James Edwin Campbell

1867 –

James Edwin Campbell was born on September 28, 1867, in Pomeroy, Ohio. He graduated from Pomeroy Academy in 1884. While still in school, he began to write poetry and stories in dialect. 

A poet, essayist, and educator, Campbell published two books in his lifetime: Driftings and Gleanings (State Tribune, 1887), a compilation of poems and essays; and Echoes from the Cabin and Elsewhere (Donohue & Henneberry, 1895), a full collection of poetry.

Campbell taught for two years at Buck Ridge, near Gallipoli, Ohio, and became involved in Republican politics in his state. He then ventured into journalism, writing for the West Virginia-based newspaper, Pioneer. He left the paper to return to education. Campbell led Langston School in Point Pleasant, West Virginia and, from 1892–94, became the first president of West Virginia Colored Institute (now, West Virginia State College). In the mid-1890s, Campbell moved to Chicago and wrote for the Chicago Times-Herald, while publishing poems in other periodicals. 

Campbell died on January 26, 1896, of typhoid pneumonia while visiting his parents for Christmas. He published his last poem, “Homesick,” on December 7, 1895 in the Chicago Conservator. It was reprinted in an Ohio newspaper.