Campbell, Hamilton (1812-1863)
1854-1859 based in Corvallis, itinerant
1859-1862 San Francisco
Hamilton Campbell was born 12 June 1812 in West Virginia. He married Harriet Biddle on 5 February 1835 in Illinois. He came to Oregon in 1839, and lived in Marion County. In 1854 he moved to Corvallis and became a traveling daguerreotypist. He was the uncle of Byron P. Cardwell, of the firm Buchtel & Cardwell, and probably taught photography to Cardwell. He moved to San Francisco in 1859 to work as a photographer, and was doing so in 1860 when the federal census was taken. In 1862 he went to Mexico to engage in mining ventures, and was murdered on 12 June 1865.
There is a half-plate ambrotype portrait of Hamilton Campbell in the Oregon Historical Society. The full figure portrait of Campbell shows his interestingly decorated studio, and his large traveling sign “H Campbell” proped up behind him.
1860 federal census, San Francisco, reel 3, pg. 4; 4th district “Campbell, Hamilton, age 47, artist, personal value $600, born VA” plus large family (courtesy Peter Palmquist)
News Items and Advertisements
1853: “A Card. The owners of the Steamer Canemah, take this method of returning their warmest thanks and acknowledgments of gratitude to Capt. Shields, of the Steamer Oregon, for the timely and efficient aid rendered to the Canemah, at the time of the unfortunate accident on the 8th inst.
The Oregon arrived at the scene of disaster about forty minutes after its occurrence, and Catp. Shields kindly volunteered to return immediately with the sufferers to Canemah, thus affording them the most speedy medical relief.
For ourselves, and in behalf of the unfortunate sufferers by the accident, we thank him most cordially, and shall ever remember his kindness with the liveliest feelings of gratitude. A. F. Hedges, Chas. Bennett, Jno McLoskey, Hamilton Campbell, S. K. Barlow, Canemah, August 12, 1853.” Oregon Statesman (Salem) 23 August 1853, pg. 3, col. 1
1854: “Passenger list, per steamship Peytona… arrived at Portland Feb. 12th…Miss Campbell, Rev. H. Campbell, Mr. Campbell…” Weekly Oregonian, 15 February 1854, pg. 2, col. 5
1857: “AMBROTYPING AND DAGUERREOTYPING CAN NOW BE HAD IN CORVALLIS, O. T. The suscriber is now prepared to execute better work in Picture Making than has hitherto been done in the Territory. As a proof of this, good judges have already pronounced my pictures superior to anything they had seen produced in this country by any other artist. In saying this, I do not intend anything unkind or wrong to any other artist: by no means. If I have not the experience of other artists, I have ingenuity, which will balance their experience. This give me the decided advantage. As proof of this, I am determined my work (with improvements) shall testify to an enlightened community. It is the interest of the public to get work done up in the neatest style and on the best terms. My unyeilding ambition is to Excel, and continue to execl. I have been at heavy expence in the commencement of the business, and will spare no dilligence or expense to make the establishment second best to no other.
I have made arrangements by which I shall be able to supply the public with as superior an article of stock, of the latest styles, and on as reasonable terms, as can be had in the country. All the valuable improvements will be added.
LANDSCAPES, SCENERY AND BUILDINGS taken in the best manner possible. Transfers neatly taken. Orders from a distance for landscapes, scenery, buildings, &c., will be promptly attended to.
Any one wishing instruction in the art of Picture Making, can be accommodated at all times, and complete outfits furnished. Instruments and stock of the best quality, just as low as can be done in the country. Perfect satisfaction is guaranteed to every applicant, or NO PAY. My prices will compete with the lowest.
The business of REPAIRING FINE WATCHES will still be attended to strictly. Making and mending Jewelry. Seal stamps made and engraved. Engraving in general neatly done, on short notice. Musical instruments of all kinds repaired. All work warranted faithfully done.
I have the Agency for Grover & Baker’s Sewing Machines for Oregon and Washington Territories. Shuttle, Bag, and Family Machines – These machines are warranted to do double the work of any other patent. Every Flouring Mill would save the price of a machine about every twelve months, and a good machine, well taken care of, will last ten years. Such labor saving machines as the Family Machine should be in every family. Every machine warranted to each purchaser. Thread and silk, also, to supply each machine. Orders from a distance promptly attended to. H. Campbell. Corvallis, March 23, 1857.” Weekly Oregonian, 28 March – 13 June 1857
1857: ‘I. X. L. This is to notify my friends and public generally, that I intend to leave for Eugene City on the 20th of the present month, for the purpose of operating in Picture-Making for a short time. Due notice will be given of my removal from one place to another, so that all may know when and where to find me; that they may avail themselves of the oportunity (sic) of getting the BEST WORK done in the art of picture making, that can be Obtained anywhere else in the Territory.
