History of the Restoration Movement

Thomas Campbell


A Biographical Sketch On The Life Of Thomas Campbell

Carlyle said: "A true delineation of the smallest man is capable of interesting the greatest man." Again, he said: "Great men, taken up in any way, are profitable company. We cannot look upon a great man without gaining something from him." No one can study the elements of greatness in men without being profited thereby.

Truly a study of the lives of great men not only remind us that "we can make our lives sublime," but such a study also inspires us to greater achievements and instructs us in the way of true greatness. The study of great men reveals to us great lessons. Any man who lives nobly and serves faithfully is a great man. Many of earth's greatest characters have lived and died without their names being enrolled on the pages of history. They were great because they filled their mission on earth and glorified God. The world's standard of greatness and God's standard so often differ widely.

Our Lord set the true standard of greatness while here upon earth. He said: "Whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister." (Mark 10:43.) The standard of greatness is determined by the service that one renders to his fellows. The world knows nothing of its greatest men, because its standard of greatness does not include the elements of service. The faithful minister of the gospel who sets the example of Christian living and teaches the children of men to follow the Lord Jesus Christ is a great man. Thomas Campbell may be put in this class.

He was born in the county of Down, in Northern Ireland, on February 1, 1763. His parents were devout and taught him to reverence God. His father was first a Catholic and then became a member of the Church of England. He was accustomed to saying that he "served God according to Act of Parliament." His son, Thomas, did not choose to serve God in such a way. He entered the Church of the Secession which we now know as the Presbyterian Church. The Secession Church was composed of those who had rebelled against the Established Church of England. His education was begun early in his life and was thorough. He first entered the University of Glasgow and after graduating from this university he entered the Divinity School at Whitburn for theological training. His father was anxious that he enter the ministry of the Church of England, but his son chose rather to serve God "as it is written" than to serve him "according to Act of Parliament." This greatly displeased his father.

After finishing his training at the Divinity School, young Campbell gave himself to teaching and preaching for some years. He was married, in June, 1787, to Jane Corneigle. His first son, Alexander Campbell, was born while Thomas Campbell was teaching and preaching in the county of Armagh, not far from the town of Newry. Thomas Campbell found in his wife a very encouraging helpmeet, for she was a diligent student of the Bible, and they had regular worship in their home. His salary as teacher and preacher was very small, averaging about two hundred and fifty dollars a year. He saw that he could not support his family on such a small income. When his son, Alexander, was seventeen years old, he associated him with himself and opened a school of his own near Rich Hill. After several years of hard work as teacher, and at the same time discharging the duties of a Presbyterian minister, his health became impaired. His physicians advised him to change his work and seek for another climate.

Thomas Campbell left his school in charge of Alexander Campbell and planned to make a trip to America. He left his native land on April 1, 1807, and after sailing for thirty-five days he came to Philadelphia. The Synod of North America was in session at Philadelphia when he arrived there. He was cordially received by the synod and was commended to preach in Washington County, Pa. The spirit of sectarianism was very bitter at that time in that region. Even different branches of the Presbyterian faith would have no fellowship with each other. Thomas Campbell deplored such a state of affairs and sought to bring about peace between the discordant branches of the Presbyterian faith. He encouraged members of different churches to come together and eat the Lord's Supper with the members of his church. This displeased his church, and he was brought before the presbytery for trial. He acknowledged what he had done and pleaded with the presbytery for Christian liberty and fraternity but his efforts were in vain. The presbytery severely rebuked him. He then appealed to the synod, which acquitted him; however, it rebuked him for his course. Feeling in his own church ran high toward him, and he finally withdrew from the synod. This left him as an independent preacher, with no denominational ties or obligations.

The Aged Thomas Campbell

He continued to preach, but was excluded from the church houses. He preached in groves and private houses. He always pleaded openly and boldly for Christian liberty and union upon the principle taught in the Bible. People thronged to hear him. He soon found many intelligent and pious people who were dissatisfied with religious parties and the intolerance of sectarianism which prevailed at that time. He called a special meeting at the house of Abraham Altars, and at this meeting he declared his conviction that the word of God as revealed in the Bible was all-sufficient as a basis of union and cooperation for Christians. This condemned all creeds. He then stoutly urged all to abandon everything in religion for which could not be produced in the word of the Lord. He announced the famous statement: "Where the Scriptures speak, we speak; and where the Scriptures are silent, we are silent." This became the slogan for all who gave up creeds and took the Bible alone as their rule of faith and worship in the service of God. His health was greatly improved and he decided to make America his home. He sent for his family to come to him. Alexander Campbell, with his mother and the other children, arrived in America in October, 1809. His son fully endorsed the stand which his father had taken. On August 17, 1809, "The Christian Association of Washington" was formed. On September 8, 1809, Thomas Campbell issued his memorable "Declaration and Address." This marked the beginning of the great movement known as "The Restoration Movement." It was not long before a church was organized on the basis of the principles expressed in the "Declaration and Address," and at Brush Run, in 1811, a congregation of independent immersed believers was organized. This church continued to meet and worship for several months without any affiliation with any denomination. However Thomas Campbell and his son, Alexander, were not entirely free from denominational conception of things. They as yet did not see the full liberty that a church patterned after the New Testament order could enjoy. This church united with "The Redstone Baptist Association." It was not in full sympathy with Baptist doctrine, but the association accepted this church into its fellowship. It continued as a member of this association for some time.

In 1813, Thomas Campbell moved to Cambridge, Ohio, and opened a school there. He continued to preach and taught school there for two years, and then moved to Pittsburgh, Pa. He next moved to Newport, Ky., and taught for some time in the academy at Burlington. He returned to Washington County, Pa., in 1819. Very little progress had been made in the work of reform during these six years of his absence. When he returned, he encouraged his son, Alexander, to take up the fight between sectarianism and union as revealed in the Bible. Alexander soon became the leader of the movement, and Thomas Campbell, in the public eye, played a less important part. Alexander Campbell began publishing the Christian Baptist. This was circulated largely among the Baptists, and the principles which Thomas Campbell had announced in his "Declaration and Address" grew in favor with the people and the movement made great strides. Thomas Campbell had corrected his views in regard to baptism and had encouraged all others to do the same.

Although Thomas Campbell was overshadowed in the leadership of his son, Alexander, yet his gifted son never failed to seek his father's advice and counsel. Thomas Campbell stands at the head of the list of great men who took part in the "Restoration Movement." He made frequent tours preaching in Western Pennsylvania and the Western Reserve of Ohio. He was untiring in his labors and his success was wonderful. While he was not the greatest factor in the "Restoration Movement," he was a very potent factor in it. He was the first to begin the work of calling upon all who loved the Lord to unite upon the Bible and throw away all creeds and disciplines.

Thomas Campbell continued his work of preaching the gospel regularly until he was eighty-three years of age. He continued to travel among the churches after he was unable to do much preaching, and did a fine work in encouraging the churches. His last sermon was preached in his eighty-ninth year, just a few weeks before his death. His long and useful life came to an end peacefully on January 4, 1854, at Bethany Va. (now Bethany, W. Va.). His body is mingled with the dust of Bethany, while the great principles which he espoused and taught move on to the glory of God. His son, Alexander Campbell, wrote of him: "I never knew a man, in all my acquaintance of men, of whom it could be said with more assurance that he, "walked with God."

From Biographical Sketches Of Gospel Preachers
H. Leo Boles, Gospel Advocate Company
Nashville, Tennessee, 1932, pages 13-18

Great Preachers Of The Past

Thomas Campbell (1763 — 1854)

Writings on Thomas and Alexander Campbell often end up focusing more on Alexander with Thomas being in the background. This paper's focus is an attempt to examine more closely the life of Thomas Campbell and his contributions to the Restoration Movement. Thomas Campbell is a "bridge" figure from the Old World's religion to the New World's religion. One writer accurately portrays Thomas Campbell's time in perspective:

Historians, when they have mentioned him at all, have spoken of him along with Barton W. Stone and Walter Scott as one of the founders of the movement known today as "Disciples of Christ," and as the father of Alexander Campbell. But Thomas Campbell was more than that. He was a transitional figure, forming a link between the religious traditionalism of the Old World and the spirit and zeal of the New—a man who, like so many in America,—at that time, lived the first half of his life in Ireland and the last half on the American frontier. (Lester G. McAllister, Thomas Campbell: Man of the Book, St. Louis, MO: The Bethany Press, 1954, p. 12.)

