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McClelland Family

Submitted by Sandra McKim Martinez (


Also See....Robert McClelland and Mary C. McClelland




The ancestral home of the McCLELLANDs was Kirkcudbright in Southwest Scotland.
In the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries many Scots crossed the water to Northern Ireland to escape the political and religious upheaval in their homeland.

Many of these Scotch Irish eventually migrated to America, including the McClellands.

MCCLELLAND had the following children:

+ 2 M i. William MCCLELLAND was born about 1742. He died on 12 Nov 1812.

Second Generation

2. William MCCLELLAND was born about 1742 in Pennsylvania. He died on 12 Nov 1812 in
Bourbon County, Kentucky. He was buried in Millersburg Cemetery, Bourbon County,
Kentucky. William married Martha MILLER about 1771 in Pennsylvania. Martha died in
1826 in Bourbon County, Kentucky. She was buried in Millersburg Cemetery, Bourbon County,

The McClelland's were aristocratic people, inclined to be tall and large of stature.

William McClelland was a wealthy and prominent citizen of Millersburg, Bourbon County, Kentucky. When he died on 12 November 1812 he left an estate of over $4,500 (a lot for those times), not including his land. He was a farmer and a slave owner.

Sons Alexander and Elijah were lame and needed special care, which was stipulated in the Will of William which was made 10 Nov 1812; proven Jan 1813 in Bourbon County, Kentucky.

William presumably migrated from Cumberland County, Pennsylvania (which was then a part of Lancaster County); then to Monogahela Territory, where in April 1775 he journeyed with John McClelland, John's wife and children, Alexander McClelland and several other men, to Royal Spring which is located today at Georgetown, Kentucky.

Some of the party went overland, driving cattle; William and two other men took boats down the Ohio River with their movable goods.

They intended to establish a permanent settlement and named it “McClelland’s Station" after John McClelland. The Indians proved to be a threat, and in the summer of 1776 a fort was erected and it was named McClelland's Fort. The fort was for the protection of the inhabitants, the number of which had increased during the ensuing months.
Many men helped build the fort, including William McClelland and Simon Kenton.

"The first settlers in Millersburg Precinct came from Pennsylvania; 18 men, all heads of families, set out from Sherman's Valley, near Carlisle, in Pennsylvania, heading for Kentucky. They journeyed on foot through the wilderness and so far as is known, arrived at their destination without encountering any serious adventure. William McClelland, John Miller, William Miller, and Robert Miller were among the 18 men.

Each of the men had received a pre-emption grant of 400 acres from the Governor of Virginia as an inducement to settle in Kentucky, which at that time was still part of Virginia. Upon their arrival they proceeded with their surveyor, a man named Johnson to lie out and survey their respective claims.

Four of the men located their lands within the present limits of Millersburg Precinct; John and William Miller and William McClelland and Wm Steele. They located their 400 acres and then proceeded to take up 1000 acres each at 20 shillings per 100 acres, upon which they built their cabins and planted a little corn, improvements being one of the expectations necessary to enable them to hold their pre-emptions.
McClellan built his cabin about 1 and 1/4 south of the village of Millersburg, a far hundred yards from the present Maysville Pike. John Miller located his on the site of Millersburg end a half-mile west of the Old Maysville Pike, on the farm now owned by John Bedford.

Each of the Millers built block houses where the families collected as a protection against the Indians in times of alarms, which for the first few years of settlement were numerous and frequent. After securing lands, erecting cabins, and planting a crop of corn, they in the latter part of the year, returned to Pennsylvania for their families and supplies.

On December 29, 1776 the fort was attacked by a force of Indians under the Chief of the Mingo Indians. His name was Chief Pluggy. The Indians outnumbered the whites three to one.

During the attack John McClelland was mortally wounded; also another settler was wounded, and Chief Pluggy was wounded.

John McClelland died January 6, 1777 and the survivors moved to Harrodsburg, which was a larger settlement. In 1920, a monument was erected on the sight of McClelland's Station which reads, "In memory of McClelland and his men who defended the fort on this hill, 1776." William McClelland is one of the men whose name is engraved on this monument.

