Newspaperman Archibald W. Campbell (April 4, 1833-February 13, 1899) was a leader in the West Virginia statehood movement, editor and part owner of the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer newspaper, and a prominent member of the Republican Party. He was the nephew of Alexander Campbell, who was the founder and first president of Bethany College and a founder of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Archibald Campbell was born in Steubenville, Ohio. He spent most of his childhood in Bethany and attended Bethany College, graduating in 1852. Campbell then attended Hamilton College Law School in Clinton, New York, graduating in 1855. He moved to Wheeling in spring 1856 to take a job at the Daily Intelligencer. In the fall of that year, he and John F. McDermot purchased the paper and Campbell became editor.
Campbell was a member of the fledgling Republican Party, and editorials in his paper favored Republican causes, especially the abolition of slavery and preservation of the Union. The Intelligencer was the only Republican daily paper in Virginia and the only paper in the state to endorse Abraham Lincoln for the presidency in 1860. Campbell strongly opposed Virginia’s secession from the United States. He supported the creation of the Reorganized Government of Virginia, and he worked hard, through his editorials and behind the scenes, for the formation of the new state of West Virginia. President Lincoln appointed Campbell postmaster of the Wheeling Post Office in 1861. It was Campbell, according to his daughter, Jessie Campbell Nave, who wrote the text of the telegram (sent by Governor Pierpont) that reputedly convinced President Lincoln to sign the West Virginia statehood bill.
In his later years Campbell retired from the newspaper and traveled extensively. He died of a stroke at the home of a sister in Webster Groves, Missouri.
This Article was written by Gerry Reilly
Last Revised on September 28, 2012
Cometti, Elizabeth & Festus P. Summers. The Thirty-Fifth State: A Documentary History of West Virginia. Morgantown: West Virginia University Library, 1966.