MORRIS N. CAMPBELL, an enterprising and progressive agriculturist and a fine representative of the farming community of Lebanon, was born on the old homestead where he yet lives, November 17, 1824. His grandfather, Archibald Campbell, who was of Scotch ancestry, was born in Massachusetts, February 16, 1761. His early years were spent among the rugged hills of that State. In the struggle between the colonies and Great Britain he took an active part, entering the Revolutionary army in the latter part of the war, and serving until its close, after which be carne to Madison County (then a part of Chenango County, Madison County not having been organized until 1806). Upon his arrival here he purchased a tract of land near the present site of the reservoir, on which was a fine water privilege, which he took advantage of by building one of the first saw-mills in this section of the country. He cleared a part of his land and engaged in farming, residing in the town until his death, when about eighty years of age. His marriage occurred in Lebanon, May 4, 1786, to Mary Wiley. She was the daughter of a pioneer family, and was born April 20, 1762. She died in Lebanon, and with her husband now sleeps in the Campbell Cemetery. To them were born four children; namely, Harvy, Polly, Asenath, and Archibald.
The latter, father of our subject, was born in Lebanon, Madison County, March 15, 1795. In the primitive pioneer dwelling of his parents he grew to manhood, assisting in the farm labors, gleaning his education in a rude log school-house, and starting out for himself even with the world. He began his career working by the month at small wages, but by industry and careful economy saved enough to purchase a tract of land, build a log cabin, and warrant him in taking a life companion. His prosperity continuing, he purchased the adjoining farm, and followed agricultural pursuits many years. Late in life he relinquished the arduous duties of farming to younger hands, and removing to Hamilton, there lived a retired life until his death, in 1863. The maiden name of his wife was Susan Niles. She was born in the town of Madison, May 6, 1798, being a daughter of John and Susan (Bryant) Niles, natives respectively of Massachusetts and Otsego County, New York. Mr. and Mrs. Niles were the parents of a large family. Mr. Niles left his home in the old Bay State to take up government land in the town of Madison. Securing a tract, he improved a farm, which he subsequently sold for seven dollars per acre. He then bought wild timber land in the town of Lebanon, the journey to which he made with teams, going by wagon road part of the distance, but at times having to follow a trail marked by blazed trees. Upon this land he lived several years. Later, seeing an excellent opportunity to secure a farm in the north-eastern part of the same town, near the present site of the reservoir, he availed himself of it, and bought the property, there spending the remainder of his years. The parents of our subject reared a family of four children, bringing them up religiously in the faith of the Baptist church; and two of them, Harvy M. and Mary C., imbued with the true spirit of Christianity, went as missionaries to Burmah, where both died while yet in the prime of life. The former, Harvy, married Clarissa Conant, of an early family of this town, and at his death left two children, Clarissa and Harvy, who returned to this country. Archibald B., the youngest son, died in Hamilton, June 1, 1881.
Morris N. Campbell, of whom we write, was born in the old log house in which his parents began their wedded life. He grew to manhood under the parental roof-tree, receiving a substantial education in the district school, which was supplemented by a course of study at Hamilton Academy. At the age of eighteen years he secured a position as teacher, engaging himself for a term of three months, at a salary of twelve dollars and a
half per month and board around among the patrons of the school. He proved himself a very capable instructor; and the term was extended another month, that the pupils might have the benefit of his instruction. Not taking kindly to the profession of a teacher, however, Mr. Campbell determined to try the mercantile business, and for two years was employed as a clerk in Hamilton. At the end of that time, tiring of the business, he resumed the occupation to which he was bred, and has since devoted his attention to agricultural pursuits. He has an excellent and productive farm of one hundred acres, ten of which were a part of his father's original homestead, and whereon he was born. This he carries on most successfully.
In 1847 Mr. Campbell was united in marriage to Patience, daughter of John Rowell and a native of Madison County, born in Hamilton in July, 1825. Of this union there are four children living, namely: Ida, widow of W. H. Jones, of Eaton; J. Archie; Mary C., wife of W. G. Hitchings and Post-mistress at Randallsville; and Na Motte, whose wife died in December, 1890, and is interred in Woodlawn Cemetery at Hamilton in the same plat where his mother was interred later in the same month. Mr. Campbell is one of the leading men of his town, having held many varied offices of public trust. Among others he has served as Commissioner of Highways, was Supervisor for many years, and is now justice of the Peace. In 1875 he was elected Member of the Assembly, serving in 1876 from Madison County. He has also served the public as civil engineer and surveyor, acting some time as assistant in the State's employ. Politically, he was always opposed to slavery, and has been a stanch supporter of the Republican party ever since its formation, believing in its principles and endorsing its measures by his influence and vote. In social and fraternal matters he is a member of Hamilton Lodge, No. 120, A.F. & A.M.; of Cyrus Chapter, No. 50, R.A.M.; and of Norwich Commandery, No. 46, K.T.
Mr. Campbell has always been the friend of every worthy enterprise, and has ever manifested deep interest in whatever was designed, to promote the public good. That his qualities as a public-spirited man have been appreciated is attested by the fact that he has so often been elected to serve his town and county in public office, and that his high standing in the community as a man and citizen is recognized by all.
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