Campbell Family Papers, 1836-1899

Overview of the Collection

Campbell family
Campbell Family Papers
2 folders
Collection Number
Collection 325, MtBC, us (collection)
The Campbell Family Papers includes several letters, legal documents, and promissory notes spanning 1836 to 1899. Topics discussed include Campbell's plans to move west, a flood at Gallatin City, a sympathetic account of the Nez Perce pursuit and the writer's friend, Looking Glass, as well as a description of the death of Fannie Campbell's mother.
Montana State University Library, Merrill G. Burlingame Special Collections
Montana State University-Bozeman Library
Merrill G Burlingame Special Collections
P.O. Box 173320
Bozeman, MT
Telephone: 4069944242
Fax: 4069942851
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

"Major" James B. Campbell was born on October 15, 1799 in Tennessee. He moved to Illinois in 1825 and worked as a clerk prior to launching a business career in the new settlement of Chicago. Campbell invested in real estate and became wealthy, although some financial setbacks eventually influenced him to move to Missouri in 1852. In 1863 he traveled to Bannack, Montana Territory, and afterwards claimed land near the three forks of the Missouri River at Gallatin City. He engaged in ranching and operated a mercantile business there until his death on January 3, 1873. Campbell married Sarah A. Kain in 1831 and the couple had seven children, including a son, Gurdon Campbell and daughters Fannie and Anna. The two girls, the youngest of the Campbell children, arrived in Montana after their parents via a Missouri River steamboat in 1865. Fannie eventually took over the operation of her father's ranch and Gurdon was concerned with operating the mercantile business at Gallatin City.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Campbell family papers are positive photocopies of original documents. The collection includes four business related letters written to James B. Campbell from New York, Michigan, Washington D.C. and Virginia City, Montana Territory from 1836 to 1868; one letter from James B. Campbell to A. J. Jackson of Galena, Illinois, written from St. Charles, Missouri in 1862 which discusses Campbell's plans to move west; an 1873 letter from Gurdon Campbell to his mother describing a flood at Gallatin City; an unsigned 1877 letter, possibly from Gurdon Campbell to his sister Fannie, with a remarkably sympathetic account of the Nez Perce pursuit and the writer's friend, Looking Glass; two letters from Rebecca Jackson of Galena, Illinois to Fannie Campbell describing the death of her mother, Sarah Campbell. A single folder of legal documents and promissory notes pertaining to the Campbell family dated from 1867 to 1899 complete the collection.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Acquisition Information

Original letters and legal documents created or collected by the James B. Campbell family were loaned to Montana State University for copying by Mrs. Thelma Dunbar Multz, Three Forks, Montana, on April 23, 1965. The originals were returned to the donor, and their present location is unknown. These photocopies were reported to the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections in 1979 and assigned control number 79-638.

Processing Note

This collection was processed 2010 June 25

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Floods-Montana-Gallatin City
  • Frontier and pioneer life-Montana-Gallatin City
  • Merchants-Montana-Gallatin City
  • Nez PercĂ© Indians-Wars, 1877
  • Ranchers-Montana-Gallatin City

Personal Names

  • Campbell, Fannie-Correspondence
  • Campbell, Gurdon-Correspondence
  • Campbell, James B., 1799-1873-Correspondence
  • Campbell, Sarah A. Kain
  • Jackson, Alex, b. ca. 1815-Correspondence
  • Jackson, Rebecca, b. ca. 1820-Correspondence
  • Looking Glass

Family Names

  • Campbell family

Geographical Names

  • Gallatin City (Mont.)

Form or Genre Terms

  • Family papers-Montana-Gallatin City