Tag Archives: Mary Campbell

The Kyle Family in St. Louis

Vir­ginia Kyle Camp­bell, cir­ca 1882.

Put your think­ing caps on for this one. Short ver­sion: The Camp­bells and Kyles knew each oth­er back in Coun­ty Tyrone, Ire­land, and Vir­ginia is relat­ed to many of the names we see on a dai­ly basis in St. Louis: James McCaus­land, Ralph Clay­ton and James Col­lier Mar­shall. Here’s the long (and fas­ci­nat­ing) version:

Vis­i­tors to Camp­bell House all know Vir­ginia Camp­bell was born Vir­ginia Kyle, the daugh­ter of Hazlett and Lucy Ann Kyle. What you may not know is the scope of the inter­re­la­tion­ships between the Camp­bell and Kyle fam­i­lies, their ori­gins in Coun­ty Tyrone, Ire­land, the extent of the fam­i­ly tree in Amer­i­ca, and the sur­pris­ing links to oth­er St. Louis his­toric sites. Don’t get lost as we trace some of the Camp­bell and Kyle links in St. Louis.

There are so many Kyle descen­dents that it is vir­tu­al­ly impos­si­ble to accu­rate­ly deter­mine spe­cif­ic fam­i­lies back past the end of the 18th Cen­tu­ry. The orig­i­nal Kyle fam­i­ly belongs to the Clan Camp­bell of Argyle, the sur­name orig­i­nat­ing from the Kyle dis­trict in Ayr­shire, Scot­land. As with the Camp­bells, the Kyles left Scot­land for Norther Ire­land and the two fam­i­lies undoubt­ed­ly knew each oth­er. Even­tu­al­ly some immi­grat­ed to the Unit­ed States.

In Sep­tem­ber 1818, Hugh Camp­bell came to the U.S. and was hired as a clerk in Mil­ton, NC by David Kyle of Coun­ty Tyrone. Hugh’s friend, James Reed, was already in the employ of David Kyle’s Cousins, Robert and Hazlett Kyle, the father of the yet-to-be-born Vir­ginia Camp­bell. Robert and Hazlett Kyle were also broth­ers to William and David Kyle, Jr. who, in 1824, would offer Hugh a part­ner­ship in their Rich­mond, VA busi­ness. Hugh wrote to Robert about this offer and, curi­ous­ly, men­tioned the unlike­li­hood of mar­ry­ing any­time soon. He did wait five years, and in March 1829 mar­ried David Kyle’s daugh­ter, Mary.

In Octo­ber 1831, David Kyle moved to St. Louis with his fam­i­ly (except Mary Camp­bell) and start­ed a busi­ness with Edward Edgar. Robert Camp­bell (in St. Louis) wrote to Hugh (in Rich­mond) reveal­ing he was watch­ing, if not active­ly involved, with the move: Mr. Kyle’s dwelling House is fin­ished — the rent [is about] $400…the Store House will not be com­plet­ed until 1st Novem­ber the work­man told me but I pre­sume Mr. Kyle will have lit­tle dif­fi­cul­ty in rent­ing a House.

Stephen­son House

In April 1832 Hugh Camp­bell end­ed his part­ner­ship with David Kyle Jr. and moved to Philadel­phia to start his own busi­ness. In June 1832 William Kyle died; Robert Kyle died three weeks lat­er. Per Hugh: Hazlett Kyle died at his house in Raleigh N.C. of a few days ill­ness, brought on by intem­per­ance & bad con­duct. His broth­er Robert of Fin­cas­tle went to pay a vis­it to con­do­lence to his wid­ow and to assist in reg­u­lat­ing the estate…[He] became sick on 30th & died on 31st in the same room where his broth­er breathed his last breath about 3 weeks pre­vi­ous­ly. I need scarce tell you that the cause was near­ly sim­i­lar. Thus have three broth­ers been called to their account in the course of about one year…Hazlett’s wife & chil­dren will have about the sum of $40,000 amongst them. Thus we see that Robert had some knowl­edge of the Hazlett Kyle fam­i­ly long before his first meet­ing with Vir­ginia in 1835.

