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Visualizing History: Tight Focus

Here’s a collection of images for relatives of mine converging this weekend in northern Wisconsin.


My 2x-great-grandad, readers of this blog and relatives will know I’m talking about George P.B. Campbell (1835-1910) was one of those 19th century chaps who had two families: 8 kids from the first and 4 from the second. The first wife and he had been kids together (eloped when they were 17). After her death on a hot 4th of July weekend in 1877 he didn’t remarry for a couple years.

When he did it was to her cousin’s daughter, who had been a longtime helper to his family anyway. Most of his kids from the 1st marriage moved to southern Minnesota about then (some married, others just followed; for instance the son that was my mom’s “Grampa Campbell” became a gardener for some rich fella around Minneapolis who also had a cook from Sweden. GPB & SLKLove bloomed, etc etc).

Well George’s own brothers who had lived nearby also moved: one to California where two other bro’s lived, the other to Colorado. So George himself–by trade a lumberman and carpenter–with his new wife and baby son Preston followed the logging trend and moved to northern Wisconsin around 1883. He built a log cabin near the town of Chetek, later turned it into a proper house and three more sons came along.


The even this weekend centers on those who resulted from the 2nd son of this 2nd family named Willy Wally Campbell. What’s amazing to me is that ok, this George was born in 1835 (in Indiana as his parents moved west CAMPBELL JRNEE MAP 1from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin). His dad, who died when he was 14, was the only surviving son of the Campbell immigrant. George never met this grandfather, none of his siblings did.


In other words, there was no craggy ole Scotsman spinnin’ yarns–as such. Why do I mention all this? Because he named his son almost 100 yeWW STATars after his immigrant grandfather came here after the ultimate Scottish hero, good ole William Wallace. It’s very common in fact to find Scottish people generations away from their Scot ancestor name-checking the rebellious Scottish warrior to let the world know: “Ah’m a bet Scote. Beh uh-wheerrr”.


And just look at this guy, too, he looks–I gotta say–like a million bucks. Burly, handsome, charming. Damn!

WWC 1910 1

More later.




For Willy Wally Campbell Reunion

Here are some reference charts for the July 22nd Reunion.

1. George P.B. Campbell in context of his siblings and parents.


2. The two families of Geo P.B. Campbell showing how his two wives (the moms of each family) were related, and showing which son from the 1st family I’m descended from down to my granddad, Lee H. Campbell. (FYI, my mom’s dad).

GPBCs families

Campbell of Cawdor


In my previous post (and the 1st one) showing the images I’ve made of various historic, chiefly coats of arms of the Clan Campbell, anything from the Cawdor branch was notably absent.

So today I’ve fixed that.

Each of these happens to be about a hundred years apart: 1561, 1672, and then the last, commonly seen Cawdor arms are from 1772.

37 copy.pngThis first one on the left is based on the description of a seal which didn’t specify the tinctures or metals (ie, colors) of the stars and buckle or of the field they’ve over in the top part (the chief). To the right you’ll see the bit from the invaluable Heraldry of the Campbells, Vol. 1 by G. Harvey Johnston, that is one of the sources I use for this stuff. So if anyone happens to have any info or advice on that one, please don’t be shy. 😉 Let me know!  As ever, enjoy! More TK!


And here’s a mini chart to show and/or remind how and when the Cawdors branched off.


More Campbell Armorial Art

SIRNEILC2 copy 3

Below you’ll find a handful of further armorial bearings I created of several of the known, historical branches of Clan Campbell.

Hopefully they look like actual shields, but of course they’re just composites of tons of separate photographic elements. Hover the cursor over each  one to see its caption.

They’re chronologically organized, roughly. And in this first batch, the first three (going left to right) form pairs with the ones they’re above: ie, Sir Arthur Cambel’s arms evolved into the arms of Strachur; Sir Colin Mor’s into those of Loch Awe; Sir Donald’s into Loudoun. The last two on the right of this batch are just among the earliest cadet branches with attested arms, Craignish and Inverawe. Enjoy!

Among the sources I used to learn and/or confirm these designs were the various descriptions provided in the legit, straight from the source rolls from Scotland.

Here’s a little bit of the context for when some of these armorial bearings branched off the “main” line, the Argyll line that has been the chiefly line since the 13- or 1400s, and thus at what point they were differenced with the various marks of cadency.



