Dedication and Thanks: I could never have attempted this without
the models provided by my grandmother, Lola McFarland, and my father, Joe
McFarland Hill. The more work I do, the more I admire what they accomplished,
especially in the days before computers, e-mails, and the Internet. GrandLola
provided the base for research-her wonderful book that provided the names
of distant relatives and the first clues of where to look. My father, Joe,
provided the first documented evidence: combing through county courthouses,
graveyards, and census information. I have used the Internet for news of
McFarland families, and picked out the information that has been most thoroughly
documented and researched. The research and writing of James A. McFarland
from Oklahoma has been especially helpful for American clan history, and
Kent MacFarlane’s help as the historian for the Clan MacFarlane Society,
gave me the ability to follow the clan’s Scottish history.
As a history teacher, I hope you don’t mind me putting our family
history in context with the bigger historical picture. Through contacts
made with McFarland relatives and descendants, in person and through e-mail,
I have been able to add to our family tree and its history. Our Fannin
County relatives have scattered far and wide, but everyone I contacted
has been generous in sharing information and pictures. In Ladonia, Muriel
Burleson helped me contact other living McFarlands, and that led me to
Rhonda Cunningham Shinpaugh, who has been a major help. Long distant relative
Debra Schafer owns the original photos of James, John, and Nancy Caroline
that are included in this book. My visit to the Fannin County Museum in
Bonham and meeting with Tom Scott, its curator, was also helpful in tracking
down Civil War history.
This is an ongoing project that hopefully will continue to grow
and be added to by succeeding McFarlands. I know there will be mistakes
and omissions, but none intentional. My thanks to all of you for your support
and help and my love to McFarlands everywhere.
Ancestor's Painting owned by Artemissa McFarland
Mary Helen Haines
To go all the way back in time for the origin of the McFarland name, the following information can be found at the web-site for the Clan MacFarlane.
“The MacFarlane homeland is located in the Highlands at the heads
of Loch Long and Loch Lomond. For over five centuries this area, the feudal
barony of Arrochar,was held by the chiefs of Clan MacFarlane and before
them by their ancestors thebarons of Arrochar. The family is Celtic in
the male line and native to their beautiful Highland homeland of tall peaks
and deep lochs just above the waist of Scotland.
A Saxon male line ancestry was first proposed for this family in
Crawfurd’s Peerage nearly three hundred years ago, but that is incorrect.
The best source is the Complete Peerage which follows the Scots Peerage
which, in turn, follows Skene’s Celtic Scotland in giving the true Celtic
descent of this family. All of these sources base their statements on the
old Celtic genealogy of Duncan, eighth Earl of Lennox, who was executed
in 1425, and the coming of age poem composed for Alwyn, last Mormaer and
first Earl of Lennox in the twelfth century. This Alwyn was the son of
Murdac (son of Maldouen son of Murdac) and his wife who was a daughter
of Alwyn MacArkil (son of Arkil son of Ecgfrith in Northumbria). When the
first earl died his children were still minors so the king warded the earldom
to his own brother David, Earl of Huntingdon. By 1199 Alwyn, the second
Earl of Lennox, had finally succeeded his father. The second earl may have
had as many as ten sons. Among the youngest (maybe seventh) was Gilchrist
who obtained a charter to the barony of Arrochar from his eldest brother
Maldouen, third Earl of Lennox. Along with Clan Donnachaidh, the MacFarlanes
are said to have been the
earliest of the clans to hold their lands by feudal charter. In
short, the MacFarlanes are descended from Alwyn, Celtic Earl of Lennox,
whose younger son, Gilchrist, received lands at Arrochar on the shores
of Loch Long at the end of the 12th century. Gilchrist's son, Malduin,
befriended and aided Robert the Bruce during his fight for independence
from the English. The MacFarlanes are reported to have fought at Bannockburn
in 1314. The clan takes its name from Malduin's son Parlan.
The name, Parlan, has been linked to Partholon, " Spirit of the
Sea Waves", in Irish myths and legend. More usually, it is considered the
Gaelic equivalent of Bartholomew. Gaelic grammar requires changes within
a word to indicate possession. A "P" is softened to a "Ph", and an "i"
is added to the last syllable. In this way, " son of Parlan" becomes Mac
(son) Pharlain (of Parlan).
The lands of Arrochar were first given (by charter) to Malduin MacGhilchristin
approx. 1286. Iain MacPharlain received a charter confirmation to Arrochar
From the now out of print manuscript, History of Clan MacFarlane,
written in 1922 by James MacFarlane of Scotland, more of the Clan heritage
is described chief by chief. Some of this information was provided in Lola’s
manuscript; however, what follows differs in the end.
