The Cleveland Gordian Knot (A Genealogical Puzzle), Part Three: James Campbell and Mary C. Nagle

(If you haven’t read parts one and two, you’ll want to do so before diving in to this post.)

By 15 April 1910 (the official census date that year1), Fannie Campbell was a widow–of one day. In fact, the William Campbell family was enumerated on a supplemental sheet in 1910,2 which means they either weren’t home or weren’t in a position to be interviewed the first time the census taker came by.3 Understandably so, because James Campbell died at the Cleveland City Hospital at 5:30 in the morning on 14 April 1910 after a long battle with paralysis agitans, better known as Parkinson’s disease.

James Campbell Death Certificate
Ohio Death Certificate for James Campbell.4

The informant for the personal details on James’s death certificate was his son, William, who lived at 10004 Cumberland (which was also his address in the census that same month). William was certainly not present at his own father’s birth, and he possibly never even knew James’s parents. It’s likely he got some of the vital data wrong since it would largely be secondary information to him. The undertaker, on the other hand, would have had primary knowledge of where he laid James’s body to rest: Woodland Cemetery, on 16 April 1910. More specifically, according to cemetery records, in section 65, tier 1, grave 16. James was the second burial in that grave, the first one having taken place in April 1888.5

An obituary in the Plain Dealer reported that James died at home, which is probably the result of a mistake or miscommunication, considering the doctor signing off on the details, a Dr. O.B. Norman, would’ve known very well where his patient died after treating him for several years beginning 6 September 1906, as noted on James’s death certificate, which also states that James had been institutionalized at his place of death (the City Hospital) for 1288 days, or just over three and a half years.

James Campbell obituary
James Campbell’s obituary.6

The Plain Dealer obituary mentioned the widow, Fannie, a son, William, and another son, George. George was not enumerated with the James Campbell family in the 1900 Census,7 nor was he mentioned in William’s 1962 obituary,8 or any other record we’ve examined so far.

According to his death certificate, James’s former residence prior to apparently moving into the hospital in 1906 was 1723 Woodland Hills Ave–so what happened to the McCurdy Street residence James owned in 1900? Whatever happened to the McCurdy Street property, James still owned one piece of real estate when he died in 1910–an empty lot on Elroy Street in Newburgh Heights. He died without leaving a will, and one Mark McElroy applied to administer the estate in January 1911.9 The probate case file includes (among other things) an appraisal confirming that James had no household goods, as they were all “disposed of while … he [James] was in the hospital.”10 There’s also a list of James’s surviving next of kin, as follows:

record-image_9Q97-YSJG-NQC
Snippet of Mark McElroy’s application for letters of administration on the James Campbell estate.

There’s Fannie, the widow, along with William, and George. William Campbell is listed last, likely because he was James’s youngest son. Second to last is Martha J. McElroy, a.k.a. Martha Jane Campbell, who married Mark McElroy on 7 December 1903. Her parents were listed as James Campbell and Mary C. Hagel (sic) on the marriage license application, and her address at the time was 2017 Nelson St.11 Jennie is a diminutive form of “Jane,”12 so Martha Jane (Campbell) McElroy is almost certainly the same person as sixteen year-old Jennie Campbell from the 1900 Census.

The names Charles and Joseph Campbell are new. A check of the 1880 Census for Cleveland reveals another James Campbell family, living on Sterling Avenue:

1880
The James Campbell Family of Sterling Ave, Cleveland, Ohio in the 1880 U.S. Census.13

This James Campbell is thirty-three years old, which is a tidy twenty years younger than the James Campbell living at 56 McCurdy Street on the 1900 Census, who was born in July 1846, (although this consistent age between the 1880 and 1900 censuses is six years off from the 1840 date provided by William at James’s death). Both were born in England, although the 1880 Census lists James’s father’s birthplace as Scotland rather than England. James Campbell living on Sterling Avenue in 1880 was a carpenter, just like Fannie Campbell’s husband on McCurdy Street in 1900.

