Irwin T Campbell


IRWIN T. CAMPBELL, prothonotary and clerk of the courts of Armstrong county, was born Nov. 17, 1862, in Rayburn township, this county, son of Joseph I. And Isabella (Irwin) Campbell.

The Campbells are of Irish stock, Joseph Campbell, grandfather of Irwin T., having been born in Ireland, in 1808. Being quite young when his father died, he was adopted by an uncle, who cared for him until he reached manhood, and then, after paying a visit to his mother, whom he had not seen since he was first separated from her, he came to America. He first took up his residence in Pittsburgh, securing a position in a mercantile house. Afterward he worked on the Pennsylvania canal, earning and saving the money, $202.06, with which he purchased in 1834 100 acres of land in Valley (now Reyburn) township, Armstrong county, upon which not a tree had been cut. The location is about a mile east of the mouth of Cowanshannock creek. Mr. Campbell converted this into a fine farm, upon which he lived after settling there until his death, which occurred in October, 1858. In 1837 he married Margaret Irvin, and about 1838 they moved onto the farm, where he had already made a clearing and built a log cabin. Although surrounded by adverse circumstances, they arose superior to them through patient toil. Slowly the land was cleared, and the lowly home improved by the addition of hard-earned conveniences. Both were hard-working, thrifty, honest people, and gained the respect of all who knew them. Mr. Campbell was a member of the Methodist Church, and was for years a class leader; his wife was a member of the Presbyterian Church. Mrs. Campbell's death occurred March 29, 1846,and from that time the father endeavored by increased care for his children to compensate in some degree, however small, for the loss of a mother's influence. Mr. and Mrs. Campbell had two sons: Joseph I., born Jan. 6, 1841, and John, born 1844. When the call for soldiers for the Civil war was made both boys volunteered for the Union service, but Joseph I. was not accepted. John was, and the Pennsylvania quota being filled was assigned to the 8th New York Volunteer infantry, which was attached to the corps commanded by General Dan Sickles. John Campbell died in Allegheny, Pa., in March, 1912. He was married, and his wife and children are also deceased.

Joseph I. Campbell for several years after his father's death rented and continued upon the homestead farm, and in the meantime bought land adjoining. Subsequently he purchased his brother's interest and became the sole possessor of the paternal estate, which through his skilful management was transformed into one of the best homes in the county. Mr. Campbell was numbered among the progressive and successful farmers of his section. In politics he was a Republican. On Sept. 5, 1869, he married Isabella Irwin, who was born in Kittanning in 1828, of Irish parentage, her parents, Thomas and Jane (Williamson) Irwin, having come from Ireland and settled in Kittanning. Mr. Irwin was a weaver by trade. He soon moved to near Cowanshannock creek, where he purchased a farm. He and his wife were Episcopalians in religious connection. They were married in County Donegal, Ireland, and had a family of six daughters and one son, William, who was but six weeks old when the family came to the United States; he enlisted in an Armstrong county company of infantry for service in the Civil war, and afterward removed to the State of Tennessee. Of the daughters, Rebecca J., married R.J. Cochran and moved to Macomb, Ill. Isabella married Joseph I. Campbell. Margaret married Edward B. Thompson and resides in New York City. Annie S., who never married, died in November, 1913. Ellen, also unmarried, lives with her nephew, Albert Thompson, at Verona, Pa. One child died in infancy.

Mrs. Joseph I. Campbell died Dec. 29, 1882, only a few weeks after the death of her son, John I., which occurred Dec. 6th. She was a most estimable wife and mother, and much beloved in the Episcopal Church, of which she was a member. Her surviving children are Irwin T., Mary B. and Joseph G.

Irwin T. Campbell was brought up among strictly rural surroundings upon his fathers' farm, working for his father while attending district school. Later he went to the Dayton Academy and the Edinboro State normal school to fit himself for teaching, following that calling during the winter months and farming in the summer time for some years. In the meanwhile he was making is influence felt as a Republican, and in 1892 was sent as delegate to the State convention of his party. In 1896 he was the Republican nominee for the office of register and recorder and elected. After serving capably for three years he was renominated without opposition, re-elected, and served for another term of three years. He has always been an active supporter of the principles and candidates of his party, and during 1900, 1901 and 1902 rendered efficient service as chairman of the Republican county central committee. In the fall of 1911 he was nominated by his party for the office of prothonotary, was elected, and has since been serving in that capacity, his present term expiring Jan. 1, 1916. From 1903 until l912 Mr. Campbell was assistant secretary of the Safe Deposit and Title Guaranty Company, Kittanning, Pa. Thoroughly responsible, a man of high ideals and strict adherence to his party, Mr. Campbell is recognized as one of the representative citizens and leading Republicans of Armstrong county.

