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The Argyll Colonists of 1739

This list of heads of families of the Argyll Colony who received land grants along the Cape Fear River between 1740 and 1748 was made by Malcolm Fowler in his book, Valley of the Scots, in which he said there were "others whose names will be added when verified". Malcolm Fowler died in 1980 and as far as I can determine, no other Scotsmen were identified as having received grants with the colony. With local surveyors, Fowler created a map of pre-1748 grants along the Cape Fear river region below Fayetteville and northward. It contains errors: the name James McDonald should read James McDougald. Also, this version of the map does not show the very top of it; the original map shows at its top four McNeill men—Hector, Archibald, Neill and Torquil—adjacent to one another on the east side of the confluence of the Haw and Deep Rivers. Sir Farquard Campbell is also supposed to have come to the colony in 1740 at the age of about twenty but received no land grants that year. "Scribbling Archie" McNeill is supposed to have been with the colony, about the age of twenty, but does not appear to have received a grant as he was not a head of family at that early time, though he did purchase at grant in 1741. My research concentrates mostly on the McNeills of this colony and their descendants, but other settlers' information will be included as I find it.


Duncan Campbell — No children. Of Kilduskland, Ardrishaig, Knapdale, Argyll, son of "Black Pat" Campbell and Isabel McAllister. Research by Judge A.I.B. Stewart reveals that Duncan was very likely the colony's prime leader. He returned to Scotland in 1741 and by the mid 1750s had sold his Cape Fear lands from there through his agent in the colony, "Bluff Hector" McNeill [see below]. Daniel McDuffie Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x

Daniel McNeill Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Daniel McNeill of Arminish, Gigha, Argyll, was a younger brother of Hector McNeill of Taynish, Knapdale, Argyll who was Chief of the Southern Clan Neill. Daniel was one of the minor leaders of the colony and survived until at least 1774. Daniel's father, Neil of Taynish, is said to have been born in 1697, which would place Daniel's birth year about 1720; I believe the 1697 year is incorrect. Daniel's daughter Elizabeth married William McNeill, ancestors of the painter James MacNeill Whistler. Daniel sold his plantation
"Tweedside" on the Cape Fear River, and after 1757 moved down into Bladen County near Brown Marsh Presbyterian Church. Daniel is supposedly the father of many children by two wives (his second wife was Margaret McTavish), but so far I cannot find a total accounting of them, if one exists. A Dr. Archibald McNeill who resided in Dorchester County, S.C. has been found by a researcher at the NC Department of Archives and History to have been a son of Daniel McNeill. Daniel is widely claimed to have been the father of "Scribblin Archie" McNeill but no proof exists. Daniel had four daughters total.

Samuel McGaw Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x

Neill Dubh McNeill Family Chart  |   Deeds: 1, 2, x, x
aka "Black Neill" McNeill, born c.1690-99, was a colony leader who it is said did not live permanently in the Cape Fear region but remained in Brunswick, below Wilmington, NC, where he owned a tavern. New Hanover County court minutes mention Neil McNeil as a grand juror in June 1741 and was fined for not appearing. He married Grizella Campbell in Scotland certainly long before 1728, the year of their son Duncan's birth per his tombstone. Neill appears to be dead by 1749, but court records for New Hanover abruptly stop in 1741 and do not exist for the subsequent 20 years that may have proved he died in that county in the late 1740s. He was father of "Bluff Hector", Duncan and an Archibald McNeill; "Bluff Hector" names these two brothers in his will of 1761.

Archibald McGill Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x

Coll McAlester Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x
Coll McAlester of Ballinakill, probably the senior cadet of the ancient McAllisters of Loup. Became one of the magistrates of early Bladen County. Married Janet McNeill, sister of Dugald McNeill of Port Neil on the CFR [see above]. Coll is dead by 1745. His eldest son Hector McAlester went back to Scotland, hoping to return to the colony, but never did. Another son Alexander McAlester became a representative of Cumberland County at Hillsboro in 1776, and a state senator from 1787 to 1790. Alexander left many letters important to Argyll Colony researchers, and they can be found at the NC Dept. of Archives and History, Raleigh, NC.

Neill McGill Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x
Dugald McNeill — No children. Dugald McNeill of Lossit, Kintyre, Argyll and son of Hector McNeill of Lossit and Ann Campbell. Dugald was one of the colony's leaders; died in New Hanover County, NC by January 29, 1741, per his estate record in that county; no children listed. His estate record freed indentured servants named Thomas Cochran, Daniel McPhater, Cirstan Curry and Mary McMurphy. Dugald owned the Cape Fear River plantation "Port Neil", located in Cumberland County on the northeast side of the river very close to 'Barmore', the McAlester plantation, both of which were a few miles south of 'The Bluff', the Silver Run Creek plantation of "Bluff Hector" McNeill. Dugald is said to have cared more for his own interests than the that of the colony or colonists, but that is probably an unfair judgment in that he lived barely a year after the arrival of the colony giving him hardly any time to prove himself otherwise.

