Southwest Virginia Campbells

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Children of Black David Campbell

by Phil Norfleet

Black David Campbell had four (4) known children; they are briefly discussed in the following paragraphs:

1.  Captain William Campbell (1748-1800)

The eldest child of Black David was Captain William Campbell. A detailed sketch of his life is provided in another essay appended to this web site.

2.  Martha (Molly) Campbell (1750-1825)

Martha Campbell married Major John Morrison (1740-1814) in Augusta County, Virginia about the year 1770. The couple moved first to eastern Tennessee; soon thereafter, John and Martha removed to Fayette County, Kentucky, arriving in April 1779. They settled within a small fort on the site where the City of Lexington now stands. Martha was the first white woman to permanently reside at the fort and her son, John Morrison, Jr., was the first white child to be born (1780) in Lexington, Kentucky. Martha and John had a total of nine children.

Military Service of Major Morrison

John Morrison was a noted soldier, Indian fighter and woodsman. In the Revolutionary War, he fought for a time under George Rogers Clark and also served as a soldier in the Virginia Continental Line for three years. Morrison particularly distinguished himself at the Battle of Long Island Flats on the Holston River in East Tennessee (20 July 1776). At the Battle of Piqua (1780), he shot and loaded 13 times (an extraordinary feat!) and was shot in the ear; the well-known frontiersman, Josiah Collins, considering this feat, referred to him as "a brave man." On 04 July 1792, Isaac Shelby, Governor of the State of Kentucky, commissioned John as 1st Major of the 9th Regiment, Fayette County Militia.

Governor David Campbell’s Assessment of Major Morrison

David Campbell (1779-1859), Governor of Virginia from 1837-1840, made the following assessment of Major Morrison in a letter to Lyman Draper in 1842:

" … Captain John Morrison was afterwards among the first immigrants to Kentucky and settled a farm near Lexington where he resided until his death. He was Major John Morrison in Kentucky and performed much service in campaigns against the Indians – a plain unpretending man of great worth and the most dauntless courage. His wife was the sister of Col David Campbell of Campbell’s Station, Ten. and the first white woman that settled near Lexington. His two sons [Archibald and John] commanded companies in Col Dudley’s regiment during the last war [War of 1812]. Archibald was shot all to pieces almost in Dudley’s defeat and John and nearly all his company were killed … "

3.  Mary Campbell (b. c. 1751)

According to Margaret Campbell Pilcher, Mary Campbell married a certain Captain William Ellison (Allison?). I have found little mention in the Virginia/Kentucky records of anyone named William Ellison. However, the Scotch-Irish used the names "Ellison" and "Allison" almost interchangeably. Therefore, William may have been the son of John Allison, who was part of the Allison/Campbell migration group, of which Mary’s brother, Captain William Campbell (1748-1800), was a member (see Chapter 3, Section 4 of this book). Circa 1784, William and Mary Ellison (Allison) may have migrated to Kentucky with the Campbells. On 09 November 1792, Governor Shelby commissioned a certain William Allison as a Captain in the 9th Regiment of the Fayette County militia. William’s brother-in-law, Major John Morrison, was also in the 9th Regiment.

4.  Colonel David Campbell (1753-1832)

David was the youngest child of Black David Campbell having been born in August 1753 only a few months before the death of his father in November of the same year. Like his brother, he was raised by his uncles, William, Robert and Alexander. In 1774, he married Margaret Campbell, a daughter of White David Campbell, and settled on a small farm in the vicinity of the modern day town of Abingdon. In about 1782, David and Margaret removed to Washington County, North Carolina (now part of Tennessee). On 23 October 1782, David patented 153 acres of land on the east side of the "Mirey" branch of the Big Limestone, near land also patented by Charles Allison in 1782. David was then living in the same area as his brother William, and his uncles, Robert and Alexander.

Campbell’s Station

In 1785, David and his wife moved to what was then Greene County, North Carolina, but is now Knox County, Tennessee. Together with three of David’s cousins ("Elder David" Campbell, Alexander Campbell and "Big Jimmie" Campbell), they founded "Campbell’s Station" located on Turkey Creek, a few miles southwest of the site of modern-day Knoxville. In 1787, David obtained a patent from the State of North Carolina, for 500 acres of land on Turkey Creek. Colonel Campbell’s recollections concerning the early history of the Station are found in the Document 2 of the Personal Letters Section of this web site.   An incident concerning Colonel Campbell’s wife which took place at the Station during an Indian attack is found in Document 3 of the Personal Letters Section.  A map of the Campbell’s Station vicinity and recent photographs of the Campbell’s Station site have also been appended.

Military Service

David served in Lord Dunmore’s War (1774) and in the Revolutionary War. He served as a private at the Battle of Long Island Flats (July 1776) and at King’s Mountain (October 1780). David was made a Captain of the Knox County Militia by Territorial Governor William Blount in 1792. After Tennessee became a state, Governor John Sevier appointed him a 2nd Major in the Tennessee Militia for Knox County ( 04 October 1796). He was appointed Lieutenant Colonel Commandant of the Knox County Militia on 20 December 1800.

Political Service

David remained in Tennessee after his brother and uncles removed to Fayette County, Virginia (now Kentucky) in 1784. He participated in the government of the independent "State of Franklin" as a member of the Franklin Assembly. In 1787 he represented Greene County in the North Carolina General Assembly. After Tennessee was admitted to the Union, he was elected to the Tennessee State Legislature, representing Knox County in the forth and fifth General Assemblies (1801-1805).

Wives and Children

David’s wife Margaret died on 29 July 1799. In September 1803, he married, as his second wife, Jane Montgomery Cowan, widow of Samuel Cowan of Knox County. He and his second wife moved to Wilson County, Tennessee in the year 1823, where he acquired a 600 acre farm about seven miles from the City of Lebanon, Tennessee. Colonel Campbell died on 18 August 1832 and is buried in the village cemetery at Leeville, Tennessee. His second wife, Jane, died on 18 September 1840. Colonel Campbell had seven children by his first wife and three by his second.  One of his daughters, Mary Hamilton Campbell, married Governor David Campbell (1779-1859) of Virginia: this David was a grandson of White David Campbell and served as Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia from 1837-1840. Their home, in Abingdon, Virginia was named Mont Calm.

Governor William Bowen Campbell

One of Colonel David Campbell’s grandsons, William Bowen Campbell (1807-1867), commanded the 1st Tennessee Regiment in the Mexican War and subsequently became the last Whig Governor of the State of Tennessee, serving as Governor from 1851-1853. Governor Campbell was born in the William Bowen House, near Nashville, in 1807. This house still stands (see hyperlink below).  In the latter years of his life, "Camp Bell" in Lebanon, Tennessee was William Bowen Campbell’s residence (see hyperlink below).  At the present time (1997), a direct descendant of Governor Campbell still owns this home.