Senior Descendants of Edward III

Edward III grandchildren chart, Plantagenet family tree, black prince, richard ii, isabella, marie de coucy, robert of bar, lionel of antwerp, philippa, roger mortimer, john of gaunt, elizabeth of lancaster, john de holland 2nd duke of exeter, henry bolingbroke, lancaster, henry iv, john beaufort 1st earl of somerset, 1st duke of somerset, joan beaufort, edmund beaufort, joan beaufort, eleanor neville, cecily neville, edmund of langley, york, edward 2nd duke of york, constance, isabel despencer, richard of conisburgh, 3rd earl of cambridge, 3rd duke of york, anne, humphrey stafford 1st duke of buckingham, anne stafford

Hello all.

This is the first installment of my rolling out of what I’ve learned about the most senior line of descent from England’s King Edward III. Why? It’s an intellectual exercise, a fascinating one that’s turned out to be quite fruitful, too!

From aScreen Shot 2017-11-08 at 11.10.50 AM surprisingly revealing ladder by which to get a hold of T0013185755--497318making sense of the intricate pecking order of Continental European aristocracy over the past 700 years, to both a tidy tale of how down to earth and normal some are today due in no small part to actual changes in the world’s rulership and wealth, as well as succinct lessons in the opposite: how some of them still cling to the money & power.

Inspired by the Wikipedia page on “Alternate Successions” to 6thDukeWestminsterthe throne of Britain/England (& the hilarious tidbit that the most senior line, for instance, of Queen Victoria, was through her daughter to Kaiser Wilhelm II!) and my limited American understanding of the rules of succession, I determined several months back to find out if I could what the senior line was and if there were any descendants. Indeed there are! And you can see her above, next to her royal ancestor, a widely forgotten daughter of Edward III.

So, I’ll start today with the wayback:

Black Prince effigy
Edward the Black Prince 1330-1376
Richard II 1367-1400

Edward III’s eldest son, Edward, gets a lot of press since, well, he was the most apparent heir…whoooo, didn’t quite make it to the throne, as he died a year before his dad. He also gets attention, not only due to his snazzy black armor and “all that” attitude, but because it was his son who inherited the crown and became king after Edward III: Richard II.


Richard II, however, had no children. He selected his cousin, Roger Mortimer to inherit the crown from him.



rog mort 4th
Roger Mortimer 1374-139
lionelofantwerp copy
Lionel, Duke of Clarence 1338-1368

Roger Mortimer was a great-grandson of Edward III through the next son after Edward, namely Lionel (called “of Antwerp” and also Duke of Clarence). Lionel’s daughter Philippa had married a Mortimer, and they’d had two kids, Roger being the boy. His older sister married Henry “Hotspur” Percy, and you’d think would have a claim to the throne, too; more on that later.




John, Duke of Lancaster 1340-1399


Henry IV 1367-1413

Cousin Roger died before Richard II, so being the heir passed to his 7-year-old son Edmund. But wee Edmund didn’t get to be king since his and Richard’s cousin Henry, who was the son of Edward III’s third son, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, up and took the throne for himself, becoming King Henry IV.




Edmund_of_Langley_2C_Duke_of_York copy
Edmund, Duke of York 1341-1402

And as we know, Henry IV’s son, grandson et al (aka: the House of Lancaster) arm-wrestled (ie, battled in most bloody fashion) with the sons etc of Edward III’s fourth son, only a year younger than John, Edmund of Langley (aka, the House of York) for the throne over the next 200 years, this civil war known now as Game of Thrones–er, War of the Roses.

So Edward the Black Prince and his brothers Lionel, John and Edmund all get press. So does their baby brother Thomas, since he was murdered.




Joan Plantagenet 1334-1348
Thomas, Duke of Gloucester 1355-1397


And you even hear about poor, young Joan, Edward III’s daughter, because she actually died of the Black Death at age 15 on her way to Spain to marry the prince there.


But you never hear about the couple of other daughters, mostly, it would seem, because they had no kids. But to me it’s very curious why we don’t hear more about the 2nd oldest kid of the bunch. Between Edward and Lionel was–apparently Edward III’s favorite child: Isabella, named for his mother, the French princess whose blood allowed/led Edward III to make war on France, claiming the throne (and by which he added the snazzy blue field with gold fleur-de-lys to the Plantagenet/English royal coat of arms).

Screen Shot 2016-11-23 at 6.14.13 AM copy

Isabella turned down various marriages, and finally wed a nobleman in France. Perhaps it was because her dad has launched that ongoing war with France that she got written off, history-wise. Not sure about that yet. What I am sure of, and am here sharing, is her line of descent to the present. It’s funny to me that they counted descent from Lionel’s daughter Philippa but not a generation up from Isabella.

