A Guide to the W. E. McCampbell and Bro. (Refugio, Tex.) Records, 1867-1884
William Edwin McCampbell was born in Knox County, Tennessee, on 1827 November 9, the son of James (1795-1867), a War of 1812 veteran, and Jane Cunningham Boyd McCampbell. William married Louisa Clementine Shetterly (1829-1905) in Knox County in 1852; the couple had four children. The McCampbell family moved to Texas in 1858. During the Civil War, William helped organize and served as a Captain in the 8th Texas Infantry. After the war, he became a businessman and rancher in Refugio, Texas. McCampbell died in Refugio on 1880 April 6 and was buried at Goliad’s Oakhill Cemetery.
William’s brother Thomas Powell McCampbell was born in Knox County, Tennessee, on 1840 April 11. He came to Texas with his family in 1858, but returned to Tennessee to continue his education. During the Civil War, McCampbell served in the 8th Tennessee Cavalry before being transferred to the 8th Texas Cavalry, known as Terry’s Texas Rangers. After the war, McCampbell returned to Tennessee before relocating to Texas around 1867. Settling near his family in southeast Texas, he became involved in a number of ranching and business enterprises and served as President of the First National Bank of Goliad, Director in the Aransas Pass Harbor Company, and Aransas County Judge. With his brother William and Pryor Lea, Thomas was involved in the Peninsula Company. He married Mary Elizabeth Gibson (1849-1920) in 1874; the couple had eight children. Thomas McCampbell died in Goliad in 1903 and, like his brother, was buried at Oakhill Cemetery.
W. E. McCampbell and Bro. was established in Refugio in 1867 after William McCampbell’s first partner J. Lichtenstein withdrew from the business and McCampbell asked his younger brother Thomas to move from Tennessee. They opened another store in the town of St. Mary’s in 1872. Through their firm, the brothers worked as general merchants; wool, hide, and tallow exporters; and private bankers. The business maintained a caravan of ox-carts between St. Mary’s, Refugio, and Goliad, and its trade territory extended a hundred miles inland. Following William’s death in 1880, the Refugio store was purchased by James Power; upon his death six years later, the business was acquired by Philip Power, James’s administrator. Philip operated the store until 1889, when it was sold to Thomas C. Heard. The St. Mary’s store was initially run by Thomas McCampbell, who was later assisted by brothers James Wilson and John McKinney Coffin, associates from Tennessee. The Coffins eventually took over management of and purchased the St. Mary’s store.
Cox, James. Historical and Biographical Record of the Cattle Industry and the Cattlemen of Texas and Adjacent Territory. Saint Louis, Missouri: Woodward & Tiernan Printing Co., 1895.
Goliad County Historical Commission, Jakie L. Pruett, and Everett B. Cole. The History and Heritage of Goliad County. Austin, Texas: Eakin Publications, Inc., 1983.
Hardy, Dermot H. and Ingham Roberts, associate editors. Historical Review of South-East Texas and the Founders, Leaders and Representative Men of its Commerce, Industry and Civic Affairs. 2 volumes. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1910.
Huson, Hobart. Refugio: A Comprehensive History of Refugio County from Aboriginal Times to 1955. 2 volumes. Woodsboro, Texas: The Rooke Foundation, Inc., 1955.
McCampbell, William Richard, compiler. The McCampbell Family in America. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Edwards Brothers, 1975.
William E. McCampbell biographical file, Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library, San Antonio, Texas.
The collection contains financial records, including account ledgers, day books, lists, and miscellaneous records. The earliest item is from a predecessor business, McCampbell and Lichtenstein.
No restrictions. The collection is open for research.
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[Identification of item], W. E. McCampbell and Bro. (Refugio, Tex.) Records, 1867-1884, Col 7597, Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library, San Antonio, Texas.
Gift of Lavonne Leatrice Kennedy Arburn, 1994 June.
Processed by Warren Stricker, 1998 December.
Finding aid edited and encoded by Tom D'Amore, 2011 June.
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