Traveling with Alexander Campbell to Glasgow: Part 1 – The Homeland

By Carisse Mickey Berryhill, PhD

Alexander Campbell (1788-1866) was born and grew up in Northern Ireland. In 1807, his father Thomas Campbell (1763-1854), a Presbyterian minister, emigrated from Northern Ireland to western Pennsylvania and sent for the rest of the family to join him in 1808.  Shipwrecked on the western coast of Scotland, the family spent a year in Glasgow before joining Thomas in 1809. During that time Alexander studied at the University of Glasgow. In 2019 I set out to visit the places in Ireland and Scotland that are the backdrop for this crucial year in his life. Travel with me as we retrace his journey in three posts: the Homeland, the Interruption, and the University of Glasgow.

Alexander Campbell was born in Northern Ireland near Ballymena about a mile from Lough Neagh, a huge lake in the center of Northern Ireland.

Jane Corneigle Campbell, Alexander’s mother, had grown up in that area, the only child of a widowed mother. Nearby was Shane’s Castle, a beautiful lake estate with a park where Alexander played as a child. When Alexander was little, his family moved south of the lake to Sheepbridge, where Thomas preached as a probationer.

Sheepbridge was in County Down on the old Belfast road about seven miles north of Newry, Thomas’s family home. Several members of Thomas’s family, including his brother Enos, are buried in Newry at the churchyard of St. Patrick’s Church of Scotland.

View from St. Patrick's churchyard across a valley to green hills.

Newry, County Down, Northern Ireland, view to the south from St. Patrick’s Church. Photo by David Mickey Berryhill.

About the time Alexander was old enough to go to school, Thomas moved the family to County Armagh to Market Hill to work with churches in that area and to teach for families there.  Alexander attended an elementary school there. He also attended an academy in Newry taught by his uncles Archibald and Enos Campbell. During this period Thomas avoided involvement with political groups in County Armagh during a time of extreme political tension and armed skirmishes between rival Protestant and Catholic militias.

Thomas received an invitation from the Governor, Lord Gosford, who admired his peaceable ministry, to move to the Gosford estate near Market Hill as a tutor to his family, with a residence and salary. Thomas declined because he did not want his children to learn to admire a wealthy lifestyle.

White stone castle with a round tower and arches windows

Gosford Castle near Market Hill, home of  Arthur Acheson, the Earl of Gosford, the governor of Armagh at the time.

As Alexander approached his teens, his father supervised his education. In 1798, Thomas accepted a call to the Ahorey Presbyterian Church and moved the family about five miles north of Market Hill to a farm in what is now the village of Hamiltonsbawn, a few miles closer to the Ahorey church. Alexander thrived on farm work and outdoor sports and began to develop as a scholar.

Two story stone house painted light blue with dark red trim near the main road in Hamilstonbawn village

Campbell Farm House now in village of Hamiltonbawn near Market Hill, Armagh, UK. Photo by David Mickey Berryhill.

Also in 1798, Thomas helped found the Evangelical Society of Ulster, begun in Armagh as an interdenominational association to support Bible literacy and gospel preaching. This affiliation proved to be a problem with his Presbyterian supervisors, who insisted he withdraw his membership two years later. At the same time, he was involved in efforts to reconcile two Irish Presbyterian factions.

Grey stone church with square corner tower entrance, surrounded by church graveyard.

Ahorey Presbyterian Church, County Armagh, where Thomas Campbell ministered, 1798-1807.

When Alexander was about seventeen, Thomas decided to start a school in Rich Hill to supplement his salary as the pastor of the Ahorey church.The family moved to a house across the town square from the castle of William Richardson, the High Sheriff of Armagh, and brother-in-law of Lord Gosford. Alexander assisted his father in the school, which became successful.

On Sunday evenings, when the Ahorey church had no services, Thomas and Alexander frequently visited the Independent congregation in Rich Hill, where they occasionally heard visiting ministers connected to the independent evangelical movement in Northern Ireland, England, and Scotland. That meeting house is at the bottom of the hill just below the Rich Hill square where the Campbells lived.

White two story building with red door and red trim.

Meeting house of the Independents in Rich Hill, below the square.

Thomas, his health worn out by his work, decided to relocate to the United States and emigrated in 1807. Alexander managed the Campbell school and helped his mother with his younger siblings. He became the tutor to the young daughters of the Richardson family in the castle just across the Rich Hill square.

Castle of William Richardson, large U-shaped house in Rich Hill.

