Biography of James Archibald Campbell

James Archibald Campbell. The Campbell family have been residents of Kansas thirty-five years, and the name is especially well known and prominent in connection with the civic life of Topeka and Shawnee County. James A. Campbell has long been a business man of that city, and his two sons, James A., Jr., and Edwin A. Campbell give a distinction to the family by the fact that at the same time they hold two of the county offices of Shawnee County. James A., Jr., is the present county surveyor, while Edwin A. is the present county treasurer.

Before James A. Campbell came to Kansas he was identified with the family interests in Scotland. He belongs to one of the oldest branches of the Argyll family, tracing an unbroken descent from Dugal Campbell, A. D. 1160, younger son of the third Knight of Lochow. The Campbells have been prominent in that country for generations, and particularly in military affairs. It is a matter of special interest that Mr. Campbell’s great-uncle, Maj.-Gen. Sir Archibald Campbell, K. B., was in the British army during the American Revolution, fought for the mother country, was taken prisoner in Boston harbor and on May 3, 1778, was exchanged for Ethan Allen, the hero of Ticonderoga. Afterwards he was governor of Jamaica and later of Madras and is buried in Westminster Abbey, London. The fine old family estates of “Inverneill” and Ross in Scotland are now owned by Mr. Campbell’s brother, Col. Duncan Campbell, of the British army.

James A. Campbell was born at Inverneill, Argyleshire, Scotland, November 30, 1843, and grew to manhood in his native country. His father, after whom he was named, was a captain in the British army and was in the military service of Great Britain until he retired. At that time he inherited the estates of Inverneill and Ross, and he lived there until his death in 1878 at the age of seventy-nine. Captain Campbell married Anne Bowdon, who died in 1845, when her son James A. was a child.

James A. Campbell received a liberal education and a thorough training for business. He attended a boarding school at Liverpool, England, and also Madras College at St. Andrews, Scotland. At Manchester, England, he learned mechanical engineering, but most of his early business experience was in handling mill supplies at Glasgow, and during that time he also acted as factor for his father’s estates.

Giving up these connections and interests he came to America in 1880. His first home in this country was in Kansas, and his first experience was in farming in Chase County. A little later he became a draftsman in the building department of the Santa Fe Railway, and removing to Topeka about 1881 has lived in that city ever since. In 1884 he became bookkeeper for the Inter-Ocean mills and in 1898 transferred his services to the Mid-Continent mills. Since the fall of 1914 he has held a clerical position in the office of the surveyor of Shawnee County. On June 23, 1881, after coming to Kansas, Mr. Campbell married Euphemia Morison, a daughter of James Morison, of Rossie, Dunning, Perthshire, Scotland. Mr. and Mrs. Campbell have two sons and a daughter: Jessie A., wife of Edwin Davis, of Leavenworth, Kansas; James A.; and Edwin A. Both Mr. and Mrs. Campbell are members of the Episcopal Church.

James A. Campbell, Jr., present surveyor of Shawnee County, was born at Topeka, May 7, 1887, grew up in his home town and had his education in the public schools. He early found opportunity to make his own way in the world, and for four years was in the engineering department of the Santa Fe Railway, and after that for several years was employed by the Sanitary Drainage District of Chicago. Returning to Topeka, in 1910 he was elected surveyor of Shawnee County, and by re-election has held that office to the present time. He is a capable engineer, and his public record has been highly creditable. Mr. Campbell is a member of the Kansas Engineering Society, is a republican and a member of the Masonic Order. On September 3, 1913, he married Bertha Hull. They have one daughter, Jean.

Edwin A. Campbell, the second son of James A. Campbell, and now filling the office of treasurer of Shawnee County, was born at Topeka, March 1, 1889, and for a young man has had a career of noteworthy accomplishment. Reared in Topeka, he attended the public schools, but at the age of fifteen found employment for himself in the maintenance and construction department of the Santa Fe Railway. During the next 3½ years he gained very competent knowledge of engineering. He was then with the Shawnce Fire Insurance Company for eighteen months, and for a short time in 1910 was a clerk in the office of county assessor. Following that came about a year as deputy county clerk, and in May, 1911, became deputy county treasurer. The votes of the people elevated him from deputy to county treasurer in November, 1914, and he has filled that office with credit and distinction since October 12, 1915. He is also a republican and is affiliated with the Masonic and Elks fraternity. On June 30, 1913, he married Miss Dorothy Porter. They have two children: Diana and Edwin A., Jr.



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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