Captain William Campbell (1748-1800) of Fayette County, Kentucky
by Phil Norfleet
Section 1 - Family Traditions
William Campbell (1793-1885) of Santa Clara has this to say about his grandfather, Captain William Campbell:
Margaret Campbell Pilcher tells us the following about Captain William Campbell:
Section 2 - Analysis of the Family Traditions
While I have no quarrel with the few remarks that William Campbell of Santa Clara makes about his grandfather, Captain William Campbell, I do have serious differences with the statements of Mrs. Pilcher concerning this same man. The William Campbell she cites from Heitmans Register is another William Campbell entirely. I will separately address the Heitman issue under the topic of Captain William Campbells military service (see Section 8). There is a slight conflict between the child lists of Mrs. Pilcher and William Campbell of Santa Clara. William identifies two additional children. Mrs. Pilcher does not mention the two sons, John and Charles. I believe William Campbells list to be correct. There is considerable documentary evidence confirming the existence of Charles. I have never found any records regarding the John Campbell who died in the Kentucky River; however, I have no reason to doubt the accuracy of Williams remarks concerning this man. My other findings concerning Captain William Campbell are presented in the paragraphs that follow.
Captain William Campbell, the eldest son of "Black David" Campbell, was born in Augusta County (at Beverley Manor), Virginia in the year 1748. Williams father, Black David, died intestate in 1753, when William was only five years old. Primogeniture was the prevailing legal principle of Virginia Colony at that time, hence William became the sole heir to his fathers real property. The land records of Augusta County indicate that this inheritance consisted of only two small tracts of land, one of 106 acres and another of 80 acres, both located in Beverley Manor. 
William was apparently brought up by his uncles, William, Robert and Alexander Campbell. His uncle, William Campbell, was probably the eldest and may have died in Beverley Manor. However, there is documentary evidence supporting the migration of Captain William Campbell (and his uncles Robert and Alexander) out of Beverley Manor: 1st) to the South Fork of the Holston River in Botetourt County, Virginia in about the year 1770; 2nd) to the Limestone Creek area of Washington County, North Carolina (later part of Tennessee) in about the year 1779; and 3rd) to Fayette County, Virginia (later part of Kentucky) in about the year 1784. The records indicate that he migrated with his uncles Robert and Alexander, as well as John and Charles Allison (who may also be his uncles by marriage). Further support for the migration to Kentucky is provided by Captain William Campbells grandson, William Campbell (1793-1885) of Santa Clara, who tells us the following concerning his great-uncles and grandfather:
Section 3 - Wife of Captain William Campbell
About the year 1770, Captain William Campbell married Mary Elizabeth Ellison in Augusta County, Virginia. His wife, usually known as "Elizabeth," was also born in Augusta County, Virginia in the year 1755.  Elizabeth Ellisons family was, like William Campbells, of Scotch-Irish origin. The spelling of the surname "Ellison" is also frequently rendered as "Allison." Authorities on Scotch-Irish surnames indicate that, in Ireland, the names Ellison and Allison are virtually interchangeable.  The names of the parents of Elizabeth Ellison are not known. Other members of the "Black David" branch of the Campbell family have married people with an Ellison or Allison surname and they are probably all closely related to each other. In particular, Mary, the sister of Captain William Campbell, married a man named William Ellison. Elizabeth Campbell outlived her husband by about twenty-five years, dying in Gallatin County, Illinois in the year 1825.
Section 4 Emigration to Botetourt County, Virginia
Botetourt County was formed out of the southeastern portion of Augusta County in November 1769. Shortly after the formation of this new county, Captain William Campbell and his uncles apparently emigrated from Beverley Manor and settled in that area of Botetourt lying on the South Fork of the Holston River.
This hyperlinked Map 1 depicts the Holston River region of Southwestern Virginia. During the 1770s, this area was on the western frontier of Virginia Colony.