It is not known what the relationship between William McClelland and John McClelland was, although it is believed they were brothers. It is know that John also had brothers named Alexander McClelland and Benjamin McClelland.

William returned to Cumberland County, Pennsylvania to his wife, Martha Miller McClelland and his children already born.

1777 William enlisted as an Ensign in Captain Alexander McCoy's 5th Battalion of the Cumberland County Militia. That year his third child, William Jr. was born.

1778 William was one of a group of men known as the "Miller Company" which was organized by Major John Miller and his brothers William and Robert Miller, to go from Sherman's Valley near Carlisle in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania to Kentucky (then was part of Fincastle County, Virginia) in order to claim land and make homes for their families.
They went by land to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, then down the Ohio River to Limestone (Maysville, Kentucky). From there they followed the Old Buffalo Trace, a 60-foot wide track made by buffalo coming from Ohio to the salt licks of Bourbon County, Kentucky. William had made improvements in the summer of 1776 on land on the Hinkston, near present day Millersburg, Kentucky.

William's settlement of 400 acres and pre-emption for 1000 acres on waters of Hinkston Creek. Settlement Certificate entered June 24 1780; another on 30 December 1782. They located their 400 acres upon which they built their cabins and planted some corn, which was necessary in order to hold on to their pre-emptions.
William built his cabin about one and one-quarter miles south of the village of Millersburg, Bourbon County, Kentucky that was a few miles from Maysville Pike, on land owned in 1882 by J.B. Barton, A. Butler, and William's great grandson Robert McClelland.
The stream, which was named McClelland's Run, emptied into the Hinkston opposite the village of Millersburg.
Later that year, 1778, the three Miller brothers and others of the company returned to Pennsylvania for their families.
Some records say that William McClelland did not go back for his family until 1780, but it is believed that he accompanied the Miller's in 1778.

In the early spring to 1779, the three Miller's, their families; several other families; and the McClellands came by boat from Cumberland County with all their possessions, expecting to take up residence on their land in Bourbon County, Kentucky. They came back to Kentucky, making the trip by land to Pittsburgh, and thence down the Ohio on flatboats. During the voyage they were compelled to keep in the middle of the stream, through fear of the Indians who infested the banks and were ever ready to attack a small party of whites. The Indians were becoming increasingly hostile to the hoards of white settlers who were claiming Indian land. Once, in attempting to land Robert Miller was shot by the Indians, who secured his body. Mr Miller had upon his person a silver watch, and wore silver knee buckles and shoe buckles which were then fashionable.
Owing to the hostility of the Indians, the party did not land at Limestone (Maysville) as they had intended, but proceeded to the mouth of the Beargrass, now Louisville, where there was then a larger fort and settlement.

Some years afterward a man came to Millersburg wearing these relics of the unfortunate victim, which he had purchased from the savages. They were recognized and purchased by John Miller, a brother of the murdered man.
The unsettled condition of the country, arising from the Revolutionary War, then in progress, and the Indians, incited to murder and bloodshed by British emissaries, their intended settlement was delayed and it was not until 1785-1786 that the members of the little colony took possession of their lands".

The Miller's remained in Louisville for several years and it was not until about 1784 that they and the McClelland’s finally took possession of their land in Bourbon County, Kentucky.

William's daughter Jane had been born in 1780 and his second daughter Martha was born in 1783. Martha was born in Bourbon County, Kentucky.

The town of Millersburg was founded by “Major” John Miller in 1798, who was the original owner of the land on which it now stands and for whom it was named".

"The early manufacturing industries outside of the village consisted chiefly of distilleries. The first one was built by John Miller previous to 1812. Another distillery was built by Robert McClellan and another by William Turner

Deposition taken 23 April 1819:
To establish William McClellands land on the waters of Hinkson;
"Col Cave Johnson deposeth at the home of Elisha McClelland that he surveyed said settlement in 1783.

Deposition of William Miller states that he came to Kentucky with seven or eight others in 1775 and in 1776 he and his brother John and James McGran made improvements for William McClelland".

