Judge David Campbell

Is your surname Campbell?

Research the Campbell family

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

About Judge David Campbell

A Patriot of the American Revolution for VIRGINIA with the rank of MAJOR. DAR Ancestor #: A018570

Judge David Campbell, State of Franklin official and early territorial and state judge, was born in Augusta County, Virginia, in 1750. He served in the Continental Army during the American Revolution, attaining the rank of major. After the war, circa 1783, he moved to present-day Greene County, Tennessee, where he practiced law and served as a judge on the newly declared Supreme Court of Franklin. He is credited as being one of the authors of the Franklin constitution along with being a member of the First Franklin Convention in 1784 and the Third Franklin Convention in 1785. But of the major Franklin leaders, Campbell "was the least wedded to the separatist movement." (1) In 1787, in fact, he became a member of the North Carolina assembly, and later that year he was elected judge of the Superior Court of North Carolina, Washington District, where he served until 1790. However, Campbell refused to abandon his Franklin friends entirely. When John Tipton and others attempted to have John Sevier arrested for treason, Campbell refused to issue the arrest warrant.

With the establishment of the Southwest Territory, Territorial Governor William Blount appointed Campbell as territorial judge in 1790; he served in that position until Tennessee's statehood in 1796.

Success and controversy marked Campbell's career as a Tennessee state judge. From 1797 to 1809 he served as a judge of the Superior Court, but early in his term, Campbell became embroiled in a heated, bitter dispute with William Blount, John Sevier, and others over the boundary of the Treaty of Holston. The survey of the treaty completed in 1797 placed the home of Judge Campbell and others in Cherokee territory, and state officials did nothing to prevent federal troops from evicting Campbell and the other settlers. A furious Campbell lashed back at Blount and Governor Sevier. When Campbell refused to even consider a suit Blount wanted the court to adjudicate, Blount asked Sevier to reply in kind. Sevier convinced leaders in the Tennessee House to bring impeachment charges against Judge Campbell.

When the removal trial came before the state Senate in December 1798, William Blount, who had been impeached as a U.S. senator, was awaiting word from Philadelphia on whether the U.S. Senate would convict him. He had already been expelled by the U.S. Senate and upon returning to Tennessee, Blount arranged to be elected to the state Senate, where he was chosen Speaker. In the Campbell removal trial, therefore, Blount was the Senate's chief prosecutor of a case in which he held a considerable personal and political interest. Campbell avoided conviction and removal, but by just one vote.

Five years later, in 1803, Campbell faced a second impeachment, this time for bribery. With the support of the Jackson faction, the state Senate voted nine to three for Campbell's acquittal.

Judge David Campbell received a federal appointment as a Mississippi territorial judge in 1811, but he never served in the post. He died in Washington, Rhea County, in 1812.


Find a Grave

Birth: 1750, USA

Death: 1812 Rhea County, USA

Revolutionary War Veteran; Delegate to convention establishing State of Franklin and member of its Council of State; Superior Judge of Franklin, Washington Distirct, North Carolina and of Territory South of the River Ohio; Supreme Court Judge of Tennessee

Burial: Old Washington Park Old Washington Rhea County Tennessee, USA

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

David Campbell (1750–1812) was a prominent judge and politician in the State of Franklin, North Carolina, and Tennessee.[1]

Born in Augusta County, Virginia, in 1750, Campbell rose to the rank of major while serving in the Continental Army during the American Revolution.

In about 1783, sometime after the war had ended, he moved to Greene County, Tennessee, where he began practicing law. In 1785 he was elected Judge of the Superior Court of the State of Franklin.

In 1787 he was elected to the North Carolina General Assembly and shorty thereafter was elected judge of the Superior Court of North Carolina, Washington District, a post he served in until 1790, when he was appointed to be a territorial state judge in the Southwest Territory by Governor William Blount. From 1797 until 1809 he served as a justice on the Superior Court of Tennessee, where he was twice impeached. His first impeachment came in 1798 during a dispute with Blount (who had himself just been impeached from the United States Senate), involving the Treaty of Holston; Campbell escaped conviction by one vote. Campbell was impeached again in 1803, having been charged with bribery, but was once again acquitted.[1]

Campbell died in Washington, Rhea County, Tennessee, in 1812.

view all 20

Judge David Campbell's Timeline

May 26, 1750
Augusta, Virginia Colony
Tennessee, United States
Green, Tennessee, United States
Green, Tennessee, United States
Greene County, North Carolina, United States
Belle Canton, Knox, Tennessee, United States