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Genealogical shock Part 1: Seeking the facts of Campbell genealogy: Colonel John Campbell of Black River Jamaica and the Darien Company ( and the Claibornes of Virginia, circa 1700): Jamaica planters and economic history: The 1685 invasion of Scotland:

The Blackheath Connection

Chapter 3

 

Immediate Scots politics and grief aside by 1692, "the Campbell's massacre of the MacDonalds" entered folklore as a spectacularly notorious offence against the laws of hospitality. (It was not the world's worst massacre - less than 40 people were slaughtered) It is a strange twist of history and folklore, then, that relatively few people have asked: what became of the Campbell men taking part in the massacre? According to Prebble, at least one of them - Drummond - became involved as one of "the Glencoe gang" in the Darien Scheme. ([1]) Is there any reason to believe that John Campbell Black River was any member of the "Glencoe Gang"? No, but...

 

WE begin then, yet another time... We need to revisit the Glencoe Massacre, then the disaster of the Scottish Darien Company, then various Jamaican sugar plantations...

 

Pursuing particular Campbell genealogy... with mysteries, tales of a high death rate, an infamous massacre, and a family history which will not behave itself because of one story about a mysterious woman named Jean Campbell, her son Neil, principal of the College of Glasgow, and Neil's unknown father. It remains to be seen how some Argyllshire Scots made their way successfully into the snakepit of English infights for dominance in the Caribbean - and survived. An extensive Campbell family history lives in a partial vacuum. ([2]) Also, there exists a confusing story that Neil, the principal of the College of Glasgow, was a bastard son of an Earl of Argyll. So the questions arise: which earl, by which woman. Is the story true?

 

One of Neil Campbell's uncles was Colonel John Campbell of Black River, south western Jamaica, who died in 1740 on Jamaica. John Black River was the patriarch of the first Campbells who settled on Jamaica. He was born in 1673, the son of Rev. Patrick Campbell (1631-33-1700) (of Glenary, Torblaren) and Jean Campbell. ([3]) This Jean was possibly the mother of Neil by a liason prior to her marriage to Rev. Patrick. In the 1690s, Colonel John became part of the military units of the ill-fated Scottish Darien Company; possibly with the first of the three major Darien Company expeditions. After that company's activities failed, John raged that England had saboutaged the Darien Company, that he would have no part of a Scotland which might unite with England. He stayed on Jamaica as a planter.

 

The next parts of his story involve the Virginian wife of John Black River, Catherine Claiborne, ([4]) and his nephews who came from Scotland - Argyllshire - to settle on Jamaica. However, if Catherine Claiborne is to be discussed, reference must be made to the colonisation of Virginia only a few years after 1603, the year Elizabeth 1 died.

 

Numerous other complications exist. To explain John Campbell Black River, the history of the Scottish Darien Company and much else must be explained...

 

Seeking the facts of particular Campbell genealogy:

 

The relevant Campbell genealogy is complicated by multiple marriages... Patrick Campbell (died 1631) ([5]) (Stuck, Cowal, Dunoon) married firstly Elizabeth Cameron of Callart who apparently had no issue, and secondly Helen Woddrop, who did have issue. Patrick and Helen's children were Rev. Dugald* (1599-1673) of Knapdale, who married Margaret Maxwell,

 

and Duncan** (Bailie, Kintyre, Ardgaddan) who married a widow, Mary Campbell of Otter, ([6])

 

and John*** Campbell (died 1673) (Fernoch, Fionnaghal) who married Florence Lamont (Finuel, Kilfinan, Otter),

 

and Archibald who died unmarried, and Donald of whom there is no trace.

 

Of these children, we need to be concerned here with Duncan's** offspring, because his line produced the West India merchant and hulks overseer Duncan Campbell (1726-1803), ([7]) and people who later lived in Kent, England, India and Australia. ([8])

 

 

We need to be concerned with John's*** offspring, since his line produced ships captains named Somerville who before 1775 sailed as captain-nephews to Virginia-Jamaica for the hulks overseer. ([9]) We need to be concerned with Rev. Dugald's* offspring, since his line produced planters on Jamaica after 1700, including Colonel John Campbell Black River.

 

The Rev. Dugald's* offspring:

 

Rev. Dugald's wife, Mary Maxwell, had one child notable for our inquiries: Rev Patrick Campbell (1631-1700) (Glenaray, Manse, Torblaren) who married Jean Campbell, already mentioned as mysterious.

