark the name of Campbell in the annals of Saline County, Kansas. It had been continuously identified with the county since 1858, when Alexander M. Campbell, father of the present bearer of that name, came herE and immediately became a vital factor in the development of this section. At the present time the family includes 400 individuals in Saline County.

Alexander M. Campbell, the father, was born at Lonemed, Paisley, Scotland, and was a son of Patrick and Margaret (Melvin) Campbell, natives of the same place. He was educated in Dublin, Ireland, and from there, in 1847, he came alone to the United States, his parents remaining in Scotland. He made his way to Sparta, Illinois, and found no difficulty in securing work as a farm hand and remained there for the next eight years. His was too active a mind and too energetic a personality, however, to remain buried on a farm and in 1855 he came to Kansas, stopping at Westport Landing, now Kansas City, and working in a wholesale house until he had formulated plans for the future. In 1856 he proceeded to Lawrence and immediately made so excellent an impression on the people he met that he was appointed to public office and took the first census of that town. It was in March, 1858, that Mr. Campbell, in company with his brother-in-law, Col. William A. Phillips, came to Salina. His was one of the organizing minds and a townsite company was formed, made up of Mr. Campbell, Colonel Phillips and others, which laid out and platted the town. There were no railroad facilities at the time and these pioneers covered the distance from Lawrence on foot.

The first house in the projected town was 1½ stories high and was constructed of native logs. Mr. Campbell opened the first store in this building as soon as completed, conducting for a year for Colonel Phillips and then becoming proprietor. The Salina postoffice was established in this building and Mr. Campbell was made postmaster, an office he retained continuously for about forty years, an unusual record. For many years he continued in the mercantile business, building up an ample fortune for himself and through substantial encouragement assisting in the founding of many other business enterprises. Twice he was elected on the republican ticket register of deeds for Saline County. He was a man ever ready to do his duty and in 1862 enlisted for military service in Colonel Phillips’ regiment, was made a sergeant in his company and served with the troops in Indian Territory. He was a man of great force of character, honest and upright in all his dealings and his memory is preserved as a typical pioneer of this section and as one of the agents that through personal worth brought credit upon his name, his class and the community in which he lived so long. He died at Salina, February 15, 1907.

Alexander M. Campbell married, at Riley City, Kansas, November 6, 1858, Miss Christina Addison Phillips, who was born in Scotland, June 29, 1831. In 1839 she was brought to America by her parents, John and Christiana (Addison) Phillips. John Phillips was born in Scotland in September, 1797, and died in Illinois in February, 1842. His wife was born in Scotland, September 9, 1799, and died at Salina, Kansas, January 15, 1893. They had ten children, all of whom have passed away with the exception of Rev. Maxwell Phillips and Mrs. Campbell. Six children, two sons and four daughters, were born to Mr. and Mrs. Campbell: Christine Addison, distinguished as the first child born at Salina, came into the world October 25, 1859, was married to Nelson H. Loomis, August 12, 1891, and is now a resident of Omaha, Nebraska; Mary McQuatter, who was born March 14, 1862, and died June 12, 1888, was the first wife of Nelson H. Loomis, to whom she was married September 23, 1885; Margaret McQuatter, who was born a twin of Mary, died in infancy; William Phillips, who was born March 10, 1864, died January 15, 1906; Margaret, who was born August 4, 1866, was married to George M. Hull, June 23, 1887, and is a resident of Salina; and Alexander M., Jr.

Alexander M. Campbell of the above family was born on Iron Avenue, Salina, Kansas, July 15, 1868. He was graduated from the Salina High School in the class of 1891 and then took a three-year course at the Salina Normal School. He devoted himself mainly to agricultural pursuits, carrying on extensive farming according to scientific methods for many years, but in 1912 disposed of his land and retired from that line of activity. Thus he had found coveted leisure to devote to his literary and artistic work, his accomplishment in both lines displaying gifts amounting to genius. He had always been an avid student of history and had been particularly devoted to the history of Kansas and had now in his library a collection of 375 volumes on this subject. He had in his possession a manuscript he had prepared, an elaborate history of Saline County which he is holding for future publication.

Among other works from Mr. Campbell’s facile pen is a beautifully written history of the life of his beloved mother. He had issued it in book form. In this biography he narrates her personal experiences from the time she came to Kansas in the troubled days of 1856 to the time of publication. Aside from its value as a son’s appreciative tribute to an unusual mother, it is a very interesting document to all who love old Saline County and wish to preserve its true annals. Mrs. Campbell and her sister were among the very first white women in the county and were the first to explore the Saline River country, in 1858 journeying 100 miles west of Salina by themselves.

On March 15, 1899, Mr. Campbell married, at Salina, Miss Effie Davis, who was born at Hiawatha, Kansas, January 6, 1873, and is a daughter of Albert and Philena M. (Woodward) Davis. The parents of Mrs. Campbell were natives of New England and came to Kansas in 1870. Both are deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Campbell have one daughter, Mary, who was born July 17, 1901.

Had Mr. Campbell devoted himself exclusively to work as an artist, there is no doubt but that he could have won fame along this line. His talent is natural but the drawings with which he had embellished the pages of his mother’s history are true as to line and perspective and his paintings are equally admirable. In the main they illustrate scenes of pioneer life in Kansas.


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