Tag Archives: Virginia Kyle Campbell


We just stum­bled across this arti­cle that ran in the Feb­ru­ary 13, 2000 edi­tion of the St. Louis Post-Dis­patch. The quote is so good, we had to share it. From a let­ter Robert wrote to his fiancée Vir­ginia short­ly before the were mar­ried in 1841:

Pre­pare one of your sweet­est kiss­es and have it on the bor­der of your sweet lips to wel­come me on my arrival to con­trive our meet­ings so that I can, with your sense of pro­pri­ety, fold you in my embrace and rev­el in your charms with­out being inter­rupt­ed. I must not indulge in this strain for it pro­duces such excite­ment that my writ­ing would scarce be legible.


An image of the Post-Dis­patch arti­cle that announces the dona­tion of the Diebel Col­lec­tion of Camp­bell let­ters and the inti­mate nature of their con­tents. Appro­pri­ate­ly, it ran right before Valen­tine’s Day 2000.

Mystery Mail

Some of the mys­te­ri­ous mail bear­ing the return address “Some­where in Time.”

Between the mys­te­ri­ous half-dol­lars and elu­sive foot­steps through­out the house, we’re used to the unex­plained around here. One of our favorite — and longest-run­ning — mys­ter­ies arrives via the U.S. Post Office.

For years, Camp­bell House has received mail addressed to Camp­bell fam­i­ly mem­bers. The hand­writ­ing’s always the same, it’s always post­marked from St. Louis, and the return address says noth­ing more than “Some­where in Time.”

We received three in close suc­ces­sion this year: Hugh’s birth­day, Robert’s birth­day (from Vir­ginia) then James’ birth­day. Before that, Vir­ginia received a “think­ing of you” card from Robert, and Vir­ginia sent Robert an anniver­sary card. Sad­ly, poor Hazlett has been over­looked by the mailman.

Who­dunit? Do you know?

Received in March of 2012 in time for his 152nd birth­day on March 16th, here we have a cus­tomized birth­day card to James. The sender wrote “The Beloved Pup­py, to James –” James, inci­den­tal­ly, was rather fond of his dogs. Take a look at this ear­li­er post.

The inside is signed: “Time is fleet­ing! Yor [Your] Lov­ing and devot­ed Parents.”

Robert was the “some­one spe­cial” ref­er­enced in this let­ter that came to the muse­um in Feb­ru­ary, right before his 208th birth­day in Feb­ru­ary 2012.

…and it’s from Vir­ginia! Per­son­al­ized, “To my dear­est Robert.…from your lov­ing wife, Virginia.”

Vir­gini­a’s been busy. Here’s an anniver­sary card she sent to Robert that arrived in 2008 on their 167th anniversary.

It’s a clas­sic Hall­mark tear-jerk­er, too: “Dear Robert: What we share togeth­er is a beau­ti­ful part­ner­ship. From the joy and pas­sion to the gen­tle car­ing of our fam­i­ly and home — It means every­thing to me to have you as my friend and my part­ner in life.…And on your birth­day I hope you can feel all the love I have for you in my heart. — Vir­ginia.” *sniff*

This is prob­a­bly the best one in the bunch. Baby Owl arrived for Hugh’s birth­day last Novem­ber and he says, “Whoo’s hav­ing a Birthday?’

.…and on the inside, the author Robert and Vir­ginia changed “You are!” to “Hugh are!” Also writ­ten: “Your 164th! From Your Par­ents.” This is quite pos­si­bly the best Camp­bell House pun ever.

Just a lit­tle note for Virginia.….

…from her Robert! “My Dear Vir­ginia: I’m think­ing of you/And warm wish­es I send, For days filled with joy/From begin­ning to end. Your devot­ed Hus­band, Robert.” Awwww.

Primping for the Holidays

The Christ­mas tree in the Parlor.

Yep, it’s the time of year for us to get our fes­tive on and deck the halls. We start­ed in earnest a few weeks ago, and our efforts cul­mi­nat­ed this week when we final­ly got the tree and creche up in the Parlor.

In addi­tion to the wreaths, hol­ly sprays and food through­out the house, we even brought one of Vir­gini­a’s par­ty dress­es out of stor­age for every­one to see. As much as any of the fur­nish­ings in Camp­bell House, Vir­gini­a’s dress­es rep­re­sent the fam­i­ly’s wealth in a beau­ti­ful, tex­tur­al way. This dress was made for Vir­ginia by Moschcowitz & Rus­sell, a cou­ture dress­mak­er in Union Square, New York City. It’s a two-piece recep­tion dress with ribbed sil­ver and gold silk with cream silk bro­cade details.

Vir­gini­a’s dress in the Aviary.

Vir­gini­a’s dress is on dis­play in the Aviary with anoth­er Christ­mas tree. Here’s a link to a Flickr set of pho­tos we took of some of the scenes of the house.

This is the best time of year to see the house, so come on down and say hel­lo. We’re here Wednes­day through Sat­ur­day 10–4,  Sun­day 12–4, and Mon­day and Tues­day by appoint­ment (call 314/421‑0325 to check our availability).



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: January 2

Jeff City Jan­u­ary 6th 1849

My Dear Virginia

I last evening received your wel­come and inter­est­ing let­ter with your list of vis­i­tors and what was still more accept­able the lock of hair of our dear lit­tle Hugh which I salut­ed as you intend­ed — I hand­ed the let­ter for the perusal of Mrs. Mor­row who was much pleased.  So you see we have been dou­bly ben­e­fit­ed by your letter.

I find myself still cir­cum­stanced as when I last wrote you, that is, con­tend­ing against unprin­ci­pled politi­cians who resort to every means to accom­plish their ends — a lit­tle more than a week will let me off and I care very lit­tle what the result may be com­pared with get­ting off from here as I am hearti­ly tired of being away from home.

I room with Col. Bal­lou a mem­ber of the H of Rep and a very gen­tle­man­ly man — Dr. Forbes and myself stay in the same bed so that there are three of us in the same room.

Genl. Ster­ling Price is now here and is an active friend of mine.  T. Polk is here in oppo­si­tion to me elec­tion­eer­ing as is also Jn. H. Wat­son but I would rather have him against me than for me as he has no influ­ence nor stand­ing here that could do me injury.  I can­not tell with any greater cer­tain­ty of the result than when I last wrote you — my friends think favor­ably of my prospects and no doubt my oppo­nents feel equal­ly san­guine of their suc­cess — I nei­ther hope nor fear, but wish most anx­ious­ly to have it determined.

You must be very care­ful about the cholera altho I trust it will not vis­it us now, and espe­cial­ly whilst I am from home — some of the young men at the store or Jeff Camp will get a man to clean out the back House which had bet­ter be done dur­ing the cold freez­ing weath­er which will ren­der it less offensive.

I dine at Judge Mor­rows tomor­row and the day after is set apart for the cel­e­bra­tion of the 8th of Jany bat­tle at N. Orleans.  We are to have a grand pro­ces­sion, and ora­tions Sat.  H. Birch is to be the ora­tor and I am told he is very able so I may antic­i­pate some variety.

I have kept this open for an hour or two to see if I can get any news by mail but I will not delay longer.

I don’t yet hear of William hav­ing left for the East.

My love to all.  Kiss Jim­mie and Hugh for me.

Yours affec­tion­ate­ly,

Robert Camp­bell