Friends and Kinsmen, I am interested in the history of our family. I try each year to add a chapter to what I have already written.
It ought not to be difficult to collect the history of our family in America. Comparatively speaking, as an American cafamily, we are of recent origin. I am the grand-daughter of the immigrant ancestor. It is but ninety one years since the immigrant ancestor set foot on these shores1. A single life might span the whole period. And yet in this comparatively brief time much has been lost. Some have not kept records of their own.
Our lot as a family has been cast in Pennsylvania where our public records were kept. Until recently some have had no concern about items of family interest and are indifferent when appealed to. I take a commendable pride in our history as a family. It is my mission on this occasion to arouse in others some of the interest I feel myself, to instill into the bosoms of others a modicum of that pride of family which induces us to make journeys, write letters, collect facts and compile articles year after year that a compact and complete history of our people in America may be the result.
I have heretofore given a sketch of the Campbells who lived and died in Tioga County, Pennsylvania. What I have to say today will not concern them to any extent but in order to make what I have to say clear and intelligible I will preface my paper with a brief review lesson. I hope it will make what I do say more plain and more easy to be understood.
Joseph Campbell was our immigrant ancestor. He was born in 1748 and died in 1824. He married Mary Harper who was born in 1749 and died in 1844. These were my grandparents. They kept a family record which is in existence. According to this record Joseph and Mary were the parents of eight children as follows:
1. Jane was correct that her grandparents, their younger children (including her father) arrived in 1810. However, the older of her aunts and uncles, and her great-uncle, John Campbell, had come earlier. - wbt.
Sarah - Born June
13, 1777 - Married Samuel Hazlett
Mary - Born Mar. 19, 1779 - Married John Hazlett
John - Born Mar. 15, 1781 - Married Elizabeth Bell
Elizabeth - Born Aug. 21, 1789 - Married Richard Ellison
Jane - Born Dec. 31, 1790 - Married John Hazlett
Joseph - Born Dec. 24, 1793 - Married Ann Clinch
William - Born Jan. 6, 1795 - Died Young
James - Born July 11, 1798 - Married Mary Blackwell
Of this family, Sarah who married Samuel Hazlett, Elizabeth who married Richard Ellison, Jane who married John Hazlett, Joseph who married Ann Clinch, and James who married Mary Blackwell, spent their natural years in Tioga County, Pa. and died and were buried and their sepulchers are with us until this day2.
What I have calculated for this occasion, though short, concerns those descendants of my grandfather Campbell who did not come to this country [typo, should be 'county']. I have told you that Joseph Campbell landed in New York City and from there he went to Lancaster Co., Pa. where he spent a few years with his family. While in Lancaster his daughter Mary married John Hazlett and his son John married Elizabeth Bell. These two children never came to Tioga County to live3.
I want to tell you something about these two families whom most of us have never seen. It is not much I have been able to gather. Such as I have is as follows:
John Campbell, born March 15, 1781, married Elizabeth Bell in Lancaster County, Pa. Shortly after they were married they moved to Pittsburgh, Pa.4 where they purchased a large tract of land, reared their family of eleven children, lived, and died. John Campbell died March 18, 1866, aged eighty-six years, eleven months, twenty-nine days. His wife Elizabeth died January 15, 1860 aged seventy-four years, five months, eight days. He was a farmer, in politics a Democrat, in religious belief and practice a Covenanter. It is said of him that he was very zealous in his religion and often entertained the minister and elders of the denomination to which he belonged.
The eleven children of this worthy couple are as follows:
Joseph - Born 1808 - Died in 1845.
Samuel - Born 1810 - Died in 1881
Mary Ann - Born 1812 - Died in 1890
Sarah - Born 1815 - Died in 1898
Jane - Born 1817 - Died in 1887
John - Born 1819 - Died in 1820
John - Born 1820 - Died in 1898
Rachel - Born 1825 - Died in 1839
Elizabeth - Born 1827 - Died in 1828
Elizabeth - Born 1828 - is yet living
Ellen - Born 1830 - Died while young.
2. James was born in North Ireland; his siblings were either born there or in Scotland. All had lived in N. Ireland before coming to the US. Sarah and Elizabeth, at least, lived in Lancaster Co., PA for a few years before coming to Tioga Co.Joseph, Ann, James & Mary were buried in the Nelson Cem., and their graves are undisturbed and well maintained. The other mentioned in this paragraph were buried in the family plot on the land Sam Hazlett bought from Daniel Strait, became John Hazlett's farm, his daughter Eliza Merritt's, and when Vol. 4 was published, Merritts still lived in that farm house, owned the land, and farmed it. The burial plot was near the house, on a knoll overlooking Baxter Creek, East of the Nelson Cemetery. But as part of the Cowanesque Lake Project, the remains were exhumed and reintered in the NW corner of the Nelson Cem. Most of the stones were broken and therefore laid flat, and grass tends to grow over them - wbt.
3. The elder Joseph Campbell, with his wife and younger children landed in Perth Amboy, NJ, very close to NYC. But if Jane is correct that they arrived in 1810, then they didn't have time to live in Lancaster Co. because his diary makes it clear that they landed in early October. It says they went from Perth Amboy to Sam Hazlett's farm near "Alcorea", wherever that was (perhaps near Stroudsburg, PA or in Landaster Co.). Shortly after arriving at Sam's, those going to Tioga Co. set out on their migration, arriving at Beecher's Island either on New Years Eve of 1810 or New Years Day of 1811. We know that the older children definitely lived in Lancaster Co. Sally's 1st child was born there in 1803. Mary Campbell Hazlett died there. I have seen no evidence that Joseph, Sr. and his younger children ever lived in Lancaster Co. But if they did, then Jane and Joseph W. Buck interpreted the diary wrong and Joseph, Sr.'s boat landed years before 1810. Personally, I think their ship did land in 1810 - wbt.
