11/12/20 — As a genealogical researcher, never underestimate the importance of petitions in estate records as they can be a treasure trove of information. One such petition dated 1849 in Cumberland County records has come to light and I'd never read it fully until now. It identifies a certain Neill McNeill as "Neill McNeill (Surveyor)" who in 1849 was living on Upper Little River in that part of old Cumberland County that is today Harnett County and near the border of Moore County. This is "Surveyor Neill" whose nickname has come down through the years, and whose lineage has been confused and unconfirmed by research (much like "Texas Neill" McNeill who, as a son of Malcolm McNeill, Sr. named below, was also a part of this broad McNeill clan). Just why this Neill's nickname is used in this particular instrument is unknown. (It should be noted here that this use of a man's nickname is another example of one made and excepted by him during his lifetime, not made by researchers to differentiate him from others with the same name.) Unless "Surveyor Neill" can be found with that moniker in the Cumberland's court minutes before 1855 — the year that northern Cumberland became Harnett County encompassing much of the lands of his family — he is not identified as such in the records anywhere else. So far, county records have been of little help in completely sorting out his family and ancestors; their use of first names over and over is so far an impediment to their identification. Online Cumberland County deeds are the tool I've chosen to work this McNeill line out, though I have yet to explore Cumberland's court minutes (which are not online) due to the current pandemic. The gist of it is that, through land records, Surveyor Neill's grandfather was old Neill McNeill of Upper Little River (ca. 1730-ca. 1808) as the heirs named in the petition already have been proved old Neill's descendants.
The petition arises from the complaint by the widow of a Malcolm McNeill (let's call him Malcolm Jr. for this entry) who died in Cumberland County in 1841 around the age of 50. Malcolm Jr.'s estate is dated 1844 in Cumberland's estates, but that date is wrong because one of the documents in the estate folder is dated 1841 showing his widow signing over her right to administer on her husband's estate to one Duncan Patterson. In the coming 1850 census Duncan Patterson would be one of this widow's near neighbors. Malcolm Jr.'s father was Malcolm McNeill, Sr. (ca. 1750-1810), who was most likely Surveyor Neill's uncle, and who was a son of old Neill McNeill of Upper Little River named above. Also in this estate settlement, Malcolm Jr.'s widow, Mary (née Kelly) McNeill, was complaining that her husband was omitted from the distribution of the estate of his father, Malcolm Sr., some time previous (no county record of estates includes his father's estate). Exactly why this Malcolm Jr. was omitted in the settlement is unknown, however, the petition mentioned above and the Revolutionary Pension records of Malcolm Jr.'s father, Malcolm McNeill Sr., show that Malcolm Sr. had died intestate in 1810 in Cumberland County. In 1810 Malcolm Sr.'s children were underage: Perhaps Malcolm Jr. was Malcolm Sr.'s oldest child and it was thought that Jr. had been given land by his father.
Malcolm Sr., and his wife Nancy (née McNeill) McNeill (1754-1847) were the couple who were infamous genealogically as the step-siblings who married, Malcolm Sr. having been a son of the widower Neill McNeill of Upper Little River and Nancy a daughter of the widow Jane Campbell McNeill by her first husband William McNeill. A comparison of Old Neill's will of 1808, deeds concerning his land on Upper Little River (at this link, scroll down and compare all the three deeds in a row), and this 1849 settlement all reveal that Neill of Upper Little River had quite a spread of land on and around Upper Little River in Cumberland and over into Moore County. Having married the widow Jane Campbell McNeill, old Neill must have been living with her in Robeson and their own two sons ("Marsh Daniel" and John) when he wrote his will and died. In his will old Neill divided this Upper Little River spread amongst his three sons by his first wife whose name is lost (And, no, she was not Flora Riddle!). Those three sons were Malcolm (ca. 1750-1810, who married Nancy, his step-sister), Hector called "Hector McNeill Sr." of Lower Little River who died in 1839 and who married Margaret McNeill (daughter of Turquill McNeill of Robeson County), and Neill who lived on Upper Little River all his life until what appears to have been his death about 1811. As I do more research on these descendants of Neill McNeill II, the son of old Neill McNeill of Upper Little River, I'll be adding more to this update.
3/12/20 — In view of the current pandemic, I am reposting a letter of October 1918 from my grandmother, Ella McKay Pellegrini, to her sister Mary Elizabeth "Mamie" McKay in the Philadelphus community of Robeson County during the influenza pandemic. It has reminded me of American Experience's documentary about the Influenza pandemic which is worth watching if only to see the parallels between today's idiotic and incompetent responses and those of 1918, including those who refused to wear masks even to protect their own families (See where that got them in 1918?). Ella was a Red Cross U.S. Army Registered Nurse assigned to the military hospital at Camp Meade, Maryland in September. Mamie had studied nursing in Wilmington, NC in 1907 but due to illness could not finish her training. Ella's letter describes the conditions of the soldiers and patients (civilians were taken in there, too) at the hospital and how they suffered and died. It is a poignant letter. As a boy she told me how horrible it all was, and that one of her fellow nurses, her roommate there, became sick and died while Ella, sick herself, was working three straight shifts (the doctors made her go back to her room and sleep lest she would soon die like so many others). Not everyone who caught this flu died, but more died of it worldwide between early 1918 and early 1920 than all the people killed in the First World War from 1914 to 1918. Ella mentions that her nephew Willie and her youngest brother, Sam, had both been sick. Both survived. Sam became a dentist in Lillington, NC. Also mentioned was Diane, a black woman who was born on the McKay farm in 1865 and lived there all her life; she was the ancestress of the Willie B. Smith family of Wagram, NC. A subsequent letter Ella received from her mother living in the Philadelphus community states that the nearby town of Rowland had some 600 cases of flu.
11/11/19 — For people interested in further documentation concerning the family of John McNeill of Richland Swamp, I've brought together many deeds for him and most of his children below. He is, after all, not part of the canon of Scottish immigrant McNeill men of the Robeson area who left a legacy of descendants, there is no trail of documents and sources to herald his early existence in the region, nor is there any oral tradition for local historians to point to as an ancestor of those around the county and beyond. So, his existence has been overlooked. He died around 1819-20 and left no will and no estate record, just a few deeds, listed below. One of those deeds, dated 1800, actually identifies him as "John McNeill (Richland Swamp)". I've searched for him in Robeson County court minutes but there is nothing written there to positively identify him; there were three or four other John McNeills in the county in his time.
You'll notice most all of the lands detailed in the deeds below were south of Red Springs around the head of Panther Branch, touching Moodys Bay above Richland Swamp (the exact location of Moody Bay has not been found yet), and on McDugalds Branch in the same area. McDugalds Branch was on the north side of Richland Swamp and may have become what is Wilkes Branch today: the executors of Archibald McDugald sold his lands to William Wilks in 1818 the deed of which sale states the north side of Richland as McDugalds Branch's location, and Wilks Branch is on the north side as well. Panther Branch still runs parallel to the north side of Richland Swamp, but it's possible by now Moody Bay and McDugalds Branch may have been drained and plowed over; they are not labeled on any maps though topozone maps of the area would almost certainly reveal them as oval bays and tributaries. Richland Swamp was also known in these early days as Scolding Branch and, much earlier, as Solomons Swamp. On the 1922 Lennon Map of Robeson County (found at the State Archives of NC Search Room in Raleigh), Richland is labeled "Scolding or Richland Swamp". The name Richland Swamp occurs as early as the 1790s in deeds, but is found well into the mid 1800s as Scolding (or Scalding) Branch, and Richland Swamp, but less so as Solomons Swamp. The names became interchangeable.
1788 — "Alexander McNeill Esqr. lately of Robson County and now of South Carolina" to Archibald McDugald on Solomon (Richland) Swamp, Robeson Co., NC
1788 — Alexander McNeill to John McNeill of Richland Swamp, Robeson Co., NC
1794 — Grant No. 1178, State of North Carolina to John McNeill of Richland Swamp, Robeson Co., NC
1796 — Archibald McDugald to Malcolm McNeill, two surveys on McDugalds Branch, Robeson Co., NC
1797 — Grant No. 1646, State of North Carolina to John McNeill of Richland Swamp, Robeson Co., NC
1798 — Malcolm McNeill to Archibald McNeill, on Richland Swamp, Robeson Co., NC
1800 — Angus Gilchrist to John McNeill of Richland Swamp, Robeson County, NC (This deed twice identifies John as "John McNeill (Richland Swamp)")
1823 — Duncan McNeill to Heirs of his father, John McNeill, deceased, of Richland Swamp, Robeson Co., NC (Duncan married Effy Murphy)
1823 — Malcolm McNeill to the Heirs of his father, John McNeill, deceased, of Richland Swamp, Robeson Co., NC (Malcolm married Mary Ray, had several children and moved to Sumter County, Georgia)
1825 — Elizabeth McNeill to Heirs of her father, John McNeill, deceased, of Richland Swamp, Robeson Co., NC (Elizabeth married Turquill McNeill and went to Dent County, Missouri)
1825 — Isabel McNeill to The Heirs of her father, John McNeill, Robeson Co., NC (Isabella is believed to have married Hector McNeill of Richmond County, son of Laughlin McNeill and wife Mary (née McNeill) McNeill)
1825 — Elizabeth McNeill to her brothers, Neill and Daniel McNeill of Richland Swamp, Robeson Co., NC (Elizabeth married Turquill McNeill and went to Dent County, Missouri)
1829 — Isabel McNeill to The Heirs of her father, John McNeill, Robeson Co., NC (Second deed from Isabella; evidence shows she is likely to have married Hector McNeill of Richmond County, son of Laughlin McNeill and wife Mary (née McNeill) McNeill)
1835 — Neill McNeill to the Heirs of his father, John McNeill, Robeson Co., NC (Neill married Sarah McBryde)
1850 — Daniel McNeill of Richland Swamp to Alexander McPherson; Robeson Co., NC (This is "Daniel McNeill of Richland Swamp", 1805-1872.)
10/8/19 — (This has been updated in August 2020) I hesitate somewhat to add this, but I think it important to show that the account of the twice-married Jane Campbell McNeill McNeill and her children is rooted in truth, even if the account is based largely on family tradition going back over two centuries. The account below, transcribed from a faded copy from the 1960s, was written in 1907 by "Bub" McNeill of Robeson County, one of Jane's descendants. It contains errors, omissions, blurred-out sentences and some confusion, much of which, genealogically speaking, have been corrected with official records readily available online to today's researcher. However, without Bub's century-old account the foundation of the story concerning the intrepid Jane, her McNeill husbands, and their offspring would have been lost for interested descendants. My transcription below contains footnotes with further information on certain claims:
“William (or Neill) McNeill1 and Jane Campbell of Argyll Scotland were married about 178--.2 After the birth of five children the husband died and the widow, Jane Campbell McNeill, and four children came to America (the firspot child died on the way to America). Jane Campbell came to America about 1774. She settled somewhere at or near Campbellton3 with her four children viz: Archibald born March __th 1760;4 Hector date of birth not known;5 Elizabeth birth date unknown;6 Nancy birth date lost.7 Jane Campbell married the second time Neill McNeill and by this union were born two sons Daniel and John.8 The second husband was a widower with six children, three sons, Neill, Hector and Malcolm and three girls. The girls all married McNeills.9 One of them married Hector.10 Jane C. McNeill___ ___ ____ [an entire sentence here blurred out] ____________ married one of the above named brothers, her step-brother.11 Nancy was grandmother of Red Hector McNeill, late of Red Springs, N. C.12 There are many of Neill McNeill’s descendants, by his first wife, scattered through Moore and Harnett Counties today.13 Jane C. McNeill’s other daughter Elizabeth married James McNeill, a school teacher from Canada.14 They raised several children and after his first wife died he married again and moved to Florida.15 Two of his daughters remained in N. C., Maggie16 who married Big John McMillan father of Archie, Jimmie and Hector and Neill and three or four girls and Jane Campbell McNeill who lived with Big John’s family until she died a few years ago at Hector McMillan’s. Archie McNeill married four times and raised a large family.17 His descendants are scattered in N.C. and several other states. Hector, Jane C. McNeill’s son [namely, "Fiddler Hector"], married twice – both times McNeills – one his step-sister.18 I do not know if the other was a step-sister or not but rather think she was as she married a McNeill. He moved to Marion County S. C. in 180419 and died in 1830 leaving a number of children all of whom married. Daniel and John, Jane McNeill’s sons by her marriage with Neill McNeill of (S?). C. lived and died in Robeson County.20 Both raised families. John died and was buried near Great Marsh (near where this writer was born) and his family married and moved away. The daughters married McSwains and moved to Ga. One son, Malcolm ____ [another whole line blurred out] _____ married Mary Brown.21 They raised five children: ____ R., Neill and William, Jane C., who married ___ Mc_____ and moved to Miss., and Ala who married John Caldwell. They settled on Great Marsh and lived to raise six children none of whom still live on the old place. J. _. McNeill and William both raised families west of whe__ are living scattered about in N.C. and other states. The writer is a son of Neill McNeill who died in 1897 aged ___ years. John _., the oldest of the three brothers lived to the ripe old age of ___ years and some months.
Jan 19th, 1907”
1. Her first husband must have been a William McNeill, and nothing is known of him from any extant record. Per this account, and others, her second husband was Neill McNeill of Upper Little River, evident from his own will in Robeson County that named his four children, Malcolm, Hector Neill, and Elizabeth by a first wife, and his two sons by Jane, namely John and Daniel "Marsh Daniel" McNeill.
2. There is no record of their marriage but their son John appears to have been born around 1774, per a mortality census for 1850 that stated he died aged 76, if that is indeed the same John. Philadelphus Church session records state that Neill and Jane's son, Daniel McNeill, Sr. and his wife Mary Buie Brown McNeill, both died a few days apart in late 1852, he at the age of 77 and she at the of 67. (See footnote 8.)
3. I don't know where this bit of information comes from, but it is plausible: her second husband, Neill McNeill of Upper Little River, owned large tracts of land on that river in northern Cumberland County, around Danilies Creek. These are mentioned in his will, divised to his three older sons. Did Neill and Jane live in Cumberland for a time before relocating to Robeson?
4. This is Archibald McNeill, nicknamed "Archie Ghar". He was born 12 March 1760 per a family bible record that was copied not long before it was lost when Henry Hodgins's house burned.
5. This is Hector McNeill, nicknamed "Fiddler Hector". He was born about 1756 and died in 1830, buried in Evergreen, South Carolina. He married first a woman named either Jane or Eunice. The information on Jane comes from Revolutionary War records showing his spouse's name, and Eunice comes from oral tradition — were Eunice and Jane the same woman? His second wife was Ayles McNeill. Perhaps the similar endings of the two names, "Ayles" and "Eunice" caused confusion at some point and, instead of "Ayles", "Eunice" entered the record. At any rate, his second wife's name was Ayles, and, per DNA analysis, descendants of Ayles McNeill who have submitted DNA samples to Ancestry.com are matches to many distant descendants of four of the nine daughters and one son of James McNeill of Rockfish: Mary who married Malcolm McNeill (son of "Bluff Archie"); Margaret (my ancestress) who married "Long Duncan" McNeill; Jennet who married John Purcell Graham and moved to Alabama; Anne who married old Archibald McFadyen of Cumberland County; and one son, Danold who married Elizabeth McNeill, the daughter of "Archie Ghar" McNeill and Barbara Patterson. This proves Ayles was one of the nine daughters of James McNeill of Rockfish Creek and his wife Elizabeth (née McNeill) McNeill. Some say that the two wives of "Fiddler Hector" were sisters but, although that's possible, there is no proof of it. I have good evidence that Daniel McEachern, Sr.'s second wife — said to have been a McNeill — was also a daughter of James and Elizabeth of Rockfish, but not through DNA evidence as yet; no distant descendants of McEachern's second wife so far appear under either James or Elizabeth probably because they've not taken a DNA test. If you are a descendant of Daniel McEachern and his McNeill wife, here are all their known children as identified in Robeson County deeds and Sumter County, SC records: James of Sumter, SC, who married Rebecca Allen; John who married Elizabeth Conoley who moved to Alabama; Mary "Polly" who married Alexander McNeill (son of Godfrey); Daniel who married Christian McEachern (daughter of Robert and Jennet McEachern); Malcolm who married Mary "Polly McTaggart; and perhaps a daughter named Flora. I plead to anyone who's descended from these children: please consider doing a DNA test with Ancestry and link it to a tree showing you are descended from Daniel McEachern Sr. and his McNeill wife who is a daughter of James and Elizabeth of Rockfish. Daniel McEachern, Sr. died in 1812 in the Saddletree community in eastern Robeson, and was the father of Col. Archibald McEachern of Mill Prong House by his third wife, the widow Beatrice Torrey Purcell).
6. Elizabeth was likely born around 1770. During her marriage to James McNeill of Canada around 1792, she bored him six, perhaps seven, children up to 1812, which is about the window for childbirth for a woman born around 1770. James remarried to the widow Mrs. Sarah (née Matthews) Patterson in 1817 about five years after the birth of Elizabeth's last child, Jane Campbell McNeill, in 1812.
7. Nancy, born in 1754, lived to 1847. In the Spring of 1776, she married her step-brother, Malcolm (ca. 1750-1810), son of Neill McNeill of Upper Little River and his first wife whose name is lost. Nancy and Malcolm, a four-year veteran of the Revolution, had several children. Their daughter Jane married William "Little Billie" McNeill, the son of "Sailor Hector" McNeill of Robeson County. Jane applied for a pension for her father's service and its record stated that her mother Nancy died in Robeson County in 1847, aged 93, and it named all her siblings, but oddly she omitted one, a brother named Malcolm (who married Mary Kelly in Cumberland County , after whose death in 1841 his heirs soon sued for a redivision of their father's estate, leaving a large paper trail via the estate settlement and deeds in that county. This Malcolm and Mary Kelly McNeill were the parents of Rev. David McNeill of Cumberland County.
