16 – Sarah Gordon Fraser Campbell McNeil

Another interesting member of the Campbell family is Sarah.  She was a Fraser by birth and is said to have been a cousin to Brigadier General Simon Frasier.  She is also said to have come from Ballinaby (same as Ann) but I have found no evidence of that.  Other references state that she is the daughter of Simon Fraser, of Balrain and her Uncle was Alexander Fraser of Balrain however there is no proof that Simon was the brother to this particular Alexander.

McCrea Stones

Markers of Jane McCrea and Sarah Gorden Fraser Campbell McNeil. These are new markers. Not original from the time of death.
Union Cemetery, Fort Edwards, Washington Co, NY
Find A Grave Memorial# 21471899

For my purposes, I am more interested in her first marriage which was to a Campbell, but again, there tends be conflicting information.  This probably comes from Sarah’s part in an iconic story of the American Revolution involving the death of Jane McCrea.

Jane McCrea, or Jenny as she was known, was visiting Sarah’s house near Fort Edwards.  They were both taken by Indians and Jenny was killed.  You can read more about the incident in this Wiki article. The story quickly spread, was re-told and certainly embellished.  My conjecture is that in later years, the story was further expanded by detailing the life of Sarah Gordon Fraser Campbell McNeil.  In fact, she is buried very near Jenny McCrea, or at least has a stone erected next to Jenny.  The body of Jenny, Maj. Duncan Campbell of Inverawe and Sarah all share the same site in Union Cemetery but have been moved and removed several times so it’s hard to know if Sarah is actually buried there or not.  In fact, it is known by recent DNA testing that there are more than one body buried with Jenny.

McCrea Enclosure

Final resting place and enclosure of Jane McCrea, Sarah Gorden Fraser Campbell McNeil, and Maj. Duncan Campbell of Inverawe and the Black Watch
Union Cemetery, Fort Edwards, Washington Co, NY
Find A Grave Memorial# 21471899

In the most common story of Sarah, she is said to have married Archibald Campbell a relative of Maj. Duncan Campbell although the relationship is unknown.  Sarah and Archibald came to America in 1764 and Archibald is said to have died on the trip over. Sometimes, her husband is called Alexander Campbell.  Sarah later married James McNeil of New York who died shortly after.  She later moved to Fort Edward where James had a land grant in the Argyll patent.

While the above is the accepted story of Sarah “Fitch Gazetteer of Washington County, New York Vol 1”; tells a different story which I feel deserves mention since it was compiled by using first hand knowledge of events and people.  My interpretation of the facts may be in error so I would encourage others to come to their own conclusions.  In addition, this could be an entirely different Sarah Fraser (spelled Frazier in the Fitch document) but most certainly seems to be referencing the same Sarah as in the McCrea story. According to the above work, Sarah Frazier married a Duncan Campbell and had 3 children (no particular order is given):

  1. Caty (P. 78) married. William? Hunter (Note: There is a question mark after William in the book and most sources say that Caty/Catherine, dau of Sarah Gordon Fraser Campbell McNeil, married Robert Hunter.  Katherine had a daughter Polly (Mary) who lived with Sarah.  Polly married Major Peter Bailey Tierce.
  2. Daniel (P 78): On impulse Daniel boarded a vessel for England and did not return to NY for 21 years.  Shortly after his return, he left again for England and was not heard from again.
  3. Archibald (p. 77):  Archibald and his mother kept a Tavern in NYC and came to Argyll prior to the Revolutionary war.  Archibald was the original owner of Lot 141 in the Argyll patent. (NOTE: Most sources, all stemming from 1 source, say the original owner of lot 141 was David Torrey).  Lot 141 was very near Fort Edward and there is a description in the above book of Sarah’s property.  It was very close to Fort Edward.

Archibald, son of Sarah, married Ann Campbell, the daughter of Duncan Campbell and Ann Campbell of Ballinaby. (P. 77).  Another reference to this marriage is on (P. 79) stating that Ann’s name was Nancy but one must remember that this is a collection of articles and interviews so there are many versions of one event though Nancy is an acceptable version of Ann. From this marriage, we have a connection to that of the Campbell’s of Ballinaby and that of Sarah Gordon Fraser Campbell McNeil.  Whether or not this connection is the one referenced historically, I do not know.

As stated earlier, Sarah reportedly came to America in 1764 with her husband Archibald who died on the trip, however on the list of immigrants brought over by Capt. Laughlin Campbell we find:

Duncan Campbell of New York, and Sarah Frazer, his wife, came in 1739.

It is possible that Sarah was originally married in Scotland and her husband died and she remarried in NY.

I have more scattered information on this group of Campbells. Hopefully I can study more about them and post additional information in the future but for now, back to ENJ!

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