Here’s a chart showing the great-grandkids (work-in-progress) of Edward III & Philippa of Hainault:



Part II soon…in which we meet the next few generations of Edward III’s most senior descendants, some of the most famous, most powerful, most wealthy noble folks of the Continent….



I was in Dallas for the first time a few weeks ago for my cousin’s wedding. A lovely time, seriously charming wedding (sweet, impressively solid couple).

And the morning before the shindig got underway I had occasion to take a drive into downtown Dallas with two other interested parties (another cousin’s partner and his son) to check out no less an important historical location than Dealey Plaza, the site of the assassination of the 35th President of the United States, JFK.

Behind me, myself and I in the above pic, and below: the Grassy Knoll itself, confirmed site where Mr. Zapruder took his home movie featuring infamous & awful frame 313–unconfirmed location of a second or even third gunman, behind the gently sweving road where Kennedy died, essentially in front of the world.


(Remember that at this point in 2017 the only person confirmed–more or less universally–to have shot a gun whose bullet hit President Kennedy is Lee Harvey20170617_111320 copy Oswald, from the 6th floor window of the Texas Schoolbook Depository. Mind you, that doesn’t preclude that another gun in another person’s hands fired the “kill-shot”, i.e., the one that took JFK’s life–but there simply isn’t enough conclusive evidence as to that other shot or shots to convince enough people of only one version; there are as many versions of where the other shooter was as one can imagine. Meanwhile, the window where Oswald sat 132696-004-1B6A5A8Aand from which he fired his infamous Carcano rifle, is today the museum about the assassination. We didn’t go there, but did visit the bizarre gift shop, which sits on the ground floor of the building across the street from the former Depository.)


And so but this location, Dealey Plaza, is crazy. Not just because a major world leader was killed right out in public, not just because that’s relatively rare in the US, or even just because it’s also still essentially unsolved. It’s precisely the multiplicity of other versions Picture 3and the number of eyewitness accounts and bewildering lack of a consensus conclusion that makes this location crazy. It’s so heavy a site because that event provides a tightly, intricately 539484561focused hypermicrocosm of epistomology: almost every Picture 5aspect demonstrates–wantonly, defiantly like nailing down quicksilver–just how many uncertainties can bedevil a given slice of so-called “reality”.

This thing happened…or did it? This person stood there and saw “X”…or did they? Well 112. Assassination Aftermaththey *heard* “Y”…or at least this other person did. And “Z” was caught on film…or was it? So many pages, files, terrabytes of analyses…that just don’t add up…with each moment that passes rushing us all hopelessly further past the moment at 12:33 pm that autumn day that a bullet from some gun somewhere in, above,ZZZ. Dealey Plaza Aftermath (2) near, passing by Dealey Plaza blew the top of our President’s skull & at least a third of his brains out, ending his life–BANG–right then and there, unchangeably.


Reality is many sided. Perspectives are tenaciously held to. It continues to roll onward, and usually the stakes are not that final, but any moment has as many potential veracity chasms–my term for things there just isn’t definitive proof for.  What do we do with veracity chasms? We fill them in, naturally. But with what, is the question.





History on the Screen 2: Thanks Be to GOT!


Thank heavens for the success of Game of Thrones!



Its huge wave of popularity emboldended moneymen, er, TV producers to greenlight similar shows set grimly & grimily in that distant past of dark armor, shields & swords that gives Game of Thrones its look and feel.

Bernard_Cornwell copy.jpg

Surging forth first (or at least most notably) on this cashflow has been the epic & popular “Vikings”, and now “The Last Kingdom”, a BBC adaptation from a book in a series by British historical novelist and former news correspondent Bernard Cornwell that chronicles goings-on in England in the centuries before the year 1000.

And it’s awesome.

Statue_d'Alfred_le_Grand_aÌ€_WinchesterIt’s set during the reign of King Alfred the Great of England, so in the late decades of the 800s AD/Common Era (CE). Like stories &960 copy cinematic adaptations before such as Little Big Man, it inserts a fictional character into totally historically accurate situations to tell the past context in human detail.

For now, and for any fan of the show, here’s a chart I’ve done showing Alfred’s descendants for a few generations. Click on it and in the new tab click it again so you can check it out in detail if you like. More on this show later.

alfred the great family tree, wessex, anglo-saxons, mercia, northumbria, essex, kent, last kingdom, edward the confessor family tree, edmund ironside, winchester, louis iv of france, aethelred, eadwig, eadred, aethelstan, english, eadgar, early english kings family tree, by kylen Campbell, famtracking

More on the show next time.