8. This is Daniel McNeill, nicknamed "Marsh Daniel". He was born in 8 February 1778. There is scant information on his brother John, presumed to be the older of the two as a mortality census says he died in 1850, age 76 and blind. It is said he married first a Baker, then Mary Harrell in 1824 in Robeson. There is no official record of the Baker marriage.
9. I'd like to know where the 'three daughters' information came from, and that they all married McNeills. That would answer some questions as to who some McNeill women were, e.g., Laughlin McNeill of Richmond County, son of Hector McNeill and Mary Graham, married a Mary McNeill whose parents are unknown. And the parentage of the Eunice McNeill who is supposed to have been one of the two wives of "Fiddler Hector" McNeill is still a question; Hector is said to have married a step-sister. NOTE: I have observed through a DNA match on Ancestry.com that Ayles McNeill, second wife of "Fiddler Hector", was a daughter of James McNeill of Rockfish and his wife Elizabeth (née McNeill) McNeill. I have long thought one of Hector's wives may have been a daughter of James and Elizabeth but couldn't prove it. So, I added Ayles's name as a daughter of James and Elizabeth on my Edgerton page on Ancestry thinking a match would appear. Shortly after, several of Hector's and Ayles' children appeared as matches to me as well. Another DNA match is a sibling of Ayles — Mary, wife of Malcolm McNeill the son of "Bluff Archie" McNeill and his wife Barbara (née Baker) McNeill. Many of Mary's and Malcolm's children are DNA matches to me as well. I added Jennet McNeill Graham who married John Purcell Graham, and I got matches to their decendants as well. So, it appears Ayles, Mary, and Jennet were sisters.
10. No, unless she was Jane or Eunice, but this is only supposition on my part. See footnote 5.
11. The Jane C. McNeill in this sentence refers to Jane Campbell McNeill McNeill, of course, but the blurb about having married her step-brother refers to Nancy, Jane's daughter. I would like to know exactly what that blurred sentence said....
12. Nancy McNeill married her step-brother, Malcolm McNeill, and one of their daughters was named Jane McNeill. Jane married William "Little Billie" McNeill, son of Hector "Sailor Hector" McNeill and his wife Mary. Detailed research by Barden Culbreth of Raleigh, NC, shows that Mary was very likely a Culbreth from Mecklenburg County, Virginia, before her marriage.
13. This is true. I have done much research on the McNeills around Upper Little River, based on extant land records this family left behind. Jane Campbell McNeill McNeill's second husband, Neill McNeill of Upper Little River (ca. 1730 - ca. 1808), had a son Neill by his first wife. This son Neill and his two brothers Hector and Malcolm, inherited from their father tracts on Upper Little River (see footnote 1). Cumberland County deeds show that the son Neill (or either his own son Neill) was known as "Surveyor Neill" as he is identified specifically as "Neill McNeill (surveyor)" in one deed. Neill McNeill of Upper Little River devised to his first three sons (Malcolm Hector, and Neill) by his first wife tracts on that river. Hector and Neill lived all their lives on those tracts and added to them, and as Hector had nearly a dozen children by his wife, Margaret McNeill, he didn't have many descendants. Hector's brother Neill had less children but appears to have had many descendants. Malcolm had a daughter, Elizabeth, who married William Watson and they had many children spread across northern Cumberland and into Moore County.
14. She had to have married her husband, this James McNeill of Canada, around 1792 or '93. The birth year of what is thought to have been James and Elizabeth's first child is 1794, so, since James does not appear in the 1790 census of Robeson County, the estimate of their marriage year is 1792. And, yes, per Bub's account, he may well have been a local school teacher, but in fact was a longtime Justice on the Robeson County court, per court minutes of the county. He married four times: First, an unknown wife who died in Quebec and had one daughter, Anna, who married a Langworthy and died in New York; second, he married Elizabeth McNeill in Robeson or Cumberland, and had many children some of whom went to Florida; third, Mrs. Sarah (née Mathews) Paterson (widow of Alexander Patterson who drowned in 1815) and had three children; fourth, Mary Banter who survived him and by whom he had no children. James's first wife, in Quebec, whose name is lost, died just after the birth of their only child, Anna, about 1788. Elizabeth and James had seven known children, and she died around the time of, or a few years after, the birth of her last child in 1812. He moved to Florida in December of 1835, dying in Alachua County, Florida, just before August 1845 where he had been a justice and county clerk. Many of his children resided in Florida and his sons fought in the Seminole wars there. Note: The obituary of James's first child, Anna, from New York newspapers states that she was the daughter of "James McNeill, of the Campbells of Duntroon". Was James's second wife, Elizabeth, his relative through her mother, Jane Campbell McNeill McNeill? Was Jane Campbell McNeill McNeill from Duntroon, Scotland? If not, why did James leave Canada for the swamps of Robeson County? (And in 1790 Robeson was covered in thick, wooded swamps, or bays as they are called today.)
15. James stated in Florida that he had moved there in December of 1835 from Robeson County. He married four times, but had no children by his last wife, Mary, who outlived him. See footnote 14, above.
16. Maggie was also called "Peggy Big John" as her husband was known as "Big John" McMillan.
17. This, again, is referring to Archibald "Archie Ghar" McNeill. He had children by his first and third wives only.
18. No, this is somewhat confused, quite understandably. The step-siblings in this family who married were Nancy McNeill (Jane Campbell McNeill's daughter by her first husband William McNeill) and Malcolm McNeill (the son of Jane's second husband, Neill McNeill of Upper Little River). This is proved by official records. But, Bub the writer is speaking of "Fiddler Hector" here and Hector did indeed marry twice: first to either a Jane or a Eunice McNeill, and second to Ayles McNeill who DNA evidence is showing to have been the daughter of James McNeill of Rockfish Creek (no, this is not James McNeill of Canada who died in Florida. See #14.) and wife Elizabeth (née McNeill) McNeill. I would think that, if Hector also married a step-sister, that woman would have been either Jane or Eunice. Revolutionary War records for 1776 show Hector's wife was named Jane and unofficial family recollections identify her as Eunice.
19. I've found "Hector McNeil fidler" in the 1804 court minutes of Robeson County as a juror in a list of men living in, and chosen from, the current area of the town of Rowland. After that he is not listed; 1804 is about the year he moved to Marion County, SC. But finding him in the Rowland area could mean that the traditions that his mother, Jane Campbell McNeill McNeill, actually having lived in that area could be true, and that she was buried at Ashpole Church there. Some accounts had her living with Hector and moving to SC with him, and that she died there. William McNeill, the father of "Fiddler Hector", had died decades previous to Hector's move to SC, so, personally, I suspect it makes sense his long-widowed mother Jane moved with him to SC, died and was buried there. Knowing when Jane died would be helpful, but there is no hint of her death in time or place.
20. I couldn't read this very well, but what does he mean by "Neill McNeill of (S?). C"?
21. Mary Brown means Mary Buie Brown who married Daniel "Marsh Daniel" McNeill.
8/27/19 — I've made an addition to my 7/15/18 entry below entitled Six Men Named Daniel McNeill in Early Robeson County, North Carolina. It is now seven men named Daniel McNeill. I included "Marsh Daniel" McNeill of Robeson who is being confused with Daniel McNeill of Moore County who was born about the same time and who died about the same time.
12/31/18 —Lumber River Scots, written by Edwin Purcell, was published in 1942. On page 458, at the end of the Torrey Family History section, the author introduced a record of births from a bible that he stated belonged at that time to Mrs. John W. McMillan of Stedman, NC (just east of Fayetteville). Mrs. McMillan's birth name was Lillie E. McCall (1886-1978) and she married John Wesley McMillan, Jr. of Stedman. Census records show she was a daughter of Malcolm Harvey McCall (born about 1850) and wife Mary A. (née Faircloth) McCall.
Purcell, unable to positively identify the children, made an incorrect but educated guess that they may have been the offspring of Mary Torrey and "Red Hector" McNeill of Cumberland County (NOT the same "Red Hector" McNeill of Robeson County who was the first mayor of Red Springs). However, I have identified the children in the list as the offspring of Daniel McNeill and his wife Isabella (née McLerran) McNeill of Flea Hill district in the southeastern part of Cumberland County. Of the children Purcell listed either he or his sources omitted one, probably by accident as it's highly unlikely a child who survived to maturity would go unrecorded in a family bible. The omission was Ann "Nancy" McNeill, born in 1800 according to the baptismal records of old Bluff Church. These records show only five of the children having been baptized but states that Ann, daughter of "Daniel McNeill and Bell McLaren", was born on 10 April 1800 and was baptized 4 May. Further research within county deeds finds Ann to have married Doctor John McCall of Bladen County around 1816 and that she died in 1822 after having one or two children, namely, Duncan McCall and Barbara Ann McCall. Barbara Ann McCall — in time, the widow Mrs. Marshall Melvin — is found in Cumberland County deeds as a niece of Ann's known siblings. Both Ann's and Barbara's places in their own McNeill family is further proved by the will of Ann's oldest brother, Hector (born 1787), wherein he names "the heir of my sister Ann McCall that is Barbara Ann Melvin," and proved as well by the will of their father, Daniel McNeill, wherein he names his daughter Nancy ('Nancy' was a nickname for 'Ann'). It appears that the widow Barbara Melvin may have had an older brother, Duncan McCall, born in 1817, who married Mary Ann McAlpin in 1838. It was their son Malcolm Harvey McCall, the father of Lillie McCall McMillan and a descendant of Ann McNeill and John McCall, who was the pathway by which Lillie McCall McMillan came to own the bible cited in Lumber River Scots. And speaking of Mrs. McMillan's bible — where is it today? And are there other inscriptions in it?
Daniel's and Isabella McLaren McNeill's graves are marked at the Old Bluff Church cemetery with those of four of their children: Daniel's grave is #41 in section III, Isabella's grave is #42 in Section III, Hector's grave is #28 in Section IV, Archibald's grave is #30 in Section IV, John's grave (died in infancy) is #40 in Section III, and Sarah McCaskill's grave is #29 in Section IV who died in 1843. Neither Hector nor Archibald married, but Sarah ("Sallie") married John McCaskill, a partner in 'Duncan McPherson & John McCaskill Chairmakers' of Fayetteville in the 1820s. One of the two sons of John and Sally McCaskill was Allen A. McCaskill. In the 1850 census, after John and Sallie both had died, Allen and his brother William are found living with their grandmother Isabella McLarren McNeill, eighty-odd years old and long the widow of Revolutionary War Patriot and veteran Daniel McNeill who had died in 1807. Allen wrote in 1901 that his McNeill family's history was "well preserved". Presumably, it was through this preserved history — and through his grandmother and great uncles and aunts — that he had learned that his grandfather, the patriot Daniel McNeill, had had a brother Hector McNeill who had fought for the British, the famous Tory known as "old Colonel Hector" McNeill, killed at the Battle of Lindleys Mill in 1781. Both men were sons of "Gentleman Archy" McNeill (aka "Bluff Archie" and "Laird Archie" McNeill) and wife Barbara (née Baker) McNeill.
8/31/18 — When looking through the colonial records of North Carolina I noticed a revealing petition to the provincial government dated 1755. This petition contains information about one of the very early — and heretofore unknown — Archibald McNeills who lived in the region during the first two decades after the Argyll Colony's arrival in 1739. In 1748 a petition of Presbyterian Gentlemen in the colony to the Synod of Scotland requesting a minister was drawn up and signed by many settlers, including three Archibald McNeills. The colonial records' 1755 petition gives us a fourth Archibald McNeill who stated he came to the colony about 1752.
One of the earliest of the four was "Archibald Bahn" McNeill, though known more widely as "Scribbling Archie", "Scrubblin' Archie", even the amusingly incorrect "Lord Archie". Actually, of his nicknames, "Archibald McNeill Bahn" is the most accurate: he is named in a deed with this very descriptor in its body, and his son Laughlin's estate settlement contained a paper which stated his father was "Archd McNeill Bann". Incidentally, "Bann" or "Ban" are misspellings of this more formal descriptor. The nicknames themselves, "Scribbling/Scrubblin'/Scorblin' Archie", appear to have been possibly a pun on the name of the community in Scotland called Skeroblin — perhaps Skeroblingorry in Kintyre northwest of Campbeltown in Argyllshire — from where he may have hailed. His son-in-law, "John Skeroblin" McNeill, must have been from wherever that location was as well. The Gaelic term 'Bahn' is the masculine form of 'fair'. The descriptor for Archibald's wife, "Jennie Bhan", is spelled a bit differently, bears the term's feminine form, and is pronounced 'von'. "Archibald Bahn" immigrated with the colony in 1739 or 1740 — but not as a head of family, and despite all claims to the contrary his parentage is mere guesswork. For anyone searching his parents in Scotland, a guidepost there could be one Rachel McQuilkin, reportedly Archibald Bahn's sister, visited supposedly by Rev. Dugald Crawford on his return trip there in the late 1700s. Archibald's earliest known land purchase on the Cape Fear River is dated 1741, a 640-acre tract at the confluence of the Deep and Haw rivers. Archibald bequeathed it to his son, Tory Captain Daniel McNeill, who had fled to Nova Scotia to escape Whig persecution after the Revolution. Captain McNeill returned to North Carolina, briefly, and sold it in 1812. Archibald Bahn's family is lengendary. Note that his grave and those of his family, immediate and extended, were disinterred and moved from their original family cemetery.
The second Archibald McNeill, known as "Gentleman Archy", "Laird Archie" and "Bluff Archie", is said to have abandoned his claim to his family's island estate in Scotland's western isles — thus presumably the monikers "Gentleman Archy" and "Laird Archie" — emigrating from Scotland about 1747, or some short time after the Battle of Culloden Moor. It is said that he settled in that part of Bladen County that is now Cumberland, and encamped on a tract near the mouth of Stewarts Creek near Bennetts Mill in southern Cumberland County. He lived like a hermit for a time before meeting the nearby Baker family from which he married a daughter, Barbara. By 1754 he had obtained a grant for the Stewarts Creek tract which he sold in 1759. Further oral tradition claims he resettled near the Bluff section on the Cape Fear River. A number of land transactions show he may have been a bit of a land speculator in his day. He wrote his will in 1778, died between 1778 and 1780 and was buried in the older Bluff cemetery on the west side of the Cape Fear River (not at Bluff Church). That he lived in that region gives us one of his nicknames, "Bluff Archie".
Allen A. McCaskill was a great-grandson of "Gentleman Archy" and wrote an article on his McNeill ancestors in the Fayetteville Observer in 1901. He stated he learned from a "preserved" McNeill family history that during the Revolution his own grandfather, Daniel McNeill, a Continental soldier in the Revolution, and Hector McNeill, the old Tory Colonel killed at the battle at Lindley's Mill in 1781, were both sons of "Gentleman Archy". Two brothers fighting in opposing armies during that time would have been an extraordinary story for a young man in that day, particularly so as the tension and resulting atrocities between tories and whigs in that region was so horrendous. The 1850 Cumberland County census shows Allen and his brother, William S. McCaskill (later Reverend William McCaskill), orphaned by the death of both parents, were living with their grandmother, Isabella (née McLarren) McNeill, the elderly widow of Continental veteran Daniel McNeill. Bulla and McLeran relatives were closeby as well. So, at the age of twenty-four, McCaskill was living at the heart and hearth of those who remembered that horrible struggle, witnesses to its effect on all their futures. Allen McCaskill's account, its sources as close as they were to their subject, is the most plausible of all claims of the parentage of old Colonel Hector McNeill. The second colonel of that name, called "One-Eye Hector" McNeill (son of Archibald McNeill Bahn, above), was either younger or less experienced, or both, yet he was promoted to the rank of Lt. Colonel to hide the fact that the old colonel had been cut down. Allen McCaskill claimed that when he was a boy in the early 1830s, he saw old "One-Eye" in court one court day in Fayetteville, wearing a patch over his eye.
And a third Archibald was named in the will of "Bluff Hector" McNeill as a brother to both "Bluff Hector" and Duncan McNeill of the Bluff. The will, dated 1761, showed this third Archibald had a conflict with his brothers: "Bluff Hector" devised to this brother Archibald 320 acres of Taylors Hole near the Bluff plantation, acres that at Archibald's death were to return to their brother Duncan or Duncan's heirs. Per the will, Duncan was to supply Archibald a deed to the tract — which Duncan didn't supply until 1784. This third Archibald, brother to "Bluff Hector", could not have been "Archibald Bahn" who had more land over the county than about any man of that day, nor was he "Gentleman Archy" who died between 1778 and 1779, and he was certainly not the (fifth?) Archibald McNeill who Cumberland County estates records show died in 1761 and who is a complete mystery. So, who was this third Archibald McNeill?
The petition of 1755 cited above provides details of a Cumberland County citizen named "Archd. McNeill alias Verga. Archd. McNeill", our fourth Archibald McNeill. He states in his petition that he was poor, that he had been in the province only three years during which time he had built a house and had raised a "family of childering". His complaint was that he had paid twenty shillings to the deputy surveyor of Cumberland County, "Hactor McNeill, Esqr." (this was "Bluff Hector" McNeill), rightfully expecting Hector to enter a 100-acre tract of land and acquire a warrant for the land with a view to a land grant for same. For various reasons Hector McNeill failed in his duty to do this. The result was that another Archibald McNeill, "Archibald Bahn McNeill" (aka Scribbling Archie), went to New Bern and entered (applied at the entry taker's office) the land that "Verga. Archibald" was living on while waiting for "Bluff Hector" to enter the land, obtain a warrant for a survey and plat! Furthermore, "Verga. Archibald" then had to pay rent for three years to "Archibald Bahn" McNeill for land that essentially was bought out from under him. The veracity of the complaint was attested to by the depositions of two witnesses, Thomas Gibson and one of the Neill McNeills in the community. The court's answer to this petition is unknown at this time.
All of this new information has to be compared to what is known through deeds and other documentation. One outstanding question for my entry here is the meaning of "Verga.". Its meaning isn't obvious as it doesn't describe something about the man as such nicknames did at that time (nor does 'Scribbling', but its connotation came down through the centuries as part of the joke on Archibald McNeill Bahn). And, since "Verga." is followed in the records by a period in every instance I tend to think it may have been an abbreviation — perhaps for Virginia? Incidentally, there is a mistake in the petition arising from an error in its transcription for the printed version, or perhaps it's in the original itself, which puts "Verga." after the name "Hactor McNeill". This needs to be checked at the source by a visit to the original.
