Old Newspaper Clippings

From: Hardin County Independent Newspaper, August 8, 1918

General James R. Campbell

In this issue of the Independent appears the announcement of Gen. James R. Campbell of Hamilton County as a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Congress in this district to be determined by the voters in the general primary September 11, 1918.

Gen. Campbell is probably known to every voter in Hamilton County.  He was born on a farm in Crook Township in 1853, the township being named after his great-grandfather, and his great-great-grandfather entered land in this township from the government in 1820, emigrating to this country from east Tennessee before Illinois was a state.  The General was educated in the public schools of Hamilton County and later attended Notre Dame University, South Bend, Indiana.  He taught school in Hamilton, Gallatin, White and Fayette counties, reading law at the same time, and was admitted to the Bar by the Supreme Court in 1877.  In 1878 he was the unanimous nominee of his party for the legislature, the district being composed of Hamilton, White and Jefferson counties, but in the great landslide to the Greenbackers was defeated at the polls.  He then purchased the McLeansboro Times which paper he owned and edited for 20 years, devoting his time to the editorial work and practicing law.  In 1884, he was elected to the 34th General Assembly from the district comprised of Hamilton, White, Wabash and Lawrence counties and re-elected in 1888.  In 1888 he was promoted to the state senate and was re-elected to that body in 1892, serving 12 years in the two houses.

While a member of the General Assembly he probably secured the passage of more pages of laws that now remain in our statues than any other man serving the same length of time.  He introduced and secured passage of the Australian ballot law.  These are only a few of the important measures that he introduced and secured their passage.

White representing the district in which there was no Union Labor organizations, he always voted as the journals will show, for measures in their interest, and while an employer of labor was at all times, when any of his employees have been sick paid them wages until they were able to resume work.  He has always been a friend of the working class of people, both male and female.

In 1896, General Campbell was the nominee of his party for Congress from this district and was elected by a majority of 2,951, although in 1894 Judge Burrell carried it over Hon J. R. Williams by a plurality of 1, 654.  While a member of Congress, he assisted more soldiers and soldier's widows in securing pensions than all his predecessors combined had done in a decade.  He did not simply refer their letters to the department, but went there in person, looked over the evidence on file that he might inform the applicant what was necessary to complete the evidence or meet the requirements of the pension office.

When the war with Spain was declared, Gen. Campbell tendered his resignation as Congressman to Gov. Tanner and offered his services in defense of his country.  Gov. Tanner authorized him to raise a regiment and the result was the mustering into service of the 9th Illinois Infantry, which saw service in Cuba but did not have the opportunity of showing their mettle on the field of battle.  Returning from Cuba with his regiment, President McKinley tendered him the lieutenant colonelcy of the 30th U. S. Vol., saying, "I was a volunteer myself in the Civil War and I desire to recognize the volunteers of the Spanish America War, and as you have a fine record, I have decided to tender you as a commission as lieutenant colonel to one of the provisional regiments sent to the Philippines".  Gen. Campbell accepted this commission and went with the 30th U. S. Vol. to the Philippines in 1899.  This regiment possibly saw more fighting than any of the provisional regiments sent out.  It was engaged in 63 battles, engagements and skirmishes.  When Gen. Campbell, with Capt. Porterfield's company of Wayne County, were surround by superior force of 5 to 1 and volleys were fired into them at a range of less than 50 yards, Gen. Campbell coolly dismounted from his horse and threw Lewis Holmes of Fairfield on its back and ordered him to make a run of seven miles for reinforcements.  Holmes said: "Colonel, they will kill me."  Gen. Campbell coolly replied they all would be killed if he stayed there.  Holmes ran through the line safely and reinforcements were sent.

Gen. Campbell coolly walked up and down the line, pistol in hand, directing the fire of his men until reinforcements arrived.  At the battle of Santiago, P. I., he rode along the firing line.  The roar of cannon and the whistle of Mauser bullets had no terrors for him.  At the storming of Majayjay, when Gen. Schwan asked for volunteers to lead the storming party, where the insurgents had the finest entrenchments in the world, and had held the entire command at bay for 18 hours, and where it seemed certain death to all that composed the advance, Gen. Campbell and Capt. Porterfield's company of Wayne and Miller's company of McLean County, volunteered to lead the advance, backed up by the remaining companies of the 30th regiment.  Gen. Campbell was promoted Brigadier General on his efficiency record that is on file in the War Department at Washington, made up by generals of the regular army, and without any political pressure.