A Botetourt County "List of Tithables"  (taken by Captain Walter Crockett) for the year 1771 includes the following five names:
I am quite sure that these same people are Captain William Campbell and his uncles. The tax list is not alphabetical and probably represents the order in which the names were first written. The first four entries are all listed next to one another, implying that these people were entered at the same time (as a group?) and were perhaps close neighbors. Robert Campbell is entered on a different page, hence he may have lived at some distance from the others. We known that these same five people owned land in this area that they sold in 1779, prior to their leaving for Tennessee (see hyperlinked Table 1)!
Botetourt County Deed Information: Published deed records of Botetourt County  contain the following genealogically interesting transactions re the Campbells and Allisons:
Both "Jenet" and "Jean" can be nicknames for "Jane." One of these ladies is undoubtedly the same Jane Campbell, sister of Black David, who, according to Margaret Campbell Pilcher, married a "Mr. Allison." (see my essay on Black David Campbell).
Fincastle County Deed Information: In 1772, Fincastle County was formed from Botetourt and the land settled by the Campbells fell within this new county. The records of Fincastle County indicate that Charles Allison had a mill on South Fork of the Holston.  Published deed records of Fincastle County contain the following transaction concerning the Allisons and Campbells:
Please note that Walter Crockett was the local captain of the militia; it was he who prepared the "List of Tithables" for Botetourt County, in 1771, cited above. The Campbells and Allisons must have been in the area for at least two years prior to this 1773 purchase. Incidentally, Captain Walter Crocketts company of militia was one of the militia units called out by the orders of Colonel William Preston to join the expedition of Colonel Andrew Lewis to the Ohio River during the so-called Lord Dunmores War. William Campbell (1748-1800) was a private in Crocketts company and it was in this way that William took part in the Battle of Point Pleasant (10 October 1774) against the Shawnee forces led by Chief Cornstalk.
In 1776, Montgomery County was formed out of Fincastle and the Campbell/Allison lands became a part of this county.
Section 5 Emigration to Tennessee
As mentioned in Section 4 above, in the late 1770s, Captain William Campbell and his uncles were living in Virginia, on the Holston River in the newly formed county of Montgomery. There are several deeds, all dated 18 August 1779, on file in Montgomery County, Virginia where William Campbell, Robert Campbell, Alexander Campbell, John Allison and Charles Allison convey their jointly owned land on the South Fork of the Holston River to several individuals. Hyperlinked Table 1 summarizes these conveyances.
While I cannot explain the sale of 188 acres to Robert Campbell (I have not yet reviewed the original document), I have concluded that, after the sales, the Campbells (including Robert) along with John and Charles Allison, emigrated as a group to East Tennessee. Land grants/purchases in the Limestone Creek area of Washington County, North Carolina (later part of Tennessee) exist for each of these five men. As previously mentioned, I suspect that one or both of the Allisons were married to Campbell ladies, probably sisters of Black David!
The prime area of Campbell/Allison settlement is near the place where the Big Limestone flows into the Nolichucky River. See hyperlinked Map 2 of the region as it appeared in the 1780's. This region was also the heartland of the independent "State of Franklin" movement. John Sevier, known as "Nolichucky Jack" to his followers, was the prime leader in this movement; his plantation was located only a few miles from the Campbell land holdings. See hyperliked Map 3 which depicts the Limestone Creek region as it appears today (1997).
Table 2 summarizes the land grant information for these five men contained in "A List of North Carolina Land Grants in Tennessee, 1778-1791." This document, dated 30 July 1791, was prepared by the State of North Carolina and was provided to the United States Government to aid in the administration of those western lands (now the State of Tennessee) which had recently been ceded to the Federal Government.
In spite of the fact that the earliest grants are dated 1782, I am quite sure that the Campbells and Allisons had actually settled much of this land several years earlier probably in 1779-1780. A complicating factor regarding land ownership was that, in the mid-1780s, the Big Limestone Creek area was a part of the independent "State of Franklin." This "State" was never officially recognized by either North Carolina or the Federal Government, but it was the de facto governing body ("Nolichucky Jack" Sevier was the elected governor) during the period 1784-1787. During this whole period, the issuance of land titles in eastern Tennessee was in an almost total state of anarchy. One result was that there were no land grants issued by North Carolina in Washington County between 1783 and 1787. Further proof that the Allisons and Campbells were already settled in the area before 1782 is shown in the tax lists of Washington County, North Carolina for the year 1781. Table 3 presents this tax data for the five Campbell and Allison men.