 

Jean had already had children by an earlier marriage or liaison with an unknown man named Campbell. Jean by her second marriage, to Patrick, produced children, Dugald (Torblaren, Kilmory) who married a Margaret Maxwell; Colin of Knockbuy who married Margaret Graham and had progeny; Colonel John Black River, Jamaica, who married Catherine Claiborne (1681-1715) of Virginia; Duncan a merchant of Glasgow who married unknown but had progeny. [10] Colonel John Black River had been part of the military establishment of the ill-dated Scottish Darien Company. After settling on Jamaica, he enticed several of his nephews to come to Jamaica as sugar planters. Remaining in Argyllshire, Neil, who became principal of the College of Glasgow, was a nephew of John Black River, despite a difference in their ages of only about five years. (This relationship itself is still unclear. ([11])

 

Colonel John Campbell, Black River and the confused story of the Scottish Darien Company:

 

How then, did Colonel John Black River become engaged by the Darien Company? We know, that the tenth Earl of Argyll, Archibald (died 28 Sep. 1703, also the first Duke of Argyll), before 1700 was a heavy investor in the Darien Company. ([12]) He subscribed 1500. His brother James invested 700s, and twenty two gentlemen and merchants of allegiance to this Earl of Argyll contributed a total of 9400. [13]

 

Writes Clark, as a British view: "The period which begins with the Restoration has been called the most pitiful in the history of Scotland." "English evils such as intolerance, oppression, bloodshed and turbulence were worse there..." Scotland had a population of one million people at most. Edinburgh had 20,000 people, Glasgow about 13,000, Aberdeen about 4000. The Scottish universities supported growth and learning for the English non-conformists. Scots sons denied entry to Oxford and Cambridge could study at Glasgow. Scots professional soldiers were admired, but there was not yet any great imaginative literature, no engrossing philosophy; although intolerance was said to be subsiding. There would also flower, the Scottish Enlightenment.[14] Scotland enjoyed Dutch and French influences which would show in later Scots tobacco trading, but the greatest influence was English. England at least had pointed out how material advantages could be gained. ([15]) ([16])

 

* * * *

 

Jamaica planters and economic history:

 

Little help is offered by the chaotic state of the records of the Scots Darien Company. However, a long search remains - there is no easy way to explain why John Campbell Black River became the first Campbell settling on Jamaica.

 

Here, an observation... The earls of Argyll doubtless assisted many Campbells to settle in and around London, but it is hard to say, from when. It is difficult to find if Campbells moved to post-Elizabethan London due to the influence of any earl of Argyll. Names arise only incidentally, making it difficult to discover patterns of activity, especially concerning colonisation, English style. Campbells were not related to the London financier name, Cambell. ([17]) (sic)

 

The economic history of the Campbells owing allegiance to the earls of Argyll remains largely unwritten. The result is that it seems impossible to establish business links between the earls and dukes of Argyll, their political affiliates, and men who answered to them for kin-based or political reasons in either Scotland, London or the colonies. Yet by the 1640s, and more likely from about 1610, the aristocratic Campbells were often resident about London, and one presumes, Scots, or Campbells, would have assisted each other in London? What of John Campbell Black River? He would be much easier to explain if he or his nephews had links to kinfolk in London, but no information arises.

 

Dunn in an otherwise excellent title on Caribbean planters and slavery provides one problem - he does not mention any Campbells on Jamaica. Dunn remarks that many Jamaican matters still remain "illusive and mysterious". [18] He adds, "It is a shabby task in many ways, yet an illuminating one, to tell what these English sons of Adam did to the Garden of Eden islands they discovered and what the islands did to them..." "The rise of the planter class [as a social group] in the English sugar islands is a story that has never been told." Though they wrote commercial and political tracts, the planters wrote little about themselves. As Dunn notes, the Caribbean sugar islands produced "a strongly articulated and very durable social pattern" that lasted to the twentieth century, and the sugar planters have received a deservedly bad press. Englishmen at home never quite accepted the nouveau riche sugar potentates as proper gentry, while mainland American colonists looked askance at West Indians with "carbuncled faces, slender legs and thighs, and large prominent bellies".

