Thursday, April 30, 2015

Alexander Campbell - Sentenced to Death for "Holding Correspondence with the Enemies of the American States"

[Wednesday, April 30, 1777] Fort Montgomery, New York

In the Spring of 1777, the American Rebels in New York State were rapidly forming new militia companies as well as signing up for service in the "regular" army under General Washington.

The British were also recruiting.  They gave incentives to not-so-rebellious Americans to form loyalist companies or to defect to the British army in New York City.  Wannabe captains of loyalist companies were actively pursuing young loyalists in Ulster county and beyond.

Early in the week of April 27, 1777, a band of Tory recruits was marching through Hanover (the site of the farm of Joel Campbell's late father, Samuel) on their way to join the British in New York.  They moved quietly through this unfriendly territory. The band included about ten young men, their leader, Captain Rose, and several recruiters.

Tired from their night’s travels and eager to conceal themselves during the day, they sought shelter at two nearby farms. They happened to be the farms of Alexander Campbell and Arthur McKinny.    It is likely that these farms were in the area of the 1760 farm of Samuel Campbell and where at least two of Joel's brothers were living in 1777.

Arthur McKinny's name is listed in this area on early maps and censuses.  In the 1779 Property assessment of Hanover McKinny is listed with 160 acres in close proximity to Levi and Nathan Campbell (brothers of Joel), as well as the Haines, Woods, and Perrys (the latter two properties being adjacent to the Campbell farm).

According to testimony, Alexander Campbell led the party of Tories to a brush fence where they lay safe for a day.  His wife brought them rum at two different times and "a pail of Butter Milch Popp. [i]" Unfortunately for Alexander, the Tories had been spotted.  Before evening the militia of New Windsor had arrested all of them.  The prisoners were loaded on a sloop and taken down the Hudson River to Fort Montgomery.

On this day, Wednesday, April 30, 1777, a court martial was held at the Fort presided over by General George Clinton.  The charge for most of the recruiters was "levying War against the State of New York with being adherent to the King of Great Britain & with being an enlisted Soldier in the Service of the King of Great Britain when owing Allegiance to the State of New York."  Alexander was charged with "holding Correspondence with the Enemies of the American States giving them Intelligence & adhering to and giving them Aid & Comfort & Secreting them."  Fourteen including Alexander and his neighbor, Arthur McKinney, were sentenced to death.[ii]

Joel Campbell's relationship with Alexander is unknown.  We know he is not a brother as he is not listed in the will of Joel's father.  Perhaps he is an uncle or cousin.  Another coincidence that may indicate a relationship is an entry in the Day Book at Cadwallader Colden's store located about two miles from the subject farms.  On January 1, 1768 Alexander made a purchase at the store at the same time Joel’s brother Jonathan made a purchase.  Perhaps they had traveled to the store together?

I would tell you how this story ends, but then you would have less reason to read my book... if it ever gets finished.

[i] Clinton, George, Public Papers of George Clinton, Vol I  to 1777_06, State of New York, Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Co., New York, 1899, p. 791.
[ii] Clinton, George, Public Papers of George Clinton, Vol I  to 1777_06, State of New York, Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Co., New York, 1899, p. 789.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Book on "1685" now available!

I recently self-published a book on the year 1685 in Scotland.   In 1685, the ship, Henry & Francis, left the Scottish port of Leith (pictured on the book's cover) with Joel's grandfather aboard.

This full-color hardcover book can be purchased at:
1685 - The Year that Changed Scotland and Clan Campbell

Robert Campbell, Joel's grandfather, landed in Perth Amboy, New Jersey in late 1685.  2015 marks the 330th anniversary of our Campbell line in America.

This book tells the story of the tumultuous year of 1685 in Scotland through a collection of vignettes about people and places. 

Two very different "Archibald Campbell"s are highlighted. One was the most powerful man in Scotland, the 9th Earl of Argyll. The other was a poor tenant farmer in the highland valley of Glendaruel.  The year would end tragically for both of these families. 

The 102-page book contains almost one hundred full-color photos, maps, and portraits. It contains links to relevant websites for the researcher and GPS coordinates for the explorer. 

The book sits well on a coffee table or in the backpack of the tourist seeking Campbell sites. It is of special interest to the descendants of Archibald Campbell, tenant farmer, whose son, Robert, found himself in the Province of New Jersey at the end of 1685. 

Subjects featured in the vignettes include: Kildalvan, Glendaruel, Eilean Dearg, the Argyll Stone, Netherbow Port, Argyle Tower, Canongate Tolbooth, Mercat Cross, Leith, the Henry & Francis, Lord Lorne, the Countess of Argyll, the "Maiden", Carnasserie Castle, the Executions at Inveraray, and the burning of Dunstaffnage Castle.

Unfortunately there are only about eighty copies still available.  This is because some of the material in the book is copyrighted by others.  I purchased one hundred licenses from the owners of that material and I do not intend to purchase additional licenses. The licenses only allow me to sell the hardcover.  No e-book, no softcover.  Sorry.

The printer,, offers frequent sales.  Sign up for notification of "specials" and they will e-mail coupons.  I suggest waiting for one of those sales which happen at least once per month.

This would make a great 2015 Christmas gift for any descendant of Robert Campbell (b. abt 1665)...about 350 years after his birth!