The Death of Robert Campbell, Jr.

This week, a tear-jerker.

Through­out Robert and Vir­gini­a’s mar­riage, they had the trag­ic mis­for­tune of bury­ing ten of their thir­teen chil­dren.  When a child would die, they would often reuse the name to hon­or the one who died; there­fore, the Camp­bells had two Hughs, two Hazletts, two Jame­ses and three Roberts.  Recent­ly, vol­un­teer researcher extra­or­di­naire Tom found the excerpts from the diary of John A. Clark, who was Robert and Vir­gini­a’s broth­er-in-law.  (Well, sort of.  John was mar­ried to Anna Jane Kyle, Robert’s broth­er’s wife’s sis­ter.  Got it?)

In 1861, John A. Clark was select­ed to be Sur­vey­or Gen­er­al of the New Mex­i­co Ter­ri­to­ry by Pres­i­dent Abra­ham Lin­coln, and John kept a diary of his dai­ly activ­i­ties dur­ing his tenure in this posi­tion, from 1861–1868.  When­ev­er he passed through St. Louis on his way to or back from San­ta Fe,  John would stay with Robert or his broth­er, Hugh.  In this pas­sage, John out­lines Robert Jr.‘s ill­ness and ulti­mate death.  (Inci­den­tal­ly, this is the third and final Camp­bell child to bear his father’s name.  Also, the Hugh Camp­bell referred to in the pas­sage is Robert’s broth­er.  Like­wise, the Mary men­tioned is Hugh’s wife.)

A spe­cial note of thanks to Anna Jane Stone, great-grand­daugh­ter of John A. Clark, for iden­ti­fy­ing this pas­sage for us.  The orig­nal diary is housed at the Fray Angéli­co Chávez His­to­ry Library at the Palace of Gov­er­nors in San­ta Fe, NM.

Get your tis­sue ready.

The Death of Robert Campbell
Son of Robert Campbell
From the diary of John A. Clark, Brother-in-Law

June 1st 1862

Mr. Robert Camp­bel­l’s lit­tle son Robert, was out rid­ing this evening on his pony – he rides remark­ably well — can­tered his horse up & down past Mr. Camp­bells.  He is not quite as old or as large as Charles [son of John A. Clark].  Mr. Camp­bel­l’s chil­dren are all affec­tion­ate & smart lit­tle chil­dren.  Hazlett is a per­pet­u­al motion.

Wednes­day June 4, 1862

Lit­tle Robert Camp­bell was tak­en last night with a chill & had fever all night & a sore throat — is quite ill this morn­ing, so that the Doc­tor was sent for who pro­nounces the dis­ease noth­ing of impor­tance — a cold, swelling of the ton­sils & no uneasi­ness felt by any of the friends.

Thurs­day June 5, 1862

Lit­tle Robert is no bet­ter today.  The Doc­tor says he is no worse, but I think him a very sick child — all the symp­toms seem to me to be those of diph­the­ria.  Mary & I vis­it­ed him at about 9 o’clock & we were so much con­cerned that although the Doc­tor had just left we went to his office to lay his whole case before the Doc­tor & get his opin­ion.  The Doc­tor was not in – we wait­ed for him a con­sid­er­able time & final­ly Mr. Robert Camp­bell came after the Doc­tor — when we returned & Mary remained all night with Robert.

Fri­day June 6, 1862

The friends are all exceed­ing­ly anx­ious today con­cern­ing lit­tle Robert.  He is no bet­ter & of con­se­quence is worse.  The Doc­tor says that his dis­ease is slight­ly diph­the­ria, but appre­hends no dan­ger.  I fear the worst.

Sat­ur­day June 7, 1862

Dear lit­tle Robert is evi­dent­ly worse today & the Doc­tor now says his case is decid­ed diph­the­ria but thinks it exter­nal to the wind­pipe & so not very dan­ger­ous.  I much fear the dear child will nev­er be any better.

Sun­day June 8, 1862

The Doc­tors today have giv­en up lit­tle Robert & say there is no hope of his recov­ery.  Of course this is the deep­est grief with all the friends.  Mr. Hugh Camp­bell can­not speak of him with­out shed­ding tears

Mon­day June 9, 1862

Dear lit­tle Robert Camp­bell died today at about 1/2 after 2 o’clock P. M.  The dear child is at rest & no doubt hap­py. The two fam­i­lies are in the deep­est afflic­tion.  Mr. Hugh Camp­bell & I vis­it­ed at the home & saw the body.  Mr. Robert Camp­bell bears the afflic­tion with much more equa­nim­i­ty than his brother.

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  1. Pingback: The Journal of Hugh Campbell: Intro | Campbell House Museum's Blog

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