Matt Campbell’s Family History in Manning

Matt Campbell’s Family History in Manning

James Alexander Campbell (“Alex”) was the original owner of the Campbell farm 4 1/2 miles south of Manning, Iowa just across the Carroll County line in Lincoln Township, Audubon County. Alex was born May 29, 1857 in a log cabin in Jasper County, Iowa. Alex’s parents, Allen and Nancy (Tramel) Campbell, being of Scottish ancestry, came to Jasper County, Iowa from Indiana in a covered wagon in 1852 six years after Iowa was admitted to the Union in 1846.

Alex worked as a farmhand until the age of 24 when he moved to Lincoln Township. He purchased the original 80 acres of the Campbell farm on September 4, 1880 for $10.00 an acre from the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway Company approximately a year before the incorporation of Manning in August, 1881 when Manning had only 414 residents. For living quarters, Alex erected a one-room building fourteen by twenty feet, and this original building is still in use on the Campbell farm for storage. Alex broke the prairie sod, sowing wheat, which he sold for as low as $0.25 a bushel.

Alex was married Feburary 9, 1882, to Mary Crawford and they had two children, Mae and Floyd. In 1906, they built the main house on the farm which is still being used today. In time, Alex’s farm grew to 240 acres and he was one of the largest land owners in the township. Alex believed in mixed farming, was an extensive breeder of thoroughbred Shorthorn cattle, served on the Audubon County Fair Board for twelve years. He died in 1946 at the age of 89 in the main house on the farm.

Alex’s son Floyd was born December 27, 1888 on the Campbell farm and attended rural school in Lincoln Township and graduated from high school in Manning in 1907. Floyd worked with his father for several years and then had a garage in Manilla with a Studebaker agency. Later he went into partnership with his father farming. He continued the shorthorn business and built another house on the farm in 1914. Floyd was a progressive farmer, being one of the first to have a tractor and to practice contour farming. He married Lida Sheets in 1916, and they had five children, Frank, Howard, George, Mary and Dorthy (who died as an infant). He was a member of the Manning fire department and was a past member of its award-winning hose and cart running team.

Floyd’s son, George Campbell, was born November 2, 1921 and graduated from Manning High School. He farmed with his father Floyd until World War II and was married to Grace Lawson of Gray, Iowa on November 2, 1942. George served in the U.S. Army in Berlin during the U.S. occupation of Germany and returned in 1946 after being honorably discharged just before his grandfather Alex died. George purchased additional land near the original Campbell farm and in Gray, Iowa. George and his wife had eight children, Harry, Allen, Warren, Suzanne, Rosemary, Lida, Shirely and Beverly. George was a member of the American Legion and V.F.W. He was further active in Farm Bureau, Beef and Pork Producers, was a twenty-year 4-H leader, hosted Japanese farming students through an exchange program and was a former mayor of Gray, Iowa.

George’s son, Harry, was born October 14, 1948 and graduated from Audubon High School in 1967. He married Dianne Thompson of Audubon, Iowa on July 6, 1969 and they have five children, Matthew, Michelle, Ethan, Hope and Adam. Harry farmed with his father, George, from 1971 to George’s retirement around 1991. Harry was a past member of the Iowa Farm Bureau.  The Campbell Family Farm was designated as a Century Farm in 1980 and continues as a family farm today.

Preceding accounts compiled primarily from the Gray and Manning 1981 Centennial books.

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