“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Phillipsburg in Warren County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

James Campbell

Canal Boat Captain (1856 - 1932)

— Morris Canal Greenway —

James Campbell Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), October 3, 2020
1. James Campbell Marker
James Campbell (Camel) was born January 16, 1856. He and his wife, Hanna K. Anderson were married on October 9, 1878 and had eight children; four boys and four girls.

James was a "free" born African American who could both read and write. At age fifteen, he became one of only a small percentage of Black Boat Captains on the Morris Canal, following in the footsteps of other family members who had been Boatmen before him.

In 1889, James purchased his home in Washington, N.J. for $167.98. Its location on North Lincoln Avenue, a once-thriving, well-established African American district and in close proximity to the waterway, served as the family residence throughout his Boatman career of approximately forty plus years. Beside the home itself, the Campbell property featured a large barn with a haymow where mules were kept. These animals could be borrowed or left to rest there for short periods of time.

Other Black Boatmen residing in his neighborhood included Joe Taylor and Jim Haines. Additionally, the Mt. Pisgah AME Church, erected in 1877, was an integral part of the neighborhood and served
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as the church home for the Campbell family then and now.

Some of Captain Campbell's Canal experiences have been recorded in the book Tales the Boatmen Told edited by James Lee in 1977. He is also referred to in a poem written by Charles Matlock Hummer in 1959 entitled "Famous Tiller Sharks" which is sung in a film produced by the N.J. Public Television Corporation with the same title.

Boat Captain James Campbell represents the African American "presence" and experience on the Morris Canal as a viable contributor to its day-to-day operations. He felt "duty" bound as a family man, provider, and citizen. His home still stands as an authentic witness and legacy to his perseverance, work ethic, and undaunting spirit.
Erected by Morris Canal Greenway.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansChurches & ReligionSettlements & SettlersWaterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, and the Morris Canal series lists. A significant historical date for this entry is January 16, 1856.
Location. 40° 40.75′ N, 75° 10.437′ W. Marker is in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, in Warren County. Marker is on South Main Street (New Jersey Route 122) 0.1 miles north of Kent Street
James Campbell Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), October 3, 2020
2. James Campbell Marker
, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 900 S Main St, Phillipsburg NJ 08865, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Morris Canal Greenway (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Early Industry (about 600 feet away); Morris Canal Bridge No. 2 (approx. ¼ mile away); Morris Canal - Lock 10 West (approx. ¼ mile away); Vietnam Memorial (approx. 0.7 miles away); William Henry Walters (approx. 0.7 miles away); Civil War Mortar (approx. 1.2 miles away); a different marker also named Civil War Mortar (approx. 1.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Phillipsburg.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 4, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 4, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 289 times since then and 127 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on October 4, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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May. 27, 2023