Lewis D. Campbell

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Lewis Davis Campbell
Lewis D Campbell (cropped).jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 2nd district
In office
March 4, 1849 – March 3, 1853
Preceded by David Fisher
Succeeded by John Scott Harrison
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 3rd district
In office
March 4, 1853 – May 25, 1858
Preceded by Hiram Bell
Succeeded by Clement Vallandigham
In office
March 4, 1871 – March 3, 1873
Preceded by Robert C. Schenck
Succeeded by John Quincy Smith
Personal details
Born (1811-08-09)August 9, 1811
Franklin, Warren County, Ohio
Died November 26, 1882(1882-11-26) (aged 71)
Hamilton, Ohio
Resting place Greenwood Cemetery
Political party

Lewis Davis Campbell (August 9, 1811 - November 26, 1882) was a U.S. Representative for Ohio. Over his political career he was elected as a Whig, Republican, Know Nothing, and Democrat.

Early life and career

Lewis Davis Campbell was born in Franklin, Warren County, Ohio.[1] His education was in the local public schools. He was apprenticed to learn the art of printing from 1828 to 1831, and was afterward assistant editor of the Cincinnati Gazette. He published a Clay Whig newspaper in Hamilton, Ohio from 1831 to 1835 (The Hamilton Intelligencer). During this time, he read the law and was admitted to the bar in 1835. He practiced law in Hamilton until 1850, after which time he engaged in agricultural pursuits. Lewis Campbell married Jane Reily on January 5, 1836 in Butler County, Ohio.

He was a director and secretary of the Hamilton and Rossville Hydraulic Company, formed in 1841 for the purpose of building a canal through Hamilton to provide water power to local companies. He was an incorporator and president of the Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton Railroad Company which was constructed between 1846 and 1852.

Political career

He ran unsuccessfully as a Whig candidate for election in 1840, 1842, and 1844 to the Twenty-seventh, Twenty-eighth, and Twenty-ninth Congresses. He was elected as a Whig in 1848 from Ohio's Second Congressional District to the Thirty-first Congress and was re-elected in 1850. Following the redistricting after the 1850 census, he found himself in Ohio's Third Congressional District but was successful in being again elected as a Whig in 1852. With the collapse of the Whigs, he ran as an Opposition Party candidate in 1854 and was elected to the Thirty-fourth Congress, in which he became chairman of the powerful House Committee on Ways and Means.

During the debates on the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854, Campbell, a free-soiler, conducted a filibuster, provoking the ire of Henry A. Edmundson, a pro-slavery Virginia Democrat. On May 12, 1854, the tension boiled over. Historian Michael Morrison of Purdue University describes it this way: “A filibuster led by Lewis D. Campbell, an Ohio free-soiler, nearly provoked the House into a war of more than words. Campbell, joined by other antislavery northerners, exchanged insults and invectives with southerners, neither side giving quarter. Weapons were brandished on the floor of the House. Finally, bumptiousness gave way to violence. Henry A. Edmundson, a Virginia Democrat, well oiled and well armed, had to be restrained from making a violent attack on Campbell. Only after the sergeant at arms arrested him, debate was cut off, and the House adjourned did the melee subside.” [2]

In the election of 1856, he claimed re-election by a 19 vote margin and presented credentials as a Republican Member-elect and served from March 4, 1857, to May 25, 1858, when by a vote of 107-100 the Democratic controlled House decided that Campbell was not entitled to his seat. His election had successfully been contested by Clement L. Vallandigham who took his seat on May 26, 1858. Campbell ran against Vallandigham in the election of 1858, but Vallandigham was returned to office by a 50.5% to 49.5% margin.

Campbell served in the Union Army as colonel of the Sixty-ninth Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, in 1861 and 1862, when he resigned on account of failing health.

President Andrew Johnson appointed Campbell as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Mexico on May 4, 1866. He was accompanied by General William Tecumseh Sherman. Campbell was instructed to tender to President Benito Juárez the moral support of the United States, and to offer the use of American military force to aid in the restoration of law. The occupying French forces of Maximilian had Juarez's government on the run, and Campbell failed to reach them. Campbell served until June 16, 1867, when he resigned and returned to resume his elective political career.

Campbell was elected to the Ohio Senate in 1869 and resigned in 1870 to take his seat in Congress, after being elected as a Democrat to the Forty-second Congress. He declined to run for reelection in 1872. He was a delegate to the third Ohio State constitutional convention in 1873, after which he resumed his agricultural pursuits.

Death and legacy

His nephew, James E. Campbell, later held the seat from the third district for one term (1885-7).

Lewis Davis Campbell died in Hamilton, Ohio, aged 71, where he is interred in Greenwood Cemetery.


  1. "CAMPBELL, Lewis Davis, (1811 - 1882)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved Aug 26, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Morrison, Michael A. Slavery and the American West.
  • A History and Biographical Enyclopaedia of Butler County Ohio. Cincinnati, Ohio: Western Biographical Publishing Company, 1882.