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Southwest Virginia Campbells

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Extract Taken from a Letter of Governor David Campbell of Virginia to Lyman C. Draper of Baltimore, Maryland Concerning an Incident Which Occurred at Campbells Station, Tennessee

The following is an extract from a letter written by Governor David Campbell (1779-1859) of Montcalm (Washington County, Virginia) to the historian and antiquarian, Lyman C. Draper. The letter relates an incident recalled by Governor Campbell’s wife, Mary Hamilton Campbell (1783-1859), who was the daughter of Colonel David Campbell of Campbells Station. The letter is found in the Draper Manuscripts at 10DD59.

To: Lyman C. Draper

Box 375

Baltimore, Maryland

Montcalm March 23, 1846

My Dear Sir,

I have delayed answering your letter of the 13th of last month longer than I intended – and although I have not received the information I expected by the delay, and have not much to communicate, yet I will write a few lines if for no other purpose than to present my respects to you and thank you for your last letter.

… Mrs. Campbell not long since was conversing about the first settlement of Campbells Station by her father, and related the following circumstances, which I will give you as showing the spirit of the times. She says her father went first to the Station tract of land with his own family – built a single Block house with port holes and lived there a part of one summer. Towards mid-summer, when the corn was pretty high, her father and a hired white man were in the field plowing among the corn when they were fired on from out side the fence. Two guns were fired and they thought they saw one Indian. They were not touched and immediately unhitched their horses, mounted them and rode with all speed to the house. When they got there, they found the door of the block house properly fastened and Mrs. Campbell at one of the portholes looking out for Indians with two rifles loaded and at her side and her children around her. She had heard the firing at the field and not knowing what had happened collected her children and pulled them into the house as quick as she could, chained the door and prepared for defence intending if the men in the field were killed and the Indians came to attack the house or if the Indians got there before the men, to defend herself and children. Col Campbell was greatly astonished at her presence of mind. He and his hired man remained in the house until after dark and then got horses and removed the family to Whites Station where Knoxville now stands – fifteen miles off. The family did not return for a considerable time and until after the Station was built. My wife was very young when the circumstances happened, but says she has a perfect recollection of it.

Most respectfully yours,

/S/ David Campbell