Tag Archives: Andrew Campbell

We Need Your Help to Solve a Mystery 170 Years in the Making

Who is this man?

Who is this man?

Who is this man?

In truth, we don’t know. Neither does the Missouri History Museum, which has this image labeled as “Unidentified Man.” It was apparently taken by Thomas M. Easterly, a Vermont native who took up daguerreotyping. Easterly was an itinerant photographer until he settled in St. Louis in 1848, opening a studio that operated until the late 1870s. At some point, probably about 1850, this gentleman walked into the studio, sat down in front of Easterly’s camera, and had his portrait taken. Unfortunately, his name was not attached to the picture, a not-uncommon occurrence in the Easterly collection at the Missouri Historical Society, which includes 284 other photos of unidentified persons. With Easterly and the unidentified man both long dead, it seems unlikely he will ever regain his identity.

Then again, maybe he will. Does he maybe…look like someone familiar? Maybe like…Robert Campbell? Let’s make it so the images are facing the same direction, put them side-by-side, and see what that looks like.

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Is this Robert Campbell circa 1850?



Robert Campbell, circa 1865

Is this the photo of a 40-year old Robert Campbell? Our staff and volunteers are pretty divided on the issue. For some, the eyes and eyebrows are the clincher, as they seem pretty Robert-like. Or maybe the distinctive spacing and shape of the philtrum. Others of us are less sure. Does the nose seem right? Is the unidentified man’s face too lean? If only Easterly had provided a name!


The two images overlaid. (courtesy of Joe Kolk)

In this overlaid image all that was done was to flip the mystery image as noted above and then some simple proportional sizing on the Robert image once it was placed over the mystery image to better line them up. Other than those two things there was no manipulation.

This is why we need your help. Who do you think this man is? Is it possible to identify an unknown man’s photo 170 years after it was taken? One thing we want to avoid is wishful thinking. We want your honest opinion. Please use the poll below, the comments section, or take to Facebook and let us know your thoughts.

Leave a comment here

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The Journal of Hugh Campbell, Part IV: The Voyage Begins (really)

Alright.  Hugh hitched a ride to America.  How is this shady situation going to play out?  Let’s find out….  (If you missed last week’s installment, read Part III here.)

17th June

I took leave of my friends in Derry with a mixed sensation of joy and regret – joy that I had found in Capt. Gale a friend disposed to make amend for my great disappointment – and regret that I was perhaps forever separated from everything dear to me. It is unnecessary to repeat the obligations I lay under to Mr. N. Boyle’s family as they are already known and I hope duly appreciated by my mother’s family. ‘Tis enough to say that his parental advice and kind attention were never more required nor never given with more liberality than of late. The impression his friendship made will be long remembered. This evening, having all passengers in board we dropt down to Culmore Bay about 6 p.m.  There we were obliged to remain two days until the mayor would go through the customary forms of examining the passengers and crew. This  ceremony past, we again weighed anchor and sailed down to Moville on the evening of the


The Capt. having returned to Derry to process the necessary papers was detained there a few days during which time the vessel was under the control of the Pilot. Our sailors were indulged by the good-natured Capt. while at the quay in every kind of licentiousness. Want of subordination and disobedience of orders was the consequence. In order to put down this disposition among our crew the first Mate, Mr. Ladieu, beat a stubborn Black sailor
most unmercifully for some trifling fault as an example to the others and put him three days in irons.

As an extra passenger my situation was peculiarly disagreeable. It was necessary that no suspicion should be excited amongst either passengers or visitors least information would be lodged and the ship detained. For this reason I was seldom seen on deck or in the steerage unless when I wished to converse with my worthy friend Mr. Reed. I was fortunate in having this young man for a companion aboard. From my first acquaintance with him I promised myself much satisfaction in his company and was never deceived.

I was now in the same place where I parted the Perseverance and every unfortunate circumstance connected with that transaction returned to my mind with double force when I compared my present situation in the Phoenix with what it was in the other vessel. In the Perseverance I had procured everything calculated to make a sea voyage comfortable. But in this – without money and without clothes — I was a complete dependent on the Capt.’s liberality even for my boarding and passage.

