Walter Stanley Vestal was born to Walter and Isabella "Daisy" Vestal near Severy, Kansas on August 15, 1887. Vestal’s father died when he was young. His mother remarried and Vestal took the surname Campbell from his stepfather. In about 1889, the Campbell family relocated from Kansas to the Oklahoma Territory.
Vestal graduated from Southwestern Oklahoma State University and was Oklahoma's first Rhodes Scholar, earning a B.A. and a M.A. in English at Oxford.
Vestal became a professor at the University of Oklahoma after serving as a Captain in an Artillery regiment in World War I.
Between 1927 and his death from a heart attack on Christmas Day 1957, Vestal wrote over twenty books and as many as 100 articles about the old West. He is buried at the Custer National Cemetery in Big Horn County, Montana.
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