Mathew Campbell “One Armed School Teacher” of Augusta Co VA

If you research any Campbell’s in Augusta Co, VA you have probably run across a reference to Mathew Campbell, the “one armed School teacher”. You also probably realize that Mathew is an unusual name for the group of Campbell who settled in Augusta. My interest in Mathew stems from the fact that 2 of my Jessamine Co Campbell’s (who originated in Botetourt, VA) named a son Mathew:

  • William Campbell’s first born was named John W (1784), then James (1785), then Mathew (1786), then William (1788).
  • John Patrick Named his first born Mathew (1788), then James (1789), then Peter (father in law), then John (1797).
  • Robert Campbell didn’t have children.
  • Jane Campbell, sister to the above, did not name a child Mathew. She had 3 boys, James (1783), John (1787), and Jacob (1792).

William and John Patrick naming sons Mathew prior to naming their own namesakes indicates (to me) it may be an important name to the Jessamine Co KY Campbells.

HINT: I tried to be consistent by using the spelling Mathew (one T) here BUT if you are searching a finicky database – Search both Mathew and Matthew (two Ts).

Early Years

Very little is known about Mathew and it’s from a 26 Aug 1752 Chancery record that we find a starting point.  In that record, we see that William Thompson was a guardian to Mathew. A disagreement arises from Thompson’s accounting of the expenses in raising him.  In 1752 Mathew makes a statement:

  • As to his adm.  I pray may be Divided equally amongst us all both widow and orphan

In the accounting there is a reference to Widow Campbell. No mention is made of her name but as she is mentioned in 1752, we can assume she was alive, perhaps remarried. The lawsuit continues until 1756.

  • You can find the record by doing a Chancery Records Search and entering Thompson and Campbell. The record will come up as 1756 but in the later pages, you will find the 1752 documents.

Thompson is charging for 8 years maintenance but Mathew was at school 5 yrs plus and was teaching. During that time, Mathew had sent back his wages totaling £43.5.0 or about. Mathew’s inheritance was £22.8.10 ½.

The other item of note is that on pages 4 and 5 of the lawsuit, James is crossed out and Mathew is written in.

MattC v WmT1 MattC v WmT

In Annals of Augusta County, Virginia, from 1726 to 1871 By Joseph Addison Waddell, p. 385, In the early records or Orange Co, VA we find the following:

  • “William Thompson qualified as administrator of John Campbell in 1741, John Lewis security. The decedent was the ancestor of Colonel Arthur Campbell General William Campbell and many others”

The Campbell family to which Waddell is referring is that of “White” David whose father was John Campbell who m. Grace/Grissell Hay. This family of Beverly Manor, Augusta Co, VA has been documented and has no doubt confused and frustrated many researchers in this area – including myself.  You can find a link to Philip Norfleet’s work and that of Margaret Pilcher on my sources page if needed.

I question Waddell’s assertion that this was John Campbell who m. Grace Hay.  Granted, a Wm. Thompson had many dealings with the members of that family and it’s an easy assumption. However, no will of John Campbell exists (that I’m aware) or division of property so how do we know when he died? John’s kids were full grown having been born 35-40yrs prior and they had obtained land on their own. IF their father came to Beverly Manor with them it is more likely they would have administered the estate, not Thompson.

Family of Mathew Campbell

William Thomson, Mathew’s guardian from the above Chancery record, originally owned land in Beverly Manor and lived by John Maxwell however he had land in several places and in one deed MattC Bev Manor1750, Mathew testifying as to the sale of property:

1746 Jul 16 John Maxwell and William Thompson to make road from the Co. Ho. to Tinkling Spring (You can see the land they owned on the NE section of the Beverly Manor Map. Bottom Left and pictured to the right. Other maps are in the sources page)

28th Nov 1750: William Thompson Gent to George Scott 278 acres part of William’s 2 tracts Cathey’s River otherwise called Middle River Hugh Thompson’s corner Teste Mathew Campbell Jno Anderson James Craig

If you search Chalkley records you will find many transactions that list the Maxwell’s, Thompson’s and Mathew’s (surname) families. In several of these deeds, you see Mathew Campbell testifying. Whether or not these families were allied by marriage I don’t know but they were aware of each others activities by virtue of being near neighbors. I point out the Mathew’s surname as a marriage could be how Matt received his name.

