The Argyll Colonists of 1739

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

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

Daniel McNeill
Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Daniel McNeill of Arminish, Gigha, Argyll, was a younger brother of Hector McNeill of Taynish, Knapdale, Argyll, Chief of the Southern Clan Macneil. Daniel was one of the minor Scottish gentry and a head of family in the colony. When he emigrated from Taynish Daniel was heavily in debt, a powerful incentive to remove himself to North Carolina. He survived until at least 1774, per a Bladen County tax record wherein he sold a horse. Daniel's father, Neil of Taynish, is said to have been born in 1697, which would place Daniel's birth year about 1720; the 1697 year is incorrect and is more likely the year Neil married, as Neil had a daughter who married her second husband in 1727.
Daniel sold his plantation "Tweedside" on the Cape Fear River (its location is now in Cumberland County at Dunfield Creek), and after 1757 moved into Bladen County proper near Brown Marsh Presbyterian Church where his children and grandchildren lived. Daniel is supposedly the father of many children by two wives. His first wife's name is unknown), but they had one daughter, Margaret who remained in Scotland and who married a Rev. Mowat. By his second wife, Margaret McTavish, he had three proven daughters, Jane, Isabella and Elizabeth, and a proven son , Dr. Archibald McNeill who resided in Dorchester County, S.C. Dr. Archibald McNeill has been found by a researcher at the NC Department of Archives and History to have been a son of Daniel McNeill.
Daniel is widely claimed to have been the father of "Scribblin Archie" McNeill but there is absolutely no evidence and therefore no proof of that. And there would be little reason to have two sons named Archibald. So, per existing records,
Daniel had four daughters total and one son.
Daniel's daughter Elizabeth married William McNeill, and they are ancestors of the painter James Abott MacNeill Whistler.

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

Neill Dubh McNeill
Family Chart  |   Deeds: 1, 2, x, x
aka "Black Neill" McNeill, born c.1690, was a colony leader who it is said did not live permanently in the Cape Fear region but remained in Brunswick, below Wilmington, NC, where he had interest in a tavern; indeed, records show he owned land in New Hanover Co. as early as 1738. New Hanover County court minutes mention Neil McNeil as a grand juror in June 1741 and was fined for not appearing. He married Grizella Campbell in Scotland certainly long before 1728, the year of their son Duncan's birth per his tombstone. Neill appears to be dead by 1749, but court records for New Hanover abruptly stop in 1741 and do not exist for the subsequent 20 years that may have shown Neill's activity in that area. He was father of "Bluff Hector", Duncan of the Bluff, and an Archibald McNeill; "Bluff Hector" names these two brothers in his will of 1761.

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

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

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

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

Dugald McNeill
Dugald McNeill of Lossit, Kintyre, Argyll and son of Hector McNeill of Lossit and Ann Campbell. Dugald was one of the colony's leaders; died unmarried and intestate in New Hanover County, NC by January 29, 1741, per his estate record in that county. His estate record freed indentured servants named Thomas Cochran, Daniel McPhater, Cirstan Curry and Mary McMurphy. Dugald owned the Cape Fear River plantation "Port Neil", located in Cumberland County on the southeast side of the river very close to 'Barmore', the McAlester plantation, both of which were a few miles away from 'The Bluff', the Silver Run Creek plantation of "Bluff Hector" McNeill. Captain John McNeill of Edinburgh, Scotland was Dugald's only surviving brother and thus was heir to Dougald's estate, particularly his Port Neill plantation. Dugald is said to have cared more for his own interests than the that of the colony or colonists, but that is probably an unfair judgment in that he lived barely a year after the arrival of the colony giving him hardly any time to prove himself otherwise.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Archibald McNeill
Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x
This Archibald may have been "Scribbling Archie" (who should more accurately be known as "Archibald Bahn" McNeill) but no 1740 Argyll Colony grants were given to Scribbling Archie as he was not a head of family at the time. However, "Scribbling Archie" did purchase a grant for himself in 1741 near the forks of the Deep and Haw rivers, sold by his son Daniel in 1812
. In the 1740s "Scribbling Archie" was living on Tranthams Creek in 1742 on land "laid out for" him. It should be noted that there were three Archibald McNeills in the petition of Presbyterian Gentlemen to the Synod of Scotland in 1748. According to Rassie Wicker who transcribed the Cumberland County 1755 tax list I posted, it did not count all settlers in the county, but shows two Archibald McNeills. There were four Archibald McNeills in 1755 Cumberland County: "Bluff Archy", "Scribbling Archie", "Verga. Archibald" and Archibald McNeill who was the brother of "Bluff Hector".