8/22/18 — In Loyalists in the Southern Campaign of the Revolutionary War, Volume 1, p. 353, is found a pay list dated 1782 that states: "[Thomas and John Bayley] ...joined the North Carolina militia in Captain McNeill's company, Colonel McNeill's regiment about 10 June 1780, before Colonel McNeill fell (when the Rebel Governor and Council was taken). They served until the 10th April 1781 when they were forced to retreat to Charlestown. Their present Colonel, Hector McNeill, drew the pay for the NC militia while they were with the troops under Lord Rawdon at Camden and they were not included. Petition for their pay. Charlestown, SC, Feb 10, 1782."
"Their present Colonel, Hector McNeill" was "One-Eye Hector" McNeill, son of Archibald McNeill Bahn and Jennet "Jennie Bhan" Smith McNeill. He was also known as "Hector Bully", and "Leather-Eye". "One-Eye Hector" lived until 1833 in Cumberland County. His will is dated 1833 and is found in the State Archives of North Carolina. Allan A. McCaskill, writing in 1901, recalled as a boy seeing the old warrior in the early 1830s seated in courtroom in Fayetteville wearing a patch over his eye.
7/15/18 — Seven Men Named Daniel McNeill in Early Robeson County, North Carolina by S. C. Edgerton, ©2018 (updated August 2019):
When researching one’s Scottish 18th and 19th century ancestors of the Cape Fear it is important to remember that first names were frequently – and many times as a rule — used over and over again down the generations in one family line. Confusion overwhelms many researchers because they naturally work backwards in time from themselves, and soon encounter a tidal wave of Archibalds, Margarets, Neills, Marys, Daniels, Nancys, Hectors, Janes, Alexanders, etc., all from the same county having the same surname in the same family. My efforts to disentangle the McNeills in the Robeson area have concentrated on researching official records from 1740 forward in time, beginning with each McNeill immigrant in 1740, to great effect and generally positive outcomes. Here are some of my results concerning men with the name Daniel McNeill in 18th- and 19th-century upper Bladen (now Robeson) County:
The earliest Daniel McNeill (ca. 1750 – ca. 1813) is mostly unknown to researchers. He was a son of Scottish immigrant Donald McNeill (died ca. 1795) and his wife Janet who lived on Long Swamp in Robeson. Since the names ‘Daniel’ and ‘Donald’ were mostly interchangeable at that time it could be said that this paragraph is about two Daniels. Donald’s 1792 Robeson County will lists his children which included three sons: Neill McNeill of Long Swamp who died in Robeson in 1837 with many children; Hector who may never have married but lived into the early 1800s; and Daniel who married Margaret McKay (ca. 1754 – ca. 1818) of Cumberland County, NC. Daniel and Margaret had several children. Their eldest daughter, Rosanna (1772 – 1857; married Neill Stafford of Marion Co. SC), appears to have been born when they first resided in Richmond County in the latter half of the 1700s. Additionally, a series of Cumberland County deeds show by 1830 most of their children hailed from Marion County, SC, a series that proves Daniel and Margaret McKay McNeill of Robeson County were related to this McKay family. Daniel and Margaret owned much property in Richmond and Robeson counties, as well as in Cumberland County via Margaret’s father, Alexander McKay. Deeds from that county show Margaret was the daughter of Alexander McKay of Cumberland County, and Alexander’s Cumberland County will dated 1769 states that Margaret was his daughter.
Daniel "Daniel the Hatter" McNeill of Robeson County married Celia "Cealy" Humphrey. His nickname, "Daniel the hatter", comes from Cyrus McNeill's History of Two McNeill Families. He was born to Godfrey McNeill and wife Katherine "Kitty" (née McDougald) McNeill in 1772 and died in 1837. He and Cealy are buried in the Bennet-McNeill cemetery, Lumberton, Robeson Co., NC. Cealy's Bridge, over Lumber River on Lumberton's west side, was named after Celia Humphrey McNeill. Daniel's and Cealy's sons include William H. McNeill who married Charity Stone (daughter of Samuel Stone). Charity appears to have died in the decade before the Civil War. This William (who is often confused with the William H. McNeill and wife Charity [née Williams] McNeill) is last found in the 1870 census, in which he appears to have a younger second wife (or sister?) named Elizabeth. Beyond this, his fate is unknown. Daniel and Sealy had other sons: Enoch, John T. (no children), Dawsey (or Dorsey), and David T. McNeill and several daughters as well. One daughter, Ann, was second wife to Robeson County Sheriff Reuben King.
Daniel McNeill of McPhauls Mill Swamp of Robeson County married Jane McDougald. He was born in the 1770s to John "Shoemaker John" McNeill and wife Mary (née Peterson) McNeill. Daniel is first found in the 1790 will of his mother, Mary Peterson McNeill of Robeson County; he does not appear to have been of legal age, still living with his mother and sisters. In this will Daniel has a brother Neill who the will states is living in a house on the property. This older brother Neill McNeill (ca. 1765-1831), is of particular interest in that he has been forgotten. I call this Neill and his wife Flora "the lost generation" in that through official records, i.e., his will and what remains of his and his son Malcolm's estate records (pages 1, 2, 3, and 4), he is proven to have been the father of William Peterson McNeill and all his siblings. Today, many of Neill's descendants still believe William P. McNeill and his siblings are the children of "Shoemaker John" McNeill when they are actually the grandchildren of "Shoemaker John".
Daniel of McPhauls Mill Swamp died in 1840 according to Robeson County deeds that divided his estate between his two surviving children. He was buried likely in the old Neill McNeill burial ground near his land on McPhauls Mill Swamp in Robeson that he inherited from his grandfather, old Neill McNeill (ca. 1710 – ca.1784) who resided on Jobes Branch in that part of old Bladen that is now Hoke County. The specific location of his land and the burial ground is on Jobes Branch near and around the entrance to today's Greenbrier Lake on Duffie Road west of Red Springs. Daniel and Jane had two surviving children, namely, Archibald McDougald "Little Archie" McNeill (who married Ann B. "Nancy" McNeill, sister of "Red Hector" McNeill), and Mary McNeill (who married Alexander McPhaul of Robeson and moved south into Marion County, SC).
Daniel “Danold” McNeill, a son of James McNeill of Rockfish Creek and his wife Elizabeth (née McNeill) McNeill. James of Rockfish Creek settled in early upper Bladen County in the 1740s. James's parentage is completely unknown, although there are those who claim otherwise without a shred of evidence or proof. James’ wife, Elizabeth, whom he married in 1752, was the only child of Hector McNeill ("Carver Hector” McNeill) of the Argyll Colony. James and Elizabeth had a son named Daniel who tended to sign his name as “Danold” on all documents (His name was not 'Donald'). Danold was born in 1765, probably in Bladen County (now the far northern tip of Robeson). For many years before James died (between 1801 and 1805) he and Danold amassed several land tracts together just south of Philippi Church below Big Rockfish Creek and down into what is now Robeson County. “Danold”, too, married a woman named Elizabeth McNeill, a daughter of Archibald “Archie Ghar” McNeill and his wife Barbara (née Patterson) McNeill. Archie Ghar was an adjacent neighbor to Danold’s land on its south side. In 1791, the boundary between Cumberland and Robeson near Philippi Church was shifted southward slightly after which James of Rockfish found his residence in Cumberland County, which is why his will is found in that Cumberland's records.
Danold died in 1828, and his grave is marked at the old Scots cemetery where Philippi Church was established in 1888, now known as Philippi Cemetery. Around 1835, Danold’s widow took at least three of their children to Carroll Parish, Louisiana, where she died in 1857. A son who died in Mississippi, James Henry McNeill, left an estate record in Robeson County initiated for the benefit of his orphans who returned to Robeson just after his death. The estate papers show James remained in Lousiana until just after his wife, Minerva Armstrong McNeill (born in Mississippi about 1836 according to the 1860 census), succumbed to cholera there around 1865. Soon, James was en route to deliver his two infant children, William Robert and Loula (called Lou Lou), to safety in Mississippi, when he died either there or along the way, in 1866. James' bother and sister, Archibald and Barbara, both unmarried, also left Louisiana for Robeson County: Archibald returned in the 1850s but Barbara was in school in Baylor College (Read The Uncompromising Diary of Sallie McNeill by Ginny McNeill Raska) and likely did not return to Robeson until after the war. However, by 1870, Archibald and Barbara resided together in the Moss Neck community of Robeson County, where they lived until their deaths. James Henry's two very young children, William Robert and Lou Lou, were returned to Robeson County after the death of their parents, said to have been brought all the way home by two former slaves. William Robert married Mary Jane White, and Lou Lou married Murphy C. McNair.
Daniel McNeill — called "Marsh Daniel" — lived in the eastern part of Robeson near today's Mt. Tabor Presbyterian Church. On Ancestry.com, "Marsh Daniel" is being confused with a son of "Strong John" McNeill of Moore County who also was named Daniel McNeill. This Daniel in Moore County was the grandfather of Alexander Hamilton McNeill, clerk of court there. Like so many men of his day "Marsh Daniel" of Robeson County got his nickname not only to differentiate him from other Daniel McNeills of the area, but because of where he lived, on the Great Marsh near Mt. Tabor Presbyterian Church in the northeastern part of Robeson.The two Daniels in question were born about the same year and both died in the 1850s, and neither lived outside their native counties wherein they both have wills recorded. The will of "Marsh Daniel" McNeill was written in 1843 but probated in Robeson court in 1853, months after his death in November 1852, and the will of Daniel of Moore County was recorded in Moore County records in July 1859, the month he was found dead in his bed at his home in Moore County.
Neill McNeill of Upper Little River, the father of our "Marsh Daniel" of Robeson, owned large tracts of land on that river in old Bladen County which in 1754 bcame Cumberland and is now Harnett County. After losing his first wife he remarried to Mrs. Jane (née Campbell) McNeill, the widow of one William McNeill. It appears Neill and Jane came to live in that part of old Bladen County that is now Robeson, perhaps in the area of today's town of Rowland. Apparently, Neill died in Robeson because he left an undated will that came to be recorded in Robeson's will books amongst those written (not probated) in 1808; thus, Neill's undated will and its exact probate date are unknown. And, unfortunately, its probate date is not mentioned in the county's court minutes of that period — is its probate initiation found in Cumberland County's court minutes?
In 1778 "Marsh Daniel" was born to Neill and that second wife, Mrs. Jane (née Campbell) McNeill. In the undated will of Neill McNeill of Upper Little River, his large tracts of land in Cumberland County were divised to his sons born of his first wife (Neill's granddaughter Jane McNeill, sold her interest in these lands in 1854), but his lands in Robeson were devised to his two sons by Mrs. Jane Campbell McNeill: John and brother, our "Marsh Daniel". Daniel was bequeathed 230 acres on the Great Marsh in Robeson where he lived out his life with his wife, Mary Buie Brown, and their many children.
In its minutes of the session, Philadelphus Presbyterian Church recorded Daniel's date of death as 28 November 1852, and his wife's death is also recorded as having died a little over a week later, on 9 December.
The Daniel M. "White Daniel" McNeill of Robeson County married Barbara Smith in 1822 (she died about 1840 – 1842). He was the son of Alexander McNeill (son of Godfrey) and his wife Mary "Polly" (née McEachern) McNeill. Polly’s father was Daniel McEachern, Sr. and her mother was a McNeill whose first name is forgotten. Regarding this forgotten woman, it is through the 1815 will of Polly's brother James McEachern in South Carolina wherein he named as his executor his "uncle Duncan McNeill of Robinson [Robeson] County" that we know she was a sister of Margaret McNeill, the wife of "Long Duncan" McNeill and daughter of James McNeill of Rockfish Creek. So, Polly's McNeill's mother, this forgotten McNeill woman, is at least now understood to have been a sister of Margaret, and therefore one of the nine daughters of James McNeill of Rockfish Creek (see Danold McNeill, above).
Our Daniel M. McNeill was nicknamed "White Daniel" for the color of his hair, and his brother Hector N. McNeill was nicknamed "White Hector" for the same reason. Daniel was also said to have been called "Pink Eyed Daniel" but there is no official record of that; however, he is listed in the 1830 census of Robeson as "Daniel McNeill ... White"'. Best estimates put Daniel’s birth around 1805. Sometime after his wife's death he migrated a few miles north to Cumberland County, NC. There he made a deed that named his deceased wife and her request that he bequeath to their four sons all his Robeson lands which he described as bordering his neighbors, the Galbraiths, McEacherns, and Grahams – who all lived right around him in that 1830 census.
By 1858, "White Daniel" joined Scotland Presbyterian Church in Union County, Arkansas, the session records of which stated his name with his middle initial, "Daniel M. McNeill" (Daniel McEachern McNeill?). In the 1860 census, "White Daniel" is found in Union Co., Arkansas, aged 55, with next door neighbors Artemas and Duncan Brown and the McCorvey family who all hailed from Robeson. This supports the claim by Cyrus McNeill in his history, “Two McNeill Families of North Carolina Related By Marriage But Not By Birth” (1900), that Daniel removed to Arkansas, dying there at "a ripe old age". In fact, Daniel did die there in 1877 and, according to Scotland Presbyterian Church records there, is buried in its cemetery in an unmarked grave. Scotland Presbyterian Church is very near Junction City.
"Daniel McNeill of Richland Swamp" (or, as he is found in county and church records, “Daniel McNeill R.S.”, “Daniel McNeill, Richland”, "Daniel McNeill of Richland Swamp") is often confused with “White Daniel” McNeill (see above) because the two men are born about the same year with the same name, both in Robeson County. However, there is ample proof they were two different men and lived in different parts of the county with different parents. Daniel of Richland Swamp married Sarah "Sallie" Black (1817 – 1843; daughter of Angus Black and wife Margaret [née Black] Black). Old Robeson County locals and researchers knew Daniel by his nickname as well. He was born in 1805 to John McNeill of Richland Swamp and his second wife Flora (née McMillan) McNeill. Daniel's parentage is proved by a series of Robeson County deeds dividing his intestate father's lands amongst Daniel and his siblings in the early 1820s to the 1830s and later — about the time all of them but one, Flora, reached legal age. The 1833 will of Flora McMillan McNeill, Daniel's mother, also proves the connection.
The lands of this family extended from Moody Bay on the southwest side of Red Springs in Robeson, southwestward down along the Richland Swamp toward Wakulla. Mrs. Mabel McNeill Smith Lovin of Red Springs researched thoroughly several McNeill families of the region and, though she did not research this particular McNeill family in any detail, she referred to this family at the "Richland Swamp McNeills". Henry H. Hodgin, Jr. of Red Springs, a well-known family history researcher of that area, believed, correctly, that Daniel was a half-brother of "John McNeill of Keinfordale".
John of Keinfordale was born ca. 1776 in Scotland and died in the Wakulla area in 1850. He married Margaret McMillan, and both are buried on his land near Wakulla a mile west of Philadelphus). So, both John of Keinfordale and Daniel of Richland Swamp were half-brothers, sons of John McNeill of Richland Swamp — John of Keinfordale by his father's first wife whose name is lost, and Daniel of Richland Swamp by his father's second wife Flora (née McMillan) McNeill. Per deeds, it is no accident that John of Keinfordale’s lands are entwined with those of his siblings and those of their father John McNeill of Richland Swamp. It is my belief that the father of John McNeill of Richland Swamp was the Archibald McNeill who Robeson Count court minutes state died in 1804; Flora McMillan McNeill's will, mentioned above, stated she wished that both her husband's and his father's graves be marked with headstones.
Daniel of Richland Swamp lost his wife, Sarah Black McNeill, in 1843. He never remarried; no census records up to the date of his death show he had a second wife, nor does his will name one. He died in 1872 while living on Richland Swamp. Philadelphus Presbyterian Church session records state that at his death he regretted not having been a better member of that church where he is buried near his two children, Angus Archie McNeill and Kate E. McNeill Smith and their families. It should be added that Daniel's unmarried sister, Catherine McNeill, who died in 1865, is also buried at Philadelphus and hers is the first grave in that cemetery, marked by her niece Kate E. Smith. I used to believe this Catherine McNeill buried at Philadelphus was a daughter of "Sailor Hector" McNeill, but I was wrong.
4/20/18 — Dougald McNeill, Argyll colonist, did not live long in the new colony. He died unmarried and intestate in New Hanover County, NC in late 1740 or in January of 1741. His estate settlement, dated 29 January 1741, shows that he had a few indentured servants who are named in the estate. More importantly, he also owned a plantation on the upper Cape Fear River called Port Neill, and for quite a time after his death it was bargained over by various individuals. Port Neill was on the south side of the Cape Fear a few miles south of the Bluff plantation, home of the Bluff McNeills.
Dougald, son of Hector McNeill of Losset and wife Ann Campbell, had one surviving brother at his death, Captain John McNeill of Edinburgh, Scotland, of His Majesty's forty second regiment, foot soldiers. Captain McNeill's 1771 will was brought to my attention by Barden Culbreth who found the original on Ancestry.com, and I have transcribed it here for the Wills section. Since it was probated in 1773 the Captain died about 1772 or 1773. The will states John was Dougald's only surviving brother and thus was heir to Dougald's estate both real and personal, particularly his Port Neill plantation on Cape Fear River in Cumberland County.
Captain McNeill also had a son, one Hector McNeill of George Town, Grenada (who not only had been a clerk in the Provost Marshall's office of that island, but was a famous poet, author of "The Harp") to whom he left all his estate in this will. However, the Captain stated he had named in 1769 yet another Hector McNeill who then was living in Cumberland County as his power of attorney in the Port Neill matter: Hector McNeill on Cape Fear River in Cumberland County, "sadler". This would have been "Bluff Hector" McNeill, the only man of that name in that up-river region with enough legal savvy and credibility to handle the matter, and he was a kinsman, too. But available facts show that in 1769 "Bluff Hector" had been dead for a year, and it's likely Captain McNeill, then living across the Atlantic, was unaware of Bluff Hector's demise upon granting him power of attorney.
