Person:John Campbell (210)

John R. Campbell
m. ABT 1765
  1. John R. CampbellABT 1772 - 1847
  2. Margaret Mary Campbell1774 - 1853
  3. William Maj. Campbell1776 - 1842
m. ABT 1800
Facts and Events
Name John R. Campbell
Gender Male
Birth? ABT 1772 Augusta County, Virginia
Marriage ABT 1800 Kentuckyto Margaret F. Self
Death? 7 OCT 1847 Mount Sterling, Kentucky

24. John R.3 Campbell (Robert2, Alexander1) was born Abt. 1772 in Augusta County VA, and died 07 October 1847 in Mount Sterling KY. He married Margaret F. Self Abt. 1800 in KY. She was born Abt. 1782. 

Notes for John R. Campbell: [Campbell Family.FTW]

John R. Campbell seems to have been the son of Robert Campbell, the brother of Black David Campbell (d. 1753) of Augusta County, Virginia. One of John's sons was James Morrison Campbell. The life of James Morrison Campbell is sketched in the "History of McDonough County, Illinois" (published 1885), at pages 277-278. That book, although containing several errors pertaining to James's father and grandfather [see my comments in brackets], provides some valuable information as follows:

"James Morrison Campbell, the oldest settler in Macomb, still living there, is a native of Frankfort, Kentucky, and was born August 22, 1803. His parents were John R. and Margaret F. (Self) Campbell. His grandfather, Robert Campbell, came to this country from Argyleshire, Scotland in 1773 [Comment: Based on my research, I believe that the year 1743 is more likely the correct date], and when two years later, war with England commenced, he took up arms against the mother country. Robert Campbell settled in Virginia where both parents of james were born. They moved to Kentucky, about the beginning of this century [Comment: Based on my research, I believe the year they moved to KY was 1784) and when the son was about four years old, the family moved from Frankfort to Mecklenburg county [Comment: Based upon my research, this shold be Muhlenburg county], where they remained about two years.

"In 1809, John R. Campbell, who was a blacksmith by trade, came into this state and settled at Shawneetown, and while there in 1812 and two years subsequently, was a lieutenant of rangers [Comment: Some sources state that John was a Lieutenant of the regular forces], fighting against the Indians, whom the British had instigated to raise the war hoop. When peace was declared Lieutenant Campbell did not return immediately, and his wife supposing him to be dead, returned with her little family of three children to the old home in Frankfort. To her joy her husband soon joined her."

The reason John did not immediately return to his family is that he was seriously wounded in the Battle of Campbell's Island. This battle took place on 10 July 1814, on an island in the Mississippi River, near the modern city of East Moline, Illinois. The location is close to the point where the Rock River flows into the Mississippi. The following are three versions of that battle:


Probably the best and most accurate account of the battle was the one published in the Missouri Gazette on 30 July 1814. The newspaper account has been preseved by Frank E. Stevens in his book "The Blackhawk War" (published 1903), pages 48-49. The following is extracted from that account:

" ... It was thought proper by Brigadier-General Howard ... to send a force to relieve the volunteers ... For this purpose, Lieut. John Campbell of the first regulars, acting as brigade major, was entrusted with the command of 42 regulars and 65 rangers, in three keel boats ... The whole party, including boatmen and women, amounting to about 133, reached Rock River ... without any accident. As soon as they entered the rapids they were vissited by hundreds of Sacs and Foxes ... The officers, being unacquainted with Indian manners, imagined the savages to be friendly; to this fatal security may be attributed the catastrophe which followed. ... the rangers in two barges ... had proceeded two miles in advance of the commander's barge; the latter inclined to the east side in search of the main channel, and being now on a lee shore, proceeded with much difficulty, and as the gale increased were drifted into shoal water within a few yards of a high bank covered with grass, waist high; a few steps from the bow and stern an umbrage of willows set out from the shore.

"In this position the commanding officer thought proper to remain until the wind abated; sentries were placed at proper intervals, and the men were occupied in cooking, when the report of several guns announced an attack. At the first fire all the sentries were killed, and before those on shore could reach the barge, 10 or 15 out of 30 were killed and wounded. At this time the force and intentions of the Indians were fully developed. On each shore the savages were observed in quick motion; some in canoes crossing to the battleground; others were observed running from above and below to the scene of attack; in a few minutes from five to seven hundred were assembled on the bank and among the willows within a few yards of the bow and stern of the barge; the Indians gave the whoop, and commenced a tremendous fire; the brave men in the barge cheered, and returned the fire from a swivel and small arms. At this critical juncture, Lieuts. Riggs and Rector of the rangers, who commanded the two barges ahead, did not hear the guns, but saw the smoke and concluding an attack was made, dropped down. Rigg's boat stranded about 100 yards below Campbell's, and rector, to avoid a like misfortune amd preserve himself from a raking fire, anchored above; both barges opened a brisk fire on the Indians, but as the enemy fired from cover, it is thought little execution was done.

"About one hour was spent in this unequal contest, when Campbell's barge was discovered on fire, to relieve which Rector cut his cable and fell to windward of him and took out the survivors. Finding he could not assist Riggs, having a number of wounded on board, and in danger of renning on a lee shore, he made the best of his way to this place, where he arrived on Sunday evenging last.

"There were 3 regulars killed and 14 wounded; 2 died on their passage to this place; 1 ranger killed and four wounded on board Lieut. Rector's barge. Brig. Maj. Campbell and Dr. Stewart are severely wounded. Two women and a child were severely wounded -- one of the women and a child are since dead. ... "


The following is a quotation from the book entitled "That Disgraceful Affair, the Black Hawk War," by Cecil Eby (published 1973), pages 58-60. The reference concerns the "Dog Prairie Campaign of Governor William Clark of Missouri Territory, which took place during the War of 1812, in July 1813. It should be noted that Mr. Eby is an ardent supporter of the Indian version of events, hence his account is definitely slanted in that direction and against the conduct of Lieutenant John R. Campbell.

