History of Campbell County, Tennessee

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By Dallas Bogan

Reprinted with Permission from Dallas Bogan.  This article was published in the LaFollette Press.


     We shall at this time review some of the names and events in Campbell County.

   First we will assess the life of Colonel Arthur Campbell for whom Campbell County, Tennessee was named. 

    A few historians and scholars think Campbell County should have been named for Colonel William Campbell (brother-in-law to Col. Arthur), the commander at the battle of King's Mountain during the Revolutionary War. However, most historians agree that the honor goes to Colonel Arthur Campbell. 

     Colonel Campbell was of Scotch-Irish descent, the son of David Campbell. He was born in Augusta County, Virginia in 1742. At fifteen he served with a company of Rangers in the French and Indian War. He was assigned to Dickerson's Fort on Cow pasture River in present Bath County, Va. He had been trapped in a plum tree by an attacking band of Wyandotte Indians, wounded in the knee and captured.

    For three years, he lived as a captive among the Indians in the Lake Erie region, going with them on many hunts and traveling most of the present territory of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan. While on a trip to Detroit, he escaped and traveled more than two-hundred miles in the wilderness to a British outpost and informed them of the plan of the Indians.

    After returning home, he attended Walnut Academy at Lexington, Virginia. He married his cousin, Margaret Campbell, and lived at Royal Oak which was sixty miles west of Ingles River, on the middle fork of the Holston River. Royal Oak was a large spacious house on the frontier and a stopping place for the weary travelers. 

     Colonel Campbell was nick-named "Long Jaw" because of his red hair and snappish empty talkativeness. After moving to Royal Oak, he became a major in the Augusta County militia being responsible for the safety of the settlers who crossed into the Holston Valley. 

     He later was a delegate from Fincastle County, Virginia. Although not present at the battle of King's Mountain, he furnished valuable assistance and men and led many forays against the Cherokee Indians who were harassing the Watauga Settlement in Tennessee. 

     Colonel Campbell lived at Royal Oak until 1805 when he moved to a 600 acre tract of land he had previously patented on the Wilderness Trail in Yellow Creek (Middlesboro) Kentucky. He died August 8, 1811, at the age of seventy-three and was buried in a grave plot called "Gideon's Tenements" which was near his home. His forgotten grave was discovered in 1890 by workmen who were building the new town of Middlesboro.

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