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Letters


A Fayetteville Observer newspaper article containing a letter written 2 November 1963 by Jurney Short "Jay" Edgerton, Jr., to his parents at Philadelphus in Robeson County, describing his experience during the coup d'etat on 1 November 1963 that overthrew President Ngo Dinh Diem of the Republic of [South] Vietnam
:
[From the original in the McKay-Edgerton Collection]

letter about Saigon bombing 1st November 1963"Local Boy Writes of Viet Nam Revolution

The following article is a very interesting letter from Jay Edgerton to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jurney Edgerton of Route 2, Red Springs. The letter is dated Saturday afternoon, November 2, and gives a first hand account of the revolution which had just taken place.

Jay is a crewman on a helicopter and has been in Viet Nam for about 6 months and has been on several missions throughout the country. He was wounded very slightly in the hand by Viet Cong flak on one mission in July. [Jay flew over two hundred missions during his service in Viet Nam.]

The letter follows:
Well, all hell broke loose here yesterday afternoon and a friend of mine, Sgt. Palmer, and myself were right in the middle of it. We went downtown yesterday to get some clothes at the tailor shop and to go to the PX. We were on Tudo St. (Saigon's Main Street) when people started running around and the machine guns started firing. The Vietnamese soldiers started picking off President Deim's Special troops downtown from rooftops.

Palmer and I ducked into the Tudo Bar, a fancy nightclub on Tudo Street, to find we were the only Americans in there, in fact we were the only people there except for the owner and a couple of bartenders. We shut all windows and the front door to keep grenades from coming in and all this time the machine guns and anti-aircraft guns were raising hell right outside.

About a half hour after the shooting started we heard the T-28 fighters coming so we opened the side door and we had a grandstand seat to one of the grandest spectacles I've ever seen, 4 T-28's making bombing runs on the palace! They were flying right thru the flak from the anti-aircraft guns mounted on the palace and throwing 50 cal. machine gun rounds and 2.75 rockets into the palace. All this time there was machine gun and rifle fire all around us and Palmer and I (like fools) were getting people off the street (American women and kids included) and herding them into the bar. They were scared to death (so were we) and some of the old "Mama Sons" were on the floor praying but I still don't think Buddha could keep one of those bombs from falling on us. Someone did though."



A letter written 9 August 1839 by C.B. Johnson, son of P.P.D. Johnson of Hoke County to Dr. William Peter McKay of Fayetteville:
[From the original in the McKay-Edgerton Collection]

Raeford, N.C. Aug - 9 - 1939

Dr. W.P. McKay
Fayetteville N.C

Dear Dr. McKay,

I recieved your letter with one enclosed from Miss Garland Smith (Calf.). I am very sorry that I feel I have not much information that would be of much value to Miss Smith in getting up her family antecendent history. I will say that I would like to know if her family of McKays and ours were related or not. Very likley they were, as she writes that some of her family settled in Cumberland County and that they were presbyterians. So was ours. My fathers Mother was Mary McKay. She had a sister Nancy, who was afterward Nancy McCaskill. She had a brother Gilbert McKay and a brother Alex or I suppose Alexander McKay. But it was said of him that he got drowned in the Ala. River near Montgomery Ala. There was some other brothers or sisters that went west. I do not remember the names. It was said that Bugie or Bougie John (I do not know how spell) But it was said he was fond of scaring folks and that he scared some one with such serious results that he had to leave this country and perhaps whatever family he had besides the above mentioned went with him - My grandmother Mary McKay was I am glad to say was a fine woman so was Uncle Gilbert McKay and his sister Nancy McCaskill. Her husband Allen McCaskills will & Uncle Gilbert McKays are on record in Cumberland Co. and they all bore the finest reputations as citizens. They were Scotch people & came from the "Isle of Skye" in Scotland. My father P. P. D. Johnson a nephew knew much more than I do about our McKay family or ancestry. My father died in 1936 at the age of 86 1/2 years. Your father Mr. John Frank McKay who you say is 90 years of age informed me one time I talked with him that your family emigrated to this country from Scotland I believe he said in 1776 or 1780 [Frank McKay actually said and wrote down that his family came from Scotland in 1792.] that was just about the same date that our family came over from "Isle of Skye" in Scotland I do not think there is anything in the records of Phillippi Church about our family of McKays as Phillippi Church was not founded untill the year 1888.

I would suggest that you forward this copy of letter on to Miss Garland Smith. Campbell Apt. Hotel 130 lindon Ave. Long Beach Calf. I would appreciate you doing this for what ever it would be worth to her.

Yours Very Truly,

C.B. Johnson



A letter written 5 October 1918 by a U.S. Army Registered Nurse, Ella McKay Pellegrini, to her sister, Mamie McKay at Philadelphus in Robeson County, describing the Spanish Flu Epidemic at Camp Meade, Maryland:
[From the original in the McKay-Edgerton Collection]

Camp Meade [Maryland]
Saturday Oct. 5 – ‘18

Dear Mamie,
    I received your letter a few minutes ago and also one from Nannie yesterday. I started to write Nannie last night but was so tired and I didn’t get off duty until 8:30 when I was supposed to get off at 7:00 but we were so busy yesterday it was impossible. Don’t be uneasy about me as I think I am going to get on alright. I am not well but I feel better than I did. Only I have no appetite in the world. I think I haven’t eaten as much as a square meal altogether in over a week. And sometimes I never go to the table.
    O, this is hell here now. That is just the only thing that will express it. We have ten thousand patients I hear and O, they are dying by the dozens every day. We had two to die on our ward this morning and there are several more who won’t be there two days from now. And just think we have 64 patients on our ward and how many wards there are and three or four & even more die every day in every ward. You can’t imagine how it is unless you could see it. One of the nurses died last night. A Miss Perkins from Morganton N.C. She came the day after I did and we worked on the same ward for almost a week. Then they put her on night duty and she was on just one night when she got sick. But she got better and I think went back on duty. And she had only been in the infirmary three days. She developed pneumonia from influenza. I went over to the ward that night where the sick nurses are with another nurse and I asked the head nurse on the hall if I could see Miss Perkins, so she let me go in and look at her. They had moved her in a little room to herself and had a nurse sitting with her. She was almost gone then. Her lips & eyes were almost black. And that is the way they all get for a day or two before they die. She was dead in less than two hours after I was there. I liked her so much and she knew lots of people I did. She took her training at Dr. Long’s in Statesville and I really felt at home when I could get with her. Two or three other nurses are real sick and there are over 30 in the infirmary. Well you could not be surprised at their being sick if you knew what we had to go thru with. But you feel so sorry for the poor boys you just can’t keep from going on trying to do things for their comfort when you should be in bed. And they are so pitiful. They all expect to die when they come to the base hospital and there are not many far wrong. I don’t see how Germany, or the war rather, could be any worse than this. They curse Germany and it is really pitiful to hear them. One of the fellows who died this morning told me yesterday that he was going to die and if he could only see his mother & sister before. It is heart rending to hear them. The Dr’s have never been able to find a cure yet. Yes you had better make Sam take good care of himself and don’t let him go to school until he is entirely over it.
    I am glad you got my things for I know I am too thinly clad for this place. My head is so stopped up I can hardly hear a word and my eyes are bloodshot. I have to pull them apart about a dozen times every night.
    Well Mamie I will have to stop as I haven’t very much longer off duty and I must rest a little as my back feels as if it is coming in two.
    Am returning Pete’s letter was glad to hear from him and to know he is well. Sorry Willie is sick and Diane is dead.
    You all take care of yourselves and let me hear how Sam is.
    Think I will soon be O.K.

Love to all,
Your Sister Ella



A letter written 2 September 1842 by Archibald C. Currie of Kemper County, Mississippi, son of Angus and Flora Currie, to his wife's uncle, William C. McNeill in Robeson County:
[From a photocopy in the McKay-Edgerton Collection]

Kemper County, Mississippi Sept. 2nd 1842

Dear Uncle,

I improve this moment in writing a few lines to inform you that through the merciful dispensation of all wise providence I and my family are still in the land of the living and enjoying a good portion of health for which we have great cause of gratitude and thankfulnefs. I have nothing else very interesting that I know of but I will fill my sheet with something as it is contrary to my way of doing businefs to send an empty sheet to any body - but it is so long since I heard from you or you from me that I hardly know what you do know concernng me or my family therefore I shall go on and tell you that I am still here but I have nothing to brag of my country, but on comparison with yours it is a great deal better / the range is better and the land too & I firmly believe that right in the vicinity where I live it is healthyer than on the marsh / the water is a great deal better and the air purer& more invigorating but notwithstanding all these advantages it is not high dry and very thirsty land and very little rain falls here in the heat of summer / I have been here now five crops and there has not been enough of rain any season yet to make a full crop and very often not enough to make a fair crop / this year the season done very well till the middle of June which made early corn crops very well / mine was early and is a fair crop but cotton you know by that time made nothing and consequently is very sorry indeed for it never rained enough from that till 25th of August to wet the ground an inch down / that is a long time on thirsty land in a parching hot climate / you may easily judge that my cotton is very little account not more than third crop a good deal like N. Carolina cotton, there is now I judge one half open when it rained it would not be more than one half made yet - taking all these thing into consideration some times I think I had better move to some richer lower country but then I am afraid of sicknefs for I tell you every part of this country is not healthy by any means & this same summer is very sickly in the praires and on large creeks rivers and every where else that there is any local cause and the fever is more tatal and people stand it a shorter time than I ever remember before, and my having a large family of likely children is the grand cause why I don't leave here forthwith - I have five children viz four sons and one daughter viz Daniel McNeill. Flora Ann. Angus Franklin Archibald Alexander and William C. all pretty little babies / Society has improved here a great deal since I first come here we have more preaching than formerly though not much presbyterian preaching yet but we have had some within the last year and perhaps we may have more by and by - I Recieved a letter from your Brother James [James Henry McNeill, son of Danold McNeill and wife Elizabeth McNeill, daughter of "Archie Ghar" McNeill and Barbara Patterson. James Henry married Minerva Armstrong. He is written about by Sallie McNeill in her diary, published as "The Uncompromising Diary of Sallie McNeill". She didn't have anything good to say about him.] a few days ago / it was written in March last / he & his family were well and he also stated that D Molloy and his family [This is quite likely Daniel Malloy who married Margaret McNeill, daughter of "Archie Ghar" McNeill. Nothing much beyond their move westward is known of this couple or their family.] were well at that time / he did not state any thing about his country but from what I have learned from travellers in relation to his country I do not think it either very healthy or very productive consequently not very desirable - Mother and family are all well James & Archibald took the hands last spring and went out to Hinds County to make a crop and if they like the country all will move this fall like it or not / I do not suppose that they will ever come back to Kemper again / Archibald was here in June he thought it a very good place if it should prove healthy but the probability is that it is not very healthy / he told me when he left here that if John Stewart did not return soon to write to you to try and see some other chance to send that money and it seems that he is not returning soon so you had better look out some other opportunity / perhaps Stewart wlll come this fall / if so he will be very safe if not they want the money and would be glad if you could send it -you will probably have an opportunity to send as Daniel McPhaul is looking for DB Smith to pay him a visit this winter / if so he will be very safe / any way its likely you will see some safe opportunity to send it / Ifsabella [Isabella McNeill Currie, 1811-1880, daughter of Danold McNeill (son of James McNeill of Rockfish Creek and wife Elizabeth McNeill) and his wife Elizabeth McNeill (daughter of Archibald "Archie Ghar" McNeill and Barbara Patterson).] is in good health getting fat Begins to look something like her Ma. / weighed this evening 148 pounds so you may know she is growing fat / she wishes to be remembered to all her aunts and uncles in that country and would be glad to receive a letter from any of them. I want you write me soon tell me any & every thing about that country it would be all interesting to me / no more yours with Esteem
To W C McNeill                                                                                  Archibald C Currie



An interesting and informative letter written December 1907 by Mrs. Emma Davis of Goodwater, Alabama, to her cousin Margaret in Robeson County, NC, inquiring about her Brown ancestors of old Bladen/Robeson:
[Courtesy of the Bradley Buie Collection]

1st [page]
Goodwater Ala Dec 1907
My dear cousin.
More than a year ago at the request of my neices and nephews I comenced to try to get up a sketch of our Brown & Smith kin. I have writen letters of enquiry to Tennessee Mifs La Texas Ark N.C. and have traced them up tolerably well. I was told by Dr A.C. Bethune who was out here in the summer of 1906 to write to Dr B.F. McMillan of Red Springs - and to the Post Master at that place who was a Brown he heard - to get me information of Grand Uncle Neill Browns family. I wrote to them several times have had no reply. I wrote to John Patrick Smith about my perplexity and he gave me the names of Uncle Neill Browns children & who they married. But I wanted to know more than he could tell. He has gave me your address. So I will wirte to you and you must try to bear with me and tell me all you know of Uncle Neills family. I have Uncle Hugh Browns family and Rev Duncan Browns of Tenn Their ages - date of Death - and the year they moved to Tenn - Obituaries of both, and I wanted Uncle Neills as I hated to leave them out of my sketch - for my mother who (was Susan Brown - daughter of Wm Brown and Mary Campbell)

2nd
talked of her uncles Neills folks all her life, more than any others - it seems she was raised close by - and often staid with them and loved them all. and it has been an uphill business to get at them of all the others. I have most of Grand Father (Wm Browns) but not all in yet. I am writing to Dr William D McCallums wife (Mrs Mary McCallum) of Rowland, N.C. and giving her my Brown families - and told her to give them to any Browns that wanted them - had began to think McMillan was not interested in them or he would have paid some attention to me. Cousin Mary McC. has given me some Campbell History all new to me and cousin Patrick said perhaps your Mother could tell me something about them as he believed they lived in S.C. near where she came from. I want to give what aunt Jane Patterson have me of her grand father and his children & I want to know if I have it down right before I close up. that is what I am going by in all my researches. I want you to give me Uncle Neills age - when he died - the inscription on his tombstone and aunt Nancys too - I want to know my granfather William Browns age, what year he died cousin Patrick tell me his grave was never marked. I am sorry about that. I want your fathers age -date of death and all his sisters and brothers - that you know about - I especialy want my grandfathers age what year he & grand mother [abrupt end of sentence and train of thought does not pick up at beginning of next page]

This is what Mrs Jane Patterson gave me
3rd
Hugh Brown came from Kentire Scotland to America
Hugh Brown married - Mary Buie. their children were John _ Neill _ William _ Hugh _ Duncan daughters were - Mary _ Nancy _ & Katie -

John Brown - married - Ala Bennet N.C.
Neill Brown - married - Nancy Smith N.C.
Wm Brown - married - Mary Campbell N.C. [Daughter of Duncan and Christian Smith Campbell; see page 7 of this letter below.]
Hugh Brown - married - Katie Ford [Fort?] moved to Tenn
Rev Duncan Brown - married - Susan Frierson moved to Tenn
Nancy Brown - married - George Iknor N.C. [George T. Iknor was a constable in upper Bladen County in 1771; he may have been a grandson of Philip and Dorothy Iknor who had at least three sons. The Iknors can be found in some of the earliest existing tax listings of old Bladen County and appear to have lived between the current towns of Parkton and St. Pauls along the Great Marsh in Robeson County in the latter half of the 1700s.]
Mary Brown - married - John Ford [Fort?]
Katie Brown - married - a Smith - she could not remember Uncle Smith's given name - she told us her aunt & uncle Died and their boys staid some at her fathers and one of these boys I remember was Daniel Smith who married his cousin - one of Uncle Neills daughters if I remember aright -

William Brown who married Mary Campbell - children were, Mary - called Polly - married Archibald Brown moved to Mifs [Mississippi]
Katie Brown - married Neill Buie - moved to Mifs
Rebecca Brown - married - Matthew Smylie -moved to Mifs
Lovedy Brown - married - John McCallum - N.C.
Rev Joseph Brown - married - 1st Eliza Graham in S.C. 9 children

4th
Rev Joseph Brown 2nd marrying to Amanda Patterson of Ala
Duncan Brown - married Sallie Ann Buie in N.C.
Janne Brown - married - John Smith who died & several children
Jane Browns 2nd marriage - to Malcome Patterson -N.C.
Susan Brown - married - married Daniel Smith N.C.
William Brown - married - Annie Graham - Ala
Annie Brown - died young

I forgot to put Annie down earlier I think seh was among the first children. now I have all but aunt Polly and aunt Rebecca Smylies family down pretty straight and I have the Browns of Tenn - and I want you and Cousin Hughs family to get me up all you know about your own folks. I am particularly anxious to know the age of all the old Browns, and the inscriptions on the tombstones if you can - aunts uncles too you fathers and all his folks. how many grandhildren of uncle Neills their names who they married and great grand children etc - and where they all lived and died - and where the descendants now live - I want all about uncle Neills family. if you all try you can get from Mrs Mary McCallum what I have given her. I hate to finish my sketch without Uncel Neills family - our mother and aunt Jane Patterson told us a great deal about our Brown kin but we did not get it down and consequently have forgotten a great deal

5th
I have found one thing about the Browns in hunting up these families. that they stand high in their respective communities - are suporters and sustainers of churches and schools - are noted for their honesty - Morality - religious - Progresive - hospitable in their homes and we need not be ashamed of our Brown kin in any community they have ever lived in, though not rich yet their standing has always been high in their social sphere. It has been said that there is as few degenerates among the Browns of any, as any Scotch family that ever crossed the ocean to America. they have their human weaknesses and human faults - but are as a whole an upright - Godfearing Honorable people, and their decendants still inherit some of those traits. - in all their community where ever they are found. I will want to know if you get this letter before sending you any of my manuscripts - so drop me a line as soon as you get this to let me know if you did get it. I have had some of the obituarys typewritten which I will send you. to copy & return to me as I have but those for my own use. and not able to pay for enough for all the kin folk. will not send anything until I hear from you. I have been at too much trouble to loose my sketches through the mails. so let me know if you get this - and go to work to get up all you know about

6th
your fathers family. One of John Byres (or Birs) Browns grandsons. tell me that our grand ancestor Hugh Brown settled first in Virginia - lived there and his decendants came to N.C. is the way he recolects what he heard his father say [A shipload of Scots intended for the Cape Fear area were stranded and abandoned in Virginia by their ship's captain in the mid 1700's and as a result the province of North Carolina had to pay for the trransport to this state.]. Now that is not what aunt Jane & our mother told us. I was always taught that the Browns always lived in N. C. and when great grandfather Hugh Brown died they moved great grandmother Brown to my grand fathers Wm Brown home. & built a home in the yard for her - and she died their in her one hunderth year of age. Aunt Jane mother and Uncle Wm remembered her well though they were very young now what year was that?. Where was our first ancestor buried? how old was our great grand father?