William Richardson House, Rich Hill, Armagh, UK

The following year, Thomas, having secured a job with a presbytery, sent for Jane and their seven children to sail to meet him in Washington, Pennsylvania. The letter dated January 1, 1808, arrived in March. They began to get ready to leave, but their departure was delayed when smallpox swept through Rich Hill. By the time everyone in the family had recovered, it was late in the sailing season. In September Alexander went to Londonderry in the northwest of Ulster to arrange their tickets, admiring the old walled city, its history, and its buildings.

Londonderry view of town on the south side of the Foyle River

Londonderry Waterside district on the east side of the River Foyle.

When the time came, the family traveled for four days to the port of Londonderry to embark on their voyage to America. Their ship, the Hibernia, sailed on the first day of October, 1808, bound for Philadelphia. It never arrived.

NEXT: Part 2: The Interruption (coming soon)

Open-Access photographs selected from my trip retracing Alexander’s journey to Glasgow are available for free download at ACU’s Stone-Campbell Teaching Archive for use in teaching. Read more about the Campbell family and Alexander’s life in Memoirs of Alexander Campbell by Robert Richardson (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1868).

Finding Aid Round Up

We’ve been busy writing finding aids for recent acquisitions and revising finding aids for some materials already in our holdings. You can browse all of our archival holdings on DigitalCommons. See something below that piques your interest or could be useful for your research? Get in touch and let us know what you’re thinking about; we’d love to help!


LeMoine Gaunce Lewis Papers, 1936-1995, MS#13 [Revised Finding Aid]
These papers span the entire academic career of one of Abilene Christian University’s most illustrious teachers from his time at Abilene Christian College (ACC), Harvard, and then back to teach at ACC. The collection consists of Lewis’ personal, hand-written notes taken down during his course work at Harvard Divinity School; his sermons and speeches given throughout his career, arranged by topic; and materials related to his work with congregations in New England and west Texas.

From the LeMoine Gaunce Lewis Papers, (1936-2995). Center for Restoration Studies Manuscripts #13.

James Lacy Lovell Papers, 1930-1995, MS#14 [Revised Finding Aid]
James Lovell was a prolific author and editor of religious publications. This collection contains personal and professional papers, including correspondence, financial records, and photographs which outline Lovell’s involvement in missions, Pepperdine College, World Bible School, religious publications, and other charitable endeavors. These papers also reflect Lovell’s active correspondence with his peers. The collection is housed in 44 boxes.

Dudley Lynch Papers, 1950-2007, MS#15 [Revised Finding Aid]
Dudley Lynch attended Abilene Christian College in 1958 and 1960-1961. He went on to attend other universities and graduate B.A. of Arts, Journalism, and Religion and then a M.A. in Mass Communication and History. He worked as a journalist and writer and then changed his career path to focus on exploring the nature of human thinking and technologies.
These papers include personal and business correspondence, various periodicals and articles written by Dudley Lynch, manuscripts, material for Lynch’s thought-development books, and floppy discs. Also contains bound journals and newspapers.

This collection was sealed upon acquisition in 1999 and may not be accessed by researchers for seventy-five (75) years from date of acquisition.

Gaines Beachamp Stanley, Sr. Papers, 1940-2010, MS#503 [New Finding Aid]
Gaines Beachamp Stanley, Sr. was born in Tahoka, Texas, and grew up in the Texas panhandle area. Gaines Graduated from Abilene Christian University in 1950 and began preaching across Texas. Throughout his life he was engaged in continuing education programs that focused on hospital ministry and marriage and family counseling. In 1981 he began serving at the Central Church of Christ on Ball Road in Orange County, California. This collection includes class materials from Gaines Stanley’s time at Abilene Christian College as well as extensive sermon notes. There are also two boxes of commemorative material related to the Gaines B. Stanley Theological Reading Room at Abilene Christian University.

Morlan and Gray Family Papers, 1915-2010, MS#502 [New Finding Aid]
G. C. and Alma (Adams) Morlan worked at Abilene Christian College as faculty members. G. C. Morlan began teaching in 1918 in the education department and in 1922 chaired the Education and Psychology department. Alma Morlan was the founding Home Economics Department Chair and served as the sponsor to the social club, Cadettes.
G. C. and Alma had four children: G. C. Morlan, Jr. (ACC ‘39), Alice Alene Floyd (ACC ‘42), Barbara Morlan Gray (ACC ‘45), and John Morlan (ACC ‘52). The materials in this collection were donated by John Gray, son of Barbara Morlan Gray and C. G. Gray.
C. G. Gray and Barbara Morlan Gray were married in 1951. Barbara’s career in education included teaching in public schools, serving as an assistant registrar, and then in 1981 joining the ACU faculty. She continued in the General Studies program until she retired in 1993. C. G. Gray served the university as Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs and was heavily involved in strategic planning for the university. The preceding information is from the Dr. and Mrs. G. C. Morlan Endowed Scholarship Fund page and ACU Remembers: Barbara Gray from ACU Today.

