Bullitt County History

William B. Campbell


NOTE: In response to the information presented on this page, we have received images of a 1936 letter written by William B. Campbell to his son, Samuel. It may be viewed on another page.


In response to a recent inquiry, we have collected the following information about William B. Campbell, who was sheriff of Bullitt County in the first decade of the 1900's.

William B. Campbell arrived in Bullitt County sometime before his marriage to Miss Alma M. Arnold on 26 Mar 1896 which is recorded in the Bullitt County Marriage Bond Book 5 on page 107, although the record shows that they were married at West Point in Hardin County.

William, Alma, and William's brother, Ernest Campbell were living in the Shepherdsville district of Bullitt County in the 1900 census, as shown below:

1900 Federal Census: Kentucky, Bullitt County, Shepherdsville, district 15, page 31B, household 115/116
Campbell, Wm B. - head, W M, born May 1872, age 28, married 4 years, born KY, parents born KY, occupation: ? sheriff
Campbell, Alma M. - wife, W F, born (month unreadable) 1871, age 28, no children, born KY, parents born KY, no occupation
Campbell, Ernest - brother, W M, born Jun 1879, age 20, single, born KY, parents born KY, occupation unreadable

By 1901, William had become a deputy sheriff in Bullitt County (The Bullitt Pioneer [TBP], 5 July 1901); and in 1904 he entered the race for sheriff. (TBP, 7 Oct 1904). We next find him listed as the sheriff in the county directory published in the newspaper on 9 Mar 1906.

According to The Bullitt News on 20 Apr 1906, "W. B. Campbell left Monday for Hot Springs. He has been low with rheumatism for sometime and we hope the trip will benefit him." The paper reported on 18 May 1906, "W. B. Campbell has returned home much improved."

Although he was the sheriff, he was also in business with Lee Dawson in 1907 as partners in "Campbell & Dawson, Livery Feed and Sale Stable, opposite the court House. W. B. Campbell and Lee Dawson, successors to H. H. Glenn." (TBP, 24 May 1907)

On 14 May 1909, The Bullitt Pioneer reported that "Sheriff W. B. Campbell left for Matador, Texas, armed with a requisition from the governor of Kentucky for Emmett Wilson, a young man formerly of Mt. Washington, who was indicted about a year ago for robbing Barnes Bros. store at Mt. Washington. Deputy W. S. Rouse is looking after business in his absence."

Then in June, William and Alma lost their third child, as reported in the paper on 25 Jun 1909:

"That 'Death Loves a Shining Mark' was never more truly proven than when he entered the home of Mr. and Mrs. W. B. Campbell on Wednesday morning last and took their precious and only darling baby boy. He was a lovely little fellow, just beginning to walk and lisp a few words and would have been a year old next Tuesday. The idol of a proud father and devoted mother, the last of three children, all of whom have died in infancy. All that medical skill, gentle, but willing hands and loving hearts could do to save him was done, but the ?? had gone forth and He who said, 'suffer the little children to come to me' wanted him to shine in and help brighten Bliss and chose him for His own. This thought should comfort the stricken ones and console them in their deep distress. The sympathy of this whole community goes out to them in an unbroken wave. The funeral services were conducted from Mr. Campbell's residence yesterday morning by Rev. S. P. Martin and the remains were interred in Hebron Cemetery. This little darling was the writer's special pet, who will sadly miss him, and the blow strikes so close to him, he finds words indeed difficult to express his feelings."

William Campbell's rheumatism also worsened during this time. On 10 Sep 1909, the paper reported, "Everyone is glad to see our popular sheriff, Bill Campbell on the street once more." But the same paper carried an announcement, "Will sell at public auction: several shares of the capital stock of the Bullitt County Fair Association, one piano, all my household and kitchen furniture, etc. W. B. Campbell"

A week later, the paper stated, "Mr. & Mrs. W. B. Campbell will leave for Colorado for an indefinite stay on account of Mr. Campbell's health. No people ever left Bullitt County whose departure causes more universal regret, etc."

The paper reported on 10 Dec 1909, "Many friends of Mr. Campbell are delighted to know this his health is much improved in their new home in Colorado."