There was a Presbyterian preacher by the name of Rev P.C. Alexander. held meetings for us. at old camp meetings - and found out that aunt Jane was a Brown and told her his wife was Mary Brown - a daughter of Archie Browns - and grand daughter of Neill Brown - he was preaching at Prattville Ala then went to Ark. died their this summer - there was an Obituary published in the Christian Observer about him if I can find it I will send to you all. We had cousin Polly and cousin William Browns old Ambrotype and somebody stole coz_ Wm or it is lost - and I sent cozen Pollys to John Patrick Smith for him to convey to some of you -

7th
This is what aunt Jane gave me about the Campbells she said she could not recolect good but this was as near as she could remember. Our great grandfather was
Duncan Campbell - married - Christian Smith

Their children were.

Annie Campbell - married - John McNeill
Peggy Campbell - married - Peter McCartery [This a variant spelling of Peter McArthur. The Bladen County tax lists show TWO Peter McArthurs in early Bladen and these earlier lists always spell their names 'McCarter'. Bladen tax lists in 1768 show a Peter "McCarter" living in today's Red Springs vicinity (In unalphebetized lists, he always appears near Duncan Campbell and sons Archibald and Hugh, "Sailor Hector" McNeill, John McPherson, Godfrey McNeill and others KNOWN to have lived in that vicinity) and may have been the husband of this Peggy Campbell. In Robeson County deeds, there is a deed from Peter and wife Margaret McArthur to grandson Peter McArthur. In Cumberland County deeds, a "Peter McArthur of Bladen County" owned land on Rockfish Creek in Cumberland County which he sold in 1773 to a Cumberland County man. The later, second, Peter McArthur appears in a passenger list dated 1774: He and his wife, Christian "Bride" (McBryde), and children arrived at Cape Fear aboard the ship Ulysses that year. Also, a Peter McArthur is listed with others who in 1778 refused to pay their tax to the county's new federal government, proving they were Loyalists for the King. The tax list reads:
"A List of the names of them that Refused to give in
Neill McPhaul, Soldier
(whose daughter gave court-ordered deposition stating her father was "Captain of the Tories")
Malcum Buoie, Soldier
Peter McArthur, Soldier
John Gilcrease, Soldier
(later John Gilchrist, Sr., who built Mill Prong House, and who also was impeached years later from his NC Senator's seat for having been a Loyalist.)
Alexander McArthur, Soldier..."
All the others in the list were not identified as soldiers.
]
Jane Campbell - married - a McLauchlin [Archibald McLauchlin? There is a deed in Cumberland County dated 1804 from Duncan Campbell of Robeson County to Archibald McLauchlin of Cumberland for 150 acres on Juniper Creek of Big Rockfish Creek for 10 pounds, a paltry sum at that time However, the Duncan Campbell I speak of here may be Duncan Campbell on Ten Mile Swamp.]
Mary Campbell [Born about 1760]- married - William Brown our grand father
Christian Campbell - married - Petter Campbell [A Christian Campbell of Cumberland County is shown in a deed dated June 1815 giving her grandson Peter Campbell power of attorney for her in the estate of a Malcolm Campbell of Cumberland County.]
Katie Campbell - married - not known
Hugh Campbell - married - not known [Hugh was alive and living in Chesterfield District, SC, in 1802, the year he sold Neill Buie of Robeson 700 acres on Richland and Bear Swamps willed to him from his father, Duncan Campbell.]
Archie Campbell - married - not known [Archibald was probably one of the oldest children, born about 1740. Research combining Cumberland County deeds with surviving deeds from old Bladen County, it is highly likely that this Archibald Campbell is Catherine McPherson's 2nd husband.]

She could not recolect some of their marriages said while her father lived he kept up a correspondence with all the kin, but after his death she lost sight of them. Now cousin Margaret if you can tell us anything about these Campbells you will do us a great favor. Cousin Daniel Browns widow living here has a picture of one of Archie Browns daughters - we think it is the one preacher Alexander married - we dont know She gave it to cousin Daniel when on a visit to N. C. once. Now I know you are tired of all this and I will try to wind up. for fear you may not get this

8th

Now don't forget to answer my questions as far as you can –– Where did our great grandfather Hugh Brown live and die and where was he buried? and where was his wife buried? Where was grand father Wm Brown and his wife buried and their ages? Where was Uncle Neill Brown and his wife buried and their ages. who did all Uncle Neills children marry, grandchildren and great grandchildren and their names, ocupation - and where trhe decendants now live? the Inscription on the tombstones?

Have I got the old Brown family down all right?

have I got the Campbell family down right.

What was the name of the Smith that Uncle Neills sister Katie Brown married? was he a brother of aunt Nancys? Whose son was Rev Daniel Smith? that cousin Patrick Smith says married one of Neill Brown grand daughters or one of his daughters. Comence with your fathers family and then get all the rest you can. did we have any other Brown kin but Hugh Browns in that county, that you ever heard of. as none of my letters have been answered I will be impatient to know if you get this so drop me a line at once so I will know if you have received this. So I will close for this time hoping to hear from you all after in the future give me the adrefs of one of Hugh Browns decendants who live near you. with love and kind regards your cousin Emma Davis.

Adress Mrs Emma Davis Goodwater Ala


Two Letters from Neill McGeachy in Knochmoran, Kintyre, Scotland, to his brother Alexander McGeachy who lived near St. Pauls in Robeson County, NC:
[Courtesy of Ms. Jean Casper, who kindly sent these two letters to me. See also the letters of Mrs. Kate McGeachy Buie below.]

To Mr. Alexander McGeachy, living about 50 miles above Fayettville [but eventually settled on Great Marsh in Robeson County several miles to the south near the present town of St. Pauls]
Care of Ronald McMillan
Mailed in Wil. Nov. 11. Brought by hand to Wilmington.

Knochmoran - June 22, 1796
Loving Brother:
This comes to let you know that I am well at present, thank God, hoping to find you in a good state of health. Dr. Bror. I am sorry that I did not get word from you these six years past which if you are alive, I wonder that you did not write to me this long time. I thought still when I heard of Mr. James Fleming’s coming that I would have a letter from you, but now I see that you have quite forgot me, there is nothing that troubles me more than to think that you are...there and that you are not writing to me which I hope you will not forget me any longer – it is all the pleasure I have since you have departed from me is my children that are coming on with me. I have three Children the name of the first is Margaret the second is Peter and the third is Jenny it is all the comfort I have since you went away. they have taken the Small-pox just now & are very well after them. John O Drains’ family is very well he has four childer one son and three daughters all well.
Neill Campbell’s family is very well. He lives in Campbellton he has five childer four sons and one daughter good boys. I am sorry to inform you of your Uncle Malcolm’s Death, who died in September 1793 his daughter Nelly is married to Edward Brown’s son and they live in Campbellton likewise. There was no account from Alexander this long time it is expected that he is not alive likewise. Our Master Sandy died in May ‘95 it is not known who will be the Head of the Place because it is sunk in Debt Peter Brolachan has the whole...for Rent...the place that I...but I am...very dear the Common som is three pounds St. The Ball of Barley is 1L 10s likewise the ball of malt is 2L -s I had up at 30 ball of barley this year the old way smugling is going on here now...was very dear here the peck was / -s 5d but now it is / -s 6d which it is very dear yet. My compliments to John my Brother and his family I am very sorry that he did not let me know when he was going away and that he never wrote to me whether he went save of not there but I got some account from his brother Dugald [or Ranald about him I am very sorry that you have all so clearly forgot me my kind compliments to Ranal McMillan and his family you may inform him that his mother-in-law is alive yet and she is with Angus Keargan and he is in Killmanchenachan in Daniel McCalys place he is in health your Friends and Relations far and near are in health at present. I hope you will write to me as soon as you Receive this. Jafery Montgomery joins in love to you he wonders that you never wrote to him concerning his Brother’s Death he thinks...there was none belonging to him...Galbreth from the place that you are in he sent me word how to do and to send the Will and Power to him and that he would look about my affairs there and I did send the Will and Power and got no answer as yet I was talking to Mr. James Fleming and he informs me that Robert had some land there I had no account of it by Mr. Galbreth or any but as he told me by word of mouth and I hope you will let me know if he had any land there and if he was in debt and about his affairs – My compliment to Ranal McPherson and his Brother [Duncan McPherson and his his brother Randal lived in what is today Hoke County near Randal Currie, who sold land to Randal McPherson. It is believed that Randal and his brother Duncan moved west or north about 1812 or so. Randal's wife's name may have been Barbara, and he had a sizeable family.] you may inform him that his mother died two years ago Anabel is married to a Taylor in Paisley Mary is there I have no more to say at present – blessing all to you I am your loving affectionate and sincere Brother till Death.
Neill McGeachy
When you will write you will let me know how to direct to you I did not write to John as I did not know where to direct but I hope you will let me know the directions there A Due.


To Mr. Alexander McGeachy
Little Marsh
Robeson County
North Carolina
Campbelltown 6th Sept. 1820


Dear Brother,
I have come this day to this town and understanding that a number of People are going from different parts of Kintyre by a ship bound for Wilmington I now embrace this opportunity of informing you of my good state of health also the welfare of all your friends and acquaintances in this part of the world.
I had the Pleasure of your letter in spring of 1819 and was happy to hear of your welfare. I have the pleasure of informing you that my son Malcolm and Daughter Janet that were so long ill with the King’s evil as we call it here are in I hope and I have every expection that through time by the blessing of God they may get better of their distemper.
We have now got a new land lord which I wrote you about before. I have no tax but am on the old rent for two years past which is 66 pounds and 10 ounces of which you know the rent once to be 16 pounds and you may judge how hard it is to make it up for at present horned cattle are very low in price and as for the sale of Horses they will hardly pay for rearing. A few days ago I understood that a Mr. Daniel McQuilkan or Wilkinson from London was inquiring after me about some letter he had for me but on my coming to Campbelltown to see him he was off for London again. I could not think what letter he might have for me or any message whatever unless it might be some word from you. You will let me know in your first letter if you wrote anything concerning me to any person in London or else where since I had the last letter from yourself.
Dear Brother I have to say that I enjoy a tolerable share of health not withstanding my age and thank God I have as yet lived very comfortably and I hope you will always on every opportunity write to me with all the news of your family and that you will direct your children to correspond with my children when you and I will be no more in this transitory world that they may keep up that friendly and brotherly love that always subsisted betwixt us and my family will be always happy to hear of your family and I am sure your family will be equally rejoiced at all times to hear of the welfare of mine. My love to Peter my brother’s son and his mother if she is alive, also to my aunt’s family. Your sister Catherine is present at writing of this. She and her husband and family are well and send their love to you and their best wishes for your welfare. Her oldest daughter Janet is left a widow (with six children three years ago) two of your sisters sons are in the low country and two are in this country the youngest is at sea. Tell Ronald McPherson that his sister thinks long to hear from him he may direct to my care. I have nothing else to acquaint you with that may be any way interesting or entertaining. I have my Harvest nearly half cut down and the crop promises well. My best respect to Ronald McMillan’s widow and family and let me know how they are.
Neil McCoig is in Campbelltown he and his family are well his son John if you know anything about him you can let me know. His brother John has now got a wife in his old age a twelve month ago. His brother Donald at Paisley is well. John Hawthorn and family are well. All friends and acquaintances join me in love to you and family and all
friends. I remain Dear Brother in expectation of your answer.
Yours affectionately,
Neill McGeachy


First in a series of lengthy letters from Malcolm Buie in Jefferson County, Mississippi to Buie relatives at Philadelphus in Robeson County, NC. Malcolm Buie was [probably the oldest] son of Daniel Buie and Flora McPherson of Robeson County, NC. He married Ann Clark in 1825. His letters:
[From the collection of Bradley Buie of Raleigh, NC]

Slashes [/] indicate the end of sentences, as best as can be determined. Transcribed from a photocopy. A small margin of the right side of the letter is cut off just enough to make a few words difficult to decipher.

Jefferson Co Mifs State Nov the 24 1833

Well Daniel and Neill [his uncle Col. Neill Buie in Robeson Co., NC] I am about to write you a letter / written so many I hardly know what to write / I wrote one to Mother since I got here and all of us are uneasy that you are not all well / it has been so long since we did hear from you, I got one from Mother in Alabama & and that was all from Robeson, / well in the first place I have the best horses perhaps in the world & I tell you or any of your friends if you move stay with true horses – & have a waggon in prefferance to a cart for this reason - it is not as easy turned over & easier driven but we came like a deer in a walk, we have crossed hills and Dales and holes and ___ & ditches I call them, / in the Choctaw Ann & Myself would be 50 or 60 yds before the cart and come within 10 yds before we would see the ditch & it would be 10 ft deep perhaps & Tom would be on the level by the time Prince would at the bottom Tom would be pulling of Prince and the cart right up b___ Prince got so used to them that he would jump to try to get up before the cart would run up on him / they would not be more than 10 feet wide and no water in them when we came on, / we had to look 5 times to the ones the car[t?] _out than the first / we were told we crofsed the foot of the allagany mountains whether or not they were high hills – yes Uncle Neill higher than Camerons hill – we brought the stick you put in Fams stretchers before the __ ____ and one of the Tag pins that Duncan made, the other we lost where our horses got out of the flat – nothing broke not win our home strings more than t___ / I have sum good corn & cotton as good as I was expected to see / I think the best cotton in alabama / I do not see how they could get through it to gather it & the best corn in the Prairies in the Choctaw, the handsomest corn you ever saw long slim horns and as fat as moals, I do not think it is very good for hogs it is gennerally too dry a country – I will tell you the __ of land in this neighborhood about here / there is pine oak of all kinds chesnut ch_lin Popelar ash hickory ellum cucumber it does not grow verry big has a leaf a foot broad & several other kind but that is the principal groth / there is no sand in the soil is a fine damp soil and washes very much the last drount, / Duncan it is dangerous walk about old Engos [Angus?] House / there is ditches deeper than your head and no one nor too but fifty so many that they are going to move to the west end this field to a spring you know where – Smart has droped some water on my scribling and I have a notion to crack him = Neill gone to Smylies Mary asleep Ann washing the dishes & Catharine in the city with the negroes / Mary says I did not sleep as much as you think [end of page]

Aunt Polly [Mary Ann, sometimes Marian, "Polly" Munroe Buie, wife of Col. Neil Buie, and daughter of Lewis Munroe and Minnie McPherson] I have seen some of your friends Hector McKinzie & family in the Choctaw they moved there last spring & is satisfied, while they lived in Alabama your sister Margaret [Margaret Munroe] came to see them and staid a week with them / She staid 12 months with barlow / A McKenzies [Alexander McKenzie who married Polly Buie's sister Charlotte Munroe in NC] son John came after her & the[n] when back with him – one of barlows sons is a Methodist Preacher / his name is Daniel I think & one of his Daughters maried to a Methodist Preacher living in the Choctaw / I was within 3 miles of his house but had not time to go to see them, her name I do not know – A McKenzies son John is the handsomest of the breed – All Hector McKenzies family is with him that you saw with them except Jane she maried a Brit / a verry industrious man but has not more flesh on him than would cover half a man – Graham is in Alabama driving the stage & there was a camp meeting within 2 miles of us all the people camping there was a great many people as many or more than ever was known to be there before that is at Union Church – We that is NMA Myself and Catharine camped with Uncle Charley McDougald that married Caty McCrany / all appeared verry serious and paid good attention to preaching / 4 joined the church 2 whites 2 Blacks – Daniel if you were here or in Alabama or the Choctaw you might make a fortune in a hurry there is a great call for blacksmiths a high wages and places as healthy as N;C / Neill [Malcolm's younger brother] hurry & get your education get your Cotton English grammer Arithmetic & geograthy well and come on / you can make 100$ per month easly / one of the McArns from N;C told me he was getting 75$ per month and he is but a moderate scholar: if Ben was here he would make you 100$ every year and not have to work as hard as he does there / I know several here that would give that and I am satisfied would not mifs use him / John Buies Jim is talking about buying of his freedom, if it would fit all round I think it would be a good plan to send ben with John Watson as he is going to N;C this spring / the expenses would be nothing as he will have several others along as that is what he is going after / I have not seen him since I came to this country / he lives about thirty miles from here. [end of page]

