In his book, Philip Van Horne House, Somerset Avenue, Bridgewater township, S.Williams states that the home built by Joseph Reade around 1722 was sold to Jacob Janeway. Philip Van Horne, son of Elizabeth French and Cornelius Van Horne purchased the property in 1750 from the heirs of Janeway and had ownership throughout the Revolution. It was during the Revolution that the property became known as “Phil’s Hall” and sometimes “Convivial Hill”. After Philip’s death, the land passed to the nephew of Philip’s wife, James Rickette.
Whether James Rickette actually lived in the home is unknown to me but in 1794, he conveys it to John Campbell of Elizabeth Town, NJ (Sussex Co). From S. Williams work:
Deed of 1 November 1794, one James Rickette Esq., of Elizabeth Town, N. J., (evidently a nephew of Van Horne’s wife), with his wife Sarah, conveyed to John Campbell of same place, for $5000, lots numbers 4 and 13 of the Kells Hall estate (reciting title successively from Hugh Rowen, Jacob Ricketts, and estate of Cornelius Van Home deceased) and “all that tract of land late the property of Philip Van Horne” being eighty-four acres bounded south by Raritan Main Road, west partly by John Hagehouts front lot and partly by Cornelius Van Horne’s, north by said Hagehout’s back lot, and east by Luzada and Campbell’s mill lot, “ formerly Joseph Reade’s, ….. with all and singular the houses” etc,, but without reciting his title to this tract. (Somerset County Deed Book A., page 334)
In all Campbell had bought 3 separate but adjoining lots. According to the work of Edward Mass entitled North of the Rariton Lotts: A History of the Martinsville New Jersey Area dated 1975, after the Revolution the Phil Hill property:
“passed into the Campbell family, descendants of Lord Neil Campbell, the Scottish Nobleman…
While Maas is referring to the same sale as S. Williams, he also refers to the Campbell family as being descendants of LNC. He more than likely relied on the old traditions set out by earlier history books that John Campbell, Proprietor was the son/nephew/brother of LNC which has never been proven. Maas does not say why he came to this conclusion but in an older reference, Centennial History of Somerset County (New Jersey); Abraham Messler; published 1878, we find:
The location of his habitation called “Racawacahana” * …… passed soon after the Revolution into the hands of John Campbell, nephew of Lord Neil Campbell** …. and subsequently into others and finally into its present owners. It is one of the three first homesteads formed in our county.
* Racawacahana is the name Codrington gave his estate and the home he built which the French-Van Horne family renamed Kells Hall. John Campbell did not own this house.
** I am guessing but I think he would be referring to John Campbell Jr, son of the Proprietor which would mean he is assuming the Proprietor was LNC’s brother.
The interesting point about the above quote was printed in a time when other professed descendants of John Campbell, Proprietor were living in the area. In subsequent publications, where these descendants were consulted, they seem to have no objection or correction to offer. The problem however, is that no details of John Campbell’s life are given in any publication. Another point about the above quote is that in 1794, it is unlikely that a nephew of LNC would be alive and certainly not John Campbell Jr, son of the Proprietor who would have been over 110 years old.
In subsequent deeds offered by S.Williams, more information about John Campbell is obtained:
By Deed of 24 April 1810, John Campbell of the Parish of Trelawney in County of Cornwall, Jamaica Island, Esq,, “of Phills Hill in the State of New Jersey”, and wife Ann, conveyed to his brother James Campbell of said parish, and to Robert Lenox and to Charles Wilkes, both of New York City, as trustees, for their sister, Margaret Campbell “at present of New Brunswick, N, J., spinster”, Phil Hill and described it as about 218 acres bounded east by a road called Tea Lane leading from Bound Brook, north by lands of Adam Anderson and James Henry, south and west by Peter Welsh, heirs of Schenck, David Bush, John and Thorns Shepard, also two woodlots belonging to the farm, and all in exchange for the plantation or sugar works, called Gibraltar, in said Island of Jamaica. (Somerset County Deed Book P — page 1)
James Campbell, recipient of the above deed died in 1831 and his sister Margaret sold the Phil’s Hill property:
By Deed of 2 December 1831, the Trustees and Margaret Campbell above named, of Somerset County, conveyed for $9550 “all that certain farm or plantation by the name of Phil’s Hill situated in the Township of Bridgewater” Somerset County, to John Herbert of said County, reciting the Deed above, and that said James Campbell is deceased without heirs. (Somerset County Deed Book Q — page l08)
In the above deed, the land formally referenced as Phil’s Hall during the Revolution, became known as Phil’s Hill by which it is known today.
