The Campbell Hospital: beckley, West Virginia

While looking back through West Virginia newspapers from this week in 1910, I came across this ad for The Campbell Hospital. I had never heard of this facility so I thought I would look a little further into information on the facility.

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The Raleigh Herald
Beckley, West Virginia
22 Sep 1910, Thu  •  Page 3

My first stop is WV History On View, a WVU site that archives some amazing historical photos for the state of West Virginia. I found a cleaner version of the photo from the newspaper. It is dated around the same timeline as the newspaper clipping.

See original for correspondence. Published by Kraemer Art Company. (From postcard collection legacy system.)
Several Nurses and Men Stand on Porches of Campbell Hospital, Beckley, W. Va.
Identifier: 043876
Collection Number: A&M 1724
Title: Several Nurses and Men Stand on Porches of Campbell Hospital, Beckley, W. Va.
Date: ca. 1909
Description: Published by Kraemer Art Company. (From postcard collection legacy system.)
Subjects: Counties–Raleigh.
Medium: postcard
Projects: West Virginia History OnView

In a history book I find this entry: Aug. 1, 1906. Dr. J. A. Campbell opens the newly constructed Campbell Hospital on North Heber Street; the first operation is performed there seven days later.

I went back to WV History on View to look up the good doctor and found this dandy photo:

From "Beckley U.S.A." by Harlow Warren, p. 27, vol. 1. Harlow Warren, copyright 1955.
Identifier: 036312
Collection Number: A&M 3698
Title: Portrait of Andrew Lewis and Dr. James A. Campbell on Horses at Beckley, W. Va.
Date: ca. 1890-1910
Description: From “Beckley U.S.A.” by Harlow Warren, p. 27, vol. 1. Harlow Warren, copyright 1955.
Medium: print
Projects: West Virginia History OnView

Using the date noted from the history book, I was able to find the newspaper clipping announcing the hospital’s opening.

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The Raleigh Herald • Beckley, West Virginia
26 Jul 1906, Thu  •  Page 1

Moving ahead through the newspaper archives, the week after the hospital’s opening I find another clipping with more details on Dr. Campbell. He had been practicing for 18 years and although currently residing in Beckley, was originally a Fayette County native. And, from the sounds of it, he was financially well-off.

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The Raleigh Herald • Beckley, West Virginia
16 Aug 1906, Thu  •  Page 5

I am always fascinated when I find “local news” that details the ailments of West Virginians of “that day”. I have found a few while researching my personal genealogy.

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The Raleigh Herald • Beckley, West Virginia
16 Aug 1906, Thu  •  Page 1

From the above article and this 1906 advertisement, we find that Dr Campbell specializes in “Diseases of Women and Children”. Looking up the school he attended in Louisville KY, a history read notes of the school in the 1850s: “The basic requirements to apply for a doctor of medicine degree was to study medicine for at least three years with a reputable physician. Once a student attended two regular sessions at the school of five months each and completing the required thesis and examination, the degree could be awarded.” Additional history on the school can be found here: https://louisville.edu/medicine/about/history but it really does not note Diseases of Women and Children.

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The Raleigh Herald • Beckley, West Virginia
23 Aug 1906, Thu  •  Page 4

So, knowing his name and where he “probably” was buried, I went to Find-A-Grave to see if I could find additional personal information out and maybe see an obituary to offer some insight. But the only photo there was of his Certificate of Death and a notation of his burial at Wildwood Cemetery in Beckley. Using his date of death, I searched for an obituary.

Source: Find A Grave

I was able to find his obituary in The Raleigh Register. Turns out he was a mayor at one point. A quick search shows his one year term from 1920-21. As mayor, he was instrumental in extending roads in Beckley, to make for easier transportation. From this obituary, we find that Campbell Hospital was Beckley’s first hospital when it was established in 1906. It does not give further information on how long the facility was in place or if it bought and names changed.