Friday the 29
I was picking of cotton at Granny Engos when I got Mothers letter / I come home & it was verry dark / I rode long Archd horse it gave us all great satisfaction to here such good news from home – we are now some of us hardened sinners but the one that is there is here and may pour out his blefsings upon us when we least think it – tell John & McPherson [John Buie and McPherson Buie, Malcolm's younger brothers] to be careful of those guns and not to spend too much time with them / Neill I am in hopes you will be relieved of your difficult talk to religious men & they will direct you – Neill Buie {Engos [Angus?] son} gives me the forth for picking of cotton / I got a bale and sent it with Neill to Natchez / he to 63$ 88C for it / it will take Myself Sesar Jack Smart 24 Days to pay for it / we have picked 35 hundred & have 15 hundred to pick yet / the weather is so cold and wet or we would apy for it sooner – there has been as hard frosts and as many as would be in NC but they say it is not common – Neill carried 3 bales and has one to carry yet he would have made 6 or 7 if the frost had kept off 3 weeks longer bought 50 lb __ 100lb coffy a barrel of flour a barrel of apples a barrell of Irish potatoes __ __ salt cups & saucers a pitcher 6 plates 4 bowls a Pitcher Pot 50 lbs Shugar 40 lbs coffy a pair of shoes for Ann a hat for me and we all have blankets coats – we would be glad to see you all – we expect to go to live over at Neills new field as soon as we can / he says I can have it for what he gave for it but he must have what is cleared, it is a beautifull situation a good spring and good land & good range & I am in hopes healthy / Neill is going to clear 25 acres and I want to clear 12 / we are going in cahoot about cotton / I have rented 12 acres from Charley McDougald and we think of getting of 10 from P Wilkinson then we will have 32 acres in cotton and 35 in corn / if we keep well and nothing happens to prevent us that is our calculation – Neill to have 3 shares __ of too big calculations that could be blasted in an hour – we have to split 4000 rails for Charley McDougald out of chesnut, & I do not know how many for Uncle Peter – We are going to Fayette Monday about the road / Neill puts down the fence & Gib puts it up Neills lawyer tells him that he can make Gib pay 3$ for every 24 hours he keeps the fence up, but we will know Monday / every boddy thinks Neill will worst Gib, he has been here once cince I came / he came to tell Neill to put up the fence but Neill was not at homethey speak at church – I have not been at his house but once since I came – in fact I have been hardly any where the neighbors appear friendly but there is more coldnefs in this neighborhood perhaps at this time than ever there was – there has been more entering of land and clash and fufs about land here in 12 months than ever there was – and more land Entered and the people are still entering – D. Buie D McC & N Buie [end of page]

Friday evening
Mamma
I am just from preaching where I saw several N Carolinians A Brown & family M Smyly & family & several others Charley McLean Dugald McMillan & all getting well that was sick / Jennet Curry formely Jennet Ray was buried yesterday evening / she was delivered of a Daughter a few days ago / the child is living / they are talking about getting Sely Ann Kelly to suckle it that married Malcolm Stuart near Bethel, he is dead and left a child – Sally Henderson [Sarah Gilchrist Henderson, daughter of Archibald Gilchrist and Mary McPherson, and wife of Rev. Daniel C. Henderson] stayed here a week she has a fine son / she had the feaver but is well / John is 33 miles from here he has joined the church – he is going to live with the same man another year / he gives him 400$ / I have got no more room / write to me after and partickular I forgot to pay the preacher that is J Brown / give Duncan 1$ to give to him for me I thought it was paid before I left – Tell Aunt Nancy we got nothing on T. Buie. [Nancy Dallas McPherson, wife of his mother's brother Alexander McPherson.]
Your son Mal. Buie

John I was in the byapier [?] yesterday looking for a beef / you ask Duncan what sort of a place it is, I saw trees bigger than your leg that the Bear would break down and eat the berrys & saw where they would climb up gum trees and break at the lims to get the berrys / some right fresh that they broke night before last / you Artemas [Artemas Brown of Robeson Co., NC] & Daniel McPherson [This may be Daniel McPherson Buie, Malcolm's younger brother. It could also be one of the two Daniel McPhersons, both of whom were Malcolm's first cousins by his uncles Hugh McPherson and Alexander McPherson.] make haste and get your education and come & help us kill them / I killed two Deer since I came here – NB there is no mash this year and people have to fatten their hogs

[end of letter]
_______________________________

["Union Church Mifs" is the return address on the envelope]
Jefferson County Mifs State Sept the 18 1854

Mother I have neglected writing to you longer than I should – we are all in good health exept Ann / she has the third rising on her right hand since she came to Mifs / one in the palm of the hand another on the ring finger and now on her fore finger – they are common here for the last few years and but few of them can be put back after two or three days they are very painfull till about the ninth or tenth day when they have to be opened / some lose the use of the finger and some almost the use of the whole hand / none of them have injured Anns hand or fingers yet very much / she says her fingers are a little stiffer than the others the one she has at this time we are in hopes will not be very bad as we comenced it in 24 hours after she felt it but it will have to be opened – There has been a good deal of sicknefs this summer Tiphoid fever and mumps measles hooping cough all prevaling at the same time – it has proven fatal among children where feaver would acompany the cough or measles – our friend John McNeill died a few weeks ago of consumpsion / I recon he weighed about 65 lb when he died and could set up and walk a little till a few days of his death –Uncle Peter is quite frail but rides about a little in the neighborhood / Uncle Charles McDougald is in tollerable health his age considered – aunt Caty was here just now is well / John Ray is also well / Uncle C & Aunt Caty and John Ray are anxious to sell and be off to Ark – I heard from Ark a few days ago all are tollerable well / Neill McCorvey [husband of Mary Buie McCorvey who was daughter of Daniel Buie Flora McPherson; Neill was son of Finlah McCorvey and Annabel "Nepsy" Buie of Robeson Co., NC who lived on what became the J.F. McKay land on the south side of Panther Branch in Philadelphus, Robeson Co. south of Red Springs.] & Catharine [dau. of Neill McCorvey; Catherine McCorvey married Daniel Galbraith] are better of the Palsey / Mary has a fine a Daughter and name enough Flora Laura Jane [Is this Laura McCorvey who married Daniel Wilkerson?] / I recon they think it the last / D. Brown has bought land in 9 miles of them and stock / they say he got a great Bargain good dwellings and out houses of all kind / 300 hundred acres under fence for 1200$ [end of page]

He has been to texas since he bought with Newton and Dr. Buie his – nephews – he likes texas very well / they have bought land there / he (Duncan) did not / it is uncertain whether they will move or not if they go he may – Newton has not sold his land here he asks 10$ per acres for his land here and only gave 2$ or 2$50C in texas for land just as rich as any need for & healthy they say – and game plenty / John Rice Henderson Parson Hendersons son [John Rice Henderson was the son of Rev. Daniel C. Henderson and Sarah "Sallie" Gilchrist, daughter of Archibald Gilchrist and Mary McPherson of Robeson Co., NC] is back from texas now he is not pleased with texas – he has come to collect for his father / He sold part in credit and it is due – Rice says if he can get a safe hand to cary the money to his father he will not go back / in a year or too he will go to overseeing or something here – Crops, corn is tollerable good here Cotton like McSwains Beef Barley tollerable bottom land tollerable good up land sorry / I made 24 hundred Peches? last year and have the same under this year and i don't think I will make much over half / and is so prety much every where I can hear on up land we had it too wet and too dry Potatoes are tollerable good peas not so good & I will make enough of corn – I had a thought of going to see you all this winter but I have declined it – when I do go I will stay longer than C F McL did he says you were all to buzzy in old Carolina partickulary / his brothers they could hardly take time to talk to him – he tells me you have a store at the red springs [The post office of Dora in Robeson County, NC incorporated as Red Springs in 1885. Red Springs in its early history advertised itself as a spa with healing, mineral-rich waters.] but does not know who owns it / Mother I think if you would sit down and tell Effy [his sister Effy Buie; died unmarried] what to write it would be satisfactory to me as I hear but little that is done or going on there – I do not care how the writing or diction is so I can hear what you are all doing there do make some of them write when you get this
Your son Mal. Buie

[the following is part of the same letter]

Neill I have looked for a letter from you for some time – I would think you might write often as you have to have your pen and ink always ready and in practice – I should like to know how you are all getting along with your plank roads and how much you can cary on them – Archd I want to get a word or too from you to let me know how your Mill does & Duncan McAlpin is dead he died in August / I do not know what his complaint was [Obituary in Fayetteville Observer dated 24 Aug 1854 states he died "Near Bolton's MS, Duncan McALPIN, with chronic diarrhoea, in the 70th year of his age; native of Robeson Co, NC, but for last 14 years citizen of MS. While in Robeson Co, elected several times to political & civil offices."] / he lived some 60 miles from us / Billy McNeill miller is living near where he died and too of his sons / I have never seen any of them / McAlpin sent word several times to us that he would come to see us but he never came – we have nearly as good a makket for our cotton in Port Gibson as Natchez and Port Gibson is 27 miles and Natchez 45 and as good a road / the reason they give as much at Port Gibson is they have a rail now to the river and it costs but little to get it to the river / we pay a little higher for heavy artickles but I can make a trip to Port Gibson in 2 days and a half and it takes a week to go to Natchez / I am in hopes our state will get a better name as the no Nothings [The No Nothing Party was a national political party of this era] are going to elect no foreigner or dsyonest man to office let him be whig or Democrat – and we have a good many – John I was looking for you to come with C F McLean / it would take you but a few days / he got there in 6 days and a piece – write to me / Flora got the Anul report of the board of publication and a catalogue of books and tracks published by the Board – a few days ago – but got no certificate / John find out if Hendersons children is to get any thing out of Uncle A Gilchrists estate [Archibald Gilchrist died in August of 1839 and his estate, at the writing of this letter, was being settled in Robeson Co., NC] – and if they are they ought to send it to Rice now as he is just comencing in the world – Mal. Buie



Letter from Hugh McPherson of Little River (which I believe was in Florida or Alabama)
to his brother Gilbert McPherson of Robeson County, NC. Hugh eventually moved to Texas. Hugh and Gilbert both were two of the sons of Alexander and Nancy Dallas McPherson in Robeson County, NC:
[McKay-Edgerton Collection]

January the 23 1839 [The true date of the letter is probably 1849. Hugh and Catherine married in 1846. Hugh would be barely 19 years old in 1839 and Gilbert his brother would have been barely 15.]

Dear brother / I tak the opertunity of writing you a fiew lins to let yoe no that I am well & perhaps these fiew lins will find yoe & yoer family well & Awll of ower relations well / my family keaps well awll Exepting Catharine Shea has Spells with her head / Yeat Gilbert I was glad to heer from you & to heer awll of ower relations was well / yoe menchend in your leter About my coming to NC / that is moar than I now / I doant no that I Ever Shewill get thair fur I am in gaiged with Mr Eccles [Eccles was from Cumberland County, NC] for this year for foar hundred Dollars A year / I liv on my oan Land & tends to His Business hea tends About __ Acors for mea / E___we of My wagews / I hav A Nice Lot of Hogs / I have 19 youg pigs / I maid A nic Crop of potatoes Last year & Maid my oan Bakin but I want Abidg to dwo it / Mr Eccles was to find mea & fairley but I Dunit to try How I coed Keap & I maid the purtes baken yoe Ever Sawe / yoe Menchend About Malcom Leach [sometimes known as Malcolm Lytch, who became their brother-in-law in 1846 by marrying their sister Sarah McPherson] Coming out heer / I wod bea glad to Sea [bottom section of letter is torn off]

A gwod plan for him to come & Sea it / the Land A Round me is not in Markit now but it will bea in this fawll tho popel Setels on it & wen it coms in to Markit yoe wod hav 2 years to pay for it / we think it will come in to markit 125 cts pur Acor / Gilbert Let Mea no if youe hav aney [idea] of coming out Heer / I will Let me Hous Aloan til fawll / I want to get you to bild it for mea / pople is very healthey out Heer / tell fater I Staid one Night with old Jaims McNeill Sun Jaims the black Smith [Is this James McNeill, Jr., the son of James McNeill of Rockfish Creek?] / he wanted to no whair Arch McMillion was & his Sisters was / So Let me no in your Next Leter / Dear brother I must cloas writ Soon Let me ___ ___ ___ ower Relations awll is / writ Swon / I Remains Yours til Death

Hugh McPherson Direct to Lital River
to his Brother GG McPherson Po Offis

Let me No if yoe Heers
[bottom section of letter is torn off]


This very interesting letter written by Sarah Brown McLean to her mother Catherine, wife of the Rev. Daniel Brown. The letter has no envelope, but was folded and addressed to Mrs. Catherine Brown, Randalsville, Robeson, N.C.
[Source: A copy sent to me by Sandy Campbell of Nashville, Tennessee]

Philadelphia May 15th, 1839
Dear Mother,
Knowing the anxiety you have in hearing from us, I embrace the present opportunity of writing to you. We arrived at this city the 11th inst. in safety, without the least accident occuring. We are in good health. We are boarding with Miss Jane Lucins, a lady with whom I am much pleased. She spares no pains whatever to render us comfortable. She is indeed an exception amongst ladies. The rest of the family including boarders are also very kind and obliging to us. Our board is five dollars each per week. Washing, fuel and light extra. I stood the fatigue of traveling much better than I anticipated. We spend a day and night in Washington. I went with Mr. McLean to see the Capitol. We first viewed the rotunda or apartment in which the paintings are kept, the surrender of Cornwallis and his men. The resignation of Washington together with many others were very striking. Jefferson is standing on a high block of marble in the center of the room. He is painted black. The hall of representatives and the senate hall are certainly magnificent. After viewing the building we walked to see the fish pond, a circular place with water a few feet deep in which are living fish. Mr. McClain crumbled part of a biscuit into the pond. A great many fish then came near the surface of the water, swimming and eating the crumbs. We then walked around the enclosure, viewing the trees, shrubs and flowers of which there were a great variety and most tastefully arranged. Sabbath morning we attended Mr. Barns' (church and we were) much pleased with the sermon and singing. In the afternoon we attended the Friends meeting which is the Quakers meeting. Heard a women preach, she made a great many good remarks. Monday afternoon, we visited Peals museum in which are exhibited skins of animals from the mammoth down to the smallest animal, fowls of all kinds, fish , reptiles, insects, shells, minerals, and the likenesses of great men, a great many handsome flowers. I spent the evening very pleasantly viewing those objects. Tuesday morning, we went to see the Chinese museum, in which were exhibited wax figures representing ladies and gentlemen of the higher classes in China clad in their native splender and elegance, ornaments of various kinds; caps, shoes, fans, lanterns, Japan and porcelain ware, many things too tedious to mention. I was much pleased with a view of the Chinese museum. From thence we went to see the magnificent scripture picture of the departure of the Israelites out of Egypt. This picture represents the dawn of day. In the gate of his palaces is seen Pharaoh, standing under a superb canopy of peacock feathers, surrounded by his court. Opposite to him are the two leaders, Moses and Aaron, directing the route of the Hebrews. The tops of the palaces are crowded with Egyptians looking on. The representation was striking indeed. From there, we went to the Sabbath School Union, we saw a great number of books. We went then to see the printing presses and operation. There are eight presses belonging to the establishment. The presses are __________ in motion by the power of steam. There were two at work while we were there. Ladies attended to the work altogether. There were four ladies, two engaged at each press, one laying on the paper, and the other removing it after it was printed just as fast as they could lay down and tick up. Rode out in the afternoon to Fairmount. This mount is near Schuylhill River, nearly round and some hundreds of feet wide. The space on top I should suppose to be some three of four acres. The hill or mount itself is a beautiful prospect, but there is something more remarkable about the waterworks below. Through the means of large wheels and syringes, the waters of the river are forced up to the top of the mount, which is dug in large basins to contain the water. The water is there purified by charcoal and carried by aquaducts through all parts of the city. This morning walked to Rondles(?) burying ground. This is an enclosure of two or more acres. A great many are buried in it , tombstones of various sizes and shapes throughout the enclosure, The surface of earth completely covered over with blue grass and red clover, a choice selection of shrubs and flowers neatly arranged throughout the enclosure. Dear mother, I must conclude , give my love to brother and sisters and any inquiring friends.
Affectionately your daughter, S.B. McLean. [Sarah Brown]
[in another hand]
P.S. I can form no idea when we should probably return home. The General Assembly meets on tomorrow at eleven o'clock. The church case has been decided in favor of the old school in the court in Youth[?] The new school here are much dejected. We anticipated an harmonious meeting. My love to all, H. McLean


