28 – The John Campbells of Monmouth County

There are 3 John Campbell’s who came to the ENJ Colony as indentured servants. Lord Neil Campbell (LNC) imported 2 per the handwritten list (vrs the transcription most often used).  The other John Campbell was probably imported by George Scott on the Henry and Francis. This is not to say they weren’t other John Campbells in the area. Some could have come to NJ from other areas having already established them self in the colony.

While my research goal was to identify the 3 imported servants, and I believe I have identified 3 individuals named John in that time frame, I could be wrong so I encourage you to do your own research and see if you agree.

John Campbell of Piscataway: He gave a deposition in 1720, when he was 58 yo in which he stated that (in 1686) he was “coming down Rariton River with several servants belonging to Lord Neil Campbell going to Woodbridge meeting…”  That was good enough for me to classify him as a servant to Lord Neil Campbell.  John lived and died in Piscataway where he left a family. You can read several sketches here: 24 – John Campbell of Piscataway, 26 – Children of John Campbell of Piscataway and 27 – John Campbell of Woodbridge

John Campbells of Freehold:  The other two John Campbells lived about 20 miles away in the Freehold, Monmouth Co, NJ area.  They were within a 5-6 mile radius of each other in 1690.  While these two Johns could be the same person, I don’t believe they are.  I identified them as:

  • John Campbell of Monmouth (as in Monmouth Battlefield)
  • John Campbell of Manalapan

Note: I am naming one John after the battlefield and one for a town/area. Don’t let my naming conventions confuse you as both locations are in Monmouth County.

I’m assuming all the John Campbell’s who came to ENJ in 1684 and 1685 were in their twenties.  They could have been older.  While I will detail these individuals in separate sketches, here is the summary and a bit of my thought process:

  • John Campbell of Monmouth: As early as 1689, this John was buying property in the area of what is (now) known as Monmouth Battlefield and continued to do so until about 1693.  This property is located near the Rhea, Coombs, and Craig families known to have lived on the Monmouth Battlefield.  He is also associated with the Walkers.
  • John Campbell of Manalapan: This John purchased a “lot” onManalapan Brook in 1690.  In 1695, he sold it to William Davidson.  He could have owned more land in the area, moved to New Aberdeen, NJ (abt 15 miles away) where he probably owned other land or he could have moved to PA as indicated by a deed executed by his heirs.

Did the above John’s have John Jr’s?

  • John Campbell of Monmouth: Most certainly this John was the father of a John Jr of Freehold who was born in 1719 and married Rachel Walker, dau of George Walker.  George Walker and John Campbell SR witnessed at least 2 wills together and George Walker JR gave bond to the marriage of John Campbell JR and his sister Rachel.  John JR and Rachel named their second son George Walker Campbell.
  • John Campbell of Manalapan:  This John could have had a son John Jr who moved to PA but this is only an assumption on my part.  This John sold land to William Davidson. William Davidson had a son named George (proven by his will in 1723).  There is PA deed that references George Davison as the husband to Charity Campbell, widow of John Campbell.  The deed names the heirs of John Campbell and it dtd 1731.  John of Manalapan had bought the land in PA in 1716.  On the list of heirs (on the deed) there is no mention of a John Jr.

Are John Campbell of Monmouth and John Campbell of Manalapan the same person?

They could be as both seem to be buying land at the same time but we know John Campbell of Monmouth had a son John Jr. of Freehold b. in 1719.  John SR witnesses the wills of Robert Rhea in 1718 and Thomas Combs in 1723.

This is 2-5 years AFTER the land purchase in PA of John Campbell of Manalapan.

If they were the same person then John Campbell SR would have purchased land in PA in 1716, waited 5 years to move (he was witnessing wills), moved, then died in PA.  If this were the case, certainly John Jr of Freehold would have been listed as the heir of John Campbell in PA.  That John appears to have died intestate so no prior division of land would have excluded John JR.

If the PA John was a John Jr of John Campbell of Manalapan, then we would have two John JR’s and that seems highly unlikely in the same family.

The only other explanation would be that John Campbell JR (of Freehold) was b. in 1719.  The heirs of John Campbell executed their deed in 1732 so Jr would have only been 13yo and too young to sign. However, that document is extremely thorough and obviously drafted by attorneys.  It seems unlikely that it would not mention any minor children of John Campbell in PA or NJ.

My conclusion is that we have 2 different John Campbells who were of the right age to have been an indentured servant and imported into the ENJ in 1684 and 1685.

The other slight possibility is one of these John Campbells was the son of John Campbell, Proprietor of ENJ.  I doubt this as that John was probably very wealthy and neither of these John’s appear to be so in the earlier years.  Also, we see them making their first land purchases right about the time they would have been released from servitude (4 years after arrival in 1684 and 1685).

Locations of the John Campbells

Source: Google Maps

Source: Google Maps
Click to enlarge

(A)    John Campbell of Piscataway located about 20 miles North of either of the John Campbells of Freehold

(B)    John Campbell of Manalapan.  Located about 5 miles West of the Monmouth Battlefield.

(C)    Monmouth Battlefield and locations of allied families of John Campbell of the same area.

John Campbell Jr, Son of the Proprietor inherited his fathers land on the Raritan River (not shown on map).  While it’s not known if he lived there, the property is located about 13 miles NW of Piscataway (A).


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