Thomas Campbell was an exemplary educator for the time and was able to use this gift to complement the efforts he made to the restoring of New Testament Christianity in America.

Events Before Coming to America (1763-1806)

Thomas Campbell was born on February 1, 1763 in County Down, Ireland to Archibald Campbell and Alice McNally. From what is known, it appears Thomas was named after his grandfather. The ancestry of Thomas prior to Archibald conflicts with various accounts. Dates among various sources also conflict. (When one starts researching various historical figures, including Thomas Campbell, it is surprising the disagreement in dates and details of key events. In an effort to provide the most accurate dates known, this writer is relying on the research of Rosemary Jeanne Cobb, "Following the Footsteps of Thomas Campbell," Bethany, WV: Bethany College, September 6, 1996. Ms. Cobb is the archivist of the Campbell records at Bethany College and has far better access to primary source documents than many do. I am appreciative of her willingness to share this material.)

Archibald was a Roman Catholic but changed to the Church of England. Thomas' father appeared to like to state in jest that he "worshipped God by the Act of Parliament." Archibald and Alice had four sons: Thomas, James, Archibald and Enos. They also had four daughters who were all named Mary but died in infancy. Thomas was sent to military regimental school near Newry in Northern Ireland. Upon graduation, Thomas began teaching in the country near the village of Sheepbridge and Newry. While working near Sheepbridge, Thomas Campbell's ability came to the attention of a Seceder named John Kinley who offered to finance advance education for Thomas Campbell. Part of the condition of the support was to include additional ministerial training. While Thomas' father was not favorable to the exposure to the Presbyterian Church, he reluctantly agreed since he did not have the financial means to provide these opportunities. It is believed that Thomas Campbell entered the prestigious University of Glasgow in Scotland in 1783 and completed his study within three years. The University of Glasgow was one of the more famous institutions of learning of the day and was also at this time the center of 18th century Scottish thought. Thomas then went on to study at the Whitburn Seceder Seminary which was the Anti-Burgher branch of the Secession Presbyterian Church where he studied for five additional years until 1791.

While attending the Whitburn Seminary, Thomas Campbell would alternate between school in Scotland and teaching in Northern Ireland. It is theorized that at one of his teaching assignments near the village of Ballymena, he would meet Jane Corneigle who lived in Lough Neagh near Shane's Castle and was of the French Huguenots. (French Huguenots were strict Calvinistic Presbyterians and followers of John Calvin. In 1512 over thirty thousand Protestants were slain in one day. A general edict which encouraged the extermination of the Huguenots was issued on January 29th, 1536 in France. On March 1, 1562 some 1200 Huguenots were slain at Vassy, France. Any person or group who dissented against Roman Catholicism was deemed a "heretic" and subject to persecution including torture and execution. Many fled to Ireland, Switzerland, England, Germany, and Holland. The Corneigle family fled from France in 1681.)

They would marry in June 1787 and have ten children, three of which died in infancy or at birth. On September 12, 1788 their first child, Alexander, was born.

When Thomas completed his seminary training in 1791, he was examined by the Associate Presbytery of Ireland and graduated to the status of probationary preacher. He moved his family to Ballymena, near Sheepbridge, where he resumed teaching and began preaching for Seceder churches in the area. He then moved his family to Markethill in County Armagh where he preached and privately tutored. Alexander would attend elementary school in Markethill.

In 1798, Thomas Campbell accepted a full pastorate position in Ahorey, moving his family to the village of Hamilton's Bawn which was just three miles away from the building. Alexander would board with a merchant named Mr. Gillis and continue his schooling in Markethill. Alexander would also attend an academy in Newry under the teaching of his uncles Archibald and Enos. When Alexander finished at the academy, Thomas was prepared to teach him directly; however, Alexander was not interested in studies but physical exercises. So, Thomas sent him out to the fields to help Alexander devote time to this interest until his mind would turn again to his studies. In 1804 Thomas decided to move from Hamilton's Bawn to Richhill (or Richardson's Hill) and open an academy in their two-story whitewashed house. Alexander would be Thomas' assistant in the academy as well. Alexander was offered a permanent private tutoring position for the children of William Richardson of Richhill Manor, but he declined the opportunity. It is important to note that at this time the Last Will & Testament of Springfield Presbytery is signed by Barton W. Stone (and others) in Kentucky. Thomas Campbell would not be sailing to America until nearly three years later and Alexander almost five years later.

In October 1804, Thomas and other ministers met as the "Committee on Consultation" to discuss the reunification of the Burgher and Anti-Burger groups in Ireland since there was no reason for separation by this time. The proposal, drafted by Thomas Campbell, was already viewed unfavorably by the synod in Scotland before the application could even be submitted.

In 1805, the group formed the Synod of Ulster in Ireland and submitted their application with Thomas going to Scotland to plead their case. Reports were that Thomas' arguments were superior, but the leaders in the General Synod outvoted supporters of the reunification proposal (The two groups would eventually reunite in 1820). The experience would also have a profound impact on Thomas in the events to come. It is important to realize just how divided Protestant Denominations had become by this time, and Thomas Campbell's involvement with the Presbyterian Church is a classic example.

Thomas Campbell was an Old-Light Anti-Burgher Seceder Presbyterian. To understand exactly what that means, one must understand the divisions of the Presbyterian Church of Thomas' day. In 1740, Moderates & Evangelicals divided over who had the authority to appoint preachers. Seceders (Evangelicals) believed that individual churches had this authority, not the Union Parliament. They formed the Associate Presbytery. Then in 1747, Burgher & Anti-Burghers divided over whether the burgesses of towns were to take an oath to protect religion of the state. The Anti-Burghers opposed the requirement of an oath. Another source of division arose in 1795, when the New Lights & Old Lights divided over the power of civil magistrates in religion as in the Westminster Confession.

By 1806, Thomas Campbell was basically exhausted and his health had become precarious. The doctor advised Thomas he should set aside the burdens in Ireland and go to America. Taking the doctor's advice, Thomas Campbell left Richhill Academy and family in the hands of the sixteen-year old Alexander and sailed for America from Londonderry, Ireland on the ship Brutus on April 1, 1807. Thomas left the following words to Alexander before his departure on what was sometimes a perilous journey:

Live to God; be devoted to him in heart, and in all your undertakings. Be a sincere Christian— i.e., imbibe the doctrines, obey the precepts, copy the example, and believe the promise of the gospel. And that you do so, read it, study it, pray over it, embrace it as your heritage, your portion. . . Live by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, both "for wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption." Above all things, attend to this, for without him you can do nothing, either to the glory of God or your own good. (As quoted by Lester G. McAllister, Thomas Campbell: Man of the Book, St. Louis, MO: The Bethany Press, 1954, p. 58.)

From Arrival in America to The Declaration & Address (1807 — 1809)

Thomas Campbell's mind upon leaving the Old World included thoughts of a fresh start. A New World implied things of the Old World should be challenged and either be adopted, modified, or left behind. Perhaps he thought, "Why would that not include religious sects?" When he arrived in America he found that the state of religion was at its lowest point since the Revolutionary War, but he was determined to do his part to rally people to New Testament Christianity as he stated:

Is it not then your incumbent duty to endeavor, by all scriptural means, to have those evils remedied? Who will say, that it is not?. . .The favorable opportunity which Divine Providence has put into your hands, in this happy country, for the accomplishment of so great a good, is in itself, a consideration of no small encouragement. A country happily exempted from the baneful influence of a civil establishment of any peculiar form of christianity—from under the direct influence of the anti-christian hierarchy—and, at the same time, from any formal connexion with the devoted nations,. . .Can the Lord expect, or require, any thing less, from a people so liberally furnished with all the means and mercies, than a thorough reformation, in all things civil and religious, according to his word? (Ibid, p.112.)

