Home to the adventurous Campbells
Aghalane House is a fine example of a 1700s house, home to a family whose children emigrated to America in search of new opportunities.
Hugh Campbell built it in 1786, on a farm near Plumbridge in County Tyrone. The Campbells were minor landlords - they owned some land and also rented land from major land owners. Of the two stone plaques above the front door, one bears Hugh's name and the date of construction and the other has the coat of arms of the Dukes of Argyle, showing that the Campbells of Aghalane claimed to be kin with the Campbells of Argyle.
Hugh Campbell’s sons, Hugh and Robert both left for America around 1818. Hugh emigrated to New York and then became a merchant in Philadelphia. Later he settled in St. Louis and went into partnership with his brother Robert.
Eventually Robert moved west and became a fur trapper and trader but by 1836 he had left the mountains and settled back in St. Louis where he continued to supply expeditions of trappers and pioneers. Later in life he became a Native American Commissioner.
The Ulster American Folk Park acquired the house in 1985 when it was due for demolition. The modern slate roof was replaced by thatch to show its original 1786 appearance. Both its architecture and the stories associated with it make Aghalane House an important building.
Take a look at the walls. They are over half a metre thick and full of small stones collected from the land. Opposite the fire is a court cupboard with the date of 1641. It might be a marriage gift. These impressive pieces were placed where they could be seen.