Southwest Virginia Campbells

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Published Genealogies of the Southwest Virginia Campbells

by Phil Norfleet

I am aware of only two published genealogical accounts, which discuss the "Black David" branch of the Campbells of Southwest Virginia:

William Campbell of Santa Clara, California

The earliest description was provided in a letter written in December 1874 by William Campbell (1793-1885). William was a great-grandson of "Black David" Campbell and a pioneer emigrant to California, having traveled there from Missouri by wagon train during the historically fateful year of 1846. His letter was published a few years ago in the Journal of the Clan Campbell Society, Volume 14, Number 4 (Autumn 1987), page 37. William’s life is sketched in a separate essay appended to this web site.

Margaret Hamilton Campbell Pilcher

A second and more comprehensive account was written by Margaret Hamilton Campbell Pilcher (1843-1921) in her book entitled Historical Sketches of the Campbell, Pilcher and Kindred Families (published 1911), pages 130-134. Mrs. Pilcher was a great-great granddaughter of both White David and Black David. Indeed, she is the person most responsible for the use of the terms "White David" and "Black David" in describing these two men who married half-sisters. Mrs. Pilcher was also the daughter of William Bowen Campbell (1807-1867), the last Whig governor of Tennessee and the man after whom Fort Campbell, home of the 101st Airborne Division, is named.

Link to Ancestry Chart of Margaret Campbell Pilcher

Lack of Scholarly Documentation

Unfortunately, with respect to the earliest generations of the "Black David" Campbell family, the writings of the above cited Campbell family members seem to be based largely upon oral family traditions which lack scholarly documentation to support many of the genealogical relationships described. The genealogical sketches provided in chapters 2 through 4 of this document, regarding Black David Campbell and the first two generations of his descendents, will include applicable quotations from both Mr. William Campbell of Santa Clara and Mrs. Pilcher. However, the sketches will mainly be based upon the applicable, surviving official records (such as wills, deeds, court orders, marriage bonds, tax lists, etc.). Any discrepancies between the official records and the traditional relationships/dates described by William Campbell and/or Margaret Campbell Pilcher will be identified, thus providing a test of the accuracy of these traditions.