In the early years of Scottish history the MacFarlane clan’s
fortunes were tied to those of the Earls of Lennox, even when the blood
relationship ended. When the direct line of heirs to the Earl’s title died
out, the MacFarlanes lost their bid to be recognized in that position to
John Stewart of Darnley who prevailed at the 9th Earl of Lennox in 1488.
Although the MacFarlanes could have lost everything, a marriage union saved
the day, lands and charter were returned to the MacFarlane chief and the
MacFarlanes went on to support the Earl’s line through thick and thin.
On Henry VIII’s death in 1547, many Scots saw an opportunity
to recognize their 5 year old Queen Mary as the legitimate heir to the
throne of England as well as Scotland. Duncan, the 13th chief, lost his
life at the Battle of Pinkie when the forces of Henry’s son, Edward VI,
invaded Scotland and defeated this effort.
In the 1550s Scotland experienced the Reformation led by John
Knox. By 1560 the Presbyterian form of Calvinism became the official faith
in Scotland and Andrew MacFarlane was one of the first lords to embrace
the Reformed religion. By this time, Mary, Queen of Scotland, had married
Henry Darnley, the 13th Earl of Lennox. Various histories favorable to
Mary picture him as a drunkard with a vile temper who suffered from smallpox.
Someone did not like him too much, because he was murdered in a plot that
included blowing up the house where he was recovering from his illness.
Mary was blamed as being an accomplice by Henry’s advocates and her one-year
old child, James, was named ruler instead. As Mary tried to fight for her
throne, the MacFarlanes fought at the Battle of Langside in 1568 and are
credited with capturing three of the Queen’s standards and driving her
forces from the field. Mary fled to England and exile and James VI was
given the throne. Andrew, the 14th Chief who led the forces was given the
MacFarlane crest and motto by a grateful regent. The crest shows the demisavage
with a sheaf of arrows in one hand and the other pointing to the imperial
crown with the motto “This I’ll Defend.”
Andrew was Chief from 1547, when he was only three, until
1612. These years were filled with violence and vendettas, feuds and thievery.
The most famous story is the feud between the MacFarlanes and the Colquhouns
who lived in the lowland area of Luss. Competition seems to have turned
murderous with the death of Humphrey MacFarlane at the hands of Sir Humphrey
Colquhoun. What ever provoked this is unknown, but it led to a series of
cattle-rustling raids in 1590. Then a story emerges of a love affair between
the wife of John MacFarlane (heir to the chieftanship) and Sir Humphrey
Colquhoun. John, with help from the MacGregors, followed the couple, chased
Sir Humphrey to his stronghold, set it on fire, killed him and then mutilated
his body. The story continues with his body parts being served on a platter
to his unfaithful wife, followed by their divorce. Whether this is a fanciful
tale or not, it is still the official excuse for his death.
The raids continued, this time the MacFarlanes were helping
the MacGregors against the Culquhouns. It seems the Culquhouns were more
knowledgeable of courts and public relations, because their complaints
against the MacGregors and MacFarlanes were more kindly favored by authorities.
The MacGregors were proscribed and the MacFarlanes were outlawed in 1608.
Coincidentally, James VI, who was now also James I of England,
after the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603, decided to solve the problem
of Ireland by subdividing the Province of Ulster into lots and sending
colonists from Scotland and England to live on and work the land. In 1610,
the Plantation of Ulster formally began with 59 favored Scots and 81,000
acres. Five of the 59 were nobles-and two of those five were the Duke of
Lennox (17th Earl) and his brother. This was the beginning of the MacFarlane
presence in Ireland in County Tyrone, “the first settlement of the MacFarlanes
of Ulster, from whom so many American members of the clan are descended.”
From there our Texas McFarland branch separates from Scotland
and its doings. However, because it is so erroneously believed by American
McFarlands that the clan ended by government decree in the 1700s and the
last McFarland chief immigrated to America, I will continue the Scottish
history a little further.
The son of Andrew, John, became the 15th Chief in 1612. Besides
his first wife, a Buchanan, he was married three more times. His second
wife was the daughter of Francis, Earl of Bothwell (Lady Helen Stewart.)
The feuds and fighting continued and many of the clan were convicted of
theft and robbery and removed to other territory in Scotland. If it wasn’t
internal fighting with other clans, there was always some cause dealing
with England that would give an excuse to raise the battle cry “Loch Sloy.”
The English Civil War led to the execution of Charles I in 1649. Many in
Scotland were supporters of Charles and the Cavaliers. In 1679, MacFarlanes
fought for the Duke of Monmouth, Charles II’s illegitimate son, in his
bid for the throne at the Battle of Bothwell Bridge. It was, however, unsuccessful.