Two letters written by Hector G. McPherson of Maxville, Florida, to his uncle Gilbert Gilchrist McPherson of Robeson County, NC:
[McKay-Edgerton Collection]

[From Hector G. McPherson, son of John Archibald McPherson [and wife Lovedy Priest McPherson], brother of Gilbert]
Maxville Fla Oct 8, 1905
Mr GD [GG] McPherson
Dear uncle
I take the Pleasure to drop you a fiew lines to inform you that I am well But My famly are not well / I have one Daughter that has Bin Sick nearly 3 years with Lung Trouble & are Still Sick / I had a letter from Willie [Hector's brother] Some time ago Stating that you was very Sick / I have Rote to him & Jeff [Hector's brother] & All So Mr J. E. Purcell Since then asking them to write me how you was / it looks like out of the 3 one could have answerd any letter / I thought of going to See you all the Midle of Sept But on the Acount of Sicknes, I could no get off / Uncle Gilbert Their is one question I want to ask of you in Regards to the Entrest that we two Brothers [He and his brother John A. McPherson Jr.] have as you are the Admistrator on the Estate / it Seems that from the letters that I got from Mr J.E. Purcell that our two Brothers wanted we 2 brothers to wave all our Rite to them / Do you think that is Just / Dont you think that one child is as near & dear as others / I have 10 children & I dont make any difents in non of them / Now I want you to wright me Just all about the matter / I dont want any thing but what is Rite / you know that we 2 have never had the care that the 2 Brothers thear [Jefferson Davis McPherson and William H. McPherson] had / tha had a father & Mother until tha was able to look out for ther Selves & all So had the Benefit of what was thear / Now it Dont look like that tha could have the have to ask us for our Shear now I close for this time hoping to hear from you Soon as Ever your nephew
HG McP

[From Hector G. McPherson, son of John Archibald McPherson, brother of Gilbert G. McPherson]
Maxville Fla Oct 15, 1905
Mr GG McPherson
Dear uncle
I take the Pleasure ot answer your most wecom letter that come Duly to hand & found all well with the Exceptions of my oldest Daughter She don’t Seem to improve any / I was Glad to hear that you had Got Better from your Spell of Sickness / hope you will Soon gain your Strength / I have know News of importance to wright / we have had a cool Spell for the Past fiew days / I guess you had some frost / well uncle Gilbert I Do not know any thing of uncle Daniel McPherson / there are Some McPhersons at Quincy Fla But I Do not Know wether they are any of our kin or not / I cant Say Just when I can go to See you But I will go Just as Soon as I can / I would Be Glad to see you & all the Rest / I will close for this time hoping to hear from you Soon / As ever your nephew
HG McPherson


Letter from R.R. McMillan to Reverend William Black of Robeson County, NC:
[Source: Liz Frano via Mrs. Flora Black Belknap of Arizona]

To the Rev. Wm. Black Dundarrock, N.C. Jan. 18, 1908,

Angus Black, your Grandfather, was not related by consanquinity to Alex Black, Arch Black and James Black mentioned in my former sketch; but your Grandmother, Margaret Black, was related as follows: Her father was Alex Black's Brother, but we are not sure whether her father was Arch Black or Neill Black, probably Neill Black. [Margaret Black, wife of Angus Black, was the daughter of Archibald Black from his 1839, Gadsden Co., Florida Estate papers. –Liz Frano]

Mrs. Sallie McPherson who lived on Stewart's Creek on Camden Road eleven miles west of Fayetteville was twin sister of Margaret Black your grandmother and moved to the State of Mississippi then a territory now you have the connecting link. Your grandmother's father was a whole brother of my great-grandfather Alex Black who was killed by Col. Thomas Wade in revenge for the attack by Mccrainey at Piney Bottom. The Margaret Black mentioned in my first sketch who married a Monroe was a daughter of Alex Black. She did marry Malcolm Monroe and lived and owned Jackson Springs (Inn) in Moore County but left and went west. Your grandmother Margaret and our grandmother Isabel Black (McCrimmon) were first cousins. This information I have from my sister Kate MacMillan, and is correct as she got it from our grandmother Isabel Black who married Roderick McCrimmon as stated before. She (Isabel McCrimmon) lived to see the end of the War Between the States and died February 21, 1866 aged 88. Our grandmother MacMillan died two days before February 19, 1866 aged 88 and both died in the same house. [This reference is to R.R. McMILLAN's grandmother. –Liz Frano]

Hope I have this history correct and am confident the connection is true. The widow of Alex Black (Mary Patterson) always said the man who killed her husband was a Lucas from Anson County. I have often heard our grandmother speak of Lucas and I think he was a mulatto or not white.

P.S. Mrs. Sallie Macpherson was the grandmother of Alex Macpherson late of C.S.A. of Cumberland county. Calvin Black, your father, often told me that Alex Black was his granduncle, There were four brothers instead of three mentioned first. I never heard of Neill Black till my sister corrected me. I would be glad for you to get this information in shape and publish it. These men and women were good people and church people. I have always wished to see it in print and now we have the opportunity.
Remember me in your devotions. R.R. MacMillan

[NOTE: Mr. McMillan was wrong on two statements in this letter. First, Mississippi was no longer a territory when Sarah Black McPherson moved in the early 1830s to Lauderdale County in that state. Secondly, Sallie Black McPherson had no grandchildren named Alexander McPherson. She had a son named Alexander McPherson who married Mary A. Black, but there is no record of his having been in the Confederate army. There was a Captain John Alexander McPherson, CSA of Cumberland County, but he was from the Alexander McPherson of Jura family. I do believe Mr. McMillan was correct about Sallie having lived on Stewart's Creek in Cumberland eleven miles west of Fayetteville, and the location of her and her husband's home was just south of the current community of Rockfish in Cumberland County.]



Letters written by Mrs. Kate McGeachy Buie to Mr. D. Patrick McGeachy, 1910 – 1917:
[McKay-Edgerton Collection – from a typed copy of the original]

Red Springs, N.C., Route 2, Nov. 24, 1910

Dear Pat:

Your letter came in due time and we were glad to hear from you. I am afraid you were beginning to think before this that Aunt Kate is going to fail you, but I have waited till you would get home again before I'd write for fear I would not catch you in big old Richmond, and now Katie and I are planning to go to St. Pauls for Thanksgiving and I decided to write and have it ready to take when we go and let Lauch and Sandy McEachern see it and make corrections and suggestions as they think needed.

When I look back I have many things to regret that I did not do that I might have done. One of these is that I did not pay more attention to the old stories that I remember so well to have heard the old folks telling. I can think of a great deal of it but to take it up and give a connected story, I soon find myself floundering.

My idea is to give you all I can and let you compare it with what you have already gathered and make the best you can of it. I always felt a little proud of my Grandpa, and more of him as I grow older. Notice how much of this world's goods he gathered with his own hands, and what he gave to each of his sons. How faithful he was to his church and all those over whom he had authority had to go to church too. He had opinions and was not afraid to express them and was man enough to stand up to those opinions. I remember what a graceful rider he was if any gracefullness can be about an old Scotchman. Other men would ride along wibble de wobble, their arms flapping, their legs dangling, but Grandpa rode upright, steady and staunch, not a muscle moved only in response to the motion of his horse, which was always a big, fat one. You see in his boyhood he was apprenticed to a Lord, who put him in charge of his stables, that is why he rode so well. He did not stay to finish out his apprenticeship. He ran away before he was 21 and came to America. He coaxed and prayed and cried and tried to get his sweetheart, Nepsy McIver, to come with him but she would not leave her widowed mother so they stood over a stream of running water and broke a silver brooch between them in token of their engagement. He took his half, she kept hers, and he always charged Mother to put his half on his breast as he lay in his coffin.

I began this letter Monday and am finishing it today, the 26th, while I wait for Lauch to send this evening for Katie and I to go spend Thanksgiving at St. Pauls [town in northern Robeson County, NC]. We were to go across country driving Katie's charger, Shadrack, but Lauch phoned Katie last night that he would send for us this evening. Katie is off to her school – will be back this afternoon in time to go. Our weather is wintry for the last few days. This is a cold one though bright and sunny. Uncle Dunk and I are sitting nearby a good fire. He is looking rather melancholy. I know he will be lonesome until we get back. His health is not good, can't walk much – not even to the mill. He is bright and cheerful though.

If there is anything more you think I can help you in let me know and I will try my pen another day.

Remember "Aunt Kate" to the boys. I would so delight to see and know them.

Best love to you and Lila,
Lovingly, Aunt Kate

See I have a nice new "self-filler" It writes delightfully when I have good ink.

 



Letter from Rev. Angus Johnson to Mrs. Harriett McNeill McKay of Philadelphus, Robeson County, NC:
[Source:McKay-Edgerton Collection]

[In 2012, while going through some of the letters of my grandmother, Ella McKay Pellegrini, I found a tiny piece of paper in a small box. The paper revealed a memento of Rev. Angus Johnson's visit to her family and says:
"Ella McKay
Today is Monday June 4 -'06
Always remember Friday June 1st 1906. Cousin Angus Johnson and Cousin Susan spent the day here. I took this little piece of paper out of his hat as a memento. He is 97 will be in August 27 = and always remember Sunday evening he left and came by and told us goodbye. Ella M
." On the reverse of the little paper it reads: "He was born in 1809". This sort of act was very typical of my grandmother who was very sentimental and full of memories. She told me about their visit very vividly, and said his wife's name was Suejette, not Susan.]

Avalon, Texas Feb 10th 1897

My dear Cousin Harriet McKay

You are the only McNeill relative I know any thing of. I remember when your Father & Mother ["Wild Archie" McNeill and Elizabeth McNeill McNeill] were courting. I entered my 88th year 26 of last August. It is now near 11 years since I came to Texas. I married my 2nd wife a Mifs [Suejette] Thomas. She is in her 58 year. We have no children. My first wife was a Mifs Means of Concord N.C. We were married in 1839. We had 8 children 2 died young one son preached 5 years and is burried in Concord N.C. One grown daughter at the head of Tampa Bay Fla 2 children at Water Valley Mifsifsippi and my oldest daughter & wife are burried at Germantown Tenn. I have a married daughter with 5 children in Oxford Mifsifsippi and one in Grand Junction Tenn with 4 children and an unmarried daughter that lives with them. I have one living half sister Mrs Mary McDuffie at Johnson's Station Ga, but have not heard from her in a year. I first learned the tailor's trade then turned to preaching in 1836 preached 2 years near Wilmington N.C. then 7 years near Charlotte, N.C. then 27 years in Mifsifsippi then 10 years in Tenn 4 Fla 11 in Texas = 61. I am now on the invalid list, though my hearing, my sight, my actions are remarkably good for my age We live in our own home a neat cottage, have a horse and buggy and one acre in our lot, I preach every Sabbath I have organized 3 chruches out of this one so we have 4 in the field, they are small. May God abundantly bless you both temporall & spiritually.

I will write to your son in Weatherford [Judge William David Torrey McKay].

Your loving cousin, I hope to meet you in heaven

Angus Johnson

[Reverend Angus Johnson, born 26 Aug. 1808 and died c.1910, was the son of Daniel Johnson of Rockfish and his first wife Catherine "Katie" McNeill. (Daniel Johnson's second wife was Ann McDougald and his third wife was Sarah McBryde. He had children by at least one of these other wives.) Daniel Johnson of Rockfish and his brother Peter married McNeill sisters, Catherine and Nancy. The two McNeill sisters were daughters of Godfrey McNeill and Catherine McDougald. Rev. Angus and his wife Suejette visited the Duncan & Harriett McNeill McKay family at Philadelphus, NC, a few years later in 1906. Harriett McNeill McKay was a granddaughter of Godfrey McNeill and Rev. Angus and a grandson, making them third cousins. The photograph of Rev. Angus and Sujette above was taken by young Archie McKay, Harriett McKay's grandson by her oldest son John Archibald McKay and his wife Rena Burriss McKay.]



Letter from Hugh A. Priest to Gilbert Gilchrist McPherson of Robeson County, NC:
[Source: McKay-Edgerton Collection]

Hoffman, N.C. June 28, 1884

Mr Gilbert McPherson
Dear Cousin, I take the opportunity of writing you a short letter, which leaves me well, and, I truly hope these few lines will find you all the same. I have no news of interest to write to you / Crops are looking finely in this section We have been having too much rain for a while / I fear if drouth sets in in next month it will cut them short / They were all well at my Father's last Sunday. I have not seen any of them since. I have not been to see them since April, my place got burned out in the time of the big fire the 2nd of April, it has been a busy time with me since / I have a fine prospect of a good corn crop this year / I would be glad we could spend a few days together driving so we could talk and have some fun. I don't know after I get through my crop if I dont go down about the Springs and see you all. I want to ask you your opinion, I suppose the road is completed to Red Springs, will there be much building going on there this fall or not / I would like to get in with some good workmen, where there was plenty of work. I have some ideas about carpentering, and if I could make fair wages I would put myself in for a hand and stay down all the fall. I want to make a little outside of my crop if I can / Probably you may take some buildings, as you are a first class workman. I want you to be sure to let me know the prospect in fall, and say nothing about it to any one / I suppose it is getting live[l]y around the Springs and bids to be a business place. There is some right businefs places on the Raleigh Road but there is not much building going on about here now / I am not married yet, but I have had the galls [gals] to see me several times since leap year commenced. I think though it is getting towards time I was looking round for a gal / I have not been deer driving this year, there is some few deer on the Sand Hills / Give my Respects to Cousin Mary Eliza [Mary Eliza McPherson Brown, daughter of Alexander McPherson and Nancy Dallas] and all my Cousins. I dont hardly think you would know me now / I have grown a right smart since I saw you. I am even 6 feet high and last winter I weighed 175 lbs. but I dont weigh that now by a right smart. So I think if I dont get stunned in my growth I will be a man some of these times. I want you to be sure to write to me as soon as you get this and give me all the news.

Yours Very Respectfully

Hugh A. Priest

P.S. Be sure to send me word if you think it would pay me to go down or not. Yours, H.A. Priest

[Lovedy Priest married Gilbert Gilchrist's brother, John McPherson; an Owen Priest witnessed their marriage in Cumberland county in 1860. Hugh, the writer of this letter, is probably Lovedy's relative. Did Hoffman, NC, catch fire in 1884? Hoffman is a town in eastern Richmond County, NC, that was settled in the 1870s with the construction of the Raleigh and Augusta Airline Railroad. It was incorporated in 1899, and again in 1913. the post office was established there in 1878. During WWII Camp Mackall was adjacent to Hoffman on the east in Richmond and Scotland counties.]



Research Bits

Collected bits of information on McPherson, McNeill and Patterson families in various counties:
[Department of Archives and History, Raleigh, NC]

Bladen County Tax List for 1768-1789, compiled by William Byrd. From 1769:

p. 13 Lewis Munroe listed with neighbors Malcolm Munroe and Peter McArthur. John McPherson, James Ard, Hector McNeill, Duncan Campbell, James McNeill and Daniel Patterson were living in the vicinity (nearest neighbors were at times miles apart).

"Bladen County Land Warrants and Surveys" by Philbeck, 1985 (pages not numbered):

# 468 Thomas Brooks. 400 acres "on the So West side of Cape Fear Begining at John McFashion line Joining ye upper line of John Russell's upon ??? creek." 7 Oct 1749.
# 731 Malcolm Munroe, Senr. 100 acres "on Stewarts Creek being a branch of rockfish creek including a Cotton patch formerly of Mr. Odam about 2 miles from John McFearson's" 7 May 1753. Entry 338.
# 743 John McPherson. 100 acres "on Cross Creek being the place he formerly lived on." 8 May 1753. Entry 352.
# 769 John McPherson. 640 acres "joining Robert Carver's land". 23 August 1753. Entry 447. (adjacent to entry below this, #448)
# 770 John McPherson. 150 acres "upon the underground branch of cross creek". 23 August 1753. Entry 448.
# 926 John Patterson. 100 acres "on the no. side of Beaver Creek, joining John McFearson's bridge." 8 January 1754. Entry 831.

McPherson Marriages in Cumberland County, NC

From records at the Cumberland County Courthouse and North Carolina Department of Archives and History, and notes found in my brother's records.
Note: "W." means witness to the marriage. "C.C.' means Clerk of Court. Robinson Mumford was for many years County Clerk of Cumberland County and was a witness to many marriages and legal proceedings of the day.

