From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Campbell, Alexander, Sr. (former slave)

(born: 1818  -  died: 1870) 

Not to be confused with the Second Great Awakening leader, Alexander Campbell, this Alexander Campbell had been a slave in Woodford County, KY. He took the name of Alexander Campbell after being purchased by the White Christian Church in Midway, KY in the 1830s.

Campbell had been owned by the Fleming Family and Abraham Buford. He was purchased for $1000 and became the first preacher of the newly formed Colored Christian Church. Both Campbell and Samuel Buckner are considered the fathers of the Colored Christian Church Movement in Kentucky.  They were the founders of more Colored Christian churches than any other two persons.

Alexander Campbell was a minister in Lexington, KY, in 1870, according to the U.S. Federal Census. He had purchased freedom for his wife, Rosa VanMeter Campbell (b. in 1829 in Fayette County, KY) for $1000.

He and Rosa were the parents of several children; one of the youngest boys was named John Stafford Campbell, (1869-1942), according to Stafford's death certificate. Stafford was pastor of the Colored Christian Churches in Midway, KY and Paris, KY. He was the twin brother of Burbridge Campbell, who left Kentucky for Boston, MA in the 1880s, according to an article in the "Colored Notes" of the Lexington Leader, 8/28/1911, p. 5. The article mentioned that Burbridge was returning home to visit his mother, who lived at 410 Campbell Street in Lexington.

Rosa and her sons are listed in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, with Rosa described as a widow who worked as a "cloths renovator." Her husband Alexander had died in 1870; Rosa Campbell died in 1916, according to information provided by Brenda Jackson of Versailles, KY: "Death of A. Campbell," Apostolic Times, 12/18/1870, pp. 297-298, and the Kentucky Certificate of Death for Rosa Campbell - File No. 7316. Their son, Rev. Alexander Campbell, Jr., died in 1896 in Indianapolis, IN, and is buried in African Cemetery #2, Lexington, KY [source: Yvonne Giles - Certificate of Death #1406].

For more see Negro Disciples in Kentucky, 1840-1925 (thesis), by C. Walker; "Old slave church remembered," Lexington Leader, 12/27/1976, p. A9; and Two Races in One Fellowship, by R. L. Jordan.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Woodford County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Fayette County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Bourbon County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Midway, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Lexington, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Paris, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: Colored Christian Church (Midway, KY)
NKAA Source: Lexington leader (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Apostolic times (periodical)
NKAA Entry: African Cemetery No. 2 (Lexington, KY)
NKAA Source: Negro Disciples in Kentucky, 1840-1925 (thesis)
NKAA Source: Two races in one fellowship

Related Entries Citing this Entry


Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Campbell, Alexander, Sr. (former slave),” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 12, 2024,

Last modified: 2021-01-08 19:46:55