John was succeeded by his brother Andrew, in 1679. Then followed
Andrew’s son, John in 1685 as the 19th Chief. He sided with the takeover
of the English throne by William & Mary, Protestants, as opposed to
the Catholic James II who was deposed. John was appointed Colonel of a
regiment of footsoldiers in 1689 and seems to be the last of the chiefs
engaged in war. The 20th Chief was Walter MacFarlane from 1705 till 1767.
He was known as a great scholar and antiquarian who devoted his life to
collecting, translating, and preserving manuscripts of Scotland’s past.
It is certain he did not lead any MacFarlanes into the battles fought in
1715 and 1745 to seat the Stuart pretenders in exile in France on the throne
in England. There are conflicting reports as to MacFarlane participation
in those fruitless adventures, however, since the MacFarlanes were Presbyterians,
it seems unlikely that they would have switched allegiances to the Catholic
Walter died without children in 1767, so the next chief was
his brother William MacFarlane. William was the last landed chief. Like
his brother, William was a learned man-a physician who practiced in Edinburgh.
By numbers, the MacFarlanes still dominated the Arrochar area, but there
was now little connection with their absent Chief. England, tired of the
Highland clans foolish support of the Jacobites, outlawed some of the beloved
traditions, such as wearing the tartan kilts. The power to hold feudal
clan courts was also abolished and the Scottish Enlightenment had begun,
producing many clever Scots such as philosopher David Hume and economic
theorist Adam Smith. As taxes increased to pay for the American war, William,
whose lifestyle was luxurious, and his gambling habits expensive, began
to sell off his estates. First, his inheritance in Jamaica was sold, and
then finally in 1784 the Barony of Arrochar. When William died in 1787,
his son John became the first of the landless lords and the 22nd Chief—but
of what? After him, the line slowly fades away, because even if there were
descendants, they did not carry out the duties of chief and they had lost
their connection to the ancient land. The last Chief was William,
the 25th Chief from 1830 to 1866. A new era had dawned, making the MacFarlane
clan, as a formal institution, a part of the romantic past.
From an article written by Kent MacFarlane for The Lantern an explanation
is offered to the derivation of present spellings of the MacFarlane/McFarland
“As has been written many times before. The proper, i.e. Gaelic,
spelling of our name is Mac Phàrlaine. The correct translation of
the name into English is Macfarlane. All the other variants are scribal
"errors" caused by people writing down what they heard. One of the maligned
versions (maligned for being "Irish" -as though that makes it suspect or
"wrong") is MacFarland.
Recently I was sent a package of papers from Georgia, U. S. A. Originally,
they had been the property of one Horace MacFarland of Boston, Mass. Somehow,
they went southeast to North Carolina and the down to Georgia. (If any
descendants of Horace read this, please get in touch with me) Mr. MacFarland
was very keen on his heritage. In the early part of this century, he was
in correspondence with, and later a member of
An Comunn Chloinn Phàrlane - the original Clan Macfarlane
Society, founded in 1911.
One of his correspondents was the Reverend William Barr Macfarlane
of Uddingston, Scotland – about whom I hope to write a great deal later.
For this article, I shall limit myself to paraphrasing as short article
that he wrote concerning the spelling of our name, particularly concentrating
on the MacFarland variant. According to his research of documents found
in the Procurator's Library in Glasgow, the name "Makfarland" occurs for
the first time in 1543 in a Charter of Confirmation* from Matthew, Duke
of Lennox to "Duncanus Makfarland de Arrochquhar" -the 13th Chief of the
name. The Rev. Mr. Macfarlane goes on to say that the last instance in
this time-frame was in 1596, in a document* concerning "Umfrido Makfarland",
who was the younger son of Andrew, the 14th Chief. He also mentions that
there were other variations in use in other documents.
The Rev. Mr. Macfarlane points out then that the Plantation of Ulster
began in 1608. It is well known that many Macfarlanes left Scotland at
this time to take advantage of the lands available in Ulster. He says:
"Therefore it seems that the Irish "M'Farlands" have the credit of handing
down to us the spelling that was IN VOGUE AT THE TIME OF THE PLANTATIONS."
(emphasis added - K.M.) The Rev. Mr. Macfarlane shows also that another
variant, Macfarlan, was common on both sides of the Irish Sea at this time.
He concludes by saying, among other things, that the "-an" form continued
in Scotland but disappeared in Ireland, while the "-and" form continued
in Ireland, but disappeared in Scotland. I found this explanation a very
interesting one. It points out very clearly that we need a thorough documentation
of the papers in the Hill Collection. Who knows what other nuggets of information
lie buried within these two volumes,
which contain more than 100 documents.