Possible Siblings of Mathew

  • 1748 Aug 18: Will Book No 1 – page 9, Page 86 John Campbell’s estate; settlement by Wm. Thomson. (Campbell entries in Chalkley’s Chronicles, Vol 3)
  • 1749 Aug  24: John Campbell, orphan of John Campbell, decd., settlement by guardian in full. (Might be a different orphan of a different John Campbell – see below)
  • 1751 Aug 29: Wm. Thompson, guardian of Joseph and John Campbell, orphans of John Campbell, ordered to settle his accounts.

Here is where I want to mention another record to avoid confusion:

  • 1765 Fee Books Of Augusta Court Administrators’ Bonds Wm. Thompson, T. Spring; John Campbell, son of David, (October), your father’s deeds to you; page 118
  • 1765 Oct 11 Deed Book No. 12 page 432, (page 218) David Campbell to John Campbell, £5, 232 acres woodland ground. Teste: John Buchanan, Robert McNutt, Arthur Campbell. Delivered: John Campbell, March, 1769.

UPDATE (2/6/2013): The bulleted and italiced paragraph below was part of my original post. It discusses the above 2 records in Chakley. I didn’t want to erase it for my own reasons and my theory that the above 2 records belonged to the White David Branch of the Campbells HAS NOT changed.  However, if you read this page of Philip Norfleet’s work on this line of Campbells, he states that John accompanied his father (David) and Dr. Thomas Walker “to the waters of the Holston, and with his father and brothers purchased a valuable tract of land on the waters of the Middle Fork of Holston river called the “Royal Oak,” now about one mile east of Marion, Virginia.”  From that, I’m not sure how or why, Wm Thompson would be mediating the land deeds.

I will say Chakley is not a perfect work but “White David” Campbell is the only David who had a son John, and of the right age to be deeding land to a son. Another son of David’s was Arthur who was proving the transaction. “Black David” was in the area but a 1765 date does not work for this family (See “Black David” sketch by Philip Norfleet).

All of this is probably not important (to Matthew Campbell) but I want to point it out (to my myself) in case it becomes important in the future. My original post read:

  • This transaction belongs to the White David Campbell branch. It has nothing to do with the subject of this sketch or his family (that I’m aware). David, s/o John Campbell and Grace Hay, was giving/selling land to his son John who was b. 20 Apr 1742. In 1765, David had gone off with Dr. Thomas Walker and I suspect this is why Wm. Thompson was involved. The 2 records are not side by side in Chalkley so it’s important to view them in context.

Now, back to Matthew…

Since we know that Thomson was the guardian to Mathew, the above reference indicates that Mathew probably had brothers. Being ordered to settle the accounts of John and then John and Joseph may indicate trouble brewing for Thompson regarding his administration of the estate of John Campbell. Remember Matt brought action against Thompson for the same thing.

I should mention there was a William Thompson both Sr and Jr. I am assuming Sr was the guardian of Mathew. You can read a bit about William Sr here.

The next few records we have are:

  • 1756 Nov 17 John Maxwell’s bond (with John Ramsey) as guardian ( ) to John Campbell, orphan of Jno. Campbell.
  • 1756 Nov 18 John Campbell, orphan of John Campbell, aged 16, chooses guardian.
  • 1765 FEE BOOKS OF AUGUSTA COURT. – page 120, John Campbell, son-in-law of Maxwell;

I am placing this John Campbell as the brother to Mathew however, it may be wrong (as shown later). My primary reason is that in 1758, John Maxwell was Capt of an Augusta Co Militia, Mathew Campbell was a sergeant under him and John Campbell was also a member so it seems reasonable that John was Mathew’s brother. Also, it is apparent that the Thompson and Maxwell families had a relationship based on proximity in the Augusta Co records.

So far I have the genealogy as this:

John Campbell d. prior to 1741. His unk widow died after 1752 and probably after 1756

  1. Mathew Campbell b. 1730-1733 Date of birth based on 1752 Thompson testimony that he couldn’t bargain with an infant under 21.
  2. Joseph Campbell
  3. John Campbell b. abt 1740 (was 16 in 1756). He married an unknown Maxwell prior to 1765. She was probably the dau of John Maxwell his guardian.

If I have the above genealogy correct, then we have a 10 year span between Mathew and John so there may be more children.

