3 – Early New Jersey History

The following section details the history of early New Jersey.  It lays a foundation for the early Campbell families. If you are familiar or don’t feel like reading, you can skip down to the  summary where I detailed my thoughts as I separate the Campbell families going forward.

I will also add that in building this history, I may have plagiarized some pages off the net and not given credit since I had no intentions of publishing this work at the time. I wrote this information 2 years ago so I honestly can’t remember!  I will happily acknowledge and link if someone recognizes a source. Per my notes at the time, I reworded passages slightly for clarity and brevity.

That said, the history of ENJ is fairly well documented and easily obtained.

Establishment of Government

In 1664, Charles II gave a land grant to his brother James, the Duke of York, which included New Jersey.  The Duke sold the province to two of his friends, Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret. The following year Carteret began to colonize his new land.  He sent his nephew Philip to be Governor and established a form of government which granted religious liberty to the new colony.

After 5 years of rent-free living, quit rents became due.  The settlers protested and uprisings began. The commotion between Carteret and his colony discouraged Lord Berkeley (his original partner in New Jersey) who then sold his NJ interest in the province to two English Quakers, John Fenwick and Edward Byllynge. The latter soon became a bankrupt, and his share passed into the hands of trustees.  The province was divided into two parts:

  • East Jersey retained by Carteret, adopted stern Puritan laws
  • West Jersey, which now became the property of the Quakers whose form of government was exceedingly mild.

In 1680 George Carteret died, and in February 1682, the widow sold her interest in East Jersey at auction for 3,400 pounds to a group of twelve people, eleven of whom were Quakers. In turn, those 12 sold half of their interest for a total of 24 shares.

John Campbell and Lord Neil Campbell were two of the 24 holders of these shares who became known Proprietors.  They chose Robert Barclay, a Scotch Quaker, as governor for life.

The First Campbells arrive in East New Jersey

John Campbell arrived in Oct or 1684 bringing along several servants.  Servants were indentured for a number of years and then given headlands of 25 acres and more if they were skilled (i.e mason, carpenter etc.).

This John Campbell will be referred to as John Campbell, Proprietor going forward in order to distinguish him from other John Campbells.  He was most certainly wealthy and this only improved once he was established in East New Jersey (ENJ).

The Monmouth Rebellion

Back in England, James II, had ascended to the throne at the death of his elder brother Charles II in 1685. James II was unpopular because he was Roman Catholic and many people were opposed to a papist king. James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, an illegitimate son of Charles II, claimed to be rightful heir to the throne and attempted to displace James II. The rebellion ended with the defeat of Monmouth’s forces.

Archibald Campbell, the 9th Duke of Argyll, had led an expedition to coincide with Monmouth’s rising. There was little support however, and he was captured. His capture placed his son’s in jeopardy along with the Duke’s brother, Lord Neil Campbell and his son’s who are said to have reluctantly supported their Uncle.  The trials that followed in Leith, Edinburgh were called the “Bloody Assizes” and upwards of a 1,000 (perhaps more) were given sentences of death or banishment in the span of 2 days.  Two sources of these names are available from Google Books:

  •  “Directory of Scots banished to the American Plantations, 1650-1775
  •  “History of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland from the Restoration to the Revolution”.  This book is downloadable and a wealth of Campbell information, including history/transcriptions of the trials.

Many Campbells are named and it’s from these trials that we read the names of the early inhabitants of ENJ.  Archibald Campbell, the 9th Duke of Argyll, was executed for his crimes. His brother, Lord Neil Campbell, along with his sons, was stripped of their titles, lands and banished.  He was however, allowed to retain his holding in ENJ and transport several other banished prisoners, including 3 Campbells (relationship unknown) to ENJ.  Lord Neil also brought along his son Archibald who had received the same sentence.  His other sons probably went elsewhere.

George Scott of Pitlochie and the “Henry and Francis”

There were many prisoners at this time in Leith and not all were directly involved with the Monmouth Rebellion.  Many were imprisoned and subsequently banished for their refusal to take an oath of allegiance to James II.

George Scott, a Presbyterian himself, and having bought a share of ENJ the year prior, was now in need of laborers to settle his land in the Colony.  Scott petitioned the Council and nearly 100 prisoners, who had been condemned to banishment, were ‘gifted’ to him. He then set about recruiting servants among the prisoners, many for whom he had negotiated better conditions while imprisoned.

Scott commissioned a ship said to be the “Henry and Francis” captained by Richard Hutton.  They sailed from Leith, September 5, 1685.  It should be noted that not all on board were Scott’s prisoners.  You could purchase passage.  For an adult, the cost was five pounds sterling, for children under twelve years of age, fifty shillings; sucking children free; for transport of one ton of goods, forty shillings.

For those who were unable to pay for their passage, they were promised twenty-five acres of land and a suit of new clothes on the completion of four years of service.  Presumably, the latter was made up of the prisoners gifted to Scott.

