14 – Duncan Campbell of the Black Watch

I complained back in post #11 about having to separate out all the John Campbells in ENJ. I have decided to put that off as long as possible and detour through NY via Scotland instead. We’ll get there I promise. In the meantime I found these Campbells quite interesting.

Back in Scotland, Colonel Alexander Campbell of Finab and Monzie married Susan, the widow of LNC. Alexander was heavily involved in the Darien scheme which failed but led to the settlement of Jamaica. Susan and Alexander had a daughter named Lady Jean Campbell.  She married Duncan Campbell of Inverawe, a Major in the Black Watch, and the main character in the ghost story that I will briefly describe here (and won’t do justice).

One evening about 1742, Duncan was at his home in Inverawe and heard a loud knock on his gate.  When he opened it, he saw a man with blood on his kilt. The man told Duncan that, in a feud, he had slain a man and begged Duncan to give him sanctuary. Duncan agreed but the man pressed Duncan to “swear on his dirk (dagger)” which Duncan did and then hid the man in his castle. Soon after there was another knock on the gate and men there told Duncan that his cousin Donald had been murdered and they were looking for the man.  Duncan, remembering his oath, did not betray the murderer. Later that night, the ghost of Donald came to Duncan exclaiming:

“Inverawe! Inverawe! Blood has been shed. Shield not the murderer!”

The next day, disturbed by the dream but still mindful of his oath, Duncan removed the man from his house and showed him a cave where he could hide. That night, once again, the ghost of Donald appeared to Duncan and said:

“Inverawe! Inverawe! Blood has been shed. Shield not the murderer!”

The next morning Duncan went to the cave but the man was gone.  Once Again, Donald’s ghost visited Duncan and said:

“Farewell Inverawe, Farewell until we meet again at Ticonderoga”

At the time, Ticonderoga would have been a foreign name to Duncan but he told the story to his fellow soldiers.  In 1756, Duncan was sent to America with his regiment and eventually ordered to a place called Ticonderoga.  Upon arrival, Duncan was worried so his fellow officers told him they were not yet there.  That night however, the ghost of Donald visited Duncan and by morning Duncan knew he had been deceived.  It was during the ensuing battle that Duncan received a wound in arm.  He was thought to live but a few days later the Doctor decided the arm needed to be amputated and nine days after the battle, Duncan Campbell of Inverawe was dead.

His body was taken to Fort Edward and buried in the family lot of the Gilchrists.  The Gilchrist’s most likely arrived with Capt. Lauchlan Campbell’s settlers between 1738 and 1740.

Duncan of the Black WatchIn 1871, the body was moved to a new Gilchrist’s lot in the new Union Cemetery between Sandy Hill and Fort Edward. In 1920, Duncan was moved again to the Jane McCrea lot in the same cemetery. The original stone bears the inscription:

Here Lyes the body of Duncan Campbell of Inversaw, Esqr Major to The old Highland Regt. Aged 55 Years. Who died The 17th July, 1758, of wounds he received in the attack of the retrenchments of Ticonderoga or Carillon, 8th July, 1758.”

Grave of Duncan Campbell: Picture taken from Find A Grave Memorial# 21471801

Duncan wrote a will in 1756, prior to his departure in defense of the Colonies.  It is found in Volume XV, Abstract of Entry in Sheriff Court Books of Argyll at Inveraray.

“Disposition by Major Duncan Campbell of Inverawe to Lieut. Dugald Campbell, his eldest son procreated between him and Mrs. Jean Campbell, his wife, whom, failing, to Lieut. Alexander Campbell, his second son, whom failing, Duncan Campbell, his third and youngest son, whom failing, to any other sons he may lawfully have, and the heirs male of their bodies in succession, whom failing, to Janet Campbell, his only daughter now in life procreated between him and the said Mrs. Jean Campbell, of his whole lands and estate of Inverawe and others, under certain reservations ; dated at Glasgow 17th April, 1756; witnesses, John Campbell of Cloichombie, Alexander Campbell in Achalion, and others.”

Of his children:

  • Dugald, the eldest, was a 2nd Lieutenant in the 21st or Royal North British Fuziliers. He was with his Regiment at Gibraltar in 1756, where he died, presumably after the writing of Duncan’s will in which he was named.
  • Alexander, Duncan’s second son, was with his father at Ticonderoga as a lieutenant.  He too was wounded having had his arm was broken between the elbow and shoulder.  He was thought to recover and sent to Glasgow to heal but died unmarried Feb. 8, 1760. He is buried in Grey Friers Burying Ground. A powder horn said to have belonged to Lt. Alexander and bearing the coat-of-arms of the Campbell’s of Inverawe is at the McCord Museum of McGill University in Montreal.
  • It is unknown what happened to Duncan but his sister Janet inherited Inverawe so he most likely died young and without heirs.
  • Janet Campbell married Capt. William Pitman, had only one daughter, Susan, who died unmarried.

When Duncan’s wife Jean Campbell died in 1761, his daughter, Janet inherited the estate. According to Richards:

There is a family tradition that Major Duncan mortgaged Inverawe to his brother-in-law, Col. Robert Campbell of Finab and Monzie and that according to old Scottish law the property was handed over to the man who advanced the money until the rental had paid off the debt, and that this arrangement was called a wadset. Whether Col. Campbell of Finab and Monzie acquired the property by wadset or purchase, it passed into his hands soon after Janet proved her title and it is said that when she left the estate she washed her hands in a bottle of wine at the border, which we were told was an old Highland custom.

It appears that Maj. Duncan Campbell has no surviving descendants but his gravesite holds some interest.  It may be purely by happenstance but according to “Proceedings of the New York State Historical Association, Volume 2”; Published by the same in 1902, Google Books:

Within the same enclosure are two other Campbell headstones one erected In memory of Mrs Ann Campbell of the family of Balenabe and consort of Mr Duncan Campbell who died August the 10th 1777 in the 74th year of her age.

This would be referencing the location of Duncan’s grave prior to his removal to the Jane McCrea lot where it now stands. The Gilchrist’s and Ann Campbell’s family were supposedly related and tradition holds that Maj. Duncan of Inverawe was also related.  While there are quite a few theories, peppered with facts, the mystery remains unsolved.

I do believe there is a connection to some of the Campbell’s in Jamaica. We can find one reference in the next sketch on Ann Campbell of Balenabe.


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