In Feb­ru­ary 1835, David Kyle, father-in-law to Hugh Camp­bell, died in St. Louis, leav­ing a wid­ow and nine chil­dren (David Kyle, wife Lydia, and two daugh­ters — Mar­garet and Har­ri­et — are buried in Hugh’s fam­i­ly plot in Belle­fontaine Ceme­tery). After David’s death, Hugh spent sev­er­al months reset­tling the fam­i­ly in Fayette, MO. Besides Mary, the only child who had mar­ried by this time was Eleanor Kyle. In Decem­ber 1834 she mar­ried James Stephen­son at Christ Church in St. Louis. James was the son of Ben­jamin Stephen­son, the first sher­iff of Ran­dolph Coun­ty, Illi­nois and a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Illi­nois Ter­ri­to­ry in Con­gress. His home is now a state his­toric site in Edwardsville, Illinois.

So, David Kyle came to St. Louis in 1831, his niece Vir­ginia arrived in 1841, new­ly mar­ried to Robert Camp­bell. His daugh­ter Mary came in 1859 with hus­band Hugh Camp­bell. These Kyles, how­ev­er, were not the first ones in the area. In 1825, anoth­er branch of the Kyles lived here and estab­lished their own mer­can­tile trade. Eliz­a­beth Kyle (a dis­tant cousin to Vir­ginia and Mary) mar­ried her first cousin, Alexan­der McCausland.

Fair­fax House

Of their eleven chil­dren, John opened the mer­can­tile firm Kyle & McCaus­land. Anoth­er son, James, opened a tract of land on the west­ern edge of St. Louis. McCaus­land Avenue is named after him. John and James’ sis­ter Rosan­nah mar­ried Ralph Clay­ton, the man for whom the city of Clay­ton is named. Anoth­er sib­ling, Eliz­a­beth, mar­ried James Col­lier Mar­shall in 1840 in Rock Hill. The Mar­shall fam­i­ly home — the Fair­fax House — is an his­toric site.

The con­nec­tions go on and on. We encour­age you to vis­it all these loca­tions and reflect on “small town” St. Louis the next time you take a dri­ve down McCaus­land or Mar­shall Avenues.

This Week in History: November 1

This week’s let­ter shows some broth­er­ly ban­ter as Hugh ribs Robert about writ­ing let­ters, his wild lifestyle out West, and the slow-to-write fam­i­ly back in Ire­land.  Also, Hugh seems to be pop­u­lar with Irish immigrants.….and any­body else who needs a buck (espe­cial­ly Matthew Clark).


Philadel­phia 3 Novem­ber 1834 (Mon­day)

Dear Robert,

Yours of 22nd ult is received.  More than a page is tak­en up in the very laud­able effort to con­vince me that you are the most punc­tu­al, & I the most neg­li­gent of let­ter writ­ers.  In reply I have only two remarks to make — first I deny the fact in toto — and sec­ond­ly I think the first page of your let­ter could have been much more use­ful­ly & agree­ably filled.  Before I dis­miss this sub­ject, it may be as well to observe — once for all — that you are wrong in thus cre­at­ing a wind­mill & Quixote like fight­ing against it.  Should any cause of offense exist, you shall be the first to hear it from me — & until I tell you that such is the case, you err very much in either talk­ing or writ­ing about it.  Remem­ber Robert, we are broth­ers, and recall to mind whether any word or act of mine jus­ti­fies you in plac­ing me in any oth­er posi­tion towards you, then such as a broth­er should maintain.

Canal Street, New York 1834

Last week I spent two days in New York, but did not obtain any fresh infor­ma­tion rel­a­tive to the price, or demand for furs.  The cir­cle in which I move there, know noth­ing on that sub­ject.  I sent you a state­ment of the last sales — since when it appears, unfavourable accounts have been received of the pub­lic sales in Lon­don.  Every­thing con­nect­ed with your busi­ness, from trap­ping to sell­ing, is con­duct­ed with such secre­cy that it is almost impos­si­ble for the unini­ti­at­ed to know any thing of the pro­ceed­ings.  I am pleased to learn that you have mad a ship­ment — for I shall be cer­tain of see­ing both you and Mr. Sub­lette here, to attend to its dis­pos­al.  I shall make it a point to return from VA before 1st Decem­ber so as to be here at the time named in your let­ter for your visit.

