The Madras College Archive


Former Pupil Biographies

James Archibald Campbell (1843 - 1917)

James Campbell was a businessman in Kansas, Topeka and Shawnee County, and his two sons, James A., Jr., and Edwin A. Campbell gave a distinction to the family by the fact that at the same time they held two of the county offices of Shawnee County. James A., Jr., was the county surveyor, while Edwin A. was the county treasurer. Before James A. Campbell came to Kansas he was identified with the family interests in Scotland. He belonged 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. 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 harbour 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 were owned by Mr. Campbell's brother, Col. Duncan Campbell, of the British army.

James A. Campbell was born at Inverneill,  Argyllshire, 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 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 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. He died in Shawnee County on 7 August 1917.