CHARLES C. CAMPBELL, who for years has been one of the prominent business men of Bunker Hill, is now living a retired life in the enjoyment of a well-earned competence. In his beautiful home, surrounded by all of the comforts of life, he will probably spend the remainder of his days in the midst of friends who esteem him highly for his sterling worth. No man in this community is more worthy of a representation in this volume than the gentleman whose name heads this sketch.
Mr. Campbell was born in Upper Alton, Ill., March 11, 1835, and is of Scotch descent. His paternal great grandfather, Andrew Campbell, belonged to the clan of Campbell, which was driven out of Scotland at the time of the religious troubles in that country. He and a brother emigrated to America prior to the Revolutionary War and espousing the cause of the Colonies, he served in the American army for eight years, three months and thirteen days. He died in 1833 at the advanced age of eighty-six, having been born in 1747. John R. Campbell, the grandfather or our subject, spent his entire life in New Jersey, dying in Trenton, when in the prime of life. He was a manufacturer of stoneware and was connected with some of the leading potteries of that city. His son, John A., father of Charles was also a native of New Jersey and followed the trade of a potter. He married Eliza T. Cook, who was born in New Jersey of American parents who were of French extraction, and immediately thereafter the young couple started westward.
They traveled by way of the canals, and the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers and landed in Alton in 1834. It was Mr. Campbell's intention to go to St. Louis and engage in the pottery business but friends in Alton persuaded him to locate in that vicinity, as Alton was then the larger city of the two. He here abandoned his trade and embarked in farming, transforming from the wild and unbroken prairie an excellent farm which he made his home for a half century. Such was the unsettled condition of the country at the time of his arrival, that wolves were still seen roaming over the prairies and the deer frequently appeared in such large numbers that they would destroy a corn crop. Mr. Campbell lived to see the wonderful growth and progress, witnessed the establishment and upbuilding of Bunker Hill and saw St. Louis transformed from a village into one of the leading cities of the West. He was born June 14, 1812 and died March 15, 1885, respected by all who knew him. He was a local Methodist minister and his upright life proved oftentimes as potent as his preaching. In politics, he was a stanch Democrat, taking a leading part in political affairs. A man of strong convictions, he fearlessly expressed his views and his outspoken and upright manner won him the confidence of all. His wife survived him three years and died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. John Younger in Bunker Hill Township, October 19, 1887, at the age of seventy-three years. She was also a consistent Methodist and a most estimable lady whose many graces ane excellencies of character won for her many friends.
The family of this worthy couple numbered nine children, six of whom grew to mature years. Our subject was carefully and tenderly reared and early manifested a love of learning, and by extensive reading has informed himself on all subjects of general interest. In his youth, he gained a thorough knowledge of the machinist's trade, having mastered the business at the age of nineteen years, but since he has attained his majority, he has followed other pursuits. He began clerking in a mercantile store in 1855 and two years later, forming a partnership with W. H. Clark, one of the pioneers of the city, he embarked in business as a dealer in dry goods and millinery under the firm name of Clark & Campbell, which connection was continued until July, 1862, when our subject became sole proprietor, continuing alone until 1865, when W. H. Meldrum was admitted to the business. After eight months, the style was again changed to C. C. Campbell & Co. and the store was run under that name until 1867 when it became known as Davis, Johnston & Co., Mr. Campbell being the silent partner. He continued his connection with the business until 1870, when he retired, and the firm was merged into that of Johnston & Burton. The store is now the property of David Johnston and is the oldest and has always been the leading establishment of the kind in Bunker Hill. Mr. Campbell possesses the qualities of a successful merchant, being pleasant and genial in manner, thrifty and enterprising and straightforward and honest in all his dealings. On quitting the store he engaged in the real-estate business for some years but is now practically living a retired life. He has been very successful in all his undertakings, having doe business to the amount of $100,000 annually. About 1866, with a number of the leading citizens of Bunker Hill, a public library scheme was put on foot as the result of a suggestion on the part of Mr. Campbell. For the purpose of organizing a meeting was called and he was made its secretary. As a result Bunker Hill has now an excellent public library and of the association he has served as trustee and treasurer during almost its entire existence.
On the 22nd of October, 1862, in the city where he makes his home, Mr. Campbell and Miss Henrietta Williams were united in the holy bonds of matrimony. The lady was born in Covington, Ind., February 11, 1843, and is a daughter of Abraham and Catherine (Luke) Williams, who were born, reared and married in Kentucky, and afterward removed to Indiana, from whence they came with their family to Illinois in 1850, locating in Alton, where the father died the following year. Mrs. Williams afterward came to Bunker Hill, where she died October 12, 1870, at the age of seventy years, in the faith of the Methodist Church of which she had long been a member. Mrs. Campbell received liberal educational advantages, having pursued her studies in the academy of Lower Alton and the Bunker Hill Academy, and is an intelligent, refined and cultured lady who moves in the best circles of society and is held in high esteem. She remained at home until her marriage, which has been graced by three children - Roena Catherine, a graduate of Almira College, and wife of R. E. Dorsey, an attorney of Staunton; Charles Edward, a student of Shurtleff College and now connected with the Colorado Packing Co. of Denver, Col.; and Henrietta Maude who is a graduate of the Conservatory and literary course of Shurtleff in Upper Alton. Mr. Campbell, his wife and children are members of the Baptist Church, in which he holds the position of Deacon and in the Sunday school he has served as Superintendent for thirteen years.
His life has been a busy and useful one, yet he has found time to devote to public interests, having served as Township Treasurer for some years and as city Councilman for two terms. He has taken an active part in local political affairs and is a stanch advocate of Republican principles. His business associates speak of Mr. Campbell as an upright and progressive man but we learn of a different phase of his character from the poor and needy who number him among their best friends and his associates in the church know him to be a consistent Christian gentleman.