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CAMPBELL, DUGALD (Dougald), army officer, surveyor, judge, and office holder; b. 1758 or 1759 in Scotland; d. 12 April 1810 in Fredericton, N.B.

Little is known of Dugald Campbell’s background, except that he was a nephew of Patrick Campbell*, a farmer, merchant, and soldier of Fort William, Scotland, who wrote an interesting account of an expedition in 1791 and 1792 to New Brunswick, the Canadas, and the northeastern American states. They belonged to a branch of the Campbell family which appears to have long held the hereditary office of keeper of the royal forest of Mamlorn, near Achallader. Dugald married Jacobina, daughter of Donald Drummond, a member of the MacGregor family of Balhaldie, near Stirling, Scotland, who had settled at Poughkeepsie, N. Y.; her sister Susan married Captain Archibald McLean, an officer in the New York Volunteers who was later, for many years, a member of the New Brunswick legislature. Dugald and Jacobina were to have three sons and two daughters; the eldest son, Alexander, served as a lieutenant in the 104th Foot in the War of 1812 and later settled on a farm in Etobicoke Township, Upper Canada.

Commissioned as an ensign in the 42nd Foot (Royal Highland Regiment) in April 1777, and promoted lieutenant in 1781, Campbell served with the first battalion of the regiment in New York and was in command of a detachment disbanded at Parrtown (Saint John, N.B.) in 1783. In 1784, under Campbell’s leadership, the Highlanders moved to the Nashwaak River, about 15 miles from St Anne’s Point, the main centre for the loyalist regiments then being settled on the Saint John River. In April 1784 Campbell was designated by Governor John Parr* to assist in laying out a town at St Anne’s. Two months later the province of New Brunswick was created, and early in 1785 Parr’s plan for a town was set aside when Thomas Carleton, the first governor of the new province, decided that the capital, to be called Fredericstown, should be built on the site. Campbell was then made responsible for surveying and subdividing a new town with streets 66 feet wide intersecting at right angles; houses were to be centred laterally on the street line of quarter-acre lots, each 66 feet by 165 feet. He was also one of the trustees appointed for effecting the speedy settlement of the capital and prepared the first plan of the town plat. Later he declared that the surveying was out of his line of duty and that he had received no compensation far his work. It did, however, bring him close to the governor, whom he later served as aide-de-camp and with whom he was to be associated until Carleton’s departure from the province in 1803.

It seems likely that the patronage of Major-General John Campbell, commanding officer of the forces in Nova Scotia, was a factor in Dugald Campbell’s being specifically named by Parr in the document ordering the survey of St Anne’s; yet he was an experienced and capable surveyor who was to be employed from time to time as an assistant engineer with the army for the rest of his life. In the winters of 1784 and 1785 he surveyed the Saint John River from its mouth to Grand Falls, and produced a map of which the historian William Francis Ganong* says: “It is remarkable for the fidelity with which it records the Indian names of the river, to which the translation is often added.” In 1791, when he accompanied his uncle Patrick on an expedition up the Saint John River, he was responsible for erecting barracks and for provisioning new posts at Presque Isle and Grand Falls designed for the defence of the frontier. Six years later he made a survey of the Magaguadavic River in connection with the settlement of the boundary dispute with the United States, completing work which had been begun by Isaac Hedden (Heddon) in 1796. The most dramatic episode in his career as a surveyor came late in 1799; seeking full-time employment as a military engineer, he succeeded in interesting the Duke of Kent [Edward Augustus], then commander-in-chief at Halifax, in the possibility of developing more effective military communications by linking Halifax with Quebec through New Brunswick. The project was abandoned after a few months “as the breach formed by the projection of a part of the American territory in the best and perhaps the only practicable route for that purpose, appears to be an insuperable bar.” A map of the road from Fort Cumberland (near Sackville) to Fredericton, dated 1799, is related to Campbell’s proposal and may have been prepared by him. In 1807 he joined Lieutenant Colonel George Johnstone on a tour of the western part of New Brunswick during which he prepared a plan of the frontier to accompany a project for its defence. Campbell’s extensive acquaintance with the topography of southern and western New Brunswick also led to his being employed to prepare a report on the province’s roads, with recommendations for improvements, which was published by order of the House of Assembly in 1803.

