Campbell Family Name and Arms
People took as surnames the names of flowers (Lilly, Rose), animals (Fox, Bears),
place names (Hill, Wood), occupational names (Taylor, Smith), and Christian names
(Gilbert, Richards). Still another source was nicknames, of which Campbell is one
example. It denoted a man who had a crooked or distorted mouth, from the Gaelic
words came, "crooked," and beul, 'mouth.'
Nicknames functioned differently from other types of names. While other surnames
identified an individual by information such as his occupation, his location, or
his family, a nickname sought to relate something about the person's appearance
or his essential character. Probably the most natural way to name a person was by
a one-word discriptionn of his appearance, particularly if the person had some
unusual or outstanding physical feature.
"Cameron," another well-known Scottish name, comes from the words meaning "crooked
nose," while the Irish name Kennedy refers to an ugly or misshapen head. Other
names which were derived from a person's physical features include Reed, "The red-
haired or ruddy person" and White, "The light or fair-complexioned person or one with
It is possible, though, that the "crooked mouth" of the Campbells' ancestor referred
to a moral trait, i.e., lying, rather than a physical one. Often people were labeled
with a derogatory name, either in jest or in earnest. The name Coot brings to mind the
bird of the same name, which is known for its stupidity. "Pettiford" denoted an iron-footed, or slow person. "Royster" was applied to a blustering bully, and "Prout" was
a proud and arrogant man.
Because of the evolutionary nature of name development, it is virtually impossible to
pinpoint the exact date of the formation of any new name. Campbell, of course, is no
exception. The first to assume the surname Campbell is said to have been Duncan
MacDwine Campbell around the eleventh century. He was a descendant of Constantine,
who emigrated from France in 404 A.D.
The Scottish name Campbell is found predominantly in the central part of the country
and is most abundant in the shires of Fife, Forfar, Perth, Stirling,
Dumbarton, and Argyll. By the time of the first census in America in 1790, many Campbell families had
settled in this country. The average Campbell household had 5.5 members and census
records indicate that there were more Campbell heads-of-households living in Kentucky,
North Carolina, and New York than in any other part of America. Official United
States records compiled in 1974 indicate that in that year Campbell was the 41st most
frequently occurring surname in the nation. Today there are approximately 362,000
adult Americans named Campbell.
A History of Coat Armor
Though authorities may differ as to details, it is generally believed that the use
of coat armor began during the twelfth century. Historical research indicates that
the use of coat armor developed simultaneously throughout much of Europe and in Great
Britain. In an age of poor communication, this is an anomaly which may be explained
by the occurrence of the First Crusade in A.D. 1097 - an historical event of great
significance in that it brought together for the first time in medieval history a
large and diverse number of young, influential military and political leaders from
all of Europe.
Amid the fanaticism which swept the Continent, this army marched off to Asia Minor to
confront the Turkish Saracens and return the Holy Land to Christendom. However,
these European knights were greatly surprised and distressed to discover that their
enemy employed military strategies and techniques far superior to anything previously
seen in Europe. Using large armies and freewheeling field tactics, the Turks routed
the best of European knighthood.
On their return to Europe, the Crusaders apparently recalled the technical superiority
of the Turks and determined that one of the key elements in that superiority was the
use of various insignia painted on the shields of the Asian warriors. Such insignia,
in fact, were designed specifically to identify the Turkish allies and maintain order
in the ranks amid the swirling chaos of large-scale battles.
Within three generations, the knights of medieval Europe were also displaying the first
rudimentary forms of coat armor. Rendered on shields, surcoats, horse trappings, and
other paraphernalia, these armorial insignia during the medieval period served the
need of identifications in battle and in tournament.
Today, coat armor is most closely associated in the popular mind with the medieval
tournament, or joust. Much like the Western gunfighter, young knights in brilliant
arrays of color and insignia took part in the formalized combat of the joust in hopes
of being noticed and retained by the wealthy nobles. Their success - and even their
livelihood - depended in large part on their being recognized by the aristocracy.
Heraldry, or the science of arranging and describing coat armor, grew out of this need
With the passage of time and the withering of feudalism, the use of coat armor passed
into the general populace. With the refinements of the sixteenth century and the
subsequent standardization of terminology and principles, heraldry acquired importance
as both a legal entity and a genealogical research tool. Today in most of Europe, it
has the status accorded a trademark and is highly prized by those families who are
entitled to its use.
Heraldry, or the study of armorial bearings, is an adjunct to the study of family
history. Coat armor, it is important to note, was completely unknown in Europe before
the twelfth century, and did not appear in England until about 1250. Its sudden rise
has been ascribed to several varied events, including the First Crusade (1097), the
advent of body armor, and the growing use of seals on personal documents.
