Campbell, James M.

Born: 1803-08-22 Frankfort, Kentucky

Died: 1887-10-31 Macomb, Illinois

Flourished: Macomb, Illinois

James M. Campbell, court clerk, farmer, and public official, lived in his native Kentucky with his family until 1809 when they moved to Shawneetown, Illinois. The family returned to Frankfort, Kentucky in 1815, where Campbell was educated at the Frankfort Seminary for about four years. He served as deputy postmaster of Frankfort for five and a half years beginning in 1822. After several peripatetic years in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Illinois, he was appointed clerk of the Circuit Court of McDonough County, Illinois in 1831, and settled in Macomb in April of that year to take up his post. Campbell was a prominent public figure in Macomb; in addition to his Circuit Court position, he was appointed clerk of the McDonough County Commissioners’ Court, held the position of postmaster of Macomb almost continuously between 1831 and 1846, and was a member of the city council and board of supervisors. In 1832, Campbell served as a private in Captain Peter Butler’s battalion of mounted volunteers during the Black Hawk War, and in 1846 he was commissary of the Third Regiment of Illinois Volunteers during the Mexican War. Campbell was a Freemason, and in politics he was a supporter of Henry Clay early in life, but a Democrat from 1832 onwards, and eventually a strong supporter of Stephen A. Douglas. In 1850, Campbell was farming in McDonough County and owned $10,000 in real property. Campbell represented McDonough County in the Illinois Senate for two terms, serving from 1853 to 1856. By 1860, Campbell had amassed $33,000 in real property, with a personal estate valued at $2,000. He married twice, first to Clarissa Hempstead in 1831, with whom he had six children, and second to Louisa Farwell Berry in 1843, with whom he had four children.

S. J. Clarke, History of McDonough County Illinois (Springfield, IL: D. W. Lusk, 1878), 327-31; Missouri, U.S., Marriage Records, 1805-2002, 15 August 1831, St. Charles County (Provo, UT: Operations, 2007); Isaac H. Elliott, Record of the Services of Illinois Soldiers in the Black Hawk War, 1831-32, and in the Mexican War, 1846-8 (Springfield, IL: H. W. Rokker, 1882), 159, 266; Record of Appointment of Postmasters, 1832-1971, NARA Microfilm Publication, M841, 145 rolls, Records of the Post Office Department, RG 28, 1832-1844, 12B:544; 1845-1855, 18:114, National Archives Building, Washington, DC; Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, Madison County, 18 October 1843, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), McDonough County, IL, 233; John Clayton, comp., The Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac, 1673-1968 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1970), 218-20; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Ward 1, Macomb, McDonough County, IL, 159; The Macomb Journal (IL), 3 November 1887, 5:3-4; Gravestone, Oakwood Cemetery, Macomb, IL.