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The Raleigh Register. * Beckley, West Virginia
24 May 1942, Sun Pages 1 and 6

Through the end of 1906, you can find repeated mentions of patients at the hospital in the “Local News”.

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The Raleigh Herald • Beckley, West Virginia
15 Nov 1906, Thu  •  Page 4

Less than half a year after it’s opening, the Campbell Hospital moved to a brand new building on Heber St, just below the court house.

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The Raleigh Herald • Beckley, West Virginia
24 Jan 1907, Thu  •  Page 1

In addition to all of the modern conveniences noted in the previous clipping, we see here in a later Local News clip that the facility will also have a passenger elevator.

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The Raleigh Herald • Beckley, West Virginia
31 Jan 1907, Thu  •  Page 5

Their goal was to have the hospital open and ready for occupancy by mid-March.

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The Raleigh Herald • Beckley, West Virginia
14 Feb 1907, Thu  •  Page 1

Not only will they have elevators but they will also have up-to-date X-ray machines as well! Clippings like this remind me to appreciate modern medicine and its more readily available services a little more.

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The Raleigh Herald • Beckley, West Virginia
21 Feb 1907, Thu  •  Page 4

The new facility was a true source of pride for the community. Every article sings the praises of the hospital and of Dr Campbell.

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The Raleigh Herald • Beckley, West Virginia
07 Mar 1907, Thu  •  Page 1
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The Raleigh Herald • Beckley, West Virginia
14 Mar 1907, Thu  •  Page 5

And, like clockwork, the local personal news of treatments at the hospital are back in the circulation!

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The Raleigh Herald • Beckley, West Virginia
28 May 1907, Tue  •  Page 5

In Sep 1907 we see the first ad with the photo of the facility similar to the ad that originally caught my attention (which was published three years later).

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The Raleigh Herald • Beckley, West Virginia
05 Sep 1907, Thu  •  Page 5

The next month, the ad is updated to include the partners’ names as well as the capacity of the hospital: 25 beds.

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The Raleigh Herald • Beckley, West Virginia
03 Oct 1907, Thu  •  Page 5

That particular ad runs on the regular through April 1908 and I pause on an announcement by Dr. Campbell. He is running for office on the platform of saloon opposition.

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The Raleigh Herald • Beckley, West Virginia
23 Apr 1908, Thu  •  Page 1

In October of 1908 Dr Robert Wriston opens offices of his on in the Combs building. I wonder how this will fair for his work at the hospital?

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The Raleigh Herald • Beckley, West Virginia
29 Oct 1908, Thu  •  Page 5

I just had an AHA! moment! Like, seriously a slap up side of my head AHA! My Ma used to sit with an elderly woman on Neville Street, Min Wriston. She would sit with her at night time, just to be there if she needed anything. It just dawned on me that she was the widow of Dr. Campbell’s practice partner Dr Robert Wriston! Her daughter lived there as well, Mat. She gave me some first day canceled stamps because she knew I collected postage stamps as a hobby! Holy crap a flood of memories involving Ma’s time there, the old house (long gone now but used to be where the bank was). What a joy to make that connection! Reading his obituary, I see that he partnered with another physician in 1913 and they founded Beckley Hospital.

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The Independent-Herald • Hinton, West Virginia
11 Sep 1913, Thu  •  Page 5

A few weeks after announcing the opening of his own practice, we can confirm that Dr Wriston did, in fact, resign his services from Campbell Hospital.

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The Raleigh Herald • Beckley, West Virginia
12 Nov 1908, Thu  •  Page 1

And, right on track, the next month the ads have been updated. “Surgeon In Charge” is a new edit. Could it be they parted on not-so-nice terms? And here we see the rates are $10 per week. If only that were modern day rates!

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The Raleigh Herald • Beckley, West Virginia
10 Dec 1908, Thu  •  Page 4

In August 1909, we see that the hospital is still going strong and packed full of patients.

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The Raleigh Herald • Beckley, West Virginia
12 Aug 1909, Thu  •  Page 1

Consistently since they opened the Campbell Hospital has noted multiple patients suffering from typhoid. In this clipping we see several members of the same family suffering from the illness.

