Tag Archives: Hugh Campbell (brother)

The Journal of Hugh Campbell, Part VIII: Blackmail

July 12th, 1818
W. Lon. 22, N. Lat. 54

This day as the anniver­sary of the Bat­tle of the Boyne* was com­mem­o­rat­ed by a cer­tain part of our pas­sen­gers to the no small annoy­ance of anoth­er part. Par­ty spir­it began to kin­dle on board and it required all the influ­ence of our good-natured Capt. to keep it under amongst them. We knew that if any dis­putes took place either one or both par­ties would attempt to retal­i­ate on him by lodg­ing infor­ma­tion of his land­ing pas­sen­gers in the State of New York with­out enter­ing their names in the Cus­tom House, con­trary to the laws of that state. This would sub­ject the ship to a fine of 500 dol­lars. The fear of this kept our poor Capt. in a con­tin­u­al state of alarm and anx­i­ety. I have often heard him declare that he would nev­er again place him­self in the pow­er of any crew or set of pas­sen­gers in the same man­ner. For that a state of servile depen­den­cy on their fick­le humors was not to be borne by any repub­li­can of spirit.

Bat­tle of the Boyne

A few days back in North­ern Lat. we seen at a small dis­tance, a large whale spout­ing up immense quan­ti­ties of water to a con­sid­er­able dis­tance above the sur­face. We now began to per­ceive large shoals of Gram­pus­es** swim­ming past in their slow, irreg­u­lar, heav­ing course on the sur­face of the great deep. For the descrip­tion of these I refer you to the dif­fer­ent nat­ur­al his­to­ries and we seen sea fowl every day between land and the Capt., who was a good marks­man, kept shoot­ing at them con­stant­ly though we could nev­er get them on board.


* The Bat­tle of the Boyne was the famous bat­tle on July 12, 1690 in which the Protes­tants (the Williamites) defeat­ed the Catholics (the Jaco­bites) at the Riv­er Boyne.

** Orcas.

Next Week: The inside scoop on Cap­tain Moses Gale.

The Journal of Hugh Campbell, Part VII: July 4th Party, Sailor-style

Bar­be­cue on the Per­se­ver­ance for the 4th of July!  Times real­ly haven’t changed much, have they?  This week, Hugh talks about the bit­ter­sweet cel­e­bra­tion and the food sit­u­a­tion in gen­er­al on-board.


July 4th
W. Lon. 17 N. Lat. 55 Degrees 30

Capt. Gale is a warm repub­li­can and com­mem­o­rat­ed this day, the anniver­sary of Amer­i­can Inde­pen­dence, with all the cer­e­mo­ny and pomp our sit­u­a­tion admit­ted of. A half grown hog (the Amer­i­cans called “a skoat”) was killed for the occa­sion and boiled up with salt pork, beef and pota­toes cut in small slices. This was sent into the steer­age and if we may judge from the quan­ti­ty devoured, the Irish repub­li­cans on board cel­e­brat­ed the birth­day of inde­pen­dence with as much fer­vour as any Demo­c­rat in the U. States. The day was spent in the great­est hilar­i­ty and this evening (like many oth­ers) closed with a turn at the “Sit­ting Brogue*” and “Jump the Bulock” and sev­er­al pas­times prac­ticed at Irish wakes. These amuse­ments tend­ed very much to rec­on­cile us to our soli­tary float­ing prison.

Salt pork was a com­mon sta­ple on Transat­lantic trips. It’s sim­i­lar to bacon, but it is not smoked, and it is very salty.

Though a cab­in pas­sage has many con­ve­niences, yet I can­not rec­om­mend it to a per­son that is either fond of a veg­etable diet or has been brought up in the coun­try. The food is very good in itself but is not suit­ed to a lub­ber­ly palate as the sailors say. It con­sists prin­ci­pal­ly of salt beef (by them called junk), salt pork, a few pota­toes, hard bis­cuit, and once in a while, a fowl. For my part I could live no longer on it. My con­sti­tu­tion had been affect­ed by the fatigue before I came on board and the sea­sick­ness, etc. had togeth­er with the salt pro­vi­sions reduced me to a skele­ton. With some dif­fi­cul­ty I per­suad­ed the Capt. and my good friend Wm. Reed to make arrange­ments to take me into steerage.

