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Bethel Campbell


Posted By: Fran Hunt, Volunteer
Date: 10/4/2001 at 08:11:12

From the Portrait and Biographical Album of Jefferson and Van Buren Counties – 1890 County
Bethel Campbell, the second child of Archibald and Catherine Houk Campbell, well-known pioneers of this community of 1842, is engaged in farming and stock-raising on Section 8, Van Buren Township, Van Buren County, the old homestead of the family. His father, who was widely known throughout this region, was born in Virginia in the year of 1806, grew to manhood in his native State and made farming his life occupation. Going to Ohio, he was there married at about the age of twenty-four years, to Catherine Houk, who was born in the Buckeye State in 1813. Returning with his bride to Virginia he settled upon a farm, which he obtained from his father, paying him (the father) $100 per year during the remainder of his life. The spring of 1842 witnessed the arrival of Archibald Campbell and his family in Van Buren County, and soon afterward he made purchase of three hundred and twenty acres of timberland, located in Van Buren Township. He then began life in true pioneer style. Into a log cabin, which he built, the family moved, after which the work of developing and improving the farm began. His efforts were crowned with success and soon a comfortable home was obtained as the reward of his labors. He died August 31, 1890, in Village Township, Van Buren County at the advanced age of eighty-four years, a worthy and respected citizen. Throughout life he had been a supporter of Democratic principles and for many years he has been a member of the Methodist Church. His wife, who was also connected with that church for many years as one of its zealous members, was called to her reward July 21, 1884. Twelve children were born unto them and with the exception of one who died in infancy, all lived to adult age. Alexander, the eldest, is engaged in farming in Village Township; Bethel the next younger; Henry, who served three years in the Union army during the war, is now deceased; James is a farmer of Union Township; Jacob died in infancy; John c. served three years in Company I Nineteenth Iowa Infantry, and is now deceased; Margaret J. resided in this county; Martha E. is now Mrs. Shipley, of Des Moines Township Mary A. is now Mrs. Rambo, of Van Buren Township; Mrs. Nancy Martin resides in Fairfield, Jefferson County; Archibald P. makes his home in Clay County Kansas and Alice is now deceased.
Our subject was a lad of nine summers when he accompanied his parents to Van Buren County. In consequence of their early settlement in the community, little opportunity was afforded him for securing an education, but by self-culture he sufficiently prepared to engage in teaching in the district schools of the state, which he followed for several years. Having a natural aptitude for tools and mechanics, he learned the carpenter trade at which he worked for some time after beginning life for himself at the age of eighteen years. Alternating his time between that occupation and school teaching, he gained some capital, but with the hope of bettering his financial condition in the spring of 1862, with an ox-team, he crossed the plains to the Pacific Slope, consuming about five months in making the journey. He first went to Oregon, where he worked at carpentering for a half year. In February of 1863, he went to Idaho where he constructed the trestlework of an aqueduct for mining a ditch. The structure is one hundred and four feet at the highest point and about three hundred feet long. Afterward he became agent for the Ditch Company, in whose employ he remained about three years. At the expiration of that time he returned to this county. He made the journey on horseback from Idaho City to Ft. Benton at a time when the Sioux and Blackfoot Indians were on the warpath. It was necessary often times to travel far into the night to find a place for camping in safety, and some would stand guard while others slept. Notwithstanding the care taken to avoid all danger, the party with which he traveled had some very narrow and exciting escapes from being captured by the ducky warriors. From Ft. Benton, Mr. Campbell traveled by boat to Omaha, then by state to Ft Des Moines, where he took the Des Moines Valley Railroad, which had just been completed, and finished his journey by rail. Soon after his return Mr. Campbell again engaged in teaching for a time, after which he purchased the old homestead and resuming the occupation to which he had been reared, has since devoted his time and attention to farming and stock-raising. He is numbered among the representative farmers of the community and has a reputation for raising only the best grades of stock, including horses, cattle, sheep and hogs. His farm, comprising three hundred and forty acres is all well improved and gives evidence of the thrift and industry of its owner.
On November 26, 1867 Mr. Campbell led to the marriage alter Miss Mary E. Johnston, of Van Buren County, a daughter of William and Martha Forbes Johnston. Her father was a native of Pennsylvania, but her mother was of Irish birth. The former died March 15, 1881, and Mrs. Johnston passed away on September 2, 1889. Mrs. Campbell was born in Ohio, July 2, 1843, and as the result of their union they have three interesting children—Thomas E., Charles A., and Myrtle L., all at home. They have lost one child, Ira W., the third in order of birth, who died in infancy. Mr. Campbell is a Democrat in politics and his wife is a member of the Presbyterian Church of Mt. Zion.
I am not related, and am only copying this for the information of those who might find this person in their family.


Van Buren Biographies maintained by Rich Lowe.
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