Time and Chance
Happen To Them All
It was said that on a clear day, from this isle, you could see the wash hanging on the clotheslines in both Scotland and Ireland. And it is on this island in Scotland; Rodger Campbell was born in ca. 1770. As a young man, Rodger's family moved to County Tír Eoghain (Tyrone), Ireland.
Campbell is a Scottish surname, one of the ten most numerous in Scotland, and one of the thirty most numerous in Ireland. Two thirds of the Scots Campbell's who came to Ireland in the 1600's settled in Northern Ireland, then known as Ulster. Our Campbell Clan was founded by Gillespic Ó Duibhne, who lived in the thirteenth century, and was the first to assume the surname. His descendants included the most famous branch, the Campbell's of Argyll. It is family lore that we are a branch of the Argyll Clan Campbell, but as yet there is no evidence to substantiate this. The vast majority of Irish Campbell's are descended from the Scottish family. The family has handed down the belief that Rodger Campbell was born in Scotland and came to Northern Ireland in the late 1700's, the purpose of that move is unknown. It is possible that he arrived in Ireland to join family members who had moved there years before from Scotland or perhaps depressed economic conditions in his homeland forced the move.
It is in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland that Rodger met and married Mary Ashenhurst in ca. 1790. He gave his bride a trip to America for her honeymoon. America, a new start and a new life for them both. It was a trip to be remembered and a story to be told from one generation to the next in the Campbell Clan.
The first and greatest peril for Rodger and Mary Campbell was the trip to America itself. Travel by eighteenth century sailing ship from Ireland to America was dangerous enough in 1791; even in the best of conditions it could take up to twelve weeks to make the Atlantic crossing. Conditions both at sea and onboard were seldom good. Families ate, slept, were born and very often died on the ship. Sanitary conditions were very basic, and as you can imagine, the stench was unbearable. Diseases such as smallpox and cholera frequently broke out taking the weakest travelers and the children first. There were no portholes until late in the 18th Century, so the only source of air for Rodger and Mary below decks were the few overhead hatches. Their berths were crowded. The height below decks on a typical ship was only four feet nine inches, so Rodger and Mary would have had to stoop over to walk below decks.