CAMPBELL, David, one of the oldest farmers and merchants in McDonough County, Ill., and one of the most highly respected citizens of Good Hope, in that county, where he is now living in retirement, was born in Greene County, Tenn., on June 15, 1819, a son of Alexander and Mary W. (Strain) Campbell, the former being a native of Virginia where he was born in Augusta County. Alexander Campbell moved from Virginia to Tennessee at an early period, and in 1829 started for McDonough County, Ill., stopping, however, in Kentucky until September, 1830. He then continued his journey until he reached Camp Creek, Ill., where he remained eight years. There he bought a tract of Governmental land, for which he paid $1.25 per acre. This he sold in the spring of 1836 and, with his two sons-in-law, A. H. and Quintus Walker, purchased Section 16 in Walnut Grove Township. At that time the law required that there must be at least forty inhabitants in a township before the sixteenth section could be advertised for sale. On making a count it was discovered that the population fell somewhat short of the requisite number, and in order to comply with the provisions of the statute, Mr. Campbell and the Messrs. Walker hired rail-makers to come and make up the deficiency.
Alexander Campbell carried on farming in Section 16 after clearing, breaking up and improving the land. It was the only settlement between Ellisville, Ill., and what was then known as Job's Settlement, being eighteen miles from the former, and twelve from the latter. Mr. Campbell and the Messrs. Walker built and dwelt in log houses, and their homes furnished the only stopping places in a long distance for people traveling from Ohio and Indiana for the purpose of settling in Iowa. In that day it was necessary for the residents of the neighborhood to haul all their grain and pork to Beardstown or Warsaw, Ill., and this consumed considerable time. The wife of Alexander Campbell was formerly Mary W. Strain, whom he married in Tennessee on October 18, 1808 or 1809. She and her husband reared a family of three boys and four girls, of whom the sons are still living. Mr. Campbell continued to live in Section 16, Walnut Grove Township until his death in 1856. He filled the office of Justice of the Peace for a number of years, occupied several minor public positions, and was prominent in the work of organizing the township. He was a man of remarkable energy, superior judgment and strict probity.
David Campbell accompanied his parents from Tennessee to Illinois, being then about ten years of age. He has a clear recollection, of the time when his father conducted a Sunday School in the log cabin which constituted the family home. When twenty-two years old, the subject of this sketch applied himself to farming on his own account, on eighty acres of land which he had purchased in Section 16, Walnut Grove Township, and at a later period he bought forty acres more in Section 8, adjoining. In 1869 he sold his farm, intending to move to Kansas, but instead of carrying out his original purpose, established his residence in Good Hope, in the fall of that year. His son E. T. went to Kansas, but returned somewhat dissatisfied with the outlook there. The family, therefore, determined to remain in Good Hope, where the father and two of his sons bought an agricultural implement and dry-goods store, which they conducted for a number of years.
In June, 1842, Mr. Campbell was united in marriage with Winifred Bridges, who was born in Tennessee, but whose parents were early settlers of Industry Township, McDonough County. Six children were the offspring of this union, namely: Cornelia (Mrs. Derell), born September 3, 1842; John, born April 14, 1847, who lives in Kansas; Ebenezer N. (deceased), who was born January 8, 1849, and was a physician; Margaret Louisa (Mrs. Cruser), born April 17, 1851, a resident of Missouri; Mary Jane (Mrs. A. Allison), born June 16, 1853, whose home is in Good Hope, Ill., and Ira Bridges, born February 28, 1856, who resides in Missouri, at Kansas City. Ebenezer and Ira were associated with their father in the mercantile enterprise already mentioned. In politics, the subject of this sketch is an oldtime Republican and served five years as Postmaster of Good Hope. His son, Ebenezer N., had previously held that office for two years, but resigned in order to study medicine, and was succeeded by the father. Mr. Campbell has been a member of the Presbyterian Church since he was nineteen years of age, and has had a long, useful and honorable career. No citizen of McDonough County is held in greater esteem than David Campbell, who is regarded on all sides with profound veneration.
Source: The Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of McDonough County, compiled by Dr. Newton Bateman, and Paul Shelby, 1907.