* Document 78, as numbered by Dr. H. Hill
** Document 85, as numbered by Dr. H. Hill
Now to the more recent history of our direct family line:
Our family line can be traced back to a Robert McFarland who
came to America in 1719 from Ireland. What was he doing in Ireland? His
family probably settled there as part of the English monarchy’s attempt
to wrest control of Ireland from those “wild Catholics” who refused to
bend to the English monarch’s decision to create a national English church
in place of the Catholic Church allied with Rome (remember that divorce
Henry VIII wanted). During the reign of James I (1603 to 1625), a concerted
effort was made to settle Scottish Presbyterians in Northern Ireland. Judging
from the small amount of territory that belonged to the MacFarlane clan
in Scotland, you can imagine why they chose to emigrate. According to family
tradition, written down by his great-grandson in America, our Robert was
born in 1675 in County Tyrone on land west of the River Foyle, east of
the Donegal Mountains and province. He married at age 30, (1705), and began
his family. In 1719 this family of Robert, wife Jennet, and five children
decided to move to America to the colonial land grant of Pennsylvania.
This begins the pattern that will be repeated over and over again for the
next century until our McFarland family finally settles in Texas in the
Robert McFarland: born ca. 1675 in Ireland (County Tyrone). Married
in 1705 to Janet (Jennet) and came to America around 1718.
John McFarland (1): born ca. 1706/08 in Ireland-married Mary Montgomery.
James: 1710 in Ireland-married Margaret Greer in 1730. Died 1752
Rachel: 1713 in Ireland-married 1. John Wilkins (1734), 2. John
Ramsey (1742), 3. Gordon Howard (1751). Died in Pittsburg, Allegheny Co.
Joseph: 1715 in Ireland-?
Robert: 1717 in Ireland-?-married Esther Dunn in 1748-moves to VA.
Rebecca: 1720 in America-was baptized in the First Presbyterian
church in Philadelphia, Philadelphia Co. Pennsylvania, birth date of April
14-married 1. Andrew Mayes 1735 and 2. Samuel McElhenny in 1755
The McFarland family settled about 70 miles west of Philadelphia
in Chester County, Pennsylvania near Conestoga township and the Susquehanna
River. Pennsylvania had been established first by the Dutch in 1609
when Henry Hudson landed in Delaware Bay. The British won it from the Dutch
in 1664 and in 1681 King Charles II granted it to William Penn to pay a
debt owed his father Admiral Sir William Penn. The colony became a refuge
for Quakers and other non-Conformists, which certainly would have included
Scots-Irish Presbyterians like our McFarlands.
In 1718 a Robert McFarland is listed on the Chester County tax rolls
as an Indian trader. It is possible that our Robert came to America with
father Robert and brother James, who might possibly be the James McFarland
who settles in Cumberland Co., Pennsylvania. In 1718, our Robert (born
1675) would be around 43 years old, and if his father traveled with him,
he would be at least 60. It is unclear if the records showing Robert and
sons, Robert and James are referring to Robert born in 1675 and his sons,
or his father.
Donegal was created as a new township in 1722 from the Conestoga
township and Robert, with sons Robert and James are listed there. The Robert
that we begin our tree with, however, has sons John (age 14) and Joseph
(age 7) as well, who are not mentioned in this 1722 list. Robert appears
on the tax lists in 1724, 25, and 26. The section of Chester County they
lived in became Lancaster Co. in 1729, after Robert and his neighbors petitioned
for its creation. Having a new county created meant more representation
in the colonial government. The Charter of Privileges, drawn up by William
Penn in 1701, allowed each county to elect 4 members annually to the colonial
legislative body. Robert McFarland acquired 268 acres along the Schickaselungo
Creek in 1739, which he passed on to his children when he died in 1751.
(To find this area, look for the city of Lancaster, go southwest down Hwy.
501 toward the Susquehanna River. Conestoga, of course, is the town famous
for its wagons first built in 1725. I wonder if our ancestors used
one of these when they pulled out of Pennsylvania in the 1740s.)
Robert Sr. died June 17, 1751 and his will was probated March 25,
1752 in the Rapho township. (Like Donegal, the name Rapho also derives
from their Irish homeland.)
John McFarland (1): born 1706-1708 in Ireland. Married in 1728 in
Lancaster Co. Penn. to Mary Montgomery. Mary was born in 1712, daughter
of John Montgomery. They moved to Virginia around 1747 to Augusta Co.,
later called Montgomery (and now Wyeth Co.). Served as an Ensign in 1752
in Augusta Co. Later moved to Bedford Co. Virginia.
