Monday, December 26, 2016

More Evidence of Newark Mountain Origins

A search on for a "Joel Campbell who was born in 1735 and died in 1828 in Pennsylvania" reveals over 1100 Public Family Trees. Of these, only 11 suggest New Jersey as his birthplace. Just about 1000 still are referencing the old genealogies that claim a Boston connection. It seems like we have not made much progress communicating the new findings and correcting the errors of past research.

This week, more data came to light that supports the New Jersey origins of this line of Campbells.

On August 3, 1758, Benjamin Campbell and his sons Moses and Aaron, were baptized in the Newark Mountain Society (see p. 80 of my book The relationship of Benjamin to Joel has never been proven exactly, although the geographically proximity to other known relatives of Joel made a relationship to Benjamin very likely.

In December of 2016, a known paternal descendant of Benjamin submitted a Y-DNA test. His results match the Y-DNA of known descendants of Joel. This eliminates any doubt that the two lines share a very recent common ancestor. It is also one more piece of evidence that the Samuel Campbell line (Joel's line) that lived in Ulster, New York in the 1760-1800 period, originated in New Jersey, NOT Boston.

Here is the likely relationship tree that connects the line of Benjamin with the line of Joel. (The relationship of Benjamin to John (brother of Samuel) is only a hypothesis as I do not have the documentary proof.  If you have it, please share.) Thanks to David James Campbell, my 8th cousin 1x removed, for letting me share this with you!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Wileman Patent and Peter DuBois

An earlier post discussed the 1760 Farm of Samuel Campbell (Joel Campbell's father) that was situated on the southern border of the Wileman Patent.

The Wileman Patent was a rectangular parcel of 3,000 acres that was located in what is now the northeast corner of the current Town of Montgomery, Orange County, New York. At the time Samuel located to this property, it was in Wallkill Precinct, Ulster County, New York.

The parcel was named after Henry Wileman who acquired the "patent" in 1712. By the time Samuel Campbell was farming this land in 1765, the ownership had transferred to Henry Wileman's step-grandson, Peter DuBois.

No deed has been found that contains any transaction between Samuel Campbell and Peter DuBois. It appears Samuel did own the property (versus tenant farming) as he bequeathed it to his son, Daniel, in his will of 1773. However, by 1794, the heirs of Peter DuBois are again in possession of the property and a deed was recorded of the sale of the property to Robert Beattie. There is more on this transaction in the recent book on Joel Campbell.

Peter DuBois fled from Ulster County in 1776 when the War for Independence broke out. He would never return to his home on the Wallkill River. His life was an interesting one and is described in a recent article (by yours truly) in the Orange County Historical Society Journal.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Just Published! Book on Joel Campbell.

My posting has been a bit spotty in the past year. Sorry, but my focus has been the completion of my book on Joel Campbell. The good news is that I have wrapped it up and made it available to the public. The bad news is that it will not be the "final chapter." There are so many unknowns about his life yet undiscovered.

The paperback and eBook are available at

The paperback is in 6" x 9" format. It is about 400 pages and contains 561 footnotes, 24 maps, and many images and tables. You will find it a priceless addition to your family histories. It is also a fantastic gift for descendants of Joel.

The book contains a lot of local history. If you wonder what your Campbell relatives were doing during the Revolutionary War (and what everyone else was doing), this book contains some answers. In many cases, the exact role of Campbells in local events is not known and the roles of neighbors are used as surrogates. Some sections of the book are written as historical fiction and are clearly marked as such. This was done to aid in the story-telling.

What is a "Yeoman?" If you could go back in time and ask an eighteenth century colonist, "What is your occupation?" the majority would have answered, "Yeoman." The term denoted a person who owned his own land and farmed it primarily for his own subsistence. Joel Campbell (1735-1828) described himself as a yeoman. His ninety-three years spanned three wars, two religious reawakenings, and the birth of the United States. He was born before Jefferson and Adams, and died after them. He settled wilderness areas in three states and left over 100 descendants at this death.