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

"Bluff Hector" McNeill
Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x
He is generally included at an Argyll colonist but recieved no grant as head of family in 1740. He died in 1767, or in 1768 which was the year of probate for his will. He was the son (likely the oldest) of Neill Dubh McNeill, aka "Black Neill
" and Neill McNeill of Ardelay. In his will "Bluff Hector" names a brother Duncan and a brother Archibald. Hector and his mother are named in Isabella McAuslan's will of 1748 in New Hanover County. Bluff Hector was Cumberland Co.'s first sheriff & operated as Attorney for Duncan Campbell of Kilduskland [see above], who had returned to Scotland. Bluff Hector sold Campbell's Cape Fear lands for him, and was made power of attorney by Dugald McNeill's surviving brother Captain John McNeill of Edinburgh, Scotland. He was the Hector McNeill who owned the estate "The Bluff" at Silver Run Creek which he settled supposedly in 1742 (date per author Malcolm Fowler but I can find no source for that date), and owned the 640-acre estate on Taylor's Hole a short distance north, both on the east side of CFR. Bluff Hector's wife was Mary McAlester (daughter of Alexander McAlester, Sr.) who survived him by a few decades.

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

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

"Carver Hector" McNeill
Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
This Hector McNeill was called "Carver Hector" in his lifetime, and he was cited as 'Hector McNeill, carver' in a deed. Malcolm Fowler, author of Valley of the Scots, was the first to publish his nickname as "Hector McNeill, Carver" in that book. A 1773 grant to a Buchanan is located on a creek named "Carver Hector McNeills Creek" and the grant was on "Carver Hector McNeill's line". Other than the location of his lands, he is distinguished from "Bluff Hector" McNeill in that "Carver Hector" could not sign his name and used an 'X' for his signature.
Rev. David McAllister, in his 1900 history of his family, cited a 1737 letter written to Alexander McAllister that included an inquiry by Laughlin and Margaret Johnston McNeill about the welfare of their son Hector McNeill who had come to NC the year before; this Hector is believed to have been "Carver Hector" because there were only one Hector McNeill with that colony who received grants of land and there is no proof "Bluff Hector" was one of them; indeed, he was under 20 years of age in 1740 when the grants were given out. "Bluff Hector" is now proved to have been the son of "Black Neill" McNeill, and a brother of Duncan McNeill, Esq.
"Carver Hector" is the same Hector McNeill who received a 640-acre river tract in 1740 (sold in 1778) at the confluence of Haw and Deep Rivers adjacent to the 360-acre tracts of three other McNeill men, Archibald ("Archibald Bahn" McNeill), Neill and Turquill McNeill (see Turquill below) who each received theirs in 1741. By 1746, "Carver Hector" owned land on Lower Little River at Carver's Creek some of which he "conveyed" to Turquill McNeill in 1750 which Turquill passed to his son, "Long Duncan". "Hector Carver" is dead after 1778, the year he sold his 640-acre tract on the Haw, the final record that identifies him. A Cumberland Co. deed dated 1808 names his only child & heir, Elizabeth who was born in 1739. She married James McNeill of Rockfish Creek who according to oral tradition came to NC in 1740 at the age of eight. From bible records and matching call numbers and descriptions on deeds associated with Hector and James it is proved that James was Hector's son-in-law and that in 1756 he sold part of Carver Hector's 1740 grant for 222 acres on the east side of the CFR. Carver Hector later bought half of Turquill McNeill's tract on east side of CFR at the confluence of Deep and Haw Rivers between Neill McNeill and Archibald McNeill. Were they his brothers?
John Cameron
Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x

Lachlan/Laughlin McNeill
Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1
I believe this is the Lachlan McNeill who died between 1767 & 1770, and who had a son named Hector McNeill, per a Cumberland Co. deed dated 1770. By 1748, there were three Hector McNeills in the area of legal age each of which signed the petition for a minister by men of the Cape Fear. It is claimed this Lachlan McNeill is the husband of Margaret Johnstone of Campbelton in Argyll, Scotland and that they were the parents of some of the McNeill men of the Argyll Colony, but there is no proof I know of that Lauchlan and Margaret Johnston McNeill came over with the Argyll Colony and no available proof they were the parents of either of these particular McNeill men; however, letters from the McAlester family of this time mention that Laughlin and Margaret Johnstone did indeed have a son named Hector who was with the 1736 wave of the Argyll Colony.

