The Valley of Heart's Delight

James Henry Campbell

SURNAMES: Taylor,Rucker, Swope, Rodeck, Kelley, McKenzie

The name of James Henry Campbell is inseparably interwoven with the history of Santa Clara County and more
especially the beautiful town of Campbell, for his father, Benjamin Campbell, laid out the little town and it was named in his honor, nowthe very center of one of the finest fruit-growing sections of Santa Clara Valley. Here our subject was born on December 12, 1852, a son ofBenjamin and Mary Louise (Rucker) Campbell, both parents pioneers of Santa Clara County. In tracing the ancestry of Mr. Campbell, we find his paternal grandfather, William Campbell, to have been a native of Bourbon County, Ky., a tanner by trade, and a soldier in the War of 1812. He operated a tannery near Greenville, Ky., prior to going to Missouri in 1839, and there followed farming pursuits until he crossed the plains to California in 1846, making the trip via the Platte River route.

Capt, Benjamin Campbell, the father of our subject, was a youth of twenty when his parents came to California, and during the trip across the plains he drove one of the teams, waling most of the way. William Campbell preempted a claim of 160 acres two miles south of Santa Clara and his son Benjamin assisted him in preparing a home for the family in the new country, staying with him until 1849, when he returned to Missouri by way of Panama, on a visit. Upon his return to California, in 1851, he purchased the land upon which the town of Campbell stands, and in the fall of the same year again returned to Missouri, this time to claim his bride, Miss Mary Louise Rucker, born in Missouri, daughter of William and Verenda (Taylor) Rucker. They were married in Saline County, Mo., and in the spring of 1852 he again made the trip to California, accompanied by his wife, her father and his family, and also two of his sisters and their families. He was captain of the ox-team train and they brought a band of cattle. Three children blessed the union of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Campbell, of whom James Henry, the subject of this review is the eldest; Laura Ann, Mrs. Swope, is deceased, and Lena M. is Mrs. S. G. Rodeck.

In 1885 Benjamin Campbell began the culture of fruit commercially, which proved a good business venture in that locality. In 1890 he conceived the idea of founding a town in the midst of the fruit-growing district and having determined upon a line of action, he permitted no obstacle to turn him from his accomplishment. Realizing the many evils of intemperance, hewas determined that the town should be founded on temperance principles, and the town will forever remain so. The original plat of Campbell contained but eighteen lots, but since then many additions have been made by the Campbells with the same clause in the deed, and the place has increased in size and population. In executing the deeds to these lots, the title was made subject to the following conditions and restrictions: "That if the party of the second part, his heirs or assigns, shall at any time sell or keep for sale, on any portion of said premises, or knowingly permit anyone to keep for sale any spirituous of intoxicating liquors either distilled or fermented, the entire title and estate in and to said premises hereby created, shall cease, and title to said premises shall thereupon revert to said party of the first part orhis heirs and assigns forever, and it shall then be lawful for said party of the first part, his heirs or assigns, to enter upon said premises and eject said party of the second part, his heirs or assigns, and every person claiming under them, or either of them."

Benjamin Campbell was active in the affairs of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and for many years was a steward and trustee and superintendent of the Sunday school. In the early days he was a Whig, then a Democrat, but prior to his demise was a Prohibitionist in his political views. He was the first postmaster of Campbell, and for two years was a justice ofthe peace, school director for a number of years, a member of the board of trade, a promoter of the Bank of Campbell, of which he was vice-president and director, and he was a trustee of the Grange. He died March 27, 1907, and his widow survived him until March 5, 1913.

James Henry Campbell received his education in the local public schools and then attended a private school and then followed the occupation of his forbears. The original 160 acres of land acquired by his father in 1851 has been divided and sold as town lots until there are only two acres left of the old homestead on which our subject makes his home. His present marriage occurred on March 28, 1907, and united him with Mrs. Jessie (Kelley) McKenzie, a native of San Mateo, Cal., andthey are the parents of one child, Adelbert, a student in the University of California. By his former marriage Mr. Campbell has two children, George E. and Clyde E. Mrs. Campbell had two children by a former marriage, Della May and James W. McKenzie. Politically, Mr. Campbell is a Democrat and fraternally is an Odd Fellow. Having spent his entire life in Santa Clara County, his history is well known to its citizens, and his has been an honorable and useful career.

Transcribed by Linda Gretty, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 795