"James McMillan deposeth that he came to Boonesborough in March 1776, his brothers John and Robert came to Kentucky in 1775. He heard Simon Kenton, John Fleming and Jonathan McMillan and one Cooper speak of Miller's improvement, that William McClelland, William Miller, and Samuel Nesbit had improved about a mile or a mile and a quarter from Millersburg."

Another record says Robert McClelland came to place whereon his brother Elisha "now lives" (in 1823) with his father in 1784.

Last Will of William McCLELLAND, deceased.
In the name of God, Amen. I, William McClelland, of the County of Bourbon and the State of Kentucky, considering the uncertainty of this life and being of a sound mind and memory, blessed by Almighty God for the same, do make and publish this my last Will and Testament in the manner and form following, that is to say:
First, I give and bequeath unto my well beloved wife, Martha McClelland, the house wherein I now live and two thirds of the land, which I now possess, clear ground and in woods, also all my slaves that I now have and possess, or that I may have and possess during her natural life, except a slave named Peter; also two thirds of all my personal estate To have and to hold the above property real and personal during her natural life, and the said Martha is to keep and maintain my two sons that is lame, by name Alexander and Elijah McClelland, during her or their lives.
Second, I give and bequeath to my oldest son, Robert McClelland, one dollar fifty cents, out of my estate both real and personal, being his lawful and equitable share, as I have likewise given him land and horses, cows, sheep and hogs and other articles before.
Third, I bequeath to my second son, James McClelland, one dollar fifty cents out of my estate both real and personal, being his lawful and equitable share, as I have likewise given him land and horses, cows, sheep, and hogs and other articles before.
Fourth, I give and bequeath to my son William McClelland’s heir by name Patty Harris McClelland, a two hundred pound bond, which is lodged in the Clerk’s Office of this County.
Fifth, I give and bequeath to my daughter Jane, now wife to Robert Miller, one dollar fifty cents out of my estate both real and personal, being her lawful and equitable share, as I have given her land and other property before.
Sixth, I give and bequeath to my son Elisha McClelland, the one third of my lands both clear and in woods, also one third of my personal property with the slave named Peter, which was excepted at the death of Martha his Mother and Alexander and Elijah McClelland. Elisha is to heir all the land and slaves that is bequeathed to the said Martha McClelland, except one slave named Milly, and bed and bedding, with the personal estate, but if the death of Martha, Mother to Alexander and Elijah, should take place before any or either of the above named sons, Elisha is to take them, his brothers, and maintain them taking special and proper care of them during his or their lives, but if the within named Elisha should not take the care that is necessary for their well being and support; in that case they are to keep possession of the mansion house, land and Negroes, that is bequeathed to Martha McClelland, during their lives and at their deaths the property real and personal is to go to Elisha all except one slave named Isaac which is to go to my grand daughter Patty Harris McClelland and her heirs.

23 April 1819 ---- To establish Wm McCLELLANDs land on waters of Hinkston. Col Cave JOHNSON deposeth at the home of Elisha McCLELLAND, that he surveyed said settlement in 1783. Deposition of Henry SWIFT in same. Deposition of Wm MILLER states he came to Kentucky with 7 or 8 others in 1775 and in 1776 he and his brother, John, and Jas McGRAN made improvements for Wm McCLELLAND.

William and Martha had the following children:

+ 3 M i. Robert MCCLELLAND was born in 1772. He died on 24 Nov 1833.

+ 4 M ii. James MCCLELLAND was born in 1775. He died in 1833.

+ 5 M iii. William MCCLELLAND was born in 1777. He died in 1802.

+ 6 F iv. Jane MCCLELLAND was born in 1780.

+ 7 F v. Martha Jane "Patsy" MCCLELLAND was born on 26 Jan 1783. She died on 16 Oct 1838.

8 M vi. Alexander MCCLELLAND was lame and needed special care. His father
stated in his will the special care for Alexander.

9 M vii. Elijah MCCLELLAND was lame and needed special care; specified in
father's will.

+ 10 M viii. Elisha MCCLELLAND was born about 1781.


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