John Archibald Campbell

b. 24 June 1811, d. 12 March 1889

John Archibald Campbell, 1811-1889
  • John Archibald Campbell was born on 24 June 1811 in Washington, Wilkes County, Georgia.
  • He was educated at Franklin College, now the University of Georgia, at Athens, at Georgia graduating 1826 first in his class.
  • He studied law under Governor John Clark of Georgia, the husband of his mother's sister.
  • The following appeared on 23 January 1830 in the Macon Telegraph: Sheriffs' Sales. At Zebulon, Pike County, On the First Tuesday in February next, Will be sold before the Court House between the usual hours of sale, the following perperty, to wit: 405 acres of Land more or less known by Lots number two hundred and nineteen in the eighth district and number Thirty-three in the second district of originally Monroe now Pike county, levied upon as the property of James A. Campbell, to satisfy three Mortgage Fi Fas one in favor of John W. Campbell, William A. Campbell and Duncan G. Campbell, one in favor of John A. Campbell assignee of James R. Gray and the other in favor of William A. Campbell, property pointed out in said Fi Fas.
  • He married Anne Esther Goldthwaite, daughter of Lt. Thomas Goldthwaite and Anne Wilson, on 30 December 1830 in Montgomery County, Alabama.
  • The following appeared on 1 October 1835 in the Georgia Telegraph: Will be sold on the first Tuesday in December next before the court-house door in the town of Zebulon Pike county within the usual hours of sale the following property to wit: one lot of land containing two hundred two and one half acres more or less lying and being in the second district originally Monroe now Pike county known and distinguished in the plan of said district by lot number (33) sold as the property of James A. Campbell to satisfy a mortgage fifa issuing from the Superior court of said county. John A. Campbell assignee of James R. Gray deceased vs said James A. Campbell, property pointed out in said mortgage fifa. Also the same lot to satisfy sundry fifas issuing from the Justices court B. Fluker vs the said James A. Campbell, and property pointed out in the last levy by the defendant. Levy made and returned to me by a constable this the 17th day of sept. 1835. Joseph H. Shivers, D. sheriff.
  • John Archibald Campbell and Anne Esther Goldthwaite appeared in the US federal census of 1 June 1850 in Mobile, Alabama. Other members of the household included Henrietta Campbell, Duncan Green Campbell, Katherine Rebecca Campbell, Mary Ellen Campbell, Anna Campbell and Clara Campbell.
  • He was an attorney at law, according to the 1850 census.
  • He was appointed associate justice of the United State Supreme Court by President Pierce on 22 March 1853, and held that office until 1861.
  • John Archibald Campbell and Anne Esther Goldthwaite appeared in the US federal census of 1 June 1860 in Mobile, Alabama. Other members of the household included Katherine Rebecca Campbell, Mary Ellen Campbell, Anna Campbell and Clara Campbell.
  • He was a US Judge, according to the 1860 census.
  • On Sunday, 4 October 1863, Green Wood recorded in his plantation daily account book: "Mr. J. A. Campbell and Lady with us."
  • John Archibald Campbell appeared in the US federal census of 1 June 1870 in New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana. Other members of the household included Duncan Green Campbell, Ella S. Calvert, Charlotte Campbell, Ella Calvert Campbell, John Archibald Campbell and Anna Goldthwaite Campbell. Also in the household were four domestic servants, three female and one male. John A. Campbell also is enumerated in Baltimore with his wife and others of his family in 1870.
  • John Archibald Campbell and Anne Esther Goldthwaite appeared in the US federal census of 1 June 1870 in Baltimore, Maryland. Other members of the household included Anna Campbell, Henrietta Campbell, Frederick M. Colston, Clara Campbell, Esther Colston, John H. Mason, Bessie Mason and Mary Mason. Also in the household were six female domestic servants. J. A. Campbell also is enumerated in New Orleans with son Duncan and his family 1870.
  • He was an attorney, according to the 1870 census.
  • Both John Archibald Campbell and Robert Micajah Powell were enumerated in the 1870 and 1880 censuses in Baltimore, Maryland. Mike Powell maternal grandfather Peter Ballentine Williamson was the brother of J. A. Campbell's mother Mary Williamson.
  • John Archibald Campbell appeared in the US federal census of 1 June 1880 in Baltimore, Maryland, at 169 St. Paul Street. Other members of the household included Anna Campbell, Henrietta Campbell and John H. Mason. Also in the household were five female domestic servants and one female boarder, a dressmaker.
  • He was a lawyer, according to the 1880 census.
  • John Archibald Campbell became a widower at the 13 February 1883 death of his wife Anne Esther Goldthwaite.
  • The following appeared on 14 February 1883 in The Sun: [Died] On Tuesday night, Anne Esther Campbell, wife of Judge John A. Campbell. Funeral on Thursday afternoon, 15th instant, at 4 P. M., from the residence, No. 169 St. Paul street. It is requested that no fowers be sent.
  • The following appeared on 15 February 1883 in The Evening Critic: Mrs. Anne Esther Campbell, wife of th Hon. John A. Campbell, at one time Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States and Assistant Secretary of War in the Cabinet of the Southern Confederacy, whose death from general debility at her residence, 169 St. Paul street, Baltimore, on Tuesday night, has been noticed, was in the 70th year of her age. She was born in New Hampshire, but was of an English family.
  • John Archibald Campbell died on 12 March 1889 at age 77 in Baltimore, Maryland, at his residence.
  • He was buried at Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland.
  • The following appeared on 15 March 1889 in the Galveston Daily News: Mr. J. G. Goldthwaite of this city is in receipt of a private telegram containing the sad announcement that Hon. John A. Campbell, formerly associate justice of the United States supreme court, and afterward assistant secretary of war for the confederate states, died at his home in Baltimore on Tuesday afternoon, aged nearly 78.
         Judge John A. Campbell was born near Washington, Ga., in June, 1811. At the early age of 15 he graduated from the state university of his native state. He then entered West Point, remaining there three years, when he returned to Georgia and was licensed at the age of 18, by special act of the legislature, to practice law. Soon after he entered upon this profession young Campbell removed to Montgomery, Ala., where he rapidly went to the front in his profession and formed a partnership with two of the most distinguished lawyers in the state, Senator Fitzpatrick and Judge Goldthwaite.
