An Extract on the Origins of McCampbell

There are several items that support the family journal of John
McCampbell II (Chart A2) . He was a Presbyterian minister who wrote that John
McCampbell came from Ireland to Virginia in 1753 with all of his family,
except for the family of his son, James. James and his family came the
following year, 1754. Solomon McCampbell (Chart A) , son of James, stated in
his Revolutionary War pension application that he “was born either in the
County Down or County Antrim in Ireland on the 17th day of July 1753.”
William McCampbell (Contents), son of John, deposed in June 1811 that he came
to Borden’s Grant in 1753 and that he was in his 72nd year.

We had a reference to a Miscampbell in Philip Crossle’s manuscripts on
the Gordon family as follows, “By Lease, dated 1 Nov., 1714, Robert Gordon of
Ballintaggart, Gent., leased to James Gray, John Miscampbell and Andw.
Miscampbell all of Ballintaggart, the middle quarter of Ballintaggart …” It
seemed to us that John Miscampbell could have been John McCampbell who came to
Virginia in 1753 – he would have been of age in 1714 to have leased the land
and would have been “of an advanced age” by 1753. We had a Dublin genealogist
locate this deed record and see what had happened to that land. We had found
our connection. “Deeds of Lease and Release dated 10th. May 1753 made between
John McScamell of Ballintagart Co. Down, Farmer, and Andrew McScamell of
Drumgiven, Co. Down, Farmer, and Thomas Kennedy of Dublin, Attorney at Law.”
This 1753 deed was signed by John McSkamell. We happened to find a very
similar signature as a witness to a will of John McCroskey in Augusta County,
Virginia in 1758.

It appears that the father of Robert Gordon of Ballintaggart was Rev. James Gordon who married, second, to Mary Simpson, daughter of the Rev. James
Simpson and widow of Rev. Hugh Binning. Her son, John Binning, took up arms
with the Covenanters, fought with them at the battle of Bothwell Bridge and in
consequence forfeited his estate. The Covenanters objected to efforts of the
King of England to make them conform to the established church of England and
to appoint Bishops who would appoint the ministers of the churches. The area
of Galloway was one of the most ardent in its support of Covenanting
activities during the 1638-1688 period when many Covenanters fled to Ulster
rather than to remain in Scotland where they faced persecution for adhering to
their strict Presbyterian beliefs. This persecution continued in Ulster and
it is not surprising that about one-third of the population of Ulster
(200,000) emigrated to America during the colonial period.

There is confusion between the Scottish Campbells and native Irish who
adopted the similar sounding Scottish name of Campbell. In “More Irish
Families” by Edward MacLysaght, the author reports the following comment:
“However, the Campbells I have in mind are the Co. Tyrone Campbells. The
Tyrone Campbells are usually not the Scottish Campbells (Mac Cailein) but the
indigenous Tir Eoghain sept, Mac Cathmhaoil.”
Many of the family have stated that McCampbells are a branch of the
Campbell Clan. In April 2003, I submitted a DNA sample to the Campbell DNA
project of Family Tree DNA. The results indicated a fairly close match with
some Campbells, including Sir Ha y Campbell of Succoth. Unfortunately, his
DNA (and our McCampbell DNA) is significantly different than that of the
Argyll Campbells. I have a perfect 25 out of 25 match with Andrew
Miscampbell, a lawyer of Oxford, England and a 24 out of 25 match with Lexie
Miscampbell of County Down. Andrew’s family had lived at Carrickfergus
earlier. Neither of them are able to trace their family earlier than about
1800. Our DNA is closer to that of Niall of the Nine Hostages (an early King
in Ireland) who died about 450 A.D.

“The Surnames of Scotland” by Dr. George F. Black includes several
interesting summaries, including –
“MISCAMPBELL. Now a rare surname. It has been suggested that it may be
‘an Irish (Ulster) corruption of MACCAMPBELL.’ The maccampbells of Ulster
came from Galloway. It may be an error for M’Scamble recorded in the parish
of Whithorn in 1707.”
“MACSCAMBLE. John M’Scamble in Norrach, parish of Whithorn, 1707
(Wigtown). McSkamble 1684.”
“MACCAMBIL. A variant of MACCAVELL (from Ir. Cathmhaoil). Gilbert
M’Cambil, burgess of Innermessan, 1426 (RMS., II, 185). John Mc Cammell in
Galloway, 1684 (Parish). The name of course has nothing to do with Campbell.”

On our recent trip to the UK, Jane and I met Duncan Beaton at the
Mitchell Library in Glasgow. He long has maintained that the Campbells and
McCampbells are not closely related. He cited these references and had found
McScambles in 1684 parish lists in Galloway, including Whithorn, Wigton,
Sorbie and Leswalt. There were very few Campbells in Galloway. The reference under MACCAMBIL was to the Great Seal of Scotland in 1426 when King James I of
Scotland approved a document in which Gilbert M’Cambil transferred property at
Innermessan to an Agnew.
We have found Miscampbells (or Miscamble, McSkamoll, McScamble, and
others) who emigrated from Ireland to the United States in 1767, to Canada in
1840, to Australia in 1882-1883 from Ireland and in 1949 from Scotland, and to
New Zealand in the 1870s.


McCampbell, William Richard. The Mccampbell Family In America. University of Wisconsin – Madison, 1975. Print.


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