Sunday, November 2, 2014

1685 - The Henry and Francis

[This is part of  a series of articles on the year 1685.  You might want to read the Overview first.]

December 1685

This is the date on which the ship Henry and Francis with its cargo of banished Highlanders landed in Perth Amboy, New Jersey.

1685 was a disastrous year for Presbyterians, Covenanters, and Campbells.  King James II had set himself up as head of the church, required all to take an oath recognizing him as such, and persecuted any dissenters.   The head of Clan Campbell had been executed.  His heir was in hiding and many other prominent Campbells were again self exiled in Holland.  Many Covenanters, who only recognized Christ as the head of their church, were also in hiding or self-exiled.

The disastrous journey of the ship, Henry and Francis, from Leith, Scotland to Perth Amboy, New Jersey was in keeping with the theme of 1685.  The fateful voyage of over fourteen weeks included sickness, death, storms, cruelties by crew perpetrated on the passengers, leaks, and an attempted kidnapping foiled only by the weather gods.

The records of this voyage are amazingly good for a 17th century adventure.  This is largely due to the prolific yet overzealous historian, Robert Wodrow, whom I will let tell the majority of the story later. [Parts of his version have been refuted.  See Whitehead in the Bibliography.]

The Henry and Francis was ship of three hundred and fifty tons with twenty great guns.  Perhaps it was a "barque" as shown in this 1798 painting of the Leith Harbor?

Leith Harbor in 1798
The boat had been chartered out of  Newcastle by George Scot of Pitlochie with Richard Hutton as its Captain.  Its 125 passengers were made up of prisoners, paying customers, crew, and Scot's family. It is likely that the prisoners varied in background from rebels forced into service against their will, to over-principled Presbyterians who refused to take the oath, to vandals and thieves.   It was likely not as bad as the editor of the Privy Council Register stated when he observed Scot's ship in the harbor as “being about to sail for East New Jersey with a cargo of criminals, wastrels, and malcontents...”

We do know that Scot had been planning this voyage for awhile (unlike Lord Neil Campbell) and had been actively recruiting prisoners with the desired skills for his passenger list.  We also know that a Robert Campbell from Canongate Tolbooth had been assigned to Scot's care by the Privy Council.  This Robert was the grandfather of the subject of this blog, JoelCampbell1735.

When the ship arrived in Perth Amboy in December 1685, thirty one (~60 according to other accounts?) of the 125 passengers were dead, including Scot and his family.  The remaining 94 survivors were likely not in good health as they came ashore in a new land to start a new life.  So ended 1685.

This link contains a nicely organized list of passengers.

Most accounts of the journey are taken from Wodrow's book, but Woodrow is seldom produced in its entirety (probably because it is very long).   I have reproduced it here.