20th June

For the last time I took an affectionate farewell of my dear brother Andrew*, who came down to see me. At this time my state of body and mind were nearly alike worn down by fatigue. My health had suffered materially and the sorrow of parting my last and best  friend added to other troubles of which I had enough in all conscience for any person. Contrary winds and Custom House delays detained us at Moville for several days during which time the passengers made the necessary preparations for the voyage. Trunks and boxes were fastened. Messes were formed and regulations were made for keeping the ship clean.

A Methodist laid hold of the occasion to impress on our minds the awful uncertainty attending our situation. For some time his prayer meetings were attended to but at length, having given offense to a certain sect, he met with considerable opposition. Like all other zealots he continued his labors while persecution appeared. But either from want of abilities in the preacher, want of variety in the subject matter, or want of amusement in the theme – the preacher in a few days “ceased his Labours”.

On the evening of the 23rd the Capt. joined us and gave orders for sailing early next morning.


* Andrew Campbell remained in Ireland, and he had ten children who continued the family line.  Hugh did not have children and Robert did not have grandchildren, so Andrew’s descendants were the Campbells who received an inheritance from Robert’s estate when his son Hazlett died in 1938.

Next week: Away We Go

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This week in history: May 2-May 8

We’ve posted letters about the hell-raiser in the Campbell family, Robert and Hugh Campbell’s niece Bessie Campbell.  But even with all the trouble that Bessie caused the family, her actions were very little when compared to her brothers Hugh Kyle Campbell and Robert Boyle Campbell.  Ironically named after their St. Louis uncles, these two were the true source of grief for Andrew and Elizabeth Campbell.  According to The Campbell Quest, written by the pair’s great-great-nephew, “Hugh Kyle followed in his father’s footsteps and became an alcoholic, while Robert Boyle became a bully . . .” .  These two caused trouble in Ireland, likely burning their grandfather’s will and harassing their Aunt Ann so that Hugh Kyle Campbell could lay claim to their Uncle Hugh Campbell’s rightful estate, Aughalane.  Hugh Kyle Campbell finally married, but never stopped drinking and finally died of “intemperance, one year.  Delirium tremens, one week” in 1877, a year after writing this letter.  Robert Boyle Campbell came to live with his Uncle Robert and Aunt Virginia for a while, but eventually left and moved west, hoping to strike it rich.  He also caused trouble for the family in the American Civil War.

Today’s letter is from Hugh Kyle Campbell to his brother-in-law (and Patrick Campbell MacCulloch’s great-grandfather) Hugh MacCulloch about his Aunt Ann’s death.  He makes is abundantly clear that he is not happy that Aunt Ann left so little to him in her will, obviously a very wise choice on Ann Campbell’s part when it came to this particular relative.  The letter was transcribed by Frank Collins of the Ulster American Folk Park in Northern Ireland, which now houses Robert’s birthplace, Aughalane house.  It was part of a collection that Collins and the Folk Park donated to Campbell House Museum last summer upon the European release of the book The Campbell Quest.  We hope you enjoy the account from another ‘black sheep’ of the Campbell family!


7th May 1876.

Dear Hugh.

Enclosed I send you what you drew up with all the names properly signed there was no a dissenting voice as they all gladly signed it. As to those in America as to them signatories it is not at all necessary in a legal point of view as to have signed it, at least all but…. & I presume she’ll not object. I congratulate you on the straightforward manner in which all has been conducted as far as I know,by both you and R Dunn.

This I can say for myself I am the greatest loser over my Aunt as I can …. And have been the proprietor of Aughalane only for her & her continually writing to my uncle Hugh. I never knew this until I was examined in Dublin and had I wished to be contention at that time I’d at all event prevented the sale of it for years but I never opposed it.

She always was my greatest enemy- all I ever got from her was those £27 and a bedstead? and curtains except I think £2 and I counted one of those due me for tidy? cows she allowed me keep the other.

I need not enlarge on this but I trust she may be happy as God only can discern our intermit thoughts and private actions and many a one to the human eye here is counted God fearing  & lending poor moral life by appearances, but when laid on the bed of sickness and death then deceptive and former hypocrisy   Tell then in their hard struggles not wishing to leave this world yet a letter? Wished and all as they counted it.   I am informed my Aunt did touse? the expression very hard.

One thing I do know Margaret had the greatest trouble with my Aunt. & most certainly £100 would not have repaid the trouble & sleepless nights she suffered over her sickness.

With kindest regards to you and Mgt.

I remain Your Affect Bro-in-law

Hugh Kyle Campbell

Mr H MacCulloch.

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