On May 28, 1807 Thomas Campbell arrives in Philadelphia, PA. He is assigned Chartiers Presbytery in Washington County, PA by the North America Synod of the Seceder Presbyterian Church. On October 27, 1807, he is called before the Synod on charges of teaching against human creeds and confessions of faith in New Hope. On February 12, 1808 the Chartiers Presbytery decided to rebuke, censure, admonish and suspend Campbell after an inquest for a week into Campbell's teachings. Thomas withdrew from the Anti-Burger Seceder Presbyterian Church on September 13, but he continued to preach among the associates with whom he had been laboring.

On January 1, 1808, Thomas wrote to his family, encouraging them to make immediate preparations to join him in the New World. The Campbell family departed on October 1 on the ship Hibernia but was shipwrecked in Scotland. Rather than sailing out immediately, they decide to take the opportunity for Alexander to attend the University of Glasgow where he would come under influence of Greville Ewing. The experience Alexander had during this time led him also to withdraw from the Seceder Church on his own without discussing it with his father. Ironically, both men had come to the same course of action independently. Imagine a son telling his father that he had quit the Presbyterian Church only to find out that his father had actually done the same thing! What a conversation that must have been! On August 3, 1809, the Campbell family sailed from Scotland on the ship Latona to America where they would arrive in New York on September 29, 1809.

While Thomas' family was attempting to join him in the New World, he met with followers of like mind at the house of Abraham Alters. From these meetings of likeminded men came the expression "Where the Scriptures speak, we speak; and where the Scriptures are silent, we are silent." They formed the Christian Association of Washington on August 17, 1809. They erected a building on a farm owned by Sinclair three miles from Mt. Pleasant at the crossroads of the road leading to Washington, PA and Canonsburg. Thomas Campbell would reside in the upper level of the home of Mr. Welch to draft the Declaration and Address of the Christian Association of Washington. The declaration would be reviewed and approved for printing by the association on September 7, 1809.

On September 29, 1809 Thomas' family arrived safely in New York and reached Philadelphia on October 7. Thomas left to go meet them and came across them eleven days from their departure from Philadelphia. They traveled together back to Washington, PA and arrived on October 28 to the new house owned by the Achesons. Alexander had arrived in time for Thomas to share and review with him the proof sheets of the declaration. The declaration was printed by Brown and Sample at the Office of the Reporter in Washington, PA. On November 2, 1809 the Christian Association of Washington, at its semi-annual meeting, decided to send a copy of the Declaration and Address to every sect in Washington County.

From Washington, Pennsylvania to Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania (1810 — 1812)

On September 16, 1810, Alexander Campbell preached his first sermon for the Brush Run congregation. The Christian Association applied for membership with the Pittsburgh Synod of Mother Church of Scotland but was rejected.

On March 12, 1811, Alexander married Margaret Brown in the family parlor in Bethany. Thomas and Jane Campbell hosted a reception in their honor at their home in Washington, PA. Shortly thereafter, Thomas moved to Mt. Pleasant, PA.

On May 4, 1811, Christian Association of Washington organized into the Brush Run Church with Thomas Campbell as an elder and Alexander Campbell as the preacher. The first communion service at Brush Run was on May 5, 1811. The building was erected in June of 1811. By June 16, 1811, Brush Run instituted weekly communion. The Brush Run building, 18 x 36 feet in size, was completed and would be used until 1828. In 1842, the building was purchased by George McFadden and moved to West Middletown and used as a blacksmith shop. In 1869 McFadden was appointed Postmaster and used the building as a post office. In 1913 funds were donated by Frank Main to have it purchased and moved next to Campbell Mansion. Eventually it would be demolished due to the decay of the structure.

On July 4, 1811, Thomas Campbell immersed three members in Buffalo Creek which led to immersions and weekly communion being conducted on a regular basis for some time.

On January 1, 1812, Thomas Campbell, as senior minister of the First Church of the Christian Association of Washington, signed Alexander Campbell's certificate of ordination. On March 12, 1812 Alexander & Margaret's first child, Jane Caroline, is born. This prompted a deep study of baptism by Alexander Campbell. He concluded the Scriptures are silent about infant baptism so did not sprinkle Caroline. Silence is restrictive, not permissive, as some would try to persuade us today. Finally, on June 12, 1812 Thomas, Jane, Alexander, and Margaret were immersed for the remission of sins in Buffalo Creek, Washington County, PA by Matthias Luse, a Baptist Preacher. The service that day was seven hours. The next day thirteen other members of Brush Run were baptized by Thomas Campbell.

From Cambridge, Ohio to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1813 — 1815)

Around October 1813, Thomas and Jane Campbell moved to Cambridge, OH where they would operate a farm and seminary. He would live here for two years on Woolworth Corner in the Dixon House, a two-story log cabin structure. Here he would establish the first reputable school in Cambridge. In 1823 the house was sold to Jacob Shaffner who either destroyed it or renovated to a new building which he used for a store. The site would go through various hands, purposes and business until the land would be used to construct a three-story yellow brick building around 1894, now known as the Colley Building. (Appreciation is extended to brother Bruce Daugherty for providing a copy of William G. Wolfe's "Sideline Stories of Guernsey County, Ohio" Cambridge, OH: Guernsey County Ohio Genealogical Society, 1990, p. 61.)

While Thomas was away, Brush Run considered relocating to Zanesville, OH. Alexander was given the land in Bethany by Margaret's father so the move never occurred. While in Cambridge he received a letter from Thomas Acheson advising him that David Acheson was seriously ill. Thomas went to stay with the Achesons for several weeks in Washington and had an opportunity to establish a school and congregation in Pittsburgh, PA.

From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Newport, Kentucky (1815 — 1817)

In October 1815, Thomas Campbell relocated to Pittsburgh, PA and established the Mercantile Academy or English Classical School. His son-in-law (Joseph Bryant) and daughter Dorothea both assisted with the school. Nathanael Richardson also assisted with the school and decided to enroll his son, Robert. Thomas was able to gather enough Christians together to establish a small congregation in Pittsburgh. On August 31, 1816, the congregation applied for membership to the Redstone Baptist Association. Their application was rejected because the Association required the congregation to accept the Philadelphia Confession or equivalent creed which they were not about to agree to. On September 1, 1816, Alexander delivered his highly regarded "Sermon on the Law" to some twenty-two preachers and over 1,000 in attendance at the Redstone Baptist Association. The sermon was extremely hostile to Baptist doctrine and was viewed as a rebuke to the association's rejection of the congregation's membership.

By the spring of 1817, Dorothea's health was failing and other family members returned to Washington, PA. Thomas was left with a burden of running an academy largely on his own. The burden was too much for a man of his age and condition, so he decided to leave Pittsburgh for a more suitable field.

From Newport, Kentucky to West Middleton, Pennsylvania (1817 — 1819)

In the fall of 1817, Thomas moved the family to Newport, KY. During this period Thomas traveled and visited numerous Baptist churches in the area. He discovered the construction of a new academy in Burlington, Boone County, KY. He was offered the position of headmaster, and his eighteen-year old daughter, Jane, agreed to assist him. In March 1818, Alexander had opened Buffalo Seminary near Brush Run. A couple of months later, Alexander laid the foundation for an addition to Campbell Mansion to eventually house Buffalo Seminary. In July 1, the cornerstone was laid for an even greater space for the seminary in Bethany.

Thomas completed several trips to Indiana during the next couple of years while his family settled in at Burlington. All was well until a Sunday in the summer of 1819, when Thomas invited some blacks into the academy to teach them how to read the Bible and some hymns. He was notified that it was against state law to teach blacks unless one or two witnesses were in attendance. Repulsed by this encroachment, Thomas decided to leave immediately and made arrangements to move closer to Alexander Campbell to assist with Buffalo Seminary. To the dismay of the family, who didn't want to move again, they moved to West Middleton where Thomas assisted with Buffalo Seminary some seven miles away from Bethany.