Socio-economic Status: To give you some idea of the socio-economic status of these five men, I have briefly reviewed the entire 1781 tax list for Washington County. Only 32 people in the county had a total taxable worth exceeding that of Robert Campbell (£1723); since there were about 350 people on the list, this means that Robert was easily in the upper tenth of the county in terms of taxable wealth.
George Gillespie: The wealthiest man in the county that year was Roberts neighbor, George Gillespie; his net taxable worth was calculated at £11,016! After Robert Campbells death circa 1797, his 400 acre tract, including a mill, was sold to Gillespie by Roberts heirs (see Table 7 below). The location of Gillespies land is well known, hence we can use this fact to approximate the location of Robert Campbells property. George Gillespie was an early settler, having arrived in 1772, who purchased land from Jacob Brown (who had acquired it from the Cherokees!) near the mouth of Big Limestone Creek about three miles from its junction with the Nolichucky River. Today this site is very near the boundary line between modern-day Greene and Washington Counties, Tennessee.
Table 4 summarizes the pertinent North Carolina land grants, land purchases and land sales for the Campbells and Allisons in the Washington County, North Carolina land records. The land grant data is incomplete and only reflects grants that were also recorded in the county deed books. Some of these grants duplicate records previously shown in Table 2.
Section 6 - Emigration to Kentucky
After the conclusion of the Revolutionary War, in the 1784-1787 timeframe, Captain William Campbell and his uncles, Robert and Alexander, migrated to Fayette County (then a part of the State of Virginia). William Campbell (1793-1885) of Santa Clara, California states that the migration occurred in 1784. If so, the decision to emigrate was probably due to the politically unstable condition of the area due to the unilateral formation of the independent State of Franklin during that same year. Williams younger brother, David (1753-1832) stayed in the region, probably because of his relationship to his two brothers-in-law, Colonel Arthur Campbell and Judge David Campbell, both of whom were leaders in the Franklin movement.
The earliest Fayette County, Kentucky tax records, which have survived, commence with the year 1787; a review of these records indicates that Captain William Campbell, Robert Campbell and Alexander Campbell were all residents of Fayette County at that time (see Table 5 for Captain Campbells tax data).
The Allisons: At least some of the Allisons/Ellisons apparently emigrated with the Campbells to Kentucky. William Campbell (1793-1885) of Santa Clara tells us that Captain William Campbells sister, Mary, and her husband, William Allison (Ellison), went to Kentucky at about the same time as Major John and Martha Campbell Morrison, in 1779. Also, the following wills are on file in Kentucky for both a Charles and a John Allison:
In Kentucky, Captain Campbell warranted and settled on land near the modern-day city of Lexington. Unfortunately, like Daniel Boone and many other early settlers in that area of Kentucky, he failed to perfect his title and was forced to abandon his land claim. In 1793 he acquired clear title to 137 acres of land on the waters of North Elkhorn Creek from the well-known Baptist minister, the Reverend Lewis Craig.  The land was adjacent to a 93-acre tract which a certain Alexander Campbell, had also purchased from Reverend Craig, by an indenture, dated 14 May 1793.  This Alexander was probably the cousin of William and the son of Williams uncle, Alexander Campbell, who had died in Fayette County in about the year 1787. The land acquired by William and Alexander was part of a 400 acre tract, which Lewis Craig had surveyed on 27 January 1783. The remainder of the 400 acre tract (170 acres) was sold to a man named Pugh Price, at about the same time as the Campbell purchases. 
In his later years, Captain Campbell operated a cloth fullering business in Lexington near the cloth mill owned by his brother-in-law, Major John Morrison - husband of his sister Martha (Molly) Campbell.  Based on analysis of the Fayette County tax records, Captain Campbell died in about the year 1800 (see Table 5).
