The Ministry of Rev. Joseph Camp

Rev. Joseph Camp (1741 - abt 1813) was a Baptist minister who spent most of his life as a farmer and backwoods physician in Rutherford County NC, and as a preacher at the Buffalo Creek Church close by on the Broad River in north-central South Carolina. Rev. Camp was born in Orange County, Virginia, the son of Thomas Camp and Winnifred Starling1. The Camps were Anabaptists, one of several sects of "Protestant Dissenters", and suffered religious persecution in Virginia2, providing at least one motivation for their migration further south. Camp3 wrote an extensive biography of Rev. Joseph Camp.

Rev. Camp had settled in Rutherford County on the southern border of North Carolina by 1772, when he and his neighbors built the Buffalo Creek Church near the junction of the Broad River and Buffalo Creek 4.The church was "an undaubed log structure about 40 feet long and 25 feet wide… Wind blew through the church in winter and insects and vermin entered freely through the cracks in the summer"5. The land on which the church was built was claimed by both North and South Carolina, and ended up ½ mile over the border in South Carolina6.

A history of South Carolina Baptist associations published in 1887 quotes an eyewitness, Dr. William Curtis, who personally viewed association records that confirmed that the Buffalo Church was founded in 17727. These early records have unfortunately been lost to history. Rev. Camp is recorded as the only pastor for the church through 18008.

In 1775 Rev. Camp took missionary trips to nearby settlements, including preaching at the Pacolet Church in Skull Shoals9.

In its early years, the Buffalo Creek Church was part of the Congaree Association of Baptist Churches. Rev. Camp represented the Buffalo Church at a meeting of delegates from the Congaree Association at the Fairforest Church in September 177610.

On 23 Dec 1776 Rev. Camp was one of 3 pastors from the Congaree Association who met with a group of settlers on the Sandy River to help them constitute a new church, the Sandy River Church. The meeting was held at Flat Rock meetinghouse at Fairforest11.

Rev. Camp was present at the founding meeting of the Broad River Association of Baptist churches in 180112, and in 1804 authored a circular letter on Church Discipline13. In 1808 Rev. Camp moved to Kentucky for unknown reasons14. The move is documented by U.S. Census records showing Joseph Camp in Rutherford County NC in 1800 and Pulaski County KY in 1810. The 1800 census lists Rev. Camp's age as greater than 45, so his birth year was before 1755. Camp states that his birth year was 174115.

Rev. Camp died intestate in about 1813 in Pulaski County KY. A detailed account of the sale of his estate on 13 Apr 1814 survives16.

Rev. Joseph Camp meets the criteria as a qualifying ancestor for the Society of the Descendants of the Colonial Clergy based on his position as pastor of the Buffalo Creek Church beginning in 1772, and based on his missionary work with other congregations in 1775. Supporting evidence includes his participation in the September 1776 meeting of the Congaree Association as a delegate representing the Buffalo Creek Church, suggesting that he was well established as pastor of the church by that date. His attendance at the 23 Dec 1776 meeting that helped found the Sandy River Church corroborates his leadership position among Baptist pastors in north-central South Carolina by that date.


1Camp, Paul W. & Paul K. Camp. John Steel Camp and His Descendants. Detroit: Harlo Printing Co., 1980. p. 10

2Ibid., p. 12

3Ibid., pp. 10-31

4Ibid., p. 12 & p. 16

5Ibid., p. 16

6Ibid., p. 12

7Logan, Deacon John. Sketches, Historical and Biographical, of the Broad River and King's Mountain Baptist Associations. Shelby, N.C.: Babington, Roberts & Co., 1887, p. 583

8Townsend, Leah. South Carolina Baptists, 1670-1805. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1978, p. 140

9Camp, op. cit., p. 16

10Ibid., p. 16

11Townsend, op cit., p. 140

12Logan, op. cit., p. 278

13Ibid., p. 278

14Ibid., p. 278

15Camp, op. cit., p. 10

16Ibid., p. 25-27

Rev. Joseph Camp, father of John Steel Camp

John Steel Camp (1784-1848) was the son of Rev. Joseph Camp (1741-1813) and Susan Roundtree (bef 1757 – bef 1820).

Camp1 provides a detailed biography of John Steel Camp. The evidence for lineage in this article draws on information in this biography, as well as the biography of Rev. Joseph Camp in the same reference2 .

