Select Campbell Surname Genealogy

Campbell is a Scottish name and comes from the Gaelic cam and bent, meaning crooked mouth.  Cailean Mor of Lochawe was said to have been given this nickname because he talked out of one side of his mouth. He was killed in a skirmish with the MacDonalds in 1296.  A cairn still marks the spot where he fell.

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Scotland.  This Campbell clan base was Argyll in the Highlands, where their castle, Inveraray castle, built in 1654, still stands.  Cailean Mor (the Great Campbell) had established the Campbell family of Lochawe in the late 13th century and they prospered through their close alliance with Robert the Bruce.  The family spelling was initially Cambel and became Campbell around 1450.

As the Dukes of Argyll, this family was influential in political life in Scotland and England from that time onwards.  The Campbells are still remembered for the MacDonald massacre at Glencoe in 1692.  Clan Campbell took the British Government side during the 1715 and 1745 Jacobite uprisings and thus did not suffer confiscations.  Later Dukes were British Field Marshals, Cabinet Ministers, and a Governor General of Canada.

In addition to Argyll, the main Campbell branches in Argyllshire have been those of:
  • Strachur, the oldest of the branches
  • Auchinbeck, which suffered financial reverses in the early 18th century culminating in their bankruptcy in 1762.
  • and, outside Argyll, those of Glenorchy/Breadalbane (in Caithness), Loudoun (in Ayrshire), and Cawdor (in Inverness and subsequently in Wales).
Not all Campbells who held land were clan-related.  Daniel Campbell prospered as a merchant in Glasgow in the early 1700's and was able to acquire, at a knockdown price, the islands of Islay and part of Jura from the profligate Campbell of Cawdor.

The pipe tune BaillInneraora or The Campbells Are Coming is a well-known Scottish tune.

.  Many Campbells moved to Ireland in the 17th century as part of the Protestant settlement. Campbell was the fifth most common name recorded in Ulster in 1890.  It ranked third in Down, fourth in Armagh, and was also high in Tyrone, Antrim, Derry, and Donegal.

Campbells were earliest in Donegal where many may have been descended from Scottish mercenary Gallowglasses there.  Duncan Campbell and his son Patrick were recorded at Kilmaccrenan barony in the 1650s.  There has been a Campbell family of fiddle players from Glenties for over a hundred years, starting with James Campbell in the early 1900s.

Robert Campbell had come to county Down with three brothers at the time of the Ulster plantations of the early 1600s.  His great grandson the Rev. William Campbell from Newry became the Presbyterian minister of Armagh in 1764.  Another Robert Campbell from Scotland had fought at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 and been granted land in county Down as a reward.   His grandson Robert embarked for Pennsylvania in 1746.

Some Tyrone Campbells may have Irish roots, from the local Tir Eoghain sept of Mac Cathmhaoil.

  Campbells in America are either Scots or Scots Irish in origin.

John Campbell, Scots Irish, had come to Augusta county, Virginia in 1733.  His son William was born there in 1745.  A militia leader during the Revolutionary War, he was known as the bloody tyrant of Washington county, but distinguished himself at the Battle of Kings Mountain.  Campbell county in Virginia was named after him.

Two Scots Irish immigrants into SW Virginia in the 1740's were the so-called "White David" and his cousin "Black David" Campbell.  From this stock came:
  • David Campbell, the Governor of Virginia in the 1830's
  • William Campbell, the Governor of Tennessee in the 1850's
  • and Confederate General Alexander Campbell, after whom Fort Campbell in Kentucky was named.
A later Scots Irish arrival from county Tyrone, Robert Campbell, came to America in the early 1820s and headed west to St. Louis, Missouri.  A frontiersman and fur trader, he was an early explorer of the Rocky Mountains.  His home in St. Louis which he acquired in 1854 and his family inhabited until 1938 is now a museum.

Another pioneer, this time in Texas, was Thomas Lopton Campbell, a Texas Ranger and contemporary and friend of Sam Houston.  In 1889,
at the age of 79, he was one of the Sooners to stake a land claim in Oklahoma.  His grandfather had arrived in America from Scotland and fought in the Revolutionary War.

Campbell's Soup was started in Camden, New Jersey by Joseph Campbell in 1869.  His forefathers had come to New Jersey in the early 1700s and his father James had been a blacksmith in Fairfield township.

  Campbells were in Nova Scotia from the 1750s.  One of the first was Robert Campbell who had arrived with Edward Cornwallis, its first British Governor.  Robert became a prominent early merchant in Halifax.  James Campbell came to Londonderry township from Ulster in 1762.  Later arrivals were Loyalists like Colin Campbell who had left New York for Shelburne in 1783

Select Campbell Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

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Cailean Mor was the forebear of the Campbell clan in Scotland.
Duncan Campbell was the first Campbell to be ennobled , as Lord Campbell of Argyll, in 1445.
Archibald Campbell, the 5th Earl of Argyll, was a leading figure in Scottish politics in the 1560's and 1570's.
Robert Campbell was a mid-19th century frontiersman, fur trader, and businessman of the American West.
Sir Malcolm Campbell was the British holder of the world land and water speed records in the 1920's.
Glen Campbell is a well-known country music artist.

Select Campbells Today

  • 116,000 in the UK (most numerous in Glasgow)
  • 140,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 108,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)

Select Surname List

Adams Ellis Johnson O'Connor
Allen Evans Jones O'Sullivan Shaw
Anderson Fisher
Kelly Parker Simpson
Bailey Foster Kennedy Perry Smith
Baker Fox King Peterson Stevens
Barnes Fraser 
Lee Phillips Stewart
Bell Graham Lewis Powell Taylor
Bennett Gray Marshall Price Thomas
Brown Green Martin Reed
Griffiths Mason      
Reynolds Turner
Campbell Hall McDonald Richards
Carter Hamilton Miller  Richardson Walsh
Chapman Harris Mitchell Roberts Ward
Clark Harrison
Moore Robertson Watson
Collins Henderson Morgan Robinson White
Cook Hill Morris Rogers Williams
Cooper Howard Murphy Ross Wilson
Cox Hughes Murray Russell Wood
Davis Jackson Nelson Ryan Wright
Edwards James O'Brien 

For other surnames check the surnames2 page where there are to be found the history and genealogy for more than 800 surnames.

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