The 1831 sale of the land by Margaret Campbell may explain other references to a John Campbell who built and operated Herbert’s Mill although that reference may be referring to John Campbell who operated the mill with Aaron Louzada. The Campbell-Louzada mill was located “on the west bank of the brook, below the house” not west of the house. In all likelihood the old mill was moved or a new one built by 1831, nearly 100 years after the first John Campbell and Aaron Louzada owned it. A John Herbert also purchased the Kells Hall house from George Smock in 1817.
No relationship between the John Campbell who owned the Mill and the John Campbell of Phil’s Hill has been established.
Who was John Campbell?
While I haven’t found much about this John, I have found a few interesting items. I will try to put them in context and I have cited sources at the end of this document.
From his obituary, John Campbell was born in 1759 and died in 1817 in Clifton, Bristol, England. From other records we know he was in Jamaica as early as 1779 when a John Campbell “of Spotsfield” represented Trelawney, as a Member of the Council. The fact that he was a Member of the Council, may indicate he was in Jamaica several years prior however he was only 20 years old at the time. John owned the plantation called “Spotsfield” and his brother James owned “Duanvale” sometimes called “Duan Vale”. James, John and their sister Margaret together owned a sugar plantation named “Gilbratar”.
While there is a record of a mortgage on either Spotsfield or Duanvale (or both), it is apparent the Campbell brothers had enough funds to establish large estates. One needed shipping connections in both America and Great Britain, along with the cash to purchase slaves, pay shipping fees and maintain the plantation. Whoever these Campbells were, they seem to have both the connections and the funds, and all at a young age. This may indicate an inheritance.
There was an Alexander Campbell in Trelawney Parish as well. On 1 Feb. 1781, the Governor (of Jamaica) ordered “a survey and allotment of 4 runs, each of 300 acres” of land in Trelawney to Alexander who seemingly sold his grant to John Thorpe in the same year. This is the little I know of Alexander, nor do I know his relationship to John, James and Margaret. It could be coincidental, but in the early part of the 1800’s an Alexander Campbell lived in Bound Brook. I am unable to determine with any certainty that he was a near neighbor to the Phil’s Hill property but he may have been.
It appears from his obituary, John died in Clifton, Bristol, England. There are 2 memorials/obituaries found at various places on the internet.
CAMPBELL: John, 61, of Clifton, Bristol. Died Jan 25, buried 1 Feb 1817. Of Spotfield and Gibraltar estates, Trelawny, Jamaica. And of Phill’s Hill near New York. He represented Trelawny in the House of Assembly for many years.
John of Jamaica Obituary dtd Jan 25 1817: At Clifton in his 61st year, John Campbell, esq., formerly of Spotfield and Gibraltar Estate, Jamaica, and of Phill’s Hall near New York, America. In Jamaica he for many years with the spirit and independence that characterized his life represented in the House of Assembly the opulent parish of Trelawny and in the private walks of life he was esteemed and beloved by all who knew him for his excellent qualities among which predominated benevolence, cheerfulness, and a generous solicitude for all around him.
When and why John left Jamaica is not known to me but as late as 1840, “the heirs of John Campbell” still owned the property named Gibraltar. It is interesting that in his memorials, John is said to be of Phil’s Hill, indicating a certain amount of sentimentality for the place. I can speculate that he left Jamaica as early as 1794 when he bought the Phil’s Hill and in 1810, he exchanged it for full ownership in Gibraltar when he moved to Clifton.
There is also an argument to be made that he was raised in New Jersey since he had a brother and sister there. When he purchased the property November 1794, from James Rickette Esq., of Elizabeth Town, N. J., John was referred to as being “of the same place” (meaning Elizabeth Town in Sussex County, NJ).
Margaret Campbell was the sister of John and James. From the 1810 deed, it would appear that she had an interest in the Gibraltar property along with her brother James, which they sold to John.
John Campbell of the Parish of Trelawney in County of Cornwall, Jamaica Island, Esq,, “ of Phills Hill in the State of New Jersey”, and wife Ann, conveyed to his brother James Campbell of said parish, and to Robert Lenox and to Charles Wilkes, both of New York City, as trustees, for their sister, Margaret Campbell “at present of New Brunswick, N, J., spinster”, ………….. all in exchange for the plantation or sugar works, called Gibraltar, in said Island of Jamaica.
The following information comes from Reports Of Cases Argued And Determined In The Court Of Chancery Of The State Of New York Before The Hon Lewis H Sandford Late Vice Chancellor Of The First Circuit Vol III. New York, Published By: Banks Gould & Co Law Booksellers, 1848 Reports Of Cases (Google Books).
