Malcolm McPherson and Christian Downie McPherson, both of whom hailed from "Glenurcha" (Is this a misspelling of Glenorchy in Argyllshire west of Oban?) in Scotland. They sailed from Greenock, Scotland, in 1774 aboard the ship Ulysses, and landed at Wilmington with their two young children, William aged 9 and Janet aged 10. By 1778 Malcolm has arranged to buy 100 acres east of Beaver Creek in Cumberland County, NC, from Alexander McPherson, Jr. The deed, dated 1778, is witnessed by "Robt" McPherson (is this Robert McPherson of Anson County, NC?) and John McPherson, but the deed is not entered into the record until 1784. According to a later Cumberland County deed of 1808, this same property is said to have been surveyed in 1785 yet purchased through the 1778 deed from Alexander McPherson "Junr" on Beaver Creek in Cumberland County, NC. Nonetheless, Malcolm Sr. and his sons eventually amassed over one thousand contiguous acres there.
The Alexander McPherson Jr. who sold Malcolm the 100 acres in 1778 must have been Alexander McPherson of Jura who in 1790 married the widow Elizabeth (nee Murray) Baker. Records show Alexander of Jura had land east of Beaver Creek near its northern source. Also, the 1778 deed states "Alexander McPherson Jr". The term 'Jr.' was used very often to differentiate a younger man from older man in the region who had the same name but who may not have been related to the younger man (i.e., Alexander McPherson son of Old John McPherson). Yet Malcolm, Sr. and the Alexander Jr. who sold him this tract may have been related, as newly-arrived immigrants often settled close to relatives already settled when possible (called chain migration).
It is perhaps Malcolm and Christian's daughter Janet who married late in life Thomas Brown in Richmond County in 1815. Cumberland County deeds show Malcolm's and Christian's son William went to adjacent Richmond County, NC, and records indicate other siblings of this family left for Richmond as well. Some even moved into South Carolina's bordering county, Chesterfield District. In moving to neighboring Richmond County William left behind his land patented with his three brothers on Beaver Creek in Cumberland. Brothers William and Daniel in 1808 signed over via a quit claim deed their interest in this property to their younger brother, Malcolm (known as "Malcolm, Jr." in Cumberland County).
Although the passenger list of the Ulysses shows Malcolm, Sr. and his wife Christian had two ten-year-old children with them upon arriving in America, they had many more children. These children likely were born later than Janet and William. Some may have been older and some certainly were born later in Cumberland County. From the passenger list we know Malcolm and Christian's able son William was born in 1765. HOWEVER, another older William McPherson was in Cumberland County in 1760 where and when he registered in county court his cattle brand alongside a John McPherson (very probably Old John McPherson as he appears to be the only John McPherson in the county at this time and mature enough to be initiating a court proceeding). This older William is not Malcolm Sr.'s son; could he have been Malcolm, Sr.'s brother? A Captain William McPherson (in the militia?) is listed as a road overseer in Cumberland court records in 1788, and he may have been the William registering his cattle brand in 1760. A William McPherson and Malcolm McPherson are found owning land in neighboring Richmond County on Gum Swamp in the 1790s. Perhaps Malcolm Sr. and his oldest son William were investing in land there, so perhaps the whole McPherson family moved to Richmond. Therefore, it should be noted by all researchers of a William McPherson coming out of this area that there were TWO William McPhersons from Cumberland County who were contemporaries, who lived in the same part of the county just west of the Cape Fear River and who may have been related. More research is needed.
Malcolm and Christian Downie McPherson's children:
Malcolm McPherson, Jr.'s signature
signature from Colin McPherson's Cumberland Co., NC, estate,
signature from his Chesterfield Co., SC, will,
The two curiously similar signatures at left, plus the information from his 1850 obituary from the Fayetteville Observer, show that the Malcolm McPherson of Chesterfield County, SC, and the Malcolm McPherson of Cumberland County are indeed the same man, and the son of Malcolm and Christian Downie McPherson. Malcolm is identified as "Jr." in Cumberland records and as "Sr." in his Chesterfield will indicating the presence of a younger Malcolm McPherson in the area of Chesterfield in which he resided. Moreover, a Cumberland County deed from Malcom McPherson to John A. Williams, dated 1849, in which he is selling his inherited lands in Cumberland County, shows Malcolm's residence as Chesterfield District, SC. The location of this Cumberland property can be seen on an 1884 map at the Cumberland County Library; a J.D. Williams's name is found adjacent to the McPherson name at the top.
It is not known at this time whether Malcolm McPherson married or had children; the terms of his will do not indicate a surviving spouse or children.
Also, the 1822 estate record and family of Neill McPherson of Richmond County should be examined for obvious additional relationships to the family of Malcolm McPherson.
[more on Malcolm McPherson to come]