Under Construction...

The Rhea/Campbell Line

One of my ancestors, Altamira Rhea, the wife of Valentine Caroll Isom/Isham, is said to be a descendant of Matthew "The Rebel" Campbell of Scotland (b. circa 1660), merchant and Shipmaster, and kinsman of Archibald Campbell, Earl of Argyll. His (as yet unverified) story is found in the memoirs of one of his descendants, John Angus Rhea (1753-1832), the first Congressional Representative from eastern Tennessee. I am currently endeavoring to acquire photocopies of the relevant portions of the Rhea Family Papers from the Tennesse State Library and Archives in Nashville. A summary of the information is contained in The Descendants of Matthew "The Rebel" Rhea of Scotland and Ireland by Dr. Edward Foley (Heritage Books, January 1, 2000, ISBN: 0788415026, currently out of print, but available from the author on CDROM).

The tale goes that The Rebel sided with his kinsman against King James II in the Monmouth Rebellion. The uprising failed, and Archibald Campbell was executed. Matthew is then said to have been imprisoned in Castle Peel on the Isle of Man, and then supposedly escaped by bribing one of his jailors. From there, he fled to Ireland and changed his name to Reagh, where he was embroiled in the Seige of Londonderry in 1689. His assumed last name evolved into Rhea when his descendants settled in America.

Establishing the authenticity of this tale proves to be a challenging task. Many researches have assumed that our Matthew corresponds to a Matthew Campbell of the Campbells of Skipness listed in Burke's Landed Gentry. That Matthew Campbell is listed as having acquired a piece of property (likely a farm) known as Orgaig and as having married the daughter of Sir Francis Kinloch.

However, I have recently found evidence that this is the wrong Matthew Campbell. The Midlothian Parish and Probate Records (searchable on ancestry.com) include a listing for the marriage of a Captain Matthew Campbell to Magdalene Kinloch on 25 December 1710, well after The Rebel would have fled Scotland.

Midlothian: Edinburgh - Register of Marriages, 1701-1750 Volume 5. The Register of Marriages.
Register of Marriages of the City of Edinburgh, 1701-1750.
1820, January.
County: Midlothia
Country: Scotland
Kinloch, Magdalene; Captain Matthew Campbell 25 Dec 1710

Midlothian: Edinburgh - Register of Marriages, 1701-1750 Volume 5. The Register of Marriages.
Register of Marriages of the City of Edinburgh, 1701-1750.
1820, January.
County: Midlothia
Country: Scotland
Campbell (Campble), Captain Matthew; his widow. See Mrs. Magdalene Kinloch.

Midlothian: Edinburgh - Register of Marriages, 1701-1750 Volume 5. The Register of Marriages.
Register of Marriages of the City of Edinburgh, 1701-1750.
1820, January.
County: Midlothia
Country: Scotland
Campbell (Campble), Captain Matthew, merchant in Glasgow; Magdalene Kinloch, sister to Sir Francis K. of Gilmerton 17 Dec 1710 , m. 25 Dec 1710

Note the discrepancy of Magdalene being referred to as the sister (rather than daughter) of Sir Francis Kinloch. It may very well be that this was the case of father and son having the same name, which was not uncommon. However, I have not yet traced the Kinloch/Kinlock line to be sure.

Also recorded in Edinburgh is the burial of this same Matthew Campbell, as well as the subsequent re-marriage of his widow:

Midlothian: Edinburgh - The Commissariot Record of Edinburgh, 1701-1800 List of Burials excerpted from Register in possession of the Registrar of the Canongate.
The Commissariot Record of Edinburgh.
Register of Testaments. Third Section--1701-1800.
County: Midlothia
Country: Scotland
Campbell, Captain Matthew, merchant in Edinburgh, residenter in Leith 20 Aug 1722

Midlothian: Edinburgh - Register of Marriages, 1701-1750 Volume 5. The Register of Marriages.
Register of Marriages of the City of Edinburgh, 1701-1750.
1820, January.
County: Midlothia
Country: Scotland
Dunlop (Dunlap), of that Ilk, Francis, in N. W. p.; Mrs. Magdalen Kinloch, widow of Captain Matthew Campbell, now in S. E. p. 20 Apr 1729

Of course, just because the Matthew Campbell listed in Burke's is not the Rebel, it does not rule out the possiblility of the Rebel being related to the Campbell's of Skipness (or some other group of Campbells). More research is required on this topic.