What will you think of our friends in Ire­land, when I tell you, that six months & upwards have elapsed since I had a line from any of the fam­i­ly?  I begin to fear that they con­sid­er postage on Amer­i­can let­ters as a heavy tax — and doubt­less it is so — for I have not made a remit­tance for more than a year — & then only a small sum for Moth­er & Andrew.  They have been duly advised of your return.  If they knew how very par­tic­u­lar you are on the mat­ter, I am sure they would write; — but with me they know from long expe­ri­ence, that they can, with per­fect impuni­ty, study their own con­ve­nience; — receive a scold or two in reply; — & have all forgotten.

In busi­ness at this sea­son of the year, we have lit­tle to do.  Time pass­es rather heav­i­ly — for we have not here the excit­ing rou­tine of par­ties & wed­dings described in your let­ter.  The qui­et plea­sures of a com­fort­able home — the care­ful over­haul of our fall trans­ac­tions — and an occa­sion­al chat on the news of the day occu­py us, morn­ing, noon, & night.  For such dull employ­ments, would you not con­sent to change your mode of living?

It grieves me to dis­cov­er that you are resolved to per­se­vere in the moun­tain busi­ness.  I admit that with your inti­mate acquain­tance with its nature & chances, it holds out stronger induce­ments than oth­er occu­pa­tions; — but on the oth­er hand, I main­tain that with the utmost facil­i­ty, you can enter on a steady pur­suit; & with the same appli­ca­tion — less risk of per­son and cap­i­tal — and greater cer­tain­ty of ulti­mate gain — you can now set­tle down in life, and for­ev­er aban­don a pur­suit so very objec­tion­able to almost all your friends.  I am aware that this is noth­ing more than a rep­e­ti­tion of sen­ti­ments often expressed; yet I can­not avoid recall­ing your atten­tion to it again; — per­haps, like the wid­ow in the scrip­tures, I may be heard for my impor­tu­ni­ty.  Before you final­ly decide on anoth­er expe­di­tion, I sin­cere­ly hope I shall see you & Mr. S. and we can then com­pare notes on this sub­ject much more to our sat­is­fac­tion than any thing I can say on the present occasion.

Mary is quite well & looks for­ward with plea­sure to the time when we shall see you here.  I pre­sume you have heard that my own health has not been good dur­ing the sum­mer.  At present I feel much bet­ter and my throat (though not so musi­cal as that of our friend Miss Speak­man) is near­ly as well as ever.  Mr. Gill & A. Camp­bell are quite well & desire their respects to you and Mr. Sub­lette.  My friend Miss Har­ri­ett Camp­bell will prob­a­bly go on to VA with us about a fort­night hence.  Our stay in Rich­mond will be very brief.

Per­haps I should remark in the way of busi­ness, that woolens of near­ly every descrip­tion are high­er than when Mr. S. was last in the city.  The impor­ta­tions gen­er­al­ly have been light this sea­son & almost every kind of for­eign goods have advanced.  In many arti­cles required for your trade, you will not per­ceive the change, because such goods are not in gen­er­al demand & are lit­tle affect­ed by the fluc­tu­a­tions of market.

Of our com­mon acquain­tances I can say lit­tle or noth­ing in addi­tion to for­mer let­ters.  I had a let­ter from Matthew Clark dat­ed at Boston.  He was in want of mon­ey.  I sent him what he asked for & at the same time told him that I nei­ther wished to see nor hear from him again.  He left Ire­land in June & I believe has some of his ille­git­i­mate chil­dren with him.  Dr. John McFar­land has not writ­ten me for many months.  He has cost me over $100 which of course I do not expect to have repaid.  H. Reed is still deal­ing in cat­tle & I believe is doing well.  I lent him some funds which enables him to get along pret­ty smooth­ly & inde­pen­dent­ly.  Nan­cy Divine & anoth­er Irish girl from Glen­rone are our ser­vants.  You per­ceive my nation­al attach­ments are unchanged — and to con­fess the truth I am some­times hearti­ly tired of them.  Scarce­ly “a neigh­bour’s child” with­in miles of home, but favours me with a call — and some­how or oth­er all of them have wants to be sup­plied.  After all, I must not com­plain — some of them are grate­ful & all have some redeem­ing traits of char­ac­ter wor­thy of esteem.  Good bye!

H. Camp­bell