On April 17, 1912, Mr. Campbell married Myrtle D. Thompson, daughter of Andrew and Martha P. (Marshall) Thompson, the latter a member of a well-known old family of this county and a sister of Porter Marshall, a veteran of the Civil war. Mr. and Mrs. Campbell are members of the First Presbyterian Church of Kittanning.

William Marshall, Mrs. Campbell's emigrant ancestor, was born in 1722 in Ireland. When a young man he went to Scotland, where about 1748 he married Elizabeth Armstrong, and they soon afterward came to America. They settled in the southern part of what was then the Province of Pennsylvania, about sixty miles northwest of Baltimore, Md., near where the Marsh creek crossed the Pennsylvania and Maryland line---in what was known as the Conococheague settlement. It is now included in Adams county, Pa. Their family of six children, John, James, Margaret, William, Archibald and Samuel, were all born at this place. About the year 1783 William and Elizabeth (Armstrong) Marshall removed with part of their family to Westmoreland county, Pa., settling in that portion now included in Indiana county, to which section their sons John and James had emigrated several years previously. They had been driven back by the hostility of the Indians, however, John and his family returning to their first settlement in the East, and James, who was then unmarried, stopping at Sewickley settlement. William Marshall, the father, settled on a tract of land at Blacklegs creek, now included in the township of Conemaugh, Indiana county where he and his wife died, Mr. Marshall in 1796, Mrs. Marshall in 1806. A copy of his will is on record at Greensburg, Pa. in the Westmoreland county courthouse, in Will Book I, page 134.

Samuel Marshall, youngest son of William Marshall, was born in what was then York (now Adams) county, Pa. IN May, 1791, he married Mary Sterling, probably of Indiana county, as he had accompanied his parents to that part of the State at an earlier date, and they lived on his farm of 300 acres situated in Conemaugh township, Indiana county. The children of Samuel and Mary Marshall were: Mary, Walter, Joseph, Elizabeth, Jane, William S. and Sarah, twins, Archibald, Samuel S., Rebecca and John.

William Sterling Marshall, son of Samuel, was born on the old homestead farm of his father, near Clarksburg, Indiana county, and he died Nov. 19, 1874, aged sixty-four years. His wife, Rebecca (McConnell), was born near Greensburg, Westmoreland county, and died Jan. 24, 1880, aged sixty-four years. Her parents, who came over the mountains from the East to Westmoreland county, were Scotch-Irish Presbyterians. William Sterling Marshall and his wife settled soon after marriages, which occurred Feb. 15, 1830, in Armstrong county. He came out first, selected his land and cleared a place for the cabin he built, and the following spring he moved here with his wife, first stopping at Glade Run (near Dayton) awhile with the Marshalls, relatives. They stayed with his cousin, old "Uncle" Robert Marshall, the grandfather of Reed Marshall, now a merchant and leading citizen of Dayton. Then they moved to his cabin and new home. When they came to live in Wayne township, near what is now Belknap. Armstrong county, neighbors were scarce and far apart, and they settled in a rank growth of timber out of which he cleared a farm. There the young pioneer couple made a home and reared their family and lived good and useful lives. Farming was always his occupation. They had four children: David P., who married Martha Brown, of Westmoreland county; Sarah M., who married Attorney Thomas Hindman; Martha P., who married Andrew Thompson; and Mary E., who married John Speer. The parents were stanch Presbyterians.

Andrew Thompson and his wife had five children, namely: Edwin L., who married Elizabeth Quinn, is a printer, and they reside in Pittsburgh; Myrtle D. is Mrs. Irwin T. Campbell; William G. married Sophia Linnweaver, and they reside in Denver, Colo., where he is engaged in the undertaking business; Ella B. died aged seventeen years, unmarried; Rebecca M., deceased, was the wife of Arno Heerlein. Andrew Thompson was born in Christiania, Norway, in 1822, and died Dec. 30, 1902, when eighty years old. On April 24, 1862, he married Martha P. Marshall, who survives him; she was born April 14, 1841. Mrs. Thompson is a member of the First Presbyterian Church, Kittanning. Mr. Thompson was a fine Christian gentleman. In his native land he early united with the Lutheran Church, and after his marriage joined the First Presbyterian Church of Kittanning, in whose work he took a prominent part, teaching Sunday school, and proving a very popular teacher with the boys and young men. For several years prior to his death he was an elder of that church. For fourteen years Mr. Thompson was a sailor, and he was one of the pioneers in the California gold fields.

Source: pages 652-654, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed September 1998 by P. Godesky for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

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