This is his story and the story of his times. It is typical of the yeomen of that day who were the stuff of which the new nation was made.  Jefferson described them as "the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous and they are tied to their country and wedded to its liberty and interests by the most lasting bands."

You can see a preview of the book at Let me know what you think!

The electronic version contains color maps which are easier to read (see example below). The maps and images in the paperback book are in "gray-scale" to reduce costs.

Map of Campbell Farm in current Montgomery, New York near the Wallkill River.

Here is one of the many jewels in the book:  Joel's signature!

Deed "signed" by Joel Campbell

The author is a 5th great-grandson of Joel Campbell. He is an amateur author, historian, and genealogist. He lives within an hour’s drive of Newark Mountain and Newburgh and has researched the life of Joel “on location.” He is also the author of 1685 - The Year that Changed Scotland and Clan Campbell. He is a volunteer at the Orange County Historical Society, New York.

Author Jay A. Campbell

His ongoing research can be viewed at

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Snake Hill - Ceremonial Site for the Continental Army?

Tuesday, June 3, 1783 - Snake Hill, New Windsor, New York

On this date, Andrew Campbell was discharged from the Continental Army at Snake Hill.

The relationship of Andrew to Joel Campbell (namesake of this blog) is not proven, but very likely. Andrew was in the 1775 Hanover militia company of Captain Peter Hill.  Joel and many of his brothers lived in Hanover at this time.  Joel's brothers, Nathan and Samuel, both "turned out" as minutemen in the Hanover company of Captain William Jackson.  In 1776, Captain Jackson obtained an officer's commission in the regular army, and Andrew Campbell enlisted in his company. The close proximity of these Campbells gives some credence to a relationship.

Andrew was a soldier for all eight years of the War for Independence.  His regimental duties took him from New York's Finger Lakes to the battlefields of Yorktown, Virginia. In 1783, his regiment was part of the last cantonment of the army at New Windsor, New York. He recalled this period thirty seven years later when he was deposed for a pension at the age of seventy three. He stated that he was discharged by the commander of the New York Second Regiment, Colonel Phillip Van Cortlandt, "... at Snake Hill and received a discharge signed by George Washington."

The encampment was at the southwest foot of Snake Hill. Perhaps this is what Andrew meant when he described the location of the discharge. However, there were many other ceremonial spots near the encampment for discharge, such as the parade grounds or the temple. If the discharge had been at one of these locations he would have certainly named it as such.  I tend to believe that Andrew is stating that the discharge occurred on the top of Snake Hill.  It is a grand place and could easily be envisioned as a ceremonial location for the army.

Dewitt map of New Windsor Cantonment.  The settlement of New Windsor on the Hudson River is shown on the right.  The encampment of the NY, NJ, and NH regiments (red line) was west of a swamp.  The current New York Thruway (I-87) passes just to the west of this location. Two MA regiments were encamped east of the swamp (purple line).  Just up the hill to the east of them was the Temple of Virtue (green circle).  Snake Hill is shown to the northeast of the camp, but the ridge that comprises it extends all the way down to the encampment (see terrain map below). Washington's Headquarters is shown by the red square in the upper right hand corner.

Current terrain map.  Ridge of Snake Hill extends down to encampment. ©2016 Google

Snake Hill rises 700 feet above the Hudson River.  It drops off precipitously to the east, giving unobstructed views of the Hudson River, the cities of Newburgh and New Windsor, Storm King Mountain to the south and the mountains of Beacon and Breakneck to the east.

View from Snake Hill to southeast.  Hudson River flows around Storm King mountain.

A small parking area off Union Ave leads up a gated road to the overviews.

Signage at gated road to Snake Hill off Union Avenue.

Same view as above, but on a rainy fall day.
View east to Beacon.

