Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Campbells Enter The War Between The States

This is Chapter Five of the Campbell section of the chronicle of my family entitled Time and Chance. This chapter deals with the Campbells in the time leading up to the War Between The States and the background for Isaac's time in the service of the Confederacy.

John and Sarah Campbell are my GG-Grandparents, Isaac is my Great Grandfather.


T I M E ~ A N D ~ C H A N C E
Happen To Them All

Again I saw that under the sun the race
is not to the swift,
nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise,
nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to men of skill
but time and chance happen to them all.

Chapter Five

Behind the Counter
Campbell and Clinkscales

December 1854

John Campbell stood behind the counter sorting the day's mail. He had recently been appointed the postmaster for Carrollton, Missouri, and had established the post office in the mercantile he owned with John Clinkscales.

Selections for postmasters in 1853 were made by Congressmen under a complicated "advisor" system. John, as a would be postmaster, would have been required to gain the support of his Representative or Senator, then Presidential nomination to the Senate, and finally Senate confirmation. Senator David Atchison was the only Democrat from Missouri serving in the Congress in 1854 and as John was a loyal Democrate, Atchison would have made this nomination. John Campbell had made a political statement and was beginning his political career in Carrollton.

Everyone in town now had to pass through the doors of Campbell and Clinkscales to collect their mail and that had to be good for the mercantile business. Get the customer through the door and in the store; yes, John had a head for business.

Outgoing mail was John's responsibility as well. He collected 3 cents for a letter traveling under 3,000 miles and 6 cents for distances over 3000 miles (typically coast to coast). The Postal Service had just reduced the cost of a stamp and people coming into the store would have thought they were getting a bargain. More money saved would mean more money spent on store purchases.

John saw more people in the store each week than did the local lawyer, doctor, or the preacher. He dispensed the news of the day to all and sundry that entered the store. John had the opportunity to read all the periodicals and newspapers that came through the post office and that surely gave him a lot to talk about.

The mercantile was the obvious gathering place for the local farmers who brought their crops in to barter with John for goods and supplies, and for the townspeople who came for their mail and stayed to converse with John. He was an affable man and soon was affectionately referred to by everyone in the county as "Uncle John."

The appointment increased his income. A postmaster in a town the size of Carrollton could receive as much as a $1,000 per year. John, being an ambitious man, held on to his tobacco farm and acquired several slaves. The first slave was "old Aunt Martha" and the next, a male slave by the name of John Outcalt. The Campbell family Bible records the births of the children of "old Aunt Martha," but fails to note their father. Many have presumed it was the slave John Outcalt (also known as John Campbell), but there are no records to substantiate this. All of the children of Aunt Martha took the surname of Campbell.

Children of Aunt Martha

Joan Campbell - 14 July 1851
Harriet Ann Campbell - 8 December, 1853
Eliza Jane Campbell - 22 November 1856

The political tides in Missouri were changing rapidly. Early in April 1861, after having been pointed out as a Southern sympathizer, John was forced to submit to many indignities at the hands of the militia and the regular Federal troops. Realizing his position was tenuous and that his family was in jeopardy, John abandoned his merchandising business and position as postmaster and returned to the farm.

An Assistant Provost Marshall was assigned to the Carrollton area. Men and women who owned slaves or had southern sympathies were being required to sign an Oath of Allegiance to the Union. John had both slaves and southern sympathies, so he was required to sign, as were his wife Sarah and their children.

John's eldest son Isaac had been reported to the Provost Marshall. Charges and specifications for violation of his oath of allegiance were filed. Isaac was accused of joining the rebels after taking his oath. The Provost Marshall had the statement of William Grow, a resident of Carroll County, that he had seen Isaac with the rebels while Grow had been held prisoner.

Isaac, only nineteen years old, was indeed with the rebels. He had taken his horse and set off for Lexington to join General Sterling Price. John's family was convinced that it was their duty to defend the State of Missouri from invading Federal troops. Troops that meant to take away Missouri's right to make its own decisions for its own citizens.

The Federal troops were now actively looking for Isaac. John feared they would turn their attention to Isaac's fourteen-year-old brother James, forcing James to enlist in the Army as a show of good faith by the family that they supported the Union. In the dead of night, John stole away from the farm with James in tow, taking him to the safety of Louisville, Kentucky and the home of his sister Jenny Sproul.

John's wife Sarah had moved to the farm in Brunswick, Missouri, with her youngest son, three daughters, and the slaves. With John gone, the responsibility now fell to Sarah to maintain the crops and safeguard their home. A task she could not perform without the aid of the slaves Aunt Martha and John Outcalt.

Travel to Kentucky was long and dangerous and John knew he had to quickly return to Missouri to protect his family and property. Seeing James safely with his sister, John did not stop, but immediately returned to Missouri. A Missouri now deep in turmoil.

The Campbell family farm became a recruiting station. A place used to meet and solicit the men of Carroll and surrounding counties into the Confederate service. John was facilitated in these efforts by John L. Mirick.

John Mirick was a local boy, having attended high school in Carrollton. Upon graduation he commenced the reading of law with the Honorable R.D. Ray. He was admitted to the bar in 1859 and practiced as an attorney in Carrollton until the spring of 1861. Mirick aided in raising a company of infantry for the service of the State of Missouri under the first call of the Governor. Elected 2nd Lieutenant, Mirick took the company to Jefferson City to protect the capitol from the advance of General Lyon.

He was at the Lexington fight with John's son Isaac and took part in many engagements that summer in his service for the state. Mirick then joined the confederate army and was detailed on recruiting service, taking many into the army with the help of John Campbell.

Although John did not know it at the time, Mirick's ties to his family would be even closer following the end of the war, for in 1869 Mirick would marry John Campbell's daughter Mary William.

Chapter Six

Battle of Lexington
In and Around The City

September 18, 19, 20, 1861

The war will be over in ninety days. That's what Isaac thought, and his parents hoped.

T o B e C o n t i n u e d


Blogger Terry Thornton said...

I look forward to reading "the rest of the story." Thanks for this interesting and well-written account of those sad times in the United States.

Terry Thornton
Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi

September 16, 2007 at 10:04 AM  
Blogger Miriam Robbins said...

I, too, am looking forward to the conclusion of this story. Living in Kansas and Missouri during that war had to have been a time of terror and anxiety, no matter which side you stood for.

September 16, 2007 at 10:49 AM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...


Thank you for reading my post and for your very kind comments.

You know I enjoy your writing and who couldn't find a man pictured with that many books intriguing!

So intriguing, your handsome face is now part of my blogRoll.

Also like the way you've dealt with comments, promo and links - very nice. Thank you, again.


September 16, 2007 at 4:31 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...


Perhaps that is why Isaac turned to drink.

John did not believe in drinking unless for medicinal purposes.

And, I hope to see "the rest of the story," as well.


September 16, 2007 at 4:35 PM  

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