An account of the ship Henry and Francis as recorded by Wodrow, Robert, A History of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland…Volume IV, p. 331, Chapter IX Section XII , Blackie & Son, Glasgow, 1833. (
"Having in the former section given the history of the sufferings of these good people who were taken to Dunnottor this summer, I am now to follow a good many of them to America.  Argyle's invasion being now over, and no more fears from that airt, the council began to weary of the prisoners at Dunnotter, and brought them back to Leith, as we have seen, where another essay was made to bring them to comply with the impositions now put on people in their circumstances; and upon their refusal, they resolved to send good numbers of them to the plantations, and so rid themselves of any more trouble about them. Accordingly, after near three months' severe treatment at Dunnotter, they come to Leith, two of them were left behind as dying men, of which Quintin Dick, so frequently mentioned, was one, and in his remarks formerly cited, he hath some sweet observations upon providence timeing his sickness at this juncture. He recovered in some time, and was overlooked, and got safe home to his own house, and lived some years to reflect with pleasure, and record the Lord's wonderful steps of kindness to him, and his goodness under, and after all those sore troubles he underwent. Not a few who were in the great vault were sick, and allowed horses upon their own charges. The Reverend Mr Frazer was very infirm and weak, and yet the captain by no means would permit him to have the benefit of a hired horse, as several others had. The foot had sixty-six miles to travel, and their hands tied behind their back with small cords. From Dunnotter they were carried to Montrose tolbooth the first night, from thence to Arbroath, from thence to Dundee, from thence, upon the Sabbath, to the Cowpar of Fife, from thence to  Burntisland, and thence to Leith.
The council were pleased to come down to Leith, and sit in the tolbooth there, and spent some time in the re-examination of the prisoners. It was but very few complied with their impositions, and they were dismissed. Others, who were very weakly, and had some friends to intercede, got off upon a bond of compearance when called, as Mr William McMillan, who gave bond as above, under the penalty of five thousand merks. The most part of them refusing the oaths, and to satisfy in other particulars, were perpetually banished to America, and many of them were gifted to the laird of Pitlochy, to be carried thither. William Hannah, formerly mentioned, in the parish of Tunnergarth, when brought before the lords, and refusing the oath of allegiance with the supremacy, was threatened with banishment. He told them, that he was now too old to work, or go to war, and he reckoned he would be useless there. Old general Dalziel took him up very bitterly, and replied, he was not too old then to be hanged, and he would hang well enough. That same day, as my information bears, August 22d, the general died suddenly, and William's age and sickness prevented his being carried away with the rest. In a few weeks he fell very ill in prison, and appearing to be in a dying condition, he was liberate, and got home, after very hard sufferings for three years and more.
The names of as many as are come to my hand, who were banished, shall be insert just now. Let me only remark, that such who had not to pay their freight, were gifted to George Scot laird of Pitlochy, who freighted a Newcastle ship, Richard Hutton master, bound for New-Jersey; and all the persons now banished were committed to his care. I cannot give an account of all the names of such as were banished with Pitlochy ; the reader hath not a few of them above, section 4th. Several of their testimonies and letters they wrote to their friends toward the end of August are before me; and particularly an original letter, from about twenty-eight of them, dated Leith Road, August 28th, 1685, directed to their friends, too long to be here insert. ln short they signify, "That now being to leave their own native and covenanted land by an unjust sentence of banishment, for owning- truth, and holding by duty, and studying to keep by their covenant engagements and baptismal vows, whereby they stand obliged to resist, and testify against all that is contrary to the word of God and their covenants ; and that their sentence of banishment ran chiefly because they refused the oath of allegiance, which in conscience they could not take, because in so doing, they thought they utterly declined the Lord Jesus Christ from having any power in his own house, and practically would, by taking it, say he was not King and head of his church, and over their consciences ; and on the contrary', this was to take and put in his room a man whose breath is in his nostrils, yea, a man that is a sworn enemy to religion, an avowed papist, whom by our covenants we are bound to withstand, and disown, and that agreeably to the scripture, Deut. xvii. 14, 15." They go on to leave their testimony against the evils of the times, and for the preaching of the gospel in the fields and houses, and sign as follows.
"John Kincaid, George Muir, George Johnston, Robert Young, Thomas Jackson, Andrew Paterson, John Harvey, John Foord, Christopher Strang, William Spreul, Peter Russel, Robert McEwen, John Henderson, John Seton, John Gilfillan, Charles Honyall, James Grierson, James Forsyth, Walter McIgne, John McGhie, Adam Howie, James Muirhead, Annabel Gordon, Margaret Leslie, Agnes Steven, Margaret Forrest, Jean Moffat, Annabel Jackson." 
Besides those I have before me letters of John Arbuckle, .John McQueen, a letter signed I. D. and K. G. and another signed Janet Symington, all of them banished at this time, with many others whose names are not come to me; we shall just now find some of them among those who died at sea in the voyage. In the same ship likewise were Mr John Frazer, and that excellent gentleman Robert McLellan of Barmagechan, of whom more just now, William Niven in Pollockshaws, with a good many others who had endured Dunnotter cruelties. And it is mostly from Mr Frazer and Barmagcchan's account of this voyage, that I am to frame the following narrative of it. 
Several others were likewise in the vessel, who retired from their native country to settle in America, as the reverend Mr Archibald Riddel, whom we had in the former part of this history, and his wife, and several of the relations of such who went over.
The prisoners lay some time in the road of Leith, before all was ready, and sailed the 5th of September. Informations before me bear, that Pitlochy tampered with some of them, particularly James Forsyth, to get money before they sailed, offering for five pounds sterling paid now, to set him at liberty as soon as they came to land. But James answered, he would give him no money to carry him out of his native land, adding he had done nothing worthy of banishment. 
After they had turned the land-end, the fever began to rage in the ship, especially among such who had been in the great vault of Dunnotter. Not a few of them were sick when they came aboard, and no wonder, considering the barbarous treatment they had met with ; besides, much of the flesh which the captain of the ship had provided for the prisoners began to stink before they sailed out of Leith road, and in a few days it was not eatable.
In a month's time the fever turned malignant, and few or none in the ship escaped it ; in so much that it was usual to cast over board three or four dead bodies in one day. Most of the ship's crew, except the captain and boat-swain, died. Pitlochie who had freighted the ship, with his excellent lady, died likewise, and so enjoyed nothing of the produce of near a hundred prisoners gifted him by the council; and near seventy persons died at sea. 
I have before me a list of the passengers and prisoners who died at sea. It concerns the design of this history only to record the names of the prisoners, and they are as follows ; Thomas Graham, Gilbert Monorgan, John Smith, William Cunningham, John Muirhead, Thomas Jackson, Kathrine Kellie, Andrew McLellan, Thomas Russel, John Hodge, Thomas Gray, John Ramn, John Swinton, John Kippen, William Sprat, James Wardrope, John McKenman, Thomas Finlater, John Hutchison of Wardlaw, William McMillan, Agnes Cohalh, John Kirkland."
Perhaps several of the passengers might be likewise sufferers, but able to pay their freights ; but I have not set them down, for shortness. I find further in the list, Mr John Vernor and his wife, Pitlochy and his lady, and the lady Aitherny, Mrs Riddel, Mrs Eupham Rigg lady Aitherny's daughter, William Rigg, her son, Mr William Ged, and Mr William Aisdale, minister. 
Notwithstanding of this raging sickness, and great death, much severity was used toward the prisoners at sea, by the master of the ship and others : those under deck were not allowed to go about worship by themselves, and when they essayed it, the captain would throw down great planks of timber upon them to disturb them, and sometimes to the danger of their lives. We have heard of the badness of their provisions already.
Many were the disasters of this voyage. The ship was at the utmost hazard by the breaking up of a leak at two several times. They had several calms, and some pretty severe storms. The captain, after Pitlochy's death, began to tamper with Mr Johnston his son-in-law, who now had the disposal of the prisoners ; and it was projected to carry  them into Jamaica or Virginia, and the master offered to take all the prisoners there from him, and pay him in bulk. It was urged for this, that the markets were much better there for servants than at New Jersey. When they are thus treating, and near an issue, very much for the advantage of the passengers and prisoners, the wind turns straight for New Jersey, and they were forced to sail with it. There they arrived about the middle of December, after they had been about fifteen weeks at sea. At their landing many of them were sick ; and Mr Frazer observes, that a worthy gentleman from the west of Scotland died among their hands as they were carrying him ashore. The same person observes, that " partly of such who voluntarily offered themselves to go abroad from the kingdom of Scotland, and partly of such who were persecuted by banishment, there were upwards of 60 died at sea, whose blood (adds he) will be found in the skirts of enemies, as really, as if they had died at the cross and Grass-market of Edinburgh."
Before the prisoners came ashore, it was once intended byMr Johnston, to whom Pitlochy had made them over, to stop their getting out of the ship, till they should all of them, under their hand, sign a voluntary declaration, as it was called, that they offered four years' service at that place. But this they would not yield unto ; yea, a considerable number of them joined in a protestation against their banishment, with a large narrative of the hardships they endured during their voyage, and formerly, for conscience sake.
When the prisoners came ashore, the people who lived on the coast-side, and had not the gospel settled among them, were harsh enough to them, and showed them no kindness. A little way up the country there was a town where there was a minister settled, and the inhabitants there were very kind to them. When they had information of the prisoners' circumstances, they invited all who were able to travel, to come and live with them, and sent horses for such as were not, and entertained them that winter freely, and with much kindness. In the following spring, Mr Johnston, upon his father-in-law's gift of the  prisoners, pursued them, and got them all cited before the court of that province. After hearing both sides, the governor called a jury to sit and cognosce upon the affair. They found that the pannels had not of their own accord come to that ship, nor bargained with Pitlochy for money or service, and therefore, according to the laws of the country, they were assoiled; upon which most of the prisoners retired to New England, where they were very kindly entertained, and employed according to their different stations and capacities. Pitlochy proposed to be enriched by the prisoners, and yet he and his lady died at sea in the voyage. He sold what remained of the estate to pay the freight, and much of the money remaining was spent upon the law-suit in New Jersey. Thus it appears to be but a hazardous venture to make merchandise of the suffering people of God. 
A good many of the passengers and prisoners died in the plantations, the rest returned to their native country at the happy revolution,—Mr Riddel, William Nivenand others, and particularly the laird of Barmagechan, of whose sufferings I come now to give a more particular account from a narrative I have from his nearest relations.
Robert McLellan of Barmagechan, in the parish of Borg, and stewartry of Kirkcudbright, was born of parents who were presbyterian, and carefully educated in the principles of the church of Scotland. In his younger years he profited much under the ministry of that excellent person Mr Adam Kay minister at Borg. After he was forcibly removed from them, and a curate obtruded, Mr McLellan, with the godly and religious people in that parish, found it their duty to disown the episcopal minister, as neither called of God to the place, nor invited by them. Great was the oppression of all that country as hath been noticed, for their faithful adherence to presbyterian ministers, and Barmagechan had his own share. In February 1666, Sir James Turner sent a party of soldiers to his house, and there they lived at discretion, till he paid the exorbitant sums of money Sir James was pleased to demand for his nonconformity. After they had eaten up what he had, and destroyed much of his plenishing, and taken away what they could not destroy, and were still coming back in parties, Mr McLellan was advised to go and wait upon Sir James, and seek an order for removing his soldiers. Sir James, instead of this, seized his person, and confined him in his court of guard, till he should pay his fines for nonconformity, and the cess likewise imposed at this time for maintaining the army. Here Barmagechan continued some time, till the soldiers, having no more subsistence about his house, were removed ; and they were next sent to that of his mother-in-law, a worthy old  gentlewoman, till she should pay her fines for nonconformity, and her share of the cess.
All this time. Sir James had not let him know what sum he would take for his fine ; at length, after his house and goods had been destroyed, he liquidated the fine to six hundred merks, and sent a party of horse to quarter upon him, and ordered him to pay to each of them two shilling sterling a day, as long as they lay upon him, which was till he paid his fine. This heavy oppression put Mr McLellan to rise with others of his neighbours, against Sir James, and he was with that party who were defeat at Pentland; after which he fled to England, and lived privately four years. His estate was forfeited, and a friend of his compounded the forfeiture for two thousand merks, which he paid. 
The severities of the government slackening a little, he returned to his own house, and lived privately for some years. Yet not so privately, but the curate and others about knew he was there ; and because now and then he went and heard presbyterian ministers, the soldiers were hounded out upon him, and he was sadly harassed for several years, so that he scarce had any liberty to live at his own house.
He joined again, with others in his circumstances, at Bothwell rising, after which he retired a second time into England, and was a second time forfeited, as we have heard. The violences done to his family and friends about this time, were many and inexpressible. Claverhouse came with a party to his house, and after he had seized the corns and cattle, he was going to take away all his moveables, but a composition was made, and a hundred pounds paid him. The lady Nithsdale, a bigotted papist, got a gift of his forfeiture, as likewise of many others in that country, and miserably oppressed his tenants, drove their cattle, and exacted much more than their rent. His family was thus scattered, and he upon his hiding in England, where, towards the end of the year 1684, Squire Dacres seized him, with several other Scotsmen lurking thereabout, and sent them prisoners to Dumfries. 
Mr McLellan never disowned the king's authority, as several about this time did, yet was as harshly dealt by as any of them. He was close confined in the castle of Dumfries, and laid in the irons for several days. From thence he was carried to Leith with the rest of the prisoners, and in a little time brought up to Edinburgh, and put in close prison, with fetters on his arms. Thus he continued from November till May this year, when he was sent to Dunnotter, and had his share of the severities of that place.
When they came hack to Leith, he was banished to America, and three of his children went with hm in Pitlochy's ship. His wife, with three other children, were left in Scotland upon the care of providence. It pleased the Lord to preserve him and his three children in the voyage. He himself was extremely weakened by sickness, and behoved to be carried in men's arms out of the ship, when they landed. However, in a little time after he was ashore, his health returned, and he with his family set up in a plantation at Woodbridge in New Jersey, which he purchased. In this place he had the advantage which he very much valued, of having the gospel preached to him and his family, by Mr Archibald Riddel, who stayed with him at Newbridge, having a call from the congregation there, as likewise from Long-island, where he might have had a far greater encouragement; but Mr Riddel chose Woodbridge, and it was well he did so, otherwise probably he had scarce returned to Britain, where all his losses were made up, and he and his four children were in better circumstances than he had conformed to prelacy. There Barmagechan continued from December this year till June 1689, when they had accounts of the comfortable turn of affairs in Britain ; upon which he resolved to return to his native country."