I accord­ing­ly joined Wm. Reed’s mess and he took my place in the cab­in. My com­pan­ions or mess­mates now were Alex. Rowl­ston from near Fin­tona, Dan’l. Arm­strong from Irvinestown, Coun­ty Fer­managh, nephew to Grager Irvine of N.T. Stew­art** and John Woods a decent mar­ried man from Ard­strau com­ing out to his broth­er, a respectable whole­sale mer­chant in Philadel­phia. With these asso­ciates I lived pret­ty com­fort­able the remain­der of the voy­age. The change of food made a rapid alter­ation in my health. In a few days I was as well and hap­py as my sit­u­a­tion admit­ted of. In fact I think a pas­sen­ger who lays in some live fowl, bar­ley, flour and some oth­er nec­es­saries and lives with econ­o­my, can feel more at ease in the steer­age than in the cab­in with all its varieties.

I had now an oppor­tu­ni­ty of see­ing the mode of cook­ery prac­ticed by our male com­pan­ions. At first it con­sist­ed of such a dis­gust­ing vari­ety of ingre­di­ents that one would sup­pose they had copied some Receipt like Dean Swift’s*** “Man Wal­lop”. But by degrees the sys­tem improved great­ly amongst them. Every­thing was pro­fuse­ly wast­ed at the com­mence­ment of the voy­age and of course became of tre­ble val­ue before we got to land. I have heard 10 s.  or 1/8 lb. of tobac­co, 8 s. for 1 qt. Whiskey and 5 per peck for oat­meal. This ought to be a  salu­tary warn­ing to others.


* “Sit­ting Brogue” is a game in which play­ers sit on the floor and pass a brogue (a shoe) under their knees and, after the shoe has made it around the cir­cle, the last play­er toss­es it to the “shoe­mak­er” stand­ing in the mid­dle of the ring.  If the shoe­mak­er catch­es the shoe, the shoe toss­er takes the shoe­mak­er’s place in the ring.

** N.T. Stew­art is an abbre­vi­a­tion of New­town­stew­art, a town in Coun­ty Tyrone near Hugh Camp­bel­l’s fam­i­ly home.

*** Dean Swift is Jonathan Swift, the Irish essay­ist who penned Gul­liv­er’s Trav­els.

Next Week: Blackmail

The Journal of Hugh Campbell, Part VI: Hugh’s on a Boat

Hugh’s get­ting set­tled into life on board, and it’s any­thing but bor­ing. If you want­ed to know what life on board a transat­lantic ship was like in the ear­ly 19th cen­tu­ry, this entry begins to describe this well.
(Click here for Part V if you need to be brought up to speed on the story.)

Note that under the date, Hugh has begun to plot the lat­i­tude and lon­gi­tude, so you can use the lines on a map to see exact­ly where he was when he made each entry.

[June] 26th
Lon. 11 W. Lat. 57 N.

Hav­ing now got fair­ly clear of all dan­ger we began to put things in a train for ren­der­ing our­selves com­fort­able dur­ing our voy­age. A com­modore or pres­i­dent was elect­ed. Berths were laid out for pas­sen­gers and the males were very prop­er­ly sep­a­rat­ed from the females. We engaged a cook to keep on a fire and attend the sick­ly and aged pas­sen­gers. He was an old Innishown pen­sion­er and proved of great ser­vice in the course of the voy­age. Each pas­sen­ger agreed to pay him one shilling for his trou­ble. The ship was reg­u­lar­ly washed out by the pas­sen­gers, once a week, to pre­serve cleanliness.


One shilling, cir­ca 1818. One shilling was worth about $4.12 USD in 2010. 

