McPherson of Jura, and his wife Elizabeth Murray Baker McPherson
by S.C. Edgerton
UPDATED May, 2012
The tombstone of Alexander McPherson of Jura at McPherson Presbyterian Church in Fayetteville, NC,
records his birth in 1754 on the island of Jura on the west coast of Scotland and states he died
in January 1821. It is not known when he immigrated to the province of North
Carolina but, by the identification of his signature (at left), he was in the
province in 1777. Until the
death of Old John McPherson's eldest son Alexander, Sr.,
in 1801, Alexander McPherson of Jura was identified in county records as "Alexander
McPherson, Jr." The designation 'Jr.' or 'Sr.' in the records of this
day frequently indicated seniority of two people sharing the same name rather
than the relationship of father to son as we know it today. In other words, Alex
of Jura was younger than Old John's son Alexander, and the latter Alexander
being older, usually had his name followed by 'Sr.' I
strongly suspect Alexander of Jura was a close relative of Malcolm McPherson,
Sr. as well as Captain William McPherson (both of Cumberland County), but have nothing to support
this suspicion other than proximity of property and use of family names.
An examination of Cumberland County tax lists for Capt.
McCrainey's district — where Alexander McPherson of Jura lived —
in 1782 and 1783 reveals two Alexander McPhersons: Alexander McPherson whose
estate was worth £800 and Alexander Jr. worth £181. My understanding
of the Alexanders in this district tells me that the £800 estate belonged
to Alexander McPherson (son of Old John) who, from his estate record, died around
1801, and that the 'Alexander Jr.' was Alex of Jura. The next year, in 1783,
again two Alexanders are recorded in McCrainey's district: "Alexander McPherson
Sr. £653" and "Alexander McPherson's estate £24".
The word 'estate' written in this latter entry could be interpreted to mean
this Alexander has died, yet no estate record exists to show an Alexander McPherson
has died around the year 1783. Malcolm
McPherson is also in the McCrainey district in 1782 and 1783.
of Jura married Elizabeth Baker, the widow of John Baker, Sr., of Cumberland.
Elizabeth Baker's maiden name was Murray according to McPherson family Bible
records, and I heard Henry H. Hodgin of Red Springs relate that Elizabeth was
the comely daughter of James Murray, Duke of Argyll in Scotland. I have seen
no records in Cumberland to support any tradition of noble birth, and admittedly
I have not searched for any such records abroad; nor have I seen immigration
records for a Murray or Murray family bound for North Carolina. However, Murrays
did live in Cumberland around the time of the American Revolution. There is
a deed for James and his wife Catherine Murray
in Cumberland County in the late 1700s, and they moved to Moore County around
1796, and may have been Elizabeth Murray McPherson's parents. This Murray couple
owned land between Persimmon branch and Stewarts Creek adjacent McArthur and
Baker families, but sold it to a McAlphin in 1797 the year they were living
in Moore County. Moreover, casting further doubt upon a legend of noble Scottish
birth, Elizabeth could not write her own name as is evidenced by "her
mark" on existing Cumberland County deeds signed by her.
A McPherson family Bible records that Elizabeth was
born in Cantyre, Scotland, in 1760, and, although the Bible entry I have
seen is digital it says nothing about her having been married to anyone before
Alexander McPherson of Jura. Her first husband was John Baker who died in
1783, the date of his
estate in Cumberland records, and so their marriage was not a lengthy one. A Daniel Baker
makes his mark on one of the two extant estate papers for John Baker, and
Daniel may have been John's brother or father. Elizabeth and John Baker
appear to have had at least one child, John, Jr., about whom I have no further
information beyond his being named an
orphan in 1803. (It should be noted that as an orphan in 1803
he was under the age of 21 so his birth must have been1782 to 1784.) In
1804, Elizabeth and her second husband, Alexander McPherson of Jura, sold
to an Archibald Baker for five
shillings Elizabeth's "Dower in the lands of John Baker decd". Whether this Archibald Baker is a second child of Elizabeth and
John Baker is unknown at this time; however, a meager sum of five shillings
paid for any amount of land at this time suggests the transaction was more
of a formality than a profitable exchange, and indicates a close,
even familial, relationship between Elizabeth and Archibald. The Baker family
was well seated in 18th- and early 19th-century Cumberland County and individuals
from other local
McPherson clans married into the Baker family as well. More research is
needed on the Baker clan of Cumberland County.
According to the
papers of Mrs. Sue McPherson Tillinghast, Alexander McPherson of Jura married
Elizabeth Murray Baker in 1790, but it appears they had their first children
around 1785 or 1786, so it is more likely that the widow Elizabeth Baker actually married Alexander McPherson around the year 1785. Alexander McPherson of Jura died 21 January 1821 and
Elizabeth Murray Baker McPherson died 29 March 1841. Both are buried at McPherson
Presbyterian Church cemetery in Fayetteville, NC. They had eight (possibly
nine) children, positively identified in Cumberland County deeds:
and Elizabeth McPherson's children, grandchildren
and great-grandchildren are listed below based on Cumberland County deeds and the 1877 sworn statement of Neill McPherson. All are bolded
and color-coded accordingly:
- John McPherson.