Alexander McKay Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x

Thomas Armstrong Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x

James McLachlan — Nephew of Duncan Campbell of Kilduskland (see above), and believed to have been the son of Lachlan McLachlan, Chief of the McLachlan Clan or Argyllshire, and Florence McLachlan.

Archibald Buie, Cape Fear River Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x

Hugh McLaughlin Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x

Archibald Buie, Gum Swamp Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x,

Archibald McNeill Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x
There is an Archibald McNeill who died in 1761 in Cumberland County, and this Archibald may have been that person. Or, this Archibald may have been "Scribbling Archie", but no 1740 Argyll Colony grants were given to him. However, "Scribbling Archie" purchased a grant in 1741 near the forks of the Deep and Haw rivers
. I've discovered "Scribbling Archie living on Tranthams Creek in 1742 on land "laid out for" him. However, research is ongoing. Land grants have to be evaluated to the various Archibalds. It should be noted that there were three Archibald McNeills in the petition of Presbyterian Gentlemen to the Synod of Scotland in 1748. According to Rassie Wicker who transcribed the list I posted, the Cumberland Tax list of 1755 did not count all settlers in the county, but shows two Archibald McNeills; one of these is likely "Bluff Archy" and the other "Scribbling Archie".

Daniel Buie Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x

"Bluff Hector" McNeill Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x
Died 1767, or in 1768 the year of probate for his will. He was the son (likely the oldest) of Neill Dubh McNeill, aka "Black Neill
" McNeill. In his will "Bluff Hector"names a brother Duncan and a brother Archibald. "Bluff Hector" was Cumberland Co.'s first sheriff & operated as Attorney for Duncan Campbell of Kilduskland [see above], who had returned to Scotland. Bluff Hector sold Campbell's Cape Fear lands for him. He was the Hector McNeill who owned the estate "The Bluff" at Silver Run Creek which he settled in 1742 (date per Malcolm Fowler), and owned the 640-acre estate on Taylor's Hole a short distance north, both on the east side of CFR. Bluff Hector's wife was Mary McAlester.

Duncan Buie Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x
This is Duncan Buie of Raiford's Creek. Born 1724 probably on the Island of Jura, Scotland, and died 1819. Buried at Old Bluff Church cemetery near the land owned by him on the west side of the river. Duncan's wife's name was Marion, or its Anglicized form, Sarah. Duncan died at the home of his son John Buie and his wife Mary McPherson (granddaughter of John McPherson of the Argyll Colony) near today's 71st township in Cumberland Co.

"Hector Carver" McNeill Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
I use the knicknames "Carver Hector" or "Hector, carver" because he was cited as 'Hector McNeill, carver' in a deed; he probably was not called by the knickname I've attached to him here. Other than the location of his lands, he is distinguished from "Bluff Hector" McNeill in that "Hector Carver" could not sign his name and used an 'X' for his signature. "Carver Hector" is probably the same Hector McNeill who owned a 640-acre river tract in 1740 or '41 at the confluence of Haw and Deep Rivers adjacent to the 360-acre tracts of Archibald, Neill and Turquill McNeill who each recieved theirs in 1741. By 1750, he owned land on Lower Little River at Carver's Creek some of which he sold to Turquill McNeill that year which Turquill passed to his son "Long Duncan". "Hector Carver" is probably dead in or after 1774, as most of his lands appear to have been sold by this year. A Cumberland Co. deed dated 1808 names his only child & heir, Elizabeth. She married James McNeill of Rockfish Creek who according to oral tradition came to NC in 1740 at the age of eight. From bible records and matching call numbers and descriptions on deeds associated with Hector and James it is proved that James was his son-in-law and that in 1756 he sold part of Carver Hector's 1740 grant for 222 acres on the east side of the CFR. 'Hector Carver' later bought half of Turquill McNeill's tract on east side of CFR at the confluence of Deep and Haw Rivers between Neill McNeill and Archibald McNeill. Were they Carver Hector's brothers? Letters from the McAlester family of this time mention that Laughlin and Margaret Johnstone of Scotland did indeed have a son named Hector who was with the Argyll Colony.
John Cameron Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x

Lachlan McNeill Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1
I believe this is the Lachlan McNeill who died between 1767 & 1770, and who had a son named Hector McNeill, per a Cumberland Co. deed dated 1770. By 1748, there were three Hector McNeills in the area of legal age each of which signed the petition for a minister by men of the Cape Fear. It is claimed this Lachlan McNeill is the husband of Margaret Johnstone of Campbelton in Argyll, Scotland and that they were the parents of some of the McNeill men of the Argyll Colony, but there is no proof I know of that Lauchlan and Margaret Johnston McNeill came over with the Argyll Colony and no available proof they were the parents of either of these particular McNeill men; however, letters from the McAlester family of this time mention that Laughlin and Margaret Johnstone did indeed have a son named Hector who was with the Argyll Colony.