From West Middleton, Pennsylvania to Bethany, Virginia (1819 — 1843)

Thomas and his daughter Jane, spend much time working in the seminary while Alexander was preparing for his first debate with John Walker, Seceder Presbyterian, that would begin in June 1820. During this period it is estimated there were six churches and 200 members worshipping as an effort of the Campbells' work. Also, Alexander went to Pittsburgh where he would meet Walter Scott for the first time.

The debate with Walker was printed and was read widely. Alexander then realized the value of debates and the press so he decided to close Buffalo Seminary at the end of 1822 and made plans to begin publishing the Christian Baptist. The first issue was printed on August 3, 1823. The impact on the Baptists was substantial, and the Baptist Church was furious about the publication. In fact, the Redstone Baptist Association planned to expel Alexander Campbell, but someone alerted Thomas and Alexander to the plan. To counter the move, Alexander transferred his membership from Brush Run to Wellsburg where several from the Brush Run had also moved their membership. Alexander then joined the Mahoning Association and Thomas drafted a letter from Brush Run dated August 31, 1823 stating Alexander, in good standing, had moved his membership to Wellsburg. Alexander and Thomas attended the Redstone meeting, and when they inquired why Alexander was not on the roll they were irritated when they learned he was no longer under their jurisdiction thus exempted from their intended punishment.

Thomas would spend time traveling, preaching, and writing his view of baptism that would appear in the second issue of the Christian Baptist. He would serve as secretary to Alexander in his contest with a pedobaptist Presbyterian named McCalla from Augusta, KY in October 1823.

Thomas assisted in writing and printing of the Christian Baptist which would allow Alexander to travel to various meetings over the next couple of years. Alexander would write "Experimental Religion" which was highly offensive to the Baptists. Thomas, who thought the article was too caustic, wrote a rebuke in the paper to Alexander which was signed "T. W." In September 1827, an association was formed that ignored the Philadelphia Confession. Tragically the following month, Alexander's wife Margaret died of tuberculosis at the age of 37. Also during this period, the Brush Run congregation had diminished to the point that they merged with the congregation in Bethany. During the fall, Thomas took his son, Archibald, on a tour of the Western Reserve of Ohio. In the spring of 1828, Thomas went back out to the Western Reserve to check on the growing progress of Walter Scott. He found that Walter Scott was sound, effective, and was very successful in evangelizing using his five-finger method. Thomas traveled with a preacher of the Universalists named Aylett Raines. He also began traveling with Walter Scott until he finally returned in the summer of 1828. That fall, he and Archibald traveled to Somerset, PA, to preach in various churches in the surrounding counties. He returned in the winter of 1828 to preach at Bethany and West Middleton.

In the spring of 1829, Thomas witnessed the debate between his son and the infidel Robert Owen in Cincinnati, OH. After the debate, Alexander decided to cease the Christian Baptist and begin the Millennial Harbinger. However, Alexander was elected as a delegate to the Virginia Constitutional Convention on September 22, 1829. Therefore, Thomas contributed writing and editing the next five issues of the Christian Baptist while Alexander was away. For much of 1829 and 1830 the movement to remove the reformers from the Baptists reached its climax. On January 4, 1830, the Millennial Harbinger made its debut.

During the spring and summer of 1830, Thomas visited Kentucky and southern Ohio. There was also a confrontation with the Beaver Baptist Association which had leveled attacks against the Campbells and the Mahoning Association in what was called the "Beaver Anathema." There were several charges leveled against the reformers which are interesting to note:

1. That there is no promise of salvation without baptism.
2. That baptism should be administered on the belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, without examination on any other point.
3. That there is no direct operation of the Holy Spirit on the mind before baptism.
4. That baptism procures the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
5. That the Scriptures are the only evidence of interest in Christ.
6. That man's obedience places it in God's power to elect to salvation.
7. That no creed is necessary for the church but the Scriptures.
8. That all baptized persons have a right to administer the ordinance of baptism.

In June 1830 the Tate's Creek Association in Kentucky adopted the "Beaver Anathema" and added four additional charges:
9. That there is no special call to the ministry.
10. That the law given by Moses is abolished.
11. That experimental religion is enthusiasm.
12. That there is no mystery in the Scriptures.( As quoted by Lester G. McAllister, Thomas Campbell: Man of the Book, St. Louis, MO: The Bethany Press, 1954, pp. 209-211.)

The controversy raged on between the Baptist and the reformers. Thomas Campbell attended meetings of the North District Association in Spencer Creek, KY and the Elkhorn Association, Bourbon County, KY. These meetings led to a separation of the Baptist and the reformers that reached its peak during the summer of 1830. While this was a discouragement, the spirit of freedom in the new country gave the reformers reason to be optimistic and push on rather than downtrodden by the hierarchies of the Old World.

In the winter of 1830, Thomas traveled to Mentor, OH to visit his younger daughter, Alicia, and her new husband, Matthew Clapp. He also confronted Sidney Rigdon and the Mormon movement that was troubling the area. Rigdon was a very unstable individual who actually attended one of Alexander's debates and traveled with the disciples before joining in with Joseph Smith and the Mormons. When Joseph Smith was murdered, Rigdon lost the leadership of the Mormons to Brigham Young and left to join the Shakers. Thomas Campbell wrote a public letter in February 1831, and challenged Sidney Rigdon to debate Mormonism. Rigdon immediately burned the letter and ignored the challenge. (To see transcription of letter, see https://webfiles.acu.edu/departments/Library/HR/restmov_nov11/www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/people/tcampbell.html.)

Thomas returned to West Middleton, PA in the spring of 1831. Also during this period, the church in Bethany erected a stone building for worship. The building was eventually torn down 20 years later and the stones were used in the foundation of the brick structure that stands there today.

During the summer of 1831, Thomas attended the annual meeting of the Ohio Disciples in New Lisbon with Alexander. In November 1831, Thomas traveled to eastern Virginia to assist the Disciples in the separation from the Baptists. Thomas also spent a considerable amount of time working with Alexander Campbell on the new translation of the New Testament that was to be printed. Thomas was extremely concerned about the translation projected. He even left early to consult with Alexander about points relating to the translation directly as he wrote to Alexander on December 24, 1831:

I am happy to learn that you are proceeding in the arduous and all-important undertaking of a new and improved exhibition of the sacred text. I feel infinitely more concerned for your intended publication of the New Testament than for anything you have ever attempted to publish. I beg and beseech you to look to the Lord continually for the guidance and superintending aid of his Holy Spirit; also to guard most rigidly against all philosophical, theoretical, and theological leanings. Let the translation be purely classical upon the established principles of philological, idiomatical, and grammatic criticism. Further, that you will not only duly attend to the corrections that I have already put into your hand in the small manuscript that I left with you, as well as what yet remains to be presented as soon as I have finished my review of your late edition, but also that you will grant me the indulgence of revising with you all the improvements you may have made out and corrected, before you put them down in the improved and corrected copy to be stereotyped, before it be delivered for that purpose to the engraver (Alexander Campbell, Memoirs of Elder Thomas Campbell, pages 174,175).

Thomas remained on the road due to a serious illness and fall from a horse until he was finally able to return home in September 1832. He was immediately asked to help the brethren at Wellsburg. During this period, on January 2, 1832, the unification of the Disciples and Christians occurred in Lexington, KY.

During the winter of 1832, Thomas made several contributions to the Millennial Harbinger. In October 1833 he left again with Alexander, B. H. Hall, and two granddaughters, Maria Louis and Eliza, to travel to Richmond, VA. He also spent six months in North Carolina. Thomas Campbell conducted a written discussion with Barton Stone in the Millennial Harbinger and The Christian Messenger on the subject of atonement. By 1835 Thomas was back again running the Millennial Harbinger as Alexander was making an extended trip. Thomas and Jane had moved in with their third daughter, Jane McKeever and her husband. On April 28, 1835 the wife of Thomas Campbell, Jane Campbell, died. Thomas continued to work on the Millennial Harbinger until Robertson Richardson was added as coeditor which freed Thomas of this work. In the summer of 1836 Thomas once again visited Mentor, OH and surrounding areas. During the fall of 1838 he returned to assist with the Millennial Harbinger to fill in due to the absences of both Alexander Campbell and Robertson Richardson. He continued this work until Alexander returned in April 1839. That September, Thomas went on another preaching tour in Pennsylvania. By the end of 1839 and the beginning of 1840 Thomas was involved in the controversy over the name of "Disciple" or "Christian". Thomas, as did Walter Scott, sided more with Barton W. Stone on the preference for the name "Christian" over Alexander's preference for the term "Disciple". He made several contributions to the Millennial Harbinger during this period and was once again called on to take over editorial duties. On March 2, 1840 Bethany College was incorporated. Thomas served as an incorporator and also served on its Board of Trustees. The first meeting, at which Thomas was the chairman, was on May 11. On September 18 the Board of Trustees had its second meeting. Thomas was once again the chairman and Alexander was elected President of Bethany College. Thomas also made contributions to the Millennial Harbinger during this period as well. Bethany College opened for business on October 21, 1840.

