Mar 19, 2017

My Campbell relatives rubbing shoulders with George Washington

This week was my spring vacation. The skies were overcast, it was cold, and dreary.  So, what better way to pass the time than to dive into the research pool. I've been at this genealogy thing for a long time. It is something that I really enjoy and has opened my eyes to how people have not really changed over the centuries. I've found a couple of murders and a possible  "Who is the baby daddy?" in my lineage. 


But this week produced a really big surprise. I started looking seriously at the life of John Campbell, the second son of Archibald Campbell. Archibald is my seven times great-grandfather. At the time of the Revolution, the Campbell's were living in Bedford County, Virginia. 

 Archibald Campbell was a member of the Continental Army and provided beef for the soldiers during the Revolutionary War. He was granted a 300 acre land grant from Governor Thomas Jefferson afterwards. However,  Archie wasn't the only one in his family to contribute services in the Revolution, two of Archibald's sons enlisted and fought for the freedom of this country as well.  

Archibald's son James, my six times Great-Grandfather, enlisted in the 10th Virginia Regiment as a private in Captain Clough Shelton's Co. of Foot December 2, 1776. He served three years, his time expired at Morristown, New Jersey in 1779.  James was at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania in May 1778 along with General Washington. But this is not the only time one of my family members was in the same company as our founding Father. 


My six times Great-Uncle John Campbell (James' brother) signed up for three tours.  He volunteered in June 1778, served three months as a private in Captain Robert Adams Company, Colonel Charles Lynche's regiment, and Lt. McReynolds guarding the lead mines in Virginia for three months at Fort Chiswell. 

He volunteered in February 1781 and served as a private in Captain James Dickson's Company.  They marched directly to North Carolina and was attached to Colonel Otho Holland William's Virginia Regiment of Regular Infantry and had a severe action with the British at Whitesell's Mills on a branch of Haw River (March 1781). Shortly after this action he was attached to Colonel Lynche's regiment and marched to Guilford Court House North Carolina and fought in the Battle of Guilford. According to the transcription of John's pension record he thought that the division of the army to which he belonged General Robert Lawson was the commander. They marched to a place called Troublesome Fire Works, North Carolina and was discharged for six weeks. 

In August 1781, John was drafted for a three month tour and entered service under Captain David Beard's Company, Colonel William Trigg's regiment and marched directly to Yorktown, Virginia where they joined the main army under General George Washington and remained there in service until the surrender of the British Army under Cornwallis (Oct 19, 1781).  Shortly after the surrender, John, was discharged after serving only two months on that tour. 

After I read the account of the military service of John Campbell, I decided that I needed to visit his grave and soon. I discovered that John is buried in State Line Cemetery, Preble County, Ohio.  

John Campbell, second son of Archibald Campbell 

I packed up my car and headed down south to see the grave of a relative that I have only read about. The Hamilton soundtrack kept the adrenaline flowing as I sped down the highway.                                                                                                                       
I found the tiny graveyard. The moment I saw the headstone a sob started in my throat and tears filled my eyes. I stood there looking at the stone that I had only seen pictures of. Then, I felt compelled to speak. I talked to him for a long time. Most of all, I asked him to help me to find the link across the pond. He knows who his people are. He knows their names. Give me a clue John. 

I didn't think to bring flowers to his grave. The only thing that I had with me was a stone from South Carolina that a friend gave me.  I went back to the car. I retrieved the stone  and put it in front of his stone explaining that the this was the closest thing I had to the place that he called home. Then I climbed back into the car. Hamilton was still playing in the CD player...

Sarah Vance Campbell, Wife of John Campbell
...and the world is gonna know your name. What's your name man?  John Campbell, My name is John Campbell.