I am not humbugging the public, and to satisfy them of this, I propose to give any artist in this or Washington Territory one hundred dollars, if they can produce as good pictures as I can. I am now prepared to furnish locket pictures in a much superior style than has hitherto been done in this country, by the Melainotype process. These pictures will not fail to give general satisfaction. I am fully determined by the aid of energy and perseverance to have my pictures rank with the best that is produced in any part of the world.
Instructions given in the art on liberal terms. Instruments and stock furnished; of the best quality and styles. All are invited to call and examine for themselves. My friends will find me ready, at those different places of operation, to Repare (sic) Fine Watches, and all other work, such as mending and making jewelry, repairing musical instruments, engraving seal stamps, &c. All work warranted faithfully done.
I have an agency for Grover & Baker’s Sewing Machines for Oregon and Washington Territories. Shuttle, Bag and Family Machines-These machines are warranted to do double the work of any other patent. Every Flouring Mill would save the price of of a machine about every twelve months, and a good machine, well taken care of, will last ten years. Such labor-saving machines as the Family Machine should be in every family. Every machine warranted to each purchaser. Thread and silk, also to supply each machine. Orders from a distance promptly attended to. H. Campbell, Corvallis, June 20, 1857.” Weekly Oregonian, 27 June, 1857 – 20 November 1858. (ed note- IXL= I Excell)
1858: New Improvements. The subscriber, having secured all the late Improvements and additions to the Photographic art, is now preparaed to supply the Picture admirer with a superior class of pictures, heretofore unknown in this country, and such can only be obtained in his Galleries at Salem and Corvallis. Therefore the friends living in the vicinity of either place will be sure to avail themselves of this opportunity to secure some rare specimens of pictures, of themselves and friends.
Ambrotypes, Meaneotypes (sic), Calotypes, Sphereotyps, and Photographs colored or plain. Oil painted Photographs being by far the most superior portraits and pictures that are produced in Europe or America, and are destined to supercede every other kind. The process of of Photographing is producing wonders. Pictures of of Statuary, Models, Buildings, Landscaps and Animals of all kinds, are among the excellencies of this process. I have the only facilities in this country for the production of such pictures.
I produce the only picture that is at all fit to send in letters. Experience proves that Melaneotypes are not at all fit, as has been published to the world; I am prepared to prove this to any sensible individual. I am prepared to produce this superior class of pictures, from the smallest possible miniature to full life size and even much larger. I have a variety of fine gold lockets, double and single. The best evidence of the superiority of my pictures over all others in this country is that every visitor to my gallery, without exception, so decides.
Having enjoyed the rare privilege of between three and four months practice in San Francisco this last summer, with one of the best practical, and most popular Photographers in Europe or America, this gives me a decided advantage. My gallery is always open for the inspection of ladies and gentlemen, and pictures for their inspection.
I have an occasional hour, which I can appropriate to the repairing of musical instruments. I have also a process by which I renew brass furniture of all kinds in the most elegant style; it will look as well as when first from the manufactory.
After New Years my gallery will be constantly open, where I may be found to attend to all calls. My gallery, at Corvallis, will have an operator to attend to customers. H. Campbell. Salem, Dec. 23, 1858.” Oregon Statesman, (Salem) 28 December 1858 – 17 January 1860.
1858: “BIG ONES.- Mr. H. Campbell is fitting up a picture gallery in this place, and, it is said, will be prepared to take likenesses as large as life.The apparatus is reported to have cost $5,000 or $6,000. When he will be prepared for operation, we have not heard.” Oregon Statesman, (Salem) 28 September 1858, pg. 2, col. 6
1858: “Pictures.- We were shown the other day, by Mr. H. Campbell, who has recently established a photographic galery in this place, some specimens of his skill in the art of picture making, which we unhesitatingly pronounce superior to anything of the kind which has been produced in Oregon, and equal to the best of California artists. A photograph painted in oil was remarkably fine and accurate. This style of picture must entirely supersede (sic) the old fashioned oil portraits on canvas, as they are finer, much more truthful, and equally durable; while they are afforded at a less price. Mr. Campbell has been at great expense to prepare for taking these excellent pictures, and he certainly deserves the patronage of the public.” Oregon Statesman, (Salem) 7 December 1858, pg. 2, col. 5.
1859: “New Improvements. The subscriber having secured all the latest improvements and additions to the photographic art, is now prepared to supply the Picture Admirer with a superior class of pictures, heretofore unknown in this country, and such only as can be obtained in his galleries at Salem and Corvallis. Therefore the friends living in either place will be sure to avail themselves of this opportunity to secure some rare specimens of themselves and friends.
Ambrotypes, Melainotypes, Callotypes, Spherotypes, and Photographs, colored or plain. Oil Painted Photopraphs (sic) being by far the most superior portraits and pictures that are produced in Europe and America, and are destined to supersede every other kind. The process of Photographing wonders.