From Bethany, Virginia To Eternity (1843 — 1854)

In 1843, Thomas Campbell was an eighty year old widower. Thomas moved into the home of Alexander and Selina Campbell. He spent much time in study across the street from the Bethany Mansion in the study vacated by Alexander upon the completion of his octagonal study he referred to as "Light from Above". Thomas also returned to Cambridge, OH for a visit of the area where he had labored nearly 30 years ago and had a pleasant visit with J. R. Frame, the evangelist at the time. He preached for various denominations such as the Baptists and Cumberland Presbyterians. As 1843 drew to a close, Thomas traveled with Alexander to witness his debate with N. L. Rice, a Presbyterian. He also continued to write articles for the Millennial Harbinger. In January 1845 Thomas published his official view on slavery in the Millennial Harbinger stating: Upon the whole, with respect to American slavery, wherever distinguished by any inhuman and antichristian adjuncts, by any unnatural, immoral, and irreligious usages, we may justly and reasonably conclude that as Christianity and truly moralized humanity prevail, it must and will go down; and that, in these respects, no Christian can either approve or practise it. It may also provoke God to destroy it more speedily by terrible judgments, as in the case of Egypt, Babylon, Nineveh, and Jerusalem, wholly destroyed on account of their cruelty and oppression.

During the summer of 1847 Thomas Campbell began losing his eyesight and hearing which limited his mobility. By 1848 his eyesight failed, but he was still seen to be quoting Scriptures and hymns which revealed his disposition during this trial. On June 1, 1851 at the age of 88 years old, Thomas Campbell delivered his farewell address to the Bethany Church of Christ. His chosen topic was "The Two Greatest Commandments." The following year the building was torn down and replaced with the now Bethany Memorial Church of Christ brick structure.

During 1853, Thomas was visited and interviewed by an admirer, James Challen, who published the following in the Ladies Christian Annual:

. . .In the absence of his son Alexander, he daily leads family worship. His memory is, of course, very defective. He sits in his comfortable armchair before the fire throughout the day, occasionally rising to change his position or for exercise. He still shaves himself, and attends to his toilet with scrupulous exactness. He retires to his chamber alone, in accordance with his own wishes, and rises without any aid from the family, as he is extremely reluctant to give the least possible trouble to any about him. His wants are all fully anticipated, and every possible attention paid him by every member of the family, not only from a sense of duty, but from pure affection. Indeed, no one can be near him without loving him. He is so kind and gentle, so courteous and bland, and so grateful even for the smallest favors. He still carries about him his old watch, and daily has it set to correspond with the family timepiece. Time with him was always a sacred thing; he knew its value, and still prizes it. (As quoted by Lester McCallister, Thomas Campbell: Man of the Book, St. Louis, MO: The Bethany Press, 1954, pp. 260-261)

In December 1853, Thomas told Alexander "I am going home and will pass over Jordan." On January 4, 1854 Thomas Campbell died at Bethany one month prior to his 91st birthday. He was buried in the family cemetery, God's Acre, in Bethany, VA (now West Virginia).

In 1861, Alexander Campbell published his biography of his father entitled Life of Elder Thomas Campbell.

Contributions of Thomas Campbell to the Restoration of NT Christianity

While it is not possible to delineate all that Thomas Campbell contributed to the cause of Christ and the restoration of the primitive gospel, the following should be included with any such list created:

The writing of the Declaration & Address. This document, along with The Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery by Barton W. Stone and the brethren at Cane Ridge serves as a bridge from the divided world of denominationalism to the church of the New Testament. While these documents are not creeds, they should be viewed as structures to be admired and studied from the banks of New Testament shoreline. An excerpt from proposition 5 of the document Alexander Campbell pledged his life to promote included words that leave no doubt that the Campbells viewed the silence of the Scriptures as restrictive rather than permissive:

That with respect to the commands and ordinances of our Lord Jesus Christ, where the Scriptures are silent as to the express time or manner of performance, if any such there be, no human authority has power to interfere, in order to supply the supposed deficiency by making laws for the Church; nor can anything more be required of Christians in such cases, but only that they so observe these commands and ordinances as will evidently answer the declared and obvious end of their institution. Much less has any human authority power to impose new commands or ordinances upon the Church, which our Lord Jesus Christ has not enjoined. Nothing ought to be received into the faith or worship of the Church, or be made a term of communion among Christians, that is not as old as the New Testament.

Training & Counseling of Alexander Campbell. While all among churches of Christ, including Alexander Campbell himself, find reference to Christians as "Campbellites" as abhorrent and evil, none should doubt the contributions that Alexander Campbell made to restore New Testament Christianity. Alexander Campbell's effectiveness is revealed in the slur of "Campbellite" being used in the first place for those unbiased enough to examine the Scriptures themselves. Thomas Campbell trained, counseled, and at times even restrained Alexander during much of his career. A more effective father & son combination would be difficult to find.

Training of Robert Richardson. If Thomas Campbell had not moved to Pittsburgh in 1815 to open the Mercantile Academy, then he might not have had an influence on Robert Richardson. Richardson went on to become editor of the Millennial Harbinger and write a monumental biography on the life of Alexander Campbell. Regardless of the controversy Richardson stirred, writing the biography alone makes Thomas Campbell's work that led to Robert Richardson becoming a Christian worthy of note.

Encouragement to Walter Scott. Perhaps Thomas Campbell's work in Pittsburgh may have set in series a chain of events that led to Walter Scott being added to the church. Whether or not that is so, the trip that Thomas made to investigate Walter Scott's effectiveness led to an increased effort to proclaim the Gospel on the Western Reserve.

Evangelizing on Western Reserve and Beyond. There are gaps in series of events in Thomas' life as are clearly shown in this manuscript as well. Thomas Campbell was often traveling across states preaching for whatever audience would have him preach. He built up churches and their evangelists. He was often away from his wife and children for months at a time. Bethany College. Thomas Campbell was first and foremost an evangelist, but he was also an educator. He served as Chairman of the Board for the founding of Bethany. His leadership undoubtedly led to the rise of both instructors (Robert Milligan, Robert Richardson, Hall Calhoun, W. K. Pendelton) and students (J. W. McGarvey, Moses Lard, James Harding) who would go on to degrees of prominence in the Restoration Movement. To this date Bethany College is still the oldest degree granting institution in West Virginia although it is governed by the Disciples of Christ and has departed greatly from the principles of its founders. It has been reported that Bethany College had the same degree awarding authorization as the University of Virginia and still is governed by the Virginia charter today.

Editor & Publisher. While many often associate the Christian Baptist and the Millennial Harbinger with Alexander Campbell, it is important not to forget that Thomas filled in for Alexander on several occasions as editor and contributed research and articles to the papers as well.

-David R. Kenney, Ninth Annual West Virginia Christian Lectureship, October 5-8, 2008, pages 59-73

Chronology On The Life Of Thomas Campbell

Feb. 1, 1763
Birth, near Newry, County Down, Ireland

University of Glasgow. Influenced by Scottish "common sense" philosophy of Thomas Reid

Entered theological seminary of Anti-Burgher Seceder Presbyterian Church. Conducted by Archibald Bruce at Whitburn, midway between Edinburgh and Glasgow - Attended 8-week session for 5 years (1787-1791).

