Wayne County Biographies

Part of the Indiana Biographies Project

Thomas Campbell

The deserved reward of a well spent life is an honored retirement from business in which to enjoy the fruits of former toil. To-day, after a useful and beneficent career, Mr. Campbell is quietly living at his beautiful home in Richmond, surrounded by the comforts that earnest labor has brought to him. He is a prominent citizen of this section of Indiana, and the splendid accomplishments of his life should serve to encourage others who must look to themselves for the prosperity which they may enjoy. The story of the founders of this nation and that of the Revolutionary forefathers are interesting, not only from a historical standpoint, but also as a source of inspiration and encouragement. Yet we need not look to the past: the present furnishes many examples worthy of emulation in the men who have risen through their own efforts to positions of prominence and importance in professional, political, mercantile and industrial circles. To this class belongs Thomas Campbell.

He was born in Center county, Pennsylvania, on the 13th of January, 1817, and is a son of William and Elizabeth (Parsons) Campbell. His father was accidentally killed in February, 1820, leaving the responsibility of rearing a large family of children to the mother, who with great fortitude assumed the task and bent every energy to the faithful discharge of her duties. As soon as the children were old enough they began to earn their own living and thus relieved the burden that rested upon the mother. When a lad of fourteen summers Thomas Campbell started out in life for himself, and served a seven-years apprenticeship at the carpenter's trade. Daring that time he attended school for six months only. After attaining his majority he continued to follow carpentering for seven years more in Center county, and then, in 1845, left Pennsylvania for Indiana. Locating in Richmond, he soon afterward entered the employ of the firm of J. M. Hutton & Company, with whom he remained until 1849, when the firm was changed to A. Gaar & Company. He worked as a pattern-maker and continued his connection with the latter firm until 1876, first as employe and afterward as partner. He discharged the duties assigned to him in a most prompt, faithful and efficient manner, and accordingly won promotion from time to time. His salary being accordingly increased, he invested his earnings in the business until he became one of the heaviest stockholders in the mammoth concern. He continued his connection therewith until 1876, when, having acquired an ample fortune, he laid aside business cares and retired to private life. The policy of the company was, and is, a commendable one. All transactions have ever been conducted on strict business principles, and the trust of those with whom they have had dealings has been unequivocally given. In the establishment there has been retained a large number of employes, who have been the more faithfully devoted to their work because they have known that fidelity to duty would at the proper time win recognition.

On the 27th of March, 1851, Mr. Campbell was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Gaar, daughter of Jonas Gaar, deceased. They have three children: Howard, a director, treasurer and general manager of Gaar, Scott & Company; Elizabeth, wife of George R. Williams, ex-clerk of the circuit court of Wayne county; and William Herschel, who is acting as assistant to his brother.

Mr. Campbell is always courteous, kind and affable, and those who know him personally have for him high regard. A man of great natural ability, his success in business from the beginning of his residence in Richmond has been uniform and rapid. As has been truly remarked, after all that may be done for a man m the way of giving him early opportunities for obtaining the requirements which are sought in the schools and in books, he must essentially formulate, determine and give shape to his own character; and this is what Mr. Campbell has done. He has persevered in the pursuit of a definite purpose and has gained a most satisfactory reward. His life is exemplary in all respects and he has ever supported those interests which are calculated to benefit and uplift humanity, while his own high moral worth is deserving of the highest commendation.

Biographical and Genealogical History of Wayne, Fayette, Union and Franklin Counties, Indiana, Volume 1, The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1899

Thomas Campbell, of the firm of Gaar, Scott & Co., is a son of William and Elizabeth (Parsons) Campbell, his father having died when our subject was a child, his mother surviving him twenty-four years. Thomas learned the carpenter's trade in Pennsylvania, completing it in New York, and in the spring of 1845 he came to Richmond, Ind., and commenced working as a journeyman in the wood shop of J. M. and J. H. Hulton's spring foundry, and for a number of years he was foreman of the pattern shop. He is at present a stock holder in the same firm. He was married in 1851 to Elizabeth, daughter of Jonas Gaar. They have three children — Howard, Assistant Superintendent of Gaar's Works; Sarah E., wife of George R. Williams, and William, foreman of the pattern shop at Gaar's Works. Mr. Campbell has retired from active life, and resides on Washington avenue, Richmond.

History of Wayne County, Indiana. Chicago: Inter-State Publishing Co. 1884. Volume 2