         In Montgomery, Mr. Campbell married Miss Annie E. Goldthwaite, a sister of his law partner. While in Montgomery he was made a colonel of the Alabama troops in the Creek war.
         In 1836 Colonel Campbell, as he was then called, left Montgomery and went to Mobile, where he secured a large and lucrative practice. In the same year he was elected a member of the Alabama legislature, and in the extra session of 1837, called by the governor to devise means to tide over the financial panic caused by General Jackson's withdrawal of government deposits from the branch banks, he was made chairman of the bank committee. That committee was the most important of the legislature, and the reports made by its chairman, Colonel Campbell, form some of the most valuable records in the capitol of Alabama.
         In politics Mr. Campbell was, from his early manhood, a states' rights democrat, and wherever he went, though not an applicant for office or position, he was honored and looked up to as a wise political leader.
         In 1850 Colonel Campbell went to New Orleans and was engaged with John Randolph Grymes in the case of Mrs. Myra Clark Gaines against Richard Rolf and others.
         In 1852 he appeared before the United States supreme court in the Gaines case, opposed by Mr. Webster. Though he failed to win this case, his splendid argument in its trial so pleased the judges of the supreme court that they concluded to recommend him to the president for appointment in the vacancy of that court occurring in the loss of Judge McKinley.
         Judge Campbell was appointed one of the associate justices of the United States supreme court in 1853 by President Franklin Pierce. At that time Judge Taney was chief justice, and Campbell and Taney were regarded as the ablest judges of the court.
         From the time of his appointment to the outbreak of the civil war, eight years later, Judge Campbell was frequently in New Orleans as presiding justice of the circuit court for that district.
         Before the southern states resolved to try the experiment of secession he advised against it, foreseeing that it would result in war.
         At the first threat of war he resigned his position in the United States supreme court and came home to cast his lot with his people.
         Under the confederate government Judge Campbell was appointed assistant secretary of war. In 1865, a few months before the surrender of the confederate armies, he was chosen with Vice-president Stephens and Hon. R. M. T. Hunter of Virginia on the famous commission or peace conference to meet Abraham Lincoln near Fortress Monroe. The failure of that conference has long passed into history. After the war he was incarcerated a state prisoner in Fort Pulaski, Ga., for nearly a year. When he was released he returned to New Orleans and went into partnership with Judge Henry M. Spofford, and his own son, D. G. Campbell.
         In the winter of 1872-73, it will be remembered, a committee of leading citizens of Louisiana, called the committee of one hundred, went on to Washington to make an appeal to Grant to withhold his countenance and aid from the Kellogg usurpation in that state, that the people might peaceably establish the government that they had elected. Attorney-general Williams had rudely admonished this committee, under Grant's assumed authority, not to come, as the president would not receive the gentlemen composing it.
         There was a desperate condition of affairs in Louisiana at that time. The usurpation was held up and hedged in by federal bayonets. The elected government was organizing and arming a large militia and the prospect was extremely gloomy. The committee determined to make their direct appeal to Grant, despite the rude rebuff they had received. They carried with them a monster petition signed by every eminent divine in the city, and by almost every white man in New Orleans who could sign his name.
         Grant received this committee in the east room of the white-house. Judge Campbell was chosen to make the appeal. Members of the committee say that it was an historic picture. The great jurist, in no attitude of great dignity, stood before Grant, who was standing, too, at times nervously shifting his weight from one foot to the other. Attorney-general Williams, tall and scowling, with a cloak thrown over his shoulder, posed like a political Mephistopheles behind the president, while the committee was ranged round the room. Judge Campbell's speech on that occasion was a marvelous piece of eloquence. As he spoke of the woes suffered by Louisiana the tears streamed down his venerable face, and many eyes in the room were moistened in sympathy. When Judge Campbell had finished speaking he handed the petition to Grant. The president said he could do nothing, and the committee came home full of disappointment.
         Judge Campbell's life was a record of success in the practice of his profession. He himself regarded his success in the great "state" case, as it is called--the states of New York and New Hampshire vs. Louisiana--as the triumph of his legal life, as it established his view of the rights of the states under the constitution. Referring to his argument in the case, Chief Justice Waite said: "That is the greatest legal argument that I have ever heard," and Justice Miller said: "I concur in that opinion." The historian Bancroft wrote that it was a profound study of the constitution.
         Five years ago Judge Campbell returned to Baltimore to find rest at his home after a long, brilliant and useful life.
         The dead jurist leaves four daughters surviving him: Mrs. Henrietta C. Lay of Baltimore; Mrs. Kate C. Grover, wife of Colonel V. D. Grover of Norfolk, Va; Mrs. Clara C. Colston, wife of Mr. F. M. Colston of Baltimore; and Miss Annie Campbell of Baltimore.
  • A short biographical sketch of John Archibald Campbell appears in Alabama, Her History, Resources, War Record, and Public Men, from 1540 to 1872.
  • Biography: John Archibald Campbell: Associate Justice of the Supreme Court 1853-1861. Henry G. Connor. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1920. Reprinted 2004 by The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd.
  • Last Edited: 19 Nov 2015

Family: Anne Esther Goldthwaite b. 17 September 1804, d. 13 February 1883