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The Raleigh Herald • Beckley, West Virginia
23 Sep 1909, Thu  •  Page 1

When September comes to a close, an announcement has to be made in the newspaper to quell a rumor that Dr Campbell admitted patients suffering from the contagious disease of diphtheria. That particular disease now has a vaccination that is given to babies in the United State. Around the time of this rumor though, there was major concern across the country. Met Life had circulated millions of pamphlets with an appeal to parents to “Save your child from diphtheria.” A vaccine was developed in the next decade, and deaths began declining significantly in 1924.

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The Raleigh Herald • Beckley, West Virginia
30 Sep 1909, Thu  •  Page 1

Local personals detailing treatments for various ailments and afflictions continued on through January 1910. For a few months it was quiet and then in March, a new advertisement noted a new doctor on premises. A.G. Bowles, MD joined the staff as Assistant Surgeon.

Campbell Hospital Beckley -
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The Messenger • Beckley, West Virginia
22 Mar 1910, Tue  •  Page 7

In April, a second doctor, Dr A.M. Reid, would be added to staff.

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The Raleigh Herald • Beckley, West Virginia
28 Apr 1910, Thu  •  Page 1

Through June we see patient updates and advertisements (only noting Campbell and Bowles) and then Dr Campbell decides to run on the Republican ticket for the position of County Commissioner.

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The Raleigh Herald • Beckley, West Virginia
23 Jun 1910, Thu  •  Page 4

In August a kind woman of the community passed out literature to help the invalids while the time away.

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The Messenger • Beckley, West Virginia
22 Jul 1910, Fri  •  Page 5

In August, The Campbell Hospital expands its services to include treatment of alcohol and opium habits. I cannot help but wonder if his political and professional stands met at a crossroads?

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The Raleigh Herald • Beckley, West Virginia
11 Aug 1910, Thu  •  Page 4

By September the advertisements changed to reflect the new treatments available.

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The Raleigh Herald • Beckley, West Virginia
01 Sep 1910, Thu  •  Page 3

With their top of the line facilities and modern treatments offered, the hospital stayed busy, drawing patients from other states.

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The Messenger • Beckley, West Virginia
27 Sep 1910, Tue  •  Page 1

Dr Campbell continued campaigning through the fall.

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The Raleigh Herald • Beckley, West Virginia
27 Oct 1910, Thu  •  Page 1

This clipping appeals to me because I grew up in Carlisle and it makes me wonder who he tended to in this small community.

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The Raleigh Herald • Beckley, West Virginia
12 Jan 1911, Thu  •  Page 5

In addition to typhoid, another common procedure at Campbell Hospital seems to be amputation for a variety of reasons.

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The Messenger • Beckley, West Virginia
01 Feb 1912, Thu  •  Page 1

By early 1912, the advertisements had the names of surgeons removed and has been stripped down to the original photo (which has never changed over the years), the name of the hospital and the location.

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The Messenger • Beckley, West Virginia
15 Feb 1912, Thu  •  Page 5

Shuffling through all of the patient updates and the same repeated ad, I was stopped in my scrolling tracks by this clipping. The Campbell Hospital was destroyed in a massive fire thatt hit the business district. In three hours almost fifty buildings were burned, some like Campbell Hospital were totally lost.

Big Fire at Beckley -
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Bluefield Daily Telegraph • Bluefield, West Virginia
16 Apr 1912, Tue  •  Page 2
1912 -
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The Raleigh Herald • Beckley, West Virginia
18 Apr 1912, Thu  •  Page 1
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The Raleigh Herald • Beckley, West Virginia
18 Apr 1912, Thu  •  Page 5

I am not sure if the above ad means that the Campbell Hospital was housed at Wildwood, the former home of Alfred Beckley. If so, this is an image of his home.