In order to avoid the cruis­ers off the Euro­pean coast and those about “the Banks of New­found­land,” the Capt. deter­mined that our course should be first W.N.W. and after­wards W.S.W. Our ves­sel, from her form and eye, proved to be a very slow sailor and dis­cour­aged us con­sid­er­ably, but we heard our crew was numer­ous and well accus­tomed to a sea­far­ing life, which is a thing of no lit­tle impor­tance to emi­grants unac­quaint­ed with sailing.

The steer­age pas­sen­gers formed them­selves into mess­es.* Every three or four took a berth, joined their stock of pro­vi­sions and cooked alter­nate­ly. Great cau­tion ought to be used in mak­ing choice of a part­ner as the com­fort of a sea voy­age is great­ly increased by a con­nec­tion with an agree­able and clever mess­mate. My sit­u­a­tion as a cab­in pas­sen­ger pre­vent­ed me from feel­ing any incon­ve­nience from asso­ci­at­ing myself with any per­son. I
walked about when and where I pleased and noth­ing to attend to but the steward’s call to
din­ner, and unless when a ves­sel came in sight that looked like a cruis­er. We were then oblig­ed to con­ceal our­selves in the old dun­geon until all dan­ger was past. In this we were very often deceived dur­ing the voyage.

29th June
W. Lon. 13 N. Lat. 57 Degrees 30

I believe there is no peri­od that emi­grants feel more sor­row than when com­menc­ing a wide sea voy­age. They com­pare their many pri­va­tions and dan­gers with the secu­ri­ty and ease they left behind. It makes them con­scious of being cast loose from the secure anchor­age of set­tled life and sent adrift upon a doubt­ful world. Sen­si­ble of their sit­u­a­tion, the pas­sen­gers began to be rec­on­ciled to what turned their atten­tion from lamen­ta­tions about their friend to enquire how fast the ship was sail­ing and how the wind blew.

Pas­sen­gers below decks in their bunks.

Late in the evening, it began to blow a strong gale accom­pa­nied by rain and light­ning. The sea rose into tremen­dous waves, and the ves­sel rolled in the most awful man­ner through them. The storm con­tin­ued until day break next morn­ing. Dur­ing the night every mov­able in the ship was put in motion by the great heav­ing. The kegs full of water for imme­di­ate use and the buck­ets full of all kinds of filth were hurled in the great­est con­fu­sion through the steer­age to the great offense of our smelling organs. The jars, crocks, bot­tles and glass­es were com­plete­ly bro­ken to pieces by encoun­ter­ing the loose box­es which they met in their progress.

The more timid pas­sen­gers thought by the loud and fre­quent calls of the sailors to each oth­er that we were on the brink of Eter­ni­ty, while the more coura­geous and unthink­ing laughed at their fears and roared out to drown their moans and prayers. Next morn­ing exhib­it­ed a scene tru­ly com­i­cal. Every­thing in the steer­age was in the utmost con­fu­sion and dis­or­der. The smell and sight were salut­ed with the most dis­gust­ing appear­ances, and the ears with com­plaints of bro­ken shins or some such dis­as­ter. To pre­vent a recur­rence of such acci­dents in future, the Capt. ordered all spare box­es and trunks down to the hold reserv­ing only one box for each mess, which was to be prop­er­ly fas­tened. The water was to be brought up from the casks and an allowance of 3 quarts to be giv­en to each pas­sen­ger  per day.  Var­i­ous reg­u­la­tions were made to pro­mote our com­fort and security.


* A mess is a group of peo­ple — usu­al­ly sailors — who reg­u­lar­ly eat their meals together.

Next week: The ship cel­e­brates the 4th of July. Sailor-style.

The Journal of Hugh Campbell, Part V: Hugh’s “Luxury” Accomodations

And.….…..Hugh’s off (final­ly).  But he’s not rid­ing in first class.…or even steer­age.  Read all about it here.  (If you missed Part IV, get caught up here.)

