Campbell is situated on the edge of the Ghaap Plateau, south of Postmasburg on the R64 route. The village is situated only around 30 km north of Douglas, an important regional town on the confluence of the Orange and Vaal rivers. The village of Campbell is steeped in Griqua missionary history and many of the most famous missionaries passed through this locality.
Campbell, 1886, drawn by GA Farini, a famous African explorer
The settlement dates from 1805, when a group of Griquas settled here. After migrating to the area from Namaqualand, Cornelis Kok (1778-1858), a peace-loving man, was declared Captain of Campbell in 1816. The village was first known as Groote Fontein or Knoffel Valley, but was renamed after Rev John Campbell in 1813.
Adam Balie was the first lay preacher. The Balies were a notable Griqua family, of Khoi descent.
After the establishment of Philippolis in the Free State during the late 1820s, under Adam Kok II, the village of Campbell declined in importance.
The remains of Cornelis Kok II were threatened by agricultural encroachment, and were exhumed on 19 April 1961. The descendant of Cornelis Kok, Adam Kok IV, presided over the disinterment by Prof Phillip Tobias of Wits and Dr GJ Fock, following three years of community consultation. Subsequently 34 other Griqua dead were re-interred alongside the mission church on 23 September 2007.
Campbell in 1835
drawn by Charles Bell
Rev John Bartlett settled at Campbell in 1825, and started on the building of a mission church, and also a house for the missionary, in 1827. This project was completed 1831. Bartlett came into conflict with the London Missionary Society, but he continued with his missionary endeavours. He died at Campbell in 1849.