12/8/17 — The New Hanover County will of Isabella McAuslan, dated 1748, widow of John McAuslan of Wilmington, has been added. In her will she names Grissela McNeill and Grissela's son Hector. Grissela (née Campbell) McNeill was the wife of "Black Neill" McNeill (aka Neill Dhu and Neill McNeill of Ardelay). Their son Hector was called "Bluff Hector" later in his life. Interestingly, in the original will (versus the clerk's copy) Isabella also names a Flora McAllister, and its known that Grissela's daughter Flora married about 1742 to Col. Alexander McAllister, Argyll colonist who owned a tavern in Brunwicktown below Wilmington. Moreover, there are two (or three?) other McNeill women named: an Anabella McNeill, a Margaret McNeill, and what appears to be second Margaret McNeill whom Isabella states was her sister-in-law — or, were both Margarets the same woman? There is a 12-year span in Grissela's and Neill's marriage, 1728 to 1740, wherein no children are known to have been born. "Bluff Hector" was born about 1720, Flora about 1724, and Archibald's birth year is unknown; however, their son Duncan was born in 1728 and Negalena, their last child, in 1740. So, were either or both Margaret and Anabella McNeill daughters of Neill and Grissela McNeill as well, born during those twelve seemingly childless years? Unless heretofore unknown documents surface to answer this mystery, we will never know. And what was Isabella McAuslan's maiden surname?
It appears from her will that Isabella McAuslan, near death, has surrounded herself with — or, at least named — her closest friends, who were perhaps family. Another similar will, dated 1814 in Cumberland County, was made by whom research has revealed to be the granddaughter of Daniel McNeill of Taynish, Mrs. Jean (née DuBois) Rutherford Simpson McAuslan. In fact, Mrs. Jean McAuslan appears to have been a relative in some way to Isabella McAuslan. At any rate, regarding the two Margarets that Isabella named in her will described above, and in view of those she chose to be her devisees, I believe the Margaret McNeills named are indeed two different women. One of them, of course, Isabella identified as her sister-in-law. The other Margaret is named in an item along with Grisella McNeill and her known daughter Flora McAllister, and this Margaret was, I highly suspect, another daughter of Neill and Grissella McNeill heretofore unknown. I could be wrong and it's certainly not a 'smoking gun' by any means, but I will stand by my presumption.
Another issue with this document is that Isabella names an Elizabeth MacKowil (or something similar, perhaps McCowel or McKowan) in the original will, but long ago, when the original was copied into the New Hanover County deed books, the clerk recorded 'MacKowil' as 'McNeil'. The surname in the original is hard to read so the name may not have been MacKowil exactly, yet the addition of the 'Mac' to the beginning of the name is unlike the other 'McNeil' spellings in the will, and the 'K' in the original's spelling is unmistakeable. Devil's in the details. So, when reading the clerk's version, the clerk was wrong about Elizabeth's surname — she was not a McNeil but a MacKowil or something similar. All in all, the obvious take-away in this will is that now we know for certain Grissela Campbell McNeill was alive in 1748, perhaps living in Wilmington, New Hanover County, NC, and that her son, "Bluff Hector" McNeill", was very likely living with her there as a young, educated man making connections in that growing coastal city. One should note that, according to a Cumberland County deed dated 1755, Grissela's husband, "Black Neill" McNeill, is dead before August 1749.
11/8/17 — There were at least two Hector McNeills in the 1739 Argyll Colony. One of them brought colonists with him as a 'head of family' and thus received grants of land; this update serves to highlight him. The other Hector in the colony appears to have been quite young in 1739, not even twenty years of age, but in time became an influential man in the 1750s and up to his death in 1768. No third man of that name has been identified as an Argyll colonist, though without doubt at least one more Hector McNeill appeared in the colony by 1748. In the next decade and beyond, several men named Hector McNeill will arrive in the region by birth or boat.
Of the two Hector McNeills in question, Cumberland County deeds prove that the elder of the two — "Carver Hector" McNeill, a 'head of family' — was as much as 15 years older than the other, and state that he bore one child, his only heir, a daughter named Elizabeth McNeill. Deeds also show this elder "Carver Hector" McNeill had at least two grants in the early 1740s along the Cape Fear River, and that he may have been at least partly responsible for continuing the name of a watercourse above Fayetteville called Carvers Creek — likely named for Samuel Carver who owned 640 acres there. Hector's first grant was a 222-acre wedge across the Cape Fear River from, and nine miles north of, the mouth of Great Rockfish Creek, granted 4 June 1740, the date the other Argyll colonists' family heads received their own grants of land. The wedge's 222 acres seems an odd acreage for a head of family to receive, and the reason for that is unknown. In 1808, Hector's sole heir, Elizabeth, is found selling her half of this wedge wherein she is stated to have been the daughter of the patenter, Hector McNeill. Elizabeth's husband, James McNeill, sold his half in 1755. Hector's second tract, a 640-acre tract far up the Cape Fear River on its east side (now in Chatham County), was obtained in May 1741, and 37 years afterward in 1778 he sold it to Valentine Braswell, Jr. This is "Carver Hector" McNeill's last known transaction and record.
The other, younger Hector — "Bluff Hector" McNeill — did not marry until about 1750 (his eldest son Neill died unmarried in 1773 at the age of 21 according to the McAllister Papers collection at State Archives of NC). So, Hector was likely not old enough to have had a family of his own in 1739, much less a group of colonists to bring with him to "Cape Fair" that would have qualified him for a grant in 1740 under 'head of family' status. No grant has been found for him dated 1740, the year the colony's heads of families received their grants (I'm still keen to know how he came by his plantation, "The Bluff", supposedly settled by him in 1742 if the author Malcolm Fowler is to be believed.). From "Bluff Hector" McNeill's will of 1761 we know he two brothers. One of those brothers was Duncan McNeill of the Bluss. According to Duncan's gravestone at Bluff Church he was born in 1728, and was "The son of Neill McNeill, of Kintyre, Scotland, The Pioneer and Friend of the Scottish immigration to the Cape Fear region". "Bluff Hector" named Duncan as his brother, and Duncan named Hector as his deceased brother in a deed of 1784, so, these facts prove "Bluff Hector" and Duncan were two sons of "Black Neill" McNeill (there was a third son, Archibald, named in Hector's will as well). "Black Neill" was also known as "Neill Dhu" McNeill and "Neill McNeill of Ardelay" — the working leader who did the footwork for the fledgling colony.
As I stated, this update serves to highlight the older "Carver Hector" McNeill. He has been identified on this site as "Hector McNeill, Carver" in a 1765 deed to Colin Shaw on Carvers Creek. He's also been identified as "Carver Hector McNeill", a moniker given him by Malcolm Fowler in his list of Argyll Colony family heads found in one of his illustrious books. So, why was 'Carver' used with Hector's name? The simple explanation is that in the 1740s and early 1750s he invested in a number of tracts on Carvers Creek, a creek today that flows into what we think of as the west side of Cape Fear River just below the Lower Little River. Over time, he sold these tracts and made a name for himself, if only a nickname in his day. And, indeed, he was referred to during his lifetime as "Carver Hector" McNeill: A grant issued to a James Buchanan in Cumberland County in 1773 states that Buchanan's tract was on "Carver Hector McNeills Creek" on the south side of Cape Fear River. If this "south side" location is correct, Carver Hector McNeills Creek was on the same side of the river as today's city of Fayetteville and was likely near the headwaters of today's Carvers Creek, named originally for Samuel Carver, a land speculator in the 1730s. Buchanan's grant, which identifies his neighbor as "Carver Hector" three times, also shows that Hector's land was adjacent to Buchanan's. Another way to help identify "Carver Hector" is that he could not write his name and always signed documents with his mark, an "X". "Bluff Hector", however, was well educated and signed all his documents with his full, bold signature.
Reverend David S. McAllister, writing his McAllister history in 1900, stated on the first page of that history that in 1737 Alexander McAllister, then living in Bladen County, received a letter from his brother Hector McAllister in Scotland. The letter included, via its sender, a query by Laughlin and Margaret Johnstone McNeill, parents of a Hector McNeill, as to Hector's whereabouts after he had stayed behind in Bladen County the year previous, in 1736. That year, Hector would have been part of the scouting expedition that Neill Dhu McNeill is supposed to have brought to the upper Cape Fear region to locate a site for his settlers gathering back in Scotland. Since we know that "Bluff Hector" was the son of "Neill McNeill of Ardelay", this Hector, son of Laughlin and Margaret Johnstone McNeill, was most likely "Carver Hector".
14/4/17 — Regarding the various Daniel McNeills in Robeson County detailed just below, there is a third, older Daniel McNeill living at this time who should be written about. He was Daniel McNeill of McPhauls Mill Swamp, a son of John "Shoemaker John" McNeill and wife Mary Peterson, identified as such through Robeson County deeds. "Shoemaker John" and "Sailor Hector" McNeill were brothers, both sons of old Neill McNeill of Jobes Branch. Note that old Neill of Jobes Branch and his son "Shoemaker John" both died about 1786; they at least disappear from the existing records around that year and may have died by the same vector.
Neill McNeill of Jobes Branch came out of Cumberland County about 1768, the year he bought from James Stewart a 100-acre tract on Jobes Branch in the part of then-Bladen County which became Robeson in 1786 and Hoke in 1911. Stewart had bought this tract from William Carver and, as is stated plainly in Robeson County deeds, the tract had been granted to Carver in 1765. Through a brief chain of ownership the tract passed from old Neill McNeill of Jobes Branch down to his grandson Daniel McNeill of McPhauls Mill Swamp, presumably through "Shoemaker John". Documentary proof lacking, John's will and/or estate papers very likely burned in Bladen County's earliest courthouse fires. At any rate, deeds show this very property came into the hands of John's son Daniel of McPhauls Mill who passed the land on to his two children, Archibald McDougald McNeill and Mary McNeill McPhaul (wife of Alexander McPhaul).
We first find Daniel of McPhauls Mill Swamp in the 1790 will of his mother, Mary Peterson McNeill where he appears to have been under age 21. In the will Mary devises to her sons, Neill and Daniel, each a section of a divided piece of land — very likely her dower land from the estate of her husband "Shoemaker John" — around a pond where the family lived. This pond is mentioned in the will as "Fifty acres of land lying back of the pond at the house" which she left to her "beloved Daughter Marian McPherson". The pond's name is given in Mary's 1790 50-acre land grant: 'McNeils Pond'. (Mary's grant was never recorded in Robeson County deed books, but is found at www.nclandgrants.com.) Mary's oldest daughter, Marian, was the wife of Daniel McPherson who, along with "Sailor Hector" McNeill and James McNeill of Rockfish Creek, was a witness to Mary's will. Mary probably wanted Marian to have a piece of land of her own as it is likely Marian's husband's lands had been confiscated a few years before, punitive damages for his Tory activities in the region during the Revolution. Mary's husband, "Shoemaker John", is dead by this time; that these properties were at Mary's disposal to devise amongst her children shows that she was a widow. As it appears Neill and Daniel's properties had been Mary's one-third dower lands from Shoemaker John's estate, it follows that Marian's 50-acre gift was to equalize the three bequests. Regarding her two other daughters Catherine and Jennet, both under age 21 in the will, Catherine probably died young or married young and thus unprovided for, and court minutes show Jennet was mentally challenged. Her brother Neill was Jennet's guardian in 1807, and she died in 1809. And of Neill's children, two sons, Daniel and David, were also mentally challenged and were declared non compos mentis.
The wife of Daniel McNeill of McPhauls Mill was named Jane, sometimes Jean in a few other records, but Jane and Jean were interchangeable names in records of this time. Her maiden surname has been claimed by descendants to have been McDougald. Their son's middle name was McDougald — Archibald McDougald McNeill, also known as "Little Archie" or "Archie D." McNeill. So, it could be correct that she was Jane McDougald before her marriage. Based solely on family dynamics, I would guess that she was a daughter of Archibald McDougald who lived on the north edge of Richland Swamp in Robeson County and who had several daughters. Daniel and Jane McDougald McNeill had two children, "Archie D." who married Ann "Nancy" McNeill (daughter of William "Little Billy" McNeill and wife Nancy McNeill), and Mary who with her husband Alexander McPhaul moved from Robeson County to Marion County, South Carolina. Both children inherited the land that came down from Neill McNeill of Jobes Branch.
18/3/17 — The bible record of Angus Black's family has been added with notes regarding the families of Alexander McPherson, Jr, Judge of Probate of Cumberland County, NC, and Daniel McNeill of Richland Swamp in Robeson County...
And speaking of Daniel McNeill of Richland Swamp (1805-1872), it's important to know that he and Daniel M. McNeill, known as "White Daniel" (1805-1877), are becoming increasingly confused — especially on Ancestry.com — not only because they and other Daniel McNeills of the area shared the same name, but the two men were born on or near same year, 1805, in Robeson County. They are separate men, are particularly different, each with different parents in different parts of Robeson. Daniel of Richland Swamp and several of his siblings lived on their own lands and those of their father's on the north side of Richland Swamp southwestward from Red Springs down toward Wakulla, and a thorough study of Robeson County deeds proves this fact. Though she did not research them, Mabel McNeill Smith Lovin referred to this family as 'the Richland Swamp McNeills' in her McNeill histories of Robeson County; indeed, locals of his day gave Daniel the nickname "Daniel McNeill of Richland Swamp", a fact proven by the citations of his name in county records — court minutes, deeds and estate records — "Daniel McNeill R. S." and "Daniel McNeill (Richland)". "White Daniel" McNeill and his brother "White Hector" got their nicknames because their hair was prematurely white; Daniel is cited in the 1830 Robeson County census with the word "White" written by his name. His initial, 'M', comes from session records of the Scotland Presbyterian Church in Union County, Arkansas, to where he migrated sometime after the death of his wife, Barbara, about 1841 or 1842. And the church's records state that he joined that church, died there in 1877, and was buried in its cemetery (his grave isn't marked but has been added recently to www.find-a-grave.com). Several Robeson and Cumberland County deeds prove that "White Daniel" was a son of Alexander and Mary "Polly" McEachern McNeill, and according to Cyrus McNeill's Godfrey McNeill history of 1900 — the oldest and original source of most of this information herein provided — he married Barbara Smith in 1822. They and their five sons and three daughters, namely, Alexander G. McNeill, Dougald Smith McNeill, John Calvin McNeill, William Henry McNeill, Joseph McNeill, Harriet McNeill (Stradley), Flora (Buist) and Mary Jane (McDonald), lived on the north edge of Raft Swamp on lands that can be traced through chains of ownership that name Daniel's father as Alexander and that were north of Red Springs around the old Gray Cobb plantation at Shannon. Also known to have lived in the area of the Cobb property was Alexander's brother Malcolm McNeill and his wife Katie Torrey. Malcolm and Alexander had inherited their lands in part from their father, Godfrey McNeill. The land of "White Daniel" McNeill was a short distance northward from the old lands of his grandfather Godfrey McNeill.
"White Daniel" had several siblings: James who died unmarried circa 1839, Mary who married Angus McDougald, Sarah who married Hector R. Graham, Anna who married the widower Angus McDonald (father of Sallie McDonald Conoly), Hector N. ("White Hector") who married Flora Ann McDougald, Elizabeth who married John J. Buie (and moved to Georgia), and Catherine Jane who married Archibald Campbell. These siblings are all named as surviving heirs in various Robeson County deeds dividing the lands of their parents, Alexander and Mary McEachern McNeill, and those of their deceased sibling James. Cumberland County deeds prove that at some point around 1840 "White Daniel" moved to Cumberland where he is found in a Cumberland County deed dated 1842 that states that his wife Barbara had died (she was alive in the 1840 census of Robeson but dead in this deed dated 1842). At the bottom of the deed he stated that he was carrying out Barbara's intentions by leaving his land in Robeson to his five sons. Cyrus McNeill gave a brief account of each of these sons, and stated that Daniel moved to Arkansas and "lived to a ripe old age". The land "White Daniel" left his boys is described in the deed as 114 acres of land that Daniel himself "formerly lived on" that joined his brother-in-law Hector Graham and the Galbreath family, and that he himself bought some of this land from his sister Ann McNeill. Ann and all her surviving siblings recieved 114 acres in a combined settlement of the estates of their parents Alexander and Mary McNeill and their deceased older brother James McNeill — all information that is proved by researching this issue in Robeson's deeds and estates.
Daniel McNeill of Richland Swamp, on the other hand, never resided in Cumberland County, had no sister named Ann, nor did he own land that bordered a Hector Graham. He is found in numerous deeds buying and selling land on Richland Swamp between himself and his siblings, all of whom took serious hits on their finances, their farming businesses and brandy distilleries as a result of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Daniel of Richland Swamp and his wife Sarah Black had only two children, Catherine Elizabeth "Kate" McNeill and Angus Archibald "Angus Archie" McNeill. Sarah died about 1843, shortly after their second child was born — and Daniel never remarried. He died in Robeson County and, as stated in the church sessions records of Philadelphus Church, he died in regret of his not having been a better member of that congregation. Concerning the other Daniel McNeill, Daniel M. (known as "White Daniel") McNeill, again, Cyrus McNeill wrote that he moved to Arkansas and died there at a ripe old age. In fact, Daniel was living in Caddo, Corni Township, Union County, Arkansas in 1860 next door to Duncan and Artemas Brown who had moved from Robeson County to Arkansas much earlier. In 1858 he joined Scotland Presbyterian Church in Union County, and, according to the church's session records, died in 1877 and was buried in the church cemetery there, grave unmarked.
