“SOUND THE PIBROCH”
OR IN GAIL
The Campbells are coming.
A brief history of the William Campbell family and
Descendants, of Argyll, Scotland and Glengarry, N.S.
The famous Canadian stateman, Joseph Howe, has said that, “A wise people fosters pride and love of country by perpetual reference to sacrifices and glories of the past.”
With this thought in mind we accede to the many requests to write this commemorative, biographical sketch of the lives of our grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. William Campbell, who were born in Argyll-shire, on the north west coast of Scotland, and who with their family of five (?) girls immigrated to Canada on the sailing ship “Arran” about 1847.
Following a rough, early spring, six weeks voyage, they took up residence at the Albion Mines (now the town of Stellarton), Nova Scotia. They then purchased farm lands on the east fork, Middle River, now Glengarry.
William Campbell was kin of the Duke of Argyll, Mull of Kintyre, Scotland, and his wife (Faggie) Margaret Thompson was a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John James Thompson. Her mother was Effie Kennedy, a daughter of Lord and Lady Kennedy of Culzean Castle, in Ayr, who was disinherited when she married John James Thompson against the wishes of her parents.
Culzean Castle (pronounced Cullane), designed by Robert Adam in 1777, was occupied by the Earls of Cassilis (pronounced Castle), who were heads of the Kennedy family.
Its present owners are the National Trust which preserve it for historic sites. A large part of the ground floor of the castle has been reserved for a Scottish residence for the use of President Eisenhower (now past president), but the remainder of the castle and grounds are open to the public at a modest fee.
Like most Scottish settlers of that day in Nova Scotia, they spoke highland Gaelic, but within on year they could read many chapters from their English Bible.
Their greeting to new Scottish families taking up residence near to them was “Caid Mile Failte” meaning “A hundred thousand welcomes.”
Grandfather William Campbell, kin to the Duke of Argyll, was born in the village of Drumleman, about three miles north of the shire town of Campbeltown, for the Mull of Kintyre.
He had three brothers. Hector, a bookkeeper, was married and had a family of eight children. Alexander came to Canada and settled in Ontario. He was associated with a plant which afterwards became Olgilvies Millls. Robert died young. There were three sisters. Martha married Robert Fraser and lived in Glengarry, Ontario. Margaret and Jean were residents of Campbellton.
The writer of this sketch visited the grave of Hector Campbell after whom, Hector Campbell Thompson, of Westville, is named. It was a fine day in November, sunny and warm, in 1918 when we entered a small churchyard. The small stone church, measuring about 14 by 20 feet, was still standing but the thatched roof, door, and windows had all disintegrated, indicating that for many years worship services had been held in the larger town of Campbellton [Campbeltown]. The cemetery was well kept, and there on the “brae” not far from the little church, was a tombstone bearing the inscription –
Hector Campbell, 1800 – 1878
Dear Passer By,
As you are now,
So once was I,
As I am now,
So you must be,
So prepare now
Later, I had the pleasure of meeting a grandson of Hector, his name was William, as was his father’s name. He, his wife and family, lived at an Inn at Muasdale, with is 18 miles east of Campbeltown. Their daughter Catherine, then 16 years old, was attending high school in Campbeltown.
Grandfather William Campbell’s mother died shortly after he was born, and he was reared by his older sister Martha. When a young lad, he spent many happy hours in learning the secrets of song birds, especially the sky lark as it soared and sang its lovely song and then dropped perpendicularly to its nest in the rugged side of a sod fence. He also spent and loved the many visits to the rugged shore of Mad-rae-hinach Bay.
(Note) In 1918 when I visited this shore, the thought that was strongest in my mind was, “Just how does the land remain under the terrific pounding of twenty foot waves of the Irish North Seas, which crash with a tumultuous roar again the great rocks along the shoreline.”
Literally thousands of sea birds of different sizes inhabit this place as their food, from fish that are smashed upon the rocks, is plentiful. At my appearance, the birds took off and their number completely hid the bright sun, which had been shining from a cloudless sky, for several minutes.
Not far from the Mul of Kintyre stands the castle of Lord and Lady Kennedy. Their daughter’s name was Effie and she was disinherited when she married John James Thompson. His parents came from North Ireland. Our oldest brother, John James Thompson, is called after him.
To this union, two children were born, Dougald and Margaret. Dougald came to Canada in 1836 as a mechanic with the Albion Mines (Halifax Mining Company). Later, he drove the steam engine “Sampson” which was the first to run on iron rails in British North America. His son Donald Thompson, also drove this engine. His fireman was John Fraser, who after his retirement resided in Upper Fox Brook. There are pictures of Donald Thompson and John Fraser as they attended to their duties on the engine. Thompson is wearing a derby hat. This old engine made its first run in 1837 with coal mined in the old Ford Pit, which was hauled some 3 miles to a wharf in Abercrombie. It is now on exhibition near the New Glasgow Railway Station.
