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Will of John Campbell (of Salt Spring) Hanover [LOS 50 f.13, 1783]



In the name of God Amen, I John Campbell of the parish of Hanover and County of Cornwall declare this my last will and testament...I will and direct that all my just debts be paid out of my personal estate and the profits and produce of my real estate...


Item, I bequeath unto my sister Duglass Campbell[1] the sum of £3,000 lawful money of Great Britain to be paid to her eight years after my decease...interest for the same be paid at the rate of six percent from the date of my decease annually...which legacy is bequeathed...upon this express condition that she do by a deed...duly executed release acquit and discharge the executor of my late father Dugald Campbell deceased[2] and all and every his personal and real estate and slaves and also me my heirs, executors and administrators...from all claims...by or under the will of my father...but in case my sister Duglass shall refuse to execute such deed...the legacy shall be utterly void and the same shall sink into my residuary estate...


Item, I bequeath in trust unto my brother-in-law Duncan Campbell[3] Esq. and my nephew Dugald Campbell[4] and the survivor of them and the heir of such survivor the sum of £50 Sterling per annum for the use of my niece Henrietta Campbell[5] during her natural life...


Item, I give in trust to my brother-in-law and nephew the sum of £1,000 Sterling for the use of my niece Mary Campbell[6] during her natural life...interest at six percent...and after the decease of my niece Mary Campbell...the same for the use of the children of Mary Campbell lawfully begotten


Item...unto my nieces Ann Campbell and Launce Campbell[7] to each of them the sum of £1,000 Sterling to be paid at the age of twenty one years...and in case of the death of either...the other to take the benefit of survivorship


Item...unto my nephew John Campbell[8] when he attain the age of twenty one years the sum of £2,000 Sterling, interest at 5 percent from the date of my decease and in case of [his] death the £2,000 to be paid unto my nephew Duncan Campbell when he attain the age of twenty one years


Item...unto my nephew Duncan Campbell[9] the sum of £2,000 when he attain the age of twenty one years, interest at 5 percent from the date of my decease and in case of [his] death the £2,000 to be paid to my nephew John Campbell.


Item...unto Joan Williamson and to Elizabeth Williamson to each the sum of £300 Sterling and in case of the death of either the other to take the benefit of survivorship, I mean the daughters of Angus Williamson deceased and Margaret his wife also deceased[10]

Item...unto Henrietta, Ann and Rebecca daughters of John White of the town of Paisley in Scotland deceased and Henrietta[11] his wife the sum of £300 Sterling each


Item...unto Ann Snodgrass and Mary Snodgrass daughters of my aunt Mary[12] deceased the sum of £300 Sterling each and in case of the death of either the other to take the benefit of survivorship which several legacies of £300 each I leave entirely optional in my executors to pay when they find it perfectly convenient for my estate so to do


Item...unto Henrietta White widow of John White already mentioned the sum of £50 Sterling per annum during her natural life


Item...Archibald Williamson, Dugald Williamson and John Williamson sons of Angus Williamson and Margaret Williamson the sum of £200 Sterling each


Item...unto George Campbell son of Archibald Campbell and Jean his wife the sum of £100 Sterling[13]


Item, I give devise and bequeath all my messuages, plantations, pens, lands, tenements slaves and hereditaments and all other my real estate whatsoever in this island or elsewhere[14] subject nevertheless in and of my personal estate to the payment of my just debts and several legacies and annuities aforesaid unto the use of my brother-in-law Duncan Campbell of the City of London Esq.[15] and merchant during his natural life and after his decease to the use of my nephew Dugald Campbell and the heirs male of his body lawfully begotten [remainders: nephews John Campbell, Duncan Campbell, their heirs male then to heirs male of nieces]


All my wearing apparel, swords, pistols, watch, trinkets and all the residue of my personal estate I give unto my brother-in-law and I constitute and appoint my brother-in-law Duncan Campbell and my nephew Dugald Campbell executors of this my last will and testament and until my executors shall appoint attorneys for the care and management of my real estate in this island I grant unto my friends Peter Campbell[16] of the parish of Hanover Esq., John Wedderburn[17] of the parish of Westmoreland Esq. and Duncan Campbell[18] of the parish of Hanover, merchant, jointly and severally full power and authority to take possession of all my real estate and slaves and to manage and take care of the same...