29/11/16 — I found a plat dated 1801 of the plantation 'Tweedside', bought in 1743 and owned by Argyll colonist Daniel McNeill of Taynish. A map by Dan MacMillan of Fayetteville shows that its western border was the course of the Cape Fear River at Racoon Falls and that the whole tract was divided from its eastern quarter by Dunfield Creek. MacMillan determined that the River Road ran closely along the eastern side of Dunfield Creek through Tweedside. Several estates records and deeds prove that Daniel's granddaughter, the twice-widowed Jean (née Dubois) Rutherford Simpson, married a third time in 1795 to Duncan McAuslan, a Scottish immigrant to North Carolina. In 1801 Duncan was granted 85 acres bordering the northern and eastern edges of Tweedside he and Jean owned until they sold the plantation to George Elliott two years later in 1803. But of particular interest to me is the fact that in her will of 1814 Jean McAuslan made mention of the burial at Tweedside of "Mr. McAuslan" — likely her husband Duncan — leaving funds to fence in his tomb with "pailing". So... there was a cemetery at Tweedside with headstones. Was "Squire Daniel" McNeill buried there, or perhaps his second wife Margaret McTavish? Has anyone ever found any old tombstones, buried or brokens, in the area of Tweedside?
Another interesting account about Jean DuBois Rutherford Simpson McAuslan is on page 33 of the book "Flora McDonald in America" by J.P. McLean, Ph.D., 1909, and says of Flora McDonald: "...During her stay [at Cross Creek] she visited and received visits from her friends, one of whom was Mrs. Rutherford, afterwards Mrs. McAuslin, who, at that time, lived in a house known as the "Stuart Place," north of the Presbyterian Church. Here she saw a painting which represented "Anne of Jura," assisting the prince to escape. "Turn the face of that picture to the wa'," she said. "Never let it see the light again. It belies the truth of history. Anne of Jura was na' there, and did na' help the bonnie prince."
13/11/16 — After a long period of posting almost nothing, I have been sent by Mr. Eric Stone the divorce record of Sarah Jane McEachern Allen and her ex-husband, Hugh Roy Allen. His name was remembered as 'Allen Allen' and it was long claimed he was a mormon with another wife — now we know that is incorrect. Even the most astute and seasoned researchers of upper Robeson County where Sarah Jane was born and lived did not know Allen's full name. Sallie Allen applied for and recieved from NC Superior Court in 1847 a divorce and full custody of her daughter Christian Ann Allen in Robeson County, NC. I will post this divorce proceeding paper in my Miscellaneous page under 'Research Bits'. Many thanks to Mr. Stone for sending it to us.
2/19/15 — I haven't posted anything new in many months. I've been down the rabbit hole tracing and digging up the family structure of John McNeill of Richland Swamp (died circa 1819-1822) and his unknown first wife and his second wife Flora McMillan (c.1765 - 1838). Mrs. Mabel McNeill Smith Lovin of Red Springs — who in the mid-20th century did an enormous amount of work on the McNeills in upper Robeson — referred to this family the "Richland Swamp McNeills", but as far as I can determine she never pursued them in her research. This John McNeill and his two wives had several children. His land holdings lay around the headwaters of Panther Branch southeast of Red Springs, though the bulk of them stretched along Richland Swamp (called in Robeson's early deeds 'Soloman's Swamp' and 'Scolding Branch') south of Red Springs southwestward toward Wakulla. These lands bordered the lands of "Sailor Hector" McNeill, Neill Buie of Philadelphus, Archibald McDugald (believed to have been the Tory Colonel Archibald McDugald who moved down into Robeson), Peter McArthur, the Angus Culbreth families, the children of Neill McNeill (1765-1831) of Jobes Branch, and others.
John McNeill's first wife's name is lost; she may have died in Scotland or shortly after their immigration to North Carolina. I estimate John's arrival was somewhere around 1785 to 1792. And the family's members may not have arrived all at once, though it is known through his widow's will that John's father immigrated as well and is buried in North Carolina, presumably somewhere near his son's lands described above. John's father is possibly the Archibald McNeill who died in 1804 in Robeson and whose estate was settled leaving no records beyond what is mentioned in the Robeson County court minutes of that year. Around 1790 John remarried to Flora McMillan whose will of 1833 names a deceased brother Duncan McMillan; she may have been the daughter of Duncan McMillan, Senior of Robeson County. John and Flora McNeill began having children around 1794 up to about 1815, the latter date being at the end of Flora's child-bearing years, placing her birth around 1765. This makes her too young to have been the mother of John's three elder sons: Neill (appears to have died about 1795), Archibald (died 1835 unmarried), "John of Keinfordale" (married Margaret McMillan), and Malcolm (married Mary Ray). These four young men were buying land in upper Robeson along Richland Swamp in the 1780s and 1790s, activity indicating they were young adults, at least 18 years of age at the time. These four elder sons of John McNeill of Richland Swamp were named in a series of deeds dividing John's estate beginning in 1823. Another discovery concerns one of John's daughters, Isabella McNeill: She was the Isabella McNeill who married Hector McNeill (1791-1854) of Richmond County, the son of Laughlin and Mary McNeill.
Unpacking this history of this clan and placing them into the McNeill chokehold of inter-relationships of upper Robeson has been gratifying. Piecing together this family has been another puzzle-like effort and though there have been few smoking guns, enough official information and evidence builds to make sense of their place in the county's McNeill history.
For now much of my research on John McNeill is on Ancestry.com and it can be found under my handle on that site, 'Blackfork'. To see my "John McNeill of Richland Swamp" family tree on that site you have to be sent an 'invite' by me, so let me know if you want one. You may have to join as a non-paying guest. If you're an Ancestry member go here.
2/19/15 — My friend Barden Culbreth of Raleigh has created a Google map of the cemeteries listed in Peggy Townsend's three volumes of her series, "Vanishing Ancestors". Here is the link: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zr-fdIVh8BbY.knuS2xrr2TPg. Some of the cemeteries in Volume 1 are not listed as yet.
1/20/15 — I am looking for any collection that Hamilton McMillan left behind. Mr. McMillan was a founder of what is today UNC Pembroke. He was an avid historian and I hope he left something of his papers behind, particularly any written record of his discovery of the graves of Colonel John Slingsby and his wife, the widow Isabella McNeill McAlester, which he said were located at "Slingsby Shoals" in Bladen County, supposedly 55 miles from Wilmington, NC. The NC archives here in Raleigh has the collection of Hamilton's daughter, the Cornelia McMillan Collection. If anyone is looking for the grants and land purchases of Malcolm McNeill, son of "Bluff Archie" (aka "Laird Archie" and "Gentleman Archy") you will find such documents in her collection—many of them. And amongst Malcolm McNeill's transactions are those he had with the Johnson family, particularly John Johnson, Peter Johnson, and Alexander Johnson Senior and Junior. Malcolm's daughter Barbara McNeill married an Alexander Johnson and there are deeds to Alexander from Malcolm. So, a closer inspection of these deeds may show into which Johnson family Barbara McNeill married.
1/8/15 — UPDATE: The Dan MacMillan map collection was submitted to the archives in late January of 2014, yet by August it was not yet available for the public. It is now available to the public and is a must-see for anyone researching the Cape Fear area. Mr. MacMillan has spent decades platting tracts and grants in Cumberland, Robeson and Hoke counties for the 18th- and 19th-centuries. Many families are represented, a boon for future generations of researchers and genealogists.
1/3/15 — The Watson cemetery near Maxton in Robeson County is the final resting place of Katharine McPherson Patterson Campbell, daughter of John McPherson of the Argyll Colony. Her gravestone states she died in November of 1822 aged 81, putting her year of birth at 1741. She is identifed as the correct Katharine Campbell because she is buried near several of her Watson and Campbell grandchildren. Two of her daughters are buried nearby as well: Flora Patterson McPhaul and Sarah Watson, born Marian Patterson ('Sarah' is the English equivalent of Gaelic's 'Marron'.). These two daughters are named in Katharine's will of 1819.
10/6/14 — I get emails showing me all the searches people make on my site's search feature, and I noticed someone was looking for the father of Neill "Squire Neill" McNeill. "Squire Neill" McNeill's parents were Daniel "Marsh Daniel" McNeill (born ca. 1778) and his wife Mary Buie Brown. Marsh Daniel was the son of Mrs. Jane Campbell McNeill and her second husband, Neill McNeill of Upper Little River that was then in Cumberland County, but now Harnett County. Neill died in Robeson County about 1808; 1808 is the year Neill's undated will was written, and later was copied into the deed books amongst those wills written that year, but is not necessarily his death date or the probate date of his will. The parents of Neill McNeill of Upper Little River are unknown, but he may have been the son of Malcolm McNeill of the Argyll Colony about whom little or nothing genealogically is known, but that will probably never be proven. See this chart.
9/14/14 — There is a Neill McNeill whom I call "Long Swamp Neill" to distinquish him from the four other Neill McNeills in late 18th-century Robeson. He lived on and owned land on Long Swamp in Robeson County, thus his nicknae. He has been an unknown quantity for several years now since I began researching McNeill branches in the region. Neill's parents were unknown but have been identified as Donald and Janet McNeill on Long Swamp in Robeson County. Neill's wife's name is lost until but recently found a hint at her surname when I saw a Cumberland County deed involving both the Stafford family of Marion District, SC and the Blue family of Cumberland. This deed started me down the rabbit hole again on a chase for another McNeill clan, and in doing so I discovered two....
The surname 'Stafford' had stuck in my mind because an 1818 Robeson will by Margaret McNeill made mention of her daughter Rosa Stafford. Upon scrutiny, the deed in Cumberland spoke of Rosa Stafford and named her many siblings, all of whom were mentioned by Margaret McNeill's 1818 will. Another Cumberland deed, a quit claim deed, named both Margaret's children and the children of "Long Swamp Neill" as two parties who were both relinquishing their rights as heirs of Ann "Nancy" Hair, deceased, in Cumberland. And, along with that was a quit-claim deed signed by "Long Swamp" Neill relinquishing his rights to the lands of Nancy Hair. So, I was curious to know what the blood relationship was between these two families signing away their rights in the deed. More deeds revealed Ann "Nancy" Hair had been a McKay of Cumberland County, had married late in life to Daniel Hinson Hair and died childless. When they were girls, Ann McKay and her sister Margaret McKay were named in their father Alexander McKay's 1769 Cumberland will.
Before long, a series of deeds and wills proved Margaret McKay had married one Daniel McNeill around 1770, and as a couple they had lived in Richmond County as early as 1775 (Daniel owned land there in 1771) and who moved to Robeson around 1803. Daniel's Robeson will of 1812 left everything to Margaret, directing her to divide his estate amongst their children as she saw fit. Digging further, Daniel's parents were revealed by the 1792 Robeson County will of Donald McNeill in which he named his wife Janet and five children, including sons Daniel and Neill, leaving Daniel 270 acres on Long Swamp. Descriptions of land within grants and deeds identified Margaret's husband Daniel owning the very lands his father Donald had devised to him in 1792. In concert with an 1803 Robeson deed from Daniel McNeill in Richmond County to Neill in Robeson for land on Long Swamp (a complete copy of which is found in the estate papers of "Long Swamp Neill" along with all the land tracts he owned), "Long Swamp Neill" and Daniel McNeill, Margaret's husband, are now known to have been brothers and sons of Donald and Janet McNeill of Robeson.
That still leaves the question of the identity of the wife of "Long Swamp Neill" McNeill. She may have been a McKay or perhaps a Blue. The Blue family appears to have been concerned that both Neill and Daniel's children would try to force their rights as heirs to the lands of the deceased Nancy Hair. Both sets of children, Daniel's and Neill's, had to sign quit-claim deeds to their rights to the land of Nancy Hair, and Neill had to do the same, but in a separate deed. But, to date, there is no hint as to Neill's wife's identity, though I believe she was either a McKay or a Blue.
8/16/14 — I have added 2 images of the 1840 estate of Malcolm McNeill (son of Neill and Flora [née Riddle?] McNeill of Robeson Co.) who died in late 1837, unmarried and intestate, leaving land that his siblings had divided amongst them in Robeson County court. None of his official estate records, however, exist in any form other than what Ruth McArthur of Wilmington, NC (deceased 2009) found in her great-grandmother's trunk. Ruth was the great-granddaughter of William Peterson McNeill (Malcolm's youngest brother) and Catherine Shaw. These four documents are comprised of the original petition of 2 pages that name all the sibings, and the 2-page summons to her great-grandmother and great-grandfather, Neill B. Brown, Sr. and his wife Mary McNeill. The petition is found on my Estates page at the link at the beginning of this paragraph.
8/12/14 — The unknown child of Malcolm McNeill and Nancy McNeill (both step-children of Neill McNeill of Upper Little River and his second wife, the widow Jane Campbell McNeill), missing from the list of sibling-heirs in an application for Malcolm's Revolutionary War benefits, has been found. The estate settlement of Malcom McNeill dated 1841 in Cumberland County records shows that this Malcolm was either overlooked or ignored when his siblings (initiated by his sister Jane McNeill, wife of "Little Billy" McNeill) applied for an application for their father's Revolutionary War pension benefits in the early 1850s. This Malcolm Jr. married a woman named Mary (maiden name unknown) and had six children: David, Elizabeth, Malcolm, Flora Jane, Neill and Archibald, all under the age of 21 in 1844 and living in Cumberland County, NC. Malcolm, Jr. died likely just before December of 1841.
8/9/14 — While going through some family histories that were compiled by my brother and mother in the 1970s and 80s, and which I've never studied, I came across my mother's note about a letter from William C. "Corn Billy" McMillan of Philadelphus, Robeson County who married Mary L. Morrison. I don't know where she saw the letter but she abstracted its contents: Billy's siblings were Daniel McMillan who married Mary Ann McArthur of Chatham County, NC (though the 1850 census says she was born in Cumberland County, I suspect this Mary Ann McArthur was the daughter of Neill McArthur and Flora McNeill of Chatham County, Flora having been the daughter of Malcolm McNeill and Nancy McNeill. Malcolm McNeill owned a large tract of land in northernmost Cumberland); Caty McMillan who married Dougald Campbell (son of Angus C. Campbell); John McMillan who married a Smith, daughter of preacher Daniel Smith (she was Mary E. Smith); Margaret Jane McMillan (unmarried), Barbara McMillan (sibling found in an estate settlement for William McMillan, dated 1894) and Polly (a nickname for Mary) McMillan. Any information supplied on the parents of "Corn Billy" McMillan would be appreciated.
8/5/14 — Lately I have been assisting Donald McNeill of Paducah, Kentucky in his search for his earliest McNeill ancestor in Cumberland County. I didn't know it, but early on he had had his paternal DNA tested which came back as a line from the old McNeill of Taynish. His own search narrowed down to a Hector McNeill born 12 December 1785, who married Zilla Houseman in Cumberland County, NC and moved to Kentucky shortly after. Don's efforts are tireless which is what you have to be in family research. He scoured repeatedly the deeds of Cumberland County looking for his Hector McNeill. As I was already familiar with early McNeill deeds, there was much I could offer with identifying many of the Hectors and other McNeills, and weeding out several men and branches of McNeills. But Don just couldn't get past "that wall." Recently, when I found the children and other details of Roger McNeill in the Cumberland County court minutes, Don was able to piece together his descent from Roger McNeill, son of Neill McNeill on Tranthams Creek at Roger's Meeting House. Since Don's DNA is in a direct paternal line from the Taynish McNeills, his Neill McNeill on Tranthams Creek is a Taynish McNeill. To a small degree, this supports my theory that this Neill is perhaps the younger brother of Daniel McNeill of Taynish of the Argyll Colony.
7/13/14 — I've created and added a map showing the lands of James McNeill on the south edge of Big Rockfish Creek. Other McNeills are located on the map and there are links to information about them. My source for this map is from the Dan MacMillan map collection—some 55 maps—recently deposited at the NC Dept. of Archives and History in Raleigh. On a terrific visit to meet him and see a bit of his collection, Dan gave me copies of two great maps, one of the the area all around the Bluff on the Cape Fear River, and one of upper to middle Robeson both of which are 30 x 40 inches. Some of the maps are around four feet high and eight feet in length. UPDATE: This map collection was submitted to the archives in late January of this year. As of this date, 6 August 2014, this collection is not yet available for the public. The archives is undergoing some spatial reorganization, so when it becomes available this collection will be a must-see for anyone researching the Cape Fear area. Mr. MacMillan has spent decades platting tracts and grants in Cumberland, Robeson and Hoke counties for the 18th- and 19th-centuries. Many families are represented, a boon for future generations of researchers and genealogists.
6/23/14 — The cemetery of Neill McEachern who immigrated in 1793 has been added, the information from which was found on a piece of paper concerning a history of the McEachern family. The history is not attached to the piece of paper and is presumed lost.
2/3/14 — In a 1939 letter that Charles Benjamin Johnson (C.B. Johnson) of Raeford wrote in response to a letter from my great-uncle, Dr. Pete McKay of Fayetteville, he provided specific details about some of his McKay ancestry. C.B. was the son of Patrick Pulaski Dekalb Johnson (P.P.D. Johnson, c.1850-1936). Per the Daniel Johnson estate of 1868 in Robeson County, P.P.D. Johnson was son of Daniel Johnson whose parents were Alexander Johnson and Margaret Steven (Margaret, Anne and Elizabeth Steven were the daughters of James Steven of Robeson County per Robeson Co. deed dated 1827, Bk. U, p.39-40). Alexander and Margaret Steven Johnson were the parents of W.D. Johnson, State Senator of South Carolina, and a daughter Ann who married Daniel Lamond in 1839 in Robeson County. In the letter C.B. says that his paternal grandmother had been Mary McKay who had a brother Gilbert McKay and a sister Nancy who married Allen McCaskill. Daniel and Mary McKay Johnson had three sons: Archibald G. Johnson, Peter P.D. Johnson and Benjamin M.F. Johnson. I've added the letter to the Miscellaneous page.
UPDATE: Source: "Argyll Colony Plus", Fall 1989, Volume 4, No. 4, page 149: The Story of the South Carolina Lowcountry, Vol. 3, pp 132-137 by Herbert Ravenel Sass, 1956. The Introduction says "Shortly before the Revolution, Daniel Johnston left Scotland and settled near Raeford in Cumberland County, N.C. In later years he lived in Robeson County where he died about 1822. When war came to the Colonies he fought on the side of the Patriots (State Records of North Carolina 16: 1093); North Carolina D.A.R. Roster, p. 137. 1932). He married Ann Thompson and had five sons and two daughters...
