7/15/18 — Six Men Named Daniel McNeill in Early Robeson County, North Carolina by S. C. Edgerton, ©2018:
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 with the same surname in the same family and the same county. My efforts 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 the 18th- and 19th-century:
The earliest Daniel McNeill (ca. 1750 – ca. 1813) is mostly unknown to researchers. He was a son of Donald McNeill (died ca. 1795) of Bladen (now Robeson) and wife Janet who lived on Long Swamp. 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 a son Neill McNeill of Long Swamp who died in Robeson in 1837 with many children. A third son was named Hector who may never have married but lived into the early 1800s. Daniel married Margaret McKay (ca. 1754 – ca. 1818) of Cumberland County, NC, and they had at least one child, Rosanna, when they first resided in Richmond County in the late 1700s. Most of their children ended up in Marion County, SC. Daniel and Margaret owned much property in Richmond and Robeson, as well as in Cumberland County through Margaret’s family. Deeds from that county show Margaret was the daughter of Alexander McKay of Cumberland County. Alexander’s Cumberland County will dated 1769 states that Margaret was his daughter, and a series of Cumberland County deeds connect Daniel and Margaret McKay McNeill to this McKay family. Daniel’s and Margaret’s oldest child and daughter, Rosanna (1772 – 1857), married Neill Stafford of Marion Co. SC.
Daniel "Daniel the Hatter" McNeill of Robeson County married Celia "Cealy" Humphrey. 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 second wife 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 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 of Jobes Branch (ca. 1710 – ca.1784) in Bladen/now Hoke County. The location of this land is near the entrance to today's Greenbriar Estates west of Red Springs. Daniel and Jane had two surviving children: Archibald "Little Archie" McNeill (who married Ann B. "Nancy" McNeill, sister of "Red Hector" McNeill) who lived and died in Robeson, and Mary (who married Alexander McPhaul of Robeson and moved to 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 Bladen County in the 1740s. His 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 ("Hector Carver” McNeill) of the Argyll Colony. Daniel signed his name as “Danold” on all documents. He was born in 1765, probably in Bladen County (now the far northern tip of Robeson). For many years before James died (circa 1805) he and Daniel amassed several land tracts together just south of Philippi Church below Big Rockfish Creek and down into what is now Robeson County. “Danold” married another 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 the south side. In 1791, the boundary between Cumberland and Robeson near Philippi Church was shifted southward slightly after which James found his residence in Cumberland County. Danold died in 1828, and he is buried at the old Scots cemetery where Philippi Church was established in 1888. After Danold’s death, his widow took their children to Carroll Parish, Louisiana where she died in 1857.
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. However, her mother was a McNeill whose first name is unknown; but, through Polly's brother James McEachern’s will in South Carolina she is at least now is known to have been a daughter of James McNeill of Rockfish Creek (see above). 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 where he made a deed that not only named his deceased wife but stated her request that he bequeath all his lands in Robeson to his four sons. 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 in Cyrus McNeill's “Two McNeill Families of North Carolina Related By Marriage But Not By Birth” (1900) wherein Daniel is stated to have moved to Arkansas, dying there at "a ripe old age". 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 records, “Daniel McNeill R.S.”, “Daniel McNeill, Richland”, etc.) 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. 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. Though she did not research this family in any detail, Mrs. Mabel McNeill Smith Lovin of Red Springs researched thoroughly several McNeill families of the region and 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" (1776 – 1850; 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 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 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. Daniel of Richland Swamp never remarried and died in 1872 on Richland Swamp where he lived. At his death he regretted not having been a better member of Philadelphus Presbyterian Church (my home 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.
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, is on record showing, among other things, that he had a few indentured servants, and, interestingly, he named them. 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. 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 was unaware of Bluff Hector's demise upon granting him power of attorney.
What happened with Port Neill? It had to have been sold because this river tract was part of an ongoing correspondence in subsequent years between Alexander McAllister in Cumberland County and his brother Hector living in Scotland that showed Alexander's desire to purchase the place and Hector's reluctance to part with it.
12/8/17 — The New Hanover County, NC will of Isabella McAuslan, dated 1748, widow of John McAuslan of Wilmington, has been added. In her will she names Grissela McNeill and her son Hector. Grissela (née Campbell) McNeill was the wife of "Black Neill" McNeill and 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, likely Grissela's daughter Flora who married about 1742 to Col. Alexander McAllister. 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 12 years? 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, 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 looks to have been a relative in some way to Isabella McAuslan. At any rate, regarding the two Margarets that Isabella named in her will, 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) 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. 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 Grissela Campbell McNeill was alive in 1748, perhaps living in Wilmington, New Hanover County, NC, and that her son, "Bluff Hector" McNeill", may have been with her there.
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 and this update serves to highlight him. The other Hector in the colony was quite young in 1739, perhaps not even twenty years of age, but in time became a man of influence in the 1750s and into the 1760s. 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 of that name will arrive in the region.
Of the two Hector McNeills in question, 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 bible records state that in 1739 he bore one child and only heir, a daughter named Elizabeth McNeill. Deeds also show this elder 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 Carvers Creek, a watercourse above Fayetteville, and perhaps was even the namesake for 'Hector McNeills Creek' above the current town of Godwin on the east side of the Cape Fear River. His first grant, however, was a 222-acre wedge across the 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 that reason for that is unknown. Hector's second tract, a 640-acre tract far upriver on the east side the northernmost reaches of Cape Fear River into Chatham County, was obtained in May 1741, and 37 years afterward in 1778 he sold it to Valentine Braswell, Jr., Hector's last known transaction.
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), so was 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 had a brother, one Duncan McNeill, who according to his gravestone at Bluff Church was born in 1728 and which states he 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 they were two sons of "Black Neill" McNeill (three sons are known). "Black Neill" was also known as "Neill Dhu" McNeill and "Neill McNeill of Ardelay" — the working leader who did the footwork for this colony.
However, this update serves to highlight the older "Carver Hector" McNeill. He has been identified on this site in a 1765 deed to Colin Shaw on Carvers Creek as "Hector McNeill, Carver". 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 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 was in part a query by Laughlin and Margaret Johnston McNeill, parents of 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 McNeill is supposed to have brought to the upper Cape Fear region to find a site for his settlers gathering back in Scotland.
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 whose land holdings stretched along Richland Swamp (called in Robeson's early deeds 'Soloman's Swamp' and 'Scolding Branch') eastward from Red Springs southwestward toward Wakulla, bordering the lands of "Sailor Hector" McNeill, Neill Buie, the Archibald McDugald (believed to have been the Tory Colonel Archibald McDugald), 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 that John's father immigrated as well and is buried in North Carolina — somewhere. 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 (died about 1795), Archibald (died 1835 unmarried), "John of Keinfordale" (married Margaret McMillan) and Malcolm (married Mary Ray), four young men buying land in upper Robeson along Richland Swamp in the 1780s and 1790s, activity indicating they were young adults, around 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 their history 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 1803; 1803 is the year Neill's undated will was copied into the deed books, 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 [nee 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 (nee 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 (nee 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 (nee 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.