Home of Alfred Beckley Sr., founder of the town of Beckley and Raleigh County, W.Va.  Built in the 1830s.
Identifier: 022215
Collection Number: A&M 3569
Title: Wildwood, Home of Alfred Beckley Senior, Raleigh County, W.Va.
Description: Home of Alfred Beckley Sr., founder of the town of Beckley and Raleigh County, W.Va. Built in the 1830s.
Subjects: Dwellings–West Virginia–Raleigh County., Counties–Raleigh–Homes.
Medium: print
Projects: West Virginia History OnView

I searched for images on WV History On View and found these images:

Identifier: 005356
Title: Destruction Caused by the Fire of April 1913, Beckley, W. Va.
Date: 1913/04/13
Description: People stand among the ruins of buildings after the Beckley Fire of April 13, 1912 which destroyed much of the town west of the courthouse.
Medium: print
Projects: West Virginia History OnView
Identifier: 005358
Title: Ruins of Buildings after the Fire in April 1913, Beckley, W. Va.
Date: 1912/04/13
Description: View of Beckley after the great fire of April 13, 1912 that destroyed much of the city west of the courthouse. ‘Copyrighted 1955, All Rights Reserved By Harlow Warren, 320 North Kanawha Street, Beckley, W. Va..’
Medium: print
Projects: West Virginia History OnView

Business kept plodding along as we see patient updates, presumably from the Beckley Home.

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The Messenger • Beckley, West Virginia
21 May 1912, Tue  •  Page 5

Dr Campbell was determined to rebuild on the lot where the old hospital was destroyed.

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Hinton Daily News • Hinton, West Virginia
14 Jun 1912, Fri  •  Page 4
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The Raleigh Herald • Beckley, West Virginia
21 Jun 1912, Fri  •  Page 1

Mrs. Campbell purchased additional properties to allow for expansion of the hospital being built.

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The Raleigh Register • Beckley, West Virginia
08 Aug 1912, Thu  •  Page 12

By the end of August, construction had begun on the new hospital.

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Hinton Daily News • Hinton, West Virginia
30 Aug 1912, Fri  •  Page 2

After almost a year of being displaced, the new hospital was finally ready to open.

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The Raleigh Herald • Beckley, West Virginia
28 Feb 1913, Fri  •  Page 5
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Hinton Daily News • Hinton, West Virginia
10 Apr 1914, Fri  •  Page 1

LONG before the days of HIPAA privacy regulations, newspapers seemed to post the intimate details of every patient at the Campbell Hospital.

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The Raleigh Herald • Beckley, West Virginia
01 May 1914, Fri  •  Page 8

And the last clipping I can find that mentions Dr Campbell’s hospital is this one, dated Aug 30, 1917. I do not know what happened to the hospital proper, Dr Campbell’s obituary (above) lays out his life. Below there are throwback clippings that note the hospital closed in 1912. That would have been the time of the fire but leaves me wondering what happened to the new hospital that was built on the same ground where the burnt hospital once stood.

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The Raleigh Register • Beckley, West Virginia
30 Aug 1917, Thu  •  Page 47
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Beckley Post-Herald The Raleigh Register • Beckley, West Virginia
13 Dec 1959, Sun  •  Page 8

A look back on the 50th anniversary of the devastating fire that destroyed the Campbell Hospital.

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Beckley Post-Herald The Raleigh Register • Beckley, West Virginia
14 Apr 1962, Sat  •  Page 14

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The Raleigh Register • Beckley, West Virginia
03 Feb 1964, Mon  •  Page 4
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The Raleigh Register • Beckley, West Virginia
30 Mar 1964, Mon  •  Page 4

A throwback photo the the original location of the Campbell Hospital

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Beckley Post-Herald The Raleigh Register • Beckley, West Virginia
23 Aug 1964, Sun  •  Page 3

Of course my favorite history column by Shirley Donnelly would have a piece on the Beckley area hospitals!

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Beckley Post-Herald • Beckley, West Virginia
27 Apr 1967, Thu  •  Page 4

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