With these panoramas as a backdrop, Corporal Andrew Campbell received a certificate signed by Colonel Van Cortlandt, Major (Nicholas) Fish, and General George Washington.  He also ”at the same time received the badge of merit, being a stitch of worsted – brown and yellow- which he wore on his left arm three years.”  The Badge of Merit was a recognition of long service. The award was a chevron, one for every three years of service, worn on the left sleeve.  Its colors matched the facings of the recipient's corps, meaning that Andrew sported a brown coat faced with yellow.  The colors of the Second Regiment's uniform may have evolved over time, mainly due to the availability of fabric of a particular color.  At the regiment's provincial creation, it appeared to wear blue coats faced in red.  The 1781 depiction, as the regiment would have appeared at the Battle of Yorktown (shown below), is brown faced with green. [the source is from signage on the Rochambeau Trail in Greenburgh, NY]. Whatever the colors, Andrew received two chevrons, now lost to history.

Depiction of private in Second New York Regiment in 1781.

Andrew's certificate is recreated below based on surviving certificates.

By His Excellency
General and Commander in Chief of the Forces of the
United States of America
THESE are to CERTIFY that the Bearer hereof

Andrew Campbell, Corporal

in the    Second N York    Regiment, having faithful-
ly served the United States   Seven Years and
6 months    and being inlisted for the War only, is
hereby DISCHARGED from the American Army.

GIVEN at Head-Quarters the

G Washington

By His Excellency’s

J. Trumbull Jun[Washington’s secretary]

REGISTERED in the Books
of the Regiment,

N Fish Major  Adjutant

THE above     Andrew Campbell
has been honored with the BADGE OF MERIT for    Eight
Years faithful Service.

P. Cortlandt Colo.

[On Reverse Side]

Head-Quarters, June  3rd   -1783
THE within CERTIFICATE shall not avail the
Bearer as a Discharge, until the Ratification of the definitive
Treaty of Peace; previous to which Time, and until Proclama-
tion thereof shall be made, He is to be considered as being on



Andrew placed the certificate in the hands of Samuel Patterson of Livingston Manor, New York for safe keeping.  Unfortunately, the house burned, and another priceless family heirloom was lost.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

St. Modan's Well

St. Modan was a 6th century Celtic monk who established a religious center in the Ruel River valley, home to Kildalvan and to the early ancestors of Joel Campbell.  (See previous posts on Kildalvan) Kildalvan apparently had its own chapel ("Kil" means church) but it was likely part of St. Modan's religious community as it is just a few miles from where "Kilmodan"  (the church of St. Modan) was located.

Recently, a spring was rediscovered that appeared on very early maps as "St. Modan's Well." You can read more about the discovery at the Faith in Cowal website.

The coordinates of the spring are approximately:    56.011412 -5.205267

Kildalvan was located here:  56.054845, -5.183572

The article at suggests that quartz pebbles in the pool were "placed there most probably by long ago pilgrims as they said a prayer."  As I have written before, quartz is ubiquitous in this area.  A huge piece is embedded in the ruins of an ancient structure at Kildalvan.

Could Joel's ancestors have visited this holy spring, known as "St Modan's," and brought some quartz with them to place in the pool?

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Robert Campbell's Newark Fence

Robert Campbell was the grandfather of Joel (b ~1735), the namesake of this blogsite.

In 1714, Robert lived in Newark, New Jersey and was responsible for maintaining a section of the fence that kept grazing animals out of the town center.

Newark was founded in 1666. The homes were laid out along a main street (Broad Street) that ran almost directly south from the Training Place ("C") and Market Place ("E").

1668 Map of Newark.  Note that "North" is approximately to the right.  The Ks denote paths leading to the meadow and J denotes the Common Fence.
To the East of the town, was a meadow and bog known as the "Neck." A fence divided the town from this grazing area. The Neck (meadow) had natural borders on the north, east, and south. Those being the Passaic River, Newark Bay, and Bound Creek.