When his uncle visited him in 1791 and 1792, Campbell was living near Fredericton, in a neighbourhood preferred by officials and loyalist officers. He continued to live in or near Fredericton but also built a country residence, Taymouth Farm, on a 580-acre grant on the Nashwaak River at its junction with a little river which he renamed the Tay. His farm home was a substantial one-storey building made of timber hewn square, dovetailed on the corners with each log laid in mortar, nicely shingled on the outside, and well finished within. Local people called it the Campbell Castle, an allusion, no doubt, to Taymouth Castle in Scotland, the stronghold of the Breadalbane branch of the clan. Many of the settlers in the little Gaelic speaking community on the Nashwaak resented Campbell’s taking for himself the only large block of good land and assigning them unusually small lots which were “all length and no breadth.”

In 1802 Campbell was at the centre of the last and most bitter of the political episodes in the struggle between the official group around Carleton and the radical forces in the assembly led by James Glenie, who, like Campbell, had earlier been employed by the military as an assistant engineer. When Hedden, the clerk of the House of Assembly, died, Carleton, following the practice in Britain, where the right to name the clerk of the House of Commons was part of the royal prerogative, appointed Campbell to the post. His right to do so was challenged by a majority of members of the assembly who, citing Nova Scotian precedent based on the earlier practice of the New England colonies, defied Carleton and elected one of his most outspoken opponents, Samuel Denny Street*. The two sides then played out the classical roles of a confrontation between crown and parliament, with the majority in the house attempting to use the assembly’s right to frame money-bills to have the salary of the office paid to their nominee. When the Council objected and requested a conference, opponents of the lieutenant governor refused to attend sessions and escaped the serjeant-at-arms by getting out of town, leaving the assembly without its quorum of 13. The lieutenant governor’s supporters then defied the rules. The rump of the assembly under the leadership of John Coffin* deleted Street’s name from the annual revenue bill and passed it in a session with only eight members present. The Council and the lieutenant governor accepted their action as valid and Campbell received the salary for the labour that Street had performed. He continued to hold the office even when he returned to full-time soldiering, having a deputy carry out the duties when necessary. The election that followed the 1802 session of the legislature was contested with a rancour and hostility unparalleled in the early history of the province. In October Campbell, who had been a justice of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas since 1791, joined six of his fellow magistrates for York County in a petition praying that Caleb Jones be removed from the bench for conducting himself in a disloyal manner in his canvass as a candidate for the assembly. Supporters of the lieutenant governor formed a majority in the new assembly, but the campaign left a legacy of bitterness in the New Brunswick community.

In the early days of the province Campbell served as a major in the militia of York County. He always regarded himself as a soldier and, when the regular troops were withdrawn from New Brunswick at the beginning of the war with France, he obtained a commission as a captain in the King’s New Brunswick Regiment, a unit recruited for local defence in the years from 1793 to 1802. During part of this time he served in Saint John: in 1797 he was in command of the light company of the regiment on garrison duty in a newly erected blockhouse at the Lower Cove, and for a time, in 1800, he was commanding officer in the city. Finally, in 1803, he had an opportunity to resume his career as a regular officer on active service; he became an acting captain in a newly approved regiment, the New Brunswick Fencibles, which was to become a line regiment, the 104th Foot, in 1810 shortly after Campbell’s death. The regiment sought recruits throughout British North America, and, pursuing this endeavour, Campbell early in 1804 made a winter journey from Fredericton to Quebec that was a prelude to the famous winter march of the regiment nine years later; in February he arrived in Quebec “very much fatigued from the uncommon badness of the way which I was under a necessity of paving with Dollars to render it in any degree passable. I took off my snow shoes at the Riviere des Caps without any regret, after having wore them about three hundred miles.” He remained in Quebec for several weeks in command of a large body of recruits. He received a company in the regiment in September 1804. Most of the rest of his life was spent on regimental duty at Fredericton and Saint John.