Lord Neil Campbell, along with his son and newly indentured servants also set sail at this time but undoubtedly on another ship, probably the Caledonia.  These two ships sailed from Leith within days of each other and as a result, many histories have combined the two ships into one (“Henry and Francis”).

The trip of the “Henry and Francis” was said to be disastrous. Many of the prisoners (now indentured) were already sick, the food was deteriorated and quarters were confined.  A fever spread and a good percentage of the passengers died including George Scott and his wife. After his death, the prisoners came under the control of his son-in-law John Johnston.

The “Henry and Francis” landed at Perth Amboy, New Jersey, in the middle of December, 1685, having been about fifteen weeks at sea. Before going ashore, however, Johnston tried to have those who had not paid passage to sign an agreement to serve him four years in consideration of the expense incurred by his father-in-law. Considering many had been banished against their will and harsh conditions of their transport, some (maybe all) refused.

When they came ashore, the people who lived on the coast (Perth Amboy) were inhospitable to the former prisoners. A little way up however, there was a town supposed to be Woodbridge.  A minister had settled the place and when the inhabitants learned who the prisoners were and their circumstances, they invited all who were able to travel to come and live with them, and supported them throughout the winter.

The following spring, Johnston pursued the passengers who had not paid for their transport and had them cited before a legal tribunal for their value as bond-servants. A jury found that there was no indenture between Johnston and them, that they were shipped against their will; and therefore Mr. Johnston had no control over them.

A good many of those passengers are said to have died within a short space of time in the plantations; the rest returned to their native country after the Glorious Revolution. Others may have stayed and scattered throughout Eastern Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut, where they found employment according to their different trades.

End of the Banishments

After the arrival of Lord Neil Campbell and Scott’s people aboard the “Henry and Francis” in 1685, many divisions of land in ENJ occurred and Lord Neil Campbell was named as Governor.  Some of these transactions involved Campbells and will be discussed later.

In 1688 King James II of England was overthrown by his son-in-law William of Orange who was married to James II daughter Mary. This was known as the Glorious Revolution. William and Mary soon after rescinded the banishments of those involved in the Monmouth Rebellion and restored the forfeited lands. It was at this time that Lord Neil Campbell was able to return home to his wife and remaining children.

Lord Neil left Archibald his son to take care of his business in ENJ and appointed a new governor.  He never returned and died in 1692. Archibald was named as heir and executor in ENJ.  After settling his father’s estate, Archibald left ENJ and became a clergyman of the Scottish Episcopal Church and later served as Bishop of Aberdeen.  Archibald d. 1744 and no known descendant of his or his father, Lord Neil, remained in ENJ.


The preceding background is important in the laying of the foundation of our Campbell research.  Specifically:

  • The Jersey Colony has a large Quaker contingency which eventually intermarries with the Scottish Presbyterians known collectively as the Covenanters.
  • October 1684, John Campbell, Proprietor arrives in ENJ with his family and servants.  He is undoubtedly wealthy and while many historians have called him the brother, son and/or nephew to Lord Neil Campbell, none of this has been proven.  With some research, more information on John could probably be obtained but until a genealogical link is established, it’s not necessary.  For now, what is important is that:
    • He is wealthy
    • He arrived a year prior to Lord Neil Campbell, George Scott, or the Monmouth Rebellion Campbells
    • While as a Proprietor, he had many dealings with Lord Neil Campbell, but there is no reason to believe they shared servants, lands, etc.  I consider him a separate “group” of Campbells in ENJ.
  • Dec 1685 Lord Neil Campbell arrives with his son and servants on a ship, probably the “Caledonia”. It is unlikely he sailed with George Scott’s group or had any dealings with them outside of general knowledge.
  • Dec 1685 the “Henry and Francis” arrives.  Some of those passengers remove to Woodbridge and elect not to be indentured; others possibly remain and indenture themselves in order to receive land after a term of servitude.
  • After the arrival of the “Henry and Francis” many passengers were still sick/weak from the journey.  We know this from a record of the (above) minister sending horses for those to weak to walk to his settlement.  Possibly, many of the passengers died in a short time after landing.  I have seen no record of their names if they did.
  • After the Glorious Revolution in 1688, Lord Neil Campbell returns home leaving his son Archibald to manage his affairs in ENJ
  • It is probable that some of the former prisoners of George Scott’s group on the “Henry and Francis” returned to Scotland having their banishment lifted and possibly their lands restored.  This includes some Campbells although we have no specific names at this point in time.
  • After 1695, Archibald Campbell returns home leaving no known descendants in America.

I will add that that many of the early written histories assume familial ties with indentured servants by way of saying something along the lines of “they were probably kinsmen”.  I do not assume this so I have treated all families as separate groups or subgroups.  Once a link is established, we can go forward to establish their familial relationships if any.

And finally, there may have already been Campbells in ENJ (Quakers) that I am confusing with those who came here in 1684 and 1685.  I haven’t found evidence of that so I am assuming those in the colonial records are referring to the people who came in that time frame.  Others came after, and undoubtedly names were missed on ship manifests so my list of names should not be considered inclusive.


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