There is a separate set of records as to the orphans of John Campbell:

  • 15th Feb 1748: Daniel Stover qualifies guardian of John, Mary and James Campbell, orphans of John Campbell, with sureties Abraham Strickler, George Leath.
  • 1748 Aug 18: Will Book No 1 – page 9, Page 86 John Campbell’s estate; settlement by Wm. Thomson. (Chalkley’s Chronicles, Vol 3) NOTE: Repeated from Above
  • 1750 Aug  29: John, James and Mary, orphans of John Campbell, to be bound out.


  • 27 Aug 1750: Orphan Mary Campbell bound to Daniel Stover (past 6 years). page 437 (Page 62)
  • 27th November, 1750: Orphan John ‘Campbell’ bound to James McCay. page 437 (Page 69)
  • 28th November, 1750: Orphan James ‘Campbell’ bound to Samuel Been. page 437 (Page 73)

(Source: Chalkley’s Chronicles, Vol 2 – Augusta Parish Vestry Book – Administrators’ Bonds)

Now keep in mind it may seem like there are a lot of John Campbell’s in Augusta Co  – and there are – but we can identify at least three – maybe four. No family members of the White and Black David Branch of the Campbells would account for any John’s that died nor of this age group (adult with young children in 1741 and/or 1744) – So that’s good!

Two John Campbell’s had property in Beverly Manor; one by 1745, the other by 1749. It is VERY likely they were on their property prior to that.  There could also be 1 John Campbell with 2 pieces of property.

There are 2 John Campbell children baptized by Rev Craig prior to 1741. (See Sources Virginia #10 for link)

  • 13 Nov 1740: John Campbell, a child Baptized named John
  • 27 Apr 1741: John Campbell, a child Baptized named John
  • 15 Apr 1744: 15. John Campbell, a child baptized named Elizabeth
  • 27 Oct 1745: John Campbell, a child baptized named Elizabeth.
  • 21 Feb 1745/6 John Campbel a child baptized named Robert
  • Jul 1746: John Campbell a child baptized named Mary
  • Sept 1748: John Campbell a child baptized named Daniel.

First, let me say that the various transcriptions of Rev. Craigs records have been shown to have problems. With that, I will let the reader decide how many John Campbells we have.  The ones I know of are:

  1. John who d. prior to 1741 and Wm Thompson became guardian to John, Joseph and presumably Mathew Campbell.
  2. Possibly another John that d. prior to Feb 1744 and Daniel Stover became guardian to James, John and Mary. Date of death assumed from Mary Campbell having been bound to Stover “past 6 years” in 1750.
  3. One John Campbell was living. He might be the son of James Campbell and Margaret Beard. John  married Rebecca White. See this genealogy. The children of John are unsure. Daniel is a family name. Stated children on the linked sheet are Archibald (b. 1731) and Andrew (b. 1739). While I’m unsure (skeptical) of the accuracy of the linked genealogy, it states John d. 1787.  NOTE:   The linked genealogy of John Campbell has James Campbell (his father) as the brother of John Campbell/Grace Hay and James’  father as Duncan who m. Mary McCoy. Read this. Start at the fourth paragraph. That marriage probably never happened so when I see the reference, I become skeptical.
  4. John Campbell m. Elizabeth Walker. The Campbell’s of Jessamine have a loose (very loose) connection to this family. It is unk to me when John died but he is said to have had a son Robert who married Rebecca Wallace. If the above baptismal record belongs to Robert, then he can not be the father of Mathew who was orphaned c. 1741.  I will write more on this family in a separate sketch but for now I believe that one of the Johns (prob 1741), one of the Elizabeths, the Robert and Mary bap by Rev Craig above belong to this family.

It is tempting to say that #1 and #2 (above) ARE NOT the same family since we never see the kids listed together. However, the more records I find, the more I lean towards 1 family. My thinking is:

  • In 1752 in the Chancery case, there is talk of 8 years of Thomson being guardian to Matt.  That means it started in 1744(ish)
  • Mary was bound to Daniel Stover in 1750 for the past 6 years – 1744(ish)
  • The timing of Daniel Stover qualifying as guardian of James, Mary and John (1748) and Wm Thomson settling John Campbell’s estate (same year-see above). NOTE:  I think Stover was re-qualifying or adding James and John as we know he was Mary’s guardian in 1744.
  • In the Chancery case, we have James name crossed out and Matt was inserted (reusing records? Attorney misunderstood which Campbell was suing? I don’t know but interesting!)

