John Campbell to William Sinclair, Bladensburg, Prince George's County, Maryland, July 26, 1772
John Campbell came to America as a storekeeper for the Glasgow merchant firm of Findlay, Hopkirks and Co. As such, he was not a typical emigrant; he did not have to find employment or a place to live when he arrived, and he probably planned to return to Scotland some day. However, he is typical of the kind of young man, many of them younger sons of gentry, who went to the Chesapeake as free emigrants in search of their fortunes. Glasgow tobacco firms set up stores in the Chesapeake and starred them with storekeepers (factors), assistant storekeepers, apprentices, and other personnel. Factors like Campbell, who supervised the colonial operation, were crucial to their firm's business interests, and were therefore carefully chosen, generally from well-known families or families that were related to business associates. Campbell, for instance, was probably recommended to Findlay, Hopkirks and Co. through one or more of his Oswald relations, who were prominent merchants in Glasgow. In order to encourage loyalty, honesty, and trustworthiness, the partners often gave company shares to their factors. Campbell received 4 shares out of a total of 42.
As loyal representatives of their Scottish companies, storekeepers remained faithful to Britain when the Revolutionary war broke out, and perhaps for this reason Campbell wrote that Scottish factors were regarded as enemies to America.