In any case, the early development of the use of heraldic devices followed closely
upon the need for better identification, and the trend became widespread. First
embellished on shields and other pieces of armor, the imaginative, elaborate heraldic
designs soon were transferred to surcoats, horse trappings, and even private
possessions. These early insignia, including bends (diagonal stripes), fesses
(horizontal stripes), chevrons, and crosses, were chosen because they were conspicuous,
even in the chaos of bloody battle. For the same reason bright colors were used.
Charges, or representations of animals and natural objects, did not become popular
until the second half of the twelfth century, when, as stated above, the use of
surnames was revived.
With the advent of gunpowder in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and the
concomitant decline of armor as an essential in warfare, the need for armorial
bearings also waned. By then, though, coats of arms were cherished for their
decorative effect, and family crests were handed down from proud sire to aspiring
son. The ancient art was debased by the frenzied efforts of many people to coin
their own armorial bearings and adorn them with embellishments and devices of
doubtful historical significance.
Central authorities were established to inquire into the validity of the new creations.
Their work was generally ineffectual in maintaining the simplicity and purity of the
earlier designs, but their thorough records have subsequently proved very useful to
the genealogical researcher. These records, showing hereditary usage of certain
symbols and devices, represent in many cases the only means for unraveling the complex
familial relationships of medieval Europe.
In the United States, where the democratic tradition has mitigated interest in holding
and preserving official armorial bearings, there is nonetheless a great informal
interest in the science of heraldry. The question of rightful ownership of coat armor
does not pertain in this country, for the very nature of the settlement and development
of America makes it unlikely that any more than a few families have legitimate claim to
specific insignia. Heraldry is instead highly regarded for its aesthetic and historical
qualities - for the symbols, devices, and colors generally associated with any
particular surname tell a story of our ancestors. Burke's General Armory lists seventy-six coats of arms for the Campbell family. Most of these are similar to the two described
ARMS: Quarterly, first and fourth, gyrenny of eight, or and sable; second and third,
argent, a lymphad, sail furled, flags flying, all sable. CREST: a boar's head
couped or. MOTTOES: Ne obliviscaris. Vix ea nostro voce. (Arms: A shield, -
the first and fourth quarters gold and black triangles, the second and third bearing
a black ship on a silver field. Crest: A golden boar's head cut at the shoulders.
Mottoes: Lest you forget. I scarce call these deeds of our ancestors ours.)
ARMS: Gyrony of eight or, and sable. CREST: A boar's head couped or. (Arms:
Eight triangular pieces, alternately gold and black. Crest: A golden boar's head cut
at the shoulders.)
History of Scotland:
It's Highlands, Clans and Regiments
Vol III, James Browns, 1909, pp 326-328
Clan Campbell and Others
"Mr. Pinkerton, misled by a very fanciful etymology, has assigned to the Campbells a
Norman origin, and in this notion he has been followed by all those persons who find
it more easy to adopt an authority than to investigate a fact, or discuss an opinion.
Having assumed that the name Campbell is merely an abbreviated form of Campo-bello,
he concluded, first, that the latter was a Norman appellation; and, secondly, that the
Campbells were not Celts but Goths, who had originally sprung from a Norman family,
known by the designation of Campo-bello. But in answer to this etymological conceit,
it may be sufficient to observe, that, as far as an inference can be deduced from a
name, that of Campbell, if it had originally been Campo-bello, would have indicated
an Italian rather than a Norman origin; and, besides, that no trace has ever been
discovered of the existence of a Norman family distinguished by the name of
Campo-bello. Doomsday book and other similar records make no mention of any such family.
The farther back we trace the denomination of this clan, the more unlikely does it
become to the Italianized name of Campo-bello; and the oldest mode of writing it is in
the Ragman Roll, where it appears as Cambel or Kambell, a word clearly of Celtic
"The Campbells first made their appearance in the reign of Alexander Ill, when they
were divided into two great families, which were afterward distinguished by the patronymics
of MacArthur and MacCaillanmore. In 1266, Gillespie Cambel, head of the MacCaillanmore
branch, witnessed the charter of erection of the burgh of Newburgh by Alexander Ill;
and there is some reason to believe that he was heritable sheriff of Argyle, which had,
in 1221, been erected into a sheriffdom by Alexander II. But it was not until the
reign of Robert Bruce that the Campbells obtained a firm footing in Argyle, and laid
the foundation of their future greatness and power. To the gratitude of that great
sovereign, whom he had faithfully served, Sir Niell Campbell of Lochawe was indebted
for many grants that were made to him out of the lands forfeited by the house of
Lorn, the Comyns, and other supporters of the party of John Baliol. The marriage
of this baron with the sister of King Robert attached the Campbells still more closely
to the dynasty of Bruce; and, during the minority of David II they adhered to his
interests with unwavering fidelity. Early in the fifteenth century, Sir Duncan
Campbell of Lochawe, afterward the first Lord Campbell, was considered as one of the
most wealthy barons in Scotland. Colin Campbell, grandson of Sir Duncan, and the
first Earl of Argyll, acquired by marriage the extensive lordship of Lorn, and, for
a long period, held the office of chancellor of Scotland. In 1475, this nobleman was
appointed to prosecute a decree of forfeiture against John, Earl of Ross and Lord of the
Isles, and, in 1481, he received a considerable grant of lands in Knapdale, alongst with
the Keepership of the castle of Sweyn, which was formerly held by the Lord of the
Isles. Colin, the first Earl, died in the year 1491, and was succeeded by his son
Archibald, the second earl, of whom, however, little or nothing is known.
