Col. Samuel Campbell (1748-1824)

A List Of My American Grandparents
John Alden is my most famous grandfather
7 Isabellas in my family line

My ancestor, Thomas Campbell may be related to or have known Samuel Campbell. 1783 was the year Henry Monroe Campbell was born. It was also the year Col. Samuel Campbell and his family returned to the site of their Cherry Valley fortress and home from being a prisoners of war during the American revolution. The relationship, if any, between Samuel and Thomas is not known to this writer. In any case there is an interesting story to be told.

This is the story of Cherry Valley, New York, and November 11, 1778, which became known as the Cherry Valley massacre. I copied it from written by an unnamed author as if an original inhabitant from the town were telling it....

"Reverend Samuel Dunlop, a literary scholar, [arrived at a frontier settlement in what is now upstate New York] with seven Scotch-Irish families from Londonderry, New Hampshire. It was during the early 1740's that the name Cherry Valley was given to the settlement due to the many wild cherry trees in its forests. We worked hard to clear the land to raise the crops and build our homes. By 1743, Rev. Samuel Dunlop established a church and the only classic academy west of Albany at that time. By 1745, our population increased to 300 people.

We began hearing rumors of raids and attacks on homesteads not to far from here in 1776. We were on the frontier's edge with no protection against our enemies. We were promised assistance from General Philip Schuyler, but we had to build a stockade around Colonel Samuel Campbell's home. It was a time of great concern for our families. However, we decided that we wanted to be free or die.

The British forces with Tories and Indian allies launched a three-pronged strategy in 1777 to destroy all of the areas supplying provisions to Washington's men. Joseph Brant had help gather 1500 Indians and Tories who were assembled at Unadilla only 40 miles southwest of Cherry Valley. Ft Stanwix fell in August, the burning of the Schoharie Valley in September.

In March 1778, Samuel Campbell, Samuel Clyde, and Jim Willson rode horseback to Johnstown to meet with General Lafayette and speak of Cherry Valley's plight and request the needed assistance to build a fort and provide soldiers. By July, General Washington sent orders acknowledging Lafayette's request for the fort to be built in Cherry Valley which was immediately put into action. Later, even before the fort was completed, Colonel Ichabod Alden and Seventh Regiment arrived from Massachusetts.

Although there were numerous warnings and rumors of an upcoming attack following the Battle of Ft. Stanwix, Colonel Ichabod Alden chose to ignore and dismiss them as folly, as if his presence was enough to ward off the enemy. He would not allow the citizens to stay in the fort complex.

It was a bitterly cold snowy day when 50 Redcoats, 150 Tory rangers, and 300 Seneca Indians attacked the frontier settlement. Cherry Valley Massacre took place November 11, 1778. The Tories attacked Fort Alden leaving the Seneca Indians, enraged by the Battle at Fort Stanwix in which Colonel Samuel Campbell replaced Herkimer when he was injured, without supervision. The Indians attacked the homes and farms surrounding Fort Alden. Mohawk Chief, Joseph Brant, tried to stop the savagery, but the Seneca Indians were temporarily out of control.

The end result was 32 residents were maimed and killed, 16 American soldiers died, and 70 citizens and soldiers were taken as prisoners including Colonel Samuel Campbell's wife, Jane, and family. They were marched 200 miles and more to various Indian villages and Canadian forts. The whole town was burned except the fort and the church.
It was two full long torturous years before Jane and Sam were reunited on November 11, 1780 through a prisoner exchange in Albany. Whenever Jane was asked how she could live through it all, her reply was always the same, "God taught me one can't always die when one longs for death." They could not yet return to their homeland in Cherry Valley. The village had been attacked again in April of that year.

Then spring 1783 peace came to America. Colonel Samuel and Jane Campbell with their children and household return home to Cherry Valley to rebuild their lives once again.

Guess who was our most honored guest in the early days. General George Washington came to visit Colonel Samuel Campbell in the fall of 1783. He sat in this old rocking chair under the apple tree, and just listened as we shared our experiences. There were so many painful memories, yet we saw God's keeping power and faithfulness to sustain us, when it was well beyond our endurance. At times we could even laugh at some of them because it was all over...behind us. We felt proud to have our brave leader here, and humbled that he shared our experiences. I'm sure he had his own to tell. General Washington gave Colonel and Mrs. Campbell an enamel snuff box as a token of his appreciation for their hospitality. He continued on the next day with Gov George Clinton to Otsego Lake."

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