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Below is a family biography included in the book, Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson and Pettis County Missouri published by Chapman Publishing Company in 1895.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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WILSON A. CAMPBELL, of Holden, was born in Lafayette County, this state, November 10, 1830, and is a son of Tandy and Mary (Wright) Campbell, both of whom were natives of Virginia, where they were married and where three children were born. From Virginia the family removed to Warren County, Ky., soon after the War of 1812, in which the father was a soldier. From Kentucky the family removed to Lafayette County, Mo., in 1828, and were thus numbered among the pioneers of that county. Here Tandy Campbell entered land from the Government, and here the family lived until the death of the father, in 1845, at the age of sixty-five years. There were ten children, one of whom died in infancy. Of this number all had left the parental home except two at the death of the father, our subject being one of those.

Soon afterward Wilson A. Campbell commenced life for himself, working on a farm for the sum of $7 per month. With part of his wages he purchased books, and in winter he attended school, paying his tuition and working for his board until he was eighteen years of age. He then entered forty acres of land in Johnson County, for which he paid the Government price of $1.25 per acre. The purchase money he earned by working by the month. On securing his land, he at once commenced its improvement, but in the spring of 1850 he sold out and made the trip overland to California, fitting out an ox-team with the money he received for his land. He was five months and thirteen days on the way.

On arriving at California our subject at once commenced mining at Diamond Springs, and continued during the first winter. He had fair success, and the next spring went to Georgetown, Cal., where he also engaged in mining for a few months, and then went to Horse Shoe Bend, on the American River, where he bought some claims, which took all his money. He was unsuccessful in this region and was compelled to abandon the claims. Going down the river to Yankee Slide, he remained in that vicinity for four months, and there made some money. He then went to Weaver Creek, at a place called Coon Hollow, though sometimes called Hangtown. He soon afterward left for San Francisco, and from there started home by the Panama route. They were shipwrecked at the Gulf of Tehuantepec, and blown from land out into the ocean five hundred miles, losing nearly everything they had to eat or drink. The ship’s pumps would not work and the entire crew and passengers were compelled to bale the water out of the vessel. They finally drifted back and landed in Central America. They crossed the country by jack mules to Lake Nicaragua, from where they proceeded to Graytown, where they took ship for Havanna, thence to New Orleans, and from there home by way of St. Louis. They were fourteen days making the trip from New Orleans to St. Louis, and seven days from the latter place to Lexington.

On arriving home, Mr. Campbell was in possession of $1,100, his trip costing him $500. He was then in his twenty-second year. Before settling down to business, he made a trip through the Indian country on horseback, being gone from home about three months. On his return to Johnson County he purchased one hundred and twenty acres of land, on which he made his home. On the 13th of March, 1853, he was united in marriage with Miss Louisa Hodges, of Johnson County, but a native of Lincoln County, Ky., and a daughter of Capt. Moses and Nancy (Wright) Hodges. Her father was a native of Georgia, and had served as a Captain in the War of 1812. Her mother was born in Virginia. Her father went to Kentucky soon after the War of 1812, where he married and lived until 1845, when the family moved to Johnson County, Mo.

At the time of the breaking out of the Civil War, Mr. Campbell was possessed of four hundred and forty acres of land, which he was farming. In November, 1861, he was taken prisoner by James H. Lane and his followers, and stripped of nearly all his personal property. After keeping him prisoner for a time they turned him loose, and he then went South and joined General Price, and was with him at the battle of Springfield, then south to Tennessee. He served in the commissary department, with the rank of Captain. He was in all the engagements of his regiment, including Pea Ridge and Bentonville. His regiment being united with others, the General, with his staff, were ordered to report to General Raines at Little Rock, Ark., from which place they went to Ft. Smith, then back to Missouri to hold a crossing on the Missouri River, but got into a fight at Lone Jack, after which the recruits returned to Arkansas, where the regiment was reorganized as an infantry regiment under General Parsons, and served under him until the close of the war. Mr. Campbell took part in all the engagements in the trans-Mississippi region, including Perry Grove, Helena, Pleasant Hill, La., and Jenkins’ Ferry. He was at Freeport, La., when his regiment surrendered to the Ninety-ninth Illinois Infantry, some time after Lee’s surrender. The division of which his regiment formed a part was the last to surrender.

On being paroled, Mr. Campbell returned to his home, having been absent and not seeing his wife for three and a-half years. Soon after his return he sold one hundred and sixty acres of his land in order to secure money with which to commence life again. He continued to operate his home farm until 1875, when, in partnership with J. D. Parks, he purchased a sheep ranch in Cowley County and Chautauqua County, Kan. He also bought and sold mules, and in the two lines of business made considerable money. He closed out his business there in 1880.

Since the war Mr. Campbell has added to his farm land, and now owns over six hundred acres. In 1883 he removed to Holden, where he now resides, and where he has a lovely home. Politically he is a Democrat, and cast his first Presidential ballot in 1852 for Franklin Pierce. He has served as delegate to district and congressional conventions a number of times, but has never held office. He and his wife are members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, to which he has belonged since 1859. He has served as Elder, and formerly was an active Sunday-school worker. In the fall of 1891 he took a trip to California, and there remained during the winter following. They also visited the World’s Fair in Chicago, and also the New Orleans Exposition. They take a trip occasionally and try to get some enjoyment out of life.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the Johnson County, Missouri portion of the book,  Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson and Pettis County Missouri published in 1895 by Chapman Publishing Co.  For the complete description, click here: Johnson County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Johnson County, Missouri family biographies here: Johnson County, Missouri Biographies

View a map of 1904 Johnson County, Missouri here: Johnson County, Missouri Map

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