The Campbell McDonald Feud – The Story of a Scottish Divorce – Part 1

The feud between the Campbell and McDonald clans in Scotland is well known. So I was more than a little interested to find out that my Great Great Grandfather’s first wife was a McDonald.

When I first started doing family history research about forty years ago I was given a lot of information on the Campbell family by my Grandmother. She said her Grandfather’s first wife had either died or there was a divorce. She was not sure and nothing had ever been said.

It took a while to find the marriage for John Campbell and Mary McDonald. These are very common names.

John Campbell married Mary McDonald on 14 May 1857 in the district of Anderston in the burgh of Glasgow. John was 19 and Mary was 24. Next to this entry is a notation in the left hand margin. It is difficult to read and in part reads “Divorce See Royal … (1875)… 23 July 1875.”

There was no Register of Corrected Entries available on the website for this registration so I emailed ScotlandsPeople and they were able to help me. They also provided contact information for some Scottish government departments who may be able to help me find out more. I was not able to get any information about how to obtain the actual divorce file from anyone.

I then went on a search for information on divorce in Scotland. There was not a lot to be found. The National Archives of Scotland had a research guide on divorce. It was not helpful and there was very little relating to the time period I was researching.

I have a copy of “Tracing your Scottish Ancestry” by Kathleen B. Cory and “In Search of Scottish Ancestry” by Gerald Hamilton-Edwards and neither of these publications helped me with my research.

Finally I sent an email to the National Archives of Scotland. The reply was that they had checked their indexes and did not find anything relating to the case. This was getting to be a very frustrating process.

There was a light at the end of the tunnel though as I was about to go to Salt Lake City. In the Family History Library I found the “General Minute-Book of the Court of Session.” These are available on microfilm. The library does not have a complete set of the General Minute Books.

I was told by the archives that the divorce records could be found anywhere from the time of the marriage until the last child turned 21 years of age. That was a search of 1857 to 1901 but I started in 1875 because of the notation on the marriage record.

The book that covered the dates 15 Oct 1874 to 14 Oct 1875 provided me with the information I needed to order the record. Here it was recorded that John Sheddens Campbell went before Lord Craighill, MD to petition for divorce.

While going through the books to see if there were other notations relating to the divorce other references to John Sheddens Campbell were found. He was suing people for not paying their bills.

Once I got home these documents were scanned and sent to the National Archives of Scotland. They said the divorce file was found and it would cost me 50 GBP to get a copy of it. The package arrived in a little over a week which was great.

There were 91 pages and they were divided into two then wrapped up in cotton ribbon. There were 20 pages relating to the divorce proceedings and 71 pages of witness statements which made for very interesting reading. It appears my Great Great Grandfather hired a private investigator to watch his wife.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research

Horace Gibson Leitch Campbell – Lest We Forget

Horace Gibson Leitch Campbell was my Great Grand Uncle. I have written about him before in a previous post. Horace and a few of his brothers immigrated to British Columbia in 1909. Horace and Frank went to Campbell River and worked with the power company while Harold worked in Vancouver.

Horace joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force on 9 November 1914 and he was part of the Active Militia at the time. He was 27 years 275 days old and his occupation was listed as surveyor.

He was part of the C.E.F., 29th Vancouver Battalion, Second Canadian Contingent, 6th Brigade, Canadian Infantry, British Columbia Regiment. This regiment did a lot of fighting in and around the French and Flemish border.

On 23 Jan 1915 he was promoted to Lance Corporal. On the 20th of May 1915 he embarked for England. He started his trench warfare training on the 25th of February 1916 and finished on the 3rd of March 1916. The Trench Warfare School took place “in the field.”

Horace received the rank of Corporal on the 15th of March 1916 and on May 27th was granted eight days leave. During his leave he went back to visit his family in Glasgow and help his niece, Norah, celebrate her eighth birthday. He left on June 4th to return to the front.

On the 8th of June 1916 Horace Gibson Leitch Campbell was killed in action. His military file does not say where he was killed. A little research has shown that he was probably killed at the Battle of Mount Sorrel in Belgium. This battle was fought from June 2-13, 1916.