1685 - Epilogue and Bibliography

[This is part of  a series of articles on the year 1685.  You might want to read the Overview first.]

I hope you have enjoyed reading about the tumultuous year of 1685 in Scotland.  The times may be even more relevant to you if you are of Campbell ancestry.  If you are not a descendant of Joel Campbell, I hope the reading was still entertaining despite my numerous references to Joel's grandfather, Robert in Kildalvan.

In truth, it is likely many Americans have a wee bit of Highlander blood in them and are not aware of it.  The Highland Scots were some of the earliest emigrants, intermarried quickly, and produced large families.  I calculate that Robert, who emigrated in this banner year of 1685, has a quarter million living descendants in America through Joel alone.

Here is a partial bibliography of the sources I used for the 1685 series of blog posts.  Some of my material was directly from signage at heritage sites in Scotland that I visited in 2014.  The Historic Scotland sites are well researched and have great signage.  Ditto for the National Trust of Scotland.

A majority of the pictures are from a 2014 trip arranged by the Education Foundation of the Clan Campbell Society of North America.  I had no idea that the itinerary would include so many sites related to 1685.

I am also indebted to google maps, to which I have linked on many of the pages.

The on-line historic works available at, Google Books, and the HathiTrust have saved me enormous time and expense.

Major Sources

Campbell, Alastair of Airds, A History of Clan Campbell, Vol. III, The University Press,  Cambridge, 2004.

Cassell, John, Illustrated History of England, New and Revised Edition, Volume III, From the Accession of James I to the Revolution of 1688, Cassell, Petter, and Galpin, London.

Erskine, John, Journal of the Hon. John Erskine of Carnock , University Press for the Scottish Historical Society, Edinburgh, 1893 (at  google books)

Goodwin, Robert, Campbell Genealogy Webpages, (accessed on 2014_11_02)

Irving, Joseph, The Book of Dumbartonshire, A History of the County, Burghs, Parishes, and Lands, Memoirs of Families, Vol II Parishes, W. and A.K. Johnston, Edinburgh, 1879.  (google books)

Lindsay, Alexander (Earl of Crawford), A Memoir of Lady Anna Mackenzie, Edmoston and Douglas Edinburgh, 1868. (google books)

McGrigor, Mary, Anna, Countess of the Covenant, Birlinn Limited, Edinburgh, 2008.

Murray, John , Chronicles of the Atholl and Tullibardine Families Volume I, Ballantyne Press, Edinburgh, 1908.  (

Register of Privy Council of Scotland.   Available at NYPL (New York Public Library)

Terry, Charles Sanford, John Graham of Claverhouse, Archibald Constable and Company, London, 1905. (

Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland Websites,

Whitehead, William A., Early History of Perth Amboy, D. Appleton & Company, New York, 1856,

Willcock, John, A Scots Earl in Covenanting Times, Oliphant Anderson & Ferrier, Edinburgh, 1907. (google books)

Wodrow, Robert, A History of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland…Volume IV, Blackie & Son, Glasgow, 1833. (

1685 - Dunstaffnage Castle

[This is part of  a series of articles on the year 1685.  You might want to read the Overview first.]

July 15, 1685

Built originally in the 13th century, this coastal castle was used by the Kings of Scots to control the isles and seaboard.  By the 14th century the castle fell into the hands of the Campbells and has remained ever since.