 

Dunn remarks also on yet another paradox of the seventeenth century English - they were a people well able to subdue other peoples and territories, but were unable to adapt their diet and clothes to new (Caribbean) climates and places, to new diet and dress. (Much the same could be said of many Anglo-Australians even to the 1950s.) But while the planters found it hard to adapt to new places, their product was helping to create extraordinary changes in both domestic and working life at home. Much was afoot.

 

Dunn remarks also in his introduction to Sugar and Slaves (pp. xiii-xviff), the English Caribbean colonists turned their islands into amazingly effective sugar-production machines. They lived fast, spent recklessly, played desperately and died young. They lived in the West Indies as little as possible, their one consuming ambition to escape home to England as soon as possible, as wealthy as possible. And they rendered their islands almost uninhabitable. "These sugar planters of the seventeenth century have become shadowy and half-forgotten men. They never wrote much about themselves", preferring to keep evidence of their wealth from awareness of the authorities at home, Dunn notes. Hurricanes have obliterated much useful archaeological evidence, papers have become victims of heat, humidity and insects. One could scarcely imagine a more mean-minded, hard drinking, racist and jingoistic bunch of men raddled, in the final analysis, with chronic deep dread of slave revolt, than a Jamaica militia!

 

The 1685 invasion of Scotland revisited:

 

If any earl of Argyll had a bastard son, then presumably any of his legitimate sons had a bastard brother? This observation also fails to produce sensible information, ([19]) and so problems with the descent of principal Neil Campbell intractable. Some tales have also been advanced about "Major John Campbell of Glenary" (or Glenaray) being a son of the Earl of Argyll executed in 1685, this so-called son John also being executed for participation in his father's failed rebellion in concert with Monmouth's southern rebellion. None of this story about "Major John Campbell of Glenary" tallies.

 

A useless story continues... That after he was executed for involvement with the 1685 invasion of Scotland, [the probably fictional] "Major John Campbell of Glenary" left an orphan son Neil who was taken in by his uncle, Patrick Campbell, a Minister of Glenaray, to have his education "carefully superintended" to the ministry. This story also cannot solve questions about Neil's mother, Jean. [20]

 

Also worse, anyone driven by a taste for melodrama could easily imagine that these mysteries of Principal Neil's parentage could, after revelations about a cover-up, perhaps, be attached to stories leading to a retelling of the story of the Glencoe Massacre? In all, it remains very odd that the genealogy of a principal of the College of Glasgow, and a professor of Divinity at that university, plus the genealogy of the first Campbell planters on Jamaica should be linked, and yet remain mysterious. This, while allegations persist about a blood-connection with the first Dukes of Argyll. Absurdly, so far, it can only be said that Principal Neil came from a cloud of anonymity named Clan Campbell. Where to go from here?

 

(However, the background of principal Neil's wife, Henrietta, is reliable, as it proceeds back along her paternal line to one of the five sons of Duncan, the first Lord Campbell (1387-1435). Henrietta also had a brother, Duncan, who sold his land in Scotland and emigrated to Jamaica)

 

[Finis Chapter 3]

Words 2129 with footnotes 3669 pages 7 footnotes 20



[1] Prebble lists many personnel involved in appendices to his book, Glencoe.

[2] For example, despite the distinctiveness of the name Campbell arriving on Jamaica from 1700, there are no Campbells referred to in Dunn's otherwise excellent book on Jamaican planters, Sugar and Slaves. Some later descendants are mentioned briefly in Charles Rathbone Low, History of the Royal India Navy, 1613-1863. 1877. Reprinted by Royal Navy Museum, Portsmouth, in conjunction with London Stamp Exchange, nd. 1990?

[3] His father was Rev. Dugald Campbell (1599-1673) of Knapdale who married Margaret Maxwell. The problems posed by ignorance of this woman, Jean, are severe enough to mean that she cannot be discussed until a later chapter. I am grateful for assistance with genealogical research here to Marion Campbell of Kilberry, Scotland, and Rev. Borthwick of Perth, Australia. Marion Campbell, article, Journal of Clan Campbell, USA, No. 17, 3, nd., pp. 36ff.

[4] As with Jean Campbell mentioned above, discussions of the origins of Catherine Claiborne also become complicated.

[5] His father was Donald Campbell (died 1597) (Kilmory, Lochgilp), who married Elizabeth Stewart (Kildonnan, Bute). This Donald and Elizabeth had other children, Dugald, Vicar Duncan (died 1592) of Kilfinan, Archibald of Kilmory, Colin (Bute, Kilmichael). This Patrick, died 1631, also married Helen Woddrop. It remains uncertain whether Helen or Elizabeth Cameron was the mother of the children discussed here, but this problem does not essentially affect the lines considered paternally. Patrick's untraced children I have consigned to Helen Woddrop as mother.