However, there’s no Fannie from England (with parents from England) to be found in this 1880 household. Instead, James’s wife is Mary, born in New York to parents from Germany and New York, age twenty-seven–making her about five years younger than Fannie, aged fifty-one in 1900.

Charles, the eldest son of James and Mary Campbell, was reported to be seven years old in 1880. The middle son, James, was four. George, the youngest, was one year old. All of them were born in Ohio–and would’ve been twenty-plus years old by the 1900 Census, which could explain why none of them were enumerated with James Campbell on McCurdy St that year.

Campbell-Nagle Marriage application
Marriage application for James Campbell and Mary Nagle.14

Going backward still from the 1880 Census, James Campbell applied for a license to marry Mary Nagle in Cuyahoga County, Ohio on 4 November 1873 (see above), and the marriage was performed the same day by Reverend Oliver Burgess.15

Their eldest son, Charles, was born in Cleveland on 10 January 1874.16 (Meaning Mary was already pregnant when she married James in November 1873). Next, Mary gave birth to twin boys on 1 September 1876,17 but only one of them survived.18 The other one lived for just seven hours, and was buried in Woodland Cemetery the next day in the Southeast Avenue section, tier 1 grave 138.19 The surviving twin, James, went by both James Joseph and Joseph James throughout his life, and it’s said that he added his lost twin’s name to his own.20

About a month after the twins were born, James Campbell received his certificate of naturalization on 3 October 1876. The petition is oddly blank and lined out except for the clerk’s note that the certificate was in fact issued, and that James filed his Declaration of Intent in Monroe County, New York on 1 July 1873.21 According to the Monroe County Declaration of Intent, signed and sworn to by James himself, he was born in London and lived in Rochester, New York.22

James Campbell Declaration of Intention
James Campbell’s Declaration of Intention.

If James filed his Declaration as soon as he was eligible to do so, then he would have been in the United States by 1871 at the latest,23 which is only slightly off from the 1869 immigration date noted for him in 1900, and he might well have filed his first papers a while after he became eligible. Perhaps there were extenuating circumstances which inspired James to begin the citizenship process; Mary would’ve a been few months pregnant with Charles Campbell in July 1873 although she and James were not yet married. Sometime between July 1873 and November 1873, James (possibly with a pregnant Mary by his side) relocated from Rochester, New York to Cleveland, Ohio.

Another boy, George, was born on 30 April 1879.24 The couple’s only daughter, Martha Jane, was born on 7 December 1883,25 exactly twenty years to the day before her marriage to Mark McElroy, and about two months after James and Mary C. Campbell purchased a lot on McCurdy St.26 William Ernest was of course born on 29 January 1886,27 and he was followed by another boy on 28 March 1888.28

But the boy in March of 1888 was stillborn,29 and Mary did not survive giving birth to him. The baby was buried in Woodland Cemetery on 29 March 1888, in the Southeast Avenue section, tier 1, grave 138;30 the same grave as elder brother Joseph James’s lost twin. Mary died from hemorrhaging two days later, at one in the afternoon on 31 March 1888, and her death record notes her birthplace: New York.31 The Plain Dealer reported that she died in childbirth,32 the Leader said it was fever.33 When Mary’s funeral notice was printed, the Leader added a note for the papers in Rochester and Le Roy, New York to “please copy,”34 most likely so any family she still had in New York would know of her passing.

Mary C. (Nagle) Campbell Funeral Notice

Mary C. (Nagle) Campbell, the beloved wife of James Campbell, was buried in Woodland Cemetery on 2 April 1888, in section 65, tier 1, grave 16,35 where her husband would join her in thirty-two years and two weeks—to the day.

