Southwest Virginia Campbells

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David Campbell (1772-1838) of Muhlenberg County, Kentucky

by Phil Norfleet

David Campbell of Muhlenberg County, Kentucky was born in the year 1772, in what was then Botetourt County, in that part of Southwest Virginia lying on the South Fork of the Holston River. He was the eldest son of Captain William Campbell (1748-1800) and Mary Elizabeth Ellison (1755-1825).

Section 1 - Margaret Campbell, Wife of David Campbell

David’s wife, Margaret Campbell (1774-1853), was the daughter of David’s great-uncle, Robert Campbell. William Campbell of Santa Clara tell us the following concerning his mother:

"Mother’s father was an uncle to grandfather on father’s side. Mother was by a second marriage. Her mother’s name was Margaret Killpateric." [1]

This interesting relationship is graphically depicted in this hyperlinked chart.

Margaret Campbell Pilcher states the following concerning David Campbell and his wife:

"David Campbell married Mary Campbell. They had three children: William, David and Margaret Campbell." [2]

Although Mrs. Pilcher states that her first name was Mary, every document, which I have been able to find, refers to her as "Margaret." It is possible that her full name was Mary Margaret Campbell, she being called by her middle name. David probably married her in Fayette County, Kentucky about the year 1792.

Although, Mrs. Pilcher mentions only three names, David and Margaret actually had thirteen children (see their family group listing at Appendix C). David’s eldest son, William Campbell (1793-1885) of Santa Clara, tells us the names of these children:

"Father’s family: I am the oldest, and was born the 12th of November 1793; John; Rice; Jane; Charles; David and Margaret (twins); Betsey; Mary; James; Robert; Ann, who died at 2 years of age; and Thomas - thirteen in all. Rice and David died in 1821. Jane died in [18]53 in Illinois; James died in Oregon; Robert and Charles died in California."

Section 2 - Emigration to Muhlenberg County, Kentucky

About the year 1803, three years after the death of his father, Captain William Campbell, David and his family removed to Muhlenberg County, Kentucky. In 1805, David’s widowed mother, Elizabeth, and most of his brothers and sisters also moved to Muhlenberg County. David spent most of his life in Muhlenberg and operated a tannery at the County Seat, the town of Greenville. David also owned farms, on Elk Pond and Cypress Creeks, in the southern part of the county. This hyperlimked map shows the general area where David resided.

In April 1808 David Campbell was commissioned a Justice of the Peace for Muhlenberg County, by Kentucky Governor Christopher Greenup. In 1810, David was appointed a trustee of Greenville Academy, a school located in the town of Greenville, established by an Act of the Kentucky Legislature, dated 18 January 1810. In June 1811, David Campbell was commissioned Assistant Judge of the Circuit Court by Kentucky Governor Charles Scott.

Section 3 - Emigration to Callaway County, Missouri

Late in life, about the year 1831, David Campbell emigrated to Callaway County, Missouri with his wife Margaret, daughter Margaret and at least three of his sons (James, Robert and Thomas). Shortly after the Campbells arrived in Callaway County, David’s daughter Margaret married Reverend Abraham Norfleet, on 16 August 1832. David Campbell died testate in Callaway County in about the year 1838. His will, dated 20 February 1836, with codicil dated 20 June 1836, was probated in Callaway County, Missouri on 6 June 1838.

Section 4 - Children of David Campbell

David and Margaret had thirteen children, eight sons and five daughters (see their family listing at Appendix C). Their names, in age order, from eldest to the youngest are as follows:

1.  William Campbell

David’s first-born child was William Campbell (1793-1885) whose life is sketched in a separate essay appended to this web site.

2.  John Campbell

3.  Rice Campbell

Rice married Elizabeth McNary in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky on 15 October 1819. Unfortunately, Rice died only two years later, in 1821.

4.  Jane Campbell

5.  Charles Campbell

6.  David Campbell

David was born in Green County, Kentucky on 21 April 1803. He was a fraternal twin to Margaret Campbell. David died in 1821.

7.  Margaret Campbell

A fraternal twin of David Campbell, Margaret was born on 21 April 1803 in Green County, Kentucky. She married Reverend Abraham Norfleet on 16 August 1832 in Callaway County, Missouri. Margaret died in Cole County, Missouri on 18 September 1872.

8.  Elizabeth Campbell

9.  Mary Campbell

10. James Campbell

11. Robert Campbell

12. Ann Campbell

13. Thomas Campbell


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.