James Edwin Campbell was born on September 28, 1867, in the Kerr's Run area of Pomeroy to James and Letha Campbell. He graduated from Pomeroy High School with the class of 1884. After graduation, Campbell taught in various parts of Meigs County. Campbell achieved notoriety as an African American poet, editor, author of short stories, and educator. He began his writing in 1887 with the work Driftings and Gleanings. During the 1880s and 1890s, he wrote regularly for daily newspapers in Chicago and was employed on the literary staff of the Chicago Times-Herald. His dialect poetry attracted wide-spread popularity and he published a collection of his best works, Echoes From the Cabin and Elsewhere. Campbell was installed as the first president of the West Virginia Colored Institute (West Virginia State University), serving in the capacity from 1891 to 1894. James Edwin Campbell died in Pomeroy on January 26, 1896.