David Campbell of Derry Township Lancaster Co (c. 1739)

From the will of Patrick Campbell of Donegal, Lancaster Co (1772), we learned that Patrick had a brother David who had died and left a widow Martha, and four children; Patrick, David, Mary and Jane. The Widow was Martha Byers which is determined from a court case involving the children of David Campbell and the sale of his land in Derry, Lancaster Co, PA.

October Assizes 1796, At York

To the best of my understanding, the children of David were claiming that the land of their late father David Campbell was wrongly sold and were hoping to re-claim it from Andrew Rheim and Casper Lear, the owners in 1796.  The Campbells lost the case but it provided valuable information. I have copied some (not all) of the case at the bottom and linked the original law book so you can verify my notes.  The items of interest to me are:

  • Name of the Case: Lessee of Patrick Campbell, David Campbell, Henry Wales and Mary his wife, and Jane Campbell against Andrew Rheim and Casper Lear.
  • David Campbell on the 28th May 1748 took out a warrant for 200 acres of land more or less in Derry township adjoining James Russel
  • Interest to commence thereon from 1st March 1739
  • He (David) died intestate on the lands in 1758 leaving Susannah his widow and issue the lessors of the plaintiff who were all young at the time but their ages were not ascertained.
  • They contended that this usage ceased in 1753 or 1754. The tract was sold at public vendue for 140£ 10s in 1758…  *
  • He (David Campbell Sr) had a brother named Patrick who lived about six miles from the land and two brothers in law, John Byers who lived about the same distance from him, and Thomas Smith whose house was thirty five miles distant.
  • The widow after her husband’s death removed with her children to her brother Byers’s;
  • The interest of the intestate in the lands was sold by John Byers and Martha Campbell, (the widow,) at public vendue for 140£ 10s and they executed a bill of sale thereof to Robert Taylor, Josiah Candow, and John Vanlear,
  • After some time, Patrick the eldest son and Mary went to the house of their Uncle Smith where they continued two or three years
  • The two other children (My Note: David and Jane) remained with their uncle Byers eleven or twelve years until they removed to Virginia.
  • Byers and his sister were dead

* I have taken these 2 lines out of context in the original case so verify my thought process for yourself. I believe –although a bit confusing- it is referring to the fact that the Campbells had left the property by 1753 or 1754. One could infer that this was due to the death of David Campbell Sr.  The land was sold in 1758 but not necessarily the year David died. That said, the line proceeding seems to contradict my thought process.  This source is not a genealogy book, it is a law book describing a case of interest regarding the sale of land. In the end, I’m keeping an open mind as to when David died but for sure we know it was prior to or in 1758.

Life of David Campbell

David Campbell Lancaster LandI know very little about David Campbell and most is from the secondary sources cited below.  Thanks to the great people who run the PA State Archives web site we can see the location of David’s Land in Derry. You see a small snippet of the map here but for full context, you can check out the map here: Derry Twp. See my “All Sources” page above for links of many more Town maps.

The rest of the information I will list since I don’t have much to add:

  • 1737-9 David Campbell was a warrantee for four hundred acres in Derry Township. Source: The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Volume 28, pub 1903, p. 65 footnote.  Link to the Google Book.

Note: I referenced the exact page (above) but be sure to read the entire chapter on Francis Campbell for some early information on the Campbell’s of the area. On the same page and above my reference to David, there is a reference to a Robert (1724). I suspect this Robert may be the brother to David and Patrick however that has yet to be determined. Here, the author is linking Robert to the Augusta Co VA Campbells (John Campbell who m. Grace Hay).  What is interesting is he seems to be inferring more twists to the Augusta Co Campbell’s than what is routinely seen in popular versions of this family’s genealogy.

  • 1742: (David) witnessed the Will of John Catherwood with Patrick Campbell at Patrick’s House where Catherwood lived. Patrick owned and operated a Tavern as previously discussed in this sketch. Source: Notes and queries: Chiefly relating to Interior Pennsylvania, Volume 1, Pub 1887, Edited by William Henry Egle: p. 281 Link to Google Book
  • David Camble is listed on the 1751 tax list for the West End of Derry where he was assessed 2s 0d. Source: Same book above (Egle N&Q) p. 326:
  • From a GenForum query: Seeking information on a David Campbell. In 1737 he was granted a Warrant for land on Spring Creek, Derry township, Lancaster Co, PA. Now in Dauphine co. His wife or Daughter was named Martha. I tried the email but it was no longer valid.  The author of the query did post a transcription of the sale of the property here: http://www.pa-roots.org/data/read.php?36,116339  This was the sale of the property by Martha (the Widow) and eventually subject of the above court case.