24th June

About 3 in the morn­ing I was awaked out of a com­fort­able sleep in the Capt.’s cot to go down to the place of con­ceal­ment in the bal­last until we got clear of dan­ger from port offi­cers cruis­ers. To avoid sus­pi­cion I was con­duct­ed through a small hatch­way in the cab­in floor to the hold. Here I beheld about 15 extra pas­sen­gers all prepar­ing to enter a cav­i­ty in the brick bal­last* through a small hole picked out for the pur­pose. My com­pan­ions were near­ly all inhab­i­tants of the most uncul­tured part of Inishown. Their appear­ance would have made a dis­in­ter­est­ed spec­ta­tor laugh though I was in too seri­ous a humour to enjoy the scene.

We entered with dif­fi­cul­ty and got fixed as well as our com­fort­less sit­u­a­tion would admit of just before the ship began to heave. To have an idea of this place, sup­pose a cav­i­ty con­struct­ed of brick 2–1/2 feet high and 3 feet wide across the ves­sel with­out seats or any oth­er con­ve­nience to sit or lay except the hard bricks. In this place 15 or 16 of us were con­fined for about 10 hours in total dark­ness until we got clear of the coast. At length we were lib­er­at­ed to the no small joy of the suf­fer­ers. Dur­ing our con­fine­ment we were most­ly all seized with sea­sick­ness and the scene that fol­lowed can be eas­i­ly imag­ined. Noth­ing was heard but moan­ing, swear­ing, vom­it­ing and beg­ging to get out.

The agi­ta­tion of mind kept the sick­ness away from me for the moment, and I exert­ed myself to keep silence and order amongst my uncouth com­pan­ions: from their uneasy and con­fined sit­u­a­tion they were con­stant­ly either crush­ing, lay­ing, or puk­ing on each oth­er and it required great exer­tion to keep them from quar­relling. Hav­ing at length got on deck we found our fel­low pas­sen­gers in a dis­agree­able enough state. Sick­ness and (its invari­able com­pan­ion) sor­row for hav­ing under­tak­en the voy­age seemed to be uni­ver­sal­ly felt by all. I have heard sev­er­al offer con­sid­er­able sums beside their pas­sage mon­ey to be set once more on their native land which was still in sight. The good-natured Capt. told them that he had been too long accus­tomed to such requests while in the pas­sen­ger trade before, to attend to them now and assured them that they would feel quite hap­py and rec­on­ciled in a few days which was actu­al­ly the case.

Though the wind was con­trary when we weighed anchor, the Capt. would wait no longer, on account of hav­ing read a let­ter from Mr. Buchanan stat­ing that infor­ma­tion relat­ing to our ille­gal­ly car­ry­ing out pas­sen­gers above the num­ber lim­it­ed by law, had been giv­en in to the Cus­tom House offi­cers in Der­ry. A search was feared and expect­ed by the Capt. every moment in con­se­quence and he accord­ing­ly con­clud­ed on slip­ping out dur­ing the night.

About 12 a.m. we were dri­ven back near Mugilli­gan and were for the most part of the evening in sight of both the Scotch and Irish coasts. But a fair breeze spring­ing up we soon lost sight of the much-loved land of our nativity.


* A ship’s bal­last is a com­part­ment in the bot­tom of a boat for tem­po­rary weight that is used to sta­bi­lize the ves­sel. The Phoenix used bricks, but improved boat design has elim­i­nat­ed the need for a bal­last tank in most mod­ern sail­ing ships.

This Week in History: November 20

This week, big broth­er Hugh sends Robert a note fol­low­ing up from his recent trip back to Ire­land.  The broth­ers just lost sis­ter Eliz­a­beth, and, affec­tion­ate­ly, Hugh reveals that — of all their fam­i­ly — he could not bear to lose Robert, too.  And he has some inter­est­ing things to say about the state of his love life, and he encour­ages Robert to get hitched.  You know, only if he feels like it, of course.  Debt is a com­mon theme in let­ters from this peri­od.  When Hugh and Robert’s father died in 1810, he left a sub­stan­tial debt from build­ing Augh­a­lane, the fam­i­ly home.  The broth­ers are still try­ing to remit mon­ey back to Ire­land to pay this off.