Married Jane Corneigle, who was descended from a French Huguenot family. They have ten children, three of whom died in infancy or at birth.

First child, Alexander, born September 12, 1788, in Ballymena, County Antrim, Ireland

T. C. is pastor at Ahorey Church, Rich Hill, Ireland (35 miles southwest of Belfast; 80 miles north of Dublin)

T. C. and others form a missionary society in northern Ireland, called the Evangelical Society of Ulster. Like the Haldane & Ewing group in Scotland, this organization was meant to be a non-sectarian group of ministers interested in the propagation of the simple gospel of Christ.


T. C. receives communication from the Presbyterian Synod of Ulster in Belfast to disconnect himself from the Evangelical Society of Ulster. He complies with their discipline. However, there was an Independent church in Rich Hill that T. Campbell visited from time to time. The Church of Scotland gave preachers permission to attend other gatherings under the privilege of "occasional hearing." The local church referred to Mr. Campbell as "Nicodumus," as his visits would only be in the late evening after fulfilling his preaching duties at Ahorey church in the mornings.

June 25
Daughter, Jane is born to T. C. and Jane Campbell. When Jane turned nineteen she opened an academy for boys and girls at West Middletown, Pennsylvania called Pleasant Hill Seminary, and in 1842 it became Pleasant Hill Female Seminary. In 1821, she married Matthew McKeever. Together, they ran their college and during slavery days operated an underground railroad on the school property.

Led effort to reunite Burghers and Anti-Burghers. Reunited in 1820

To America. Motives: (1) ill health, (2) greater opportunities for family. Found Associate Synod, (Seceder) in session Washington, Pa. in Philadelphia. Assigned to Chartiers Presbytery .

Charges brought against Campbell in Presbytery. Points at issue: (1) nature of faith; (2) authority of confessions of faith.

Trial conducted in Chartiers Presbytery. Campbell appealed his case to Synod. Synod found him guilty and Campbell was "rebuked and admonished." Given preaching appointments in Philadelphia. Reassigned to Chartiers Presbytery. But Campbell found he was not welcome and severed his ties with Presbytery.

T. C. sent word to his family still in Ireland to begin preparation to move to America. The family was held up due to a small-pox outbreak in Rich Hill. Dr. Jenner had produced a vaccine in July 1796, but wasn't officially approved in Great Britain until 1808. It was Alexander's quick suggestion that all would be innoculated. Only the small children got sick. The only child to be scarred severely by it was little 8 year old Jane. (Memoirs of A. C. v.1, 90)

August 17
Christian Association of Washington is formed.

September 8
T. C. issued Declaration and Address / read and adopted by Assoc.

Family arrived from Ireland. Shipwreck in 1808 had caused them to spend nearly a year in Glasgow, Scotland.

Applied for recognition as minister in regular Presbyterian Church. Application was refused.

Christian Association of Washington became Brush Run church

July 4
T. C. immersed three members of Brush Run Church. Abraham Alters, Margaret Fullerton, and Joseph Bryant immersed in Buffalo Creek on his father, David Bryant's, farm. "The pool was deep and overhung by a large tree. Upon the roots thereof Mr. Campbell stood as he said the words of the formula, and then submerged the heads of the candidates, for they were already immersed to their shoulders."(Hanna, p.129; Also, Mem. v.1, 371-373; Wrather, v.1, 172)

Immersion of Thomas and Alexander Campbell by Matthias Luce.

Brush Run church admitted to Redstone Association (Baptist).

Move to Cambridge, Ohio. Preached and operated school.

Move to Pittsburg, Pa. Est. school with help of Nathaniel Richardson. Organized church in Pittsburg, but was refused membership in Redstone Association (1816).

Moved to Newport, Ky. (opposite Cincinnati). Soon moved to Burlington, Boone County, KY to open an academy. He was assisted by his 18 year old daughter, Jane in the running of the school.

Moved back to live in West Middleton, PA, and began assisting Alexander in the planning of Buffalo Seminary, which had started in March of 1818.

Assisted Walter Scott in evangelism on Western Reserve.

Edited Christian Baptist while AC was at Va. Constitutional Convention

Trip through Ky. Attended association meetings when division came.

Tour of churches in Virginia.

Written discussion of atonement with Barton Stone in Millennial Harbinger and Christian Messenger.

Tour of North Carolina.

April 28, 1835
Death of Jane Corneigle Campbell

Often edited MH when AC was away on extended trips.

Discussion of names "Disciple" and "Christian" Differed with AC.

Retirement at Bethany. Views on slavery published in MH in 1845, "No Christian can either approve or practice it." Blind after 1848. "Farewell" sermon at Bethany church in 1851.

Jan. 4, 1854
He died at Bethany, just a month before 91st birthday.

Source: -This Chronology was produced by Scott Harp. Much of this chronology was initiated from the information made possible by Bill J. Humble, Readings In The Restoration Movement, page 10. However, other sources have helped to expand the entries of events of Thomas Campbell's life.
Hanna - The Biography of Thomas Campbell, Advocate Of Christian Union, by William Herbert Hanna
Mem - Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, Robert Richardson. 2 volumes.
Wrather - Alexander Campbell, Adventurer In Freedom, A Literary Biography, Eva Jean Wrather, ed. D. Dwaine Cummins, 3 volumes.

Letter Of Thomas Campbell To His Daughter At The Death Of Her Mother
Jane Corneigle Campbell

Bethany, Friday, May 1st, A.D. 1835.


Dearly beloved Daughter—It becomes my painful duty to inform you of the decease of your worthy and beloved mother. She departed this life on Tuesday, the 28th ultimo, about 5 o'clock, P. M. aged 71 years and 8 months. She had been confined to her room, though not to her bed, for nearly two weeks. Last Sunday we had a meeting, as usual, in son M'Keever's; and she still felt able to come down stairs, and recline on bed in the adjoining apartment, though not to be present with us. She spent a very restless night—had complained much of pain and soreness in her stomach and left side, for some two or three weeks previous; but still was able to dress and undress, to lie down and get up, without much or any assistance; till about ten o'clock the next day (Monday) the prior to her decease; at which time she manifested a slight degree of mental confusion; but by means of a gentle opiate, seemed so far relieved from her pain as to produce a disposition to repose, which she much needed, having slept but little the night preceding. She continued thus to doze and wake, by intervals, without manifesting any disposition to speak, except to ask occasionally for a drink of water. On Tuesday morning, between five and six o'clock, she seemed to wake out of a troublesome sleep, and seeing your brother Archbald and myself standing at the bedside, she asked us with apparent difficulty, what we thought of her case. I said, My dear, you are going to your gracious heavenly Father. She replied, Yes, my keeper—my preserver—I want my keeper—my preserver; meaning as we understood, her desire to he with him; for she spoke with labor and difficulty. I said, You are going to the blessed Saviour. She reiterated with a look and tone of expressive interest and resignation,— My salvation—my salvation—this great salvation! Thrice, at least, she distinctly uttered these soul-cheering, heart-consoling words. Pausing a little, I said, My Love, the Lord Jesus will shortly receive your spirit. These words, with a most expressive look of deep-felt complacency, she attempted to reiterate; but apparently unable to repeat them all distinctly, she dwelt upon the last part of the sentence, which she repeated twice or thrice,—"Receive my spirit—my spirit ;—he will receive my spirit." I said, My dear, you can say them in your heart, and the Lord will hear you. He will shortly give you a voice to praise him/' Perceiving her unable to reply we ceased to add. But—O! the meek, composed serenity!—the unanxious submissive resignation! which she manifested; not only at the trying moment of the communications; but, indeed, all along, from the commencement of her illness, patient, uncomplaining submission, was the constant tenor of her deportment. She had labored, less or more, under the influence of a troublesome phlegmatic cough, from the beginning of winter, but with frequent intervals of relief. Even four weeks before her decease, she appeared for some time to be getting much better; nor, indeed, did we apprehend anything seriously dangerous in her condition, till part of the last two weeks; nor even at the last, was she unable to assist herself, as far as necessary, but for a part of two days. For the last twenty-four hours she manifested little or no symptoms of pain, but only a laborious breathing, occasioned by a collection of phlegm in the region of the lungs; and, for about fifteen minutes before she expired, she lay as tranquil as if asleep;—her eyes were close shut, without moving hand or foot, without the least struggle, she thus breathed her last.