Martha Byers, Widow of David Campbell

Martha Byers was the daughter of David Byers. Her home before she was married was was located SE of Patrick Campbell’s Tavern. See the full map here and a snippet of the map below. The property is named on the map as that of John Wilson. The Heirs of David Byers sold this property to him sometime prior to 1762.  How do I know this?

The Byers home still stands today and is known as the Byers-Muma house.  There is a National Registrar of Historic Places form (Linked), that gives some information about this house and it’s history. Of interest is:

Taken from the Byers-Muma House Wiki Page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byers-Muma_House

Taken from the Byers-Muma House Wiki Page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byers-Muma_House

The history of this property begins with the Scotch Irish Byers family when David Byers purchased 332 acres of land in the Donegal Township, Lancaster County in circa 1720. Donegal had been mainly settled by Scotch Irish Presbyterians in the early 18th century and was named for a place in northern Ireland. Buyers land was surveyed on April 8, 1736 he never received a patent for the tract; however, he was issued a warrant for it on October 24, 1739. Township tax records seem to indicate that Byers passed away around 1759. He died intestate, leaving the property to his two sons, David and John Byers, and his two daughters, Jane Smith (married to Thomas Smith) and Martha Campbell (a widow). Byers’ wife must’ve also been deceased by that time; her name is unknown. Sometime between 1759 and 1762, the Byers children sold the property to John Wilson. The land was resurvey at the time and found to contain 342 acres. Wilson obtained a warrant and a patent for the property in September 1762 and then sold it to Margaret and George Clingen the following month. The deed of sale list Wilson’s wife’s name as Martha; possibly he married the widow Martha Byers Campbell (My Note: Not Verified). The year 1762 corresponds with the date when the entire Byers family permanently moved away from Donegal Township as part of the Scots Irish migration from Pennsylvania into Ohio. (My Note: I can’t speak for all the family but John Byers did not go to Ohio).

Location of Property in Donegal.

Location of Property in Donegal. See this Map: http://tinyurl.com/b8bheew

There are a few Byers genealogies available if you search. One is in the second volume of Egle N&Q, pub 1896 p. 429. Link provided. A short biography of John Byers is on page 416.

I found one that was 26 pages here. Search for the name Campbell. I will mention that author states that Martha m. Patrick Campbell but this in error as shown by the court case.  I still need to read much of this genealogy myself so I haven’t verified anything outside of the fact that the author seems to care a great deal about genealogy in that he took the time and effort to write a 26 page history of his family – not to mention visiting gravesites.

While the above 2 genealogies state that John Byers was a Col, you may also want to search for Capt. John Byers.  In the above 26 page genealogy, the author states:

  • Patrick Campbell was issued letters of Administration for David Byers (probably the source of confusion on the marriage to Martha) and;
  • John Byers moved to Carlisle, Cumberland Co, PA.

There is evidence that John did move there and presumably, Martha went with him. I say presumably because I don’t know for sure but it was inferred in the above court case. For sure, David and Jane Campbell (children of David and Martha) were living with their Uncle Byers for 11-12 years before moving to VA.

While I have yet to search extensively for John Byers (or Martha) in Carlisle but there is one bit of internet posting that intrigues me. It is a post entitled James Mc Farland (1695) Family Of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. In it we find:

  • Cumberland County Will Abstracts: James McFarlane of West Pennsborough, 20 Jun 1770, probated 27 Nov 1770; Wife Margaret, Children: William (had Ann), Andrew, James, Patrick, Jane CAMPBELL, Ann DUNNING, Robert, and John.  Executors Robert and Andrew; Overseer & Guardian John Byers;  Witnesses John Denny, James Byers, Mary Byers, Elizabeth Byers

James, Mary and Elizabeth Byers are the children of John Byers. The mention of Jane Campbell is interesting to say the least and I need to investigate that further. There are other Campbell’s mentioned in the post as well but I don’t recognize them as yet.

Also, in the court case Martha is referred to as both Susannah (initially) and Martha (later). I’m not ignoring this. I suppose Martha could be a nickname (?) but in the little bit of information I have found, she is always referred to as Martha. That said, be aware of both names just in case.

