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Robert J. Campbell (1832-?)
Native of Erie Co., N.Y., moved to Bay City in 1862.

1905 Biography. (Added Jul.,2009)

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


A river port has many industries that are not known to an inland city, among these is that of dry-docking. In Bay City a part owner of one of the finest dry docks here is our subject. Their dock is at the foot of Atlantic Street on the Saginaw River. It was established in 1872, first as a floating dock. On Mr. Campbell's becoming connected with it, in 1875-76, he made of it a ground dock. It is three hundred and six feet long, fifty-five feet wide at the bottom and eighty feet wide at the top, with a sixteen-inch centrifugal pump which will empty the dock when occupied by a big boat in about two hours.

The business has continued for the past twelve years without interruption, the firm being composed of Mrs. Margaret Witthauer, as silent partner, and our subject as active partner. Mr. Campbell was born in Alden Township, Erie County, N. Y., April 22, 1832. He is a son of Leander S. and Mary (Paddock) Campbell. The former is a brother of , late of Bay City. Leander Campbell was a farmer by calling. Robert first attended the district school in the vicinity of his home and later the village school. He remained on the farm until twenty-one years of age, and then apprenticed himself to learn the carpenter's trade, which he worked at until coming to Bay City, October 12, 1862.

On first locating in this place our subject engaged for some time at this trade and then was employed as shipping clerk for the Saginaw and Bay City Salt Company. He was then engaged by private parties in making bridges, docks, booms, etc., and finally became interested in the dry dock business. The firm own the only ground dock this side of Port Huron. They have extended the dock recently and have made of it a very fine affair. They are now able to dock boats that are three hundred feet in length.

Since coming to this city Mr. Campbell has been Alderman for two years and served as Supervisor from the First Ward sixteen years. He was Treasurer of the city for one term and before the township of Hampton was added to the city, served as its Treasurer for one year. For one year he was Chief of the Fire Department. Since reaching voting age Mr. Campbell has been a staunch Democrat, never scratching his ticket excepting on one occasion, and that was to vote for a neighbor who stood high in his estimation personally.

Additional Notes:

Margaret Witthauer mentioned in this document as part owner of the dry dock was married to Bernard Witthauer, and was the oldest daughter of Judge Sidney S. Campbell, mentioned in the 1883 history reference below.

Previous owner of Bay City Dry Dock was Hubbard H. Church. [History of Bay County, Michigan - 1883.

    Bay City Directories:

  • 1887 - Church, Hubbard H, bds 1912 Woodside ave.
  • 1887 - Robert J. Campbell, Bay City Dry Dock, res. 502 Barney.
  • 1892 - Robert J. Campbell, Bay City Dry Dock, res. 1704 Woodside.
Related Pages/Notes

Robert J. Campbell

Related pages:
Bay City Dry Dock
Campbell, Harry
Campbell, S.S. (uncle)
Church, Hubbard H.
Witthauer, Margaret
People Referenced
Campbell, Leander (father)
Campbell, Robert J. (subject)
Campbell, Sidney S. (uncle)
Church, Hubbard H.
Gordon, Wm. Capt.
Paddock, Mary (mother)
Witthauer, Margaret Mrs.
Subjects Referenced
Alden Twp. Erie, NY
Bay City, Mi
Bay Co., MI
Bay City Dry Dock Co.
Burlington, VT
Cleveland, OH
Hampton Twp. Bay, MI
Michigan City, IN
Port Huron, MI
Richford, VT
Saginaw & Bay City Salt Co.
Saginaw River, MI
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.