Historic Map of Newark showing streets of 1916 but also boundaries from 1666.  The Bound Creek is not visible today.  The Neck, which contained the bogs and meadows, is the area denoted as "Incorporated in 1836."
The earliest description of the common fence appears in the Newark Town Records of October 30, 1666.  “Item, it is fully consented unto and agreed upon, that the Range of Home Lotts butting and rearing upon the Wet Swamp, called the Cedar Swamp, between the Neck and the Town; that all and every of those Home Lotts butting upon the Neck or Common Line, that they shall make and maintain from time to time, at their own proper Charge, the whole fence or Fences at the Rears of their Lotts, and not Expect an Easment, from the Neck Lands being but a Common Burden with all Home Lotts, and the condition upon which those Lotts were given out.”

The Common Fence, the responsibility for its maintenance and inspection, and the penalties for failing to maintain it, were common topics at the town meetings.  The enumeration of responsibilities for surveyors, regulators, viewers, pounders, and maintainers provides researchers with some of the best lists of town residents and their relevant properties.

Fence line responsibilities were tabulated at the May 7, 1668, February 6, 1677, and October 19, 1681 town meetings.  These tables contained each town member's name and the length of fence in his care. The measurement was in rods.  In the 1681 entry, the rod pole was given to be 16 feet 9 inches long.

The fence was a large topic of conversation at the town meeting of April 28, 1714.  The table of fence maintainers included "Robert Camell."  Robert Campbell, grandfather of Joel, was known to be a resident of Newark, and owned several parcels to the west of the town center.

The list was titled “The Names of ye Persons Concerned in ye Sd Common Line, with their Proportion of fence annexed to their Names Successively, beginning at ye bound Creek and Thence Runing Northwardly to ye Main River.”

Partial list of fence assignments from Newark Town Meeting of April 28, 1714,  p.127 of Records, Town of Newark 1666-1835, The New Jersey Historical Society, Newark.
The incidents of sheep, cattle, and horses wandering into the "Home Lott" area must have been increasing.  Whereas earlier fence discussions described a fence that encircled the town, this discussion focused on a fence that proceeded from the Bound Creek directly north to the "Main River" by the town (Passaic River).

The minutes of the meeting specified “That all ye Common Line fence Shall be Deemed & Esteemed Sufficient, when it is made and Maintained According to ye Act of General Assemblely, & not otherwise, Excepting from ye Bound Creek to ye Bridge by ye Two mile brook Landing, and John Bradburys by ye Main River: which Shall be made So as to Secure ye Neck & Then it Shall be accounted Sufficient, & not otherwise.”

Robert Campbell was assigned a very short section of fence, 10 links (about 7 feet).  Of the 74 assignments, only four were shorter.  The longest assignment went to George Day of 561 feet, the average being about 60 feet.  Did Robert own property abutting the fence, or was this just an arbitrary assignment?

Summing all of the assignments, gives a fence that is 66 chains and 60 links in length,  or 0.83 miles. However, from the 1916 historical map, the shortest distance between the Passaic River and Bound Creek is about 2.2 miles.   This discrepancy is most likely due to a relocation of Bound Creek between 1714 and 1916.

If one assumes that the distances from the Passaic River are correct, then Robert Campbell's fence was about 2600 feet south of the river or centered at the current intersection of McCarter Highway and Green Street.  [Latitude/Longitude  40.73079, -74.16864]  That also places the "Two Mile Brook" a few feet south of that point.   Could this be the stream shown in the lower part of the 1668 Map?

Modern Newark Street Map showing estimated location of Robert Campbell's fence assignment based on distance from main river using measurements from April 28, 1714 records.
There are many uncertainties in this analysis.  Bound Creek and Two Mile  Brook disappeared long ago.  The Neck is no longer a marsh and has been expanded into Newark Bay with fill.  Broad Street still exists, but any sign of the fence is gone.  The neighborhood is nothing like the "Home Lotts" of 1714.  It is hard to imagine the homes and fence of 1714 when walking the sidewalk of today's Broad Street.