Josephine Susan Campbell Bennett

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On this date in 1922, my second great-grandmother Josephine Susan (Campbell) Bennett passed away. She was born in 1859 in San Antonio, Texas, and was the granddaughter of the first mayor of San Antonio, William John Smith. Her father was not only a Campbell, but William Wallace Campbell, so I can only assume she had a wee bit of Scottish ancestry.

Josephine married Anson G. Bennett, who hailed from Missouri. Together, they had eight children, including my great grandfather Susan Campbell Bennett.

I haven’t found many more records besides census records of her life, but her daughter, also Josephine, was quite the social butterfly and was written up quite a bit in local papers.

Tombstone Tuesday: William Wallace Campbell

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Another FindaGrave volunteer has come through and taken a photo of the grave of my 3rd great-grandfather, William Wallace Campbell (Gee, you think he might have been Scottish? Just a bit?). The stone is a little hard to read in places, but I’m fascinated by the imagery depicted:

The carving depicts a broken tree with what appears to be a wall leaning against it.

I’ve never seen this type of imagery before. The broken tree, to me, seems to signify a life ended too short (he was only 34 when he died). I don’t know for sure if that’s a wall leaning in from the right. What do you all think? Ever seen anything like this? I want to do some more digging and see if I can find out how he died.

Here is the image from the second stone that is at the base of the larger headstone. It is much clearer:

Note the masonic symbol, which is repeated in the larger headstone.

Obviously, this smaller stone was added later by one of his children. I wonder if it was because the larger stone was already starting to wear?

The larger stone is hard to read, but after cropping and enlarging it, I think I can make out what it says:

W. W. CAMPBELL
born in Va. June ? 1828
died in San Antonio
January ? 1862

The FindaGrave memorial has the exact dates listed. I assume it’s easier to read the stone in person than in the photo provided.

One interesting finding: William’s wife, Susan Elizabeth (Smith) Campbell died two years later, also at a very young age. After viewing her FindaGrave memorial again, it’s even more apparent why new stones were made for these graves.

I recall coming across the information that they had died young before because it made finding their children in ensuing censuses challenging.  I would love to know what happened to this couple…

Tombstone Tuesday: Bittersweet

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Last week, I posted about a volunteer trek to several area cemeteries for FindaGrave.com. A friend of mine and I took volunteer photos of graves for family members of the deceased who live too far away to visit them themselves. This week is my first chance to write about the flip-side — I just received notification that someone has taken a photo that I requested.

My third great-grandmother was Susan Elizabeth (SMITH) CAMPBELL. She was born and died in San Antonio, Texas (in fact, her father apparently* was John William Smith**, the first mayor of San Antonio and a survivor of the Alamo).

I have never been to San Antonio, but I hope to go someday soon. While there, I plan to try and visit the graves of several ancestors, including that of Susan. Meanwhile, I posted a request on FindaGrave.com so that I could see the grave from afar. Another FindaGrave user accommodated my request this weekend. The results are bittersweet.

Susan’s gravestone is heavily damaged. At least half of it is just gone. It appears to have been broken, perhaps on purpose (vandalism in cemeteries is not uncommon) or perhaps courtesy of Mother Nature (trees fall on graves all the time). The rest of the stone is very dirty and worn. I can’t make out any details on the stone except two small flowers at the base on either side.

I appreciate the photographer having taken the time to snap the photo, but I can’t help but be disappointed that the stone doesn’t reveal more.

* I still haven’t definitively proved this to my satisfaction, but all accounts thus far seem to point to this being the case.

** John William apparently was born William John Smith, but flipped his first and last names along the way because it was easier for Spanish speakers to pronounce John. I hate to cite Wikipedia on a fact like that without verifying it, but that detail is just too fun not to mention.

Surname Saturday: CAMPBELL (Virginia, Texas)

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My Texas roots include Campbells from San Antonio:

27. Josephine Susan Campbell (b. 1859  in San Antonio – d. 1922 in San Antonio)
54. William Wallace Campbell (b. 1828 in Virginia – d. 1862 in San Antonio)

William is listed as a master mason in the 1860 U.S. census, which I found on Ancestry.com.

William and his wife, Susan Elizabeth Smith (1830-1864), passed away while their children were still young. I found two of Josephine’s siblings living with relatives in the 1870 census, but haven’t tracked down Josephine’s location in that particular year.

The siblings were reunited and living together when they were in their 20s, according to the 1880 census.

William earned a mention in Daughters of the Republic of Texas because his wife, Susan, was the daughter of William John Smith (aka John William Smith, a prominent figure in the battle for the Alamo and the first mayor of San Antonio).

As of yet, I have not been able to discover the names of William’s parents, nor the area of Virginia from whence he came. There are a lot of William Campbells in Virginia around the time he resided there for me to sort through.

Josephine married Anson G. Bennett in 1881 and they had 8 children, including my great-grandmother, Susan Campbell Bennett (1884-1966).