Biography of Judge J.N. Campbell

Judge J.N. CampbellJudge J.N. Campbell“Judge James Nathaniel Campbell, without exception, the most colorful figure connected with the greatest period of growth in the history of Longview, Texas, has been one of the leading and most progressive members of the legal fraternity of this city for nearly four decades. During his many years' practice at the Bar, Judge J.N. Campbell has been prominent in various public offices of Gregg County, including a long successful term on the County Judge's Bench. Since 1931 he has been associated with J.V. Leake, in the law firm of Campbell and Leake, with offices in the Bazzell Building at 204 N. Green Street. Though engaged in a very extensive general practice, Leake and Campbell met the increasing demands of oil litigation and title matters.

“Judge J.N. Campbell was admitted to the Bar and began his practice in Longview in 1898; trying his first case before the local courts. He continued his sole practice in Longview, until he formed a law firm with Mr.Leake in 1931. He served one year as County and District Clerk of Gregg County, in addition to the already-referred-to term as County Judge of Gregg County. Judge J.N. Campbell has kept in close touch with the march of progress, especially as related to the legal fraternity. His comments in this respect are illuminating; citing in 1930, just prior to the discovery of the East Texas oil field, there were twelve members of the Longview Bar Association, while before the close of 1931 this number had increased to two hundred, with around one half of that number remaining in the city after the peak of the oil boom.

“Property values, for the entire county, he cites as something less than five million dollars in 1930, while four years later the value of property in the county had reached more than ninety-eight million dollars. Lake Divernia, a hunting and fishing club, located some nine miles West of Longview, which Judge J.N. Campbell built and named for his daughter, Madge Divernia Campbell. This exclusive member-only private lake is another citable instance of what the Oil industry has meant to this section of Texas. In 1917 stock in the lake was quoted at around two hundred dollars a share, shares now being worth in the neighborhood of five thousand dollars, and the resort is the only pleasure resort in the United States paying a dividend to stockholders, having paid dividends in the four years just following the discovery of oil of more than one hundred thousand dollars. The population of Longview grew from some five thousand in 1930 to thirty thousand in 1935.

“Judge Campbell was born in Cherokee County, Texas, on the eighteenth day of August, 1871, and is a son of T.D. Campbell and Cynthia Devernia Carroll Campbell; moving to Longview when he was one year old. Mr. Campbell was educated in the Longview schools. He became County and District Clerk of Gregg County, studying law while in that office, and being admitted to the Bar in 1898.

“Judge J.N. Campbell was married on the seventeenth day of May, 1891, to Miss Lottie Lee Isham, a daughter of S.G. Isham and M.M. Isham, of Longview. Mr. and Mrs. Campbell have two children, Gilbert Campbell, Superintendent of Nash Dealers for the State of Louisiana, with headquarters at Shreveport, and Madge, wife of Dr. Charles C. Adams, of Longview, having a son James Adams, a pre-law student at Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

“Judge Campbell is a Knight of Pythias, and is Senior Warden of the Trinity Episcopal Church at Longview. He is a very active member of the Longview Bar Association, which he served as President for more than a quarter of a century, resigning on the first of January, 1935. Besides his legal activities, Judge Campbell has at all times taken a constructive interest in the industrial and social development of Longview, and has kept in close touch with all phases of its history and advancement.”

-The Historical Encyclopedia of Texas
(Cover: The New Encyclopedia of Texas)
Volume I
Ellis Arthur David, Editor. Revised edition.
1936. pp. 706-707