Transcript:Letter from Gov. David Campbell, 1851



Campbell Tapestry


……………………..The Tapestry
Families Old Chester OldAugusta Germanna
New River SWVP Cumberland Carolina Cradle
The Smokies Old Kentucky



Source:Foote, 1856 "Sketches of Virginia, Historical and Biographical, by the Rev. Henry Foote, D.D., 1856.


Person:David Campbell (50)
Person:John Campbell (205)


Gov. David Campbell penned the following letter discussing the Campbell's Family History, much of the early history of settlers of the Valley of Virginia and subsequent migrations. Some reformating to imporve readability

Montcalm, Nov. 12th, 1851. Dear Sir — I failed to take my intended journey to Tennessee, and will now endeavor to answer some of your inquiries, in your letter of the 7th of October. The first emigration to the Holston Valley, was about the year 1765.

In that year John Campbell explored the country, and purchased land for his father, David Campbell, and himself. The first settlers were from Augusta, Frederick, and the other counties along the Valley of Virginia — from the upper counties of Maryland and from Pennsylvania, were mostly descendants from Irish stock, and were generally Presbyterians, where they had any religious opinions —a very large proportion were religious and many were members of the Church. There were however some families, and among the most wealthy, that were wild and dissipated in their habits.

I send you enclosed by the same mail that carries this letter, a copy of the call to the Rev. Charles Cummings, signed by one hundred and thirty-eight heads of families. In my early life I knew personally, many of those whose names are signed to it—and I knew nearly all of them from character. They were a most respectable body of men; were all whigs in the revolution, and nearly all — probably every one of them, performed military service against the Indians — and a large portion of them against the British, in the battles of King's Mountain, Guilford court-house, and other actions in North and South Carolina.

The Campbell family, from which I am descended, were originally from the Highlands of Scotland, and emigrated to Ireland about the latter end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth. John Campbell, my great-grandfather, with a family of ten or twelve children, came to America in 1726, and settled in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He had six sons—three of whom, Patrick, Robert and David, emigrated with him from Pennsylvania, to what was then Orange, but afterwards Augusta County, about the year 1730.

Patrick was the oldest child and grandfather of General William Campbell of the Revolution. David was the youngest, and was my grandfather. He married in Augusta County, Mary Hamilton, and had seven sons—John, Arthur, James, William, David, Robert and Patrick. All except William, who died when a young man, emigrated to Holston; John, Robert and Arthur before their father, the other three with him. The other sons of John Campbell had families, and their descendants are scattered over many of the States of the West. William B. Campbell, a young man and lately elected Governor of Tennessee, is my nephew, and is the grandson of Margaret Campbell, one of the daughters of my grandfather, David Campbell. The Edmiston, or Edmondson family, that came to Holston, was a very large and respectable one, numbering some ten or fifteen families. They were zealous whigs, and William, the oldest brother, was Major in the regiment from this county, that behaved so gallantly in the battle of King's Mountain. Two of his brothers, Captain Andrew Edmiston and Lieut. Robert Edmiston, and a cousin Captain William Edmiston, were killed in that battle. The Vance, Newell and Blackburn connection was very large and respectable. The Rev. Gideon Blackburn once of Tennessee, and one of the most distinguished pulpit orators of his time, was of the same Blackburn stock. Col. Samuel Newell, son of Samuel Newell who signs the call, was a distinguished officer in the battle of King's Mountain and a man of fine talents. He died in Kentucky. The Buchanan family was a numerous one, all worthy people. There were four brothers of the Davises and three of the Craigs, all very worthy men — also several brothers of the Lowreys and Montgomerys, equally worthy. William Christian was from near where Fincastle now stands—was a man of fine intellect, and distinguished in western warfare. Benjamin Logan was the same man who went to Kentucky, and became a distinguished man there. There are on the list many others whose families have done well in the western countiy. I will omit at present going into more detail, and indeed I do not know that I can give you any information further that would deserve your notice. I have not given you any particular account of my immediate ancestors, supposing it would not be suitable from me. Most respectfully, your obedient servant, David Campbell.