"Daniel and Ann's children were: (1) John Johnston, moved to FL, (2) Daniel Johnston, b. 1778, d. 1851, Robeson Co., NC bur. Philippi Presbyterian Church [cemetery], m1. Katie McNeill [daughter of Godfrey McNeill and Catherine McDougald], m2.Ann McDougald, m3. Sarah McBryde, (3) Angus Johnston, married and moved to FL ca. 1825, (4) Alexander Johnston, b. 1780, d. 1867, m. Margaret Steven [daughter of James Steven of Robeson County, NC], (5) Peter Johnston, married Nancy McNeill 1809 [daughter of Godfrey McNeill and Catherine McDougald], moved to GA, (6) Nancy Johnston, m. Daniel McLean, moved to Talladega, AL, (7) Mary Johnston, b. 1774, d. 1858 m. ____ Leach."
1/24/14 — I've added a taxable property list of Capt. Watson's district in Robeson County, dated 1801. I suspect a good number of the listed property holders fudged the numbers of acres and accuracy of their property listing. Some of them had sons old enough to be taxable who were not reported.
1/11/14 — Resarching the Johns(t)on family—actually searching for "Big John" Johnston—of Pughs Marsh, today known as the Little Marsh, has been challenging. It has also been fraught with the entanglement of repeated first names within the first two generations plus the added difficulty of negotiating a separate Johnson family in the county who also used the same first names. A recent breakthrough, however, was finding a colonial era John Johnston of Bladen—today's eastern Robeson County on "Pughs Great Marsh" and Ten Mile Swamp—who appears to have been either the father of "Big John" Johnston or "Big John" himself.
I should enter some information about the naming of the Little Marsh. It was originally known as Pughs Marsh, presumably named for, and probably by, William Pugh, a mid-18th-century surveyor and landowner on Cross Creek in Cumberland and Saddletree in Bladen. I've found late 18th-century Robeson deeds that label it as "Pughs Great Marsh", but also have found one deed that named the "Great Marsh previously known as Pughs Marsh". I had thought before this that Pughs Marsh more or less encircled only Lumber Bridge in upper Robeson, but I was wrong about that. On this I have been well-schooled by Dan MacMillan of Fayetteville, a fine architect and one-time surveyor who has created a great number of brilliantly detailed maps of Cumberland and Robeson County plats from multiple sources. His knowledge of such early local landmarks and their placement within his maps is astonishing. He told me both the Great (or Big) and Little Marshes were known as Pughs Marsh, but on one of his maps only the Little Marsh in shown as having been once known as Pughs Marsh. Bladen County land warrants state that John Johnston Senior and Junior both owned tracts and lived on Pugh's Marsh in 1753; John Jr. sold his tract in 1757. Tracing this particular John Jr. after that date has yielded little. Dan was gracious enough to give me copies of two of his maps, one of which is of upper Robeson showing hundreds of these early plats from the 1780s. This map may more fully illuminate my path to John Johnston, Jr., whom I now suspect was the elusive "Big John" Johnston on the south side of the Great Marsh and quite likely the John Johnston who was father of Randal Currie's wife Nelly Johnston. I know this man to have been the father of Daniel (or Donald) Johnston, Esq. who married Isabella Brown, the parents of Neill B. Johnson, Esq., who figured prominently in Robeson records so frequently before 1830. I've long suspected Daniel was Nelly's brother.
A book entitled McCallums and Allied Families cites two genealogical charts dating to 1850. The charts said that John and Mary McAllister Johnston's daughter Margaret was born on the isle of Gigha, Scotland in 1736 and married Archibald Little, Sr. in 1756. They stated Mary McAllister's mother had been a McNeill, a woman born likely in the 1690s. Furthermore, according to the authors (and perhaps the chart; they surely paraphrased its info), Archibald and Margaret, along with two of his brothers and her brother John Johnston, all immigrated to North Carolina in 1770. I'd be surprised if the original charts still exist, and no facsimile was printed in the book. However, the authors stated that "certain facts on the chart have been substantiated and none disproved by other documents." The book is well and carefully researched, but I had to check records available to me to confirm as much as I can.
My research with land and tax records, estates, wills and court minutes supports the charts' claim that Archibald Little, Senior married a woman named Margaret. Deeds show that a John and wife Mary Johnston sold their land on the south side of the Great Marsh about the same time that Archibald and wife Margaret Little sold their land in 1789 on the south side of Rockfish.
12/14/13 — Many old wills from Bladen County survived the three courthouse fires (one in the late 1760s, one in 1800 and another in 1893). I'd never looked at the originals until finding them on a page of FamilySearch.org, the LDS website. There I found a will for a Hector McNeill of Bladen County dated 1778, but with no probate date. It doesn't appear to have been written by a dying or ill man, and does not begin with a religious preamble like most wills of this time; Hector merely wishes a christian burial. Regarding its date, 1778, he may have been preparing to go off to war. (A similar, brief will was made in Cumberland County by Archibald McNeill, a son of "Scribbling Archie," in 1777.) Hector names his "lawful wife" Margaret McNeill, leaving her a third of his lands which unfortunately were not described. It's also unfortunate that he named no children in the will, and perhaps he and Margaret had none. The only real hint this Hector McNeill gives us as to his identity is that he left one slave each to Duncan McNeill, Bluff John McNeill and a John Johnston. The slaves were not named and it's somewhat rare to see an unnamed slave bequeathed in a will, much less three of them; had Hector given us their names then they may have been found in the grantees' wills or estates. ("Bluff Archy" McNeill had a son Hector to whom he devised three slaves in his will of November 1778: Bill, a woman named Frank and a child named Nann. Bill and Nan are found in the will of "Bluff John" McNeill.) Lauchlin Cameron (found in the 1786 Bladen tax list/census as "Lauc Cameron") and his mother Isabella Bowie (Buie) received cows (Isabella may have been the wife of Duncan Buie who lived close to Lauc Cameron in the tax list). Both John Stewart Senior and Junior were witnesses and a John Stewart if often found witnessing the deeds of John Johnston in Bladen and early Robeson records. The executors named were Hector's wife Margaret, Duncan McNeill and a "Sorle (spelling?) McDaniel of Sandhill". Sorle McDaniel may have been the 'Saggy McDonald' found in one of the 1786 Bladen Tax lists which counted some of the households along the north edge of Raft Swamp near Blackfork. The Duncan McNeill who received a slave was certainly Duncan McNeill of the Bluff (born 1728); there was no other Duncan McNeill in the region old enough to have been an executor in 1778. So, is this Hector McNeill the man known as "Old Colonel" Hector McNeill of Bladen County who is writing his will before going off to war? Why would this Hector have left the Bluff McNeills slaves when they had slaves in abundance—was he in debt to them? Could this be Hector McNeill who was a son of Neill and Isobel Simson McNeill, a couple said to have family connections through the Simsons to the Bluff McNeills? Was the John Johnston listed in the will living in Bladen County? Was he "Big John" Johnston who lived on the south side of the Great Marsh and on Ten Mile Swamp, then in Bladen County?
7/31/13 — I'll never lose interest in Daniel McNeill of Taynish, one of the minor leaders of the Argyll Colony. I had thought that Daniel's unknown male children may be a major key to answering many of the genealogical questions of the Bladen-cum-Cumberland McNeills of the mid 1700s, but now it appears that he may have had only one son, Dr. Archibald McNeill of Dorchester District, SC. He may have had more sons but no reputable accounts have surfaced to prove their existence. Many researchers accept that "Scribbling Archie" McNeill was Daniel's son but neither evidence nor proof exists for the claim and the acceptance just keeps growing; for the purpose of my own research, a father-son connection between these two prominent McNeill men is too important to merely accept without proof. In fact, I see their birth years being too close together to be father and son. Concerning Daniel of Taynish, however, there are accounts written by respectable sources which add a few facts about him to what little is known.
Concerning Daniel's paternal family in Scotland: On page 103 of his 1985 book, The Clan Mcneil, Clann Niall of Scotland, the 45th Chief of the Clan Macneil of Barra, Ian Roderick Macneil (referred to here as "the Mcneil"), states that "...Donald, who married Marie Campbell and had a son Neil, of Taynish in 1697, who married Elizabeth Campbell with issue..." and goes on to list Neil McNeill's and Elizabeth Campbell's children which includes our Daniel of Taynish. ( Daniel's siblings were an older brother Hector who inherited the Taynish title and lived and died in Scotland [this Hector had a son Roger who married in Scotland in 1743], a brother Archibald, a brother Neil [Was this the Cumberland County Neill McNeill whose will names a son Roger? Did Daniel of Taynish bring his brother Neil with him in 1739?], and a sister Margaret who married a John McNeill in Scotland in 1727. ) The obituary for Daniel's daughter Jean places her birth at 1730, stating that she died in Wilmington, NC in 1803 at the age of 73. It's highly unlikely her grandfather, Neil, supposedly born in 1697, was as young as 33 at her birth in 1730. So, rather than his birth year, is 1697 perhaps the year Neil married Elizabeth Campbell? Perhaps this 1697 date is off by as much as 20 years, perhaps misprinted, miscopied or misread by the author. But what was the Mcneil's source for this 1697 date?
On pages 138-140 the Mcneil devotes a single, interesting but dubious paragraph that claims a son for Daniel of Taynish: "Among other early settlers in this Southern colony was Daniel Taynish McNeill, whose son, William, was succeeded by his son, John. He, in turn, was succeeded by his son, William Daniel McNeill, the father of James Purdie McNeill, a prominent attorney of Florence, South Carolina, Past President of the Scottish Society of America and a Vice-President of the Clan Macneil Association of America." Now, I suppose the McNeil's genealogical accounts of Scotland could be taken more seriously, but he was not the best of sources for genealogical info on early McNeills of the Carolinas. I was curious about any extant collection of James Purdie McNeill in South Carolina and found none at the Department of Archives and History at Columbia, SC and none at the Library of Caroliniana at Columbia. Researchers at the Dept. of Archives and History here in Raleigh have determined that Daniel's daughter Elizabeth married a William McNeill, not the other way around. Moreover, Dr. Archibald McNeill of Dorchester, a true son of Daniel of Taynish, made a will in 1772 in which he did not name any brother, but named three sisters, Jean Dubois, Elizabeth McNeill and Isabella McAlester, and a half-sister, Margaret Mowat of Scotland. So, Daniel of Taynish did not have had a son William that is known; however, his daughter Elizabeth did marry a William McNeill. Bladen County tax records show a William McNeill, likely Elizabeth's husband, living on 540 of acres in Bladen County proper after the 1787 formation of Robeson from Bladen.
We know for certain that Daniel was in the Argyll Colony of 1739, and received in 1740 one 400-acre grant. Then in 1743 he purchased from John Martinleer a second, larger tract of 671 acres, and this larger tract became known as "Tweedside." By the time of his arrival in the province, Daniel had at least one child born in 1730: his daughter Jean (or Jane) who married John Dubois of Wilmington, NC. Her obituary is found in the "Wilmington Gazette" of 1803, stating that she died in late April 1803 at the age of 73. This suggests her father Daniel's birth was somewhere around 1700-1710, a date that threatens the McNeil's date of 1697 as Daniel's father's birthyear. It also questions the tradition that Daniel of Taynish was the father of "Scribbling Archie" McNeill who was born in 1720. Daniel and his daughter Jean appear to have had connections to the McAuslen family of Cumberland County and Wilmington; there were McAuslen "tombs" at a graveyard at Tweedside.
Daniel McNeill's "Tweedside" was on the Cape Fear River thirteen miles above the mouth of Rockfish Creek in Cumberland County. Tweedside is often misstated as having been in Bladen County near Brown Marsh where Daniel lived during the last years of his life, but a study of the Cumberland County deeds wherein Tweedside is identified by name proves the plantation was indeed located in Cumberland County at the time of his death (and is so today, though Tweedside had been in Bladen before 1754 when Cumberland was carved from Bladen). Daniel sold 571 acres of Tweedside in 1754 to brothers James Rutherford and the younger Thomas Rutherford, both originally from New Hanover County but who came to reside in Cumberland. Sometime before 1754 Daniel of Taynish had sold 100 acres of Tweedside (adjacent to Turquill McNeill's land there) to Duncan Campbell who moved down into Bladen (now Robeson) County; Duncan bought another 50 acres in 1763 from the Rutherford brothers. In 1772, after James Rutherford's death, Tweedside was inherited by the surviving younger brother Thomas. Thomas Rutherford died after 1772, and his widow Jean Rutherford (whom I believe to have been the granddaughter of Daniel of Taynish) remarried to Archibald Simpson in 1785 or '86; Jean and Archibald signed a marriage contract stating Tweedside would remain her property for the duration of their marriage. This was a smart move on Jean's part because by December 1787, hardly two years later, Archibald Simpson, heavily in debt, was dead. Again a widow, Jean Simpson married in 1795 for a third time to Duncan McAuslan in Cumberland County (Cumberland deed Book 14, page 292); their marriage contract in Cumberland's deeds is missing its second page (2nd of 5 pages) but enough of it exists to show just how wealthy Jean was in property, goods and slaves. In 1803, Duncan and his wife Jean sold Tweedside, all 571 acres intact, to George Elliott. Duncan McAuslan was dead by 1809 and, per Jean's will of 1814, appears to have been buried at Tweedside. Jean's parents were likely Jean McNeill and her husband John Dubois of Wilmington.
7/26/13 — It never occurred to me before now, but I've realized that the Bladen County tax list of 1786 is actually Bladen's version of the nation's first census mandated by the United States Congress in February 1784 which predates and is separate from the 1790 census. The second, revised edition of Alvaretta K. Register's transcription of the existing North Carolina 1784 censuses entitled State Census of North Carolina 1784-1787 and published in 1983 does not include Bladen County (nor Cumberland County, among several others), so one would assume that this early census was never attempted, or lost, for those counties not included. If never attempted, the offending county or persons preventing its realization, was to be heavily fined so it is likely this census was completed by all the counties. The 1786 Bladen tax list (unalphabetized, fortunately), found and published by William Byrd III in his Bladen County North Carolina Tax Lists 1775 through 1789 Volume II, conforms exactly to the categories of the mandated 1784 census, showing numbers of white men and white women per household, indentured, numbers and ages of slaves, etc. Interestingly, Byrd's Bladen tax list of the following year, 1787, of which only one district within Bladen has survived, is also formatted like the census. Byrd found the originals in the Thomas David Smith McDowell Papers, collection #460 at the Southern Historical Collection housed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Hmm... so, how many other 1784 censuses are stored as 'tax lists', or may be found buried in libraries and archived collections?
7/25/13 — Two articles, one by Hamilton McMillan, concerning events that took place at the Battle of Elizabethtown during the Revolution and other tidbits of info about Tory Colonel John Slingsby, statements from an eyewitness to the Battle of Guilford Courthouse and a lost manuscript.
7/13/13 — For researchers of the confusing lineage of Jane Campbell and her two McNeill husbands — and the three sets of children associated with her two marriages — deeds and Revolutionary War pension records reveal the truth about the intermarriage of Jane's daughter and step-son, namely her own daughter Nancy McNeill and her step-son Hector McNeill. Nancy was born of Jane's first marriage to William McNeill who died around 1765. Hector was the son of Jane's second husband Neill by Neill's first marriage to a woman whose name is lost. That Nancy and Hector married has been recorded over and over without proof. The proof of who Nancy actually married exists in deeds and pension records, showing that Nancy married Malcolm, Hector's brother. When Neill died he left his sons by his first marriage all his land on Upper Little River in Cumberland (and in what became Moore) County; Hector is likely to have been the Hector McNeill, Sr. of Upper Little River who by 1789 married Margaret McNeill, the daughter of Turquill McNeill of the Argyll Colony. I have created a chart to show these confusing relationships.
7/9/13 — Is anyone interested in knowing exactly where it was on Stewarts Creek that "Bluff Archy" McNeill lived just after his arrival in North Carolina in the 1740s? Well, according to his great-grandson Allan McCaskill in 1901 the location was at Bennetts Mill in Cumberland County. This mill's location has remained a mystery for me until I found a good reference to it in an 1896 Cumberland County deed, John Buie et al. to Julia Bennett. The tract includes two grants to Neill Buie on Stewarts Creek. The deed states that it allows proprietors downstream on Stewarts Creek to establish a mill on the creek. I will be looking for maps that show the exact location on the creek where Bennetts Mill was located; the deed indicates it was perhaps on the east or north side of the creek. I particularly want to know if it was at the mouth or drains of the creek and where the swamp on the creek was exactly. The mouth of Stewarts Creek on Big Rockfish is on the boundary between Cumberland and Robeson Counties and is directly across Big Rockfish from the lands in Robeson of James McNeill of Rockfish and Archibald "Archie Ghar" McNeill.
3/1/13 — I have added a letter written in October of 1918 by my grandmother, Ella McKay Pellegrini, during the Spanish Flu epidemic. She was an U.S. Army Registered Nurse stationed at a military hospital at Camp Meade, Maryland. The letter describes the conditions of the soldiers and patients (many civilians were taken in there, too) at the hospital and how they suffered and died. It is a poignant letter. As a boy she told me how horrible it was, and that one of her fellow nurses, her roommate there, became sick and died while Ella, sick herself, was working three straight shifts (the doctors made her go back to her room and sleep lest she would soon die like everyone else). Not everyone who caught this flu died, but more died of it worldwide between late 1917 and early 1920 than all the people killed in the First World War which raged from 1914 to 1918. Ella mentions her little nephew Willie and her youngest brother, Sam, had both been sick. Both survived and Sam became a dentist in Lillington, NC. Also mentioned was Diane, a black woman who was born on the McKay farm in 1865 and lived there all her life; she was the ancestress of the Willie B. Smith family of Wagram, NC.