It appears that William and Alma returned to Kentucky briefly, as the paper reported on 11 Feb 1910 that "Mrs. John Nicholson spent Monday in Louisville, the guest of Mrs. W. B. Campbell and Mrs. Tom Moore." As you will see later, Mrs. Tom Moore is likely to have been William's sister.

Then on 11 Mar 1910, the paper stated that "W. B. Campbell of Louisville, visited W. S. Rouse and family."

However, by April the Campbells were back in Colorado, as reported on 15 Apr 1910, "W. B. Campbell has located in Denver, CO and will engage in business."

We find them in the Denver area in the 1910 census. Interestingly, they seem to have adopted a daughter by this time.

1910 Federal Census: Colorado, Denver County, Denver Ward 12, District 152, page 22A, household 7/7, living at 564 Broadway in Denver
Campbell, Will B. - head, M W 38, married once for 14 years, born KY, parents born KY, proprietor - Cicor(?) stand
Campbell, Alma M. - wife, F W 38, 3 children/none living, born KY, no occupation
Temple Flora - a. daugher, F W 13, born KY

We find a Flora Temple (born Apr 1897) in the 1900 census in Spencer County KY, daughter of Robert and Merika E. Temple, and think this might be the same young lady.

They were still in Denver in 1920, as shown below.

1920 Federal Census: Colorado, Denver County, Denver, District 199, page 25A, household 72/84, living at 2738 Gilpin Street
Campbell, William B. - head, M W 48, married, born KY, parents born KY, salesman for candy company
Campbell, Alma - wife, F W 48, born KY, parents born KY, no occupation
Campbell, Samuel P. - son, M W 9, born Colorado, parents born KY
Allen, Jesse L. - brother-in-law, M W 49, married, born KY, parents born KY, barber (own shop)
Allen, Inez P. - sister-in-law, F W 35, born KY, parents born KY, music teacher at home
Allen, Wilbur B. - nephew, M W 1 3/12, born Colorado, parents born KY

By this time Alma had apparently given birth to a son, Samuel. Living with them were Alma's sister and her family.

The most recent record we have found for William and Alma is the 1930 census.

1930 Federal Census: Colorado, Denver County, Denver, District 110, page 3A, household 48/67, living at 2738 Gilpin Street
Campbell, William B. - head, M W 57, married 24 years, born KY, parents born KY, penny machine operator (own business)
Campbell, Alma M. - wife, F W 58, born KY, parents born KY, no occupation
Campbell, Samuel - son, M W 19, single, born Colorado, parents born KY, orchestra musician

Determining William B. Campbell's ancestry has been a bit of a puzzle. We think he is likely the son of William and Mary V. Campbell. We first find this family in the 1880 census.

1880 Federal Census: Kentucky, Spencer County, Taylorsville, District 176, page 473C
Campbell, William - W M 32, head, grocer
Campbell, Mary V. - W F 32, wife, housekeeper
Campbell, William - W M 8, son
Campbell, Mary J. - W F 5, daughter
Campbell, Ernest - W M 1, son

Recall that in the 1900 census, William B. Campbell was said to have been born in May 1872, and his brother Ernest in Jun 1879. These dates correspond nicely with those of William and Ernest in the 1880 census record above.

Mary Jane Campbell was born 4 Dec 1874 in Nelson County to Wm. W. Campbell and his wife, Mary V. Nicholson. According to the Nelson County 1874 Birth Register, William was a native of Spencer County, and Mary was a native of Bardstown.

This is significant because according to his 1896 marriage bond record, William B. Campbell was born in Nelson County, his father was born in Spencer County, and his mother in Nelson County, which corresponds with Mary Jane's birth record.

A contributing clue comes from The Bullitt Pioneer which reported on 2 Sep 1910 of the death of T. L. Moore as shown below:

"(Cupio) John and Dick Moore received word that their brother, T. L. Moore had died Sunday morning at Grand Junction, Colorado of tuberculosis where he had been about two months. He leaves a wife who is a sister to W. B. Campbell, four daughters, three brothers, an old mother and one sister, Mrs. Muss of Louisville. They buried him in Colorado."