Archibald Campbell Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1 Grant
There is almost no information available for this Archibald Campbell, but he was possibly the father of Duncan Campbell who owned part of Daniel McNeill's Tweedside land on Cape Fear River in 1763 and who moved to Bladen Co. now upper Robeson Co. Duncan gave part of this land to his grandson John Campbell of Campbell's Bridge in Robeson County in 1783.

Malcolm McNeill Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, 2, 3, 4
Received a 1740 grant in the fork of the Cape Fear River and Upper Little River adjacent to James Campbell, and across the CFR from Gilbert Patterson and Hugh McCranie. More research needs to be done on this Malcolm McNeill, but existing deeds offer little detailed information.

James Campbell Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x

Neill McNeill Family Chart  | Deeds: 1, x, x, x
This Neill McNeill on Trantham Creek is the father of several children including Roger McNeill of 'Roger's Meeting House' which became Bluff Presbyterian Church. Neill died in 1764. It appears that this Neill McNeill may be the younger brother of Daniel of Taynish [above].

Alexander Clark Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x

"Little Neill" McNeill Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, 2, 3, x
"Little Neill" is somewhat of a mystery. He appears to be childless in his will of 1762 (probated August of 1766). In the will he names his wife Catherine but mentions no children, leaving 100 acres on the lower side of Tranthams Creek to 'John McNeill (Bluff)' the son of "Bluff Hector" McNeill. Is this Neill a brother of "Skeroblin John" McNeill?

Archibald Clark Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x

"Long Neill" McNeill — This may be the giant "Red Neill" McNeill of the Argyll Colony who lived in today's Harnett County and about whom exist the many legends Malcolm Fowler recorded. If so, Long Neill had no children.

John Clark Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x

Torquill McNeill Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, 2, x, x, 5
Listed in the Cumberland Co. 1755 tax list adjacent the households of James McNeill and Archibald McNeill. According to Bladen Co. tax lists, Turquill moved to the western part of upper Bladen Co. near the western corner of Cumberland Co.'s Buffalo Creek, now Hoke Co., c. 1765 & lived near his sons "Long Duncan" McNeill & Laughlin McNeill there. Owned land on CFR & Carver's Creek as well as tracts in Robeson Co. on Wilkinson Swamp. Torquill's son "Long Duncan" married Margaret McNeill, grand daughter of "Hector, carver" McNeill [see above]. Though he wrote his will in 1792, Turquill died shortly after 1797. Jonathan Butcher, a professional genealogist (dec'd) claimed Turquill's wife was Mary Bethune, but his source is unknown; he also suggested that Turquill, James, Archibald, Hector and Malcolm were sons of Laughlin and Margaret Johnstone McNeill but his source for this suggestion is unknown.

Malcolm Clark Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x

John McPherson Family Chart  | Deeds: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Granted in 1740, 640A in two tracts, one being 320A on Cross Creek and one in today's Harnett County. Later bought tracts at today's McPherson Church in Fayetteville, but left Cumberland Co. c. 1765 to live on Raft Swamp where he made his contested will of 1789 and died in January of 1791. Many of his descendants live in Robeson and Cumberland Counties to this day, e.g., the McArthurs of McPherson Church in Fayetteville and the McPherson and the many Buie descendants around Red Springs, NC. John McPherson likely had his children Alexander & Katherine on the voyage; his wife's name is lost.

Alexander Colvin Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x

Gilbert Patterson Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x

Edward Conner Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x  

John Smith Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x
It is said that after landing at Brunswick & embarking from Wilmington upriver on barges & flatboats with the Argyll colonists, Smith's wife, Margaret Gilchrist, died along the river journey & was buried on the shore in Bladen Co. John and Margaret Gilchrist Smith were the parents of Jennet "Jennie Bahn" Smith McNeill. Some sources claim, without proof, that Smith was living along the Cape Fear before the arrival of the Argyll Colony.

Alexander McAlester Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x
One of the colony's leaders, about whom much is known and documented. After years of negotiation and a number of offers, in 1770 Alexander bought "Port Neil", the 400-acre plantation of Dugald McNeill on the CFR in Cumberland County. Dugald had died in 1741.

Matthew Smylie Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x

Hector McAlester Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x

Nathaniel Smylie Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x
Secured a patent on the northeast side of CFR above the mouth of Stewarts Creek June 5, 1740 (Cumberland Co. deeds, McNeill & Turner to Dushee Shaw, Bk 40 page 295).

James McAlester Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x

Will Stevens Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x

John McAlester Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x
Alive 1756 per Cumberland County deed to Stephen Phillips.

Dugal Stewart Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x

Hugh McCranie Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x

Patrick Stewart Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x

Murdock McCranie Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x Miles Ward Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x

James McDougald Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x
Traditional lists of the colonists claim that Daniel McDougald was a colonist but I have only found a James McDougald who received a grant June 4, 1740. I will continue to look for Daniel McDougald as a colonist. On the map Malcolm Fowler made of pre-1748 grants along the CRF, where James McDougald's name on the NE side of the river should be, one finds the name 'James McDonald'. There is no McDonald in the traditional Argyll Colony lists.

Hugh Ward Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x

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