Groom
Bride
Date of Bond / Marr. Witnesses, etc.
John McPherson Sallie Black 9 Nov 1812 Colin McPherson [W.]; Robinson Mumford [C.C.]
Martin McPherson Elizabeth McRacken 13 Feb 1817 Alex McMillan
Silas Brogden of Chesterfield District, S.C. Christian McPherson [possibly the dau. of Malcolm & Christian Downie McPherson] 15 May 1804 Donald McPherson [Daniel, son of Malcolm McPherson, Sr.?]; Robinson Mumford [C.C.]
C.S. Allred, son of John and Jennet Allred Mary McPherson, dau. of Neill & Martha McPherson 18 Feb 1868 J.E. Mann M.G.; John Frey R. of D.
Josiah Denbey Mary McPherson 3 June 1813 Ephraim Jones [W.]; Robinson Mumford [C.C.].
John McPherson Mary McPherson 14 Feb 1821 John Armstrong; Martin McPherson, Jr.
Alexander McArthur Polly McPherson 21 Sept 1805 John McPherson [W.]; Robinson Mumford [C.C.]
Neill McPherson Martha Lumsden 4 May 1839 William Munroe
Alexander McPherson Catherine Buie 14 Dec 1836 Neill McPherson; A. McLean, Jr.
Duncan McPherson Mary Ann Lane 1 April 1824 B. L. Burns; John Armstrong
Duncan McPherson Mary Ann Parker 20 Feb 1830 David Johnson; Chas. Rhodes
Duncan McPherson Christian Finlayson 25 May 1865 Archd. McLeod; J.T. Warden, Clk.
Hugh McPherson Catherine Ray 20 May 1846 Duncan Ray; J. McLaurin
James D. McPherson Catherine Ann McDuffie 27 Jan 1859 J.W. Baker, Jr.; J.T. Warden, Clk.
John McPherson Lovedy A. Priest 13 Sept 1860 Owen Priest; Henry Huske
John L. McPherson Mary T. Cameron 6 Sept 1860 R. McD. Cameron; J.T. Warden, Clk.


McPherson Entries from Vital Records, Cumberland County, NC

From records at the Cumberland County Public Library, Fayetteville, NC.
Abstracts of Vital Records, from Raleigh, N.C. Newspapers, Vol II:

#3828, p. 461 Married in Camden County, NC, 6 July 1823, Wiley McPherson to Miss Courtney McPherson
#4810, p. 579 Married in Bladen County, NC, 29 April 1827, William Ramsey to Miss Flora Jane McPherson
#3084, p. 331 Married John McRae of Augusta, Georgia to Miss Charlotte [should read 'Catherine'] McPherson of Cumberland County, NC., 1 June 1809

Marriage and Death Notices from the Raleigh Register and State Gazette:

Death Mrs. Catherine McPherson, Feb 17, 1807, Raleigh Register [who's wife was this Mrs. Catherine McPherson?]
Death Mrs. John McRae, Oct 12, 1810 [nee Catherine McPherson, dau of Alexander McPherson, son of Old John McPherson], Raleigh Register
Death Theophilus Evans, March 16, 1822, Raleigh Register

McPherson Entries from Minutes of the County Court of Pleas, Cumberland County, NC

From records at the Cumberland County Public Library, Fayetteville, NC.

From Vol I:

8 Nov 1760 John & William McPherson [John McPherson of the Argyll Colony and probably Capt. William McPherson] recorded brands.
May 1762 Alexander McFerson on Grand Jury [son of John McPherson of the Argyll Colony]
19 May 1762 John McPherson on Petit Jury
22 Feb 1764 Alexander McPherson on Petit Jury
Feb 1764 Jury appointed to lay off road from Danl McGills at Fork of Rds to Campbellton; Alexr and John McPherson members of jury
Feb 1765 Duncan and Merion Baker to Edward McPherson
Aug 1765 Ed. McPherson granted licenced for tavern
May 1765 Alexander McPherson involved in suit
Jan 1773 Deed to Donald McPherson from Colin Shaw and wife Marrion Shaw
1774 Alexander McPherson member of Jury
30 Apr 1774 Deed to George Mylne and Robert Hogg from John McPherson [John McPherson of the Argyll Colony]
July 1774 Deed to Angus McFarson from Henry and Margaret Williams
27 July 1775 Alexander McPherson involved in suit
July 1775 Road overseer Smith's Ferry to Ed. McPhersons at Forks of Yadkin Rd
29 Apr 1776 Peter Munroe to take place of Alexander McPherson as overseer of Road from Cross Creek to Archd McKays
29 Oct 1785 Dun. Ochiltree & wife to William Campbell & Lewis McPherson proved by James Burges.
27 July 1786 Deed: James Dyer & Sarah Dyer [James's wife] to Alexr. McPherson, Jr., acknowledged.
2 Aug 1788 Capt. William McFerson road overseer from Beaver Creek to the Town line, working on the following: Old Alex McFerson's hands, Neill Buie, Donald McRee [McRae], John McRee, Neill McNeill, and Gilbert McRee.
28 Oct 1789 Following jury to view a new road to be laid out from Jas. McNeills near Rockfish [James "Jimmie" McNeill of Rockfish Creek, also known as James "Jimmie" McNeill of McCaskills] to Fayetteville: Jas. Dyer, John Sibley, Robeson Mumford, Alexr. McIver, James Dick, John Eccles, Archd McDuffie, Dun. Blue, Peter Buchan, Archd Black, Duncan Black, Alexr. McFerson, Coln. Mcpherson [sic], John McFerson, Jr., Ferqd Bethune, Dun. Buie, Danl. Morrison, and Neill Munroe.
29 Jan 1790 John McFerson gave to Colin McFerson as security for the maintenance of a base-born child begot by him on the body of Catha. McFerson [What Catharine McPherson was this?]; bond: £100.
30 Jan 1790 Ordered that Catha. McFerson be paid by John McFerson the sum of £6 yearly for seven years from the birth of the child by the said John begot on her body.


McPherson Entries from "Richmond County Record, Journal of Richmond County (NC) Descendants" by Joe. M. McLaurin

From records at the NC. Dept. of Archives and History Library, Raleigh, NC.
The following entries were abstracted from Richmond County court minutes. I searched the publication for those with the McPherson surname, and families associated with the McPherson surname.

p. 13 New Citizens: Arch'd McPherson, Neill McPherson, Keneth [sic] McKenzie all (among others) naturalized January 1795 having migrated into the US previous to 1795
p. 14 New Citizens: Donald McPherson age 57, Years in US: 2
p. 134

December 11, 1804, William McPherson on jury duty

p. 150

Hugh Priest married Sarah McFarland Nov 16, 1851, bondsman: Thos. Williamson, witness: M.L. Douglas
Isaiah Priest married Nelly McDonald June 16, 1854; bondsoman: Hugh Priest, witness: L.H. Webb

p. 368 List of Aliens, Sept. 1813 Court Minutes: Norman Morrison age 48, been in US 11 years. Donald McPherson age 57, been in US 2 years.
p. 464 1800 Richmond Co., NC Census: William McPherson-- 4 males under 10: 1 male 26-45; 1 female under 10; 1 female 10-16; 1 female 26-45; 1 slave
p. 498 State vs. William McPherson, June 1806. Nuisance charge.


Slaves


Aunt Kizie Hargraves Laid to Rest at Age 122
[From the McKay-Edgerton Collection. This is a clipping from the McKay sisters' scrapbooks, taken from the Robesonian from the 1920s. I remember seeing this in a full page of the Robesonian which has been lost.]

Aunt Kizzie Hargrave lived to 122


Israel and The Thread of Life
[Oral history passed on by Mrs. Ella Pellegrini and her daughter, Mrs. J.S. Edgerton to me, and written by me, S.C. Edgerton]

To this day, we are troubled by that part of our history when men owned the very lives and labors of others. These times are illustrated in our local oral tradition by stories and anecdotes, and none lives so vividly in my recollection as that of a wandering slave named Israel.

I have always had an avid interest in local history, so, as a youngster, my grandmother was far better than television. Listening to the stories of her life and her family’s lives was sometimes all I wanted to hear, and many hours were spent sitting with her while she dusted off old tales just for me. One summer afternoon, she told me a story I would never forget, and taught me something all southern children learned eventually: Never cross the line between oral tradition and respect for neighboring families. She had been telling me about her grandfather who had prospered as a farmer and skillful blacksmith during the Civil War, that he had made ninety-nine wagons for the Confederate army, and how he had built his home from boards, windows and doors he had purchased from the old Philadelphus Presbyterian Church dismantled during that same time.

I then asked her if he had owned slaves. “Yes, a few,” she replied, and told me their names and as much about them as she knew. As she talked, I could see through the wavy glass of her bedroom window her grandfather’s house across the field, a simple North Carolina plantation farmhouse now gray and slumped with age, much like my grandmother. As her narrative painted pictures for me around that old house, the inevitable crossed my young mind. So I blurted: “Did he ever beat his slaves?” I truly hoped she would say he had not. “Oh, no,” she asserted to my relief. Her back straightened slightly as she turned her head toward the window framing her grandfather’s home. “Grandpa McKay wasn’t like that. There was only one man around here who ever did such a thing.” My childish mind leaped at having chanced upon some tantalizing dirt undiscovered among my grandmother’s lore. I begged to know who the man was, but my grandmother was stubborn. It was only after a relentless, badgering siege on my part that she relented, but only after a lecture that he was from a local family of Scottish descent and a cousin of her father’s. Then, barely whispering the rogue’s name, she followed it with: “And don’t you ever tell anybody.”

And, just for her, I won’t tell who he was, not even now.

Then, moments after that secret name was spoken, association breached the years, and she continued to speak, though in a more somber tone. The man who “beat his slaves” owned a man named Israel. He also owned his wife and his children. Old church records I've found describe the “walk” of this master as "unchristian." Not only was he physically brutal, but possessed a moral savagery in selling Israel’s wife and children away from him.

Whatever emotions Israel suffered after such a loss were enough to make him “lose his mind,” my grandmother said, and, for many years after the war that freed him, roamed the local countryside literally in search of his lost family. He never accepted a permanent abode but occasionally stayed overnight in one of a few places: John McIntosh Brown’s, Dr. Luther McMillan’s, James Franklin McKay’s, and Archie D. McCallum’s in the Philadelphus township area. Although he accepted gifts of kindness from others in the community, these families had prepared accommodations for him in which he was always welcome, therein receiving food, shelter, and old clothing. My grandmother remembered Israel well. She said her parents allowed Israel to sleep in the kitchen on a cot by the stove. Any clothing he received he put on directly over whatever he was wearing, accumulating many layers whatever the season. He endeared himself to my grandmother and her siblings, for he would play with them, entertaining them with songs, stories, and games. He married them in playful weddings, the kind children like to imitate, and accompanied the ceremony with a prepared sermon he always began with: “I takes my text from Pete Wheeler and the Thread of Life....” The little couple were requested to “jump the broom,” afterwards concluding the play service with directions to “Buss the bride", and the little groom would give his bride a little kiss.

When word spread old Israel had died, it was said his body was found beside the railroad tracks he sometimes wandered between Red Springs and Shannon, still clad in the many layers of clothing he always wore.

 

Years later, while looking through my late grandmother’s steamer trunk—a record of her life and memories—I found what I thought was just another scrap of fragile, attic-baked parchment. It was a small piece of stained, yellowed paper penciled with a faded list of a few names and dates. I quickly scanned the list before trashing it. At the top of the page was written, “all on Saturday.” I froze when I recognized some of the names — those who my grandmother had said years before were slaves of her grandfather’s. Then, that old feeling of discovery came over me I had felt as a boy, and as I began to read in earnest, I saw heading the list was: “Israel, died May 16, 1896.” Israel, whose existence I never doubted but who lived for me only as part of someone’s recollection, suddenly came to life. And then I saw the list was written in my grandmother’s own mother’s handwriting, a mature, nineteenth-century script I knew from letters found while digging through other trunks. It became clear to me my ancestress had cared enough about Israel and his sad situation to have recorded his passing. She had been old enough to have known him during the days of slavery when Israel at least had had his family about him; perhaps she knew how sweetly he had played with his own children and valued his tending hers in kind.

Recently, I found a bit of information that may shed some light on the “Thread of Life” in Israel’s sermon. A mail order catalog advertised a brooch, the complex design of which was taken from a Celtic knot the catalog called “Thread of Life.” So closely associated with a community of Scottish origin, Israel may have known an old Celtic parable that is tied to this ancient design.

I have to wonder—Did Israel’s “Thread of Life” speak of a lesson of loss like his own? Whatever his lesson exclaimed of his own life, it is safe to say that Israel’s lost narrative addresses a collective fabric that threads all of us together in a large and intricate pattern. Maybe, like Israel, we are all wandering a lonely, complex path to find something that is lacking, yet akin to our salvation.

Israel, his family stolen from him for want of profit, was forced to walk those roads that end in want of need. If we, today, decide to listen, we will hear Israel’s sermon. Then we will understand.

—S.C. Edgerton



Newspaper and other published articles


Died in Texas. Dr. Archibald A. MacQueen Died in Weatherford Last Week.

Newspaper clipping from the McKay-Edgerton Collection. at the bottom of the old clipping is written in ballpoint, "Died 27 Dec. 1915".

Dr. Archibald A. MacQueen died at the home of his niece, Mrs. Ellen Armistead Brown, at Garner, near Weatherford, Texas, Monday of last week. Dr. MacQueen was born near the present town of Maxton, N.C., March 7, 1836, was a son of Rev. Archibald MacQueen, Sr. and is survived b one sister and one brother, the sister eing Mrs. Almena MacQueen George, Albany, Texas, and the brother being Judge William L. MacQueen, Hugo, Okla[homa]. Mrs. Flora B. Black, Mr. James S. MacQueen, Dr. John Knox MacQueen and Miss Julia MacQueen were also his brothers and sisters, all of whom have been dead many years.

Doctor MacQueen was surgeon in an Alabama regiment in the Army of Northern Virginia, during the entire War Between the States, and after the war practiced medicine for a while in Alabama, later moving to Weatherford, Texas, at which latter place he lived till his death. He was an elder in the First Presbyterian Church, Weatherford and one of the most prominent physicians and most influential men of that place. He was a man of the finest instincts and most affectionate in disposition and until his death, an ardent admirer of North Carolina and everything pertaining to his native State.

__________________________________


Chancellor W.D. Johnson
from Encyclopedia of Eminent and Representative Men of the Carolinas of the Nineteenth Century, Volume 1, page 295.
Photocopy found in the collection of Jay Edgerton with additional notes from "Johnson-McCall and Related Families"

Chancellor W.D. Johnson of South Carolina, is a native of Robeson county, N.C., having been born there, September 9, 1818. Both his parents, Alexander and Magret (Steven) Johnson [sic, spelled Margaret in Robeson County deeds], were North Carolinians. Alexander was a son of Daniel Johnson, who was born in the Highlands of Scotland, and came to America about 1770, locating in Cumberland county, N.C., near the town of Fayetteville. Soon after, however, he removed to Robeson County, where, until his death in 1821, he followed the life of a farmer. Prior to his emigration from Scotland, he married a Miss Thompson [Ann "Nancy" Thompson], who bore him five sons and two daughters. Alexander Johnson was born in the year 1781. His education was somewhat limited, although he was given a more extensive scholastic training than was usual in that day. After a time spent in shcool teaching, he became a farmer, and was engaged in agriculture up to near the time of his demise, in July, 1876. His life was passed in Robeson county, N.C., and so lived as to win for him the love and confidence of his neighbors. About the year 1811, he married a daughter of James Steven, who was a native of the Lowlands of Scotland This union resulted in the birth of three sons: James S., Daniel and W.D., and one daughter [Alexander married Margaret Steven on 11 July 1809. Margaret died in 1846. Alexander's second marriage in 1850 was to Nancy McNeill, a daughter of "Archie Ghar" McNeill and Barbara Patterson, and by whom he had no children.]. The maternal grandfather of these children, James Steven [James Steven of Inch, Wigtownshire, Scotland, an elder and founder of the Presbyterian Church in St. Pauls, NC], was an educated gentleman, and for many years was regarded as one of the best educators, farmers and surveyors of his county. Two of the sons of Alexander and Magret Johnson have won honored names as lawyers. The eldest son, James S., graduated at Union, N.Y., with first honors; was for a number of years a judge in Mississippi, and served as a member of the legislature of that state in 1850, and again in 1882. In 1884 his death occurred. Daniel, the second son, prepared himself for the profession of teaching, by taking first honors at Princeton, in 1838, and filled many important chairs in various southern schools and colleges. The principal of the biographical mention, the Hon. W.D. Johnson, obtained his preliminary schooling in the old field schools of his native county, and at Donaldson academy at Fayetteville, N.C., and in 1839 entered Davidson college, where he studied for one year, after which he sought a more extended course at Princeton college, and was graduated from that institution with the class of 1843. He then returned to North Carolina, and taught for one year, and after that accepted a position as principal of the school at Cheraw, S.C. It was while teaching in the latter place that Chancellor Johnson first took up the study of the law, his preceptors being Messrs. Blakely & Macfarlan. In 1846 he was admitted to the bar, and soon thereafter formed a partnership with Col. C.W. Dudley, of Bennettsville; that partnership existing until the fall of 1852 when Col. Dudley retired. Until 1857 our subject practiced alone at Bennettsville, and then he formed a partnership with T.E. Dudley, the son of his former partner, and it is quite proper to say here that he and his partner held the most important clientage during the whole time until he was elevated to the chancery bench. In the year 1865he was elected a judge of the court of chancery as the successor of Judge Inglis, who had been promoted to the supreme bench of the state. Judge Johnson filled this honored office until the abolishment of the court, in 1868. He then retired to his plantation, where he remained organizing a system of free labor management which has ever since been eminently successful, and in recuperating his strength, until 1871, when he resumed the practice of law at Marion, S.C.  J.M. Johnson became associated with him at this time, and subsequently J.W. Johnson was taken into the firm, and this connection still exists. Marion county is now Chancellor Johnson's home, and has been the scene of his distinguished labors as a lawyer since 1871, and his plantation management in Marion and Marlborough counties. His political career has been long and honored. In 1874 and 1875 he served as a member of the state legislature, and lent all his energies to stay the tide of corruption which then prevailed, and was very active in bringing about the revolution of 1876, when political purity conquered and white supremacy was restored to the state. In the year 1888, his name was placed in nomination for lieutenant-governor of the state, together with that of the Hon. A.C. Haskell, who was the candidate for the gubernatorial chair in opposition to the Tillman movement. In 1860 he served in the secession convention, and in 1862, entered the Confederate army, but was compelled to withdraw in a short time, owing to his total physical disability. In 1862 he was elected to the state senate, and then again in 1865, and held the same till he was elected chancellor in 1865. April 24, 1851, Miss Sarah E. McCall became his wife, and two sons and three daughters have been born to the union. The family are communicants of the Presbyterian Church, in which Chancellor Johnson has been and elder since his early manhood.