Margaret Thompson (1811-1897) married William Campbell (1810-1873) in Scotland in 1831. To this union were born six girls and twin boys. (1) Effie 1832-1917; (2) Jane Carr 1834-1899* (this doesn’t agree with Aunt Martha’s record); (3) Mary 1836-1863; (4) Jessie Ruth 1837-1861 – died of pneumonia after she broke through the ice in the river near the school house, while on her way to visit her older sister Effie; (5) twin boys, died in infancy; (6) ** Margaret 1845-1925; and (7) Catherine Anne 1855-1943. All were born in Scotland except the youngest, Catherine Anne, who was born in Albion Mines (Stellarton). Public records have Jane Carr also being born in Glengarry, NS – perhaps their date of arrival is not accurate as 1847.
*Incorrect Family Bible says d. Jan 12, 1893 for Janes death and she was born on February 14, 1845 in Glengarry, NS.
** This would make Margarets birthdate incorrect.
On February 2, 1847, William Campbell, with his wife and family of five girls, in company with several other families, set sail from Campbellton on the sailing ship Arran. After six weeks voyage on a boisterous, wintry sea they arrived safely in Pictou Harbour, and on to land at the Loading Ground’s Wharf at Granton. This was the terminal of the coal company’s steel rail line. As there was a strike in progress at the mine, there was no train to meet them, and they all had to walk up to the Albion Mines. All but their brief needs were stored at the wharf.
As the ship docked at Abercrombie, William was very disappointed with the appearance of the new country. Here, there was considerable snow and only a few bare field, and some cattle were seen to be shivering from the cold winds. This indeed was a contrast to the homeland, where the new spring grain was up and waving in the breezes when they had left.
He went down into the ships cabin and requested his wife to leave their furnishings aboard and that they would return to Scotland on the same ship. But his wife, who had been very sick, replied by saying, “William, if I ever get my feet on solid land, even though it were among Indians, I’ll never again cross the ocean.”
This decision has a very deep meaning to all their descendants. If she had agreed to return – well, their children would not have married Canadians.
After four years of residence at Albion Mines, in a house near what is now known as the Cross Roads, they moved to their new farm land at east fork, Middle River (now Glengarry). Their new farm was adjoining the farm of Dougal Thompson, 1805-1875, Mrs. Campbells brother. It is interesting to not that by this time, their father, 1772-1858, now a widower, had also arrived and purchased lands north of Glengarry Station and from whom Hugh McDonald had purchased many acres before marrying J.J. Thompsons granddaughter, Effie, William’s oldest daughter. His wedding gift to her was five sovereigns.
It may be of interest to the reader to know that a letter written by Dougal Thompson in 1838 to his sister and brother-in-law, had in part, the following, “In Canada we have lots of large trees that can be tapped, in the springtime and its sap makes a lovely drink, if boiled can be made into a delicious syrup – further boiling would bring it into sugar. Then it can be cut down and its wood makes the best heat in a fire grate and from its ashes, soap can be made.” This, of course, is the maple tree, and the statement was correct. It too had considerable coaxing power on those folks back home, who used clay or peat for stove use. There are no trees of any kind on the Mull of Kintyre. So they felt that to live in this wonder land would only mean a few years, and they would enjoy riches.
In Glengarry, their first home was constructed of logs and had two rooms, or as they say in Scotland, “A wee but an’ ben”. The rooms were 12 by 11 feet with fire place in the division all. (this is where Aunt Martha says Jane Carr was born). Public records agree this is likely where Catherine Anne was born as well.
As they sat to eat their first supper in their new home, Mrs. Campbell remarked, Now we are lords of our won castle”, and our prayer is that we may have health to enjoy it.”
It could be said of them and of all early pioneers, that their future was one of hard work. Clearing lands, building barns and sheep pens, which had to be of stout material to keep wild bears from breaking down their doors by night to get at the sheep, erecting looms, spinning wheels, shoe making was indeed a heavy chore.
Our thanks go out to them for their interest in the things which make the strongest foundations. Faith in the Divine Creator, their conscientious, honest, industrious lives, and their trust in their fellowman.
Fortunately for them game was plentiful and easy to get. The brooks were teeming with two and three pound trout. Light was supplied by tallow candles and lanterns were in the shape of a crude square, tin box, holding a candle. It has round holes bored on all four sides to allow light to shine through.
They carried on aiding in building churches, schools, roads and bridges so that their children could have never ending argument of nobler deeds, for higher thoughts and greater achievements.
The William Campbell descendants are:
Effie 1831-1928, m Hugh MacDonald and lived in Glengarry
Jane Carr m Putnam McCulloch, Upper Stewiacke
Jessie 1835 – 1857 died of pneumonia
Twin boys died in infancy in Scotland
Margaret 1845-1926 m Robert Wilson Frame Councillor of 18 Section
After the death of W. C. Frame, his widow married Albert MacLeod.
Catherine Anne *1885-1943 m Robert Thompson *says 1855 on page 3 which is likely accurate since she was the mother of the writer
(more to this line, contact McCulloch Centre for info)
Hector Campbell brother of William, had a family of eight children, four died while young, Janet married Angus McQuilkans, Scotland. They had three sons. William, son of Hector m M. Henderson – their son William lived at Muisdale Inn 1918, had one daughter Catherine Alex who was killed in Drumlemble, Scotland, 1869.
This was written by Harvey Thompson and given to me early in 1960’s. Vera MacLaughlin
|Contributor:||Teresa MacKenzie | View all submissions|
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|Uploaded on:||November 3, 2017|