According to information provided by his grandson, John Lloyd Campbell (1816-1875) who was the son of Charles Campbell (1782-1821) and his wife Nancy Oates (1791-1849), Captain William Campbell was buried in the old Baptist graveyard  in Lexington (see Photo 1). This site, now on West Main Street, is currently the home of the First Baptist Church of Lexington (see Photo 2).
Section 7 - Lewis Craig and Captain William Campbell
A good argument may be made that, unlike the family of "White David" who were clearly Presbyterians, the "Black David" branch of the Campbell family were probably Baptists during the time that the family resided in Beverley Manor, Virginia. Many of the Presbyterian Church records from the Beverley Manor area, e. g., Tinkling Springs Church, have survived and, although there are numerous entries re the "White David" Campbells (such as baptisms, marriages, etc.), there are none re the "Black David" Campbells. The son of Black David, Captain William Campbell, was probably also a Baptist and possibly a member of Lewis Craigs congregation.
George W. Rank, an early historian of the city of Lexington, writes about Reverend Craig as follows:
In addition to being a minister of the Gospel, Lewis Craig was a major Kentucky land speculator during the 1780s and 1790s. James B. Taylor, an early historian of the Baptist Church in Virginia, makes this reference to Craigs land dealings:
Based upon my review of the land grant data contained in Willard Rouse Jillsons book The Kentucky Land Grants (published 1925) Craig surveyed/patented a total of over 35,000 acres of land in the Fayette County area! In 1793 Captain William Campbell and his cousin Alexander Campbell both acquired land from Craig (see above).
The historian of the early Presbyterian Church in Kentucky, Robert Davidson, says the following about Reverend Lewis Craig:
Craig, when making this famous journey from Spottsylvania County to Fayette County (then still part of Virginia) with his "Traveling Church," passed through, in early 1782, the same general area where Captain William and his uncles were then living, in northeastern Tennessee (then part of North Carolina). Contact with Craig and his preaching, may have been a factor influencing the decision of William and his uncles (Robert and Alexander), to leave their apparently prosperous farms in the Limestone Creek area of Washington County, and relocate to Kentucky in 1784. A further argument that Captain Campbell may have been a Baptist is that, upon his death in 1800, he was interred in what was then the Baptist burial ground in Lexington.
Section 8 - Military Service of Captain William Campbell
In 1774, while living in Botetourt County, Virginia, William Campbell fought in Lord Dunmores War (under the command of Captain Walter Crockett). When Montgomery County, Virginia was formed in 1776, his land and that of his uncles fell into this new county. In 1779 he migrated with his uncles to Washington County, North Carolina (now in the State of Tennessee). He and his relatives settled in the vicinity of Big Limestone Creek, in the western part of Washington County. In October 1780, he served as a private in Colonel John Seviers Regiment at the Battle of Kings Mountain. In many books concerning the Battle of Kings Mountain he is usually referred to as "William Campbell Jr." to distinguish him was his older and much more famous distant kinsman, Colonel William Campbell (later promoted to Brigadier General by the Virginia Legislature), who was the overall battlefield commander for the American forces. After the Revolution, William was commissioned as a captain in the Virginia Militia and henceforward was usually known as "Captain Campbell." He is shown on a list of officers of the 1st Regiment on 10 July 1787 as a captain (probably acting in that capacity). He was officially recommended captain on 13 February 1788 with commission probably issued on 19 April 1788.  He is shown in the Fayette County, Virginia tax lists for 1789 and 1791-1792 as a "Captain." On 9 August 1792, Governor Shelby commissioned William as a Captain in the Kentucky Militia for Fayette County.  His new commission was necessitated by the fact that Kentucky became a State (separate from Virginia) on 1 June 1792.
Section 9 - Children of Captain William Campbell
Captain Campbell and his wife had a total of ten children. These children are briefly discussed in the following paragraphs:
1. David Campbell (1772-1838): The eldest son, David Campbell, was born in Botetourt County, Virginia in October 1772. His life is sketched in a separate essay appended to this web site.