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Profile of a Pioneer Family in the Valley Mills Area, The Alex McNeill Family
by Kathleen McNeill Henley
Newspaper clipping sent from Pauline Grimes of Texas to Dorothy Edgerton of Red Springs, c.1990. This article refers to Hector McNeill of Drowning Creek, written about by Cyrus McNeill in 1900 in the first pages of his McNeill history. Robert C. Lawrence, on page 215 of his 1939 book The State of Robeson, says Hector McNeill came to America in 1764 with his son Angus; however, the Henley article below states this Hector came to America in 1753. Henley's date is born out by the fact that Hector McNeill on Drowning Creek took up land on Drowning Creek as early as 1757. I would very much like to know the exact McNeill family of Mary McNeill who married Hector's son Laughlin.

In family lineage the first McNeill to come to the United States was Hector McNeill, born May 10, 1725 in Auruligua, Knapdale, Scotland, and died on March 10, 1812 in Scotland [Richmond County in 1812] Co., N.C. He was married to Mary Graham and was born in Argyleshire, Scotland. He came to America in 1753 with the Graham family. A son, Laughlin McNeill [fought in the Continental Army in the American Revolution], was born in Scotland County, N.C. in 1758 [Anson County in 1758] and was married to Mary McNeill (not related) and they had one child, named Hector, who was married to Nancy McEachin.

Hector McNeill was my great-grandfather and the father of Daniel Alexander McNeill.

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Old People of Cumberland and Robeson
by Hamilton McMillan
Newspaper clipping from the 8 August 1901 edition of the Fayetteville Observer by Hamilton McMillan of Red Springs.

Mr. Hamilton McMillan in his Red Springs correspondence to the Wilmington Messenger says:

I have alluded previously to the great ages of persons living in this vicinity. Miss Margaret Shaw, residing with her niece, Mrs. Flora McNeill, near Red Springs, was born in Cumberland County, January 1, 1803, and is now in her 99th year. John McNeill, near Mt. Tabor church, is 93; Mrs. Campbell, near St. Pauls, is 96; Rev. John McIntyre [married Mary McNeill Graham, daughter of Laughlin and Flora McNeill of Buffalo Creek in Cumberland County] reached the great age of 102 years. He was born in Scotland in August, 1750, and died in Robeson County in November, 1852. His family record attests the fact. Tom Shaw, a negro, was purchased by John McPherson [but was owned by John's son Alexander of Cumberland County and is divised in his estate of 1806], a noted Scotch tory, of Cumberland, in 1775, and the bill of sale gave his age as 14 years. He accompanied his master to Moore's Creek in '76. He rode a mule to the election in 1872 and voted the Democratic ticket. He died in December, 1872, near the residence of Daniel McGougan, Esq., in Lumber Bridge township.

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Two Articles under the title "The Battle of Elizabethtown", concerning Revolutionary War Events, a Lost Manuscript and Tory Col. John Slingsby
by J.A. Worth of Washington, DC and a reply by Hamilton McMillan of Red Springs, NC
Adjacent newspaper articles from the 11 July 1901 edition of the Fayetteville Observer

FIRST article:
We have recieved the following interesting letters on the the subject:

Washington, D.C., June 26, 1901 -
Major E.J. Hale, Fayetteville, N.C. -
     Dear Sir: In the Observer for June 24, I note an article on the Battle of Elizabethtown, in which the question of the leadership of the Whigs is discussed.
     I give below an extract from a copy of a letter written by William Dickson, of Duplin county, to his cousin, Rev. Robert Dickson, at Narrow Waters, near Newry, Ireland, dated November 1784, which sustains Wheeler's statement that Colonel Brown commanded the Whigs. He gives a general account of the events that took place in Duplin and adjoining counties during the latter part of the Revolution. After speaking of the killing of Maturnine Colville [Maturin Colville switched sides and became a Tory. Having been promoted to Colonel by the Tories, it is revealed in a war pension application that he was killed by Patriot troops previously under his command, while they were in retreat.] who had been commissioned commander of the Tories in Bladen, he proceeds as follows:
     "He was succeeded in the command by Col. John Slingsby, who headed the troops embodied, about 400, at Bladen Court House. Col. Brown [Colonel Thomas Brown], with about 150 Whigs surprised him in the night, slew Col. Slingsby and two of his captains and some of his men, and retreated without any loss, and returned in the morning, where he found only the slain and some of the wounded, the rest having made their escape."
     I think it likely that William Dickson, the writer of the above, knew some of the men engaged in the fight, as he was a prominent citizen of Duplin, had long served in the army and had taken part in nearly all the encounters between the Whigs and the troops under Major Craig during the occupation of Wilmington by the latter, after Cornwallis marched north. At the time he writes he was Clerk of Duplin county.
     The original of the letter from which the above extract is taken is in the possession of the heirs of the late R.K. Bryan, of Scott's Hill, N.C.
     Yours truly, J.A. Worth, 2401 Penn. Ave., N.W. [Washington, DC].

SECOND article:
Red Springs, N.C., June 27, 1901:
Major E.J. Hale, Fayetteville, N.C. -
     Dear Sir: Yours of yesterday to hand. I happen to have in my possession the original letter to the OBSERVER by Robert E. Troy, Esq. This original letter was forwarded to Dr. Hawks by your father and was traced to Bladen county and found in 1873 among the papers of Mr. Troy (died in 1862). From a letter sent me by your father in 1873, and written by a son of Dr. Hawks, who was executor to his father's will, I learned that the original letter was returned by Dr. Hawks in his lifetime to the writer.
     The clipping sent me yesterday, taken from the Whiteville News, is not idential with the original letter. You will notice that the date of letter is September [March] 12th, 1845, and not '48. Parts of the letter seem to have been left out by the paper publisher, but in the main it is all right. The soldier interviewed was James Cain, who was a native of Bladen or at least a citizen there at the date of this letter. Cain's grandson, Rev. James Cain, died in Fayetteville during last year. He was one of the best men I ever knew.
      The letter written by Mr. Troy belongs to Alexander Troy, Esq., of Cronly, N.C., who has kindly loaned the same to me to be copied for one of the speakers at the coming celebration at Guilford Battle Ground, July 4th, prox.
      You will please return the manuscript to me, as I promised to return it safely to Mr. Troy, at Cronly, who prizes it highly. I had a statement in writing by James Cain (who was an eyewitness to the battle) dated in 1816, but I loaned it to _______, and it was unfortunately lost.
      Slingsby was mortally wounded September 29th, 1781, but lived two days and was buried at Slingsby Shoals in Bladen. I have seen his grave and am perhaps the only white person living who can locate it. By his side was buried his wife who was the widow of a McAlister. Her maiden name was McNeill [Isabella McNeill McAlester, widow of Captain Hector McAlester and daughter of Daniel McNeill of Taynish of the Argyll Colony]. By his side was also buried his son, Robert Slingsby. [If Hamilton McMillan knew these three graves were adjacent and together as he does here, does this mean the graves were marked? Where is Slingsby Shoals in Bladen County?]
      Slingsby was an Englishman by birth and a Whig [McMillan made a slip-up here; he knew Slingsby was a Tory.]. He was a member in '75 and '76 of the Wilmington Committee of Safety.
      Very truly, Hamilton McMillan.

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The Hector McNeill Ancestry of Cumberland
by E.R. McKethan

Newspaper clipping from the 3 October edition of the Fayetteville Observer by E.R. McKethan. A response to this article by Allan McCaskill is below. Neither article speaks of yet another Hector McNeill of the 18th century, "Hector, carver" McNeill, a nickname given him by Malcolm Fowler presumably because he owned land on Carvers Creek and he was labeled in a deed as "Hector McNeill, carver". "Hector, carver" was a generation ahead of both "One-Eye Hector" and old Colonel Hector, but he was a contemporary of "Bluff Archy" and "Bluff Hector" McNeill, and immigrated with the Argyll Colony, receiving a grant as head of family in 1740 of 220 acres on Dunfield Creek just below Daniel McNeill's plantation, "Tweedside".

Some confusion has arisen in the early history of Cumberland over its numerous "Hector McNeills", all more or less prominent men. With a view to straightening this out during the lifetime of several who can throw light thereon, the writer submist the following:

Hector McNeill ["Bluff Hector" McNeill], first High Sheriff of the County, Colonial Records, Vol. V, page 976, November 28, 1758: "Mr. Hector McNeill, late Sheriff of Cumberland County, was allowed his claim of 18 pounds proclamation money as his salary for the years 1754 and 1755, he having fully accounted with the treasurer and paid all taxes for those years." Cumberland was formed from Bladen by Act of March 9, 1754 See C.R. Vol. V, page 209. The representatives from the County then Bladen were: "Mr. William Bartram and Mr. William Jones", and the former introduced the bill dividing the County, and providing that "Writs of election issue [ensue?]."

Hector McNeill, one of the first representatives April 26, 1760.

Colonial Rec. V, page 384: "Mr. McNeal and Mr. Gibson, the representatives from Cumberland County, appeared, took the oath appointed by law for their qualification, subscribed the test, and took their seats in the House." (Quaere: Why had there been no election before this?) This was in the 33rd year of the reign of George the Second, the year before his death. This year, their first, the members from Cumberland, with others, had to be sent for See Vol. V, page 493: "That the said Treasurer pay the said Sergeant who went for Mr. Gibson and Mr. McNeill out of the treasury; and that they, Mr. Gibson and Mr. McNeill, repay the said Treasurer."

Hector McNeill and Alexander McAlister; the next representatives the latter appearing and taking the oath November 20, 1762. On December 3, 1762, the bill was passed the second time and sent to Council by these gentlemen, "establishing a town on the land of Russell." This location was selected by the Committee in preference to "Mouth of Rockfish" and "Cross Creek."

Hector McNeill, and Neill McNeill mentioned in the agreement of Presbyterian gentlemen with Rev. James Campbell as to salary. Cumberland Records Book A, 349 (October 8, 1758). This was signed by "Hector McNeill, Gilbert Clark, Thomas Gibson, Alexander McAlester, Malcom Smith, Archibald Buie, Angus Culbreath, John McPherson." With Archibald McNeill and Archibald Clark, as witnesses. As this paper is of historical interest and has been frequently referred to, it may be interesting to note also that there was a second contract. See Book B, page 237. Signed by Hector McNeill, Archibald McKay, Walter Gibson, Duncan Buie, John McFarland, Neill McNeill, James McNeill, Angus Culbreath, Torquil McNeill, Malcom Smith and Henry [Hugh] Brown."

Hector McNeill, mentioned as an Elder at the Bluff Church (see cenotaph of Rev. James Campbell at the Bluff), is buried on the west side of the river. "Rev. James Campbell, a native of Campbellton, Argyleshire, Scotland, rests near this spot." He died in 1780 in the 75th year of his age and the 50th of his ministry. He was a wise and pure patriot—a faithful defender of the principles of the Presbyterian church, a zealous preacher of the gospel and a devout and humble Christian. The churches which he founded and the Presbytery in the bounds of which he labored twenty-two years have erected this monument to honor his name and perpetuate his memory. Bluff, Long Street and Barbecue churches were organized by Rev. James Campbell, October 18, 1758.

"Hector and Duncan McNeill, Farquard Campbell, and Alexander McAlister were the earliest Elders of the Bluff Church. Malcom Smith, Duncan Ray and Archibald McKay were the earliest Elders of Long Street Church. Gilbert Clark, Daniel Cameron and Archibald Buie were the earliest Elders of Barbacue Church." Hector McNeill, as mentioned above, the writer takes to be "Bluff Hector", as mentioned in Foote's Sketches, page 125, and Col. W.L. Saunders' Appendix to Colonial Records, Vol. V, page 1195. Hector McNeill, as above, the writer also takes to be a brother of "Duncan McNeill of the Bluff", on whose monument is the following: "Duncan McNeill, the son of Neill McNeill, of Kintyre, Scotland, the pioneer and friend of the Scottish emigration to the Cape Fear region, was born in Kintyre, Scotland, in 1728, and died near the Bluff October 2, 1791, leaving to his children the legacy of an honest, upright character." "This tribute of filial affection to the memory of a venerated father is erected by his youngest child, Duncan." (Note: This last Duncan is buried in the grave of his father at the Bluff. He was a member of the F.I.L.I Co. [Fayetteville Light Infantry Company], and was of those who volunteered and went off in 1812). Another slab bears this inscription "Loveday, the wife of Duncan McNeill (of the Bluff) and daughter of Rev. James Campbell, died October 22, 1786, aged 33 years. Her children that survived her were Grissella, James, Isabella, and infant son Duncan."

Hector McNeill, referred to as deceased brother in a deed of Duncan McNeill, May 20, 1784. See also Foote page 125 and Colonial Records, V, page 1197. "After the death of Mr. Campbell, and about the year 1787, the Bluff Church was built, and Duncan McNeill of the Bluff, Hector being dead, and Alexander McAlister, and perhaps others, officiated as Elders." (Note: Here Foote is in error if he means that the Bluff was first organized at this time, as shown supra.).

Hector McNeill, as above, in explanation of their names appearing so often together on bonds and old deeds in the earliest records, was a brother-in-law of Alexander McAlister, whose second wife was Flora McNeill and a first cousin of Farquard Campbell, whose aunt Grissella Campbell married Neill McNeill.

This summary, if the writer is correct, sufficiently distinguishes Hector McNeill "of the Bluff"; there was also Col. Hector McNeill killed at the battle of Cane Creek; and Col. Hector McNeill (one-eye). As all were prominent about this period, some confusion on the part of writers at a distance has necessarily followed. From one of these the writer (until set aright by Mr. Hector McLean, of Harnett, who was later sustained by Mr. Allan McCaskill, of Cumberland [see McCaskill's response next article, below]), supposed that Sheriff Hector McNeill of the Bluff (the first Sheriff and later one of the first Representatives) was the Colonel Hector McNeill killed at Cane Creek. Since, on research, he found that they were correct.

E.R. MacK.

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"Bluff Hector" McNeill; Hector McNeill of the Revolution; "Leather-Eye Hector" McNeill
by Allen A. McCaskill

Newspaper article from the Fayetteville Observer, dated 1901 by Allan McCaskill (also found in the North Carolina Collection Clipping File through 1975, page 848, UNC Library, Chapel Hill, NC). McCaskill was responding to E.R. McKethan's article of a previous edition of 3 October, transcribed above. Allan McCaskill (1826-1906) was the son of John McCaskill and Sarah "Sally" McNeill (married McCaskill in 1825; probably the same John McCaskill who was a chairmaker with Duncan McPherson in Fayetteville around 1820 until at least 1826). Sally McNeill was the daughter of Daniel McNeill and Isabella McLaren. Daniel McNeill (of the Continental Army) was the son of "Bluff Archy" McNeill and Barbara Baker and brother of Tory Colonel Hector McNeill who was killed at Canes Creek in 1781. There are claims that "One-Eye Hector" was killed at Lindley Mill on Cain Creek in 1781 but that is incorrect; Old Colonel Hector McNeill was killed and One-Eye Hector was put in his place as a ruse to hide the fact of the old colonel's death from the American army. When a boy Allen McCaskill recalled seeing "One-Eye Hector" as an old man in the 1830s. And as a young man Allan McCaskill was living with his grandmother Isabella McLaren McNeill in the 1850 census, so he obtained much of his information from close to the source and it should be noted she would have known who her husband's siblings were and would have known that her husband and his brother fought on opposite sides in the Revolution. Both articles give proof that Tory Colonel Hector McNeill and One-Eye Hector McNeill are two different men:

Correspondence of the Observer (Fayetteville) 1901. Noting the recent article of Mr. McKethan on the Hector McNeills of Upper Bladen and Cumberland in Colonial and Revolutionary times in which he traced out the history of "Bluff Hector", and referred to the others. Old Colonel Hector and "Leather-Eye", (whom he, following Caruthers, called "One Eye"), the writer will now undertake to give his personal recollections, and what was related to him, concerning "Colonel Hector McNeill", known as "Leather-Eye" ["Leather-Eye Hector" is said to have been promoted on the field after Old Colonel Hector McNeill was killed at Cain Creek, allowing the British to hide the fact that the original Colonel was dead. His will was was written in December 1832 and he died shortly after.].