To recap:

  1. Was William Campbell’s mother from England? Or was she from New York, or Pennsylvania? William Campbell’s mother, Mary C. Nagle, was born in New York.
  2. Was Fannie Campbell actually William’s biological mother? No, she was not. She was his stepmother.
  3. Did Fannie have ten children, two of whom survived, or six children, all of whom survived?
  4. When exactly was William E. Campbell born? (The smaller fluctuations in his age from census to census might be resolved by comparing his birth month to the official census date, but other shifts are too large to be tidied up that way.) William Ernest Campbell was born to James and Mary (Nagle) Campbell in Cleveland, Ohio on 29 January 1886.
  5. Did Fannie Campbell die before 1920, or did she just move out?
  6. Are Eveleyin and Mary Campbell the same person? No. Evelyn I. McEachern was William’s first wife, Mary H. Wilson was his second.
  7. What were James and Fannie Campbell each up to before they got married in their thirties? James and Fannie were not married in 1881 as the 1900 census suggests. Before James married Fannie, he had a family with Mary C. Nagle for fifteen years, until her death.
  8.  What was William E. Campbell’s connection to Los Angeles, California?
  9. If Fannie Campbell and Mary Naegel/Nagle are not the same person, what happened to Mary prior to 1900? Fannie and Mary were not the same person, and Mary died after complications from childbirth in 1888.
  10. When did James Campbell marry his second wife, Fannie?
  11. What was Fannie Campbell’s maiden name?
  12. What was Fannie up to in the years after her immigration and prior to her marriage to James Campbell?
  13. What happened to the McCurdy Street property James purchased with Mary in 1883 and still owned in 1900?

Next up, Part Four: James and Fannie, in which George Campbell nearly gets himself sent to the House of Refuge, William Campbell plays baseball, and Charles Campbell gets attacked in the middle of the night.