2. John Campbell (1774-?): John was born in Fincastle County, Virginia in 1774. Little is known concerning this son; William Campbell of Santa Clara states that John was drowned in the Kentucky River; presumably this event occurred during the time interval when Captain William Campbells family was residing in the Fayette County, Kentucky area (1784-1803).
3. Jane Campbell (1776-1851): Jane was born in Montgomery County, Virginia on 22 October 1776. She married William Martin of Muhlenberg County, Kentucky; she died in Muhlenberg County in August 1851.
4. Anne Campbell (c. 1780-c. 1798): Anne was born in Washington County, North Carolina (later Tennessee) about the year 1780. She married her first cousin once removed, Major William Campbell (1770-1842).
5. Charles Campbell (1782-1821): Charles was born on 28 June 1782 in Washington County, North Carolina (later Tennessee).
6. William C. Campbell (c. 1787-?): William was born about 1787 in Fayette County, Virginia (later Kentucky).
7. Elizabeth Campbell (c. 1790-1822): Elizabeth was born about the year 1790 in Fayette County, Virginia (later Kentucky).
8. Mary Campbell (c. 1796-1821): Mary was born about the year 1796 in Fayette County, Kentucky.
9. Sarah Campbell (c. 1797-c. 1845): Sarah was born about the year 1797 in Fayette County, Kentucky.
10. Martha M. Campbell (1798-1841): Martha was born about the year 1798 in Fayette County, Kentucky. She married John Siddall in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky on 25 August 1821. Shortly thereafter, the couple removed to Shawneetown, Gallatin County, Illinois. She died in Gallatin County in 1841. Marthas mother, Elizabeth Campbell was probably living in the Siddall household at the time of her death in 1825.
Section 10 - Fayette County Tax Records Re Captain William Campbell
Table 5 summarizes the information, which can be gleaned for Captain Campbell and his family from the extant Fayette County. Kentucky tax lists for the years 1787 through 1805.
A study of Table 5 indicates that William died while still a fairly young man, either late in the year 1799 (after the tax tally which was taken on 4 April 1799) or early in the year 1800 (before the tax tally which was taken on 1 May 1800), at about 52 years of age. The tax lists for the years 1800 through 1802 show the 137 acre tract under the name "Campbell Wm Decd Estate," thus indicating that William was deceased. The Fayette County tax lists for the years 1803 and 1804 show the same 137 acre tract under the name of "Campbell Elizabeth," the widow of Captain William Campbell. The 1805 list uses the name "Campbell Eliz & Sons." The "sons" so indicated presumably were Charles and William Campbell. After the 1803 fire, which destroyed much of the Fayette County land records, a new indenture was executed by the Reverend Lewis Craig on 28 September 1804, conveying the 137-acre tract to Captain Campbells sons, Charles and William.  On 12 October 1805, the land was sold by the sons, William and Charles Campbell, to a certain John Starke. 
David Campbell (1772-1838), Captain Campbells eldest son, apparently had not lived with his parents since the year 1792 (when the Fayette Tax List shows Captain Campbell with three male polls over the age of 16). David Campbell appears as a separate entry in the Fayette tax lists for the years 1793-1796 and 1802-1803. David probably married in late 1792 or early 1793 as his firstborn son, William Campbell of Santa Clara, was born 12 November 1793. His whereabouts during the years 1797-1801 is unknown. However, we do know that David moved to Muhlenberg County, Kentucky late in the year 1803 or early in the year 1804 (for further information see my essay on David appended to this web site).
Section 11 - Elizabeth Campbell Migrates to Muhlenberg County, Kentucky
Captain Campbells widow, Elizabeth, most of their children and several other Campbell relatives removed to Muhlenberg County, Kentucky in late 1805 or early 1806. The 1810 Federal Census for Muhlenberg County, Kentucky identifies four Campbell households in the county. The Households consisted of Elizabeth (Widow of Captain William Campbell), her eldest son David, her son Charles, and another relative Major William Campbell.