Born circa 1785/86 (according to census records) and died between 1863
and 1877. Married Flora Campbell, c.1801-1835 and daughter of Donald Campbell and Flora McFadyen. John and Flora are buried at McPherson Presbyterian Church in Fayetteville with four of their
seven known children:
A. McPherson. Born
April 1822 and died 7 March 1894. Unmarried in 1870.
at McPherson Presbyterian Church.
c.1824, died 1835. Buried at McPherson Presbyterian Church.
1825-26, alive in 1880. Married Margaret Shaw. Children:
McPherson, born c. 1869
Eliza McPherson, born April 1870 and died on a farm in 1958 in Sanford,
Lee County, NC. Never married.
McPherson, born c.1875
McPherson, born c.1877
- Thomas McPherson, lived in Sanford and practiced law.
Eliza McPherson. Born
c.1829-30, died 1854. Unmarried.
18 April 1831, died 3 Oct 1909. Married Thomas Munroe (1825-1900) believed
to be son of Dugald and Nancy Munroe in Cumberland County 1850
census. Both Thomas and Isabella are buried at Longstreet Presbyterian
circa 1833, died 1861. Buried
at McPherson Presbyterian Church. Believed to have become a surveyor
before his death.
c.1836, died 1865. (Married Mary T. Cameron?)
at McPherson Presbyterian Church.
McPherson. Born c.1790. Clerk in Fayetteville, NC. Hugh died in Mississippi
in September of 1835, "long before the war" according the the 1877 sworn statement of
his brother Neill to his attorney.
- Margaret McPherson.
Born circa 1790 according to her tombstone in Moore County near Carthage.
Died 20 July 1837. Married Thomas Rhodes, Sr. and moved to Moore County where
they had several children:
1810. Alive in 1845.
1 April 1813, died 7 Dec 1900 in Moore County, NC. Unmarried in 1877.
5 July 1815, died 6 Sept 1881 in Moore County, NC.
12 Sept 1817, died 10 Nov 1910 in Sumter, SC. Married 1st Elizabeth Shaw.
Second wife unknown.
Ann Rhodes. Born
15 Sept 1822, died 2 March 1902. Believed unmarried.
circa 1824, died between 1854 and 1877 in Moore County, NC.
22 Oct 1825, died 20 Oct 1878. Unmarried in 1877.
R. Rhodes. Born
4 July 1828, died 8 Sept 1858. Alive 1845.
- Martin McPherson.
Born circa 1790, died 10 Nov 1852 in Fayetteville, NC. Married Elizabeth
McRacken, daughter of James and Margaret McRacken originally of Galloway,
Scotland, and died in Fayetteville, NC. Martin and Elizabeth had four children,
John, Hugh, James and Elizabeth. James and Elizabeth died as young children.
John and Hugh died unmarried before the Civil War. All are buried in
the old section of Cross Creek Cemetery. Martin McPherson was an educated
and highly esteemed man in Fayetteville and was involved in community affairs.
Martin was guardian to the orphaned children of John
and Sallie Black McPherson.
- Flora McPherson.
Born 1794 in Cumberland County, NC, presumably on Beaver Creek. Flora
never married. She and her sister Mary bought some of Colin
McPherson's property after his death in 1835. She died 24 Jan 1873 in
Cumberland County, and is buried in McPherson Presbyterian Church cemetery.
M. McPherson. (The 1850 census give her name as 'Mary M. McPherson'.)
Born 22 August 1799 in Cumberland County, NC, presumably on Beaver Creek.
She died in Cumberland County, NC, 3 August 1872 and is buried in McPherson
Presbyterian Church cemetery. Mary never married. (There is another
Mary McPherson who can be found in many deeds in Cumberland County,
purchasing many tracts of land within the county. This second Mary may
have been the widow of one John McPherson who died in 1823 and who owned
260 acres on Blounts Creek in Cumberland County; the two Marys might
be easily confused. Or, owing to the 1850 census showing a middle initial as 'M.', were the two Mary McPhersons the same woman, and Mary M. McPherson bore no children to her husband John McPherson (died 1823) and thus her marriage was forgotten by subsequent generations?
- Neill McPherson.
Tailor in Fayetteville, NC. Born c.1801 and was alive in 1877, the year
he made a sworn statement about his immediately family structure to his attorney
in his nephew Hugh McPherson's estate settlement. Neill married Martha Lumsden
in 1839. She may have been the daughter of John Lumsden, a Revolutionary
War veteran, and his wife Elizabeth. Neill and Martha may have been estranged, as they were living apart in the 1850 census.