Horace was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal. His military file consists of five pages.

Horace was the subject of many photographs during his leave. There is one photo of Horace and his brother Edwin.

Janet Waddell Ross Campbell was sent a photograph of Horace’s final resting place in Belgium at the Reninghelst New Military Cemetery.

On Armistice Day everyone went to church. There is a photograph of a floral cross. On the back of this photograph is written “Armistice Day 11th Nov Camphill Church (Glasgow) Memorial – Horace’s wooden cross, forms the foundation of the floral one” You can see that the table the cross is standing on is draped with the Union Jack.

The Campbell’s were quite prolific poets. At Christmas in 1915 while on the battlefield in Belgium Horace wrote a letter home which, as was his practice, included a poem. This poem was read during the Armistice Day service and was printed on Horace’s memorial card.

Oh, lead us not home with the flourish of trumpets
With flags and plumes waving and cheers in the air;
Oh, call us not heroes nor crown us with laurels,
But remember the cost — see the tears everywhere.

Give a thought to the men that lie dead over yonder,
With “Unknown” on a rude cross of wood where they lie.
See that woman in black — whose loved ones sleep with them
As sadly she watches their comrades go by.

But think kindly of others and quietly welcome
Your loved ones, your brothers, your husbands, your sons;
And think of the morrow of tears, and the sorrow
Of thousands who have lost their only dear ones.

Six months after he wrote the letter Horace would be gone.

Lest We Forget

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

Amanuensis Monday – A Mother’s Remembrance

The Campbell’s were poets at heart and when Janet Waddell Ross Campbell heard of the death of her son she started writing. This is a transcription of the poem written by Janet.

In Memoriam

Horace Gibson Leitch Campbell

(Written by his Mother – 1916)

Hearts are breaking, tears are falling;
High hopes withered in the dust.
Our dear Land’s in sorrow shrouded
Thro’ oppression, hate and lust.
Raise we then our Holy Standard
“Peace on earth, Goodwill to men!”
As at the Holy Infants birth
Angels sang in concert then.
Christ, the Man, our Valiant Captain
Shall this righteous Peace secure
End the din and strife of warfare
Making holiness endure!

Great Consoler, let us trust thee
Who is our sorrow comfort gives,
In the loss of our dear loved one
May we feel that he still lives!
Bravely he marched back to duty
But – – four days after leaving home,
Struck by shell! He in an instant
Was by cruel death o’ercome
O’erpassing death, his soul soared upward
Through deathless tracts straight to his God
Now we look above and see him
Though his body’s ‘neath the sod.

Laid to rest by dear, brave comrades,
Who twined a wreath of wild-flowers fair,
Emblem of his Captain’s sufferings – –
A wooden Cross they too placed there.
In a cemet’ry in Flanders,
Loving hands these graves attend.
To all those noble, gentle, kind hearts,
Gratefully our thanks we send.
Comfort Lord, our dear, brave soldiers,
Striving, fighting for the right;
Heal the wounded, soothe the dying,
To all bereaved ones send Thy Light.

Calmly then we trust thee Saviour
Who can make glad thoughts arise
As we each on God’s great altar
Lay our precious sacrifice.
Memories dear around us hover
Like Holy incense’ sweet perfume
Pleasant, happy acts of kindness
Which he lives but to resume
Beloved by all, dear son and Brother
A great glad meeting is in store
Each in God’s good time shall greet thee
Where partings cease for ever more.
Lovingly we leave thee dear one
Knowing well thou’rt safe from harm
Lasting peace is now thy portion
No more thou hearest war’s alarm.

Janet Waddell Ross Campbell wrote this poem in honour of her son. She used the first line and every other line to spell out his name, Horace Gibson Leitch Campbell.

After spending his leave from wartime France with his family, Horace Gibson Leitch Campbell left the home of his parents on the night of 4 June 1916. It was the eighth birthday of his niece, Norah Margaret Campbell. He was killed four days later on 8 June 1916.

©2010 – Blair Archival Research