David Campbell, Revolutionary War captain, State of Franklin supporter, and early Knox County settler and merchant, was born in Augusta County, Virginia, in 1753. His distinguished career began in 1774, when he served in the Virginia militia during Lord Dunmore's War; the next year, he served as clerk of court at Fincastle, Botetourt County, Virginia. During the American Revolution, he fought at the battle of Long Island Flats in 1776 and was Captain of the Virginia militia during the battle of Kings Mountain in 1780.
About 1782 Campbell moved his family to present-day Washington County, Tennessee; then at an unknown time, he moved to a new farm near Strawberry Plains in present-day Jefferson County. By around 1787 Campbell was residing in western Knox County and built a blockhouse, known as Campbell's Station, along the present-day Kingston Pike, where he lived for the next thirty-six years.
His military record led to a political career, first in North Carolina, then the new state of Tennessee. He served in the North Carolina House of Commons in 1787, was a member of the Assembly of the State of Franklin, and was in the Tennessee House of Representatives from 1801 to 1805. In Knox County Campbell managed his farm as well as a mercantile business in partnership with Charles McClung of Knoxville. At the end of 1822 he sold his Knox County property and moved to Wilson County, where he lived until his death in 1832. Campbell is buried in the Leeville churchyard in Wilson County.