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

Malcolm McNeill
Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, 2, 3, 4
Received a 1740 grant in the fork of the Cape Fear River and Upper Little River adjacent to James Campbell, and across the CFR from Gilbert Patterson and Hugh McCranie. The grant was 300 acres and was sold before 1748 to John Anderson and through subsequent owners ended up in the hands of Martin Trantham. Eventually it was bought by the sons of "Scribblin Archie" McNeill. More research needs to be done on this Malcolm McNeill, but existing deeds and land records offer very little information on him. I suspect he may have been the father of Neill McNeill of Upper Little River near Danilies Creek; if so, this Malcolm McNeill was probably around the age of 50 when he arrived in 1739 with the colony and appears to have died between 1739 and 1748.

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

Neill McNeill
Family Chart  | Deeds: 1, x, x, x
This Neill McNeill on Trantham Creek is the father of several children--two boys and four girls--including Roger McNeill of 'Roger's Meeting House' which became Bluff Presbyterian Church. The church is named for Neill's son, Roger McNeill, who died in 1789. Neill died in 1764. DNA matches prove this Neill McNeill was a Taynish McNeill, and may have been the younger brother of Daniel McNeill of Taynish [see above]. As Roger is a name that ran in Neill's Taynish family in Scotland, and since it was never used in other McNeill families in the Cape Fear region, it is tempting to believe this Neill was indeed Daniel's brother.

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

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

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

"Long Neill" / "Red Neill" McNeill
This may be the giant (said to have been a sailor) "Red Neill" McNeill of the Argyll Colony who lived in what was Bladen County and is today Harnett County, and about whom exist the many legends that Malcolm Fowler recorded. If so, "Long Neill" was unmarried, had no children, and died about 1759 during the 'Great Distemper' that killed many people in the colony.

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

Torquill McNeill
Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, 2, x, x, 5

Listed in the Cumberland Co. 1755 tax list adjacent the households of James McNeill and Archibald McNeill. According to Bladen Co. tax lists, Torquill/Turquill moved to the western part of upper Bladen Co. just east of the western corner of Cumberland Co.'s Buffalo Creek, now Hoke Co., c. 1765 & lived near his sons "Long Duncan" McNeill & Laughlin McNeill there. Owned land on CFR & Carver's Creek as well as tracts in Robeson Co. on Wilkinson Swamp in today's Robeson County. Turquill's son "Long Duncan" married Margaret McNeill, grand daughter of "Carver Hector" McNeill [see above]. Though he wrote his will in 1792, Turquill died shortly after 1797. Jonathan Butcher, a professional genealogist (deceased) claimed Turquill's wife was Mary Bethune, but his source is unknown; he also suggested that Turquill, James, Archibald, Hector and Malcolm were sons of Laughlin and Margaret Johnstone McNeill but the only known son of Laughlin and Margaret Johnstone McNeill was a Hector McNeill (from a letter dated 1737) who is highly likely to have been "Carver Hector" McNeill [see above].

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

John McPherson
Family Chart  | Deeds: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Granted in 1740, 640A in two tracts, one being 320A on Cross Creek and one in today's Harnett County. Later bought tracts at today's McPherson Church in Fayetteville, but left Cumberland Co. ca. 1765 to live on Raft Swamp (with his younger son Daniel) where in 1789 he made his contested will and died in January of 1791. Many of John's descendants live in Robeson and Cumberland Counties to this day, e.g., the McArthurs of McPherson Church in Fayetteville and the McPherson and Buie descendants around Red Springs, NC. John McPherson likely had his son Alexander on the voyage in 1739. His daughter Catherine (1741-1822) is the ancestress of the Campbells of Campbells Bridge in Robeson County, the descendants of "Beaverdam Daniel" Patterson, and the descendants of Lewis and Minnie McPherson Munroe. John McPherson's wife's name is lost.

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

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

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

John Smith
Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x, x
It is said that after landing at Brunswick & embarking from Wilmington upriver on barges & flatboats with the Argyll colonists, Smith's wife, Margaret Gilchrist, died along the river journey & was buried on the shore in Bladen Co. John and Margaret Gilchrist Smith were the parents of Jennet "Jennie Bahn" Smith McNeill. Some sources claim, without proof, that Smith was living along the Cape Fear before the arrival of the Argyll Colony; he may, however, have come with the scouting party in 1736 and remained behind.

Alexander McAlester
Family Chart  |  Deeds: 1, x, x
One of the colony's leaders, about whom much is known and documented.

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

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

Returned to Scotland in 1740s and never returned, but kept up a steady correspondence with this brother, Alexander [above] which documents their negotiation for Hector's land in Cumberland Co. that remained unsold for decades. These letters can be found in the McAllister Papers Collection at the NC State Archives.

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

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

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

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

Alive 1756 per Cumberland County deed to Stephen Phillips.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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