Campbell School

I have been hesitant to post about Campbell School because I don’t really have anything to post. One night, while searching the South Carolina Archive & History website, I found this picture from a file of insurance photos taken of schools between 1935 and 1952.

Campbell School, Abbeville County
Click to enlarge. Campbell School District No. 26, Abbeville County. S112113: Insurance File Photographs, South Carolina Archives & History

My grandfather, a descendant of the John Campbell who settled in Abbeville County at the very beginning of the nineteenth century, grew up on property labeled as Campbell’s Mill on the 1820 Mills’ Atlas map of Abbeville County, South Carolina. John Campbell’s daughter, Arabella, married Thomas Pleasant Martin and the property later became known as Martin’s Mill while it was under the ownership of their only son, John Campbell Martin. I am tempted to get bogged down in Campbell genealogy here, but need to resist for the sake of brevity and making breakfast. To keep it brief, John Campbell had a pile of daughters but I cannot find any mention of a son. The area where he lived is populated with people carrying the Campbell name though, so my working hypothesis is that he either brought a brother with him or moved to Abbeville because he already had family in the area. His brother, Archibald, seems to have come to Abbeville with him but I think there is much more to it. In the area between the towns of Abbeville and Lowndesville, the Nations area, the Campbell family has had a large presence for the past two hundred years or so. It’s something I will certainly dig into more in the coming months.

So here’s this school. It’s long gone though, right? Disassembled, carried away, leveled and left for the cows, right? Nope. While in Abbeville, I struck up a conversation with a long time volunteer of the Greenwood library’s genealogy room, who told me that I really had to take Nations Road down to Lowndesville. My husband was driving and I was staring out the window when I saw, through thick and purposeful bushes, a strange building with a tall roof and a strange shape. I had kind of assumed that a search for the original location of Campbell School would be, even if fruitful, totally pointless. What was I going to do, go stand in a field and ponder how something neat use to be here? But there was that building, though the bushes, along side the road. Now clad in dark wood siding, it was no longer a public building, but someone’s private property.

A search on the website for The U. S. Board of Geographic Names turns up a profile page of the location. It looks like the only USGS topo map that it ever appeared on was the page for Latimer (SC) in 1938. Nothing earlier, nothing later… and that map doesn’t seem to be available.

That is really all I have, but I wanted to put it all in one place for now until there is more. My best lead right now is actually someone who owns an adjacent properly. I sent them a Facebook message after misreading the Abbeville GIS map. Being a goober might pay off though because she is going to send along a couple of names of people I should talk to in the area. The local historical society doesn’t have anything on it, nor do a couple of area historians I’ve written to. It all seems like a fool’s errand, I guess, but this building is really fascinating to me. I’ll be sure to report back if I find out anything more.

This past October, I was in the area and actually told my husband that it would be quite a while until we came back. It’s not that it isn’t all interesting and a nice place to visit, but we can only make so many trips and it was a little ridiculous that South Carolina accounted for three of them in one year. I may be eating my words though. As we are expecting our second child in August, I might want to gather my notes and make another run at it in the spring before I’m grounded for another bit of time.

John Campbell, Will Transciption, 1823

Source: South Carolina Department of History & Archives
Series: S108093
Reel: 0003
Frame 00057
Item 002
Record 41
Date 2/15/1823


In the name of God, Amen. I John Campbell of Abbeville district and state of South Carolina being of sound and disposing mind and memory and in a common state of health, calling to mind the uncertainty of life, and being desirous of disposing of all such worldly Estate as it hath pleased God to bless me with, do make and ordain this my last will and Testament in manner and form as Follows to Wit.

1st. It is my Will that the Whole of my Estate real and personal be sold on such credit or Credits as my Executors hereafter named may think most advantageous and most conducive to the Interest of my Legatus, my old Negro Lewis excepted, and also the land I own in Pendleton District that formerly belonged to Wm, McKee dec’d.

Item 2nd. To my grand daughter Arabella Chambers of the State of North Carolina I give and bequeath the sum of four thousand dollars to be paid her when she attains to twenty one years of age or Marries to her, her heirs and assigns for ever.

Item 3d. To my Grandson John S. Simmons I give and bequeath the sum of one thousand dallas, to be paid him when he attains twenty one years of age.

Item 4th. To Elizabeth Miller wife of George Miller of AbbevilleDistrict and State of South Carolina I give and bequeath the sum of four thousand dollars to her, her heirs and assigns for ever.

Item 5th. To my daughter Charlotte Cobb Wife of James Cobb, I give the sum of fifty dollars to her, her heirs for ever.

Item 6, The land I own in Pendleton consisting of two tracts containing about eleven hundred and twenty acres, formerly owned by Wm McKee, I give and bequeath the same to Jane McKee Widow Wife of the aforesaid Wm. McKee, dec’d, to her, her heirs and assigns for ever, pm the Condition that the said Jane shall well and truly pay to myself or to my Executors the sum of two hundred and fifty dollars if she does not comply with this condition, it is my Will that my executors sell one or both the tracts aforesaid, or so much thereof, at their discretion as will make the said sum of two hundred and fifty dollars, and give the balance to her the said Jane as aforesaid.

Item 7th. It is my Will that my Executors retain in their hands the sum of five hundred dollars for casualties and necessary expenses, until the business of the estate is done or completed.

Item 8th.All the balance of the Estate is, and it is my will that the same be divided into three equal parts and distributed as hereafter mentioned.

1st. To my Natural daughter Mary A. Simmons Wife of Thomas Simmons [or Semmons] of Abbeville District I give and bequeath one of those parts,to her, her heirs and assign forever.

2d. To my daughter Peggy Edwards Wife of Isam Edwards of North Carolina I give and bequeath one other of those parts to her, her heirs and assigns for ever.
3d. The other part (or third part) I give and bequeath to my daughter Arabella Martin and her son John C. Martin,to be equally divided between them Share and Share alike, John’s part to be paid to him when he attains twenty one years of age.

Item 9th. It is my Will that in selling of my Negroes that husband and Wife not be separated, and that my house woman Cloe have liberty in choosing her own Master, in my own family, and that old Lewis not be sold but retained in the care of my Executors and Will [well] used, and maintained out of my estate, in case he becomes unable to support himself.

Item 10. It is my Will that all my Just debts be paid, previous to a division of my estate into the three equal parts as mentioned in Item 8th. in case there be any such debts.

Item 11th. Isam Edwards of North Carolina owes me on a Note or obligation without seal a considerable sum of money, which if he refuses to pay or settle the same (with Interest at six per Cent) in part of the Legacy given his Wife, then in that case, I revoke the Legacy given to my daughter Peggy his wife, and give and bequeath the same to my other Legatees.

Lastly. I do hereby appoint my trusty and confidential friends Henry Johnson, Patrick Johnson and John Morrow Executors of this my last will and Testament, hereby revoking all former Wills by me made, ratifying and confirming this to be my last Will and Testament.

In Witness whereof I have hereunto set and seal this 21st day of April in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty one. Signed Sealed, Published & declared by the said Jno. [?] Campbell as his last will & testament, in our presence, who at the same time in his presence witnessed the same.

I Carris Goodwin
Samuel Huston                J Campbell        L. S.
A. Hunter

Proven by the caths of Samuel Huston & Harris Goodwin & Henry Johnson, Patrick Johnson & John Morrow qualified as Executors on the 15th day of February 1823. Before Moses Taggart, senr. O.A.D.