We think this is T. L. Moore's family in the 1910 census in Louisville before they left for Colorado.

1910 Federal Census: Kentucky, Jefferson County, Magisterial District 3, District 21, page 280B, household 48/177
Moore, Thomas L. - head, M W 41, married 16 years, born KY, parents born KY, house carpenter
Moore, Mary J. - wife, F W 35, 4 chidren/all living, born KY, parents born KY
Moore, Carrie D. - daughter, F W 15, single, born KY
Moore, Alma P. - daughter, F W 13, single, born KY
Moore, Eliza V. - daughter, F W 11, born KY
Moore, Hazel M. - daughter, F W 7, born KY

As you can see, his wife was Mary J., age 35, which would put her birth at about 1875, which corresponds nicely with Mary Jane Campbell's birth on 4 Dec 1874.

While there remains a small possibility that this is all a matter of coincidence, we think that there is sufficient evidence here to allow us to make this connection.

Alma Arnold Campbell was a daughter of William and Roxanna Arnold of Bullitt County, as shown in the 1880 census.

1880 Federal Census: Kentucky, Bullitt County, Shepherdsville, District 32, page 201C, household 131/131
Arnold, William - W M 38, head, farmer, born KY, parents born KY
Arnold, Roxanna - W F 31, wife, keeping house, born KY, parents born KY
Arnold, Alma - W F 8, daughter, born KY
Arnold, Maud - W F 4, daughter, born KY

Then in 1900, the parents had another daughter:

1900 Federal Census: Kentucky, Bullitt County, Shepherdsville, District 15, page 31A, household 102/103
Arnold, Wm B. - head, W M, born Sep 1841, age 58, married 28 years, born KY, parents born KY, farmer
Arnold, Roxanna - wife, W F, born Nov 1846, age 55(?), 3 children/all living, born KY, parents born KY
Arnold, Inez P. - daughter, W F, born Oct 1884, age 15, single, born KY

The Bullitt News reported on 31 Aug 1906, "(Personal Items) Miss Pet Arnold is the guest of her sister, Mrs. W. B. Campbell." Inez P. Arnold in the census was likely Inez Petronella Arnold, or Miss Pet Arnold in the newspaper.

The newspaper reported on 19 Apr 1912, "Mrs. Roxana A. Arnold, sixty-five years of age, died of uremia this morning at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Inez Allen, of West Market Street. She was the widow of W. P. Arnold, a grocer. She is survived by three daughters, Mrs. Inez Allen and Mrs. Maud Arms of Louisville, and Mrs. Alma Campbell, of Denver, CO; also a sister and four brothers. (Lou Times) Mrs. Arnold was a native of Bullitt County where the greater part of her life was spent."

Roxanna Arnold was the daughter of Green Key and his wife, Minerva Chappell Key according to her death certificate. She was born 4 Nov 1846 in Bullitt County, and died on 13 Apr 1912 in Louisville KY. She was a widow at the time of her death. Since the 1910 census shows William, Roxanna, and Inez Arnold living at 1150 South 18th Street in Louisville, we know that William died between that time and the time of Roxanna's death, and that Inez married Mr. Allen during that same period.

According to page 103 of the Jefferson County Mortuary Record for 1910, Wm B. Arnold died in Jefferson County on 11 Sep 1910 at the age of 68 (born in 1841).

We noted that there were several Arnolds on the same census page in 1880 including James B. and Margaret Arnold. James was the elder Arnold on the page. Looking back in the 1850 Bullitt Co census, William, age 9, is listed as a son of this couple, and is likely the William who married Roxanna.

We will be happy to receive additional information about these families. You may contact us by using the link at the top of this page.


All of the newspaper reports given in this essay come from the transcriptions of Edith Blissett, and we are very grateful to her for this work.


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The Bullitt County History Museum, a service of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is located in the county courthouse at 300 South Buckman Street (Highway 61) in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The museum, along with its research room, is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. Admission is free. The museum, as part of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and is classified as a 509(a)2 public charity. Contributions and bequests are deductible under section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code. Page last modified: 13 Jul 2015 . Page URL: bullittcountyhistory.org/bchistory/wbcampbell.html