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The Campbells (Scadabay)

By Donald A Mackay - Added 15/04/2014

Kenneth Campbell told the Harris Historical Society how Alasdair (Siorram) and John Campbell came from Pairc in Lewis to settle in Scadabay c1820.  Donald Alex MacKay gives an account of the following generations of the family and their situation up to the end of the 19th and into the 20th century, and his own memories of some of the family.

Roderick, son of John Campbell, and his son Kenneth moved to Rodel where they had the tenancy.  Roderick used to live at the Laimhrig Mhor, the pier at Obbe.  There wasn't anyone settled in Borrisdale then, he had the whole of Rodel from Ard Renish to Lingerbay - to Alasdair an Diuc's house.   It was said Roderick wintered 20 sheep with a single match and when people were told this they wondered how.  The answer to the puzzle was that he set fire to the heather on Eilean Lingreabhaigh, encouraging new growth that his sheep could feed on.  He also had Eilean Stocinis where there  was a salt water loch.  He kept lobsters there till the price rose, usually towards the New Year, when he would send them away to market. 


Roderick's son Iain, took the lease of Taransay and Iain’s son Roderick, Ruairidh Mor was the last resident farmer there.  After selling Taransay he moved to Leverburgh where he lived on Ferry Road.  Donald Alex also mentions a brother Eoghann who was a banker and a sister Mairi who married William Stewart of Strond.  


The Campbells had ships bringing meal back to the island from Ireland.  Iain Dubh na Caradh, dark-haired John, was in charge of the meal and you would pay two shillings (10p) for a sack of meal which was about 10 stone in weight.   Iain Dubh was kind to the young boys who used to gather round the ship.  He would take some treacle out of a barrel with stick of willow and roll it in flour for them to eat as sweets. 


Kenneth Campbell's father Alasdair, who was Alasadair Siorram's grandson, was known as the Bard and his son Kenneth as Coinneach Alasdair Choinnich or Coinneach a' Bhaird.  Alasdair’s songs are mostly lost now but one, Gruagach Dhonn a' Bhrollaich Bhain, was recorded by Chirsty Shaw and the words appear in Tocher No.41.  It starts:


Although Lachlann is a good hand in the narrows,

He'd rather be in the land of the heather,

Where he can see the girl he loves

In the Bailiff's house in Lingerbay.