So I believe the genealogy looks like this:

John Campbell d. prior to 1741. His unk widow died after 1752 and probably after 1756. William Thompson Administer estate:

  1. Mathew Campbell b. 1730-1733 Date of birth based on 1752 Thompson testimony that he couldn’t bargain with an infant under 21.
  2. Joseph Campbell
  3. Mary Campbell, guardian Daniel Stover since 1744
  4. James Campbell: In 1748, his guardian was Daniel Stover. On 28 Nov 1750: he was bound to Samuel Been.
  5. John Campbell b. abt 1740 (was 16 in 1756). He was probably the youngest of this family. He married an unknown Maxwell prior to 1765. She was probably the dau of John Maxwell. In 1748, his guardian was Daniel Stover. On 27 Nov 1750: he was bound out to James McCay. In 1756 his guardian was John Maxwell (John was 16). He probably married one of John Maxwell’s daughters as in 1765 John is referred to as son-in-law of John Maxwell.

School Teacher

There are a few road orders mentioning Campbell’s school house so we know Mathew continued to teach school – at least until 1756:

  • Mathew CAMPBELL vs. Robert Renich, deceased (Joshua Mathews, administrator).–Account March, 1756, to schooling.

He purchased property that same year:

  • 8th May 1756: John Smith and Margaret to Mathew Campbell 30 250 acres on North Branch of South River of Shanando Teste Joshua and John Mathews Jr

Military Service

There is evidence that Mathew served in the military.  From Virginia‘s Colonial Soldiers, by Lloyd DeWitt Bockstruck

  • p. 201: The following entries are taken from William Waller’s Hening’s collection of the laws of Virginia. During the French and Indian war, the House of Burgesses passed an act for the defense of the frontier of the colony on 14 September 1758 the soldiers mentioned in the schedule attached to this app appear below
  • P. 205: Capt. John Maxwell as lieutenant, 2.8.0; John Mathews and Mathew Campbell, 0.16.0 each; Sgt. John Bowin, 1.1.4; John Bowin Jr, Henry Bowin, Moses Bowin, Reice Bowin, George Mathews, John Campbell, Robert Dew, Richard Mathews, and Michael Kelly, 0.16.0 each; Daniel Goodwin, William Mathews, and William Bowin, 0.8.0 each; Joshua Mathews and William McKinney, 0.19.0 each; Sampson Mathews and John Mathews and Ens., 0.10.0 each; Mathew Campbell, as Sgt., 0.6.8; James Wilson and James Magavock, 0.5.0 each; John Armstrong, John Bowen, Jr, Moses Bowen, James Gilmore, Jonathan Whitley, James Hughston, Andrew Hall, William Buyers, Patrick Porter, William Lapesley, Arthur McClure, and Samuel Todd, 0.4.0 each.

One clarification, I know Matt is listed twice but it’s the same Mathew. I think during this time of service he was promoted to Sgt.

What is interesting is that our “one armed school teacher” was a sergeant in the militia. That doesn’t seem very likely. I am guessing that Mathew was injured, sometime between 1758 (militia service) and 1759 when we see him selling the property he bought only 3 years prior:

  • Sale: 26th November 1759: Mathew Campbell to Adam Stephenson 27.10.0 – 250 acres on North Branch of South River Shanando Teste Abraham Smith Thos Gordon Ephraim Love Wm Cravens

That’s just a theory but maybe Mathew was injured during the French and Indian war. He could be selling as it would difficult taking care of a 250 acre farm if you lost your arm.

Will of Mathew Campbell

While I can’t be sure, I believe Mathew moved to nearby Lunenburg Co. Perhaps to be closer to relatives or his school.  He had married and had children by his death in 1763:

  • 1763 – Lunenburg Will Bk 2 page 184. Will. Sep 13, 1763. Mathew Campbell of Lunenburg Son – John Campbell. Daughter – Salle Campbell. Indicates other children but not named Exr: Wm Rutherford, John Holt, and Peter Rawlings. Wit: Wm Rutherford, Peter Rawlins, John Holt and Peter MacCown. WP Oct 13, 1763.
  • 1763 – Lunenburg Will Bk 2 page 210. An account of sales of the estate of Mathew Campbell dec’d Oct 19, 1763. Purchasers were: Wm Rutherford, Josias East Sarah Campbell, Wm Flemen Cock, James East, Collier Barksdale, Jos Davis, John Holt, James Mitchell, Richard Gideon, James Gideon, Wm Edwards, Samuel Allin, Peter Rawlins, John Caldwell, Robt Templeton, John Brent, Wm Price, Josias Campbell, Wm Hazlewood, William Rawlins, Wm Weatherford, Geo Welch, Henry Barnes, Burwell Voden, Gidion Thomas, John White, Arthur Slayton. Rec: Feb 9, 1764.

