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Henry "Harry" Campbell (before 1804-?)
Brother of Sydney S. Campbell, teacher in first school house in Bay City.

- Harry Campbell is the son of Moses Campbell, Jr. and Phoebe Stewart, of Paris, Oneida Co., N. Y. He is the elder brother of Sydney S. Campbell, who was among the first few to establish a homestead in Lower Saginaw (as Bay City was then known), after he had been platted for settlement. Harry's other siblings were: John D., Laurinda, Ruth M., Mandone and Leander.

No biography appears to have been written on Harry, although significant amount of space is given to him in early history books, recalling his humorous nature and contributions as a pioneer of Bay City. Therefore, the history provided for him comes from excerpts taken from the early history books. -- See link to Sydney's biography for more on the Campbell family extracted from the book on the History of Paris (New York), 1881.

1883 history. - Added Dec., 2010.

History of Bay County, Michigan – 1883

Page 70.
In 1844 the first school house was built, near where the Detroit and Bay City Passenger Depot now stands. After Mr. Birney came, he used to conduct religious services in this building on Sundays, and the irrepressible Harry Campbell officiated the as chorister. He was an excellent singer but could not be always relied upon to make a judicious selection of tunes. It sometimes happened that after four or five stanzas of a good old Presbyterian hymn had been reeled off, Harry, with an expression of countenance as intensely solemn as a church covenant, would start with vigorous unction, into some rollicking melody, and be halted by Mr. Birney, who would reprovingly point out his mistake. Harry would be astonished at the impropriety of his selection and repeat it upon the very next auspicious occasion.

Page 92.
They immediately commenced work on the schoolhouse, and had it ready for occupancy January 7, 1845; the size of the building was 20x26 feet, one-story. During the sound of the hammer on the schoolhouse the officers were losing no time in look up a teacher, and by the time the structure was completed Harry Campbell, a brother of our old townsman S. S. Campbell, was armed with the proper documents to take charge of the shooting gallery where the young idea was to be trained. Harry, by the way, was a famous ox-driver, which was his business during the Summer as well as teaching during the Winter, and I have been fully convinced on more than one occasion that he believed or imagined himself driving oxen in school, as he always used the same persuasive arguments; yet he was a good teacher, and had considerable experience as such; that having been his principal business for many years. The names of those that attended Campbell's school were as follows: Margaret Campbell, Emily Campbell, Syrenus Pierce, Joshua Pierce, Cordelia Pierce, Daniel Pierce, John Defo, Kate Defo, Richard Olmstead, Perry Olmstead, John Perrott, P. L. Rogers, H. B. Rogers, Easter Rogers.

1905 history. - Added Dec., 2010.

History of Bay County, Michigan – Augustus H. Gansser, 1905

Page 84.
Harry Campbell and Jule Hart divided the honors as the most popular jesters of the community, and few are the reminiscences of a humorous vein recited by the old pioneers that do not include the twain.

Harry Campbell was the faithful chorister of the first church meeting house in the settlement. One of his idioms in starting the congregation off with one of the popular airs of the day, instead of the announced hymn, keeping a sober face meanwhile, until the leader would remind him, that he had evidently turned to the wrong number. Sober as the deacon himself, Campbell would turn calmly to the hymn desired, only to repeat the mistake at the first opportunity.

Page 86.
Among the old settlers Squaconning Creek was pronounced “Squire Conning.” Harry Campbell met a wandering dentist at Saginaw and induced him to row 18 miles to Portsmouth, to look after the mouth of “Squire Conning.” At Portsmouth he was told that he had passed the “Squire's” mouth some miles up the river, whereupon the settlement enjoyed a good laugh. Incidentally the dentist found some work in his line down here, so he did not regret looking for the “Squire.”