12/10/12 — I have found another daughter of James McNeill of Rockfish Creek and his wife Elizabeth McNeill, but her first name is unknown (Was it Flora?). She was Daniel McEachern's second wife who died about 1784, after which Daniel married the widow Beatrice Torrey Purcell. I knew about Daniel McEachern's second wife, a McNeill whose first name was unknown, from a Daniel McEachern history inherited from my deceased brother's collection. In this little history I found a John McEachern who was perhaps, I thought, the John McEachern mentioned in James McNeill's will of 1801. On Ancestry.com I found a transcription of the 1815 will of one James McEachern of Sumter, SC who appointed his "uncle Duncan McNeill of Roberson County North Carolina" to be executor. I have a copy of the original from the SC archives. The only Duncan McNeill in Robeson County who was of age to perform this function was "Long Duncan" McNeill. "Long Duncan" married Margaret McNeill, another of the nine daughters of James of Rockfish. I have positively identified only four of James McNeill's daughters, and can now add this unnamed daughter, the wife of Daniel McEachern, to the list. Two other women who may have been James' daughters were: Mary who appears to have been the wife of Malcolm McNeill (son of "Bluff Archy"), and another daughter named Elizabeth, mentioned in a letter by Lauchlin Bethune.
12/3/12 — I have added the will of "One-Eye Hector" McNeill, son of "Scribbling Archie" McNeill and Jennet Smith McNeill.
11/29/12 — The family chart of Malcolm and Nancy (née McNeill) McNeill has been added. While researching Malcolm McNeills of Cumberland County, I found the Revolutionary War pension records of one particular Malcolm McNeill. The records confirm that he married in Cumberland County in April of 1776 to a Nancy McNeill and further states that this Nancy died in 1847; since the witnesses to the statement were prominent men of Robeson County who stated they knew Nancy at her death at 93, Nancy probably died in Robeson. Malcolm and Nancy had several children, and a younger daughter Jane McNeill of Robeson applied for the pension in which she listed her siblings: Neill, Hector, Turquill, Elizabeth Watson, Jane herself and Flora McCarter (McArthur). A deed dated 1854, wherein Jane and her husband William McNeill are selling her interest in her father Malcolm's Upper Little River lands—some 2000 acres spread over Cumberland and Moore counties—indicates there had been a seventh child. Additionally, Jane states on the pension application, dated 30 December 1851, that she was a 60-year-old resident of Robeson County, putting her birth year at 1791. In 1983, Jerry McNeill of Sanford, NC, gave information to my brother Jay Edgerton stating among other things that Malcolm and Nancy McNeill had a daughter Jane McNeill who married a William McNeill. Oral tradition holds that Jane McNeill of Robeson County (granddaughter of Jane Campbell McNeill) is the daughter of Nancy and Hector McNeill and is said to have married William "Little Billy" McNeill, son of "Sailor Hector" McNeill. Turning to the 1850 census of Robeson we see Jane was 59 that year and living with what appears to be her husband William McNeill and son Malcolm. So, the original records I'm reading are leading me to the conclusion that "Little Billy" may instead have married Jane, the daughter of Malcolm and Nancy; in addition to this, the naming pattern of Little Billy's children matches all around if Nancy and Malcolm are her parents. (See chart).
11/24/12 — I began searching for the various Malcolm McNeills in early Cumberland and Bladen (now Robeson) Counties. So far I've found Malcolm of the Argyll Colony (whom I call Malcolm McNeill AC); the Malcolm (son of "Scribbling Archie" and Jennie Bhan Smith McNeill) who married Janet McAllister; and the Malcolm McNeill who was a Patriot in the Revolutionary War who in 1776 married in Cumberland County to Nancy McNeill. This Nancy died 1847. The old Bladen County tax lists show what appear to be two Malcolm McNeills, one with 100 acres and no slaves from 1768 until 1784, and then another Malcolm with 490 acres living in Bladen County proper in 1789 (Robeson formed from Bladen in 1787). The latter Malcolm is probably the same Malcolm that appears in the 1786 list (because it included white females, I believe this list to have been Bladen County's U.S.-mandated 1784 census which all 13 states were given two years to complete) with 1 white males 21-60, 3 white males under 21 & over 60, 3 white females, 1 slaves 12-50 yrs, 3 slaves under 12 yrs and over 50 yrs.
11/16/12 — Read an article by Hamilton McMillan on elderly people of Cumberland Robeson Counties, dated 1901.
11/10/12 — Allan A. McCaskill (1826-1906), son of John McCaskill and Sarah "Sallie" McNeill, and great-grandson of "Bluff Archy" McNeill, was an authority on the history and genealogy of "Bluff" Archy's family as well as anyone in his day. Allan's mother Sallie (died 1843) was one of the youngest daughters of Daniel McNeill (1750-1807; Continental Army; buried at Bluff Church with wife and three sons) who was an older son of "Bluff Archy". Daniel died in 1807 and had married the young Isabella McLeran in 1786. Being much younger than her husband, Isabella lived until 1854. The 1850 Cumberland County census reveals that as a young man that year, Allan McCaskill was living with his grandmother Isabella. This is undoubtedly where he learned so much of "Bluff Archy" McNeill's family history which McCaskill included in his 1901 Fayetteville Oberver article, a response to E.R. McKethan's earlier article on the early Hector McNeills of Cumberland.
11/8/12 — The will of "Little Neill" McNeill has been added. If anyone knows of any children that "Little Neill" (died c.1766) and his wife Catherine had, please let me know. Steve.
11/3/12 — I was sent by Don McNeill a partial copy of Judith Nesbit's paper on "Bluff Archy" which included an article by Allen A. McCaskill on "One-eye Hector" McNeill and old Tory Colonel Hector McNeill dated 1901. It also include much info on "Bluff Archy" and the earliest proof of the maiden name of Barbara Baker McNeill, Bluff Archy's wife.
10/28/12 — I have added Malcolm Fowler's map of the Argyll colonists' 1740 grants from their northernmost location to the their southernmost location. Make sure you hover your mouse over the image and click to zoom in. I haven't included the very bottom of the map but it's found on Myrtle Bridges' Cumberland County genweb site. Also included is a list of McNeill men who had early grants up to 1765. Many names on the map are of Englishmen from England and within the colonies here who were land speculators in this region of the province at that time. Fowler listed a James 'McDonald' who obtained a grant in 1740, but his name was James 'McDougald'.
10/28/12 — I have lately depended too much on the idea that men of the Argyll Colony era only ever signed their names with a mark or single letter, e.g., "A" or "X", whenever they were illiterate. Upon the discovery of a map created by Malcolm Fowler showing lands of "Little Neill" McNeill on Trantham Creek I saw that "Scribbling Archie" mentioned in his will that he had land on Tranthams Creek. So, I compared his will to the details on the map. Further research into Archie's deeds soon revealed to me that the Archibald McNeill who lived adjacent to "Little Neill" McNeill's land in 1742 was indeed "Scribbling Archie" McNeill. But during this process I discovered an exception to my assumption that men only ever used a mark on a document when they were illiterate. "Scribbling Archie" McNeill signed at least one deed with an "A" but signed his 1801 will with his full name. For my research, this has been a setback of sorts, particularly in determining the deeds of "Bluff Archy" McNeill who signed his 1778 will with an "A" and his deeds in the same manner. With this realization, my suspicion that the brother of "Bluff Hector" McNeill named Archibald and "Bluff Archy" being one and the same man is now in doubt, though I will continue to seek answers. It's also unlikely that "Bluff Archy" could not write because he had come from a prominent family in Scotland, and had been nicknamed "Gentleman Archy" as well, al according to the history about him passed along by his descendants at least since the early 1800s.
10/27/12 — "Little Neill" McNeill's lands are pinpointed on a map by Malcolm Fowler; "Scribbling Archie" McNeill's earliest land is identified.
10/24/12 — The 1820 will of James Ferguson, husband of Marrin McNeill daughter of Turquill McNeill of the Argyll Colony, has been added. Marrin also left a will probated in 1837, in which she was named Sarah. Sarah is the English equivalent of the Gaelic Marron, Marrin or Marian.
5/25/12 — The 1810 Robeson County census is now up on the site.
5/20/12 — Daniel McNeill of Taynish, one of the leaders of the Argyll Colony, obtained from John Martileer in 1743 a large tract of land which came to be called 'Tweedside'. Perhaps owing to certain financial difficulties which followed him from Scotland, Daniel was forced eventually to sell off this 671-acre tract to two separate buyers, namely Col. James Rutherford who got the lion's share, and Duncan Campbell of Bladen (now in upper Robeson County) who eventually bought 150 acres of it. Campbell bought his first tract from the estate before 1754, then a second tract in 1763 from Rutherford who owned it from 1754 till his brothers inherited it at his death. There has been some confusion about the location of this plantation, some saying it was located in Bladen County near Brown Marsh Presbyterian Church where Daniel eventually settled sometime after 1754. Actually, Tweeside was located between the proprietor patent of Samuel Swann and the 1740 grant of Pattison Wilkinson on the east side of the Cape Fear River some thirteen miles above the mouth of Rockfish Creek. I haven't documented it on this site but the estate eventually was sold by the Rutherfords to an Archibald Simpson.
12/26/11 — While researching deeds in Brent Holcomb's Bladen County, North Carolina Abstracts of Early Deeds 1738-1804, I reread the earliest existing Bladen deed for Neil McNeill of Jobs Branch the abstract of which is on page 3, dated 1768. I never noticed this before, but the deed identifies the grantee as "Neill McNeill of Cumberland County", placing this Neill McNeill, father of "Sailor Hector" and "Shoemaker John", as originally from Cumberland County; every subsequent Bladen deed for him identifies him as "of Bladen County". At this time I have posted just the abstract but will add the full transcribed deed when I locate it and print it out. Additionally, a 1784 Bladen tax list which can be found in the North Carolina Legislative Papers at the NC Department of Archives and History proves Neill, Sr. was alive in 1784, with 450 acres living near "Sailor Hector" and a Mary McNeill. Is this Mary McNeill the widow of "Shoemaker John" McNeill, Neill McNeill's son?
12/21/11 — The 1784 Bladen County tax list from the North Carolina Legislative Papers includes many McNeills and I have added them to the Bladen tax lists I've had posted for several months.
12/15/11 — If you're researching the Clark family of Cumberland/Harnett/Robeson/old Bladen Counties, you should try to obtain access somehow to Victor E. Clark's 1980 papers that are in the archives library here in Raleigh. I would think other copies exist in other libraries, and if so I highly recommend you take a look at them. This looseleaf collection is mostly letters with some miscellaneous pieces of information, a few errors due to memory, but very rich history of the area.
11/1/11 — For those of you searching for ancestors in Cumberland County, a visit to Myrtle Bridges' Cumberland County Genweb site is a must. She has accumulated many transcriptions of original documents including census records, marriages, court minutes, military records, and a list of ALL estate settlements for the county.
10/4/11 — A different site containing an online transcription of the 1763 Bladen County Tax List was taken down. I expected the site with its transcription to disappear like so many other sites in this depressed economy, and I was not disappointed; however, I had copied it. My apologies to the person who transcribed it and posted it to their site that's now gone away. Eventually, I wish to see that list and make my own transcription of it as well as of the 1755 Cumberland County Tax List, Rassie Wicker's copy of which I have posted to the Tax Records link at left.
Also added an entry plat for Peter McArthur dated 1769 in the Blackfork of the Raft Swamp.
9/22/11 — A deed for "Bluff Hector" McNeill's estate, on Taylors Hole, from John Astee of Edenton, NC. The will of "Bluff Hector" proves that he had two estates, one called the The Bluff, one third of which he bequeathed to his wife Mary, and the other was on Taylor's Hole which he bequeathed in whole to his brother Duncan McNeill.
9/20/11 — Daniel McNeill, the son of James McNeill of Rockfish Creek, died in 1828. His widow and children moved to either Mississippi or Louisiana, and from there sold Daniel's lands on Big Rockfish which he and his father James had amassed. Here is the deed showing this relationship and the location of some of James McNeill's lands as well as those of his son Daniel.
9/9/11 — I've found more clues to the family structure of John Johns(t)on, Senior of Bladen/Robeson County. Identified as "Big John" Johnston in the 1858 Robeson estate of Neill B. Johnson, Esq., Big John owned land around today's Lumber Bridge on Pughs Marsh, and according to an 1753 Bladen land entry he lived on that land that year. His son, John Johnston, Junior, owned land on the marsh's north side. Their land holdings, like many others, were spotty and not always contiguous; John Senior owned land further south on Ten Mile Swamp and Johnsons who appear to be his grandchildren lived on the north edge of the Raft Swamp southeast of Shannon. Here is a quit claim deed from Randal Currie, Patrick Kelly and John Little (apparently trustees of the property) to Mary, John and Alexander Johnson who appear to be John Senior's children or grandchildren in line for these three pieces of land. So far, the Johnson family charts linked here cannot be documented as entirely correct, but the original documents I'm finding support the structure built in this family chart.
9/4/11 — An article written after 1936 requesting information on Moore County, NC, McPhersons, McDonalds and McLeans, reproduced from "The McPhersons From Moore County, North Carolina" by Daniel James McPherson, III. I have included this article because I have received many letters from people asking about the McPhersons and McDonalds, concerning the children of Malcolm and Christian Gillis McPherson.
8/31/11 — A 1748 bond from the Cape Fear settlement requesting a minister from the Synod of Argyll, Scotland, signed by over 70 men of the colony, including 13 McNeill men. Many of the men are not considered Argyll colonists, but who probably came into the colony between 1740 and 1748.
4/25/11 — A deed from Robeson County's records (Deed Book B, pages 54 and 55) shows that Jordan Perkins, son of Marrion Perkins who married John McPhaul, appears to have been a grandson of Soloman Johnston, Senior. Marrion Perkins is said to have been an Indian from Virginia—was Solomon Johnston, Senior from Virginia? Soloman Senr. and the Perkins family were classified in the Bladen county tax lists as "mulatto" but at that time the county's tax enumerators recorded all non-whites an mixed-race families indiscriminately as mulatto.
1/7/11 — A family chart of the children of James McNeill of Rockfish Creek and his wife Elizabeth McNeill. A bible record made after 1853 by James and Elizabeth's granddaughter, Barbara Patterson McNeill, states among other things that James and Elizabeth were married in 1752. Deeds prove that Elizabeth was the daughter of Hector McNeill on Carver's Creek in Cumberland County who was with the Argyll Colony (not "Bluff Hector"). Research is ongoing on James McNeill's family. Any original information (other than Cy McNeill's "History of Two McNeill Families") regarding this clan (old letters, bible records, family histories, etc.) is welcome. I have come to believe it is very possible that one of James's and Elizabeth's daughters was the wife of Malcolm McNeill, son of Bluff Archie and Barbara Baker McNeill.
8/20/10 — The will of "Scribblin/Scorblin/Skeroblin Archie " McNeill has been added. One should take care assuming that the nickname "Scribbling" meant that he was of a lazy character; there were McNeills of Skeroblin in Argyllshire. That's not to say, though, that Archie's contemporaries did not make a joke of a colloquial mispronunciation of 'Skeroblin' at his expense.
8/13/10 — The will of "Bluff Hector" McNeill of the Argyll Colony has been added. Also information on the Argyll colonists themselves has been updated. Did you know "Bluff Hector" McNeill named a brother Archibald in this will?
8/3/10 — A bit of information from Jerry McNeill of Sanford to Jay Edgerton of Red Springs concerning one Hector "Tailor" McNeill, son of Malcom McNeill and Nancy (née McNeill) McNeill of Moore and Cumberland Counties.
8/2/10 — Fort Bragg's report on the Campbell's Crossroads family site on Bragg Reservation near Nicholson's Creek details the Malcolm Campbell family there and its cemetery on the premises. Reproduced with permission.
7/9/10 — Excerpts from the 1844 Cumberland County estate settlement for Daniel and Malcolm Patterson have been added. See update below dated 3/15/09.
7/5/10 — A deed, not found in Robeson County's deed book indexes, has surfaced showing that Margaret McNeill, daughter of Turquill McNeill of the Argyll Colony, married Hector McNeill of Cumberland County before 1789. I tend to believe, based on original will and estate records, that Margaret's husband Hector McNeill was Hector McNeill the planter on Upper Little River who was born circa 1754 and died in 1840 in that county.
4/8/09 — An 1818 Cumberland County deed from Angus Gilchrist and his wife Elizabeth of Richmond County, NC states Elizabeth was the daughter of Laughlin McNeill, and wills and deeds prove Laughlin was the son of Turquill McNeill of the Argyll Colony who lived on Buffalo Creek. Laughlin's wife's name was Flora (maiden name unknown) and after Laughlin's death she moved with her oldest son Turquill and his family to Marion District, SC.
3/15/09— Searching for solid information on "Raft Swamp Daniel" Patterson's land, children and grandchildren. While researching information on my own Daniel Patterson of Cumberland and/or Robeson County (son of John Patterson and Catherine McPherson of Cumberland County), I've stumbled upon something curious. There is an estate settlement for a Daniel Patterson dated 1844 in Cumberland County records. Daniel Patterson, Jr. died in 1827, intestate and unmarried, with a sizeable piece of land adjacent to the land of his deceased brother Malcolm Patterson who also died intestate and unmarried in 1838. In 1844, the five surviving siblings petitioned the county court to divide their two dead brothers' lands amongst them. The surviving siblings are Archibald Patterson (who appears to be unmarried) of Cumberland, Flora Patteron who married Angus McRae of Cumberland, Sarah Patterson who married James Murphy of Georgia, Elizabeth Patterson who married Shockly Gibson of Georgia, and Loveday Patterson who married John S. Harrell of Mississippi. The court divided the lands into fifths and each sibling drew a one-fifth lot number randomly. Court costs came due and each got a bill for those costs. The estate record contains each bill and on the back of three of the bills (to the out-of-state siblings) for court costs, it is written by the sheriff that in lieu of unpaid court costs by those three siblings, a levy was placed on some of "the lands of the late Daniel Patterson Sen'r (known as Daniel Patterson of Raft Swamp)." 100 acres on Beaverdam is mentioned in one bill as part of "Raft Swamp Daniel" Patterson's land. The siblings recorded in the estate are NOT the traditional children of "Raft Swamp Daniel" Patterson , nor are they his grandchildren. Can anyone shed light on this? And where was Beaverdam--in western Cumberland County?