[6] Their children included: Dugald (Bailie Kintyre, Glen Saddel) who married Margaret Cunningham, and Colin Campbell (Attichuan) who married Bessie Campbell.

[7] Duncan Campbell Letterbooks, A3225-A3230, ML. The Duncan Campbell Letterbooks, (ML) are held as: A3225 ML Vol. 1. of Business Letter Books, March 1772-October 1776; A3226 ML Vol. 2 of Business Letter Books, 13 December, 1776-21 September, 1779; A3227 ML Vol. 3 of Business Letter Books, 30 September, 1779-9 March, 1782; A3228 ML Vol. 4 of Business Letter Books, 15 March, 1782-6 April, 1785; A3229 Vol. 5 of Business Letter Books, 1 December, 1784 -17 June, 1788; A3230 ML Vol. 6 of Business Letter Books, 20 June, 1788-31 December, 1794. Some ML Blighiana also contributes material relevant to Campbells. All Campbell letters hereafter are referred to by individual date. The breaks created between business letter books are not in all instances covered by letters entered into Private Letter Books ML A3231, comprising three volumes of same. A descendant who died in Australia in 1938, William Dugald Campbell (WDC), took copious but sometimes inaccurate notes on his family history, held as ML A3232. Reference to these notes is denoted "Notes of WDC". The present author has lodged with ML a copy of Campbell's will, courtesy Public record Office, PROB/11/1388, kindly forwarded by Mollie Gillen.

[8] Here arises a first difficulty with the way much history has been written to date. The sister Mary (1723-1767) of Duncan the hulks overseer married Richard Betham of Glasgow (died 1789), who from 1765 was the receiver-general of customs on the Isle of Man, which island the British government bought in 1765 in order to reduce the economic impact of "nests of smugglers". Mary and Richard Betham had a daughter Elizabeth (1753-1812) who married William Bligh (1754-1817), notorious as the captain put off his ship out from Tahiti during the April 1789 mutiny on the Bounty. Bligh of course became a governor of New South Wales and was deposed in 1808, for which the rebels involved were not punished. It is the contention of the present writer that Bligh would never have become captain of HMAV Bounty but for the influence in London of Duncan the hulks overseer, whose planter relatives by 1787 on Jamaica were among many Jamaicans who wished to feed slaves more cheaply on breadfruit from Tahiti, partly as since 1780, a series of hurricanes had devastated Jamaica and made many aspects of life more expensive. Some relevant genealogical information can be found in Zena Bamping, West Kingsdown: The Story of Three Villages in Kent. (Second edition). London, Tyger Press Ltd., 1991.

[9] This line survives in lively fashion. One present-day descendant is Diarmid Campbell of Denver, Colorado, who edits a Clan Campbell journal distributed in the United States and Canada. I would like here to register my gratitude for his generous assistance with these genealogical matters.

[10] The IGI notes the name Campbell on Barbados from 1653, chiefly women marrying non-Scottish men, but other information on Barbados before 1680 indicates the Barbados Campbells did not become moneyed or influential. Even more mysteriously, the IGI (1988 computer version) lists no Campbells on Jamaica before about 1720. (Eric Williams, From Columbus to Castro: The History of the Caribbean, 1492-1969. London, Andre Deutsch, 1970., p. 101. Peter Wilson Coldham, Emigrants in Chains. Phoenix Hill, Far Thrupp, Stroud, Gloucestershire. Allan Sutton, 1992., pp. 48ff.) As a Caribbean historian, Eric Williams conveys that Cromwell sent 7000-8000 Scots from the 1651 Battle of Worcester to British plantations in the colonies. As a maritime matter, the windfall for shipowners must have been large. Little is known however of the shipowners transporting such a number of people, what happened to the transportees when they arrived, or how many might have returned from such transportation.

[11] On such points I am grateful to Rev. Richard Borthwick of Perth, Australia.