Robert: 1730 in Donegal, Penn.-married Martha___?. Named a Lieutenant
in the Augusta Co. militia in Virginia. Children: Robert b. 1759 who served
in the Revolutionary War, died in 1837 and is buried in the McFarland Cemetery
in Hamblen Co. Tennessee, Benjamin b. 1769
Nancy: 1731 in Donegal, Penn.-married Andrew Evans
James: 1733 in Donegal, Penn.-never married, died in 1755 in New
River, Augusta Co. VA. fighting Indians.
Rachel: 1737 in Donegal, Penn.-married John Hunter
John (2): 1739 in Lancaster Co. Penn. Married Mary Kinder
Arthur: Jan. 19 1741 in Lancaster Co., Penn. Dies as infant.
Mary: Feb. 11, 1743 in Lancaster Co.-married James Hunter
Joseph: Mar. 30, 1745 in Lancaster Co. or Virginia, Russell Parish,
Lunenburg Co.-never married, accused of disloyalty in 1779 during Rev.
War. Agrees to kill wolves for govt. in 1785. Dies between 1785 and 1800
in Montgomery Co. VA- in a fight or duel.
Benjamin Anderson: April 16, 1747 in Virginia, Russell Parish, Lunenburg
Co. (Later becomes Bedford Co.) Marries Mary Blackburn. Fought in Rev.
War 1777-1779. Died in 1823 in Dandridge, Jefferson Co. Tennessee
Around 1747, itchy feet and a promotion to settle new territory,
led our forefather John (1706/08), who from now on we will refer to as
John 1, to pack up his family with Mary and move south to the west side
of the Blue Ridge Mountains about 300 miles south of Donegal.
Travel would have been through the famed Shenandoah Valley. On today’s
map that first Virginia land they (John 1 and son Robert) claimed is near
Wytheville (1020 acres on Black Buffalo Lick and then land on Reed Creek).
John 1 served as Constable in the Reed Creek area and was appointed as
Surveyor for Augusta County. John helped survey the land and build roads
in the territory. Records show that John qualified as an Ensign in Augusta
County in 1752, and his son Robert was a Lieutenant for the Virginia Militia.
This land was virgin land for European settlers and the Native
Americans were probably not very happy to have these settlers move in,
even though a treaty had been signed between the Six Nations and the Colonies
of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania in 1744. Conflicts between the
Indians and the settlers led to numerous deaths, one of those being James,
son of John 1, in 1755. France and England were also at odds over colonial
issues and began fighting each other in the Seven Years War (1756 to 1763).
French and Indians attacked the frontier settlements at Reed Creek, New
River, and the Roanoke River (all around John McFarland’s land). The British
and local militias were not able to protect these outlying places, so John
McFarland’s family, along with many others, moved to the safer, more settled
areas in Bedford County.
In 1763, he purchased land on the Otter River and over the next
few years sold all of his land in present-day Wythe Co. to his sons and
others, while buying more land in Bedford Co. Tax lists and deeds from
the time also show that John owned slaves and sold some to his son Benjamin
along with land in 1777. The pride that comes with having ancestors
that helped settle America has to be tempered with the knowledge that they
prospered at the expense of Native Americans and with the aid of African
slaves who had no choice in the matter.
Mary died in 1782 in Bedford Co., Virginia and husband John 1 died
(The source for a good portion of the section above is Stitches in
Time: The Myth of Sir John Macfarlane by an Oklahoma relative James A.
McFarland. This is an excellent manuscript that I highly recommend.)
John McFarland (2): born 1739 in Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania. Came
with his father to Virginia in 1747 at age eight. At age 18 he served in
the Virginia militia as John McFarlin-7th Company, Virginia Regiment-July,
1757 under Capt. John Lewis. He married Mary Kinder around 1763 (b. ca.
1742 in Bedford Co. VA, from the household of Peter Kinder, a neighbor)
and had 13 children. The family moved to the State of Franklin between
1784 and 86. Had a land grant on the Nolachucky River. This area becomes
Greene Co., then Jefferson Co. Tennessee. The family moves again around
1795 to North Carolina, Buncombe Co. In 1809, Buncombe Co. becomes Haywood
John (3): Feb. 28, 1764 in Bedford Co., VA.- married Rebecca Bell.