" ... Collecting forty regulars and sixty-odd rangers, he put them under the command of Lieutenant John Campbell, who set off from Shallow Water on July 4. ... On the evening before the surrender of [the American] Fort Shelby [20 July 1813], Lieutenant Campbell's force, in three keelboats, reached the mouth of the Rock River, nearly two hundred miles south of Prairie du Chien. Invited ashore by the Sauk, who had not yet heard of the British presence far upriver, the Americans "used and gave us, plenty of whiskey," Black Hawk later reported. After the Chemokemons had returned to their boats for the night, a messenger reached Saukenuk bring news of the fight at Prairie du Chien--and a gift of six kegs of powder so that the Sauk could join battle. After a year of peace, Black Hawk entered the war again.

"Throughout the following day parties of Sauk and Fox stalked the keelboats from the dense willow undergrowth along the Illinois shore, waiting for an opportunity to strike. After a day of hard poling, and two nights of hard likkering, the Campbell flotilla had gotten above the rapids north of Rock Island. On the following morning, July 21, most of the Americans were under the weather, in more than one sense. Gale winds blew up from the west and dispersed the keelboats; Campbell dropped far astern. The boat went hard aground on a boggy island bristling with Indians who opened fire at point-blank range from behind a screen of underbrush. Black Hawk himself set the sail on fire with a flaming arrow. Because of the wind, the other keelboats heard no shots; but when Lieutenant Stephen Rector saw smoke billowing over the island behind him, he returned, dropped anchor, and swung in close to the burning boat. In attempting the same maneuver, Lieutenant Johnathan Riggs, in the third keelboat, dragged anchor and went ashore a hundred yards below Campbell.

"To provide cover, Rector raked the thicket with his swivel gun and took off the still able-bodied of campbell's men, leaving the dead and the seriously wounded on the burning craft. Campbell himself, who subsequently confessed that he was ill--that is to say, drunk--during the fight, was badly wounded as he was being hoisted aboard Rector's boat. [see note below] Cutting his cable, Rector then promptly headed for St. Louis under oar, leaving Riggs to fend for himself. Riggs waited, playing possum, before opening fire when the Indians rushed his boat en masse. The attackers fell back with two dead (one of them a squaw)--the only American kills of the encounter. Later Riggs men pushed the boat off and returned to St. Louis, much to the surprise of Rector, who had reported the keelboat destroyed. ... All told, the Americans lost sixteen dead and twenty wounded at Campbell's Island."

Footnote to the above --"While a fearless giant of a man, Lieutenant Campbell was nontheless a notorious drunkard. For many years afterward the "Hero of Campbell's Island" was a featured exhibit in many a Missouri grogshop. Today the site of the battle, surrounded by trailers and shanties on Campbell's Island in East Moline, is marked by a commemorative stone and plaque, making no mention of the besotted condition of the lieutenant or his crew."


Chief Blackhawk, the leader of the Indian forces at the Battle of Campbell's Island, dictated his autobiography to a U. S. Government Interpreter in 1833. That document contains Blackhawk's recollections of the battle as follows:

" ... five or six boats arrived, loaded with soldiers, going to Praire du Chien, to reinforce the garrison. They appeared friendly, and were well received. We held a council with the war chief [Campbell]. We had no intention of hurting him, or any of his party, or we could have easily defeated them. They remained with us all day, and gave us plenty of whiskey! During the night a party arrived (who came down the Rock river), and brought us six kegs of powder! They told us that the British had gone to Prairie du Chien, and taken the fort, and wished to join them again in the war, which we agreed to. I collected my warriors, and determined to pursue the boats, which had sailed wiyh a fair wind. If we had known the day before, we could easily taken them all, as the war chief used no precautions to prevent it. I immediately started with my party, by land, in pursuit - thinking that some of there boats might get aground, or that the Great Spirit would put them in our power, if he wished them taken, and their people killed. ... I soon discovered ... one boat ... driven asore by the wind. They landed, by running hard aground, and lowered their sail. The others passed on. This boat the great Spirit gave us! We approached cautiously, and fired upon the men on shore. All that could, hurried aboard, but they were unable to push off, being fast aground. We advanced to the river's bank, under cover, and commenced firing at the boat. ... I prepared my bow and arrows to throw fire to the sail, ... succeeded in setting the sail on fire.

"The boat was soon in flames! About this time, one of the boats that had passed, returned, dropped anchor, and swung in close to the boat on fire, and took off all the people, except those killed and badly wounded. We could distinctly see them passing from one boat to the other, and fired on them with good aim. We wounded the war chief [Campbell] in this way! Another boat now came down, dropped her anchor, which did not take hold, and was drifted ashore! The other boat cut her cable and rowed down the river, leaving their comrades without attempting to assist them. We then commenced an attack on this boat, and fired several rounds. They did not return the fire. We thought they were afraid, or had but a small number on board. I therefore ordered a rush to the boat. When we got near, they fired, and killed two of our people, being all that we had lost in the engagement. Some of their men jumped out and pushed off the boat, and thus got away without losing a man! I had a good opinion of this war chief - he managed so much better than the others. It would give me pleasure to shake him by the hand."

Children of John Campbell and Margaret Self are:

 66 i.   John4 Campbell, born Abt. 1811 in Shawneetown IL; died 06 October 1844 in Mount Sterling KY. 
 67 ii.   Ann Campbell, born Abt. 1825 in KY; died 23 October 1846 in Lexington KY.