Walter S. Campbell, who has been postmaster of Batavia since 1907, is a native of the town, his birth having
there occurred on the 4th of December, 1855, his parents being Joseph and Emma (Randolph) Campbell. The Campbells
belong to one of the old colonial families of America, having been among the first settlers of Maryland. John and
Mary Campbell, the great grandparents of our subject, were both natives of Maryland, as was also their son Thomas.
In his early manhood the latter removed to Pennsylvania, where he passed the remainder of his life, his death occurring
in 1880. There he met and married Sidney Wadsworth, a native of the Keystone state and a daughter of Joseph and
Susan (Hartman) Wadsworth, who were also born and reared in Pennsylvania. Mr. Wadsworth, who served in the war
of 1812, died while returning home from the battle of Lundy's Lane.
Joseph Campbell was born in Greene county, Pennsylvania, where he was reared and educated. After leaving school
he engaged in teaching in his native state, being successfully identified with this profession from 1848 until
1855, when, believing that the west afforded greater and better opportunities for a young man he came to Jefferson
county, Iowa. The following winter he taught in Batavia and in 1857 made his first purchase of land. This consisted
of one hundred and sixty acres in Wayne county, which he subsequently sold and bought a tract in Wapello county.
He cultivated this for twelve years, but at the expiration of that period bought one hundred acres of improved
land in Locust Grove township, this county, where he resided until his death. At East Liberty, Fayette county,
Pennsylvania, occurred the marriage of Mr. Campbell to Miss Emma Randolph, in 1851. Mrs. Campbell was born in New
Jersey and is a daughter of Samuel and Nancy (Girard) Randolph, natives of the same state where for many years
the father was engaged in the shoe business. He later removed to Pennsylvania, where he died in 1863; his wife,
however, survived until 1884. After the death of her husband Mrs. Campbell continued to live on the homestead for
two years, changing her residence to Albia, Iowa, where she made her domicile for five years. In 1910, she came
to Batavia where she is now living with her daughter Miss Clara Campbell. The family of Mr. and Mrs. Campbell numbered
ten, of whom our subject is the second in order of birth, the others being as follows: Sarah J., the wife of T.
C. Hall, a farmer of Smith county, Kansas; Annie Laura, wife of E. M. Parrett, a farmer of Locust Grove township,
this county; Florence, married E. A. Long, who is engaged in the insurance business in Albia, Iowa; Ella, the wife
of John Fansher, a farmer of Wapello county; Charles R., who is engaged in the coal business in Chicago; Alice,
a teacher now living in New Jersey; Frank T., a furniture dealer and undertaker of Quincy, Washington; Mary, the
wife of John Parrett, a farmer of Florence, Iowa; and Clara, who is living with her mother in Batavia. His political
support Mr. Campbell gave to the Whig party during his early years, his first presidential vote having been cast
for General Taylor. When the whigs were absorbed by the republicans he was ever loyal to his early principles,
remaining a stanch supporter of the men and measures of the younger party. He always took an active interest in
educational matters and while serving on the school board was a prominent factor in promoting the efficiency of
the various local educational institutions.
The early years in the life of Walter S. Campbell differ but in detail from those of the average youth reared in
the country. He remained at home on the farm with his people until he was twenty five years of age. His education
was acquired in the district schools, during which time he was working on the fields and taking care of the stock.
In 1880 he left the parental roof to make a start for himself, farming as a renter for five years thereafter. At
the end of that time he moved westward to South Dakota, where he remained for a time, before he returned to Jefferson
county and rented the old homestead. Later he bought a farm in Wapello county that he cultivated for two years,
and disposing of the same he preempted some government land in the San Luis Valley.
After operating this tract for a year he came to Batavia and engaged in the grocery business with his sister, Mrs.
Long. He was identified with mercantile pursuits for twelve years, when he traded for sixty acres of land in Locust
Grove township. For two years he remained on his land, when returning to Batavia, he engaged in the grain business
with Scott & Walker, as silent partner. December 10, 1907, he was appointed postmaster of Batavia, which at
that time was a fourth class office. He continued to be connected with the elevator for a year thereafter, when
he severed his connection with Scott & Walker, giving his entire attention to his duties to the post office,
which on the 1st of October, 1910, was raised into the third class rank. Mr. Campbell was reappointed by President
Taft in 191o, and continues to be the incumbent of the office, the duties of which he has discharged with an efficiency
that meets with the approval of the general community.
On December 18, 1879, occurred the marriage of Mr. Campbell and Miss Ida Frisbe, a daughter of Miles S. and Hannah
(House]) Frisbe. Her father was a native of Ohio, a descendant of Connecticut ancestry, his father having come
from that state to the Western Reserve in Ohio during the pioneer days. The mother was also born in the Western
Reserve, but of German extraction, as the name suggests. Mr. Frisbe, who was a merchant, came to Iowa in the late
'50s, locating in Batavia, where for a number of years he was engaged in the restaurant business. He passed away
in 1901. Five children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Campbell, the eldest of whom, Roy Ernest, and the fourth in order
of birth, a twin, died in infancy. In order of birth the others are as follows: Jessie L., who married H. L. Whitmore,
a farmer of Locust Grove township, and who has one son, Donald; Myrtle L., who became the wife of Guy McNeil, a
farmer of Des Moines township; and Raymond W., the last in order of birth and a twin, who is keeping books in Morrell's
Packing House at Ottumwa and is married to Miss Bessie Bradley, of that place.
Mr. and Mrs. Campbell are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, in the faith of which denomination they reared
their family. Fraternally he belongs to the Masonic order, being identified with Kilvvinning Lodge, No. 198, A.
F. & A. M., while Mrs. Campbell is a member of the Order of the Eastern Star. He is also an Odd Fellow, belonging
to Ohio Lodge, No. 120, I. O. O. F. His political support he gives to the Republican party, and for several years
served as township clerk in Locust Grove, having the distinction of being the first republican elected to that
office. by a heavily democratic constituency. Both Mr. and Mrs. Campbell are widely known in Batavia and vicinity
where they have many friends.
History of Jefferson County, Iowa
A Record of Settlement, Organizatin,
Progress and Achievement
BY: Charles J. Fulton
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Jefferson County, IA
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