Many good bear stories were told by the old settlers around their camp-fires, but none was repeated with more zest than Harry Campbell's. Probate Judge Sydney S. Campbell had Harry to dinner one day, and while Harry was toasting himself in front of the fireplace, the Judge came rushing into the house should “bear” at the top of his voice. Bear were a common sight in the wilderness, and guns were equally common, so it was only the work of a minute before Harry was “hot footing it” through the clearing of stumps to the woods, which then began where Washington avenue's fine business blocks now stand. Scouting cautiously into the thick underbrush toward a big black object, Harry concluded that it must be a tame bear, for it showed no inclination either to fight or to run away. On closer inspection he found it was only a large coal-black hog, and the laugh that followed the discovery might have been heard at Wenona, across the river, were the wind favorable. On the way back, Harry placed a six-inch charge into the old gun and bide his time. Presently Harry wandered down to the river and soon came hurrying back with the information, that a thundering large flock of ducks had just settled in the river near the fishing dock where Fifth avenue now reaches the river. Judge Campbell's sportsman's blood was up in an instant, and the rest of the company followed as a matter of course. The Judge hurried to his favorite log, from which he never failed to bag his game, aimed carefully and “blazed away.” The spectators were never quite certain which end of the gun was most fatal. It knocked the venerable Judge flat on his back, some distance east of the log, too sore for utterance, while the ducks were mowed down as by a cyclone. When the Judge came to, he wondered what had got into that infernal old gun. But Harry quickly set him right, by suggesting that probably he had been shooting ducks with a bear charge. All present saw the point, and are said to have joined themselves into a relief committee, vying with each other in relieving the sufferer by copius applications of whiskey internally and externally, with a little faith cure thrown in, by occasionally taking a little themselves to relieve the mental anguish of the duck hunter.

Page 96.
In 1843 the settlement was separated from Saginaw township and created into Hampton township. In 1844 the first school house was built near the north end of Washington avenue, and Israel Catlin arrived. Hon. James G. Birney held religious services in this building, with the often dubious assistance of the irresistible Harry Campbell.

Page 310.
On January 7, 1845, the new school house, one-story, 21 by 26 feet in size, was completed near the foot of Washington avenue, and Harry Campbell, the joker of early folk-lore here, taught the young idea how to shoot. The district extended for more than three miles along the river front, and the children had to trudge many weary miles morning and evening.

Additional Notes.

    1866/67 - Saginaw Valley Pioneer Directory.

  • Campbell, Andrew, carpenter, h Mackinaw, Salina.
  • Campbell, Archibald - lab, bds 610 Adams, Saginaw City.
  • Campbell, D. B. Rev - pastor Presbyterian Church, h River, Wenona.
  • Campbell, George - Architect & Builder, 308 N. Water, bds Wolverton House, Bay City.
  • Campbell, Lawrence - lab, h 201 Lafayette, Portsmouth.
  • Campbell, Moses - h 101 First, Portsmouth.
  • Campbell, Sydney S. - (Judge Probate), cor Centre & Jefferson, res, Junction Johnson st. & Woodside Ave., Bay City.
  • Campbell, Thomas C. - carpenter, h Genesee, East Saginaw.

    1883 - Biography of Bernard Witthauer.

  • Harriet Campbell, daughter of Sydney Campbell, and wife of Bernard Witthauer, was a student of Harry Campbell.

    1937 - The Bay City Times, Feb. 28.

  • (Excert from reference on Bay City's early schools.) - “The Bonnel house served as the (first) school house for Lower Saginaw's residents until January 7, 1845 when Harry Campbell constructed the school building at the foot of Washington avenue.1”

Related Pages/Notes

Harry Campbell

Related Pages:
Campbell, Robt. J. nephew
Campbell, Sydney brother
Witthauer, Mrs neice
1847 Residents of Bay Co.
People Referenced
Birney, James G.
Campbell, Andrew
Campbell, Archibald
Campbell, D.B. Rev.
Campbell, Emily (neice)
Campbell, George
Campbell, Harriet (neice)
Campbell, Harry (subject)
Campbell, John D. (bro)
Campbell, Laurinda (sis)
Campbell, Lawrence
Campbell, Leander (bro)
Campbell, Mandone (sis)
Campbell, Magaret (neice)
Campbell, Moses (father)
Campbell, Ruth M. (sis)
Campbell, Sydney S. (bro)
Campbell, Thomas
Catlin, Israel
Defo, John
Defo, Kate
Hart, Julius B.
Olmstead, Perry
Olmstead, Richard
Perrott, John
Pierce, Cordelia
Pierce, Daniel
Pierce, Joshua
Pierce, Syrenus
Rogers, Ester
Rogers, Hial B.
Rogers, Perter L.
Stewart, Phoebe (mother)
Witthauer, Bernard
Subjects Referenced
Bay City, Mi
Bay Co., MI
Bunnel House
Det. & B.C. R.R.
Hampton Twp., MI
Lower Saginaw, MI
Oneida Co., NY
Paris, NY
Portsmouth, MI
Saginaw, MI
Saginaw Co., MI
Saginaw Twp., MI
Salina, MI
Squaconning Creek, MI
Wenona, MI
Wolverton House
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.