Dunstaffnage Ruins


The castle was garrisoned by a hereditary Captain.  In 1667 the 9th Earl of Argyll granted a disposition to the then 10th Captain which contained his duties including the following:
"holding our said Castell of Dunstaffneis and ever keeping and holding therein six able and decent men with armour and arms sufficient for warr and keeping of the said Castell. And one sufficient portar and watch at least extending in the haill to Eight persones in tyme of peace.  And if warr shall happin to fall out in these parts... we and our aires shall be holden... to be at the halff of the expense... for the keeping and sure detaining of the said castell over and above the saides eight persones to be keeped therein... Moreover, the said Archibald Campbell and his aires... shall be obleist to make our said Castell patent and open to us and our foresaids at all tymes whensoever they are requyred thereto, As also to furnish to us, our aires and successors foresaids yeerlie peats or aldin for chambers, kithchine, bakehouse, and brewhouse and for the hall alss oft and sua oft as we or our aires shall happin to be ther.  And sicklyk the said Archibald Campbell and his aires foresaids be astricted, bund and obliged to sufficientle uphold and maintaine the haill house and buildings of our said castell of Dunstaffneis in the samen condition... as the said Archibald Campbell does presentlie..."
Sometime between May 13 and 17 of 1685 Charles Campbell, son of the 9th Earl of Argyll, was dropped by ship at Dunstaffnage.  His mission was to recruit for the rebel army.  "He returned with the report that many of the chiefs had fled or were in prison, and the rest afraid to move."  (Cassell) By May 20th the rebel army was sailing south along the Kintyre peninsula.

Word of the landing at Dunstaffnage had traveled quickly to the east.  On May 20th the Earl of Breadalbane (a Campbell) at Castle Glenorchy sent a note to the Commander of the King's army in the Highlands, the Marquis of Atholl. He wrote that he sent a party of his men to Dunstaffnage, but they returned.  "The Lady came out & told shee was to deliver it [the castle] to Brolos [a McLean?] so soon as he cam for it ..", the truth of which Breadalbane seemed to doubt. (p. 202 Atholl Chronicles Vol 1)

A few days later on May 23 from Kilchurn Castle Breadalbane wrote again.   "I wish the pairty I sent to Dunstafnage succeed..."  (p. 208 Atholl)  Presumably the Earl of Breadalbane sent a second party to secure the castle.  Perhaps at this point it was controlled by the King's men, but not yet destroyed?

On July 11 of 1685 Stuart of Ballechin, an officer in Atholl's army, wrote a note from Inveraray.   He reported that he wrote to the McLeans or whoever was in command of Dunstaffnage that they should deliver the castle to Lochnell (a Campbell) "to be demolished and brunt."  He mentioned that the Campbells would destroy all of the cattle in the area under the pretense of keeping "that house."  He opined that the house was of no use to the forces in providing safety to the surrounding country, so he suggested that the ammunition be removed and the house given to "the Ladie."  (p. 257 Atholl)

Three days later on July 14, Campbell of Lochnell sent a letter to Stuart of Ballechin. In it he confirmed that he went to Dunstaffnage on receipt of Stuart's letter.  He wrote that he expected to see Airdgower (a McLean?) this night "and I shall yn[then] follow my ordors..." (to demolish and burn?) (p. 258 Atholl)

I have found no primary witness of the burning and destruction of Dunstaffnage, but secondary affirmations abound that it was "burned out by the Marquis of Atholl after the rising collapsed."  I have approximated that occurrence to this date of about July 15, 1685.

The castle was rebuilt, but shortly after was abandoned save a small section for the hereditary Captains.  A small section is habitable to this date.

Inner Hall

Hereditary Captains Quarters

View from tower.  Bay in background.

Built on a rock.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

1685 - John Campbell - Grandson of the 9th Earl Falls out of a Window

[This is part of  a series of articles on the year 1685.  You might want to read the Overview first.]

June 20, 1685

On this date a young child fell out of a third story window and survived.  This good fortune was viewed as a positive omen for the future of a family that had seen so much recent travesty.

The child was John Campbell, son of Archibald Campbell, Lord Lorne (in hiding), and grandson of Archibald Campbell, 9th Earl of Argyll (in prison to be executed in 10 days).

John Campbell would become one of the most respected men of his day.  He excelled both on the battlefield and in the government.  His titles included 2nd Duke of Argyll, 1st Duke of Greenwich, Field Marshall, and Master-General of the Ordnance.

John, 2nd Duke of Argyll with his father and younger brother

Alexander Pope threw him a few lines in his epic "An Essay on Man":
"Argyll, the state’s whole thunder born to wield,
And shake alike the senate and the field:"
John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll

1685 - The Legendary Escape of Lord Lorne - Eldest Son of the 9th Earl of Argyll

[This is part of  a series of articles on the year 1685.  You might want to read the Overview first.]

May 1685

The story of the escape of Lord Lorne, eldest son of the 9th Earl, from the hands of Atholl's men is somewhat of a legend.

Alastair Campbell (A History of Clan Campbell Vol III p. 37) has it occurring in 1684 when Atholl's forces invested Inveraray Castle in August and took many of the leading Campbells as prisoners. They seized the Campbell Charter Chest and Papers and sent them to the Secret Committee in Edinburgh. It seems a logical time for the Campbell heir to have fled, but Atholl's forces left the area for the winter of 1685, so if Lord Lorne did flee in 1684, he might have returned shortly thereafter.

It fits the theme of this series that the legendary escape really occurred in 1685 when Atholl returned in May of that year and retook the Campbell fortress at Inveraray.  But you can do your own research on the timing of this story.  Facts may not be that important when telling a story that has been liberally embellished over the years.

An extremely short version of the story is that Lord Lorne fled by himself from the invested Castle up Glenshira.  Glenshira is the valley of the river Shira which flows into Loch Fyne at a little bay about one mile northeast of Inveraray Castle.

Atholl's men scoured the area daily for signs of the heir to the exiled 9th Earl.  Legend is that Lorne was hiding "at the head of Glenshira, in a crevice in the face of the rock called the White Rock, above Stuchgoy."

While in hiding he was fed by loyal locals, including Archie Monro.  With all of the plundering by the invading army, food was scarce.  One day Lorne was spotted as he ventured out to the fields of barley to satisfy his hunger.  Later that night the forces of Atholl surrounded his hiding place and called for him to surrender.  He leaped off of the rock, over the precipice, and into an oak tree which he descended to his escape.  He exchanged his clothes for a woman's disguise at Monro's house and headed up the glen while Monro, dressed in the Lord's cape, decoyed the pursuing men of Atholl.

For his troubles, the future Duke promised Monro rent of only a "firlot of oats" for all of his descendants should he return to Argyll and recover his lands.

I encourage you to read a more detailed account by the 9th Duke of Argyll, John Campbell, who did much to preserve Campbell history (and legend) in his book Adventures in Legend, Being the Last Historic Legends of the Western Highlands.

Lord Lorne's escape led him next to Loch Fyne side to find the trustworthy MacArthur of Dunure, who had assisted his father in his escape from imprisonment in Edinburgh (another disguise in women's clothes).  From there the two of them worked their way to the west and eventually to the Isle of the Druids (Iona) then to safety in Holland.

Lord Lorne, now 10th Earl of Argyll, soon to be 1st Duke of Argyll and sons (future 2nd and 3rd Dukes)

1685 - Lord Neil Campbell - Younger Brother of the 9th Earl - Settler of New Jersey

[This is part of  a series of articles on the year 1685.  You might want to read the Overview first.]

August 13, 1685

On this date Lord Neil Campbell purchased "one quarter of one twenty-forth share in East New Jersey" with intentions of relocating.

His family was so unpopular with the ruling class in Scotland that many were self-exiled in Holland. Lord Neil himself had been arrested in 1684 and ordered to remain within six miles of Edinburgh.