Pictures of Statues, Models, Buildings, Landscapes, and Animals of all kinds, are among the excellencies of this process.
I have the only facilities in this county for the production of such pictures. I produce the only pictures that are all fit to send in letters.
Experience has proven that Melainotypes are not at all fit as has been published to the world. I am prepared to produce this superior class of pictures, from the smallest possible miniature to full life size and even much larger. I have a variety of Fine Gold Lockets, Double and Single. The best evidence of the superiority of my pictures over others in this country, is that every visitor to my gallery without exception so decides.
My gallery is always open for the inspection of ladies and gentlemen, and pictures for their inspection.
I have an occasional hour which I can appropriate to the repair of Musical Instruments. I have also a process which I renew Brass Furniture of all kinds in the most elegant style. It will look as well as when first from the manufactory.
My gallery will be constantly open, where I may be found to attend to calls. My gallery at Corvallis will have an operator to attend to customers. H. Campbell. Salem, April 1859. Oregon Statesman (Salem) 12 April 1859 (first insertion)
1859: “Mr. Campbell advertises to renew brass furniture. Dryer had better let him try his skill upon his face. Can brass soaked in whisky be ‘renewed’!” Oregon Statesman (Salem) 12 April 1859, pg. 2, col. 5. (T. Dryer was editor of the Oregonian)
1863: “THE MURDER OF MR. HAMILTON CAMPBELL- The following particulars of this tragic event have been handed to us for publication, as they will doubtless be of interest to a large circle of friends and acquaintances in this state, where Mr. Campbell resided for many years.
At the time of his murder he was superintendent of the Teramarra mine, situated about 150 miles from Guaymas, and owned by Robt. Campbell, a Mexican named Neuratta and another person. Mr. R. Campbell had gone to the mountains on a prospecting tour, leaving the superintendent in charge, and as the latter did not understand Spanish, Neuratta was requested to furnish him with some reliable workmen. and two peons were sent as such. One of these Mr. C. had occasion to send on an errand to San Antonio, about 6 miles from the mine, and during his absence the murder was committed by the other peon. This occurred on Friday, June 12, in the afternoon. Mr. Campbell at the time was kneeling down by a large jar of water, in which he was washing and asorting silver ore, with the intention of sending it for assay to San Francisco, when the cowardly assassin, standing behind him, struck him on the head with a steel bar, crushing the skull in a frightful manner. Death must have been instantaneous, as only one blow was struck. The murderer then robbed his victim, taking from his pockets between forty and fifty dollars and a pistol, and escaped to the mountains. The only motive was plunder, as there could have been no cause for revenge, The other peon, on his return the next morning, discovered the body, and having procured assistance, carried it to San Antonio, where it was buried under the supervision and charge of the American residents, in the ground attached to the church there. Before the steamer left Guymas for San Francisco, it was reported that the murderer had been arrested and executed.” Oregonian, 30 July, 1863, pg. 4, col. 1 (courtesy Michael Cirelli) (this original dispatch was relayed in Salem by the Oregon Statesman, 27 July, 1863, pg. 2, col. 6. and the above report appeared in the Oregon Statesman on 3 August 1863, pg. 4, col. 2.
1864: account of death of Hamilton Campbell’s son, Gustavus Campbell, who shot himself while hunting. Oregon Statesman, 12 December 1864, pg. 2, col. 2.
1865: obituary of six year old son of Hamilton Campbell, Willie, H., who died in Portland on April 10th. Oregon Statesman, 1 May 1865, pg. 1, col. 4.
1901: Large article about the Beaver Money, Hamilton Campbell’s family and the history of the coinage. Oregonian, June 30, 1901, pg. 10.
1937: “… Mr. Buchtel also served on the Canemah, which was built at Canemah in 1851 by Captain A. F. Hedges, Captain Charles Bennett, Alanson Beers, Hamilton Campbell, and John McClosky. On August 8, 1853, when the Canemah was near Champoeg, one of the flues exploded, killing a passenger… Mr. Buchtel also ran on the Shoalwater…” Oregon Journal, (Portland) 8 July 1937 pg. 12 Fred Lockley; Impressions and Observations of the Journal Man.
Oregon Native Son, February 1900, pg. 458-459. (biography of Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton Campbell) “…In 1854 he removed to Corvallis and engaged in the photographic business, and later to San Francisco, in 1859, where he pursued the same calling…” portrait on pg. 422.
Gazette-Times, (Corvallis) 26 November 1984 (biography of Hamilton Campbell)
Index and Volume II of Genealogical Material in Oregon Donation Land Claims, No. 3226
Genealogical file in Oregon Historical Society Library vertical file.
Index card of date of death in Multnomah County Library, Portland