But, O, my daughter, what a lesson has her decease taught me! I learned more of God, of Christ, and of myself, from the last twenty-four hours of her life, than I think I have done for the last twenty years—yes, in 'some sort, than I had ever learned in all my past life. I would not, for all the worldly enjoyments of twenty years of the most healthful activity, have been deprived of the benefit of having been present with your dying mother, the last week of her precious life. What an inestimable benefit the Lord conferred upon me, in the days of my thoughtless, inexperienced levity, in putting such a jewel into my bosom. She had been trained up in the fear of the Lord from her early infancy—the only and tenderly beloved daughter of a pious and early widowed mother, who brought her up with tender and pious affection, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Sincere, affectionate, unaffected, and benevolent ;—and, I may truly add, beneficent to the utmost of her ability, she took more pleasure in giving than receiving—in serving, than in being served. Hers was truly, and without ostentation, what the ambitious aspiring heathen proudly assumed as a just ground of enrollment among the gods of his country—"Because he had endeavored to imitate them, in having as few wants as possible of his own; and in doing everything in his power to supply the wants of others." Such, indeed, was her truly noble and independent spirit—and her kind and generous disposition. Add to these obvious and predominent features of her character, the depth and sincerity of her conjugal and maternal affection there could not be a more faithful, dutiful wife—a more tender and affectionate mother. Next to, and under Jesus Christ, I was the object of her constant and supreme attachment. We lived together nearly half a century; and I can truly say, she never once disappointed my confidence, in not carrying into effect, as far as possible, every injunction I laid upon her: and you well know my daughter, that I very frequently placed her in very trying and difficult circumstances not unfrequently with the sole tuition and management of a large rising family; especially at my coming to this country, when, for two long years and a half, the vast Atlantic was between us—and, that even for the last eight years, she was more than threefourths of the time deprived of my company. Yet (though with manifest reluctance) to these burdens and privations, for nay sake, for her family's sake, and for the truth's sake, as the case might be, she meekly and resignedly submitted. But her hope and her comfort was her keeper, her preserver. And, as having been long accustomed to this blessed hope, it was the first thought—the first word that occurred, upon the annunciation of her approaching dissolution. I shall never forget the meek, child-like, submissive look, with which she uttered these soothing, consoling words—My keeper my preserver.

It appears we can never learn anything but by experience; especially to know God and ourselves. When I said above, that in being present with your pious mother, during the last week of her life, I learned more of God, of Christ, and of myself, than I had ever learned before; I did not mean that I had learned any new attributes, divine or human, that I had not learned long ago; but only, that I had learned more affectingly the real import of the divine economy in the constitution and assumption of our nature, with its blissful effects and consequences, than I had ever done before.—I mean especially, the blissful and glorious display of the divine goodness and love; and still more especially of the latter. It had long been, with me, a favorite maxim, that as "God is love," so "all his works are love." But at this trying moment with what peculiar force did it appear! The constitution of the human family is a work of purest, reigning love. A thing most evident, not only from our sensitive and intellectual powers of enjoyment, and "the means of gratification with which we were, and still are, surrounded; but more especially, and supremely, from the principle of love—the endearments of conjugal affection, in which the human family was constituted; and out of which it was to grow.—

"Hail, wedded love! mysterious law! true source
Of human offspring; of sole property in
Paradise—a Paradise of all things
Common, else: in thee the tender charities
Of father, son, and brother, first were known."

In this heaven-born-love-born constitution, and law of our nature, has God laid, not only the strongest natural foundation of love among mankind; but also the strongest bond of grateful love to draw and unite us to himself, for such a gift. This is that anchor of love and gratitude to God for his unspeakable gift to another—better self; for whose sake a man will cheerfully forsake all things, even life itself, as we see from the beginning; for Adam was not deceived, but his wife, being deceived, was the cause of his transgression ;—he rather choosing to lose his life than his wife—to die with her—than to live without her.

The last night I sat with your dear mother, beholding the restless tossings of dissolving nature, and realizing our intimate connexion–the endearing affectionate attachment of her soul to me, what were my feelings towards her, and what were the grateful emotions of my heart towards God, the author of this attachment!—and towards our Lord Jesus Christ; by whose expiring agonies I realized her speedy, and ultimate triumphant deliverance from this last enemy, and our happy and eternal reunion in the divine presence. Here again we are presented with a still more transcendent manifestation of the divine love, the exuberant source of this most blissful consolation ;—"God manifest in the flesh"—"Immanuel—-God with us." Thus identifying himself with us, and redeeming us by his blood. Here is the consummation of his love—-"God is love." In this, he has not only made himself forthcoming to us for our relief and personal enjoyment; but also to all his holy rational creatures: having thus taken a visible tangible form, and so made himself really accessible—an object of real personal intercourse; thus fulfilling the ultimate desire of the strongest personal attachment, that love and gratitude can effect; such as we have Job. XXIII, 3.—"O that I knew where I might find him, that I might come even to his seat!"—and in Canticles VIII. 1. "O that thou wert as my brother, that sucked the breasts of my mother; when I should find thee without, I would kiss thee, yea, I should not be despised." Both these ardent aspirations have been long since fully answered. And now he, whose pure abstract essence bears no relation to time nor place, being invested with humanity, is thus made truly accessible to the rapturous adorations and embraces of his saints .... But alas! my dear, when I saw your affectionate mother draw her last breath, I felt as if my bond of attachment to the world was cut off, having now no longer any interest in it. And when I saw her laid in the grave, O how it reconciled me to that dreary mansion as to a peaceful home—a safe retreat from a busy, bustling, weary world. And now, henceforth realizing her intellectual existence in the unknown regions of the blest, who, like her, departed this life in the exercise of the divine faith, I feel a drawing, reconciling interest in, a consequent attachment to, that better country, which I never felt before; something like the sweet endearing thoughts of home. Something, I suppose, like what my beloved felt in relation to this country during her detention in the land of her nativity after my departure hence, and safe arrival here:—a feeling strong enough to subdue her female timidity to such a degree, as to induce her, after having already suffered an appalling shipwreck, to commit herself, and her dear children, a second time, to the fearful hazards of a tremendous ocean. Such, indeed, are my present feelings toward the strange, unseen country, whither my beloved has gone. I now think of it in relation to her, as the only known object of an entire personal attachment there. When I think of her, I think of it; and of it, because she is there. There still remains, however, one spot upon earth, to which also, for her sake, I feel a strong distinguishing attachment— the precious spot where her dear remains are deposited. There she lies in vicinity of our beloved

Margaret, your brother Alexander's first beloved, in the same blissful hope of a glorious resurrection. And now, dear daughter, what remains for me, thus bereft of my endearing attached companion, from whose loving faithful heart, I am persuaded, I was not absent a single day of our fifty years connexion.- —Yes, what now remains for me, without any worldly care, or particular object of worldly attachment,—but, with renewed energy—with redoubled diligence, as the Lord may be graciously pleased to enable, to sound abroad the word of life–the praises of him who has called us out of darkness in to his marvelous light, and has thus blessed us. And at last, if it be the will of God, to have my mortal remains alongside your beloved mother's.

O blessed word of life! Who—possessed of human sympathy,—that has tasted of thy sweets, but would wish all to partake of thy blissful consolations; especially in the trying season of unavoidable calamity, seeing "man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upwards." But, alas for infidelity! that blighting, woeful, deadly evil!—which goes to rob us of our benign, heart-cheering solace. O, my daughter, may it be your happy privilege and mine to live it, to enjoy it; and thus to infuse among our acquaintance the balmy influence of its soothing, life-giving communications—And at last, filled with its blissful hopes, to depart in the lively triumph of a triumphant faith!

I remain, my dear daughter, your affectionate father,


Obituary of Thomas Campbell In Millennial Harbinger


I have to announce to the brethren and friends of the Reformation, the death of the venerable THOMAS CAMPBELL, Sr. He died on the evening of Wednesday, January 4th, having attained to the advanced age of ninety-one years, lacking about a month.

