Tag Archives: Ann Campbell

Letter of the week, June 21, 2010

Here’s a short letter Robert wrote to his niece Margaret MacCulloch in Ballyarton, Ireland.  He sent Margaret 5 pounds Sterling, which is just over $500.00 today.  Robert’s youngest child that he refers to is Robert (the third child who had that name, incidentally) who would have been five years old during their summer travels.  He died the following summer of diphtheria.  And particularly timely is Robert’s paragraph about his financial woes during the Civil War — depreciating property values, people in debt — sound familiar?  Times really haven’t changed much.


St Louis
June 21 1861
My Dear Niece,

Having net with the enclosed bill of exchange of the National Bank at Roscommon in the National Bank of London for Five pounds sterling I purchased it and concluded to send it to you as a present, and at some time to drop you a line to show that I have not forgotten you.  I have had frequent talks with my brother’s family about you and all our family in Ireland and was grateful to hear such good account of them.

I had a letter yesterday from your sister Mary Clark in which she mentions all her children who seam to be very promising and affectionate to her. She has named her youngest child Hugh Campbell I think it is some fourteen months old and she says is a very large, fine boy- her daughter are of great assistance to her.

Charlotte is very comfortably situated at Kansas city and when I was last there had got into a very excellent house which John had just built and she felt quite comfortable- She had two fine boys and since then has added a daughter to her family of which of course you have been advised. Your brother Robert B is in the gold region of the Rocky Mnts and through other parties I hear that he is well, but I have not had any letters from him.

Your uncle Hugh lives but a short distance from my residences and my children feel as much at home there as at their own home. They call it “ the other house”. I was about to have left with my family for New Port, Rhode Island where we have passed the last two summers but my youngest child has been unwell and we will not leave before tomorrow or day after as the child in improving and we like to have it well before we start, my brother will follow with his family ten days or so later.

The "Other House," Hugh & Mary Campbell's home on Washington Avenue. The Ely Walker Loft building is now on the property.

You have seen by the newspapers that our country is in a very deplorable condition, and no immediate prospect of a change business is almost suspended and rents greatly reduced and such …. ……. To be the case until peace is returned. We are unfortunately in a condition to feel these changes less than most people as we are entirely out of debt.  But we will be losers by the general depreciation of property in value and many who are indebted to us will not be able to pay for some time and other debts we will lose.

We have not had a letter from sister Ann for some months and she was then just recovering from a severe attack of illness. I trust that she is now quite well again as we all love her very much. I was glad to learn that your father and mother were in good health at last account. You will remember me kindly to you husband and children and to your Father, mother Aunt and sisters- in short to all our relatives

I know you as a good child of some three years, and I like still to recollect you, as such

Affectionately Your Uncle

Robert Campbell

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This week in history: May 2-May 8

We’ve posted letters about the hell-raiser in the Campbell family, Robert and Hugh Campbell’s niece Bessie Campbell.  But even with all the trouble that Bessie caused the family, her actions were very little when compared to her brothers Hugh Kyle Campbell and Robert Boyle Campbell.  Ironically named after their St. Louis uncles, these two were the true source of grief for Andrew and Elizabeth Campbell.  According to The Campbell Quest, written by the pair’s great-great-nephew, “Hugh Kyle followed in his father’s footsteps and became an alcoholic, while Robert Boyle became a bully . . .” .  These two caused trouble in Ireland, likely burning their grandfather’s will and harassing their Aunt Ann so that Hugh Kyle Campbell could lay claim to their Uncle Hugh Campbell’s rightful estate, Aughalane.  Hugh Kyle Campbell finally married, but never stopped drinking and finally died of “intemperance, one year.  Delirium tremens, one week” in 1877, a year after writing this letter.  Robert Boyle Campbell came to live with his Uncle Robert and Aunt Virginia for a while, but eventually left and moved west, hoping to strike it rich.  He also caused trouble for the family in the American Civil War.

Today’s letter is from Hugh Kyle Campbell to his brother-in-law (and Patrick Campbell MacCulloch’s great-grandfather) Hugh MacCulloch about his Aunt Ann’s death.  He makes is abundantly clear that he is not happy that Aunt Ann left so little to him in her will, obviously a very wise choice on Ann Campbell’s part when it came to this particular relative.  The letter was transcribed by Frank Collins of the Ulster American Folk Park in Northern Ireland, which now houses Robert’s birthplace, Aughalane house.  It was part of a collection that Collins and the Folk Park donated to Campbell House Museum last summer upon the European release of the book The Campbell Quest.  We hope you enjoy the account from another ‘black sheep’ of the Campbell family!


7th May 1876.

Dear Hugh.

Enclosed I send you what you drew up with all the names properly signed there was no a dissenting voice as they all gladly signed it. As to those in America as to them signatories it is not at all necessary in a legal point of view as to have signed it, at least all but…. & I presume she’ll not object. I congratulate you on the straightforward manner in which all has been conducted as far as I know,by both you and R Dunn.

This I can say for myself I am the greatest loser over my Aunt as I can …. And have been the proprietor of Aughalane only for her & her continually writing to my uncle Hugh. I never knew this until I was examined in Dublin and had I wished to be contention at that time I’d at all event prevented the sale of it for years but I never opposed it.

She always was my greatest enemy- all I ever got from her was those £27 and a bedstead? and curtains except I think £2 and I counted one of those due me for tidy? cows she allowed me keep the other.

