Post War Settlement
The following article, written in 1954, was donated for our use by Ron Campbell, descendant of Sergeant Neil CAMPBELL of the British Legion.
Neil CAMPBELL was enlisted in the British Legion as a private in New York City by Captain John McKENZIE on 15 July 1778.
By February of 1779 he was in Captain Charles STEWART's Scotch Company of the British Legion. It is likely that all of the Scots in the Legion were combined when this company was formed.
On 22 July 1779 he was taken prisoner but had made his escape by the muster rolls taken for the period October 25 - December 24, 1780, when he appears as a member of Captain Thomas MILLER's Company.
It appears that he did not accompany CORNWALLIS to Yorktown in 1781, but instead remained in Charlestown. He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in Captain Thomas MILLER's Company on 25 December 1782.
We know from his discharge papers that he was in Captain Donald McPHERSON's Company at the conclusion of the war.
Old Campbell House
British Soldiers First Port Mouton Settlers
Most coves and harbors on Nova Scotia's South Shore are full of historical interest which dates back to the earliest explorers.
One of these, Port Mouton, was popular with the first French adventurers in the early years of the seventeenth century. Champlain and DeMonts both visited here.
It wasn't until a settlement was formed at Halifax, Lunenburg and Liverpool that any major attempt was made to colonize this section of the coast.
Old soldiers of the line were generally considered to be fine colonist stock. When Sir Guy CARLETON, who was Commander-in-Chief of His Majesty's forces demobilized some of the regiments inducements were made to the men to settle in Canada.
Hundreds of soldiers were given grants of land in the Port Mouton area. A town plan was drawn up and 300 homes were built in 1784 and the place renamed Guysborough probably after the commander-in-chief. But the next year disaster hit the community when fire burned nearly every home. The project was abandoned and the settlers were moved to form the present town of Guysborough in that county.
A few settlers came in later, however, including one Neil CAMPBELL, who after seving six years in H. M. forces was given his discharge in October, 1783. Descendants of Neil, still named CAMPBELL, live in the home he built which dates back to about 1800 and is the oldest home in the Port Mouton area.
The story goes, originally the first home built was a log cabin closer to the shore and the home which is still in use was built a few years later.
Mrs. Sam CAMPBELL, the present owner, is the fifth generation to live in the house. In her possession is the discharge given to Neil CAMPBELL. Still faded but legible the discharge is signed by Sergeant Neil CAMPBELL, his captain, and Sir Guy CARLETON, C in C His Majesty's forces.
Campbell's unit was the British Legion Infantry in which he served for six years. Whether he was connected with any particular regiment the discharge certificate does not state.
Apparently having joined the army in Scotland the offer of free land was enough to keep him on this side of the Atlantic. On being discharged Sergeant CAMPBELL received two weeks pay to take him to Guysborough.
Some of the original doors are still in use in the house and still visible are some of the twenty-inch boards. According to tradition, when Neil CAMPBELL decided to live in Port Mouton there were few homes there, most of the settlers having moved away when the original settlement was burned out in 1785.
LESLIEs, GARDNERs, BELLs and MacPHERSONs are some of the names of the old timers whose descendants still live here. The story also goes that Neil CAMPBELL first landed in Shelburne and married an American woman.
The CAMPBELL home on the main highway is only a few hundred yards away from the graveyard used by the early settlers. Most of the stones and markers are fallen over and hidden from sight by the jumble of alders and brush.
The deserted cemetery is seldom visited by strangers. Located on the edge of some woods and just two or three minutes walk from the road the burial ground probably was used by the first of CARLETON's ex-soldiers to bury their dead.
If there was a path and roadway leading to the cemetery, it isn't visible now.
Halifax Chronicle-Herald, Friday, July 2, 1954.
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