From - Biographies of Successful Philadelphia Merchants, published in Philadelphia in 1864.


Those persons who remember Quintin Campbell during a whole generation, as the Cashier of the Philadelphia Bank, an institution in which he held vast trusts, and discharged them with industry and fidelity, can have but little suspicion of the simple and humble incidents of his early career. A sketch of his life will show that the secret of success is good conduct, and that integrity and attention must in all cases lead to honor and wealth.

Quintin Campbell was the son of the Reverend John Campbell, minister of the Parish of Glenfairn (Carsphairn), in Gallowayshire, Scotland, where he was born, in the month of November, 1774. His father occupied the manse and glebe lands, which were beautifully situated upon the river Ken, which empties itself in the Loch of the same name, near New Galloway. In the year 1780, the Reverend John Campbell died, leaving three children - Quintin, Ivie and Agnes. His death of course produced a great change in the circumstances of the family. His mother removed from the manse to the village of St. Johnstown, in the adjoining parish of Dalry, where she took a house next door to that of her mother, Mrs. Hair. Here she lived economically, her principal means of support being £21 per annum, which she received from "the fund for the widows of ministers," at Edinburgh. This small sum, however, had at that time a purchasing power equal to six times the amount at the present day; and by frugality, Mrs. Campbell managed to live upon it, and with assistance from her mother, to bring up her small family.

Quintin was sent to the free school of the parish, where, under the direction of James Buchanan, a type of the flogging schoolmasters of the time, he gained those rudiments of education which were to assist him through life. At the age of sixteen, the young Scotch boy naturally began to consider what course it would be necessary for him to pursue in order to relieve his mother of the burden of his support. The country offered him as the only occupations, the life of a farm laborer, or a shepherd, and the prospect of following these pursuits was distasteful to him. James Douglas, a boy companion, and himself, frequently conferred upon those subjects, and the result was a youthful resolution that they would join their fortunes, and go out into the world together associates and friends. Their relatives were consulted upon the subject, and finally gave their consent. The boys were of opinion that the navigation of the sea offered them inducements, and they left home determined to seek employment in a principal seaport town. In the month of April, 1790, Quintin Campbell and James Douglass, with their little wardrobes tied up in their handkerchiefs, and with a small stock of money, (Quintin Campbell was the owner of forty-two shillings,) left St. Johnstown forever.

They walked to Kirkcudbright, where they stopped the first night with a relative of Campbell's, who treated them kindly. They took with them letters of introduction to persons of standing in Liverpool, from Miss Dick, a benevolent maiden lady, who for many years had made St. Johnstown her home. This assistance was of great advantage to the young adventurers. On the fifteenth of April, 1790, the boys sailed from Kirkcudbright, in a small sloop, bound for Liverpool. They experienced a severe storm during the passage, and the vessel was forced to put into Whitehaven. They reached Liverpool a few days after, and having been consigned to Sandy Reed, a canny Scotchman, took lodgings with him until the gentlemen to whom Miss Dick had recommended them, could do something for them. These strange friends succeeded in getting a situation for Douglas upon board of a ship in the Guinea trade, and for Campbell they secured an apprenticeship to Captain Andrew English, master of a small ship called the "Hope," which was bound to Baltimore.

Thus, these boys, who had so bravely resolved at St. Johnstown to unite their destinies, were separated forever. What became of Douglas, Mr. Campbell never heard. On the twenty-fifth of April, 1890, the ship “Hope" sailed from Liverpool, and after a narrow escape from stranding on the Irish coast, reached Baltimore, after a passage of forty-nine days. The incidents of the voyage completely disenchanted Quintin Campbell of the romance with which his young imagination had imbued the idea of sailor life. As the youngest apprentice and cabin boy. he not only had to perform many repulsive duties, but his religious training and principles were shocked by the rough and brutal character of his associates. His ingenuous young mind was pained by the profanity and blasphemy which prevailed on board of the ship and the idea of continuing in his situation was so horrible, that he formed the design of abandoning it at any risk. To escape from the ship was not an easy matter - but fate favored him. He was instrumental in saving the life of the ship's carpenter, who, whilst bathing in the basin at Baltimore, was in imminent danger of being drowned. This service secured the gratitude and friendship of the man, who being informed of the intention of Quintin to run away, engaged to assist him. He procured for him an asylum upon shore, to which the boy succeeded in escaping. From this place he finally emerged to take passage in the packet-boat for Philadelphia, sailing directly by the dreaded ship "Hope," upon the deck of which Captain English seemed to be in command, preparing to sail from the port.