Mary: Feb. 28, 1764 (twin of John)-(called Polly), married Sam Montgomery
Rachel: 1766 in Bedford Co., VA. Married John Ward
Benjamin: 1767 in Bedford Co., VA. Married Ruth Buchanan Jack-move
to Adair Co. Kentucky. Died 1859 in Russell Co. Kentucky
George: 1769 in Bedford Co., VA. Married 1. Sally Jack, 2. Nancy
Golden. Died in 1837 in Knox Co. Kentucky
Jacob: 1772, Feb. 21. in Montgomery Co., VA. Married 1. Elizabeth
Webb, 2. Nancy Cathey. Children born in Buncombe Co. Died in 1846 in Cooper-Moniteau,
James Ray: 1773, Dec. 20. in Montgomery Co. Va. Married Frances
Webb in 1793. Eleven children born in Buncombe Co. One of those, Benjamin
Franklin, b. March 5, 1807 in Buncombe, died March 20, 1885 in Grayson,
William: 1775 in Montgomery Co., VA. Married Susannah George in
1798. Had 9 children-half in Buncombe Co., half in Missouri. Died in 1834
in North Carolina
Reuben A.: 1778 in Montgomery Co., VA. Married Martha Campbell.
Child Reuben b. 1810 marries Mary Catherine Pettit. Died in 1867 in St.
David: 1780 in Montgomery Co., VA.
Catherine: 1782 in Montgomery Co., VA. Married a Cain.
Jesse: 1784 in Montgomery Co., VA. Married Isabella Boyd. Died 1826
Anna: 1786 in State of Franklin (Greene Co., later Jefferson Co.,
Tennessee). Married George Cathey. Died in Bates Co. Missouri
John McFarland 2 spent some very busy years between the Seven Years
War and the Revolutionary War creating a family. After marrying Mary
Kinder in 1762/3 in Bedford Co., they settle there and have their first
children, twins John and Mary on February 28, 1764. As you can see above,
eleven more followed during the next 22 years. Assuming that all these
children belong to our John and his wife Mary, she would have been around
44 years old when her last child Anna was born in 1786. If it is true,
then Mary Kinder McFarland deserves the “Mother of the Century” award!
Looking at the birth dates of John 2’s children, it becomes
obvious why he did not actively serve during the Revolutionary War.
In 1776 John 2 was 39 years old with 8 children under the age of 12 living
at home. James A. McFarland told me that the D.A.R. considers John 1 as
a “Patriot” who furnished food for the Continental Army (he was 70 years
old when it started). And he was able to show that John 2 was in the Militia
in Montgomery Co., VA during the war and that qualified membership for
However, several McFarlands from this family group did actively
serve. They are: Benjamin Anderson McFarland (John 2’s brother-He was a
Private in the 3rd VA Regiment serving from Sept. 1777 to Dec. 1779), and
Robert McFarland (John 2’s nephew, son of brother Robert and Martha-was
a Lieutenant and Captain in the North Carolina militia).
Not every McFarland was happy with the war. John 2’s brother
Joseph (born 1745) seems to have favored the British, or at least not favored
going to war, because he was put on trial for treason in 1779. He
seems to have made an agreement with the Virginia government to use his
skill at arms during the conflict for no purpose other than killing wolves
to protect livestock in the county. Joseph would have been an interesting
person to know more about, besides being against the war, he was killed
in an argument or duel by a Doak around 1785-1800 in Bedford Co.
By 1787, and possibly a year or two earlier, John 2 packed
up his family and moved about 200 miles away to present-day eastern Tennessee.
He had been speculating in land there as early as 1784. In 1784, the area
briefly existed as the State of Franklin, County of Caswell. This
had been the far reaches of North Carolina, and in 1784 North Carolina
ceded its western territory to the federal government. The inhabitants
of the three counties elected John Sevier (for you Hill relatives, he was
a close friend and commander to Nathaniel Evans, the grandfather of Sevier
Evans-Amanda Meredith Hill’s first husband) as governor of Franklin. In
1796 Franklin ceased to exist, and was made part of Tennessee and North
Carolina again. Sevier went on to become Tennessee’s first governor.
The McFarlands settled on the Nolachucky River, which is across
the Appalachian Mts., today Cocke Co. Tennessee. All the birth records
of the next generation will list Greene County and then Jefferson County-but
they are the same location, just changed names. Other McFarlands lived
in the area. William McFarland is a close neighbor and Joseph McFarland
receives a grant on the Nolachucky River also. Robert McFarland, John 2’s
nephew, also moved there a few years later. After only being in Tennessee
for around 9 years, the McFarlands move again in 1795-96 to North Carolina
This time the move is only about 50 miles away, and is the only time the
McFarlands moved east.
John died in 1809 in Haywood Co., North Carolina. We do not know
when Mary died.
John McFarland (3): born Feb. 28, 1764 in Bedford Co. Virginia. Married
Rebecca Bell, daughter of James Bell and Agnes Hogshead. She was born on
April 26, 1770 in Augusta Co. VA. They married on July 20, 1786 in Montgomery
Co., VA. They had 10 children. The first four were born in Greene Co. Tennessee,
which changed names to Jefferson Co. after 1792. The family moved around
1796 to North Carolina where the next six were born in Buncombe County,
which becomes Haywood Co. in 1809. Around 1816 they packed up and moved
again-this time to Missouri.