There was a court case involving the estates of James and Margaret Campbell. From this lawsuit, we get a few additional facts about the family.
Charles Wilkes (named in the above deed) was the banker of James Campbell of New Jersey for many years. In 1831, James Campbell died and left his sister Margaret Campbell, his sole legatee and executor. Wilkes continued to manage James’ money for Margaret until Wilkes died in 1833. A successor administrator was named. At that time, Margaret had $26,000 invested. The successor administrator, a relative of Charles Wilkes, squandered and/or used nearly a quarter of the cash in James’ estate for his own purposes.
Margaret was pursuing restitution until her death on 6 April 1840. By her will, a William Banks became the administrator for the estate of James Campbell and was named executor for Margaret. Banks filed the lawsuit in 1842 which he ultimately lost. No heirs of Margaret were named in the lawsuit however there is a will listed in Middlesex County dtd 1840. Her inventory was valued at £12000. I have not found an abstract on the internet but I am sure it would provide details of the descendants of this family.
Robert Lenox, also named as trustee in the sale of Phil’s Hall, was the progenitor of one of the most prestigious family of New York. He was from Scotland and after his arrival he became a wealthy and powerful merchant. He had a son Robert who followed in his father’s footsteps. It could be either of these Robert’s named in the 1810 deed. Robert Lenox Jr’s son was James Lenox who built the Lenox Library in New York; and helped build the Presbyterian Hospital with his donations of money and land. It was James who acquired an oil painting of John Campbell from one of “Campbell’s descendants in New Jersey” prior to 1860 and added it to his collection.
From the provenance of the painting, it is difficult to determine if Campbell was related to the Lenox family but I have not found any connection. The fact that anyone had a portrait of John in New Jersey indicates that indeed, he most likely left descendants (or relatives) but again, their relationship and identity are unclear.
Another interesting connection to Jamaica is through the Van Horne family. The wife of Philip Van Horne was Elizabeth Ricketts. Elizabeth was said to be born in Jamaica where the Ricketts family had plantations for generations Westmoreland. John Campbell bought the Phil’s Hill estate from her nephew Joseph Ricketts after the death of Philip.
And finally, if there is interest in this family, I would recommend reading the chapter Mrs. Ann Campbell of the Family of Balenabe. While I have my doubts about Ann of Balenabe being Ann Lenox, there may be a connection to the Lenox/Lennox family via John Campbell. Ann Campbell and her husband came to America from the Isle of Islay in Scotland with Captain Lauchlan Campbell.
The following are some of the facts and sources I used to make some assumptions of John Campbell who purchased part of the Kells Hall land and the Phil’s Hill House in 1794.
From: http://www.bromfield.us/archives/Tharp_Papers_2.html which inventories the papers of the John Tharp family who lived in Trelawney from as early as 1670. We have:
- 20 Apr.1780: Alexander Campbell to John Tharp. Letter describing taking over of Pedro Estate (apparently John Tharp was “taking over the estate”)
- 1 Feb., 1781: Governor’s Orders for survey and allotment of 4 runs, each of 300 acres. of land in Trelawney to each of: Alexander Campbell (Other non-Campbell names Listed)
- 10 Feb., 1781. George III. to Alexander Campbell. 4 Letters Patent each granting 300 acs. in Trelawney Plans attached.
- 1781: Alexander Campbell of Trelawney and Rebecea his wife to John Tharp of same. Grant of 4 runs of land, each of 300 acres., in Trelawney Plans attached.
From: Estates, Plantations & Pens With A Great House In Trelawny Prior To Emancipation http://www.cockpitcountry.com/TrelEstates.html
- DUANVALE: James Campbell, who also owned neighboring Spotfield (later Kinloss) and, possibly, the area west of Kinloss still known as Campbells
- SPOTFIELD, at least part of which is now known as KINLOSS: John Campbell
who also owned nearby Duanvale and, possibly, the area east of Kinloss still known as Campbells. . The Jamaica Almanac of 1840 lists this estate with 1499 acres and the owner as George Scott.
- SPOTFIELD, later called Kinloss, was originally owned by John Campbell who also owned nearby Duanvale and, possibly,the area east of Kinloss still known as Campbells. Higman, in Jamaica Surveyed, mentions a Thomas Munro, “the wealthiest of all the Jamaican surveyors,..” whose wealth “came to depend on his ownership of Kinloss Sugar Estate in Trelawny and the 187 slaves who toiled for him”. Munro also owned a house in Martha Brae. The Jamaica Almanac of 1840 lists this estate with 1499 acres and the owner as George Scott.