Major William Campbell (1770-1842) was the son of Robert Campbell (brother of Black David) and his first wife, Nancy (maiden name unknown). The wife of Major William Campbell was Ann Campbell (b. c. 1780) the second oldest daughter of Captain William and Elizabeth Campbell. It should also be noted that Major William Campbell was the grandfather of Alexander W. Campbell (1828-1893), a noted Confederate brigadier-general who served as a brigade commander under Nathan Bedford Forest in the Civil War.
Per the 1810 Census, Elizabeths household contained, besides herself, one male and four females. The one male, age group 16-26 was probably William Campbell (b. c. 1787), youngest son of Elizabeth. The four females were probably also her daughters, to wit: Elizabeth (b. c. 1790) who married Joseph Hays in 1822, Mary (b. c. 1796) who married Timothy Guard in 1821, Sarah (b. c. 1797) who married Challon Guard in 1823, and Martha (b. c. 1798) who married John Siddall in 1821. Table 6 summarizes this census information.
Section 12 - Emigration of Elizabeth Campbell to Gallatin County, Illinois
Sometime prior to 1820, Elizabeth Campbell removed to Shawneetown in Gallatin County, Illinois. She probably moved there about the year 1817, as that was the year her son Charles and his family moved to that location. One or more of Elizabeths daughters probably accompanied her at that time. Ultimately, at least four of her daughters, i. e., Elizabeth, Mary, Sarah and Martha were residing in Gallatin County by the year 1830. At the time of her death in 1825, Elizabeth was probably living with her daughter Martha and her husband John Siddall. Elizabeths tombstone is in the same plot where Martha and John Siddall are buried, in Westwood Cemetary in Gallatin County.
1. His letter was published a few years ago in the Journal of the Clan Campbell Society, Volume 14, Number 4 (Autumn 1987), page 37.
2. Margaret Hamilton Campbell Pilcher (1843-1921), Historical Sketches of the Campbell, Pilcher and Kindred Families (published 1911), page 131.
3. By indenture, dated 18 August 1772, Captain William Campbell conveyed this land (the 80 acres that Black David Campbell got from his father) to a certain David Steele. The indenture is recorded in Augusta County VA Deed Book 17, page 363.
4. Her years of birth and death are known from her tombstone, located in Westwood Cemetary, Gallatin County, Illinois.
5. For example, see Robert E. Matheson, Surnames and Christian Names in Ireland (1911), page 13.
6. See the list published in Early Adventurers on the Western Waters, by Mary B and F. B. Kegley, Volume I, page 94.
7. Lewis Preston Summers, Annuals of Southwest Virginia, page 543.
8. Ibid., page 98.
9. The deed was recorded in Fayette County Court in May 1793. Due to a fire in the County Clerks office on 31 January 1803, most of the Fayette County land records were either destroyed or badly damaged. Captain Campbells deed survived the fire in a damaged condition, i. e., the document was badly burned around the edges (See Fayette County, Kentucky, Deed Book 7, page 137).
10. See Fayette County, Kentucky Deed Book 7, page 135.
11. See Fayette County, Kentucky Deed Book 7, page 134.
12. On 19 September 1798, in the Lexington Gazette, William Campbell advertised:
13. See The Heritage, Muhlenberg County KY Genealogical Society, Volume 13, Number 3, page 34.
14. See George W. Rank, History of Lexington Kentucky (1872), page 118.
15. James B. Taylor, Lives of Virginia Baptist Ministers, page 84.
16. Reverend Robert Davidson, History of the Presbyterian Church in the State of Kentucky (1847), page 86.
17. John Frederick Dorman, "Fayette County, Kentucky Militia Officers, 1780-1791," The Kentucky Genealogist, Volume 11, Number 3, page 102.
18. See G. Glenn Clift, The "Cornstalk" Militia of Kentucky, 1792-1811 (1957), page 3.
19. See Fayette County, Kentucky Deed Book "B," page 64.
20. See Fayette County, Kentucky Deed Book "C," page 286.