John McFarland (4):Feb. 14, 1787 in Greene Co., Tenn. Married Mary
Fleming in Buncombe Co., N.C. Mary was born in 1785/86 in Virginia. He
moves to Fannin Co., Texas.
Ann(a):April 23, 1790 in Greene Co., Tenn. Married Joseph Hughes
(b. 1792). They have daughter Amanda Hughes (1828-1907) who marries Dudley
Horn (1818-1874). Amanda and Dudley move to Texas. Their daughter Nancy
Bayless Horn (1854-1928) marries John Ewing McFarland in 1873. Amanda dies
in Gainesville, Cook Co., Texas. Ann(a) died in 1868/9 in Ft. Francois,
William Bell: Nov.16, 1792 in Greene Co., Tenn. Married Nancy Elizabeth
Smith. Died Jan. 10, 1839 in Cooper Co., MO.
James: January 20, 1795 in Jefferson Co., Tenn. Married Jane Jackson
December 1, 1816.
Rebecca: 1798 in Buncombe Co., North Carolina. Married John Deaver
in 1815 in North Carolina. Died in Sherman, Grayson Co., Texas
Mary: 1800 in Buncombe Co., North Carolina. Married Jacob McFarland
on July 4, 1822 in St. Francois Co., Missouri. Jacob is son of Reuben A.
McFarland and wife Martha Campbell. Mary died in 1857 in St. Francois Co.,
Arthur: 1803 in Buncombe Co., North Carolina. Married Elizabeth
McClure in 1825 in St. Louis Co., Missouri. Died in Texas Co., Missouri
Sarah: April 14, 1806 in Buncombe Co., North Carolina. Married November
10, 1822 to Carroll George in St. Francois Co., Missouri. Died May 14,
1877 in Cass Co., Missouri.
Joseph: January 10, 1809 in Haywood Co., North Carolina. Married
July 4, 1822 in St. Francois Co., Missouri to cousin Mary E. McFarland
(born July 24, 1807 in Buncombe Co., N.C.) Must have been a double wedding!
Nancy Caroline McFarland: 1812. Married Alexander Sloan in 1829
in Cooper Co., Missouri. Died November 14, 1909 in Fannin Co., Texas
The John McFarland (3) and Rebecca Bell family moved to North Carolina
between 1795 and 1798 judging from the birth dates of their children. North
Carolina was a colony established in the 1660’s and although it declared
its independence in 1775 from Britain, it did not join the United States
until 1789 because its residents objected to many of the statutes that
favored the federal government. Life there must have not been too appealing,
however, because in 1816, John and Rebecca, their children-married and
unmarried, and John’s sisters and brothers with their families decide to
head west. The traveling party included: Jacob McF., James Ray McF.,
William McF., Reuben A. McF., Jesse McF., and Anna McF. with spouse George
Cathey. Also were their various children, spouses, and more children. They
numbered around 80 people. George and Benjamin McF. with wives had
moved to Kentucky several years earlier, and it seems that the party stopped
there on the way to Missouri. Along the journey Rebecca Bell McFarland,
wife of John, died in Kentucky in September, 1816-only 46 years old. This
left spouse John to care for four children under age 13, however with older
siblings and lots of cousins, I’m sure there were plenty of parents to
go around. The journey was around 350 miles from western North Carolina
to eastern Missouri.
Why Missouri? Well, the Indian Wars ended in 1815 with a peace
treaty signed by 19 tribes and the white settlers in the area. Missouri
was not a part of the Union yet, and I am sure that had appeal to these
McFarlands. Whether it was always a desire for cheap land or the lack of
government that was so appealing is hard to say. But whenever an area became
too settled, it seems some of the McFarlands were ready to move on.
Along the way our forefather James must have met Jane Jackson in Kentucky,
where she was born in 1801, and married her in December-or her family had
already moved to Missouri and James met her when they arrived. Either way,
they married December 1, 1816: James was 21 and Jane was 15. They settled
in an area called Saline town-ship in Ste. Genevieve Co. along with all
the other relatives that made this journey. This area became St. Francois
Co. in 1822.
It’s obvious from records in Missouri that there were other
McFarland families already in the area. One family mentioned in records
is descended from a John McFarland from Virginia who had moved from Christian
Co., Kentucky. He had a son Arthur who married a Louisa Morrow, and they
had a son Andrew J. McFarland born in 1837 in Madison Co., MO. Another
John McFarland is the Reverend John McFarland buried in the Old Stone Church
Cemetery, near Libertyville, Missouri. There is a section of the cemetery
with many McFarland relatives of John. He seems to be the oldest, born
in 1778, and dying September 20, 1846. This wife was Elizabeth (born 1795).