Mil­ton NC Novem­ber 27th 1824

My Dear Robert,

From con­tents of a let­ter just received from our mutu­al friend James Reed I am aston­ished to find that you have not received my let­ter of 18 Sept.  He does not speak of anoth­er from Andrew for­ward­ed at the same time which I pre­sume has met the same fate.  These cursed irreg­u­lar mails and neg­li­gent post­mas­ters are like­ly to break the chain of our cor­re­spon­dence and give us both cause for anx­i­ety and unhap­pi­ness.  Here­after I wish you to write me once every two months, whether you receive a let­ter from me or not, and often­er when you hear from me — I will pur­sue the same plan in future.

Since my return to this place, I have had two let­ters from Andrew, one from Mr Boyle, one

Augh­a­lane, Robert and Hugh’s fam­i­ly home in Ireland

from Mr. Beaty, and some oth­er friend in that coun­try — all of which con­tains the most pleas­ing intel­li­gence from home, except what relates to our dear beloved & lament­ed Eliza.  Let us not repine Robert — It was God’s will & it is our duty to sub­mit.  My Moth­er had received your let­ter direct­ed to me in Ire­land and one from Mr. Wiley, describ­ing your new sit­u­a­tion in St. Louis.  I have writ­ten her and Andrew last week & request­ed both to write you immediately.

When I last wrote you every­thing rel­a­tive to my late vis­it was fresh in my mem­o­ry & I gave you a gen­er­al sum­ma­ry of all news in which I thought you would feel any inter­est.  Per­haps I may fail to do as well now but I will try to con­dense as much as pos­si­ble in this sheet.  Tomor­row I start to Rich­mond via Raleigh in busi­ness — on my return I shall write you again.  Dan Wil­son of Omagh died sud­den­ly in July last — Sis­ter Peg­gy died in April — Sis­ter Margery & hus­band are some­where in this coun­try, but not con­tent­ed — Sal­ly Cather­ine & Mary much as usu­al — Our dear sis­ter Anne is unhealthy and has begun To spit blood — Moth­er is quite well — nei­ther could write me.

While in Ire­land I rent­ed out the land held by the dif­fer­ent ten­ants for the space of 10 years from Nov 1824 (present) at the annu­al sum of about £66.10s.  Moth­er retains about 9 acres around the house.  Her rents are to be paid over to Andrew McFar­land.  Gabriel Walk­er lives in Glen­co­pa­gaugh at the year­ly rent of [miss­ing].  There is a new house there and I sup­pose it will here­after be well tak­en care of.  Andrew is strug­gling along as usu­al.  His lit­tle daugh­ter Bess was a love­ly inter­est­ing child when I was there — anoth­er (called Mary) has been born since I left Ire­land.  I was high­ly pleased with Andrew & his lit­tle fam­i­ly when amongst them.  He don’t drink a drop of spir­it now of any descrip­tion except a lit­tle wine.  I set­tled with Bil­ly of Glen­gaw for £53.13.9 — paid him £15 and gave notes for bal­ance @ 18mo.  I expend­ed $500 amongst my friends includ­ing expens­es of tour and did every thing in my pow­er to make all hap­py.  My efforts were suc­cess­ful — they were pleased beyond my expec­ta­tions with every thing I did — but I left them with­out bid­ding farewell!  I could not sup­port a part­ing scene with Eliza.  None of them wish you to go home, untill you are inde­pen­dent at least.  I have arranged busi­ness in such a way, that they have now no trou­ble with farm or ten­ants.  Don’t stay in St. Louis, if you think it unhealthy — no mat­ter about your sit­u­a­tion — go else­where should there be the least dan­ger.  I could bet­ter sup­port the death of any oth­er of our fam­i­ly (except Moth­er) than yours — if you can do half as well else­where, leave it in the spring.