Source: The Remembrancer, or Impartial repository of public events, Volume 11, By John Almon, p.219 (Google Book).
- 1780: Mentions “John Campbell (Spotsfield)” as voting on a resolution
Source: Reports of cases argued and determined in the High Court of Chancery from the Year 1789 to 1817. Volume 1. By Great Britain. Court of Chancery, Francis Vesey, p. 353
- 1805: Mentioned in the Will of William Jones as having owed a mortgage…. “mortgages bonds or open accounts by James Campbell of Duan Vale or his brother John Campbell of Spotfield estate …” This will was being cited as case law and does not mention the dates of the mortgages.
Source: Campbell’s in Jamaica 1840: “Returns of Proprietors, Properties and Land” from Jamaica Almanac of 1840. http://www.merchantnetworks.com.au/periods/lists.htm
- Campbell John, heirs of, Property: Gibraltar, 863 Acres
A good place to research: http://jamaicanfamilysearch.com/ Fee site. $8 for one month
An ACCOUNT of the Number of SLAVES on the following Plantations in the Parish of Trelawney on the 1st Day of October 1799 together with an Account of the Births that have happened on the said Plantations since the 1st Day October 1796 distinguishing amongst the Deaths those that were born in the Island or have been imported.
Briths from 1st Oct(?) 1796 to 1 Oct(?) 1799 – Creole Deaths from 1st Oct(?) 1796 to 1 Oct(?) 1799 – Imported Negro Deaths from 1st Oct(?) 1796 to 1 Oct(?) 1799 – Number of slavers on the property 1 Oct(?) 1799
- Campbell John – Spotfield 13, 10, 8, 150
- Gardner, Andrew – Duan Vale 13, 2, 15, 293
Other Plantations Known as Gibraltar
- At St Thomas – 1799 – Clark, George Booth – Gibraltar
- Hanover – 1799 – Gray, George – Gibraltar
A John Campbell “of Spotsfield” represented Trelawney, 1779 as a Member of the Council.
Page 200. In the name of God Amen. I Theophilus Rogers of the Island of Jamaica merchant being mindful of the dangers of those whose business obliges them to use the seas and being myself obliged to go a voyage to sea. I leave to my executor Alexander Campbell 20L to buy mourning. I leave to Mrs Judith Lyne a ring to the value 4 pistoles or the money. I leave all the rest of my estate to my wife Margaret Rogers of Barkhampstead in England. Mentions children but not named. Done at Port Royal. December 16 1728. Witnesses John Gibson, Daniel Campbell, Proved March 12 1729
27 Sept 1744 Administration of estate of Alexander Campbell granted to his wife Mary. He died Intestate.
Painted Picture of John Campbell circa 1810
Property From The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox And Tilden Foundations
Lot Sold Hammer Price with Buyer’s Premium: 296,000 USD
Measurements: 36 by 28 in. – Description: Oil on canvas
PROVENANCE: By descent in the family of the sitter, New Jersey. Relative of James Lenox (gift from the above) James Lenox, New York, circa 1860 (gift from the above). Gift to the present owner from the above, 1876
LITERATURE AND REFERENCES: George C. Mason, The Life and Works of Gilbert Stuart, New York, 1879, p. 156 Exhibition of Portraits by Gilbert Stuart, Boston, Massachusetts, 1880, no. 110, p. 33 Lenox Library, A Guide to the Paintings and Sculpture Exhibited to the Public, 1878, no. 71 The New York Public Library, Catalogue of Paintings in the Lenox Gallery, 1897, no. 63 Charles Merrill Mount, Gilbert Stuart, A Biography, New York, vol. 1, 1926, pp. 200-201, illustrated Cuthbert Lee, Early American Portrait Painters, New Haven, Connecticut, 1929, pp. 45-46.
CATALOGUE NOTE: John Campbell (c. 1756-1817), a planter, was born in Jamaica, West Indies. Campbell represented the parish of Trelawny in the Jamaica House of Assembly. He was one of the largest landowners in the area and owned the estates of Kinloss, Duanville and Campbell. Campbell also had ties to the United States and he kept an estate at Phill’s Hill, New York.
According to George Mason in The Life and Works of Gilbert Stuart, this portrait was probably painted circa 1810 in Boston and the portrait remained in the Campbell family until before 1860. James Lenox was given the portrait by a relative, who had acquired the portrait from Campbell’s descendents in New Jersey.
Jamaican Parish Formation