12/01/08 — I've added a deed showing the heirs of Neill Wilkinson, Senior, of Cumberland County. The deed names only three sons, and they are giving their interest in their father's lands to their siblings Neill Junior and Mary Wilkinson of Cumberland County. Other Cumberland County deeds indicate that Allen, Archibald and Angus were also sons of Neill Wilkinson, Senior. Other Wilkinsons in the Cumberland County register of deeds include William and Richard Wilkinson, who lived in the late 1700s in that county. Neill Senior, William and Richard may have been brothers, but research is needed to show their exact relationship, if any. All of these Wilkinsons appear to have owned land in the Locks and Harrison Creeks area on the east side of the Cape Fear River.
8/26/08 — Within two documents from the 1841 Robeson County estate record of Daniel McPhaul I have found a sworn statement (Document 1) by John McAlester of Richmond County that Daniel McPhaul married John Campbell's half sister. Also included is Catherine McArthur's sworn statement (Document 2) as to exactly how her father, Neill McPhaul, was killed during the Revolution.
8/22/08 — An estate paper from the estate of Laughlin McNeill (born after 1739 and was a minor in 1755) who died 1801 in Robeson, now Hoke County; son of Turquill McNeill of the Argyll Colony, shows Laughlin McNeill's family.
8/20/08 — A deed has been added showing the paternal grandfather of John Campbell (at Campbell's Bridge) to have been Duncan Campbell of Bladen County (now Robeson County). The deed is witnessed by Old John McPherson, his maternal grandfather, and shows Duncan Campbell owning land in Cumberland County on the Cape Fear River between John Russel's land and Turquill McNeill's land. Was this Duncan Campbell part of the Argyll Colony?
7/31/08 — More children of Alexander McPherson of Jura and his wife Elizabeth (née Murray) Baker McPherson have been identified. Their history herein has been revised.
7/12/08 — I've identified the first husband of Catherine McPherson Patterson Campbell, daughter of Old John McPherson. As I've suspected for several years now, his name was John Patterson and he lived in Cumberland County. He was most likely the John Patterson who in 1753 bought 100 acres adjacent to Old John's land on Beaver Creek near McPherson's bridge in addition to larger holdings nearby. John Patterson's will in Cumberland County dated 1769 shows he was in failing health when it was written. It names his wife Catherine, daughters Effie (oldest daughter), Mary, Marian, Flora and son Daniel. Except for the daughter Mary, these names match exactly the names of the children of Catherine Campbell's will of 1819 in Robeson County. In that will, Catherine bequeathed five dollars to a John Little—was John Little a widower, having married daughter Mary?
6/11/08 — If you've been searching for details about the "Sailor Hector" McNeill children, you know one of his daughters was named Isabella. She married a Daniel Buie whose Buie line has never been identified; nor have Daniel and Isabella been tracked down. The couple were presumed to have moved to Alabama or Georgia by McNeill researcher James M. Roberts who compiled the Sailor Hector family history. The Robeson County court minutes of Feburary Term 1831 show that Daniel was dead that year with two daughters, Margaret Buie and Isabella Buie, minors under the guardianship of Malcolm McNeill, presumably their mother's brother. A Margaret Buie is mentioned in Col. Neill Buie's will of 1837. Buie researchers can't identify this Margaret in this will. Are they the same woman? Was Daniel Buie related to Col. Neill Buie?
6/6/08 — Many have asked to know the name of the father of Neill B. Brown. In reading the Robeson County court minutes from 1839-1843 at the Dept. of Archives and History here in Raleigh, I have discovered that his name was Malcolm Brown. According to the minutes Malcolm died intestate and a court division of his slaves and property was initiated when his sons disputed their share of Malcolm's gift of slaves to them during his lifetime. The minutes indicate Malcolm had three sons, but only two of them are stated in the record to have been his sons; Neill B. Brown and John Brown. Duncan Brown was given slaves as well, but the actual entry in the minutes does not state Duncan is a son. Further research will probably show that he was Malcolm's son. The case went to the Superior Court in NC, but I have not seen those records yet and they may contain far more info. There is, so far, no mention of Malcolm's wife's name. Note: It was said by the old timers that the "B." in Neill B. Brown's name stood for 'Black'. Does anyone have confirmation of this? Neill B. Brown married Mary McNeill, sister of Neill T. "Tailor" McNeill of the Job's Branch McNeills. I will look into posting Malcolm Brown's Robeson deeds.
9/1/07 — An online transcription of the 1763 Bladen County Tax List was taken down, but not before I copied it. I expected the transcription to disappear like so many other sites in this depressed economy. My apologies to the person who posted it to their site that's now gone away. At any rate, compare it to the 1755 Cumberland County Tax List on my site to see if your ancestor moved southward into Bladen (now Robeson) County. *The 1755 list is a rather large file so give it a minute to load. If you run your cursor over the 1755 list you should see a little magnifying glass symbol with a "+" within it. Click the list with that to magnify the type on the list. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of either list. I strongly suggest you send off to the North Carolina state archives for photocopies of each tax list. Unfortunately both lists are in alphabetical order so neither people living in close proximity to one another nor local community structure can be determined. Also, Bladen County in 1763 encompassed several counties existing today so the people in the list are spread pretty thinly.
8/10/07 — I have added a letter written by Emma Davis to her cousin Margaret of Robeson County concerning her Brown, Buie and Campbell relatives from old Bladen/Robeson. Very informative letter that sheds light on the children of Duncan Campbell and his wife Christian Smith, and their spouses. A good copy of the letter was given to me by Bradley Buie of Raleigh, a native of Red Springs, near Philadelphus, in Robeson County. I can send you the pdf if you'd like one.
7/20/07 — Addition*: The Bladen County deed from 1777, John Smith to son Samuel Smith, has been added. *I see that John Smith and his sons, Samuel and William, are listed in John Smith's household in the Bladen County tax lists for 1770 . This means John's sons Sam and William were over the age of 16 for that year and were born on or before 1754. Each list in which they are found is in alphabetical order so neighbors cannot be determined. Sam Smith is listed as head of his own household in 1772.
7/17/07 — I found a copy of the will of Duncan Munro of Brown Marsh in Bladen County, NC, dated 1777, from the Bladen County Tax Lists by Byrd.
3/28/07 — I have added a better image of the little sandstone marker that may be the grave of either Turquill McNeill or James McNeill of Rockfish Creek. It can be found the McNeill section at the back of McCaskill's cemetery at Philippi Church in Hoke County.
3/24/07 — Correction: Further research has shown more accurately the children and grandchildren of Daniel Johnson and his wife Isabella Brown Johnson of Robeson County. The estate record for this Daniel Johnson separates the two Daniel Johnsons and their families, contemporaries of old Robeson who have been confused with one another for decades.
3/5/07 — I have added a photograph of Preacher Hector McNeill, son of Angus and Margaret McEachern McNeill, courtesy of Mrs. Pauline Grimes of Texas.
1/31/07 — I created the new North Carolina Presbyterian Historical Society website. Please visit this informative site and let the officers of the society know your interests. Through their site you can arrange to take any of their tours of Presbyterian places of worship in North Carolina and bordering states. The officers are very dedicated to their work and are wonderful folks.
1/13/07 — I've written a small story about a slave named Israel who lived in the Philadelphus area.
1/13/07 — An article about "Ardlussa" has been added to the Miscellaneous section. Ardlussa was the home of the descendants of Archibald "Laird Archie" (aka "Bluff Archie") McNeill and his wife Barbara Baker McNeill on Rockfish Creek in Cumberland County. Mrs. J. Nesbit of Charlotte, a descendant of Laird Archie, is writing a history of this McNeill family, soon to be released, which should contain far more information about Laird Archibald McNeill and his descendants.
1/12/07 — The history of Big Rockfish Presbyterian Church has been added to the Newspaper Articles section on the Miscellaneous page of this site.
1/5/07 — The family chart of James Ferguson, Sr. has been added, however, it is unfinished and incomplete. I hope James Ferguson researchers can correct any mistakes and provide discussion on this family.
12/29/06 — A deed from Reverend Colin Lindsay to the Trustees of Beaverdam Church in what was the tip of old Robeson County around Beaverdam Creek. The original 1771 grant to James Ferguson Senior is mentioned.
12/17/06 — Two deeds from a Daniel Patterson (or Paterson) have been added to the deeds page. One is dated 1804, Daniel Patterson to several McLain men. The other deed is dated 1806, Daniel Paterson to the Heirs of John Paterson.
12/15/06 — I've found more sibliings of Neill B. Johnson (NC State Senator 1829) in a Robeson County deed and the 1855 estate record of his father, Daniel Johnson, at the archives here in Raleigh. Neill B. Johnson was one of the children of Daniel Johnson, Esq. and his wife Isabella Brown (daughter of "Tory Neil" Brown and Sarah McPhaul).
12/3/06 — An article on guardianship law of the 19th Century has been added for those of you who are having trouble understanding some issues about your ancestors.
10/10/06 — The will of James McNeill of Rockfish Creek has been added to the Wills Section. His family chart has also been added.
08/10/06 — A new map, created from an image captured at http://www.topozone.com, illustrates the locations of the Robeson County lands of Old John McPherson, and those of Godfrey and Kitty McNeill, and from there indicates the general location of the Old Patterson cemetery. The McPherson lands were the subject of legal disputes between Catherine McPherson Brown and Gilbert Gilchrist from 1825 to 1845.
07/13/06 — A map of the McNeill section of Philippi cemetery (originally known as McCaskill's cemetery) has been added. Make sure you click the image of the little sandstone marker; in doing so you'll see the rubbing made from what is believed to be the gravestone of James McNeill of Rockfish Creek.
07/8/06 — An article written by Dick Brown for his column "Cape Fear Country":for the Fayetteville Observer, concerning the roads of the Cape Fear region has been added, and I've included links to images of very old maps showing many of the roads he mentions.
06/18/06 — A new map has been added which shows the Randalsville area of Robeson County in 1834 and the tri-county boundary that existed at that time. I haven't located the source name of this map. If you can identify it, please contact me.
05/13/06 — Several new deeds have been added; they pertain to the older, more unknown McPherson settlers of Cumberland County.
05/05/06 — More information has been added to the history of the family of Alexander McPherson of Jura. See the second paragraph of the history.
04/08/06 — I found in my brother's records a photocopied article from Encyclopedia of Eminent and Representative Men of the Carolinas of the Nineteenth Century, Volume One, author unknown. On page 295 can be found a small bio of Chancellor W.D. Johnson of Marion County, SC. This bio was written many decades ago and describes the lineage of this early Johnson family.
03/28/06 — Randal Currie's letter of resignation from his post as Justice of the Peace of Robeson County, NC, has been found in my brother's records and added. Randal Currie held this post since January 1800, according to Robeson County court minutes. I can't determine where my brother found this document as no source documentation was found with it.
03/18/06 — A map from county court records showing the location of Old John McPherson's lands on Raft Swamp in Robeson County, NC. But be patient, the map is a bit larger than most images on my site and may take a while for the computer to load it.
02/25/06 — A map showing the location of Neill McNeill's 1768 grant on Job's Branch in Hoke County has been added to the 'Local Maps' section in the navigation bar. It was very likely the location of the "Neill McNeill burial ground" mentioned by Col. Neill Buie in an 1828 deposition.
01/19/06 — The family chart of the Randal Currie family have been added. More to come on this clan.
12/06/05 — Article sent to me by Ruth McArthur of Wilmington which details some of the family of McNeills who lived on Job's Branch near McPhaul's Mill in today's Robeson County. The links in this article will be working shortly while I create a map to show the location of Job's Branch.
10/22/05 — New deed found which may fill in some missing info on the family of "Shoemaker John" McNeill; also a series of family charts have been created to show possible descendants of Shoemaker John's family descendants from his son Neill McNeill.
10/15/05 — The Malcolm and Christian Downie McPherson clan section has been added to and rewritten. Check back every few days for further additions to this section.
09/17/05 — An 1884 letter from Hoffman, NC, to Gilbert McPherson from Hugh A. Priest.
09/05/05 — A fraction of an 1825 deed found in the courthouse in Lumberton, NC, states the father of Archibald McMillan and Barbara McMillan McCorvey of Monroe County, Alabama.
07/10/05 — A letter of deposition from the 1845 Robeson County, NC, Archibald Gilchrist estate papers glimpsing a bit of the personal character of Sarah Ann McPherson and the circumstances of her marriage to Emen (Emmon or Emmen) Parker; also, dates of her brother Daniel's departure to the "western country".
04/30/05 — Cumberland and Robeson County maps have been posted.
04/24/05 — The 1836 statement of Gilbert Gilchrist in response to the petition of his sister-in-law, Catherine McPherson Brown, in pursuit of her share of the estates of her grandfather, Old John McPherson, father Daniel and brother Colin, all deceased, and of Robeson County, NC. It clearly states the month and year Gilbert Gilchrist removed from North Carolina to Alabama.
04/23/05 — For those divining their descent from one of the two William McPhersons, contemporaries who lived in Cumberland County, NC, please look at the 1802 grant to William Kellen, an assignee for William McPherson (I believe this is the Captain William McPherson mentioned often in Cumberland County court minutes). This grant describes the land as being adjacent to the land of one Jonathan McPherson on Black Mingo Creek near the eastern boundary of Cumberland County. It is my belief that this Jonathan McPherson was from Craven County, NC, and that he was the son and namesake of the Jonathan McPherson who lived on the Neuse River there in 1738, possibly much earlier. The Jonathan McPherson of Craven also had a son named Daniel in Craven who I suspect moved to Cumberland County as well. Craven County records reach back into the early 1700s.
04/20/05 — Cumberland and Robeson Counties' Indices to Conveyances by Grantee has been added, but so far only includes the family names McPherson in Cumberland Co. and Campbells in Robeson Co.; check this Latest Updates for new additions to the Indices. If you wish to view a particular deed you find in an index, let me know and I will locate it and transcribe it for the site as I am able. You can also use this page to do your own search at the archives in Raleigh on any subsequent visit there.
03/17/05 — Several deeds have been added to the Deeds section concerning Campbell and McPherson families.
02/26/05 — New section in Navigation Bar at left entitled Miscellaneous McPherson Records. This section, containing various collected notes about McPhersons in Cumberland County, NC [and other counties and states] during the mid 1700s through 1850, will change frequently with new tidbits and facts gleaned from records at the archives, libraries and other McPherson researchers.
02/13/05 — New information on Sir Sidney Gilchrist and his Civil War record.
02/05/05 — Sworn statement of Neill McPherson of Fayetteville, NC, as to his immediate family structure.
01/31/05 — New information provided by David McKenzie of Mississippi concerning Alexander and Charlotte Munroe McKenzie.
01/19/05 — Three views of the old John McIntosh Brown house at Philadelphus, Robeson County, NC, generously provided by Mrs. Peggy Townsend of Red Springs, NC, author of an invaluable record of Robeson County cemeteries, "Vanishing Ancestors," Volumes I, II, and III.
01/14/05 — Two bios for Alexander McGeachy of Kintyre, Scotland, have been added. Also, Letters from Alexander's brother Neill in Scotland are posted to the Miscellaneous section. Related letters of Kate McGeachy Buie can be found in the Miscellaneous section, and more of them will be added soon.
01/03/05 — Explanation of the process by which land claims became grants, taken from The Dixie Frontier by Everett Dick, 1948.
01/01/05 — Battles of McPhaul's Mill & Raft Swamp by John H. McPhaul has been added.
12/26/04 — Historical Sketches of McPhaul's Mill has been added.
12/16/04 — The first ten pages of the Annals of the Ashpole Community has been posted in 'Special Records' section.
12/08/04 — Passport information for William Munroe and Alexander McKenzie families has been posted. Read more about the Munroes and McKenzies at the end of the John McPherson Clan history.
11/23/04 — New information on Daniel McPherson has been posted.
10/20/04 — I am working the early voting polls here in Wake County, NC, and will be too busy to make additions until it's all over. So there will be no updates until about one week after the general election.
10/16/04 — Mrs. Flora McInnis Buie's pre-1910 History of the Buie Family has been added.
10/14/04 — Photograph section has new photos posted.
10/12/04 — Miscellaneous section has posted the second in a series of lengthy letters from Jefferson County, Mississippi to folks back home in Robeson County, NC. The first is an 1833 letter from Malcolm Buie in Jefferson County to Daniel and Neill Buie at Philadelphus in Robeson County. The second letter is dated 1854 and chronicles changes in Mississippi and back home in Robeson. Many names of those Robesonians who migrated to the Choctaw and Alabama are written about. Many thanks to Bradley Buie of Raleigh, NC for supplying these incredible pieces of Americana.
10/9/04 — Deeds section has three new deeds transcribed. An 1801 quit claim deed from Flora, Mary and Catherine McPherson to their Father, Daniel McPherson. A second deed, dated 1810, from William Munroe to Peter McGeachy. The third is dated 1834, Col. Neill Buie to William R. Munroe and Neill J. Buie.
10/7/04 — "Old John" McPherson Clan now confirms Old John's residence in Cumberland County through deeds. See paragraph #6.
10/3/04 — Early photos of Philadelphus High School have been added. More to come on this page.
10/2/04 — Photo of unknown minister has been added. Can you identify him? This photo was sent from Miss Ruby Nell McPherson in Alabama to my brother for identification.
10/2/04 — Malcolm McPherson, Sr. Clan has been updated but is far from complete. Much of my research may change. I hope someone can contribute. I have contacted some descendants of his in Texas and hope to hear from them with further details to add to what I have at this time. I have added Malcolm Sr.'s children and some who may have been his children. More information has been added about their son William.
9/29/04 — Philadelphus Church Session Records, Book I, is now complete. Book II has more inforation on about the same number of pages, and will take some time to finish. I will add Book II in its entirety rather than piece by piece as I did Book I. Look for Book II in about a month's time.
Note: Other documents listed in 'Special Records' are not fully formatted, e.g., "The Currie History" and "History of Two McNeill Families". The former is loaned out. The latter is on my list do be done and which will contain additions and corrections made by many local historians of the area over the past fifty years.