He lived to be quite an old man, and the writer remembers sometime in the thirties to have seen him attending court [One-Eye Hector's will was written December 1832 and probated March of 1833. McCaskill, born 1826, would have been very young, at most about 6 or 7 years old when he saw the old man.]. He always wore a circular piece of leather over one of his eyes, the eyeball being entirely gone. In character he was most resolute and determined, as shown by the story as to how he lost his eye. It was said that he was in love with and courted a Miss [Susannah, who died before Hector] Barksdale of South Carolina, who also had another admirer equally as ardent as Hector. She could not determine which of these she preferred, and with the frankness of that time she told them so, and that they would have to fight it out or settle it between themselves, and that she would marry whoever was the victor. So they appointed a time and place to meet. The other party was too much for Hector, and threw hi and had him down and commenced to "gouging" him and gouged out that eye, exclaiming "D--n you, I will gouge you." Hector replied, "My name is Hector Bull Deck, gouge and be d--n. I fear neither God nor man." He then turned his opponent and whipped him, and then went to the lady and claimed her hand, which she freely gave him, and they were married. The above is undoubtedly the "One-Eye Hector" referred to by Caruthers. He was a man, as stated, of determined character and of considerable prominence and influence in these parts, even to his extreme old age when I recall him.

Now as to a few words as to "Old Colonel Hector", referred to as being killed at Cane Creek. He must have been a son of "Gentleman Archie" McNeill [aka "Bluff Archy" and "Laird Archie" McNeill], whom the old Scotch always called "Gentleman Archie" because of his being the son of a land proprietor or lesser lord in the Island of Jura [in Scotland]. He had three sons Hector, Daniel and Malcolm [Neill and John are said to have died young and buried at the old Bluff cemetery.]. Hector held a commission in the Tory Army, while Daniel was an artisan in the Continental service at Cross Creek [Daniel's widow Isabella was initially denied the pension because by the time she applied for it no one was alive who could establish her husband's role in the Revolution.]. Malcolm was perhaps too young to have taken sides. Hector was killed. This much the writer knows for certain, for the family history has been carefully preserved, and there are a number of descendants in these parts, the writer being descended from Daniel, who was his maternal grandfather [see note at top of article], while Dr. McNeill of this place and Hamilton McMillan of Red Springs are the descendants of Malcolm. These sons Hector, Daniel and Malcolm were however born in this country, which, if this is the Hector, would negate the story of Caruthers that old Colonel Hector was at Culloden. That the above is true, the writer knows from the story of "Gentleman Archie". The old Scotch were always surprised at his course, as he left the brightest prospects in the old country to come over and begin living here as he did. After reaching here he started out "on the frontier" and struck camp on Stuarts Creek, just above where Bennett's Mill now is [This is Stewarts Creek that flows into the north side of Big Rockfish Creek. A Cumberland deed, Book 99 page 599, dated 1896 — seven years before this article was written — from John Buie and wife and N.W. Ray and wife to Julia Bennett for land on the east side of Stewarts Creek gives Bennett the right to damn the watercourse and establish a mill there. Previous to this the site was owned by McIntyres, and before that it was part of a grant to Neill Buie about 1813. Note: there were Bakers living in this area early on.], where he lived for several years the life of a hunter and a hermit, but becoming acquainted with the Baker family, he married one of the daughters, Barbara, who was the mother of these three sons.

While it is known Hector held a commission in the Tory Army and was killed, it is also certain as to the course of Daniel. His widow drew a pension from the United States during her lifetime for his services. This was within the recollection of the writer, his grandmother being much younger than his grandfather, and Mr. James Huske being the pension agent who drew the money for her. This family of McNeills are all buried at the Bluff [At the link see grave #41.]. As to the Bluff Church and its organization (some time before Gentleman Archie moved over there) the writer will state that the first church was a log house, and he remembers to have heard an anecdote connected with it.

John Smith who was a young man, and who afterwards became quite prominent, had just arrived from somewhere in the Neuse River section, and was a great favorite with an old Scotchman names McClellan, who would have Smith to sit by him in church during worship. McClelland was dressed in the old fashioned "Hip britches", and shirt, no coat. They were in their accustomed seats and while McClelland had his head bowed down in a very pious attitude, Smith saw a mouse running on a log behind him. He could not resist the tempation, but caught the mouse by the tail and dropped him down into the old fellow's breeches. The old Scotchman then jumped up and ran all through the house, and the preacher and congregation thought he was deranged. And the story is preserved even to this day. The whole thing being so contrary to the staid and solemn form of worship of the old Scotch in the Presbyterian meeting house.

Allan A. McCaskill [1826-1906]

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Pioneers and Veterans In Col. J. Bates Infantry
by Hector McNeill
(Newspaper clipping dated 1913; publication unknown)

I will write a sketch of my life. I was born in North Carolina, Cumberland County, in 1830. My father was Malcom McNeill and married Mary A. McMillan. My father died when I was but 6 years old, leaving mother with six children. The oldest was just 12 years; the youngest about 2. We had hard times in those days. My mother had to spin and weave our clothes. When I was 8 years old we moved to Sumter County, Alabama; lived there four years. Moved to Rankin County, Mississippi, near Brandon, and lived there six years. In 1847 I left there for Texas with my mother. We arrived in Texas in Henderson territory in November. It was a wild frontier country in that day. Neighbors were scarce, the nearest was fifteen miles. We stopped at a place called Jubberville; it was a store. They hauled their goods from Shreveport on ox wagons. In 1848 they made two new counties — Van Zandt and Kaufman. We were cut off in Kaufman County, I being one of the chain carriers. The surveyor's name was Enoch Tennon. In the spring of 1849 we moved over on the west side of the Trinity River, then miles east of where Ennis now stands. We stopped near a camp of Caddo Indians; did not know they were there until we had stopped. The people (what few there were) had to fight them back; had a fort at where Waxahachie now is, and it became a town that year. It was located for the county seat of Ellis County.

I visited Dallas in that same year, 1849. It just had two stores and one hotel. The proprietor was Tom Crutchfield. I went on to Fort Worth and found nothing there but the United States solders' station; detailed to fight the Indians back so the country could settle up. It is now a fine city, a big change since that day. I lived in Ellis County seven years. I left there and went to Johnson County in 1855, where I thought I would better myself. My mother settled on Nolan River. I cut my road for four miles through the cross timber to get to the western prairies. The county seat was located in that same year on the west side of Nolan River; it was called Wardville, and then it was moved from that place on the east side of Nolan River on the prairie and was called Buchanan, and remained there until after the Civil War.

In 1861 the war broke out. I volunteered at Madisonville, Tex. In May, 1862, I joined Col. J. Bates' Thirteenth Texas Infantry; was stationed at the mouth of the Brazos River at Port Velasco. I joined H. C. Moss, Company E. I was not in any battles. I did not have as hard a time as some soldiers did. I had one brother wounded at Altanta, Ga., in the three days' battle, and he died, but the other two brothers and I returned home when the war closed. I had a very good time. We had plenty to eat, but some would complain for something better. My company was made up mostly around Corsicana, in Navarro County. I don't know of any of my company now living except Ben Green, near Dublin, Tex., and M. L. McCall, near Rural Shades, in Navarro County. If any are still living I would like to hear from them.

I came home from the war to my mother in Johnson County in June. I had nothing much left. We boys had a thousand head of cattle when the war began, but when it closed we did not have enough to give us milk. The county seat was moved again to where it now is in 1867, now called Cleburne. I have seen it grow from birth to what it is now. In 1866 I was married to Miss Retha McAnear, daughter of Alec McAnear [McNair?]. Of our union was born eight children, four girls and four boys, all living but one girl, who died in infancy. My wife is still living. She will be 71 in October and I will be 83 in July. I am the last one of my family living. I have been living in Anderson County for fifteen years, near Palestine. We are too old to keep house. We are at my daughter's, Mrs. Albright in Knox County, Texas, and if any one sees this write to me at Cleburne, No. 304 Robin Street. I am getting very feeble, not able to do anything. — Hector McNeill

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Undated article (after 1936) from “The McPhersons of Moore County,” by Daniel James McPherson III, 1983

Great Grand-Daughter Seeks More Information About North Carolina Kin.

Relation of McDonalds

Mrs. H.P. McPherson of Cameron [NC] has received a letter from Mrs. M.A. Phelan of 1102 North Avenue, Waukegan, Illinois, requesting information concerning some of her people who once lived in Moore county. Mrs. McPherson was unable to recall her people and she passes the letter on to The News in the hopes that other readers might supply Mrs. Phelan with the desired information.

Quoting from the letter: “My great, great, great grandparents came from Scotland. My great, great grandmother was Christian McPherson and she married Alexander McDonald. They had eleven children, one of whom was my great grandmother Catherine J. McDonald, who was born near Carthage, N.C. Aug. 15, 1821. The names of some of her brothers were Malcolm and John. She had a sister, Mary McDonald, who married a man by the name of McDonald. This sister died leaving several children, one a girl named Catherine, and the last account (before 1909) was that she was left a widow with three children. Name of her husband not known. She was still living in Moore county. She may have some brothers and sisters living.

“My great grandmother, Catherine J. McDonald, married Duncan D. McLean of Moore county, N.C., on July 17, 1855. He was a Methodist minister. They lived at Kaufman, Texas, where my grandmother, Ruth McLean Dodd, was born and lived until the close of the Civil War. They lived in Van Buren, Arkansas, for three years, moving to Anna, Illinois, in 1869. My great grandfather, Duncan McLean, died in November 1884, and my great grandmother, Catherine J. McDonald McLean on July 15, 1904, at Anna, Illinois, where both are buried.

“My grandmother, Ruth McLean Dodd, if she were living, would 82 years old.

“My father, Captain Homer Dodd and brother of Col. Townsend Dodd, chief of the U.S.A. air service (later succeeded by the late General Billy Mitchell) who served on General Pershing’s staff, died when I was four years old. If living, he would be 46 years old.

 “I am Helen Virginia Dodd, 22 years old and was married last June to Mr. Phelan.

Lived on Ray Place

Of her McLean relations, Mrs. Phelan writes: “My great, great, great grandparents, the McLeans, came from Scotland.

“My great, great grandparents were Mr. and Mrs. McLean of Moore county and lived on what is known now as the Cornelius Ray place, according to a history written by my grandmother over 30 years ago.

[A few sentences seem to be cut off at this point in the article.]

“…son county, N.C. He had a sister, Julia, who married a man by the name of Morrison. John McLean was another brother. He had two sisters, Christian and Annie. Annie married a man by the name of Cornelius Ray and they lived on my great, great grandfather’s farm.”
Mrs. Phelan says she will appreciate any information that her Moore county kinsmen, or their friends, can give about her family.
In a later letter, Mrs. Phelan says:

“Today, I received a letter from and 87-year-old cousin in Iowa, who offered this contribution: “My great, great grandparents were Angus McLean and Nancy McLean, nee Nancy McDonald, of Moore county, N.C. In addition to other information, I would like to know who were the parents of Angus and Nancy McDonald McLean.”

__________________________________


Campbellton Named for Early Scotch Settler
From the April 1954 Historic Edition of The Fayetteville Observer (author unknown):

Among the earliest of Scotch emigrants to the Upper Cape Fear was Sir Farquhard Campbell, baronet, for whom the town of Campbellton (now Fayetteville) was named. [Incorrect. It was named for Campbelton in Argyleshire, Scotland.]

Arriving here as a youth of 19 about 1740, Campbell had become a man of wealth and prominence by 1764. In that year he was elected as a Cumberland County Representative in the General Assembly, a post he held at every session until 1775.

In the 1771 War of the Regulators, Campbell was appointed captain of a company of 150 men from Cumberland, Bladen and Anson counties organized to fight the Regulators.

When the town of Campbellton petitioned Governor Martin for a change in its charter on March 13, 1772, Campbell was one of the petitioners. Later he was named a town commissioner.

In 1774 Campbell was one of the local leaders who greeted Flora McDonald, Scottish heroine, who arrived here with her family after a voyage up the Cape Fear River.

During his tenure in the General Assembly, Campbell was active on a number of committees and played an important role in shaping policies of the government. His voting on various issues indicated that he was a conservative.

Opposed to oppression by the Crown, Campbell did not, however, sanction violent rebellion. On April 20, 1776, Congress found him guilty of assisting the enemy and he was imprisoned for the public safety. In 1778 he took an oath of allegiance and was paroled to North Carolina. [Per Duncan Campbell's Revolutionary War pension record, Farquard also paid Duncan Campbell of Cumberland County (who was born 1764 in Cumberland) in 1782 to be his stand-in for military service at the end of the war before peace was signed . It is not known if Duncan and Farquard were related.]

Campbell soon re-established himself politically and became a member of the North Carolina Senate from 1785-93.

He was married three times, first to Isabella McAllister, sister of Col. Alexander McAllister, by whom he had five daughters; then to Elizabeth Whitfield Smith, widow of Alexander Smith, by whom he had three sons; and finally to Rachel Whitfield, who had no issue.

Campbell died in 1808 at a venerable age. His will disposed in minute detail of extensive properties in Cumberland County, including his plantation "Plenty Plains," where he lived at the time of his death, about 20 miles above Fayetteville on the upper Cape Fear. He is buried in a family graveyard nearly opposite Old Bluff Church.



"Western Site Steeped in History" by Steve Thompson (Article taken from January 20, 1974 edition of
The Fayetteville Observer-Times)
[Clipping from the McKay-Edgerton Collection]

The U.S. 301 tract on which one of the nation's largest publishing companies will build a $10 million distribution center was once owned by one of North Carolina's smallest publishing concerns.

Mary McKinnon Vaughn, who was the last resident owner of the "Ardlussa" site, was editor and publisher of the weekly newspaper "The Peoples Advocate" that was distributed in Cumberland and several surrounding counties through the 1940's. She died in 1947.

The Ardlussa site, named for the McNeill clan's homeplace in Scotland, will soon be occupied by the Western Publishing Co. of Racine, Wisc., which bought the 125-acres tract for $243, 620.

Western, which manufactures juvenile books and games, school books, textbooks, and hobby and craft sets, plans to build a distribution and assembly plant on the site.

Western purchased the property from Dr. William McKinnon Massie, a Lynchburg, Va. general practitioner, who is a grandson of the newspaper publisher. The sale was handled by Fayetteville Realtor Robert E. McNeill, whose grandfather lived at Ardlussa a a child.

The Ardlussa story started in 1746 when Archibald McNeill left Scotland to seek freedom in the new world.

He landed in Wilmington and traveled up the Cape Fear River on a flat boat. He eventuallly settled at a site above Fayetteville.

Nine years later, in 1754, McNeill bought land on Rockfish Creek about five miles south of Fayetteville, the site that became Ardlussa. It is not established whether he ever lived on the land, but a son, Malcolm, later came into possession of the property.

He and his wife, Mary, lived on the property and raised 11 children. At his death in 1803, Malcolm left 1,310 acres between the Robeson County line and Big Rockfish Creek and 510 acres on Little Rockfish Creek. His two eldest sons were administrators of the estate. Mary McNeill died in 1826.

Daniel McNeill, the third son of Malcolm and Mary McNeill, built a new home on the property in 1832 and lived there for some 20-odd years.

Daniel's son-in-law, Hector, was sheriff during the Civil War. A part of Sherman's Army camped near Ardlussa and Hector was put under temporary arrest for refusing to give certain information to the enemy. He died in 1900.

Ardlussa was destroyed by fire in 1904 but soon replaced by Dr. James McNeill, a son of Hector and Mary McNeill. He lived there until it was sold to Mary McKinnon Vaughn, the newspaper publisher. She and her husband lived there until her death in 1947. Dr. Massie inherited Ardlussa in 1948.

The house built by Dr. McNeill suffered heavy vandalism in 1972 and was eventually destroyed by volunteer fire departments in a training exercise.

Western was so taken by the background of Ardlussa that it plans to publicize a history of the site in its company magazine.

Said Western President Gerald Slade: "It (Ardlussa) is a good site with two of the finest live oak trees I have ever seen. We will save them."



"Big Rockfish Church Organized In 1844" by Lucille Johnson (Article taken from November 3, 1985 edition of
The Fayetteville Observer)
[Clipping from the McKay-Edgerton Collection]

Big Rockfish Presbyterian Church is a landmark on Highway 301, about 10 miles from Fayetteville and just south of Rockfish Creek.

During the pastorate of the Rev. James W. Douglas at First Presbyterian Church, 1834-1837, a great revival took place in the Rockfish neighborhood. The session of the Presbyterian church met repeatedly in homes in the area to receive members. Some 70 members were received by the Presbyterian Church.

Many of the meetings were held at "Ardlussa," the home of Daniel McNeill. Son of Malcolm and Mary McNeill, he built his home in 1832 and lived there for many years. Ardlussa no longer stands, and on the site today is Western Publishing Co. He was a descendant of Archibald McNeill ["Bluff Archie" McNeill, married Barbara Baker], the ancestor, who left Scotland in 1746 and nine years later purchased land on Rockfish Creek.