These papers document the award of the Grover C. Morlan Medal from the early 1970s through the early 1990s. There are also photographs, newspaper clippings, correspondence, and subject files related to the Morlan and Gray families.


Stay tuned for more installments of Finding Aid Round Ups!

Foldered & Finished: Robert Lynn Anderson Papers

The Robert Lynn Anderson Papers (1965-2019) are processed and ready for researchers. The finding aid for the papers and digitized selections are now available on DigitalCommons@ACU. These papers include 34.5 linear feet (58 boxes) of paper-based files and cassette tapes, and over 1000 digital files including 175 audio and video files.

List of plases sermon What is ‘Spirituality?’ was preached over the years. Series VI, Spirituality flash drive, Robert Lynn Anderson Papers, 1965-2019. Center for Restoration Studies MS #488. Abilene Christian University Special Collections and Archives, Brown Library. Abilene Christian University, Abilene, TX.

The following biographical sketch is adapted from the biographical note on the dust jacket of Lynn Anderson, Steps to Life, 20th Century Sermons Series Volume 10. Abilene: Biblical Research Press, 1977.

Robert Lynn Anderson was born September 22, 1936 in Saskatchewan, Canada. After graduating from high school at Western Christian College (Weyburn, Saskatchewn) he attended Freed-Hardeman College (Henderson, Tennessee) and Harding College (Searcy, Arkansas) where he received the B.A. degree in 1959. He received the M.A. degree in 1965 from Harding Graduate School of Religion (Memphis, Tennessee). In 1990, Anderson was the first Doctor of Ministry graduate at Abilene Christian University.

Click on audio player below to hear the opening of Lynn Anderson’s sermon, Ride the Wild Horses, preached at Highland Church of Christ in Abilene, Texas. Visit DigitalCommons@ACU to hear the entire sermon and explore more digitized resources: 

Anderson’s ministry experience includes the establishment of a congregation in Salmon Arm, British Columbia, where he preached from 1960-1964. In 1964-1965 he preached in Lepanto, Arkansas, and then established a congregation in Kelowna, British Columbia, where he ministered for six years. From 1971-1989 he preached at Highland Church of Christ, Abilene, Texas. From 1991-1996 he preached at Preston Road Church of Christ, Dallas, Texas. Following these congregational ministries, he devoted full-time to leadership development and coaching through Hope Network Ministries. He conducted a radio ministry consisting of brief 60-second spots heard twice daily in Kelowna and three times per day in Abilene.

Sermon Interruptions, Series VI, Wild Horses flash drive, Robert Lynn Anderson Papers, 1965-2017. Center for Restoration Studies MS #488. Abilene Christian University Special Collections and Archives, Brown Library. Abilene Christian University, Abilene, TX.

He was active in community life, serving in leadership and board positions in Kiwanis Club, Community Chest, United Appeals, Action for Education Association, and the Committee for Better Education Now. As an adjunct professor, he taught cross cultural communication, Bible, and ministry courses at Abilene Christian University.

Click on audio player below to hear part of Lynn Anderson’s sermon, How to Find Faith, which was part of a series on spirituality. Visit DigitalCommons@ACU to hear the entire sermon and explore more digitized resources: 

Series I, Sermons and Research Material (boxes 2-16) consists of folders Anderson generated in the course of preaching and teaching through the Biblical text. The processor preserved the original order which closely mirrors the Biblical canon. In many cases the folders contain sermon notes, manuscripts or outlines. Series II, Topical Files (boxes 17-34) consists of topical files Anderson generated in the course of teaching, preaching, and speaking. Included in this series are the scripts from and correspondence about Anderson’s radio ministry. Series III, Ministry Files (boxes 35-39) contains files of historic memorabilia, keepsakes, and correspondence from Anderson’s tenures at Highland Church of Christ, Preston Road Church of Christ, and Hope Network Ministries. Of particular note are the notes of appreciation and encouragement Anderson received over the course of his ministry. He kept these in folders labelled ‘Bad Day File.’ Series IV, Writings (boxes 40-42) contains articles Anderson wrote as well as drafts and correspondence about Anderson’s books. Series V, Cassette Tapes (boxes 43-58) contains recordings of Anderson’s preaching at Highland Church of Christ and Preston Road Church of Christ. In many cases these recordings correspond to foldered materials in Series I and II. Series VI consists of digital files Anderson created in the course of his writing and speaking. Contact Special Collections and Archives for access to these files.

Stay tuned additional content on DigitalCommons@ACU!