My final note about Martha is that I still don’t have a good feel for her age or even that of her children. Egles N&Q (linked above, page 416) says John Byers was b. about 1715. I suppose Martha could be 5 years + or – from that.  Patrick Campbell, brother to David Campbell, was showing up on tax lists as early as 1721 in Donegal. Come to your own conclusions but my thought is that David may have been 10, 15, even 20 years older than Martha but as I said, I don’t have a good feel for it yet.

Uncle Thomas Smith who married Jane Byers

We know from the court case that David and Jane went to live with their uncle John Byers. Patrick and Mary went to live with their Uncle Thomas Smith.

Let me start by saying (as way of an excuse) there are no shortages of Smiths in Lancaster – many of them named Samuel but a few named Thomas.  I can not find anything obvious about a Thomas Smith who married Jane Byers (the only sister of Martha).  There are indications that the family thinks Jane may have married a Lytle so that may be why.

Alternatively, Patrick Campbell married Mary Smith (widow of James Smith). Perhaps they were referring to “Uncle Thomas Smith” in the loosest of terms? I don’t know but that feels a bit like a zebra in a forest of Smiths…. Especially since it said in the court case that David had “two brothers in law” when referring to the Uncles.

I could write more about my suspicions (and I have a few) but probably better to wait until I have more information.  Or if you’re curious, just ask and I’ll share. That said, Patrick and Mary only stayed with Thomas but a few years and from there… I am at a loss.

We know from the title of case (as listed in the book), that Mary Campbell married Henry Wales. I can find nothing about Henry Wales which is a bit unusual – not even a hint.  If you know anything, let me know.

Conclusion

Hopefully, I have dropped enough names that someone searching for these families can link and possibly provide more information. In the meantime, I have enough to continue searching for the children of David. I am very interested in knowing where they went in VA since the Botetourt area is where my Campbells are known to have been.

If you know anything, please leave a comment!

Below is some of the text of the above court case. Again, I encourage you to read it in total. I attached the link.

Reports of Cases Adjudged in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, By The Hon. Jasper Yeates, V. II, p. 123 Link to free Google eBook here.

At Nisi Prius, At York, October Assizes 1796

Lessee of Patrick Campbell, David Campbell, Henry Wales and Mary his wife, and Jane Campbell against Andrew Rheim and Casper Lear.

Where lands held under an equitable title have been formerly (as in 1758) sold bona fide by administrators to pay debts or maintain children without an order of Orphans Court such sales will be established.

Ejectment for lands in Derry township.

It appeared in evidence that David Campbell on the 28th May 1748 took out a warrant for 200 acres of land more or less in Derry township adjoining James Russel including his improvement. Interest to commence thereon from 1st March 1739. On that day, he also paid 10£ into the receiver general’s office. He had brought the original improvement from William Hall and had on the tract a tolerable cabin stables and above ten acres of cleared land. He died intestate on the lands in 1758 leaving Susannah his widow and issue the lessors of the plaintiff who were all young at the time but their ages were not ascertained. The intestate was possessed of a stock of creatures which was sold shortly after his death. He had a brother named Patrick who lived about six miles from the land and two brothers in law, John Byers who lived about the same distance from him, and Thomas Smith whose house was thirty five miles distant. The widow after her husband’s death removed with her children to her brother Byers’s; after some time, Patrick the eldest son and Mary went to the house of their Uncle Smith where they continued two or three years and the two other children remained with their uncle Byers eleven or twelve years until they removed to Virginia.

The interest of the intestate in the lands was sold by John Byers and Martha Campbell, (the widow,) at public vendue for 140£ 10s and they executed a bill of sale thereof to Robert Taylor, Josiah Candow, and John Vanlear, and also an assignment of the original receipt for 10£ paid to the receiver general both bearing date on the 11th of May 1758. The premises being afterwards vested in Taylor were conveyed by his administrators in pursuance of a sale directed by the Orphans Court to John Sterling in consideration of 145£ 10s on the 1st January 1761, who on the 14th April 1769, conveyed to Jacob Lime in consideration of 502£ and the defendants entitled themselves thereto by divers mesne conveyances.

Byers and his sister were dead. No letters of administration to them were shown in evidence but their bill of sale stiled them administrators; nor were any inventory or administration account shown to the court, or search made for them.

…. But they contended that this usage ceased in 1753 or 1754 and consequently that the sale made by the administrators in 1758 was not protected thereby

Byers took the children who are now claiming the land to his own house and kept two of them many years.

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