Who was Alice Campbell? Was it Eliza Campbell?

Written by Marcus Bicknell on .

Eliza Campbell

In the photo album of the George MacDonald family[1], friends of Clarence in Bordighera, there are three photos of the Campbell family of Tullichewan which is in Dunbartonshire in Scotland. Judging from the photos, the album (apparently "created" by Lewis Carroll the writer (aka Charles Dodgson) is likely to have been from before 1880 when the MacDonalds settled in Bordighera. The only person named is Eliza Campbell who is likely to be Eliza Campbell  born18 Nov 1850 in Glasgow died 10 Sep 1932 daughter of James Campbell, of Tullichewan,   b. 31 Mar 1823 in Tullichewan, d. 14 Aug 1901 and Janet Black,   b. Abt 1827, died d. 10 Feb 1907. James has four other offspring none named Alice. Eliza could have married and might be Eliza Gildea (https://www.geni.com/people/James-Campbell-of-Tullichewan/6000000000193187175)

Shown on https://www.clanmacfarlanegenealogy.info

Marcus found out that Eliza’s paternal grandfather William (James’s father) could be called a railway owner, one of the parameters recalled by those in Bordighera who remember the presence of Alice Campbell.

“On leaving Balloch Station (0.4 chains from back here) Forth & Clyde trains whistled twice and traversed the double track Balloch branch for 15 chains, before forking left at Forth & Clyde Junction. The castellated towers of early 19th century Tullichewan Castle, the imposing country seat of William Campbell, Glasgow drapery magnate, local laird and Forth & Clyde director until his death in 1864, appeared on a wooded height to the west.” (Back Track magazine, May 2010, article on the Forth & Clyde Junction) http://www.gargunnockvillagehistory.co.uk/Forth%20&%20Clyde%20Railway.pdf

Marcus postulates that Italians, in pronouncing the name Eliza, would make a sound very similar to Alice which both in Italian and French has the emphasis on the second syllable (not on the first as in English) and with the makings of a third syllable “-ce”. If this is the case then it possible that the Italians who remember Alice Campbell, “daughter” of a railway owner, were in fact hearing Eliza Campbell.

As more material gets digitised and put on the internet, so there will be more opportunities to identify "Alice" Campbell with more certainty. I will keep my eye open.


[1] Discovered by Susie Bicknell in March 2021, the photo album having been digitised and made available by the Yale University Library in the previous two years.

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