George Campbell was born on February 10, 1794 in Blount County, Tennessee. He is the first child of twelve born to Thomas Campbell and Sarah Wilcox. In 1823, George Campbell arrived on foot from Tennessee and erected a cabin on his claim in the north east quarter of Section 31 near what is now Walnut Corners in Adams County, Illinois. At this time Campbell stayed with Groshong for four days before returning on foot to Tennessee for his stock and other supplies.
On his return trip in 1824, he was joined near Palmyra, Missouri by Groshong and his two daughters for the remainder of the trip. Palmyra was the location of a trading post at the time. Samuel’s wife had died shortly before. When they got to the Mississippi River, they built a raft of logs to ferry the wagons and small stock that could not swim. They made most of the stock swim it. They had horses for riding purposes only. Most work was done by oxen. This is the way all of the first settlers crossed any rivers that they came to. Groshong settled on the north east quarter of Section 29 near Rock Creek. George Campbell married Samuel’s daughter Mary the next year on August 18, 1825. This was the second marriage to take place in the County. The marriage license reads as follows, ”August the 18, 1825, To whom it may concern I give you to under stand that I Samuel Groshong has nothing agins George Campbell marring mi daughter Mary Groshong. George Campbell and Mary Groshong were lawfully joined in Marriage by me this eighteenth day of August AD one thousand eight hundred and twenty five. Willard Keyes, County Comm.” On August 12, 1826, there was a son born to George and Mary. They named him Andrew Jackson Campbell. He was the first white male child born in Adams County. He died in California in 1849. Mary said that when Andrew was a baby, the Indians would come and get him about every day and then bring him home at night and that he nursed the Indian Squaws more than he did her and by the time he was two or three years old, they would keep him a week at a time. They would paint him up and put feathers in his head so he would look like the little Indian children. They would bring him home for a few days she would get the paint washed off and have him cleaned up and then they would come get him and paint him up again. He was with the Indians more time than he was with her. Up to the time he was four or five years old, he spoke the Indian language better than English. The only neighbors they had when they first came to Adams County were the Indians. They never locked a door yet could leave for days and come back and everything would be just as they left it. It was around the winter of 1830 that George Campbell took a load of corn over to Mill Creek to be ground. He took two yoke of oxen to the wagon and while he was at the mill there was a snow fall of near four feet at the level. He was eight days coming home. he had about twelve mile to come. The Indians went to meet him. It was four days after the Indians went until they got home. That was one time Mary Groshong said that they were so tired that they would not eat supper. They just laid down on the floor and there they stayed until the next day. George divided the corn meal with them as a token of his thanks. A short time after George Campbell came to Adams County, his four brothers and one sister came also. David, Joseph, Clayborn, and Russel. David married Sarah Worley the 29th of June 1826. Joseph and Clayborn married sisters by the name of Nelson. Their sister married Robert Beaty. George served in the Black Hawk War to force the Black Hawk Indians to follow their treaty and remain on the Western side of the Mississippi River . While he was gone, some of the Indians camped in Mary’s yard so they could guard the place. George and Mary were very good friends with the Indians and they were good friends in return. George also was involved with running the Mormons out of Nauvoo. The Mormons had settled in Nauvoo to escape religious intolerance they had faced further east. However, their stay in Nauvoo was not well received by the people of Illinois. While things remained peaceful for the majority of the time, violence did occasionally erupt. The governor finally convinced Brigham Young, the leader of the Mormons after the death of Joseph Smith, to pull up stakes and head West.
- The History of Adams County, Illinois, A History of the County – Its Cities, Towns, Etc.; Chicago: Murray, Williamson & Phelps, 1879; pp. 558-560, 801.
- Peoples History of Quincy and Adams County, Illinois; Ursa Township Historian Truman Waite; pp. 735-736; 1967.
- “Some of the Old Settlers of Adams County”; Samuel Jackson Campbell (1866-1952). Original penciled in long hand on a ruled writing tablet in 1932 and Copied by Inez Mueller, Samuel Jackson Campbell’s granddaughter, in 1952. The story was provided to Truman Waite by Mrs. Mueller who later provided it to the Mendon Dispatch with Mrs. Mueller’s courtesy.
History supplied by Erick P. Lee.