Governor William B. Campbell

Governor William B. Campbell

Written by Jay Guy Cisco
From Historic Sumner County, Tennessee

William B. Campbell was born in Sumner County, on Mansker's Creek, February 1, 1897; was reared on a farm; completed his education at Abingdon, Va., under his uncle, Governor Daniel B. Campbell, with whom he studied law; commenced practice at Carthage in 1829. In 1831 was elected by the Legislature Attorney General for the Fifth District. He resigned the same year and moved to Sparta; returned to Carthage in 1835 and was elected a member of the Legislature. He married Miss Fannie I. Owen. In 1836 he was elected Captain of a company for the Creek War. During the seven months he was in command of his company he fully sustained the reputation for coverage and skill of his distinguished ancestors and other members of the Campbell family at King's Mountain and elsewhere. In 1837 he defeated William Trousdale for Congress, and again defeated him 1839; re-elected in 1841 without opposition, and at the end of his term retired to private life and the practice law. Soon afterwards he was made Major General of militia. When the war with Mexico began he was elected Colonel of the First Tennessee. In the war he won distinction, as did his regiment at Monterey, Vera Cruz, Cerro Gordo and other engagements. The regiment was called the "Bloody First," and well merited the title. Soon after the return of the troops from Mexico Colonel Campbell was by unanimous vote elected to succeed Judge Abram Caruthers as Circuit Judge. In 1851 he was nominated by acclamation as the Whig candidate for Governor. In this election he was again opposed by William Trousdale, and again defeated him. At the end of this term refused renomination. In 1853 he moved from Carthage to Lebanon and accepted the presidency of the Bank of Middle Tennessee. In 1861 he canvassed the State in opposition to secession. On July 23, 1862, he was commissioned a Brigadier General in the Union Army, which office he resigned two months later. IN 1865 he was elected to Congress, but was not permitted to take his seat until June 1866. He died at Lebanon August 19, 1867.

For two centuries the Campbell family has been prominent in Virginia and Tennessee. They participated in the early Indian wars, the French and Indian war, Dunmore's war, and in the Revolution. In the battle of King's mountain were eight members of the family, one of whom was the commander-in-chief. In the War of 1812, in the Mexican War, and in the Civil War they were conspicuous for their bravery.

Governor Campbell left seven children. The oldest William B., died unmarried just after leaving college. The eldest daughter, Mary O., married D.C. Kelly. They left one son, David C. Kelly, who married Jane Cowan of Hendersonville, Sumner County. The second daughter, Margaret H. Campbell, married James S. Pilcher, and attorney at law, practicing at Nashville. They have three children: Stuart, Campbell, and Frances Pilcher. The third daughter, Fannie A. Campbell, married J.M. Bonner, a Nashville lawyer: they had children: Campbell, Moses and Mary Bonner. The three living sons of Governor Campbell are: Joseph A. who married Alice Hall: they had three daughters, Frances, Mary, and Jessie B. Campbell. They live near Lebanon at "Campbell," the old homestead that has been in the family for many years. I. Owen Campbell married Susie Towson. They live on a farm four miles from Lebanon. The youngest child of Governor Campbell - Lemuel R. Campbell - married Johnnie Marshall. They had three sons: William B., Matthew M. and Russell Campbell. Lemuel R. Campbell is a lawyer, practicing in Nashville, but resides on his farm, four miles from the city.

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