James Valentine Campbell was born on February 25, 1823 in Buffalo, New York, the son of Henry Campbell. Henry was a merchant who brought his family to Detroit, Michigan, in 1826. Henry worked as a county court judge in New York (State) and Michigan.
James was educated at Flushing, New York, and graduated from St. Paul’s College (1841). He was admitted to the bar at Detroit in October 1844. In 1857, upon establishment of the Michigan Supreme Court, he was elected one of the justices, holding the office until he died.
Closely identified with the advancement of educational and refining influences, especially in Detroit, James served as president of the Young Men’s Society in 1848, and as a member of the Board of Education for several years. In 1859 he was chosen as Marshall Prof. of Law in the newly established Law Dept. at the University of Michigan. He served as Chair of the Department for many years. He was the first recipient of the degree of Doctor of Laws from that University in 1866.
In 1876, Campbell published his book, Outlines of the political history of Michigan.
Politically, he was a Whig until the Whig party ceased to exist. Campbell then became a Republican.
Campbell died on March 26, 1890 at Detroit. (This information is from Michigan biography, v. I.)