In May 1685, Lord Neil Campbell was arrested again for no other reason than he was the brother of Archibald Campbell, 9th Earl of Argyll, who was reportedly enroute from the Netherlands with an army of rebels.  Lord Neil was shortly thereafter released when he promised to swear allegiance to the King and convince his other clansmen to do the same.

As discussed in other blog entries, the rebellion fizzled, the leader was executed, Campbell lands were forfeited, and many of the co-conspirators were to be banished.

Neil was very certainly in competition with other entrepreneurial noblemen for the rights to "help" with this "banishment."   The "banished" were a plentiful source of indentured-servant-candidates for his visionary plantations in New Jersey.  Just as Scot of Pitlochie had negotiated with a few prisoners with desirable skills, Lord Neil likely did the same.  And very likely Scot and Lord Neil negotiated with each other.

The Register of the Privy Council of Scotland names several of the gentlemen in the business of transporting the banished.  It often names their assigned prisoners.  However, no mention is made of Lord Neil.  It is supposed that he sailed about the same time as Scot and arrived in New Jersey at about the same time.  In fact their voyages so overlap that there is confusion about who came with whom.

For example, "A list of persons imported by Lord Neil Campbell..." from Berthold Fernow, Calendar of records in the office of the secretary of state. 1614-1703 contains many names that overlap with the passengers of Scot of Pitlochie.
"He himself, Archibald Campbell, David Symson, Janet Thomson, Dougald and Adam Symson, John, James, Archibald and Orsella Graige, Bessie Pollocke, John and Grissell Hog, Bessie Richardson, James and Sicelhx Senzeour, Sicella and Agnes Lawson, William and Margery Thomson, William Thompson, Margaret Edger, Robt Gurrey, Agnes Marshall, George Korrie, John and Gyles Duncan, Margareti Robertson, John, Robert and Marion Chalmers, Janett Cuningham, William, John and Agnes Dunlop, Alexr Wilson, Magdalen Hattmaker, Andrew Grantt, Alexr Lermont, David Allexander, John Campbell, Win Sharpe, David Heriott, Patrick Tait, John Wilkey, Patrick Symson, Thomas Sheerer, John Boyd, John Scouler, Alexr Thomson, Wm Toish, Robert Campbell, John Pollocke, Michael Marshall."
Remember that Robert Campbell and Michael Marshall are mentioned together several times in the Register of the Privy Council of Scotland and were specifically assigned to George Scot, not Lord Neil.

In any case, there is not much doubt that Robert Campbell, the grandfather of Joel (the subject of this blog), knew Lord Neil Campbell.  Perhaps Lord Neil did some favors for Robert and got him into the community at Newark in such a way that he could own land.  Was he the first in our Campbell line to own land?  All indications are that his fathers and brothers were tenant farmers in Scotland and never owned land.

Lord Neil did not stay in New Jersey very long.  He was in Scotland when Campbell lands were restored in 1689.  He died in Scotland in 1692.

1685 - "The Laigh Council House" and Argyll's Final Letters

[This is part of  a series of articles on the year 1685.  You might want to read the Overview first.]

June 30, 1685

On the day of his execution, Archibald Campbell, the 9th Earl of Argyll, was led from his "cell" in Edinburgh Castle to the Laigh Council House.  In this building that no longer exists, the 9th Earl wrote his last words to his wife, Anna Mackenzie, step daughter, Sophia, (soon to be daughter-in-law when she marries his son Charles),  step daughter, Henrietta, whose husband was Campbell of Auchinbreck now exiled in the Netherlands, and his son, John, whose inability to fight due to disfigured hands saved his life,

Robert Chambers recorded in his "Traditions of Edinburgh" that the Laigh Council House occupied the present lobby of the Signet Library.  The Signet Library is now attached to the northwest corner of the 1636 Parliament Chamber which still stands behind St. Giles Cathedral.

This statue of Charles the II dates to 1685.  It sits behind St. Giles Cathedral.  The old 1636 Parliament chambers are behind it.  The Court  Building is to the left.  The Signet Library (and the Laigh Council House) sits behind the Parliament Building shown in this photo.

The 1647 Rothemayus map identifies this building as "The town Counsel hous."  Laigh means low-lying in Gaelic, so perhaps this refers to a lower governing body (with respect to the neighboring Scottish Parliament), such as the town governing body.  [I confess my ignorance of Scottish Government.]

1647 Rothemayus Map

Layout of Old Parliament Complex.  Signet Library at top was the location of the Laigh Council House.

The Laigh Council House may also have been referred to as the Laigh Parliament House? In 1662, the "Laigh Parliament House" became the holding place for parliamentary and other legal records.  

That the Earl could write in such a composed manner only minutes before his execution is a tribute to his acceptance of his fate, the justness of his cause, and confidence in his belief in God.

His first letter was to Anna Mackenzie, his wife.
Dear heart
   As God is himself unchangeable, so He hath been always good and gracious to me, and no place alter it; only I acknowledge I am sometimes less capable of a due sense of it: but now, above all my life, I thank God, I am sensible of his presence with me, with great assurance of His favour through Jesus Christ; and I doubt it will not continue till I be in glory.
   Forgive me all my faults, and now comfort thyself in Him, in whom only true comfort is to be found. The Lord be with thee, bless thee, and comfort thee, my dearest!
   Adieu, my dear!
   Thy faithful and loving husband,

1685 - Banished!

[This is part of  a series of articles on the year 1685.  You might want to read the Overview first.]

Late July or Early August 1685

The Argyll rebellion in Scotland (part of what is known as the Monmouth Rebellion) was led by the head of Clan Campbell, Archibald Campbell, the 9th Earl of Argyll or simply referred to as "Argyll". The uprising was quickly squashed with the capture of Argyll and his subsequent imprisonment and execution.

The great grandfather of the subject of this blog ("JoelCampbell1735") was another Archibald Campbell who was captured at about the same time as the Clan Leader, Argyll. Joel's great grandfather declared that his actions were not voluntary, that he had been "prest" into serving. He claimed that he and his three sons were the "first that made away from the rebells" when they dispersed on the night march toward the Clyde.

The declarations of Archibald and his two sons, Robert and John, state that they took the oath and "owned the King's authority."

Their story of being impressed into service, deserting at the first opportunity, and swearing their allegiance to the King did not seem to lighten the sentences of Robert and John.


On July 24, 1685 under Entry 45. from Miscellaneous Papers in the The Register of the Privy Council of Scotland:
"BANISHED: - ... John Campbell ...  DELAYED: - ... Robert Campbell ...  REMITTED TO THE JUSTICES:-  ... Archibald Campbell in Paulswork [another nearby prison] ...  All in the Canongate tolbooth."
[There are at least three John Campbells imprisoned and at least two Archibald Campbells, so these may not be the Kildalvan Campbells, but it seems likely as they are all in Canongate.]