They had two children: John Henry "Harry" McPherson, and a daughter
Mary McPherson who married Dr. J.C. Allred and moved to Florida about 1868.
McPherson II. Born 12 January
1804 in Cumberland County, NC, presumably on Beaver Creek. He married
14 December 1836 to Catherine Buie, daughter of John Buie and Mary
(nee McPherson) Buie. John Buie was the son of Duncan and Sarah
Buie of Raiford's Creek in Cumberland County, NC. Mary (nee McPherson)
Buie was the daughter of Alexander
of Old John McPherson of the Argyll Colony) and
Emily McGill. Emily McGill's name is not recorded anywhere in any records
I've found, and it comes from the family tradition of Sue McPherson Tillinghast
and also from the family of Mr. Joseph McArthur of Fayetteville, NC. Alexander II
and his wife Catherine Buie McPherson lived at "Buena
the home he built around 1845 near Beaver Creek. Alexander McPherson II died
8 September 1881 and is buried in McPherson Presbyterian Church cemetery.
Alexander McPherson II and Catherine Buie McPherson's children:
Alexander McPherson. Born
16 February1838 at "Buena Vista"
in Cumberland County, NC. Married 10 January 1865 to Sarah "Sallie"
Buchanan McNeill (January 14, 1842 – 26 July 1901), daughter of
Major John McNeill and Elizabeth Buchanan (Major McNeill's second wife),
at their home "Knapdale" in Richmond County, NC. John Alexander
McPherson served in the Confederacy and attained the rank of Captain.
He fought with the Company E, 6th North Carolina Infantry at the Battle
of Bethel, and around Richmond, Virginia, and fought at Gettysburg. Capt.
McPherson died 19 April 1905 and
is buried in McPherson Presbyterian Church cemetery with his wife.
Avery "Lizzie" McPherson. Married John G. Shaw.
McPherson (twin). Married 27 October 1903 to Robert Bailey Evans.
Evans. Married John Church of Montréal, Canada. Children:
- Flora Church. Married David Stewart.
- William Church. Married a Munro.
- Robert Bailey Evans, II. Married Flora
- Susan Murphy Evans. Died
- Robert Bailey Evans, III.
- Hunter Evans.
- Richard Lemmon Evans
- Mary McPherson Evans.
- Erasmus Harvey Evans. Married Katherine
- Ellen Haigh Evans. Married Carl Jourdan.
- Erasmus Harvey Evans, II.
McPherson (twin). Married October, 1906 to George McNeill, son of
James D. McNeill and Elizabeth Strange. Children:
McNeill. Died young.
Dobbin McNeill. Died young.
McNeill. Married Judson Dilleyhey. Children:
- Harold Judson Dilleyhey. Married Judy
- George McNeill Dilleyhey. Married Jan
Strange McNeill. Married Howard Simpson Yost.
McNeill. Died young.
McNeill. Never married.
Gibbs McPherson. Married Clarence Lytch.
B. McPherson. Never married.
A. McPherson. Never married.
McPherson. Married Clement Scott Marks. Moved to Montgomery, Alabama.
McPherson. Born Montgomery, Alabama.
- Frances McPherson. Born Montgomery, Alabama.
Wilson McPherson. Married Louise Bullard. Moved to Columbus, Georgia.Children:
Elizabeth McPherson. Married Brig. Gen. Joseph Warren Stillwell,
- Major Joseph Warren Stillwell, III.
- "Kiki" Stillwell
Murray McPherson. Never married.
Murray McPherson (twin). Born
15 June 1840 in Cumberland County, NC. Married Joseph Allan McArthur.
Died 5 April 1921.Children:
Alexander McArthur. Born 11 December 1864 in Cumberland County, NC.
Died 1937. Married __________.
Harrison McPherson (twin). Born
15 June 1840 in Cumberland County, NC. Confederate soldier and Ruling
Elder in McPherson Presbyterian Church. Married Elizabeth Whetmore Holmes
(16 May 1842 – 5 April 1924), daughter of Theophilus and Laura Holmes.
Died 3 January 1881.
Broadfoot McPherson. Born 24 September 1874. Died 16 September 1956.
Married Archibald W. McIntyre.
Hinsdale McPherson. Born 7 April 1877. Died 29 Oct 1965.
Hunter Holmes McPherson. Born 31 January 1883. Died 2 April 1948.
Married Kate Hill, daughter of William Ezekial Hill and Jennie Kyle
Hinsdale McPherson. Born 2 September 1886. Died 7 May 1967. Married
Buie McPherson. Born 15 June
1840 in Cumberland County, NC. Died 7 May 1844 in Cumberland County, NC.