[12] The Darien Company was preceded by the first Scottish Guinea Company, four courtiers of Charles 1, including Patrick Maule, first Earl Panmure; and Henry, the son of William Alexander, first Earl Stirling, secretary of state for Scotland interested in colonising Nova Scotia. It was almost inevitable that this Guinea Company at times dealt with merchants connected with Maurice Thompson, such as William Cloberry and Samuel Vassall, plus Thomas Crispe the "founder" of the English stronghold on the African coast, Kormantin. Robin Law, `The First Scottish Guinea Company, 1634-1639', The Scottish Historical Review, Vol. LXXVI, No. 202, October 1997., pp. 185-202.

[13] Heraldry of the Campbells, pp. 20ff; GEC, Peerage, Argyll, pp. 209ff; Moray, p. 189; Home, p. 558; Lothian, pp. 146ff. Titles consulted here regarding the Darien Company include George Pratt, (Ed.), Papers Relating to the Ships and Voyages of the Company of Scotland Trading to Africa and the Indies, 1696-1707. Edinburgh, Scottish Historical Society, 1924. John Prebble, The Darien Disaster. London, Secker and Warburg, 1988. Rather ironically, a governor of the Darien Co. was James Balfour (C1652-1703) - an ancestor of the writer Robert Louis Stevenson.

[14] Part of the Enlightenment was the spread of Freemasonry. David Stevenson, The Scottish Century: The Origins of Freemasonry. Cambridge University Press, 1992. John Prebble, Glencoe: The Story of the Massacre. London, Penguin Books, 1968.

[15] Some views and genealogical material used here are drawn chiefly from the notes held at the Mitchell Library (ML) Sydney, information gathered by a Campbell descendant, W. D. Campbell (nd); hereafter, Notes of WDC (ML A3232. Supplementary material has been gained from the English Dictionary of National Biography. (DNB); from various encyclopedia entries on Argyll; and from Antonia Fraser, Cromwell: Our Chief of Men. London, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1973. Useful titles here are Sir George Clark, The Later Stuarts, 1660-1714. Oxford History of England. Vol. 10. Oxford University Press, 1965. Godfrey Davies, The Early Stuarts, 1603-1660. The Oxford History of England. Oxford University Press, 1959.

[16] On the Earls of Argyll, the following sources are useful: Fraser, Cromwell, pp. 256ff. Davies, Early Stuarts, variously. Davies, Early Stuarts, pp. 88-90, p. 259. GEC, Peerage, Montrose, pp. 491ff. Hibbert, Roundheads and Cavaliers, lists, p. 307. On the eighth Earl of Argyll, tried for high treason and condemned to death at Edinburgh, Dictionary of National Biography. Peter Earle, Monmouth's Rebels: The Road to Sedgemoor, 1685. London, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1977. Clark, Later Stuarts, p. 107.

[17] None of the names Cambell in London were related to any Campbells considered here. Brenner, Merchants and Revolution, p. 77, pp. 89-90. Burke's Peerage, Abdy, p. 1. Burke's Extinct Baronetcies, pp. 98ff. Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, for Altham.

[18] Dunn also remarks that "Historical demography is in high fashion these days, nowhere more so than among students of early modern European and colonial American history." It is remarkable, given valuable work done, that Virginian history by now is closely cross-referenced, the history of the European settlement of Australia has presumably been written. Yet, Duncan Campbell the hulks overseer and his relatives have escaped many nets, as we shall see. Dunn, Sugar and Slaves, p. xvii, p. xv, 47, pp. 264-265, p. 335, pp. 300ff.

[19] One reference to "a bastard brother" is in Wodrow, Analecta, Vol. IV, 69, August, 1729, although Wodrow added, "I cannot believe it". Miss Marion Campbell has placed papers regarding her descendancy from the brother Colin (of Knockby) of John Campbell of Black River with Mr. Murdo Macdonald, Strathclyde Regional Offices, Lochgilpead, Argyll.

[20] There is the Auchinbrek Genealogy, written in the 1740s, later published in J. R. N. MacPhuil, Highland Papers, Vol. IV. Edinburgh, Scottish History Society, 3rd Series, XXII, 1934., with a complete account of the Campbells of Kilduskland including John Campbell (of Black River, Jamaica) where Duncan Campbell the subject of this book is referred to as "supercargo to Virginia". Many extant references to the hulks overseer are incorrect, such as his listing in Rex Nan Kivell and Sydney Spence, Portraits of the Famous and the Infamous, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, 1492-1970. Sydney, Batsford, 1970., where it is incorrectly claimed he was born in 1741.

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