Quintin Campbell landed at Market Street wharf, Philadelphia, about the middle of September, 1790, and walked up that street with the same feelings which Benjamin Franklin experienced when he left the packet-boat and proceeded to explore his new home, with a loaf of bread under his arm. Campbell's forlorn appearance was no recommendation to the landlords of different inns to whom he applied for lodgings. After some rebuffs, he was taken in at a tavern in Front Street, near Callowhill, where he got to bed and slept soundly. The next morning he inquired for Ive Porteus, his cousin, a flour dealer, who had lived at Philadelphia, and in whom he expected to find a friend and protector. The people at the tavern did not know Porteus, but they sent the boy to Levi Hollingsworth, as one likely to know, being extensively in the flour trade. He was the father of the present Pascall Hollingsworth, and the store was at that time at No. 61 South Wharves. Mr. Hollingsworth was standing at the door when the little Scotch boy approached him. He did not remember Porteus, but upon reference to Maurice Kennedy, his chief clerk, the latter said that he had dealt with Hollingsworth, but that he understood that he had died some months before, at Norfolk, Virginia. This intimation must have been a terrible blow to the hopes of the boy. There was some gleam of sunshine, however, in reference to Thomas and Peter Mackie, at No. 42 Front Street, who had been friends of Porteus. To these gentlemen the runaway sailor boy told his simple story, and fortified it by the only evidence in his possession, a certificate of good character, from the Rev. Alex. McGowen, of Dalry. The Mackies promised to befriend him, and told him to call the next day. Promptly he repaired there at the appointed time, and was astonished and gratified at unexpected news.

It seemed that Mr. Hollingsworth was in want of an apprentice, and liking the apparent artlessness of the boy, he called upon the Messrs. Mackie to ascertain what they knew about him. They could only give Campbell's own story; but Mr. Hollingsworth, satisfied by his looks and manner, and having a favorable opinion of the Scotch, offered to take him in his store for his victuals and clothes. The offer was munificent to Quintin, and he gladly embraced it. Perhaps no occurrence in the life of Mr. Campbell was of more importance than this. The revulsion in the feelings of the boy upon so suddenly finding friends and an agreeable employment, in a city in which he had only landed the day before, can be imagined, but cannot be described.

Quintin Campbell went into the family of Levi Hollingsworth, and was well provided for. He was diligent and trustworthy. He served a faithful clerkship, disturbed by no adventure; but meeting with his old master, Captain English, who, however, treated him well, and did not seem inclined to enforce the obligations of his indentures, even if he could have done so in a foreign country. He gained the good will and esteem of Mr. Hollingsworth, and when, after five and a-half years of service, his indenture expired, he was not turned out upon the world without employment. Mr. Hollingsworth exerted his influence in his favor, and procured for him a clerkship in the bank of Pennsylvania, at a salary of $600 dollars a year, which seemed to be an independent fortune to the young man.

In this situation Mr. Campbell remained for five or six years, when he was induced to resign, in order to undertake a commission for Gurney & Smith, to act for them as supercargo at Havana for several ship loads of flour, sent there from Virginia. Having by these means obtained some knowledge of the West India trade, he determined to establish a commission house at Havana. This project was suddenly defeated by the peace of Amiens, in 1802, and the closing of the ports of Cuba against foreigners. He then returned to Philadelphia, where he was out of business for some months, but was finally engaged by the Pennsylvania Insurance Company to go to the Island of Guadalupe, to inquire into the circumstances attending a supposed wreck there, which was thought to be a fraudulent attempt to cheat the underwriters.

Upon his return to Philadelphia, in 1804, the Philadelphia Bank was about being organized. He applied to the directors for a situation in the institution, and was appointed first teller. In 1806 the cashier, James Todd, died, and Quintin Campbell was chosen his successor. For thirty-one years the name of Quintin Campbell as cashier of the Philadelphia Bank was known and honored throughout the community.

In the sixtieth year of his age he resolved to withdraw from the active and responsible duties of cashier, and retire to private life. But his fellow citizens, who had confidence in his business capacity, were not willing that he should resign all interest in business affairs. In 1840 he was elected President of the Pennsylvania Fire Insurance Company, a position which he resigned, in consequence of ill health, in 1853. From that period until his death, March 2, 1863, he was active and useful as a citizen.

His career is a fine example of the benefit of early moral training and of good habits. No one could have been more forlorn than the runaway sailor boy who entered Philadelphia to seek his fortune in September, 1790. No one could have been more respected in consequence of his worth and a long life of probity and usefulness, than the citizen who departed this life March 2, 1863.