Biography of D. D. Ross Turner Campbell

Ross Turner Campbell, D. D., who had been president of Cooper College at Sterling since 1910, had given the best years of his life to the ministry and teachers, affiliated for generations with the United Presbyterian Church.

Mr. Campbell was born at Clifton in Greene County, Ohio, December 1, 1863. His great-grandfather was Alexander Campbell, who was born in the Highlands of Scotland, went from there to County Derry, Ireland, and in 1790 arrived in the United States, locating on a farm in Bart Township of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He was a substantial farmer, and died at Newcastle, Pennsylvania, in 1845. The maiden name of his wife was Jane Chambers.

The grandfather of President Campbell was Ross Alexander Campbell, who was born near Mount Pleasant in Bart Township of Lancaster County May 1, 1799. He spent practically all his life in that township, all his children were born and reared there, and, like his father, he followed the pursuits of an agriculturist. He married Sarah Barclay.

Rev. William A. Campbell, father of Ross T., was born on his father’s farm in Lancaster County in 1829, grew up there in a rural environment, and for three years taught school in Pennsylvania. He then entered the Xenia Theological Seminary at Xenia, Ohio, graduating September 3, 1861. He was then ordained a minister of the United Presbyterian Church, and for sixteen years preached at Clifton, Ohio, from 1861 to 1877. During his residence there his son Ross T. was born. After leaving Clifton he became financial agent for Westminster College at New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, and was employed in the duties of that position for ten years when he retired from active service, but he lived there most of the time until his death February 24, 1914. He was a stanch prohibitionist in politics. During the Civil war he was drafted to help repel Morgan’s raid through Southern Ohio, but got no further than Columbus. In Chester County, Pennsylvania, William A. Campbell married Mary Ann Turner. She was born in 1831 and died at New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, in 1904. They had a family of seven children, most of whom at some time were identified with school or church work. Sarah Ella, the oldest, now living at Cleveland, Ohio, married Prof. R. O. Graham, at one time professor of chemistry at Westminster College and later incumbent of a similar chair in the Illinois Wesleyan University at Bloomington. Belle G., the second child, lives at Beaver, Pennsylvania, widow of Dr. Fred Donaldson, a physician who died at Greenville, Pennsylvania. Mary E. in her early life was a teacher in Pawnee Academy at Pawnee, Nebraska, afterwards returned to New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, and died at the age of thirty years, while temporarily residing at Cleveland, Ohio. Hulda E., who died at the home of her brother, R. T. Campbell, at Pawnee, Nebraska, June 21, 1900, was at the time a resident of Omaha, wife of R. E. Stewart, who is a professor in the Deaf and Dumb Institute at Council Bluffs, Iowa. Ross Turner Campbell is the fifth among his parents’ children. Margaret married Rev. S. W. Douthett, a minister of the United Presbyterian Church living at New Wilmington, Pennsylvania. William W., the only other son and youngest child, is director of the Conservatory of Music at Westminster College at New Wilmington.

Ross Turner Campbell attended the public schools while his parents lived at Clifton. Ohio, and took his college work in Westminster College of Pennsylvania, where he was graduated A. B. in 1886. For two years he taught in the Pawnee Academy at Pawnee, Nebraska, then spent a year in the Pittsburg Seminary in Pennsylvania and two years in Xenia Seminary at Xenia, Ohio, where he was graduated Bachelor of Divinity in May, 1891. For 2½ years he was pastor of the United Presbyterian Church at Hanover, Illinois, and then returned to Pawnee, Nebraska, where he served as principal of Pawnee Academy from September, 1894, for a period of ten years. In 1904 Professor Campbell became president of Amity College, a noble institution for the education of young men and women, located at College Springs, Iowa. He served as its president until 1910, when he came to Cooper College, being inaugurated as president October 18, 1910. In 1904 President Campbell received his degree Doctor of Divinity from Westminster College.

Under the head of educational institutions a sketch of Cooper College will be found on other pages of this publication. It may be noted here that the college had a staff of thirteen instructors and professors and a body of 226 students enrolled. The campus of thirty-five acres, located at the end of North Broadway in Sterling, contains the administration building, the girls’ dormitory, gymnasium, two buildings for employes, and recently $35,000 were raised for the purpose of perfecting a combined music hall and auditorium that will cost $50,000. The president’s manse is at 925 North Broadway. Doctor Campbell, like his father, is a stanch prohibitionist.

On July 21, 1892, at Oakmont, Pennsylvania, he married Margaret Swartwood. Mrs. Campbell was born at Nichols, New York, and her remote ancestors came from Germany and were early settlers in Southern New York. Her father, George H. Swartwood, was born in 1841, at Waverly, New York, and died in 1880. He married Maria Lambert, who was of Irish descent. She died at Nichols, New York, in 1868.

Doctor and Mrs. Campbell have three children: Helen Stewart, born at Hanover, Illinois, June 4, 1893, is the wife of J. W. Henry, a teacher in the high school at Cottonwood Falls, Kansas; Ross Turner, Jr., born at Pawnee, Nebraska, October 31, 1896, lives with his parents and is an instructor in the high school at Summerfield, Kansas; John Wentz, born at College Springs, Iowa, August 15, 1904, is now in the seventh grade of the public schools.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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