Robert Campbell, The Cutler
d.6 AUG 1804
Facts and Events
Robert Campbell was one of the Early Settlers of Augusta County, Virginia
- Historic Families of Kentucky: With Special Reference to Stocks Immediately ... By Thomas Marshall Green, 1889
- Source:White, 1902:4
From:Green, 1889, with reparagrpahing to improve readability:
The Campbell of Kirnan who married Elizabeth, oldest child of John Walker and Catherine Rutherford, had, by her, eight children. Of these, three certainly came to Augusta county, Robert, John Walker and Jane. The latter married Alexander McPheeters, a relative of William McPheetcrs, who married her kinswoman, Rachel Moore. Her son, Robert McPheeters, was a ruling elder and worthy citizen of Augusta. Major John Walker Campbell married, but had no children.
The precise date of the arrival in Augusta county of Robert Campbell with his brother and sister, can not be stated; but at some time prior to 1744, as the records show (Peyton), he purchased 350 acres of land from the patentees of the Beverly Manor, and on this tract he built his home; afterwards he sold, to trustees appointed for the purpose, " the glebe lands," as the lands set aside for the support of the Episcopal Church were called. By Governor Gooch he was appointed one of the early magistrates of Augusta. All that is known of him demonstrates him to have been not only a religious, but also an intelligent and educated man, highly esteemed in the peculiar community among whom he cast his lot, exercising a salutary influence in all matters for the advancement of religion and education, and active in providing for the common defense.
When an elderly man, before the beginning of the present century, Robert Campbell removed to Kentucky, locating, at first, in Fayette county, near Lexington; afterwards, becoming associated with General Thomas Bodley, General Robert Poage, and Hughes, in the purchase of ten thousand acres of rich cane land in the Mayslick neighborhood, he removed to Mason county, there made his final settlement, and there he died.
Robert Campbell was already of middle age when, in the family of a fellow-countryman and co-religionist, in Augusta county, he met with and married his friend's daughter, Rebecca Wallace—of a Scotch Presbyterian family which had early settled in the Valley, and has since spread itself over the South and West, every-where esteemed for the virtue and intelligence of its:members, prominent in all social circles, and frequently found in high official place. In Augusta county, in 1707, the fruit of this union, John Poage Campbell, was born; a man to whom was transmitted, through the generations, the intellect, the eloquence, and the high and combative spirit, with the religious tenets of his renowned ancestor, and whose attainments were even more varied, liberal and elegant.
The easy circumstances of his uncle, Major John W. Campbell, who had adopted him, gave him the advantages of the very best schools in Virginia; after thorough training in the academies, he graduated, in 1790, at Hampden Sidney; then studied medicine with his kinsman, Dr. David Campbell, a native of Virginia, but a graduate of the University of Edinburg, whose inaugural thesis, dedicated to Theodoric Bland and Robert Mumford—both earnest patriots of the Revolution—printed at Edinburg, in 1777, and couched in the purest and most elegant latinity, attests the perfection to which classical scholarship was carried at that day. The skepticism of his youth having been corrected and dispelled, he became a student of theology under Drs. Graham and Hoge, Dr. Archibald Alexander being a fellowstudent; completing the course, in 1792 he became associated with Dr. Hoge, as co-pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Lexington, Virginia, and, in 1793, was elected one of the trustees of Liberty Hall, now the Washington- Lee University, serving until 1795, and being present at eighteen meetings out of twenty.—[Hixson."] In the latter year removing to Kentucky, where all religion seemed imperilled by a so-called "free thinking" infidelity, which developed its pernicious ultimate results in the horrors of the French Revolution, and distinguished that social convulsion from the struggles for religious and political liberty in England and America—" in defense of his imperilled faith, he at once plunged into a controversial career."
"The land jobbing, litigation, religious skepticism and ecclesiastical dissension, and the chronic political turbulence and intrigue under the leadership of military adventurers, commercial speculators, and unscrupulous politicians that then afflicted this newly-erected state—engendering a sort of Jacobinism in religion, politics and social life "—needed to be confronted by a spirit as bold, an intellect as acute, a learning as broad and accurate, and an eloquence as fervid as that possessed by the young Calvinist. From his first charge at Smyrna, in Fleming county, his fame rapidly spread; soon every Presbyterian pulpit in Central Kentucky knew him as the most daring, resolute, indexible, and as one of the most eloquent of the soldiers of the Cross. A thorough scholar, not only in the classics and in modern languages but also in the natural and exact sciences, and with a literary style in composition at once chaste and elegant, as a pulpit orator Dr. Campbell has never had a superior, and but few, if any, equals in the West. With a fervid eloquence that swept all before it, as a theologian he was at once learned, profound and critical; as a logician and controversialist he was the most dangerous, as he came to be one of the most dreaded, of opponents. Said Dr. E. P. Humphrey of him: "As a preacher he was distinguished for weight of matter, brilliant diction, the flashing of a deep-set, dark-blue eye, elegance of style, and gracefulness of delivery." Old Dr. Louis Marshall, himself one of the most accurate scholars and first thinkers of the country, regarded him as the greatest intellect and most wonderful orator he had ever met; he united with the church under Dr. Campbell's administration, and named a son after him. Drs. Timothy Dwight and Archibald Alexander, the elder John Breckinridge, and other public men of like standing, his contemporaries, admirers and friends, placed an equally high and just estimate upon him. It is worthy of note, as indicating the order of his well-poised mind and his uncle- ating adherence to his own convictions, that while, in 1806, over the signature of Vindex,h& most ably "vindicated the principles and practices of his fellow-churchmen against the rash and harsh charges of a clerical antagonist, who had passed the most bitter and sweeping censure upon "the private and religious character of all who held slaves," Dr. Campbell was one of the first clergymen in Kentucky to urge the policy of legal and constitutional emancipation, and, consistently with his utterances, to set an example in the philanthropic work, by the liberation of his own slaves."