There is an account of a School teacher being killed by Indians in 1764 (the year following Matt’s death).

  • School teacher killed by Indians – 1764:  In 1764, a schoolhouse in Augusta County is attacked by a band of raiding Indians. The teacher and one small child are killed with the rest of the children taken captive. Later, a Frenchman living in the Indian village, buys and adopts one of the boys. The boy grows up to be an Indian chief, marries an Indian girl and raises a family. He, of course, is full-Scot and his children are half-Scot-half-Indian.
  • School teacher killed by Indians – 1764: “Colonel Brown’s father had formerly lived in what is now Bath county, then a frontier settlement. In one of the inroads made by the Indians, they pounced upon a school house near Mr. Brown’s residence, killed the teacher, captured the children, and among them Colonel Brown’s elder brother, then a little white-headed chap, and carried him off;

I included the above references to avoid confusion. I am fairly confident Mathew of Lunenburg is the Matt who is the subject of this sketch. No reference to Campbell’s Schoolhouse or Mathew Campbell in either account.

Siblings of Mathew Campbell

Before I delve deeper into this dark, dark place of supposition, assumption and flat out wishful thinking (at times), I want to encourage anyone to disagree with me… or point me in other directions.

Assuming that the above will is for our Mathew Campbell, it is possible that his brother Joseph it the Josias that appeared at Mathew’s estate sale.  It is from Chalkley that we learn that Wm Thompson also has charge of a John and Joseph Campbell and I am presuming these are brothers to Mathew. I wonder if he could have read an abbreviation of Jos or some variation and assumed it was Joseph instead of Josias – which is reasonable enough. There is a will for Josias in Mercer Co Ky and he refers to himself as Josias. In a census, he is called Joseph.

In Lunenburg Co we find a John and Josias Campbell living near ear other on Falling River:

  • 16 Aug 1756: John Campbell (VPB 33:30) 400a Lunenburg/ on little falling River
  • 16 Aug 1756  John Campbell (VPB 33:41)  416a Lunenburg/ on Little Falling River
  • 10 Jul 1767  Josias Campbell (VPB 36:1062) 376a Lunenburg/ on Hatt Cr. [of Falling River]

There are a few items that bother me about Josias and I am less certain about the John on Little Falling River but I will save that for the next sketch.

  1. Leslie Campbell said:


    Thanks for such A treasure trove of info. My sister directed me to your site last week and we’ve both been pouring over it, hoping for that definitive ‘spark’ of certainty. We’ve been dead-ended at our ggggreat grandfather Archibald Campbell of Albany, m. Christina for years now. You have certainly done a great deal of research, but more importantly, have sorted out so much information and created a narrative that’s so much more than a collection of seemingly unrelated and sometimes contradictory data.

    Where to go from here. We’ve long suspected (from Archibald’s inheriting land there) that his father was in NJ and also that his name might be John, given Archibald’s first son is so named. We’ve been totally unable to find anything much more about him, beyond what you also have found. We do, though, know his immediate family-we descend through his son Jacob-and I have a copy of his (Archibald’s) will I’d be happy to scan and send to you (not always so legible) or transcribe and send.

    Most important in that is the mention of land in New Jersey, but it simply says “sale of lands laying in the state of New Jersey” no more descriptive. Other land included “sell the lands I own laying north of the town of Chemungo in the county if Tioga and 1,000 acres laying the the forks of Hudson’s river in a patent called Dartmouth.” He also bequeathed to his wife Christina “the lotts and the house in Albany…”

    I want to absorb what you’ve written more before I start throwing questions at you. But, thanks so much for reigniting our hope of discovering Archibald’s heritage, and ultimately precisely where in Scotland he/we hail from.

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