Campbell Surname Genealogy
Campbell is a Scottish name and comes from the Gaelic
bent, meaning crooked mouth
Cailean Mor of
Lochawe was
said to have been given this nickname because he talked out of one side
of his
mouth. He was killed in a skirmish with the MacDonalds in 1296. A cairn still marks the spot where he fell.

Campbell Resources on

Scotland. This Campbell clan base was Argyll in the
Highlands, where their castle, Inveraray castle, built in 1654,
stands. Cailean Mor (the Great Campbell) had established the
family of Lochawe in the late 13th century and they prospered
their close alliance with Robert the Bruce.
The family spelling was initially Cambel and became Campbell

As the Dukes of Argyll, this family was influential in political
life in Scotland and England from that time onwards. The
Campbells are
remembered for the MacDonald massacre at Glencoe in
. Clan
Campbell took the British Government side during the 1715 and 1745
uprisings and thus did not suffer confiscations. Later Dukes were
Field Marshals, Cabinet Ministers, and a Governor General of Canada.

In addition
to Argyll, the main Campbell branches in Argyllshire have been those of:

  • Strachur, the
    oldest of the branches
  • Auchinbeck, which suffered financial reverses in the early
    18th century culminating in their bankruptcy in 1762.
  • and, outside Argyll, those
    of Glenorchy/Breadalbane (in Caithness), Loudoun (in Ayrshire), and
    Cawdor (in
    Inverness and subsequently in Wales).

Not all Campbells who held land were
clan-related. Daniel Campbell prospered as a merchant in Glasgow
in the
early 1700’s and was able to acquire, at a knockdown price, the islands
Islay and part of Jura from the profligate Campbell of Cawdor.

The pipe tune BaillInneraora or The Campbells Are
is a well-known Scottish tune.

Many Campbells moved to Ireland in the 17th century as part of the
settlement. Campbell was the fifth most common name recorded in Ulster
in 1890. It ranked third in Down, fourth
in Armagh,
and was also high in Tyrone, Antrim, Derry, and Donegal.

Campbells were earliest
in Donegal where many may have been descended from Scottish mercenary
Gallowglasses there. Duncan Campbell and his son Patrick were
recorded at
Kilmaccrenan barony in the 1650’s.
There has been a Campbell family of fiddle players from
Glenties for over a hundred years,
starting with James Campbell in the early 1900’s.

Robert Campbell had come
to county Down with three brothers at the time of the Ulster
plantations of the
early 1600’s. His great grandson the
Rev. William Campbell from Newry became the Presbyterian minister of
Armagh in
1764. Another Robert Campbell from
Scotland had fought at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 and been granted
land in
county Down as a reward. His
Robert embarked for Pennsylvania in 1746.

Some Tyrone
Campbells may have Irish
, from the local Tir Eoghain sept of Mac

America. Campbells in America are either Scots or
Scots Irish in origin.

John Campbell, Scots Irish, had come to Augusta
county, Virginia in 1733. His son
William was born there in 1745. A
militia leader during the Revolutionary War, he was known as the
“bloody tyrant
of Washington county,” but distinguished himself at the Battle of Kings
Mountain. Campbell county in Virginia
was named after him.

Two Scots Irish immigrants into SW Virginia in the 1740’s
were the so-called “White David” and his cousin “Black
David” Campbell. From this stock came:

  • David
    , the Governor
    of Virginia in the 1830’s
  • William Campbell, the Governor of Tennessee in the
  • and Confederate General Alexander Campbell, after whom Fort
    Campbell in
    Kentucky was named.

later Scots Irish arrival from county Tyrone, Robert Campbell, came to
in the early 1820’s and headed west to St. Louis, Missouri. A frontiersman and fur trader, he was an
early explorer of the Rocky Mountains.
His home in St. Louis which he acquired in 1854 and his family
until 1938 is now a museum.

Another pioneer, this time in Texas, was Thomas
Lopton Campbell, a Texas Ranger and contemporary and friend of Sam
Houston. In 1889, at
the age of 79,
was one of the Sooners to stake a
land claim in Oklahoma.
His grandfather had arrived in America from Scotland and fought
in the
Revolutionary War.

Campbell’s Soup was started in Camden, New Jersey by Joseph
Campbell in 1869. His forefathers had come
to New Jersey in the early 1700’s and his father
James had been a blacksmith in
Fairfield township.

were in Nova Scotia from the 1750’s. One
of the first was Robert Campbell who had arrived with
Cornwallis, its first British Governor. Robert became a prominent
merchant in Halifax. James Campbell came to Londonderry township
from Ulster in
1762. Later arrivals were Loyalists like
Colin Campbell who had left New York for Shelburne in 1783

Campbell Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Campbell Names

Cailean Mor was the forebear
of the Campbell clan in Scotland.
was the first Campbell to be ennobled , as Lord
Campbell of Argyll, in 1445.
Archibald Campbell, the 5th
Earl of
Argyll, was a leading figure in Scottish politics in the 1560’s and
Robert Campbell was a mid-19th
century frontiersman, fur trader, and businessman of the
American West.
Sir Malcolm Campbell was the
British holder of the world land and water speed records in the 1920’s.  Glen Campbell is a well-known
country music artist.

Select Campbells Today

  • 116,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Glasgow)
  • 140,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 108,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)


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