"The Campbells were ambitious and aspiring, continued to make rapid advances in power
and influence during the 17th and 18th centuries. The Marquis of Argyll, commonly
called Gillespe Crumach, did more to aggrandize his family than almost any of his
predecessors. He succeeded in establishing claims to a great part of the estate of
Dowart, and he obliged all the other branches of the MacLeans, as well as the clan
Chameron, the Clan Ranald of Carmoran, the Clan Neill of Cigha, and many other
tribes, to become his vassals, notwithstanding that they had previously held their
lands of the Crown. His son, the ninth Earl of Argyll, consolidated the power which
he had thus acquired; and, as the forfeitures of this earl and his father were rescended
at the Revolution, the family of Argyll found itself possessed of greater influence
than any other In Scotland; and, as formerly, this influence was supported by the
willing service and cooperation of a great many powerful families of the same name.
"The MacArthur branch appears to have been originally at the head of the Clan
Campbell, and to have held this position until the reign of James I, when it was
displaced by the MacCaillanmore branch, which has ever since maintained an undisputed supremacy. The force of the clan, at different times, has varied considerably.
In 1427, it was only 1,000; but in 1715, it had increased to four thousand, and in
1745, it amounted to five thousand. At Culloden, the Campbells were opposed by
their countrymen, and did very serious injury to the Highland Army by breaking
down a wall, and opening a flanking fire at the critical moment of the battle. It is
but just to add, that this powerful clan has generally contrived to be on the strongest
Colonists From Scotland: Emigration
to North America
By: Ian Charles Cargill Graham, 1956
The Campbells From the Isle of Skye
As a basis for compiling the genealogy of Daniel Campbell, his wife, Effie McLean and
their descendants, it is necessary to have some background knowledge of the situations
under which they emigrated from the Isle of Skye to America. The Scottish people
are divided into two classes: Highlanders and Lows. The classification is based
on the geographical locations of the people and their respective homes and livelihoods.
The geographical boundary between Highlands and Lowlands has generally been held
to lie along the line where the lowlands meet the highlands, which is in most places
well defined by the contour of the land itself. It runs across the north side of the
Clyde Valley, then North and east through Perthshire and Angus and around the east
side of Scotland close to the coast where it turns to the northwest to the end of the
northern shore near Pentland Pirth, leaving Cathness as a remote post of the Lowlands.
The Western Isles, or Hebrides, have always belonged to the Highlands in every
respect, while the Northern Isles possessed some of the characteristics of both
Highlands and Lowlands.
The military and feudal life of the clans prevailed in the entire Highland area, and
the clansmen continued to make raids into the neighboring Lowlands to carry off
cattle. A man's first loyalty was to his chief who could indulge in private warfare and
administer justice on the lands of his clan. The law of Scotland possessed little force
beyond the Highland Line. The Reformation had never penetrated many of the
Highland glens and Western Isles. The people of each area were ignorant of the other,
holding them in contempt in proportion to their ignorance.
The disruption and dissolution of the old Highland way of life took place in the
generation after the defeat of the Stuart cause at Culloden in 1746. In this period the
British government made a determined effort to assimilate the Highlands to the rising
commercial and industrial civilization of the Lowlands. School teachers, Presbyterian
missionaries and Lowland craftsmen were sent to the remotest glens of the north to
save, train and educate the ignorant masses of the Highlands. The Jacobite Rebellion
of 1745 served to point up the differences between the Highlanders and Lowlanders.
The Highlanders were unwilling to be taught by Lowlanders for they considered them a
mean and degenerate race.