A deed dated 7 Jan 1820 is signed by all the heirs of Rev. Joseph Camp, including John Steel Camp3. The original deed from the North Carolina State Archives4 shows the name "John S. Camp" and the land location in the town "formerly Burr", lot "No. 37". The deed date is, "This 7th day of January one thousand eight hundred & twenty" and the signature "John S. Camp" appears among the other heirs.

The 7 Jan 1820 deed does not mention the name of the father, Rev. Joseph Camp. However Rev. Camp was the documented owner of this specific plot of land5 : Rev. Camp was one of 3 commissioners of a new town called Burr, and purchased 2 one-acre lots, Nos. 31 and 37, on 15 Sep 1805. The town was renamed after Aaron Burr killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel.

There is no will because Rev. Camp died intestate in late 1813 or early 18146.


John Steel Camp was born in Rutherford County, North Carolina in 1784, the eighth of 9 children of Joseph Camp and Susannah Roundtree7. He is shown as one of two sons age 16-25 on the 1800 U.S. Census: North Carolina, Rutherford (3rd column). He married first a widow, Mrs. Dottie Morris, with whom his first son was born in 18068. Shortly thereafter he moved west with his father and other family members.

Rev. Camp is shown on the 1810 census in Pulaski County KY and John Camp is shown in Rockcastle County KY. Rockcastle County was formed from Pulaski County in 1810 so Camp speculates that father and son lived close by9. John Steel Camp was also a Baptist minister10. At the time he returned to Rutherford County NC to sign the 7 Jan 1820 deed, he preached for a short time at his father's former church, the Buffalo Baptist Church11,12.

John Steel Camp's wife Dottie died before 1829, and John remarried to Jane Ann Powers, who is shown as the mother of Susan Jane, born in Warrick County, Indiana in Feb 182913.


1Camp, Paul W. & Paul K. Camp. John Steel Camp and His Descendants. Detroit: Harlo Printing Co., 1980. pp. 44-51

2Ibid., pp. 10-30

3Ibid., p. 30

4Deed, heirs of Joseph Camp to Hugh Quinn, 7 Jan 1820. Rutherford Record of Deeds, 1816-1822, Vol. 32: p. 337, microfilm C.086.40007. North Carolina State Archives.

5Camp, pp. 17-18

6Ibid., p. 24

7Ibid., p. 44

8Ibid., p. 44

9Ibid., p. 44

10Logan, Deacon John. Sketches, Historical and Biographical, of the Broad River and King's Mountain Baptist Associations. Shelby, N.C.: Babington, Roberts & Co., 1887, p. 278

11Ibid, p. 278

12Camp, p. 45

13Ibid., p. 45

John Steel Camp, father of Elizabeth Ann Camp

Elizabeth Ann Camp (1827-1895) was the daughter of John Steel Camp (1784-1848) and Jane Ann Powers (1797-1876).

Camp cites the birth of Elizabeth Ann in 1827, the first child of John Steel Camp with his second wife, Jane Ann Powers 1.The father-daughter relationship, and Elizabeth's marriage to William R. Madden, are corroborated by census records, tombstone records, and a marriage record, as follows.

Elizabeth Ann (born 1827) and her sister Susan Jane (born 1829) are show on the 1830 census2 2 females under age 5) and on the 1840 census3 (2 females ages 10-15), daughters of John S. Camp. Each census also shows the other children of John Steel Camp as they are listed in Camp.

Elizabeth married William Madden on 29 Sep 1842, as shown on their marriage return4. William and Elizabeth are shown on the 1850 census5 with their daughter Charlotte Jane Madden, the next in this lineage. The Madden family is listed on the census page immediately after Elizabeth's half-brother, Joseph W. Camp, and his family (Joseph W. Camp family wife and children's names match those listed in Camp6.) William Madden's birth state is shown as Kentucky.

John Steel Camp died on 11 May 1848, confirmed by his tombstone7, which also shows his year of birth, 1784.

Jane Ann Camp is shown as a widow living with her 3 youngest children on the 1850 census8. Her daughter Susan Jane has married John Clinton Burnett; they are listed as the next entry on the page.

William Madden and Elizabeth Ann Camp Madden are shown on the 1860 census9. The next entry shows the Madden's daughter Charlotte married to Rice Wilson.

William Madden died on 14 May 1865, confirmed by his tombstone10, which also shows his year of birth, 1823.

Jane Camp is shown on the 1870 census11, living with her widowed daughter Elizabeth Madden and Elizabeth's youngest children. Jane's birth state is shown as Tennessee.

Jane Camp died intestate on 21 Jun 1876, confirmed by her tombstone,12which also confirms her year of birth, 1797, and states explicitly that she was the wife of John S. Camp.