John Campbell, signed and sealed on 27 June 1782 before witnesses Andrew Wanchope, Charles Hook, Samuel Gent


Proved in Jamaica 26 May 1783 before Duncan Campbell of the parish of Hanover, magistrate




John Campbell sailed from Jamaica aboard his brother-in-law's ship, Salt Spring, a few weeks after writing this will. It was captured by American privateers and taken into New London, Connecticut. He sent news to his brother-in-law on 22 September. His letter has not survived but Duncan Campbell, unaware that John Campbell had already died there in November, replied on 2 December:

“Your letter of the 22 Sept arrived two weeks since gave me real joy as it conveyed to me accounts of your & ship's Company safety, about which I was in the utmost anxiety Well may you say it is lucky for you that the ship was captured for had you encountered the dreadfull storms the fleet met with a day or two preceding the date of your letter you must have sunk under the fatigue if your ship had weathered them, before this you will have heard how many noble ships founder'd in consequence of that storm. My loss will be considerable by the capture but what is that to the safety of my Dear Brother & the poor ships company. You and my other friends shippers will rather gain than lose by that event, as the Sugars had they come home would not have yielded 5 pounds per hdd.. .. of the sum insured viz 24 pounds each, our market being in a very drooping state & the great expectation of peace soon taking place...some provisional Articles are certainly signed between the British Commissioners & those of the United States of America, I pray God they may send in a safe and permanent peace...

The Orange Bay [another of Campbell's ships] after a complete and very expensive repair will sail with the first fleet which is expected to depart early next month. Dug[ald] as you have so long exprest a desire for his coming out to Jamaica, will go by that fleet & I hope & trust your health & other circumstances will enable you to meet him there in March or April & that you will be able so to order Matters as to return home in the course of the Summer. I have been much at a loss for want of an Order for Saltspring supplies I will endeavour to send out such as I think may be most wanted together with a few bricks & coals. All my young folks and your friends at Enfield are well. PS Mr D[uncan] Campbell as your Attorney has drawn upon me a bill to D[onald] & Arch[ibald] Campbell of Lucea.”

[Dugald Campbell: having sailed to Jamaica in 1783, he lived at Salt Spring until his death in 1817]

[1]    Duglass Campbell, his youngest sister, had married in London, in 1776, Dr John Sherwin of Enfield. By 1782, three of Campbell's seven sisters are known to have died – Petronella, Deborah and Rebecca. Of the remaining four, Anne, Henrietta and Mary are yet unaccounted for

[2]    Dugald Campbell had died in Jamaica in 1744. His son was the only executor still living

[3]    Duncan Campbell, son of Rev. Neill Campbell, had married John Campbell's sister, Rebecca [d.1774] in Jamaica in 1753

[4]    Dugald Campbell, eldest son of Duncan and Rebecca

[5]    Sister of Dugald

[6]    Sister of Dugald. In 1781, Mary Campbell, in Scotland, had eloped with and married a soldier, William Willox

[7]    Sisters of Dugald. Launce Campbell was named after her mother, Rebecca Launce, daughter of William and Mary Launce of Hanover parish

[8]    Younger brother of Dugald

[9]    Younger brother of Dugald

[10]  Relationship unidentified to date

[11]  Perhaps John Campbell's cousin, Henrietta Snodgrass (another daughter of his aunt Mary, note 12). A Henrietta Snodgrass  married John White of Paisley, Renfrewshire, a magistrate

      In 1813, a letter by Dugald Campbell mentions a Mr White (possibly related) visiting him Jamaica and also hints that White may have been employed by the Campbell agent in London, James Boyick

[12]  Mary Campbell, sister of Dugald Campbell of Salt Spring had married John Snodgrass, a tobacco merchant, formerly trading with Virginia

[13]  Unidentified to date

[14]  Duncan Campbell of Duchernan, a merchant in Lucea and John Campbell's cousin had conveyed the lands of Duchernan and Craigmunel, Argyll, to John Campbell in 1770 [NAS, RD2.215.143]

[15]  Salt Spring had been mortgaged to Duncan Campbell in 1776. John Campbell also had trading debts with his brother-in-law. In 1787, at the Supreme Court of Jamaica, Duncan Campbell was granted permission to dispose of the estate in order to recover debts amounting to more than £11,000. However, it was not sold and, upon his death in 1803, his son Dugald became the proprietor.

[16]  John Campbell's cousin, Peter Campbell II of Fish River

[17]  John Wedderburn, planter merchant and slave importer in partnership with his brother James

[18]  Duncan Campbell of Duchernan assisted in the management of Salt Spring and died, unmarried, in Hanover in 1800

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