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Title: Campble, Francis to , 1737-42
CollectionIrish Immigrants in the Land of Canaan. Letters and memoirs from colonial and revolutionary America (1675-1815) [K.A. Miller et al.]
SenderCampble, Francis
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationpioneer merchant
Sender Religionunknown
OriginPennsylvania, USA
Recipient Genderunknown
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count1319
TranscriptFrancis Campble Journal, 1737– 1742
September 14th, 1737. I came here ten days ago, not as a matter of necessity, but as a matter of choice, and I find the country all that my friend, Mr. Shippen, represented it to be.... It is not the grandeur of rocks, cascades and romantic glens, but it is the beautiful panorama of forest and plain spread out in all their beauty which meets you everywhere, and which will, at no very far distant day, become the happy home of intelligent, God-fearing people, when the savage shall have passed forever from its borders. This is the kind of grandeur which surrounds me, and this is what attracted me hither. New settlers are arriving here weekly, most of them have scattered out and settled along the streams and in the woodlands. They are generally a hardy, industrious, intelligent and pious people, who are well fitted to endure the privations and overcome the difficulties that must ever be encountered in the formation of a new settlement. The entire people of this settlement is of Irish origin and Presbyterian in faith. I have been told by some of the first settlers that there is not a single family here who are not natives of the Province of Ulster.
April 10th, 1738. We have a little hamlet here of a few houses, in one of which I live and keep a little stock of goods for sale. Some of my time, however, is occupied in surveying, and in other duties. If my employments are not very lucrative, they are healthful; with this, and the blessings of God, I shall be happy. James McCall, to-day, in sinking the well in front of his house, deeper, he struck a fine stream of good water, which will be of great advantage to us all. Mr. John Reynolds this morning proposed selling me a portion of his plantation, lying south-east of our little hamlet; but whilstthere is still so much land in the hands of the Penns, which can be had without paying a profit to a first purchaser, it would be a mistaken policy to buy his.
June 4th,1740. Our settlement is increasing rapidly, and our village, which has been named Shippensburg, has several substantial houses in it. The stone house of Samuel Perry, in which the Widow Piper now keeps tavern, together with that of Daniel Duncan, just finished, are both good substantial two-story houses. The stone house at the Branch, built by Samuel Rippey, two years ago, is also a very fine house. In addition this Mr. R<ippey> is now erecting along the Branch, a few rods below his house, a large, square, stone building for a distillery. These, with the two-story, log houses which have recently been erected, lead us to believe that we shall have, ere long, a town of some importance.
Oct.10th, 1740. The building of our little fort, and the digging of the well within its enclosure, has been a good work. Had it not been for the recent killing of young Alex’r Askew, near to where Robert McInnis was shot seven years ago, the friendship of the Indians might not have been suspected, and this very necessary work might have been postponed until a more serious calamity would have overtaken us. I have no confidence in the friendship of these savages, and have always felt that we have been warming a viper which will some day show us its fangs. Our only safety, in my opinion, depends wholly upon our vigilance and the preparation we make in our defence. A portion of Fishburn’s Brewery was damaged by fire to-day.
May 1st, 1741. Mr. Shippen has written to me that he intends soon to lay out his town, which he intends naming Shippensburg or Shippenstown, by both of which names it has already been called. Whether it will be laid out in the direction of the Spring, or whether it will follow the crooked path made by the Indians, now the road, he has not stated, and probably will not know himself until he comes to make the survey. I sold to-day, to Richard Long for £6 16s, the heavy pine logs I bought from Mr. Shippen, and cut along the run east of us with which I had intended building a house. With these logs Mr. Long will build a large, two-story house. This afternoon we had one of the most terrific thunder storms it has ever been my lot to witness. Several trees in the vicinity were stuck with lightening, and the rain fell in torrents, flooding the low lands around us. The woods from the foot of the hill east of us, to the hill beyond, is now one sheet of water; and the flat below the Spring on the west is impassable. Mrs. Jean Morrow died this morning, aged years.
December 20th, 1741. I this day completed the survey of the road leading from the Widow Piper’s tavern, through the woods, past Cessna’s plantation. This is a continuation of the road which I surveyed from a point beyond the church on Middle Spring, past Andrew Culbertson’s, into the village, opposite the said tavern. A severe and disgraceful fight took place today, at William Reynolds’ tavern, between Neil McLean and John McCall, in which both were badly injured. Both are stout men, and are disposed to be quarrelsome when under the influence of liquor, which is too often the case. David Magaw was badly injured yesterday by a kick from his horse, but I think he is not dangerously or fatally injured. A number of families arrived here yesterday from Ireland, most of whom are from Antrim and Derry; one is from Down. Two of these families are named McCullough, two Thompson, one McConnell, one McNair, one Maxwell, one Jenkins, and one Linn. Last week a man, with his family, named McComb, a brother of Hugh Rippey’s wife, arrived from the county of Fermanaugh. These families form a total of about sixty persons. Andrew Gibson, who has taught school during the Summer season, for the past four or five years, in McCall’s barn, died last night, aged about 40 years. Governor Thomas, in company with some other Colonial officials, paid our village a visit last week, and remained over night at the Widow Piper’s tavern. Were I permitted to express an opinion of those who occupy high official positions, I would say that there is something rather too stately in the Governor’s manner and bearing— something which smacks too much of the tyrant— to make him popular with the people. It may not be just to form an opinion of a man, based upon an acquaintance of but a single evening; and yet I have found that first impressions are seldom wrong. Our fort has not been occupied since the Governor ordered the withdrawal of the soldiers from it last Spring.
Yesterday we put Thomas Edmonson and his family into it to take care of it. His wife is a careful woman, and he, when sober, is trustworthy and reliable. Throughout the day he has been drinking too much, and is somewhat jolly, and has christened his new home Fort Edmonson. When returning home from surveying, we met two wolves in the woods not half a mile from the village. At first they did not appear to be much alarmed; but when they found we were advancing toward them, they struck eastward, growling.
March 10th, 1742. A quarrel occurred last night out at the Spring amongst a party of drunken Indians, during which, four of their cabins were set on fire, and burned to the ground. One of the Indians, named Bright Star, a desperate man, was seriously injured in the fight, and will likely die of his wounds. I saw him not an hour ago, and considered him then in a dying condition. These savages will give us trouble yet.