Gen. Campbell on arriving in the Philippine Islands soon took the situation as it actually existed. He could readily see as did the lamented General Lawton, and all the officers and the soldiers in the service, that the people of the Philippines were not capable of self government; he saw that the real cause of the insurrection was misguided persons at home, who were attacking the policies of the lamented President McKinley, who was endeavoring to give the people of Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines, a democracy where they could ultimately govern themselves and not be turned over to Germany, whose navy was hanging around Manila like a lot of vultures ready to gobble up the island as soon as we abandoned them.  Gen. Campbell saw soldiers every day shot down around him fighting for the same principles that President Wilson is now fighting for, a democracy for the people of all the world where thy can elect their own officers and govern themselves and not be subject to military government when the lines were so drawn that he must decide between his party and his patriotism; he chose the latter and cast his lot with President McKinley and his policies of liberation, education and directing people to self government in Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippine Islands.

September 1900, he asked for a leave of absence from the army and came home at his own expense, traveling 20,000 miles and entered the campaign for President McKinley, giving him loyal support, making from one to two speeches every day.  After the insurrection had been suppressed and civil government established, Gen. Campbell returned home with the 30th regiment and was mustered out of service.

After his return home from the Philippines he turned his attention to business, looking after and draining large tracts of swamp lands that he owned, organizing the First National Bank of McLeansboro and reducing the rates of interest in the county.  He remodeled the Co-operative Milling Company building, ran the mill night and day, paid the farmers St. Louis prices for their wheat and corn and built up a large flour trade over the Southern states.  He owns the controlling interest in the Campbell Milling Company in Carmi, White County, and the Bank of Broughton and if elected to Congress would know how to look after the interest of farmers, laborers and businessmen.

He supported Col. Roosevelt for president in 1904, President Taft in 1908.  When the Republican bosses through the Republican National Convention disfranchised the Republican bosses through the Republican National Convention disfranchised the Republicans of the nation at the Chicago convention in 1912, he joined the Progressive party and gave Col. Roosevelt his entire support.  He was one of the delegates at large that attended the Progressive convention at Chicago in 1916, and when Roosevelt refused to be a candidate and Perkins of New York, with other leaders, tried to deliver the Progressive party to Hughes and the old crowd, Gen. Campbell with the rank and file of the western states, gave their support to President Wilson and elected him.  Gen. Campbell has been giving President all the support possible, as the following telegram will show, sent to the President fourteen days after the war was declared.

McLeansboro, Ill., April 20, 1917,
President Wilson, Washington, D. C.

I congratulate you on your firm stand for selective conscription.  As Colonel of the Ninth Illinois Volunteers that served in Cuba during the Spanish America war, and as lieutenant colonel of the Thirtieth U. S. Vol., that served during the insurrection in the Philippine Islands, and as Brigadier General of volunteers, with all the experience I have had as a volunteer officer, I am earnestly in favor of selective conscription and the training of the officers of the Reserve. Corps.  If I can be of any service in the passage of this bill only command me and I will come to Washington.

James R. Campbell

Courtesy to the President, only prevents us from publishing the letter the president wrote Gen. Campbell in reply to this telegram which is marked personal.

If the selective draft had been defeated in Congress our army in France would have been unorganized, untrained and undisciplined force commanded in many instances, by inferior officers, who secured their commissioners and commands by political preference, and only our true patriotic America boys would have volunteered, thereby leaving the slackers, traitors and pro-Germans at home to knife them in the back.  But our nation's present army in France is composed to the prime manhood of our land, rich and poor, high and low, and all of the high commands are held by officers educated at West Point, who have spent a life time in their profession of the art of war.

If Gen. Campbell is honored with the nomination, he will make a vigorous campaign, and there is no man in the district so well and favorably known, and who could command more support than he.

He is in hearty sympathy with the President, the administration and the prosecution of the war; he is a man that has had varied business experience, being now actively engaged in different business enterprises, and no man in the district know the needs of the people better than does General Campbell.

He is very Democratic in his association, extremely pleasing in manner, of robust constitution, and untiring always in the discharge of any duty.

General Campbell's military service, his acquaintance with the officers of the War Department, and the interest he has always taken in military affairs would enable him to render valuable service to the War Department, and look after and protect the interest and welfare of our boys in the service.

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