Campbell, Elizabeth Bundy [Lizzie] (1852–1931)

By: Amanda Oren

Type: Biography

Published: December 1, 1994

Updated: October 19, 2020

Elizabeth Bundy (Lizzie) Campbell, Panhandle pioneer, daughter of Williamson and E. Vance Bundy (Hamilton) Campbell, was born on October 25, 1852, in Navarro County, Texas. Her mother was the daughter of James Hamilton, a descendent of Alexander Hamilton. She married Henry H. Campbell in Ellis County in 1871. They had a son and a daughter. Their first home was in Ennis.

In 1879 Campbell founded the Matador Ranch. Lizzie lived in Fort Worth until she decided to join him on their new ranch. In 1880 she rode to Matador, about 300 miles from Fort Worth, with a load of freight for the ranch. When she arrived, she slept in a tent because she refused to sleep in a dugout as her husband had been doing for the last year. She was one of only two women living in that area at the time, and the other woman was twenty miles away. On March 25, 1880, the Campbells finished building a white, two-room house with supplies shipped from Fort Worth and Fort Griffin by wagon. They enlarged the house after the Texas and Pacific Railway laid track within about twenty miles of the Matador, thus making supplies more accessible.

Lizzie was known for the big Christmas parties she held every year from 1883 until they left the Matador in 1891. The parties lasted for two or three days, and the ranchhands from the surrounding area would come. She took good care of them at all times. Her work as cook, seamstress, doctor, and surgeon, even though she had no medical training, earned her the nickname "Angel of the Matador." She also arranged for preachers to come to the ranch at least once a month for the spiritual wellbeing of the ranchhands. Her son Harry was born in 1881, the first White child born in Motley County.

Lizzie loved ranching as much as her husband. She rode unaccompanied all over the ranch, exploring, analyzing water, and examining the vegetation. She discovered a hill covered with petrified wood; on the old county maps it was labeled "Mrs. Campbell's Petrified Hill." She was the Matador Ranch postmistress from 1883 to 1891. When the county was organized in 1891 Matador became county seat; she was Matador postmistress from 1891 to 1911. Though she lost her eyesight in her latter years, she remained a respected member of the community known for her intelligence and interest in city, state, and national affairs. She died on October 8, 1931.

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Harry H. Campbell, The Early History of Motley County (San Antonio: Naylor, 1958; 2d ed., Wichita Falls: Nortex, 1971). James Cox, Historical and Biographical Record of the Cattle Industry (2 vols., St. Louis: Woodward and Tiernan Printing, 1894, 1895; rpt., with an introduction by J. Frank Dobie, New York: Antiquarian, 1959). Marisue Burleson Potts, Motley County Roundup: Over One Hundred Years of Gathering, a Centennial History, 2d ed. (Floydada, Texas, 1991).

  • Health and Medicine
  • Activism and Social Reform
  • Advocates
  • Social Workers
  • Ranching and Cowboys
  • Ranchers and Cattlemen
  • Women
  • Founders and Pioneers
  • Pioneers
Time Periods:
  • Late Nineteenth-Century Texas
  • Progressive Era
  • North Texas
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Fort Worth

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Amanda Oren, “Campbell, Elizabeth Bundy [Lizzie],” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 28, 2022,

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December 1, 1994
October 19, 2020

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