Born into a family of forest-keepers accustomed to a robust outdoor life on the Scottish moors, trained as a soldier and surveyor, Dugald Campbell adapted readily to physical conditions in loyalist New Brunswick. He accepted the values of a society based on clientage and official patronage but rewards for loyal service were small in a poor colony. The office of clerk of the assembly was the only significant office that the government of New Brunswick was able to offer to a man who had no high-placed support in Britain. Campbell had neither the time nor the resources to develop a gentleman’s estate or to give leadership to the tiny Highland community that he established on the Nashwaak, but he made a significant and long-lasting contribution to the province in helping to plan and subdivide the town of Fredericton, in surveying and mapping rivers, in laying out roads, and in organizing military communications. Ganong thought highly of Campbell’s work, commenting on the excellence of his recording of Indian place names and suggesting, on the basis of his skill as a draughtsman, that he may have drawn the originals of the three excellent illustrations in Patrick Campbell’s book on his North American travels.

D. M. Young

N.B., Dept. of Natural Resources, Lands Branch (Fredericton), Map of Fredericton, comp. Dugald Campbell, 1785; Plan of the Nashwaak grant; Town plan of Fredericton. PAC, MG 23, D1, ser. 1, 59; RG 8, I (C ser.), 227; 718: 145, 155; 1218: 107–8. PANB, H1-203.172–1800, “Survey of the proposed road between Fredericton and the Miramichi, copied from an actual survey made by Dougald Campbell . . .”; RG 2, RS6; RS8, Unarranged Executive Council docs., Petition of the magistrates of the county of York, 14 Oct. 1802; RG 7, RS75, Dugald Campbell, 1827; RG 10, RS108, Petition of Dugald Campbell, 1808. Private arch., Mrs Ralph Miles (Fredericton), Letters between W. O. Raymond and J. A. Young, Young to Raymond, 21 Feb. 1921; Papers relating to transfer of portions of Campbell farm at Taymouth, N.B. PRO, CO 700, New Brunswick, no. 12 (copy at PANB). UNBL, MG H2, Dugald Campbell to Edward Winslow, 14, 21 July 1800 (mfm. at PAC). Campbell, Travels in North America (Langton and Ganong). N.B., House of Assembly, Journal, 1802–3. Winslow papers (Raymond). I. L. Hill, Fredericton, New Brunswick, British North America ([Fredericton, 1968?]). MacNutt, New Brunswick. L. M. B. Maxwell, An outline of the history of central New Brunswick to the time of confederation (Sackville, N.B., 1937). George Patterson, Memoir of the RevJames MacGregor, D.D. . . . (Philadelphia, 1859). W. A. Squires, The 104th Regiment of Foot (the New Brunswick Regiment), 1803–1817 (Fredericton, 1962). Wright, Loyalists of N.B. W. F. Ganong, “Additions and corrections to monographs on the place-nomenclature, cartography, historic sites, boundaries and settlement-origins of the province of New Brunswick,” RSC Trans., 2nd ser., 12 (1906), sect.ii: 3–157; “A monograph of the cartography of the province of New Brunswick,” RSC Trans., 2nd ser., 3 (1897), sect.ii: 313–427. Jonas Howe, “Dugald Campbell’s map,” New Brunswick Magazine (Saint John), 2 (January–June 1899): 233–39.

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Cite This Article

D. M. Young, “CAMPBELL, DUGALD,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 5, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed April 15, 2024, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/campbell_dugald_5E.html.

The citation above shows the format for footnotes and endnotes according to the Chicago manual of style (16th edition). Information to be used in other citation formats:

Permalink:   http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/campbell_dugald_5E.html
Author of Article:   D. M. Young
Title of Article:   CAMPBELL, DUGALD
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 5
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   1983
Year of revision:   1983
Access Date:   April 15, 2024