I need not enlarge on this but I trust she may be happy as God only can discern our intermit thoughts and private actions and many a one to the human eye here is counted God fearing  & lending poor moral life by appearances, but when laid on the bed of sickness and death then deceptive and former hypocrisy   Tell then in their hard struggles not wishing to leave this world yet a letter? Wished and all as they counted it.   I am informed my Aunt did touse? the expression very hard.

One thing I do know Margaret had the greatest trouble with my Aunt. & most certainly £100 would not have repaid the trouble & sleepless nights she suffered over her sickness.

With kindest regards to you and Mgt.

I remain Your Affect Bro-in-law

Hugh Kyle Campbell

Mr H MacCulloch.

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This week in history: February 28-March 5

This week we post a letter from Robert’s sister Ann Campbell.  Ann is in Ireland and has apparently not been feeling well.  The letter almost makes it sound like she may be on her deathbed, but she would in fact live till 1876.  Ann tells Robert how much she thinks of him and how often he and his family are in her prayers.  Ann Campbell lived in Aughalane House, which is now part of the Ulster American Folk Park.  Enjoy getting all the news from Ireland.

Aughalane March 5th 1856

My Beloved Brother Robert
Your affectionate letter did me so much good, it was more to me  than all the medicine in Europe, it really did exhilarate me and  made me so happy that I am sure your kind heart would rejoice to  see me.

It is a year since I wrote you and finished my farewell letter  that I began the previous January.  The doctors ordered me as  soon as summer would commence to go to the shore but on the first week in July I was fainting from extreme weakness.  I had to  leave the house to get two floors that were badly laid made  right, as I could not endure the noise of the hammers; so I went  to Jane McHarlands’ [McFarlands?] with Annie’s attention and kindness (for her  disposition is like yours) thank God I felt stronger although I  was with her but ten days on 16th Aug I went to Hugh McCullough  Margt was also very attentive and I was enabled through divine  assistance to proceed to [?]_______.  I returned home on 16th  Sept and the day previous to my return

[Pg. Break] I walked six miles without much fatigue.  Thank God I have been pretty well through the winter.  I was not in bed an  hour out of my usual time since I came from [?]______ ______ I  had the house [?]________ in March last and painted in September  both doors and windows are painted white: I thought all my dear  relatives would have been here before this; that we might meet  again under the roof in which we first breathed and may God grant with blessing I may not be disappointed yet I think He will  realize this favor to me and should I not be here the thought  that my dear brother would [?]_____ on my grave would be a  consolation to me now for to what purpose was all the expense the prepare the house the fine apartments that were always neat were enough for me but the hope of seeing you all did stimulate me to everything I did and made any little care I had only delight;  write me on receipt of this and say you will with the Almighty’s  help be here next summer; it might renew sister Virginia’s health that God may long spare her to you and give her permanent health is my fervent prayer.  I hope the sweet boy Hugh [Hugh Campbell, lived to 81] is well and also little Hazlett [spelled Haslett,  the first Hazlett Kyle Campbell, died at the age of 3] and the  other little fellow.  I trust he will be as healthy as the other  two are and God grant they may be as great a comfort to you

[Pg. Break] and their dear mother as you have been to me.  I hope I never do go to bed without wishing a blessing on you and yours and I trust I never will and that the hours of prayer will grant any requests for you and your family.

I was looking over a letter of yours the other day dated 11th May 1833 and the affection and love in it caused tears of gratitude  that you are still unchanged for the same kindness that breathed  through it pervades your last; Oh! that I may be grateful to the  great first cause for tis’ paternal care to an aged orphan in  giving such brothers as He has given me.  In the letter I am  speaking of Brother Hugh in a postscript [?]____ the decease of  your father in law on 5th of same month and adds I have seldom  met with a more amiable lady than his widow; nor more interesting children than his daughters; I am sure if there had been ten  daughters there could be none more amiable than sister Virginia  thank God she  is yours.  I trust her health is restored.

Andrew and his numerous family are well; both he and sister Betty are youthful looking for their age, his sons assist on the farm; they are like their mother’s brothers, genteel looking and tall  of their age; Bessie lives with me since I was ill she never  looked better in her life than she does at present; Virginia is  growing tall and is an amiable child.

[Pg. Break] Annie has a family of five sons and one daughter all  health a lovely baby died from her in Autumn; her husband is a  decent person and doing well the former has fours on and the  latter two daughters and one son; both their husbands have a fine share of business at [?]_____ ______.  Margaret is also doing  well and has three sons and one daughter; she is much beloved by  her neighbors.  Mary wrote of your kindness in relieving her from her difficulties; poor dear she was a stranger and in debt; the  Lord reward you for what you have done for her and though last  not least dear Charlotte.  She wrote me lately and John never  wrote a letter home but he was so good as to mention me; he was  always a favorite with his mother and I’ve thought there was  something very noble in John even when a little boy.  Give my  kind love to Mr. Campbell [?]_____ & Charlotte; I am so happy to  hear that she has a fine little child.  I hope it will live for a blessing to them, Joseph and Mrs. Campbell are well, she does  not visit much in Winter as she is susceptible of cold but her  health is good.  I do not know when I shall write my good  Charlotte, for I have not [?]_____ to do anything as before I was sick but she is devare she has my prayers, for her welfare.  May every happiness be sister Virginia’s and yours here and  hereafter is the prayer of your grateful sister
Ann Campbell

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