His convictions upon this subject finally led to his removal to Ohio. Prof. Tyndall, in his remarkable address to the " British Association for the Advancement of Science," in 1874, says that Sir Benjamin Brodie, the distinguished English physician, first drew his attention to the fact that, "as early as 1794, Charles Darwin's grandfather was the pioneer of Charles Darwin;" and the New York Nation, shortly afterward, spoke of "the perhaps over ingenious connection of Darwinism with the philosophy of Democritus." "Now, all concede that the germs of the Darwinian theory were derived, by the elder Darwin, from the writings of the early philosophers, including the writings of Democritus, a learned physician. Notwithstanding the notable variation by descent the doctrine has undergone, its germinal idea is undoubtedly traceable, through the elder Darwin, to a remote classical source. A striking illustration of the thoroughness, the accuracy, and the high quality of Dr. Campbell's scholarship is the fact, that, as early as 1812, in his criticisms upon the theories of the elder Darwin, as developed in his Zoortomia and the Botanic Garden, he anticipated Sir Benjamin Brodie and Prof. Tyndall, of our own day, in the detection of the germinal ideas from which the Darwinian theory of evolution is derived.
Said Dr. Campbell, in his "Letters to a Gentleman at the Bar"—the celebrated Joseph Hamilton Daviess: "It had been thought that a vast accession of light had flashed upon the world when the author (Dr. Erasmus Darwin) published his celebrated work. It was hailed as a new era in philosophy. . . . But, . . . the philosophy was not new; the design of the poetic exhibition was not new, nor did the manner of the author possess a shadow of a claim to novelty. The doctrines had long ago been taught by Protagoras, Strato, Democritus, and Leucippus. Epicurus had improved on the Democratic philosophy, and his admirer and disciple, Lucretius, had touched its various themes in a fine style of poetic representation. All that Dr. Darwin did, was to modernize the doctrines of the atomic philosophy, and embellish them with the late discoveries made in botany, chemistry and physics. . . . Our philosopher . . . tells us that the progenitors of mankind were hermaphrodites, monsters, or mules, and that the mules which did not possess the powers of reproduction perished, while the rest, who were more fortunate in their make, propagated the species which, by gradual and longcontinued amelioration has been molded into its present shape and figure."
Dr. Campbell here quotes a passage from the 5th book of Lucretius, in which the same doctrine is taught, and another from Aristotle, to prove that the same hypothesis is traceable to Empedocles, who flourished at a still earlier date. In brief, he conclusively demonstrates that the idea of the struggle for existence, and of the survival of those species best fitted for the conditions of that struggle, "was familiar to ancient thinkers." Since the appearance of that epochal work, " The Origin of Species," later investigators, unconsciously adopting the conclusions of Dr. Campbell, have re-discovered the vague, fluctuating and elusive line of descent upon which the Darwinian theory was slowly evolved.* The acute theologian and ripe scholar did not exaggerate the dangers which threatened Christianity. The younger Darwin, himself, in adopting his undernonstrated theory, rejected his previous belief in all revealed religion. His doctrine of evolution strikes at the very foundation of the faith. Than Dr. Campbell no abler antagonist to this destructive idea has since entered the lists. His active investigation in the field of archaeological inquiry, even before the time of Rafincsque, illustrated the versatility of his genius, and the variety of subjects of which he was the accomplished master.
His labors were concluded at Chillicome, in 1814, at the age of forty-six years. While actively engaged in the practice of medicine, and in botanical and antiquarian research, and at the same time preaching with his usual iinpressiveness, vigor and eloquence, he caught a severe cold, which soon terminated his life. "In person he was tall, slender and graceful; his countenance was composed, thoughtful and grave; his complexion clear and pale; his carriage manly and erect;" his temper bold; of unyielding firmness; his predominant characteristic, manliness. His wife was a fit helpmeet for such a man; a woman of cultivated intellect and rare personal graces, great energy, sound judgment and ready tact. She survived him, residing with her family at Lexington until her death in 1888.
- Page 229.--26th June. 1781. Robert Campbell Cutler's will--To wife, Mary; to eldest son, George, the Round Hill plantation, 140 acres joining Geo. Bright and home plantation. Also 200 acres, likewise 50 acres more adjoining Robert Shaw and David Williamson; to 2d son, Robert, home plantation 200 acres; also the Maple Swamp plantation 150 acres; also 200 acres of an entry adjoining Geo. Bright and the Mill place bought of David Williamson; to daughter, Jannett, tract between home plantation and Beverley Manor; to wife. Executors, wife Mary and sons George and Robert and daughter Jannet. Teste: William and Mary Forgason. Proved, 16th April, 1782, by the witnesses. Widow Mary qualifies
- wife as "Mary",
- eldest son George
- 2nd son Robert
- dau Jannett
Several conflicts need to be resolved. Does not identify a son "John", who would have been born 1767, and is presumed to be the son of Robert the Cutler. Gives wife's name as Mary, not Rebecca Wallace.
From Chalkley’s Augusta County Records:
- MARCH, 1765 (B). - Robert Campbell, Cutler, vs. Robert Campbell, son of John.--Writ, 28th November, 1765. Gone to Carolina.