Wild West History Association Dedicated to the history and lore of the American West
Wild West History Association Dedicated to the history and lore of the American West
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Malcolm Campbell

 

(June 4, 1839 - July 20, 1932)

 

Malcolm Campbell was born on a farm near London, Ontario, Canada. At age 25, the entire family moved to DeWitt, IA. Malcolm entered into the freighting business near Beatrice, NE. For a number of years Campbell would be involved in this type of business:

 

   1866 - hired out as a bullwhacker, hauling supplies to Fort Kearney, NE.

   Hired out with the Union Pacific Railroad bringing wood for railroad ties

   Worked for a freighting company hauling goods from Wyoming to Fort Defiance, AZ

   John Portugee Phillips hired Campbell to drive a herd through Wyoming

   A government contract supplying charcoal to Fort Fetterman

 

With all these jobs Malcolm Campbell became known around southeast Wyoming. He served as deputy sheriff for Nathaniel Boswell and three times under Lew Miller.

 

Malcolm Campbell's most noted capture was Alferd Packer. After escaping from jail, Packer roamed the west for ten years. In Douglas, WY Packer was spotted by someone who knew him. It was Packer's missing two (or portions of two) fingers on his left hand and two front teeth crudely inserted which positively identified him. Malcolm Campbell captured Packer without any incident and transported him from Douglas, WY to Laramie through 15 foot drifts of snow.

 

In 1888, Campbell was elected sheriff of the new Converse County, WY. Adjoining Johnson County Malcolm Campbell did not participate in the Johnson County War, but provided a great third party view of the incident.

 

A shootout at a saloon resulted in the arrest of one participant. The enraged wounded owners of the saloon galloped to the jail with guns drawn and demanded release of the prisoner so they could "finish him off". Malcolm Campbell gave them a defiant look and said "Over my dead body". Those saloon owners rode away.

 

Called "Old Grizzly" by some and the "fire eating marshal" by others, the definitive biography of Malcolm Campbell has not been written.

 

Malcolm Campbell is buried in the Highland Cemetery in Casper, WY.

 

 

Gravesite Map

 

Information compiled by Steve Grimm

Books About Malcolm Campbell

 

Malcolm Campbell, Sheriff by Robert B. David

 

Based on interviews with Campbell, there is surprising little information about his life as a lawman. It does show a man who was a keen observer describing events and the growth of southeast Wyoming. The chapters relating the Johnson County War is one of the best third party views of this conflict. However, Campbell was not directly involved in this cattleman war.

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© Wild West History Association - a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation

http://www.WildWestHistory.org