1. U.S. Bureau of the Census, “Instructions to Enumerators; 1910,” p.17, image copy, Census.gov (https://www.census.gov/history/pdf/1910instructions.pdf : accessed 12 March 2018).
2. Margaret Crymes, “The Cleveland Gordian Knot (A Genealogical Puzzle), Part One: William E. Campbell in the Census,” kinvestigations.com, 9 March 2018 (https://kinvestigations.com/2018/03/10/the-cleveland-gordian-knot-a-genealogical-puzzle-part-one-william-e-campbell-in-the-census/ : accessed 19 March 2018), para. 5.
3. U.S. Bureau of the Census, “Instructions to Enumerators; 1910,” p. 22-23
4. Ohio Bureau of Vital Statistics, Certificate of Death no. 19684, James Campbell, 14 April 1910; “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GPVR-SXWT : accessed 12 March 2018), 1910 > 17871-20350 > image 2237 of 3053; citing digital images of originals, Ohio Historical Society, Columbus.
5. Cleveland Department of Parks and Public Property, Division of Cemeteries, Woodland Cemetery Interment Register 8: 85, James Campbell, 16 April 1910; database with images, “Ohio, Cleveland Cemetery Interment Records, 1824-2001,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9TDQ-QDS : accessed 12 March 2018), Film #004466577 > image 88 of 195; citing digital images of originals, Department of Parks, Recreation and Properties, Cleveland, Ohio.
6. “Campbell,” The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, 15 April 1910, p. 13, col. 5; digital images, GenealogyBank.com (https://www.genealogybank.com/nbshare/AC01150128074204280831520866687 : accessed 12 March 2018).
7. Crymes, “The Cleveland Gordian Knot (A Genealogical Puzzle), Part One: William E. Campbell in the Census,” para. 2.
8. Margaret Crymes, “The Cleveland Gordian Knot (A Genealogical Puzzle), Part Two: The William E. Campbell Vitals,” kinvestigations.com, 10 March 2018 (https://kinvestigations.wordpress.com/2018/03/10/the-cleveland-gordian-knot-a-genealogical-puzzle-part-two-the-william-e-campbell-vitals/ : accessed 19 March 2018), para. 12.
9. Cuyahoga County, Ohio, probate case file no. 55140, James Campbell, application for letters of administration for Mark McElroy, 24 January 1911; digital images, “Ohio, Cuyahoga County Probate Files, 1813-1932,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9Q97-YSJG-NQC : accessed 11 March 2018), Docket 92 > Case no 55126-55177 Jan 1911-Apr 1911 > image 224 of 588; citing original records, Cuyahoga County Archives.
10. Cuyahoga County, Ohio, probate case file no. 55140, James Campbell, inventory Schedule D, 8 May 1901(sic) [1911]; digital images, “Ohio, Cuyahoga County Probate Files, 1813-1932,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9Q97-YSJG-NW3 : accessed 11 March 2018), Docket 92 > Case no 55126-55177 Jan 1911-Apr 1911 > image 230 of 588; citing original records, Cuyahoga County Archives.
11. Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records, 58: 155, McElroy-Campbell, 1903; database with images, “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939K-BP9P-FP : accessed 9 March 2018), Cuyahoga > Marriage records 1903-1904 vol 58 > image 125 of 302; citing microfilm of original records I the Cuyahoga County Courthouse.
12. Online Etymology Dictionary (https://www.etymonline.com/word/jenny : accessed 19 March 2018), “Jenny.” 
13. 1880 U.S. Census, Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, population schedule, ED 26, p. 34 (penned), sheet B, dwelling 239, household 333, James Campbell; database with images, “United States Census, 1880,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9YB8-Z6Y : accessed 11 March 2018), Ohio > Cuyahoga > Cleveland > ED 20 > image 34 of 59; citing NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 1006.
14. Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Applications for Marriage Licenses 1871 – 1874, 4 November 1873, Campbell-Nagle; database with images, “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939K-BP95-45 : accessed 10 March 2018), Cuyahoga > Marriage license applications 1873-1874 > image 40 of 269; citing microfilm of originals, County Courthouse, Cleveland.
15. Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records, 17:340, Campbell-Nagle, 1873; database with images, “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-PH9W-74 : accessed 10 March 2018), Cuyahoga > Marriage records 1872-1874 vol 17 > image 214 of 275; citing microfilm of original records, Cuyahoga County Courthouse.
16. Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Record of Births 2: 109, Charles Cambel, 10 January 1874; database with images, “Ohio, County Births, 1841-2003,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GRYW-S9XC : accessed 19 March 2018), Cuyahoga > Birth registers 1872-1875 vol 2 > image 171 of 331; citing microfilm of originals, County Courthouse, Cleveland.
17. Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Record of Births 1873-1876: 410, twins born to Mary Nagle and James Campbell, 1 September 1876; database with images, “Ohio, County Births, 1841-2003,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9RK8-9W1Y : accessed 19 March 2018), Cuyahoga > Birth registers with index 1872-1876 > image 241 of 288; citing microfilm of originals, County Courthouse, Cleveland.