Page one of this letter

With respect to my wor­thy friend James Reed’s affairs, they shall be attend­ed to — Uncle John could not at this moment spare $30 to all the friends he has — of course John Reed’s jour­ney here will be fruit­less, and indeed worse than use­less, though we shall be very glad to see him.  The old peo­ple are becom­ing less able to attend to busi­ness & con­se­quent­ly more embar­rassed in mon­ey mat­ters.  I see them often and do all I can to assist every way in my pow­er.  Their house will always be open, as their hearts, to their rel­a­tives but their purs­es are too tight to be of any ser­vice at present.  We shall be required to see James here should he come this way in the spring.

A few weeks ago I had a let­ter from David Kyle Junr offer­ing to take me in as a part­ner in Rich­mond — William & David Kyle will dis­solve at Christ­mas and William pro­pos­es giv­ing up the old house In Rich­mond to David & me.  Our Mr. K. is not will­ing to part with me & offers to give me five thou­sand dol­lars in VA mon­ey as a present at the expi­ra­tion 2 years from my return (Sept. 1826) and the use of his cred­it to any extent, to estab­lish busi­ness on my own foot­ing if I stay with him untill that time expires.  Either propo­si­tion is beyond my expec­ta­tion — I have not yet resolved which to accept, but will deter­mine in a day or two.  I will write you on my return from Rich­mond more decid­ed­ly on this impor­tant sub­ject.  You see for­tune smiles on me at length.

Should I con­sent to stay in Mil­ton I will remit one thou­sand dol­lars to Ire­land for the use of my good old moth­er for pay­ment of debt in the course of a year.  In either case should I become pos­ses­sor of more than a decent sup­port, the sur­plus shall go to my friends — mar­riage I have no idea of at present and in all prob­a­bil­i­ty nev­er may.  Let such be your views Robert, and our change of res­i­dence will not be in vain.  You ought to write home direct­ly.  I under­stand that sis­ter Ann has writ­ten you on 7th Sept.

I pro­cured sit­u­a­tions for four of my ship mates today — George Boyle with W & D Kyle, James McKim­mon of Tri­na­madin with R & H Kyle Raleigh.  David Rogers with R. Kyle Oxford & Robert Steven­son of Stra­bum in this store. Robert Wiley is still the same ami­able char­ac­ter — Ezekiel Ander­son is doing pret­ty well in Rock­ing­ham — Mr. Kyle’s fam­i­ly are always friend­ly — I sub­scribed for the Mil­ton Gazette for you — Do you receive it?  Shall I send you any oth­er papers?  Or can I do any thing to add to your hap­pi­ness — If so, write me & it shall be done.  The Doc­tor is still the same — our busi­ness has been quite brisk late­ly — Kerr has opened at Clarksville VA about 44 miles east of this & is doing tol­er­a­bly — Fare thee well, Robert

Hugh Camp­bell

Short­ly after my return to Mil­ton I had rea­son to sus­pect James Math­ey (the young fel­low who came short­ly after depar­ture).  I searched his draw­er and found that he had pur­loined from the firm between 200 & 300 dolls.  Mr. Kyle was not at home — I took what cash he had from him & dis­missed the scoundrel — His par­ents live in Der­ry & are very mean — this you see we had a sec­ond edi­tion of John Mon­aghan in Milton.

[Side page 1]

When I advise you to adopt a plan sim­i­lar to mine I don’t mean to delay you from offer­ing at Hymen’s altar — I should rejoice (my dear Robert) to hear that you had made choice of a help­mate for life if it were a pru­dent one — but in this I shall leave you to act as you please

[Side page 2]

I received yours of 13 Oct & a Mis­souri paper — I trust [?] you write bet­ter than for­mer­ly — If con­ve­nient you can send me occa­sion­al­ly only any paper [miss­ing] some­thing curi­ous — don’t make me a reg­u­lar sub­scriber — your west­ern papers are not worth esteem here.