The majority of the Highlanders were farmers of sorts, cultivating what was called
"run-rig" (Lands divided into strips) plots and grazed their cattle in the large
common pasture and soon found that they could not make an adequate income on a small
enclosed plot where only limited grazing was possible. This situation led to more
poverty and overpopulation resulting from crop failure from early frost, loss of
cattle in the spring and an increase of rents for their cattle because of the greater
poundage production from sheep that were able to graze shorter grass than cattle in
a ratio of about 3 to 1. This over population led to auctions for higher rents which
made life more precarious for the Highland farmer. As early as 1750 poverty caused
such a "depression of spirit" among the inhabitants of the Isle of Skye that groups of
them were sailing for America. Apparently this was the case with Daniel and Effie
McLean Campbell when they came to America in 1752.
It is clear that the great governing cause of emigration from the Highlands in the middle
fifty years of the eighteenth century was poverty - the kind of poverty that arises from
a growing population pressing upon limited agricultural and commercial resources. The
poverty of the masses, especially in the Highlands, can hardly be overstressed.
Following the Jacobite Rebellion, there arose two other reasons for emigration involving
compulsion - transportation for treason or crimes and the drafting of troops to the
colonies. In Scotland, during most of the 17th and 18th centuries, treason and crime
were frequently punished by exile to the English colonies. Many judges and other
people in authority believed that turning capital punishment into exile was an act of
clemency and not cruelty. It is an exaggeration to describe the Jacobite exiles as a
wave of emigration. The bulk of the Jacobite settlers were Highlanders. They did
no more than to lay a narrow foundation for the migrations of the future. From the
beginning, the Highland emigrants' letters home were a very powerful influence in
attracting others to America. Many emigrants were eager to serve in the military since
the veteran felt confident of a material future in the colonies better than anything
he could ever find in the overpopulated glens of the Highlands. Overpopulation had
driven him into the army in the first place. In the emigration, the people of Argyll,
Ross, Sutherland, and the Isle of Skye preferred settling in the Carolinas. Thus
the clannish instinct helped to increase the emigration once the initial Highland
settlements had been made. The more Highlanders in America, the more those left at home
desired to join them. Instead of a sorrowful farewell when family members and friends
sailed from the Isle of Skye, those left behind seemed to think that they would soon
follow. Many people were unable to pay for their transportation and to reimburse
for their travel, many people indentured themselves as servants for a period of
corresponding time to repay the expenses that they had been advanced for their oceanic
Nothing is known, at this time, where the Campbells sailed from, or landed. However,
it has been rumored that he was one of five brothers who emigrated to America at the
same time. Nothing is known of the places where they lived prior to their settling
in the northwestern portion of what was known as Walton County, Florida, where they
died and were buried in what was known at one time as "Cedar Cove" Cemetery, later
as the Clary Cemetery and currently as Magnolia Cemetery. Their grave sites are
lost but their descendants are scattered over much of Northwest Florida and South
This work does not purport to be perfect but is rather an effort to record a few facts
for posterity and serve as a source material sometime in the future for whomever might
be interested. Efforts have bean made to obtain resumes of the different families
without adequate and sufficient success. Perhaps someone in the future might under-take a more objective reconstruction and revision of these efforts.
The following news story is copied from the Pensacola Gazette of December 10, 1842.
"There now resides in Walton County about 75 miles from this (Pensacola) place
a man and his wife whose united age is 229 years. The old gentleman's name is
Daniel Campbell. He was united to his present wife 94 years ago in the Isle of
Skye, Scotland. He emigrated to this country several years before the Revolution and was about 50 years old when the War began. There were no neutrals
then and as Mr. Campbell left his native country in consequence of the political
trouble of 1745, he was prepared to take part with the colonists against the House
of Hanover. He served through nearly all the entire Revolutionary War. But
although very poor, he was not able to avail himself of the Bounty or rather of
the just remuneration which the pension laws have provided for the survivors
of that glorious epoch because before the passage of the Act of 1832, he was
by extreme old age and mental infirmity rendered incapable of making the declaration required by the law. He is now 117 years of age, his wife is 112 years old."
This author found records indicating that one Daniel Campbell did file an application
for Revolutionary War Pension which was denied because of too short a period of
Daniel Campbell was born on the Isle of Skye, Scotland, in the year 1725 and in the
year 1749 he married Miss Effie McLean. They moved to America in the year 1752 together
with his family. He died on his birthday, December 12, 1843. His wife died the day
before he passed away and both were buried at the same hour in the Sam Clary
Cemetery near Magnolia settlement in Walton County, Florida. They lived togethera total of 94 years. She bore him 6 children. One son, Peter, married Christian
McCaskill, daughter of Allen McCaskill and to them were born 7 children, Margaret,
(Katie) Catherine, Alexander, Janie, Daniel, Sallie and Allen.