In late July or early August the judgments of Robert and David Campbles (the third son of Archibald?) are recorded on page 135 of The Register of the Privy Council of Scotland.
"Forasmuch as the persons underwritten, viz.: -- Robert Campble, John Miller, Archbald Caldwall, John Calbraith, Thomas Miller, William Carsan, Hew McConnar, Samuell Grahame, David Campble, James McCullie, Patrick McGartie, James Wightman, Thomas Jackson, and Michael Marshall being conveened befor the Lords of his Majesties Privy Councill to answer severall crymes, and the saids Robert CampbleDavid Campble, Thomas Jackson, and Michael Marshall haveing refused to take the oath of allegiance, the said Lords have banished and hereby banishes them to his Majesties plantations abroad and never to return to this kingdom without the King or Councills licence, under the pain of death to be inflicted upon them without mercy ..."
This seems to contradict the declaration of June 22nd where Robert takes the oath or "owns the King's authority."  Could there have been two Robert Campbells?  Or did Robert change his mind?  Or is there a fine difference between taking the oath and "owning the King's authority?"


On August 21, 1685 an entry on page 145 in The Register of the Privy Council of Scotland has Robert and David in Canongate prison.
"The Lords of the Committie of his Majesties Privy Councill for publict affairs doe hereby grant order and warrant to the magistrats of Edinburgh and Canongate and keepers of their prisons respective to deliver to Mr George Scot of Pitlochie the persons of ... Robert and David Campbles, prisoners in the tolbooth of Canongate, all formerly banished by the Councill or Justices, to be by him transported to his Majesties plantations abroad off New Jersie, ... "
Although there could have been multiple "Robert Campbell"s, the fact that all of these references point to imprisonment in Canongate, gives some confidence that the Robert Campbell who ...
1) was the son of Archibald, tenant in Kildalvan,
2) and who declared that he saw his master Campbell of Kildalvan at the island fortress of Eilean Diarg,
3) and who declared that he had deserted the rebels at his first opportunity,
4)  and "owned the King's authority",
5) then later refused to take the oath with fellow Campbell, David, (presumably his brother),
6) was banished to New Jersey,
7) and whose ear was likely cut off to mark him,
8) and sailed with Scot of Pitlocchie ...
... indeed were all the same Robert Campbell, the grandfather of the subject of this blog.


The physical branding of the banished prisoners is spelled out in the The Register of the Privy Council of Scotland on several occasions.  The description below comes from page 118.
"And farder the said Lords ordains the saids persons banished by this and the former sentance, who will not oun the Kings authority, to have the following stigma and mark putt upon them that they may be known as banished persons if they shall return to this kingdom viz.: -- that the men have one of their ears cutt off by the hand of the hangmen and that the women be brunt by the same hand on the cheek with a burn-iron marked with the letters ___ , and that befor they be putt aboard in ordor to their transportation, and appoints a chirurgean to be present and to see to their cure."

Friday, October 31, 2014

1685 - The Mercat Cross

[This is part of  a series of articles on the year 1685.  You might want to read the Overview first.]

June 30, 1685

On this day Archibald Campbell, the 9th Earl of Argyll, was led from the Laigh Council House to the Mercat Cross of Edinburgh.  This was the normal site for public business including executions.  The Maiden had been moved out of storage and quickly erected atop an elevated platform for all to see.

Artist's rendering of the Maiden.
As would be expected a large crowd gathered.  Many of Argyll's fellow rebels were imprisoned within earshot in the Edinburgh Tolbooth.  They listened to the hubbub outside.  The Canongate prisoners, a few blocks down the road at Canongate Tolbooth, were also aware of the execution and its timing.  But other than the noise of onlookers headed in that direction and the distant din of the masses trying to talk above the roar of the crowd they could not get the real sense of the local drama.

Argyll climbed the steps to the Maiden.  He knelt, embraced the device, uttered " Lord Jesus, receive
me into Thy glory" three times, raised his hand as a signal to the executioner, and it was over.

Mercat Cross  From wikipedia:  "A mercat cross is the Scots name for the market cross found frequently in Scottish towns, cities and villages where historically the right to hold a regular market or fair was granted by the monarch, a bishop or a baron. It therefore served a secular purpose as a symbol of authority, and was an indication of a burgh's relative prosperity."  The Mercat Cross of Edinburgh was first granted before 1365.  It became the spot for all major public events.

The Rothemayus map of Edinburgh of about 1647 gives a great feel for the location of various sites along the Royal mile in 1685 when Argyll was executed and Robert Campbell sat in the Canongate Tolbooth.

Mercat Cross today
Pavers indicate location of Mercat Cross in 1685.  Royal Mile is on the right leading to the Castle.  Straight ahead in the monument of Adam Smith.  On the left is the back of St. Giles Cathedral.  On the very left a sliver of the current Mercat Cross is visible.

1685 - The Canongate Tolbooth and the Declaration of Robert Campbell

[This is part of  a series of articles on the year 1685.  You might want to read the Overview first.]

June 22, 1685

By this date the rebels who had been imprisoned at the Glasgow tolbooth, had been moved to various prisons in the Edinburgh area.  On this date the "declarations" of  "the prisoners sent from Glasgow" were entered into the records of the Privy Council of Scotland.  Robert Campbell, a tenant of Kildalvan, his two brothers, and his father were among them.  Robert Campbell is the grandfather of the subject of this blog, Joel Campbell.

Canongate Tolbooth today

The Canongate prison was a relatively good place to be locked up.  The Historian Hugo Arnot wrote in 1777,  "Debtors of the better sort are commonly taken to this prison, which is well aired, has some decent rooms, and is kept tolerably clean."

From additional signage:  "This building, completed in 1591, replaced an earlier tolbooth known to have been in existence by 1477.  It acted as the focal point of local affairs in the burgh of Canongate until 1856.  The main entrance to the building was on the first floor, and at this level was a large chamber, used as a courtroom and as a meeting-place for the burgh council.  The remainder of the building was used as a prison until 1848."
Declarations of Canongate Prisoners of June 22, 1685 in the The Register of the Privy Council of Scotland:
 "Archibald Campbell in Glenderule in Kildalvans land confesses he wes with the rebells but prest and wes in company with Kildalvin his master and declares that Elandgreg keept the garisone of Eland Greg; declares that Melforts sone Alexander Campbell and a son of Auchtaharlie wes at the takeing of the declarant and his thre sones and forceing them out to the rebells; owns the kings authoritie; declares that he and his sones were the first that made away from the rebells before they were disipat but before they took armes they were keept prisoners five days before they would lift armes."
"John Campbell in Kildalvills lands declares that his father and his uther two brether was taken by the rebells in the fields and caryed away with the deponent himselfe when they were hyding their goods; declares that they were keept with a guard in the night tyme in case they had run away and they durst not goe away in the day tyme for fear of being shott; declares he was seven or eight dayes in the rebells company before the break, and was apprehended by Carsburne in his way home; declares a sone of McNeall of Melfoord that aprehended the declarant and took him away by force and prayes for the King and ownes his authority."  [note there was a "poor young boy" named John Campbell that was a declarant appearing immediately after the declaration of Archibald, but not related and not to be confused with this John.]
"Robert Campbell, sone to Archbald Campbell in Kiltalvien, and declares that he saw Kildalven in Allencraig and he separet the night before the defeate from Argyles forces, and that he ownes the Kings authority."
There is no recorded declaration for David Campbell who is believed to be the third son. 