4. At the time John Campbell bought his farm, and when his brother-in-law, John Hazlett [husband of Mary Campbell] bought a nearby one, the properties were North of Pittsburgh. Later they became incorporated as Allegheny City, and are now part of Pittsburgh's North side.
I cannot tell you as much as I wish I could about these Cousins of the daughters. Mary Ann and Jane each married a man by the name of Sloan and the others either died young or remained unmarried. Of the sons I have no account of their marriages, which I regret. John Campbell, however, has eleven living grandchildren, one of whom is a practicing physician in Chicago. Samuel had four daughters; Mary Ann Sloan had two sons and one daughter, and Jane Sloan had two sons.
That is my account of John Campbell, brother of my father and the family. Mary Campbell was born March 19, 1779, married John Hazlett, lived, and died in Lancaster Co., Pa. John Hazlett, her husband, was in partnership with a Mr. Swartz. They owned and operated a large lead works.
I have been unable to obtain the date of the marriage of Mary Campbell.
I am informed that she died between the years 1823 and 1828 aged between
forty and fifty years5. She is buried in Lancaster Co., Pa.,
but the exact place I have not learned. She was the mother of eight
Maria - died young
Matilda - married Mr. Humes
Ann - " Mr. Boggs
Sallie - " Mr. Stark
Rachel - " Mr. Boggs
Joseph - - - - -
Samuel - - - - -
I am informed her children are now dead. After the death of their mother this family moved to Allegheny County. They were neighbors of their Cousins, the children of John Campbell in the vicinity of Pittsburgh. The meager amount I have been able to learn about them suggests much to be done in collecting a full record. Sufficient perseverance will accomplish it. I hope to stir up the necessary enthusiasm at this family gathering to keep the work going.
This family reunion is a pleasant and social occasion to meet and greet each other and to brighten the chains of friendship. We recognize the tie of kindred in this connection.
I want to call your attention to a duty which I feel is incumbent upon us. I have recently visited the burial plot where Joseph Campbell, Sr., our immigrant ancestor,is buried. The location in and of itself is one
5. She was married in 1806 and died in 1824.
of natural beauty. It is on an eminence from which is gained a broad view of the Cowanesque Valley flats. It is the place selected by the early pioneers to bury their dead. Rude inscriptions on stone set up here show that it was used for that purpose as early as 1818, It is one of the sacred places of earth, worthy of care and preservation. At that place Joseph Campbell was buried and there let him lie until the morning of the resurrection. Beside him is buried Mary Harper, his wife, whom he married in that far off land beyond the sea. beside him are intered [sic] the remains of his three children6; Sally Hazlett, Jane Hazlett, and Elizabeth Ellison. Here also lie many of the grandchildren of Joseph Campbell, Sr., such as Mary Richards[on], Sally Fowler and others. Also many great grandchildren such as the children of Charles Hosley, Albert Fowler, Samuel Hazlett, Richard Ellison and James Cook. At each of the graves is a respectable headstone7.
The little plot of ground so sacred to the Campbell Clan in America is situated on the farm of C.F. Merritt, in Nelson borough. It is square in shape, being about six rods8 on each of its four sides. I will try to tell you how this burial ground looked at the time of a recent visit. In one corner stood an ancient apple tree. It had produced many scrubby sprouts, which spread over a large part of the ground, from two to six feet high. These were interspersed with raspberry and blackberry bushes, with thorn plum tree sprouts, elderberry bushes, burdock, and goldenrod. There was also a hedge of uncared for snowball, rose and lilac bushes and all of it overrun with some kind of wild ivy. This place is a veritable tangle and he who would read the inscriptions on the tombs must go about with axe and scythe. This place is so sacred to every one of us, in whose veins flows the blood of Joseph Campbell, is crowded hard on all sides by the barn-yard and driveway, of the old homestead on which it is situated. The fact that three or four of the valuable tombstones are broken into two pieces would indicate that it had been occupied perhaps by livestock. On the easterly side for a distance of three or four rods is no fence at all. This is along the driveway. On the West side the top boards are gone. All the fence now standing is old and dilapidated.
In one particular I wish to give this annual reunion a practical turn under the blessing of God.
Some of the descendants of Joseph Campbell, Sr. have been endowed with worldly wealth and lots of us have strong hands and willing hearts. I suggest we do not turn our faces homeward from this gathering until we have provided the means and devised a plan to clean up this naturally beautiful plot of ground and surround it with a substantial fence.9
6. I.e. the graves of 3 of his 8 children.
7. Most of those have not survived.
8. About 100 ft. on each side.
9. Minutes of subsequent reunions show they did raise funds for new fences and work parties restored the burial ground, at least for a while. The Merritt family sold this farm to a Mr. Paul Bennett and the grave yard became know as "The Paul Bennett Cemetery" -- at least that's how the Army Engineers designated it when they bought the property and relocated the remains. (They also relocated some graves from the S.E. corner of the Nelson Cem., a section that I always regarded as the prettiest. It's beautiful spruce trees are long gone.).
Copyright © 2013. 2015, 2017, 2020 William B. Thompson. Commercial use prohibited.