Elizabeth Madden remarried to a Mr. Vincent between 1870 and 1880, and he apparently died before 1880. Elizabeth A. Vincent is listed on the 1880 census13 living with her son, Joseph J. Madden, now 18. Joseph J. Madden was 8 on the 1870 census14.

Elizabeth died 29 Jul 1895, confirmed by her tombstone,15 which also confirms her year of birth, 1827. She was buried under the name Elizabeth Madden, rather than Vincent. The tombstone states that she was the wife of W. R. Madden.

In summary, the listing of Elizabeth Ann Camp as the daughter of John Steel Camp and Jane Ann Powers in Camp is corroborated by: an age-compatible daughter of John S. Camp on the 1830 and 1840 censuses; Elizabeth and husband William Madden settled next door to or near Elizabeth's older half-brother, Joseph W. Camp on the 1850 census; and Elizabeth's mother Jane A. Camp living with the widowed Elizabeth on the 1870 census.


1Camp, Paul W. & Paul K. Camp. John Steel Camp and His Descendants. Detroit: Harlo Printing Co., 1980. p. 47

2John S. Steel family. 1830 U.S. Census: Indiana, Warrick, Hart Township

3John S. Steel family, 1840 U.S. Census: Indiana, Warrick, Hart Township

4Warrick County [Indiana] Marriage Records, Vol. 1, June 1819 – June 1847

5William Madden family, 1850 U.S. Census: Indiana, Warrick, Hart Township

6Camp, op. cit., pp. 48-49

7John S. Camp,

8Jane Camp, widow family, 1850 U.S. Census: Indiana, Warrick, Owen

9William Madden family, 1860 U.S. Census: Indiana, Warrick, Hart Township

10William R. Madden,

11Elizabeth Madden family, 1870 U.S. Census: Indiana, Warrick, Owen

12Jane A. Camp,

13Elizabeth Vincent family, 1880 U.S. Census: Indiana, Warrick, Owen

14Elizabeth Madden family, 1870 U.S. Census: Indiana, Warrick, Owen

15Elizabeth A. Madden,

Elizabeth Ann Camp, mother of Charlotte Madden

Charlotte Jane Madden (1843-1904) was the daughter of Elizabeth Ann Camp (1827-1895) and William R. Madden (1823-1865)

Camp states that Charlotte Jane Madden, born 1842, was the eldest daughter of Elizabeth Ann Camp and William Madden1, and that Charlotte married Rice Wilson. The year 1842 is off by one year based on documents cited below.

Charlotte's parents and husband are confirmed by her death certificate2,which lists her husband Rice Wilson, father Wm Madden, and mother's maiden name Elizabeth Camp. The certificate confirms Charlotte's middle name, Jane, probably after her grandmother Jane Camp. Her date of birth was 1843, and her date of death was1904.

These relationships are further confirmed by Charlotte's obituary3, though we are not sure which newspaper this was from. The obituary gives her birth date as 3 Jul 1843, in Hart Township, Warrick, IN. The marriage record4 for Charlotte Jane Madden and Rice Wilson shows their date of marriage, 5 Feb 1859.


1 Camp, Paul W. & Paul K. Camp. John Steel Camp and His Descendants. Detroit: Harlo Printing Co., 1980. p. 51

2 Indiana State Board of Health, Certificate of Death, Warrick County, Boone Township, Town of Boonville: Charlotte Jane Madden, 8 Jul 1904

3, Obituary, Charlotte Madden, private collection

4 Warrick County [Indiana] Marriage Record, Dec 1854-Jun 1860, page 314

Charlotte Madden was the mother of Elisha Wilson

Elisha Aaron Wilson (1867-1937) was the son of Charlotte Jane Madden (1843-1904) and Rice Wilson (1840-1931)

The wedding return for Elisha Wilson and his wife, Nannie Gough,1 dated 30 Dec 1886, confirms Elisha's parents' names, Rice Wilson and Charlotte Madden.

Rice Wilson, wife Charlotte J. Wilson and son Elisha A. Wilson, age 12, are listed on the 1880 census2.

Rice Wilson's obituary3 lists his wife Charlotte J. Madden and third son, Elisha A. Wilson. We are not sure which paper this obituary is from.


1 Warrick County [Indiana] Marriage Records, Vol 7 (Jan 1882-July 1891): 80, Elisha Wilson & Nannie Gough

2 Rice Wilson family, 1880 U.S. Census: Indiana, Warrick, Boon Township

3, Obituary, Rice Wilson, Warrick County, 1931, private collection