This event, though in the natural course of things, by no means unexpected, will doubtless awaken, in many a bosom, the deepest emotions and the dearest recollections. Our beloved Father Campbell had been so long and so earnestly devoted to the cause of religious reformation, for which alone he seemed to live and labor, and had made, while thus engaged, so many journeyings through different parts of the United States, that he had formed a very widely extended circle of acquaintances and friends, to whom he was justly endeared, not only by these labors of love, but also by personal qualities so engaging as to command universal love and veneration.

Never was there an individual who manifested greater reverence for the Word of God, or a truer desire to see it faithfully obeyed. Yet this trust in the Divine word was not with him a mere verbal confidence, a faith or knowledge, like that of some professors, merely intellectual--lexical and grammatical; for never was there one who more fully recognized the spirituality of the gospel, or sought more diligently to impress all around him with the importance of the work of the Holy Spirit in the salvation of the soul. And never was there one who more fully exemplified the doctrine which he taught, or whose life was more evidently guided by the teachings of the Spirit, and controlled by the Divine principle of love to God and man. To the faith of Abraham and the piety of Samuel, he added the knowledge, the purity and warm affections of the Christian, and combined in his deportment a simplicity of manners and a courtesy singularly graceful, with a dignity which inspired respect of all who approached him. Oh, who that has enjoyed the pleasure of his society, can ever forget that countenance of benignity; those thoughtful eyes, beaming with affectionate regard; those venerable silvery locks, smoothly parted, with habitual neatness, upon the high and ample forehead, and contrasting so agreeably with the fresh and lively tints of his complexion; those kindly greetings and inquiries with which he so politely welcomed his friends; or that ready overflow of Christian feeling and instruction which he seemed unable long to repress within a heart filled with love and Divine truth! Oh! thou revered instructor of my early years, beloved guide of my youth, honored counsellor of my manhood, can thy image be ever obliterated from my heart! can thy teachings and thy example be ever absent from my remembrance! Oh! how great a blessing it has been to multitudes, to have been allowed the privilege of contemplating thy character, and of hearing from thy lips words of truth and grace! What thanks do we not owe to God for so precious an illustration of the power of the gospel, and of the beauty and excellency of the Christian profession!

From an early period of life until within about seven years, this devoted servant of God was actively engaged in the work of the ministry. He was connected, in his native country of Ireland, with the Covenanters and Seceders, and continued with the latter some two years after his removal to this country. From this time he gave himself wholly to the cause of Christian union and religious reformation, having become thoroughly disgusted with the party spirit and religious animosities of the different sects. He seemed to prefer the life of an itinerant, and visited every part of the country where he thought his labors might be useful, delighting to revisit occasionally the brethren with whom he had previously sojourned. He returned from one of these excursions so late as the summer of 1846; but being greatly exhausted with heat and fatigue, he was induced, through the solicitation of his friends and relatives, to remain at Bethany, where, under the affectionate care of his son Alexander, and the kind and unwearied attentions of his daughter-in-law, Mrs. S. H. Campbell, he has spent his last years in all the happiness and comfort which the infirmities of age permitted him to enjoy.

From these, indeed, he suffered comparatively but little, if we except the loss of sight, which occurred about five years since, and which debarred him from reading, and visiting his friends--a privation which he deeply felt, but patiently endured. It was his delight, during his blindness, to converse with his former acquaintances; to recite to them various hymns and passages of Scripture, with which his memory was stored, and comment on the sentiments they expressed, or to hear portions of the Scripture read. On one occasion, during this period, through the earnest entreaty of friends who desired once more to hear him from the pulpit, he consented to deliver a farewell address. He preached, accordingly, on the 1st of June, 1851, at Bethany, to a large audience, a last discourse, on the subject of the two great commandments--love to God and love to our neighbor. It was, indeed, a solemn, impressive, and most interesting occasion, the speaker being entirely blind and in his 89th year, yet with mental faculties still active and vigorous.

His health continued good until within some three weeks of his decease, when he became affected with a severe inflammatory affection of the mouth, which induced great debility and loss of appetite. Under these circumstances, he became gradually weaker, but without suffering acute pain, and at length expired so gently that it was scarcely possible to distinguish the moment when he ceased to breathe, having throughout his illness, manifested the same calm confidence in God and humble reliance upon his Divine Redeemer, which had ever characterized his life. He was buried on Friday, January 6th, by the side of his beloved consort, agreeably to the wish expressed in his affectionate notice of her death, contained in a letter to his daughter Alicia, and published in 1835, in the 6th vol. M. H., 1st series, page 284, (Also included above on this page, SDH) where he says: "And now, dear daughter, what remains for me, thus bereft of my endearing attached companion, from whose loving, faithful heart, I am persuaded I was not absent a single day of our fifty years' connexion--yes, what now remains for me, without any worldly care, or particular object of worldly attachment, but with renewed energy, with redoubled diligence, as the Lord may be graciously pleased to enable, to sound abroad the Word of Life--the praises of him who has called us out of darkness into his marvellous light; and at last, if it be the will of God, to have my mortal remains deposited alongside of your beloved mother's."

I have given the above details, as I know they will be most acceptable to many friends at a distance, who have long known and loved the deceased. May we all contemplate with profit this peaceful end of a life spent in the service of God, and follow his faith, considering the end of his conversation--Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to-day, and forever!

R. R.

Source: The Millennial Harbinger, Fourth Series, 4 (February 1854): 117-119.

Directions To The Grave Of Thomas Campbell

Thomas Campbell is buried in Campbell Family Cemetery called, God's Acre. It lies up the hill from the old family mansion in little town of Bethany, West Virginia. There are a number of ways to get to Bethany. I have traveled to it on about as many ways as is possible, and I find that from Wheeling it is best to make your way up Hwy. 2, and follow the Ohio River front up Hwy. 2 until just before you enter into Wellsburg. Take a right on Hwy. 67 and make your way into Bethany that way. (Note: taking the Hwy. 88 route from Wheeling is too curvy for my liking). When getting to the other side of the college proceed toward the mansion on the outskirts of town. At the visitors center you will turn to the right going up a hill toward the cemetery. There are two cemeteries up the hill. One is a community cemetery to the right. The other is on the left, set off by itself. There is a large rock wall surrounding the cemetery. You will have to climb the rock stair over the wall to enter the cemetery. Once inside there are numerous graves of gospel preacher and their wives and families that were either related to the Campbells or to Bethany College.

GPS Coordinates
40°12'19.8"N 80°32'48.3"W
40.205503, -80.546742
Just South Of A. Campbell's Grave

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Headstone Of Thomas & Jane Campbell - Note Footstones In Foreground

Father Of Alexander &
Archibald W. Campbell

Born in County Down, Ireland, Feb. 1, 1763, And Died At The Residence Of His Son Alexander, January 4, 1854. Aged 91 years, 11 months, 5 days. Many Years, The Minister Of The Secession Presbyterian Church In Ireland And Scotland. In The United States, Upon The Arrival Of His Family In America in 1809, Who Withdrew From The Presbyterian Community. And Advocated A Platform Of Primitive Christianity In Conjunction With His Son, Alexander. He Labored In This With Much Success. More Than 40 Years Of Christian Learning And Piety, He Had Few Equals As A Christian Minister, Husband, Father, Few Superiors. Strong In Faith And Hope, He Triumphed Over Death And Reposes In Jesus Without A Sorrow Or Fear.

Happy Are The Dead Who Die In The Lord. For They Rest From Their Labors And Their Works Do Follow Them.

A number of years ago, the headstone of Thomas Campbell went missing. A replacement was produced and put in its place {shown above}. A boy playing in a field found the old stone in Wheeling, WV, several miles away. It was returned to the care of the original owners and is now on display in the Genealogy Room upstairs in the Campbell Mansion.

Ahorey Presbyterian Church, Where Thomas Campbell Preached

Rich Hill, Northern Ireland Home and Academy of Thomas Campbell

Locatons of Homes Of Thomas And Alexander Campbell

Newry, County Down, Birthplace of Thomas Campbell

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