Campbell descendant visits Ironton, working on book

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 23, 2005

He is a visitor and yet, he is not a stranger.

In fact, his roots in Ironton run very, very deep. Dr. James Campbell, descendant of the Campbell family, is visiting with members of First Presbyterian Church today.

James Campbell is the great-great-grandson of Washington G. Campbell, brother to Hiram and John Milton Campbell, the missionary who is honored with a stained glass window in the church. James is an indirect descendant of the city's founder, John Campbell.

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James is writing a book on his family's history and contribution to Ironton and the many places they settled.

"The opportunity of pioneer Ohio just mixed with my family and they made contributions in a lot of different ways," he said. "The scope of the book is concerned with the Campbell family as a whole and then John Campbell's part in all the dynamic that went on. It's looking from the outside instead of the histories that have been done to this point from the inside out."

It is through his family's history that he first became acquainted with Southern Ohio. The group of friends he has made in his visits to Ironton keep him coming back.

"It's like having one of my family members coming," First Presbyterian Church pastor, the Rev. Harold Deemus said. "We've developed a good relation over the years. Sometimes he will call me unexpectedly when he needs inspiration and sometimes I will call him."

James Campbell is a Methodist missionary to Alaska. He has pastored

Turn Again Methodist Church in Anchorage for the last five years. Campbell has visited Ironton several times, including during the city's sesquicentennial celebration in 1999.