One of Xenia's most prosperous merchants is Mr. Campbell, who needs no
introduction to the people of his township and county. During the years of
his residence, from the close of the Civil war when he, with nothing more
than half a dollar in his pocket, arrived in the township to the present
time, his progress has been marked and rapid. A veteran of that war, his
life uncovers one of those unhappy family tragedies which that crisis in our
history brought about, especially in the states of Virginia nad Maryland,
when the spectacle of father and son taking different sides in the quarrel
was seen. George W. Campbell fought and bled for the Union, and his career
in a business sphere since that time has been another successful struggle.
He was born in Virginia on August 18, 1843, the son of George Campbell and Amanda Wilcox, his mother, a native of Pennsylvania. His grandparents on his father's side were of Scotch-Irish descent and came to this country from Scotland. His father migrated to Virginia where he married and followed the occupation of a farmer. When the war broke out the elder George espoused the Southern cause, becoming a member of the Eighth Confederate Cavalry, and, having gone through the conflict died at Rock Island, Illinois, some years after. His wife died in 1878.
George W. Campbell, at the outbreak of the war, was a member of the First Virginia, later the Ninth Virginia Volunteers, who supported the Northern banner, and this placed father and son in different camps. On account of his fighting against the Confederacy he was harshly dealt with by his parents who forbid him to return to the paternal home. His father was a prosperous farmer and upon his death the management of his estate falling to his wife, she disinherited her son George W.
Our subject saw four years' service in the Civil War, engaging in thirty battles, being twice wounded and twice taken prisoner. He was wounded at the battle of Sumnerville, being shot in the thigh, and again at Sugar Creek, a ball entering his foot. In this last engagement the Union forces suffered defeat in the morning, completely turning the tables in the afternoon when they completely routed the enemy.
George W. Campbell came to Xenia almost absolutely penniless, after doing a man's part to preserve the consolidation of his country, in the winter of 1867. He obtained work as a painter and afterwards learned carpentry and the cabinet-making trade. About thirty-six years ago he started in the undertaking and furniture business. Ever since he has engaged in that line his success has been marked. He met with trials and setbacks during the early period of his business life but they were of a temporary nature and never obstructed his steady prosperity.
He married on September 6, 1874, Addie Morris, a lady whose parents came from Ohio, bringing her with them when she was but three years old. Mrs. George W. Campbell bore her husband one son, William, who has been a constant source of comfort to his parents during their life. He is a licensed embalmer and is associated with his father in business. Some years ago he marred Ada Corson, of Xenia. They have two children.
Mr. Campbell is a Democrat in politics and a sturdy adherent of the Democratic ticket. He has never been ambitious to hold public office, but he has served for a time as Mayor and Alderman. George W. Campbell and his wife are members of the Baptist church and zealous in church affairs. He is, himself, a prominent member of the Masonic Fraternity in Xenia and a leading member of the local branch of the Grand Army of the Republic.
George W. Campbell, in addition to his large mercantile business, is a large real estate owner in Xenia, and the owner of residential as well as business property. His store is a spacious one, being eighty feet by thirty-five feet, the business being conducted on two floors.
The subject of our sketch is deservedly popular with the people of every creed and class in the community, and the well merited success he has won during the course of an eventful life is but his just deserts.
Extracted 21 May 2019 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 432-434.