A petition to organize a church at Rockfish was presented to Fayetteville Presbytery at the 63rd session held at Galatia Presbyterian Church Nov. 4, 1844. A commission consisting of the Rev. Adam Gilchrist, the Rev. Simeon Colton and the Rev. Hester McNeill was appointed to organize the church.

Elders elected were Neill McArthur, Thomas McMillan, John MacDonald, Archibald Graham, Neill McNeill and Alonza Ketchem. In 1868 Daniel McMillan and Neill McDonald were added as elders.

Early deacons included David Murphy, Daniel J. McLeod, Angus McLean, A.J. McQueen and Hector McNeill; other names are not available.

During the first years, the congregation met in Rockfish Manufacturing Co., then owned by the Mallett family. In 1852, it was decided to erect a building on the Lumberton Road.

The first deed for land for this purpose was transferred by Neill G. McNeill to Neill McArthur, David Murphy and Hector McNeill, Big Rockfish trustees. Witness to the transaction was W. Alderman.

The first service was held May 3, 1856. In 1884, David Murphy deeded eight adjoining acres to the church.

The colonial building has two aisles leading from two double front doors to the pulpit. In the early days, the pulpit was very high but has been lowered. The flooring is of random-width heart pine boards. Many of the window panes are the original hand-blown glass.

The building of the church was under the supervision of John McDonald, native of Scotland, who was a former member and elder of the Presbyterian Church in Fayetteville. He was the grandfather of Mrs. A.D. Cashwell, who was honored as a North Carolina "mother of the year." McDonald was recognized as a fine builder, and the beauty of the church and its endurance have proved his ability. His tombstone is found in the church cemetery.

Some of the ministers of the church have been Neill McDonald, Hector McAllister, George McNeill, John Sherwood, J. Stedman Black, J.M. Forbis, Drury Lacy Jones, John B. Reilly, B.O. Shannon, Leighton McKeithan, Evander McNeill, John Sinclair, P.R. Law, Douglas Black, John L. Fairley, K.A. McLeod, R.C. Lawrence, J. Floyd Menius and Jack M. White. Serving the church today [1985] as stated supply minister is the Rev. Al Drake.

Sons of the church to enter the ministry were Archibald McFayden and Kenneth MacDonald.

In 1954, the church celebrated it 119th anniversary.

Sherwood Presbyterian Church is a daughter of Big Rockfish and named for the Rev. John Sherwood, former pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Fayetteville and pastor of Big Rockfish at the time of his death in 1872.

Information for this article was taken from a book prepared by Mrs. A.D. Cashwell and Mrs. Irene Rassmusen.



"Robeson Almost Wilderness in 1790" by Z.T. Fulmore (Article taken from November 12, 1908 edition of
The Robesonian, for its July 20, 1970 edition)

[From the McKay-Edgerton Collection]

Austin, Tex., Nov. 4, 1908 – From time to time during the past month I have been looking over the Robeson county part of the North Carolina cesus for 1790, lately published by the fereral governemnt. Presuming that others may be alike interested, I ask the prvilege of noticing it in your columns.



Hoke Native Preserves Land Grant Document (undated article, probably from late 1960s)

[Sent to me by Ruth McArthur of Wilmington, NC, a relative of the Mr. Walter A. McNeill; however it is not known what newspaper it came from. I would guess it was pulished in either The Red Springs Citizen or The Robesonian.]

Vandals who broke into the home of Walter A. McNeill of Duffie's Station a few years ago, stole old swords and guns he valued highly, but left him with an old Gaelic Bible and the 1768 land grant owned by his great grandmother, Mary Petterson McNeill, the wife of Neill McNeill [Something is wrong here and I think the writer of the article got mixed up; Mary Peterson was the wife of "Shoemaker John" McNeill and Flora (maiden name unknown but believed to have been Riddle) was the wife of Shoemaker John's son Neill McNeill who died about 1831.].

Both are still in his possession and he enjoys showing them to lovers of antiquated things.

McNeill has temporarily preserved the time-worn piece of paper between two pieces of window glass. It [w]as transferred to his relatives by James "Steuart," [James Stewart, according to the publication "Bladen County, North Carolina Abstracts of Early Deeds 1738-1804" by Holcomb] from whom the 100 acres were purchased.

With the exception of one word the entire writing, although crease-worn, and with use in spelling of the old German S which resembles the English "f", is easily legible. It reads much like others of the same period:

"George, the Third, by Grace of God of Great Britain, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, & C. To all to whom these Presents shall come-- Greeting, Know Ye, that we, for and in consideration of the Rents and Duties herein reserved, Have given and granted and by these presents, for use, Our Heirs and successors Do give and Grant unto James Steuart, a tract of land containing 100 acres lying in and being in the county of Bladen in our province of North Carolina on Job's Branch, West of Raft Swamp, beginning at a black pole at the Western Hills of said branch." [This grant to Stewart was bought by Neill McNeill, father of "Sailor Hector" McNeill and "Shoemaker John" McNeill. Neill McNeill appears to have suvived until 1786 and is found in a Bladen County tax list that year. Who has this grant today?]

The remainder of the writing gave the dimensions and the boundary lines. On the reverse side was the date, April 30, 1768, on which the grant was recorded at the courthouse. The area at the time was in Bladen county. Wilmington was the county seat [No. Bladen was formed from New Hanover County in 1734. Elizabethtown was the seat of Bladen in 1768.].

McNeill brought forth an old pistol, now in working condition, which once belonged to his grandfather's brother, Neill McNeill Jr. [Was this Neill T. McNeill?] It was given to him three decades ago by a relative, the late John Watson.

None of the original buildings on the farm now exist, however, relatives have some of the old furniture. McNeill has increased the farm acreage by one-third, but now leases it to another operator.

McNeill recalls that his spinster aunt, Miss Margaret Shaw, who came here from Scotland, and lived with the family, could read the Gaelic Bible. She died at the age of 104 and was buried at Philadelphus. [Her tombstone reads 1803-1903]

Now retired, McNeill enjoys collecting old things, especially antique guns. He spends a great deal of his time repairing old firearms for himself and for others. He owns an "old Kentucky gun" which he says will shoot as well as any modern firearm.



Where Were the Roads of Yesterday?
[see original]
[By Dick Brown for his column "Cape Fear Country" in the Fayetteville Observer, dated 20 February 1980.]

Modern highway maps are crisscrossed with a wide variety of raods leading from city to city, town to town and village to village. Few places are inaccessible to today's traveler.

But what about the roads of yesterday — where were they and where did they lead?

The Interstate 95 of the 1830's was the new York-New Orleans Stage Road, more commonly known as a Four Horse Mail Post.

It came down through Virginia, through Warrenton, Louisburg and on to Raleigh. From there it was a straight shot south by Averasboro into Fayetteville, which was the highway hub of the Cape Fear.

Almost all major north-south and east-west roads connected at the Cumberland County seat.

The New York-New Orleans route continued southwest across Rockfish Creek and on to Davis Springs. The next stop was Randalsville and then came Montpelier (now Wagram) and the Lumber River [see another map showing these towns].

At Montpelier, the road branched west and south. The right fork carried travelers to Rockingham and Wadesboro, while the main stage line continued south through Old Laurel Hill and on across the South Carolina line near Brightsville.

A part of this route was remarked several years ago by Scotland County Boy Scouts and modern motorists can trace it by the uniquie stagecoach signs posted at important landmarks.

Another four-horse mail route ran due east and west, crossing Little and Great Cohera Creeks on it way to Clinton. The route west passed through Calvin's Grove to Montrose and also connected with Rockingham in Richmond County.

Lesser roads also branched out of Fayetteville.

One went south by Prospect Hill and Lyons on its way to Elizabethtown and on to the coast. Another passed through St. Pauls en route to Lumberton.

In addition, a variety of two-horse stage and one-horse sulky roads, little better than trails, led in all directions.

The Stewartsville Road, which came from the south out of Bennettsville, was heavily traveled. It crossed Barnes Bridge over Gum Swamp Creek in what is now Scotland County and continued on to Stewartsville Post Office. From there it connected Cowper Hill and Philadelphus. there was also a one-horse road leading to Queensdale.

To the north of Fayetteville, communities connected by one- and two-horse roads included Argyle, Johnsonville, Harrington, Northington, The Pocket, Longstreet, Chalk Level and Martha's Vineyard.

Towns like Laurinburg, Maxton, Pembroke, Raeford, Southern Pines, Dunn and Aberdeen were still years away.

Many of today's highways still follow the routes of the past, but the landmarks and the stage stops that travelers once knew so well have faded into oblivion.


Obituaries

Clippings from the scrapbooks of the McKay sisters, from the McKay-Edgerton Collection

 


Excerpts from Notable Sources

Explanation of how land claims and entries became land grants in North Carolina, from "The Dixie Frontier," by Everett Dick, 1948, p. 10:

"The North Carolina law, applicable to Tennessee in 1782, had the advantage over that of Kentucky, however, in that an official surveyor marked off the land. The system was: (1) A claimant would go into the woods and mark out roughly the boundaries of the desired tract. (2) This rude survey when submitted to the entry-taker at the land office was called an "entry." He made a record of the entry and issued a warrant for the survey. (3) The official surveyor connected with the land office then made a survey and submitted a plat to the secretary of state, who issued a land grant. (4) The title was complete when the grant was recorded in the office of the register of the county where the land lay."

For an example of this process, take a look at the entry for Lewis and William Munroe in the deed section of this site. I highly recommend The Dixie Frontier by Everett Dick to any researcher interested in the lives of pioneers of the lands between the Appalachian mountains and Mississippi River and beyond.


Notes & Scraps of Information

From a genealogical note by Mary Kate Carmichael McKay [widow of George McKay of Philadelphus] about her ancestry, written circa 1954-55. Some names with underlining were done so by Mary Kate herself indicating her descent from these people:

Archibald Carmichael b Scotland 1749 d SC 1830-40 m Mary ______ b Scotland 1749 d SC 1820-30 Three children Katherine, Neil, Duncan.

Duncan Carmichael b. N.C. abt 1778 d. S.C. 1836 m Mary Monroe b. N.C. 1790 d. S.C. 1857 7 children Neil M., Duncan A., William, John, Archibald M., Mary, Reddin Owens –

Duncan A b. 1806 d. 1850-1860 m Christian McRae 6 children John R., Alexander, William D., Archibald, Mary, Flora, Duncan McRae b. 1849 d. 1928 m. Mary Alford 7 children 2 died in childhood John C., Mary Kate, Margaret, Duncan, Neill McRae. Mary Kate b 1877 m George McKay [oldest son of James Franklin McKay and Ann Flora McPherson McKay of Philadelphus].

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A list of Confederate veterans' graves located in the McNeill cemetery in Red Springs, NC, written in an unknown hand:

These names were probably compiled in the 1950s by the local chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy:

MacNeill Cemetery
Confederate Veterans

Daniel E. MacNeill [brothers]
William MacNeill [brothers]
Hector MacNeill [brothers]
James MacNeill [brothers]

Neil B. Watson [brothers]
Charles S. Watson [brothers]

John Hill Coppedge
John A. MacKay [oldest son of Duncan and Harriett McNeill McKay of Philadelphus]
Andrew Brown
Thomas W. Edens
Pickett Gibson
James A. McLeod

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From a fraction of a deed found in the Courthouse in Lumberton:

Register of Deeds Office, Book T, Page 427, Lumberton, NC

State of Alabama, Monroe County
Know all men by these presents that Archabald McMillan and Barbara McCorvey (formerly Barbara McMillan [married John McCorvey] both of said State and County aforesaid...) make Neill McMillan and Murdock McCorvey both of said State and County true and lawful attorneys... and for us to receive in money personal and other property whatever the same may be comming to us as heirs and legatees of our late father, John McMillan, of Robeson County, N.C...

8 November 1825

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From a piece of paper found in my brother's McNeill history files:

While going through some of my brother's McNeill histories, I found this note on a piece of paper that says the info on it came from Jerry McNeill 5 Jan 1983. But be aware that her descendants have always believed that Jane McNeill was born in Scotland, not North Carolina:

"Information from Jerry McNeill, Rt. 4, Box 929, Sanford, NC 29330

Hector McNeill (the tailor) son of Malcom McNeill (Rev War soldier) who died in 1810 in probably Cumberland County, NC. Malcom McNeill's wife was Nancy McNeill, who died in the 1840's, age 93 in (Robeson Co.?) NC. (Malcom Fowler thought Malcom McNeill was a brother of Archd McNeill who married Jenny Bahn Smith). This also came from Malcom Fowler: Hector (the tailor) McNeill, son of Malcom McNeill, had a brother who moved to St. Augustine, Tex. about 1835. He became known as "Texas Neill" McNeill.

Nancy McNeill had a daughter, Jane McNeill, who married a Wm. McNeill. Nancy was one of the oldest living residents in Robeson Co. when she died. Malcom McNeill owned 1,140 acres in Moore Co, NC and 444 acres in Cumberland Co, NC.

Malcom McNeill married in the Spring of 1776, to Nancy McNeill. The marriage licence of bann wasn't gotten until 1778 for which they paid 60 pounds & was witnessed by 'Hector McNeill (a friend)'.

Above from Jerry McNeill 5 Jan 1983
."

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McCoulskey information, found and typed by unknown person:

Neill McCoulskey and Mary Clark Joined in Wedlock the 17th day of April in the year 1754? my Eldest daughter Margaret was Born the 21st day of May in the year 1755 - Flora my next was born the 16th day of Jauary in the year 1757 - Christian my net was Born the 3rd day of October in the year 1758 - my next born and eldest son Duncan was Born the 26th day of September in the year 1760 the twins were Born the 2nd day of May in the year 1763.

My father Duncan McCoulskey Departed this Life the 15th of july in the year 1762.

Neill McCoulskey, his memorandum.

(on reversed side of yellowed manuscript)

Memorandum of the Young negros.

Black Jack was Born the 23rd day of May in the year 1769 Chloe negro Gierl was Born the 2 day of July the year 1772

negro Gierl was Born 15 day of June 17__. was born the 28 day of may the year 1776

Related and attached to the McCoulskey info above: [The Kate Biggs collection has been damaged by vandals and thieves who have rifled through and stolen much of the records in the library there. The following is an exact copy of the papers I'm typing from.]

Kate Biggs File 42 Robeson Co Pub Library, Lumberton, N.C.

copied from letter from Mrs. Paul R. Gray, Graceville, FL 1969

Catherine McCoulskey (a twin) born May 2, 1763 married Alexander McGeachy (the first McGeachy from Scotland). Her parents were Neil McCoulskey and Mary Clark McCoulskey. Neil and Mary were married April 17, 1754.

Duncan McCoulskey and his wife, Catherine, were the parents of Neil. They obtained grants near Elkton in 1743 and 1745. I would like to find proof of this information and Duncan's ancestors.

Ronald McGeachy, son of Alexander and Catherine McCoulskey McGeachy was born August 14, 1798. He married Janet Currie born Jan. 26, 1807.

I named my youngest son Arthur Currie for my father's side of the family. That is the reason I would particularly like to find out more about the Curries. My grandfather's name was Alexander Currie McGeachy.

_______________________________

Information given to Jay Edgerton from Warren McNeill, Sr. of Red Springs, NC, circa 1970-80:

Daniel McNeill [born ca. 1772 - died Oct-Nov 1837; son of Godfrey McNeill] came from Scotland (Edinburgh) [It's highly unlikely that he came from Edinburgh] and settled in Back Swamp Township three miles west of Lumberton at the old Lumber River bridge where Miss Florence McNeill later lived. He married Celia Humphrey from Saddletree Township. Their children were Enoch, John, William, David and Dawsey. Daughters were Nancy, Kitty [Catherine], Susie and Betsy [and Margaret]     [long, empty space here in document]     Married a Townsend from Hope Mills.

[A] Enoch's children were Florence, Henry D and John H and Mary Eliza. Enoch's wife was Christine McDougald from Moore County, now Hoke. None of Enoch's children had any children. [Enoch married Christianna McDougald]
[B] John married Mary Cribb from South Carolina and had no children
[C] William married Charity Stone and their children were James and Emory D. McNeill [James S., John G., Neill D. and Emory D. were their children. Emory was reared by his aunt, Nancy McNeill King]
[D] David married Lavinia Watson from Marion County, S.C. and their children were Nanny Ruth, Elmer, Pearl, Myrtle and George.
[E] Dawsey [Daniel] married Emma Smith from Robeson County and their children were D.B and Murphy McNeill. Daniel married Irene King
[F] Nancy [Ann] married Charles Ivey one son John Ivey. Nancy later married Sheriff Reuben King who was killed by the Lowery Gang. She reared Emory D. McNeill who was her nephew.
[G] Kitty [Catherine] married Stephen Wiggins and had one child Mary who married John Barnes
[H,I] Susie [Susan] never married and Betsy never married.

Emory McNeill was the son of William McNeill who was the son of Daniel McNeill [Daniel McNeill, "Daniel the Hatter", was the son of Godfrey McNeill and Kitty McDougald who came from Scotland about 1760. Through his grandfather, Emory McNeill, Warren McNeill of Red Springs was a direct descendant of Godfrey McNeill.]