18. City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Record of Deaths 1873-1879, unpaginated, no. 1999, Baby Campbell, 1 September 1876; database with images, “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9ZR-LCQX : accessed 19 March 2018), Cuyahoga > Death records, 1873-1879 > image 212 of 458; citing originals at Cuyahoga County Courthouse, Cleveland.
19. Cleveland Department of Parks and Public Property, Division of Cemeteries, Woodland Cemetery Interment Register 2: 25, Campbell’s Mr. Child, 2 September 1876; database with images, “Ohio, Cleveland Cemetery Interment Records, 1824-2001,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9TDQ-3NZ : accessed 12 March 2018), 004466551 > image 28 of 208; citing digital images of originals, Department of Parks, Recreation and Properties, Cleveland, Ohio.
20. Public Member Trees,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 19 March 2018), “Porten Family Tree” family tree by “portensa”, ‘Twin?’ story in gallery for James Joseph Campbell (1876-1942) updated 8 June 2012.
21. Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Court of Common Pleas Alien Docket 5: 478, James Campbell; database with images, “Ohio County Naturalization Records, 1800-1977,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-8996-PRTC : accessed 19 March 2018), Cuyahoga > Naturalization docket 1866-1876 vol 5 > image 266 of 270; citing microfilm of original records at Cuyahoga County Archives, Cleveland, Ohio.
22. Monroe County, New York, Naturalization Declarations 1872-1873: loose items arranged roughly chronologically, see July 1873 for 1 July 1873 declaration of intention by James Campbell; browse-able images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C911-572X-J : accessed 19 March 2018), Film #7759919 > image 1359 of 1520; citing microfilm of original records in the Monroe County Courthouse, Rochester, New York.
23. National Archives and Records Administration, “Naturalization Records,” 22 August 2016 (https://www.archives.gov/research/naturalization/naturalization.html : accessed 29 March 2018).
24. Cleveland, Ohio, Birth Return, 30 April 1879, parents Mary Nagle and James Campbell; database with images, “Ohio, County Births, 1841-2003,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9RY4-396Z : accessed 16 March 2018), Cuyahoga > Birth returns 1879 > image 1570 of 4918; citing microfilm of original record at Cuyahoga County Archives.
25. Cleveland, Ohio, Birth Return, 7 December 1883, parents Mary Nagle and James Campbell; database with images, “Ohio, County Births, 1841-2003,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9RY4-3JXH : accessed 16 March 2018), Cuyahoga > Birth returns 1883 > image 5828 of 6250; citing microfilm of original record at Cuyahoga County Archives.
26. Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Deed Book 355: 414-415, George and Margaretha Schraufl to James and Mary C. Campbell, 2 October 1883; database with images, Cuyahoga County Fiscal Officer (https://fiscalofficer.cuyahogacounty.us : accessed 19 March 2018), Recorded Documents > General Deed Search > use Book and Page fields, click through to download image files.
27. Crymes, “The Cleveland Gordian Knot (A Genealogical Puzzle), Part Two: The William E. Campbell Vitals,” para. 2.
28. Cleveland, Ohio, Birth Return, 28 March 1888, parents Mary Kneal[Nagle] and James Campbell; database with images, “Ohio, County Births, 1841-2003,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GRYH-94DP : accessed 16 March 2018), Cuyahoga > Birth returns 1887-1888 > image 2139 of 6003; citing microfilm of original record at Cuyahoga County Archives.
29. Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Record of Deaths 3: 273, Baby Campbell, 28 March 1888; database with images, “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-D1G7-JP9 : accessed 19 March 2018), Cuyahoga > Death records, 1884-1890, vol 3-4 > image 354 of 701; citing microfilm of originals, County Courthouse, Cleveland.
30. Cleveland Department of Parks and Public Property, Division of Cemeteries, Woodland Cemetery Interment Register 3: 134, Baby Campbell, 29 March 1888; database with images, “Ohio, Cleveland Cemetery Interment Records, 1824-2001,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GTDQ-39K : accessed 12 March 2018), 004466560 > image 137 of 200; citing digital images of originals, Department of Parks, Recreation and Properties, Cleveland, Ohio.
31. Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Record of Deaths 3: 273, Mary Campbell, 31 March 1888.
32. “Deaths,” The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, 3 April 1888, p. 7, col. 6; digital image, GenealogyBank.com (https://www.genealogybank.com/nbshare/AC01150128074204280831521501676 : accessed 19 March 2018).
33. “The Death List,” The (Cleveland) Leader and Herald, 3 April 1888, p. 5. col. 2; digital image, GenealogyBank.com (https://www.genealogybank.com/nbshare/AC01150128074204280831521501914 : accessed 19 March 2018).
34. “Campbell,” The (Cleveland) Leader and Herald, 2 April 1888, p. 5, col. 4; digital image, GenealogyBank.com (https://www.genealogybank.com/nbshare/AC01150128074204280831521498553 : accessed 19 March 2018).
35. Cleveland Department of Parks and Public Property, Division of Cemeteries, Woodland Cemetery Interment Register 3: 134, Mary C. Campbell, 2 April 1888.

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