my gramma Ruth McDill Cary gave me some interesting info when i forwarded her an email from Jon Davis and asked her for some family history... i'll forward her response below.
she thinks that "Martha" (born in 1848) was actually her great-grandfather Matthew--he would've been 2 at the time of the census--young enough to easily have been mistaken for a girl by a careless census taker--and he was born in 1848... and there's a question mark by "Martha's" name on the census report!! interesting stuff... plus, she has a connection to the Tipton, Tennessee McDills.
Well, well....so the genealogy bug bit you!! Yes, I have a copy of "McDills
in America" and some of the mistakes you may find there are attributable to
your very own grandmother. You see I was in college when some gentleman
named Robert Wood wrote asking me for information. All I knew (you may
remember how intrested YOU were in genealogy when you were in college!!) I
had heard casually from family members, but I shared it with him and got on
with my academic life.
It's a sure sign you are getting old if you start showing an interest in
family history so you'd better eat right, take your vitamins, exercise and
do all those things we oldsters do to keep us hanging around a little
longer. Anyhow, as I matured I took more interest in my little book and
found some interesting items...like our connection with TENNESSEE. I knew
that my favorite cousin's family was rooted in Tennessee, but it took some
research to confirm the connections with the Arkansas McDills.
If Jon has a copy of McDill's in America tell him to look on
page 153 for more details. Thomas left records in his will, dated April 8,
1843 and a list of his children was found on the fly leaf of his son's
Bible. Thomas himself, born June 17, 1771, was married to Jane and they came
to South Carolina from Ulster District, County Antrim, Ireland.
William, born Aug 12, 1805, was listed in a census of 1850 as a farmer,
married to Cornelia F., age 27. I confirmed that this was a 2nd marriage
when I was visiting in Charlotte one year and spent some time at the
library. It seems William had two sons, Robert A., age 14,(born in 1836) and
Thomas R, a student, age 17,(born in 1833) by a previous marriage. I found
a record of William being custodian for an inheritance left the boys by a
Anyhow, This seems to say the first wife died sometime between 1836 and
1840, doesn't it???...and he remarried. The list of children he had with
Cornelia really caught my eye because only three names were listed: Jane A.,
age 9 (which would mean she was born in 1841); Mary A., age 5 (which would
mean she was born in 1845); and MARTHA, AGE 2, (which would make the birth
year 1848.) Well, well.....a question mark beside Martha's name caused me to
pause.....Hmmmmm.....Those who took the census in 1850 did not have a lot
of education. How legible was their writing? How well did they hear?
Suppose "Martha" was really "MATTHEW"(my great grandfather).....WHO WAS ALSO
BORN IN 1848 on November 15! And suppose Matthew's brother William Porter,
born Oct 10, 1850, was born after the census taker was gone? That is what
I think happened.... William Porter went to Arkansas with Matthew (my great
grandfather) and his mother Cornelia and her second husband McDonald.
When my mother died, and I was disposing of the McDill farm on the Arkansas
River, a number of farmers were bidding for it...but I knew my father would
want William Porter's children to have it so sold it to them without even
considering the other offers. I have continued to visit those folks when I
return to Arkansas and we have spoken often of our mutual grandfather
William. Their name is Blankenship now (One of William Porter's daughters,
Maude McDill, married Wirt Blankenship), and they live at Moscow....a wide
spot in the road near the farm. They are good people.
I do not know what happened to William McDill between 1850 and 1875 when
Matthew's first child was born in Arkansas.(Matthew was married to Josephine
I also found an item in old records in one of the libraries to the effect
that William helped inventory some property in 1850. in Abbeville, so I
believe the family left South Carolina in 1850 or 51 and traveled by water
to Tennessee....before going to Arkansas. I also believe the older boy,
Thomas, stayed in South Carolina...
Oh, Wow!! Guess what! While writing this for you I found a new and possibly
important tidbit!!On page 158 I found an entry saying A "Robert McDill (you
will recall William's son Robert was 14 in the census) moved to Tenn in 1850
and is listed in the 1860 census of Civil Dist.#7, Tipton Co., Tenn." Now
THAT could be important....it could tells us where to look for the rest of
the William McDills...if it is William's kid. For years I have wondered
where in Tennessee to look for them. Of course it could be another
Robert...one who would have been about 60 years old.....but that is what
keep us looking for clues......
I did NOT come to the computer room to get hooked on this genealogy!! It is
almost as time consuming as the computer itself!
Thanks for my birthday note...and thanks to David for his letter. Both
arrived well ahead of schedule.
Keep on writing and keep in touch. I love ya....gramma
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