Mock up of prison cell in the Peoples Museum at Canongate.
Signage above portal:  "Old Tolbooth Wynd"
Looking up the Royal Mile.  Canongate Tolbooth tower and clock on right.
Old painting of the Canongate Tolbooth
Canongate photo from 1870s

Also see this 1647 map credited to Rothemayus.  Canongate tolbooth is No. 32.  It is easily identified by the steps from the 1st floor that lead down to the street.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

1685 - Kildalvan - A small historic village on a hillside above the River Ruel - Part 2

June 12, 1685

[This is part of  a series of articles on the year 1685.  You might want to read the Overview first.]

This is the second of two posts on Kildalvan.  First Post.  More on Glendaruel.

Kildalvan sits on the western slope of Glendaruel.  The major part of the village was on a small flat "step" on the hill.  It was also bounded by two streams on its north and south edges.

The blue map pin indicates the area of Kildalvan.  Note the streams below and above the pin which seem to bound the village structures.  Also note that the isoclines are not as close near the village indicating a relative flat "step" between two steeper  parts of the hill.
The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) has mapped some of the village and described it as follows:
"This is one of a series of settlements at an elevation of about 100m on the NW slope of Glendaruel. Limestone from the hill above was burnt in a small kiln 250m to the NE, at the early chapel that gave its name to the township, and the lower slopes retain semi-natural oak and ash woodland which continues further up the streams and was of economic value in the 18th century.
There are remains of extensive rig-cultivation below a large turf dyke which runs NE to the chapel site, and the upland grazings extended to the watershed 1.8km to the NW. The main settlement was on the NE bank of an unnamed burn[stream], with a smaller group of buildings to the SW. The former is itself divided into two groups by a track curving from a ford on the burn to the arable ground on the NE.
The upper group comprises a three-unit building, 24m by 5.8m over 0.8m drystone walls, whose upper (NW) two unit, revetted into the slope, are probably original despite a considerable difference in floor-level, and two small byres or stores revetted into the slope on the N. There is a stone-revetted garden or stackyard between the track and a building, and a smaller turf-walled enclosure SE of the main building.
A circular corn-drying kiln and an open-ended shed were situated at the edge of the steep slope to the burn, SW of the building, and a second kiln occupied a similar position about 80m further upstream. Both kilns measure about 2m in internal diameter, but are much overgrown. The principal building in the lower group is again of three units, measuring 15m by 6m over 1m walls, but the upper of the walls forming a narrow central room is probably inserted; a narrower annexe was added against the SE-wall. A very ruinous outbuilding appears to have been contracted in length, and 6m from its SE wall there is a boulder bearing a series of cupmarks and two basins, the larger 0.23m in diameter by 0.13m in depth.
The lower outbuilding, 30m SE of the principal one, is very ruinous and overgrown, but from its original position on an isolated knoll it may have been a winnowing-barn.
Another building near the bur[n], 14m by 6m over all, is much reduced and turf-grown, and may have been an early building from which stone has been robbed.
The SW group includes two buildings and several turf-walled enclosures, with a track from the ford and others to a higher NW terrace. The lower building, 12m by 5.5m over all, is very ruinous except at the SE end, and was probably a dwelling, robbed to form a byre or shed. The other building stands to a height of 1.5m but has no features except a door in the NW end-wall, leading into an annexe against the hillside. A well-built stone enclosure, shown on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Argyllshire 1869, sheet clxii) as a sheepfold, abuts this building to the SW, and it was probably an older structure adapted for sheep-farming in the 19th century.
The lands of Kildalvan were first recorded, in Lamont ownership, in 1491, and seven years later they were acquired by the 2nd Earl of Argyll, whose descendant in 1604 granted them to Archibald Campbell notary. The property continued to be held by a family of Campbell lairds until the second half of the 18th century, when Lachlan Campbell of Kildalvan was described as 'mariner in Greenock' and in 1780 he sold it to John Campbell of Glendaruel, retaining the tenancy. The settlement was probably abandoned in the first half of the 19th century, and is shown as ruinous on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map.
RCAHMS 1988 A township comprising seven unroofed buildings, a sheepfold, a field-system and head-dyke is depicted on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Argyllshire 1869, sheet clxii). Two unroofed buildings, some lengths of dyke and the sheepfold are shown on the current edition of the OS 1:10000 map (1979). " (see
Despite this detailed description and a village plan map of Kildalvan, I had a hard time finding many of these structures due to the overgrowth.
Go here to see the RCAHMS village plan
I climbed the hill following the path of either farm implements or herd animals.  On either side of me was often impassably high grass.  Even where I walked it was very grassy and soon my shoes were soaking wet from rain water still clinging to the blades of grass.  My GPS told me that finally I should be standing where the chapel of Kildalvan had been.  It was not what I expected.  It was right against a sharp drop off down to a stream out of which were growing trees and other dense foliage.
Trees indicate the path of the stream that runs past the site of the Chapel where I am standing.  Note the dense foliage in the gully of the stream and the tall grass where I stand.
Foundation of chapel appears to go right to edge of drop off down to stream.  The grass covers the foundation and the foliage is sticking up from the steep drop off to the stream.
This is looking South from the Chapel at the "flat step" between the two streams.  The main part of the village is at the other end of this flat area.
A view of the eastern side of Glendaruel from the Kildalvan Chapel on the western side.
There were very few stones or walls that would indicate a building at the site of the chapel.  The only indication of a structure was a depression in the middle of a built up area, 

I walked along the "flat" area to the south to find the main ruins of the village.  The RCAHMS write-up seems to indicate that the flat area may not be natural, rather was a diked area.  The picture below show the break in the incline of the hill.

The hill climbs steadily, then levels out.  The level area is where a slight ridge is seen and the long grass starts.  An old dike?
As I got close to the southern stream, there was a natural path of stone that dropped down to the water.

Looking up the natural stone path from the stream.
The southern bounding stream at the end of the natural stone path.  There was plenty of quartz along this route.
The southern stream.  Not large, but would have been excellent for drinking water.
Not far from there were the major stone structures that still remain of Kildalvan.

Stone ruins at Kildalvan.
Stone ruins at Kildalvan.  Note thickness of wall.  The rock on the right is quartz.

Stone ruins at Kildalvan.
Stone wall at Kildalvan almost hidden by tall ferns.

On June 13, 1685 after the rebel army had headed eastward towards Loch Striven, the village of Kildalvan sat absent of its leading men.  The remaining family members knew from the long history of Scottish conflicts that it was likely their men would never return.   Robert Campbell, his brother , and his father were all with the rebels.  They would never return.  Their trailing family members were left widowed and orphaned.

1685 - Kildalvan - A small historic village on a hillside above the River Ruel - Part 1

June 12, 1685

[This is part of  a series of articles on the year 1685.  You might want to read the Overview first.]

On about this day, my seventh great grandfather, Robert Campbell, left the Ruel River Valley and his native village of Kildalvan, never to see them again.  In fact, no descendant would return to the village for centuries.  By the time they did, the village was long uninhabited, in ruins, and covered with undergrowth.

A few days earlier, the Clan Chief, Archibald Campbell, 9th Earl of Argyll had arrived in the valley.  This would be his final stop in recruiting from his loyal clansmen before his rebel army marched east towards Glasgow.  Robert marched with them.  You can read more about this valley known as "Glendaruel" in an earlier blog.

Glendaruel was a river valley.  Many other valleys in the Highlands of Scotland contained fresh or sea water lakes.  The Ruel River is not large and may not have been a great source of fish which was a predominant industry in other neighboring valleys with lakes.  The soil was rocky with few remaining trees.  What soil existed was soggy from multiple rivulets that cascaded at frequent intervals down the valley slopes.

Cowal Peninsula and Glendaruel.   Kildalvan is located at the purple pin on the west side of the valley.
Glendaruel runs north to south.  Near the river the land flattens.  The marshy bottoms were (and still are) excellent grazing areas for livestock.  The wet ground and frequent flooding were likely reasons that the ancient inhabitants of Kildalvan built it farther up on the hillside.

I say "ancient inhabitants" for two reasons.  The first is the presence of "cup-stones."  Although these have not been dated they often have origins thousands of years B.C.

RCAHMS map show location of "Cup-marked Stone."
Cup-stone at Kildalvan
This type of rock art in Scotland is thought to have used quartz as the engraving tool.  There is certainly plenty of quart at the Kildalvan site.

Piece of quartz from Kildalvan site.
The second reason I say "ancient" is the association of its name with early Christianity.  "Kil" is the celtic word for church and there is evidence for a chapel at this site.  Kildalvan was in the parish of "Kil"modan and there is still a chapel on that site today just a short hike down the valley.  Kilmodan was founded by St. Modan around 600 AD and it is likely that the Kildalvan chapel dates to that same period.

A one lane road winds along the west side of the river up the valley.  In the pastures on the river side of the road roam cattle and sheep.  On the opposite side of the road tall grasses and brush cover the hillside.  Sheep graze here also and deer rest on beds of the tall grass.

I parked near a cattle grate where a stream passes under the road, then started up the hill in search of the tiny village where my ancestors had perhaps lived for centuries.
Looking up Glendaruel.  Pastures then the river is on the right.  Kildalvan is up the hill to the left.
Picture Tour of Kildalvan

Monday, October 27, 2014

Robert Erskine's Map of "The Fort at Nicoll's Point" - December 1777

Robert Erskine was the General Manager of the Ringwood Ironworks in the Hudson Highlands when his mapmaking skills were called upon by the Continental Army.  His commission as Geographer and Surveyor-General to the American Army is dated July 27, 1777 but in November, George Washington was still asking Erskine when he thought he would "be able to enter upon any of the duties of the office of which I spoke to you about last summer."  This secrecy around the undertaking hints at its strategic importance to the Commander in Chief.

Small section of Erskine map.  Entire map is on-line at NYHS.
Erskine's response from Ringwood on November 24th, 1777 was that it was his resolve to start in the Spring of 1778 and devote his whole time to it.  He then added, "Meanwhile I have the satisfaction of giving some part of my time now to the public service; Govr. Clinton having accepted of my assistance at New Windsor; where I have been taking Surveys and Levels of the ground near the Chevaux-de-Frise, for a Fort; which is erecting under the direction of the French Engineer Your Excellency sent to Fort Montgomery.  I am happy to assist a gentleman of skill in his profession, from whom much of the art of practical Engineering many be learnt, and I shall return to the North River again in a few days to finish some surveys at New Windsor, Forts Constitution, Montgomery, etc." [See prior blog on Chevaux-de-Frise.]

In Robert Erskine's own index of maps, Number 1 D is the map of "Nichol's Hill, N. Rr.;Butter Hill &c."  The soldiers of that day called it "The Fort at Nicoll's Point."  This map is undoubted one of the first of his many historic maps that were used by General George Washington and the Continental Army.

The map can be seen in the digital works of the New York Historical Society.  The map location of "Nicoll's Point" today can be seen at this link.

In November of 1777 the lower Hudson Valley was still in shock over the October 6th destruction of their Forts Montgomery and Clinton and the harassment of their shores as the British fleet sailed up the Hudson enroute to the burning of the city of Kingston.  The capture of General Burgoyne's army further north at Saratoga was of little consolation.

Almost immediately upon the departure of the British fleet, river obstructions were being rebuilt or new ones planned.  Strangely enough, one obstruction of early focus was the fort and chevaux-de-frise at Nicoll's Point.  "Strange" because it had failed totally in obstructing the British fleet.  The fort's cannon were ineffective and the fleet sailed right through the sunken hull-piercers.  For more on the chevaux-de-frise go here:

As evidenced by the map of Erskine, the fort was substantial and involved the work of several militia companies.  The British would never put this fortification to the test.  In fact, its usefulness would be eliminated by the imposing West Point obstruction that would be in place just six months later.

From pension records we know that many of the local militia worked on this fort in November and December of 1777.  John McMichael, a private in the Ulster county militia company of Telford, was called up "for (the) purpose of erecting a fortification at Nicol's Point near New Windsor." Similarly Christian Rockefeller of Hanover was also called up. Andrew Wilson of Hanover was only sixteen when he served at Nicoll's Pt in Capt Conklin's company as a substitute for Jacob Laurence.  Christian Young testified that he had  "marched to Newburgh and spent the "fore part of the winter" constructing a Chevaux deFrise at that place."  Samuel Crawford of Hanover similarly testified that in November 1777 he served with Capt Telford's company of militia for 2 months, "engaged in building forts at a place in the county of Orange on said North River called Nichol's Point and was quartered in a barn belonging to one Leonard Nichols where he spent Christmas day."   In this service he was a substitute for James Kidd (Kidd was his Uncle, "a man of wealth in feeble health and was in the habit of procuring substitutes to do his militia duty").

Many of the Campbells were living in the area of Capt Conklin's company mentioned above.  His company was called the West Newburgh company and he appears to have recruited from those living in eastern Hanover.  Joel is listed in a muster roll of exempts in Conklin's company in 1779.  My searches for pay records, pension records, musters, and diaries from the fort's construction have revealed very little.  There is certainly nothing that would exclude Joel, his brothers, nephews, or sons from having been a part of this construction.  In fact, it is very likely that some of them had a hand in building the fortifications and/or the chevaux-de-frise.

The original map is at the New York Historical Society, but only a photostat negative is available to researchers.  Because the on-line version is hard to read, I have included some of the map annotations below.  My clarifications are in []s.

"No. 1 D
Nichol's Hill, North Rr [Hudson River]
Butter Hill [Now Storm King Mountain], &c."

Home on the left:  "Squire Nicolls"  [Presumably where Samuel Crawford and other militia spent Christmas Day.]
At Bottom: "Murderers Creek"
The Point: "Plumb point"
To the Right:  "North River"
Below the compass symbol:  "Due North"
Top right:  "Wood land upon & round the slope of Nicols Hill is 34 1/2 acres"

Bottom Right:
"Scale  20 inches to a mile
4 chains is an inch [a chain is 22 yards]
Surveyed December 1777 by
Robt Erskine FRS"