Their children buried next to them seem to be Elizabeth, Grace, Margaret,
Mculley (?), and John G. McFarland, along with another daughter Mrs. Peace,
wife of Reverend Andrew Peace. This information was gathered by Frances
I. Ingmire of St. Louis MO., a distant cousin, who shared it with Lola
McFarland in 1978.
John died July 20, 1820 in Saline Township, Ste. Genevieve
Co., Missouri. Frances also found what appears to be his estate sale. In
the transcript of the 25th day of May 1821, the court assigns John (4)
McFarland, the eldest son, to be the guardian to the three siblings over
14 (Sallie, Polly, and Arthur.) Their formal names would have been Sarah,
Mary, and Arthur. Also he was to be guardian to the two more children under
14-Joseph and Nancy. Securing this bond with John McFarland was William
Davis. (Is he connected with the Davis that helped found Ladonia with James
McFarland?) At the estate sale were other McFarlands that came from North
Carolina, both siblings and cousins, John, Mary, Jesse, Reubin, Jesse,
James, and another John. Other people that bought items and are associated
with our family through marriage are Joseph Hughes and Bailey Fleming.
Four years later Jesse McFarland died, and at his estate sale
was James McFarland, Martin and George Sebastian, and Rucker and Elliott
Jackson. Some of the Sebastians and Jacksons also came to Fannin
Co. with James and settled on land near his claim and became relatives
James McFarland was born January 20,1795 in Jefferson Co., Tennessee.
He married Jane Jackson on December 1,1816, shortly after moving to Missouri.
Jane, the daughter of Elliott Jackson, was born February 5, 1801 in Kentucky.
Eleven children were born in St. Francois Co., Missouri from 1817 through
1836. Two more were to follow: Newton and Arthur on Texas soil. Other McFarlands
followed; notably brother John and his children, their spouses and children,
and sister Nancy Caroline, as well as niece Amanda Hughes. Jane’s brother
also moved to Fannin Co.
Jackson: September 3, 1817 in Ste. Genevieve Co., Missouri. Married Artemissa
Pence on July 13, 1846 in Fannin Co., Texas
Buried in McFarland Cemetery, Fannin Co., Texas.
John Ewing: October 4, 1819 in Ste. Genevieve Co., Missouri. Died
before 1840 census. No one knows what happens to him, but he came to Texas,
filed for a land certificate, but did not live long enough to actually
Sarah: April 3, 1821 in Ste. Genevieve Co., Missouri. Married Elijah
Scott Sebastian on November 6, 1847 in Fannin Co., Texas and died there
on November 30, 1903.
Anna: March 29 1823 in St. Francois Co., Missouri. Married Howard
Etheridge and lived in Fannin Co. next to James and Jane. Died before 1880
Albert: November 10, 1824 in St. Francois Co., Missouri. Married
Catherine E. Died during Civil War on April 13, 1862.
Rebecca: October 3, 1826 in St. Francois Co., Missouri. Married
Hezekiah Blankenship on Sept. 13, 1843 in Fannin Co., Texas. 2nd husband
George Wilkerson. Moved to Oklahoma. Died 1889 and buried in Coleman Cemetery
in Porum, Okla.
Jasper: August 10, 1828. Married Clarissa Cooper. Died in Hunt Co.
Texas, buried in Clinton Cemetery, 4 miles north of Caddo Mills, Texas.
Cynthia Anne: June 21, 1830 in St. Francois Co., Missouri. Married
James Calvin Tucker on October 27, 1846 in Fannin Co., Texas. Died before
James: August 25, 1832 in St. Francois Co., Missouri. Died coming
home during or after the Civil War.
William M.: May 7, 1834 in St. Francois Co., Missouri. Died October
29, 1852 in Fannin Co., Texas. Buried in McFarland Cemetery north of Ladonia.
Mary Jane: May 30. 1836. Married 3 times. 1. Will Terry 2. Frank
3. L.T. Cunningham. Died Feb. 14, 1878, buried at Oak Ridge cemetery.
Newton: October 11, 1839 in Fannin Co., Texas. Married Sarah Carolyn
Tucker on July 25, 1860 in Hunt Co., Texas. Died September 2, 1872.
Arthur: August 14, 1844 in Fannin Co., Texas. Married Mary Ellen
Terry Chamblee. Died sometime close to 1899 in Chickasha, Indian Territory-Oklahoma.
Civil war monument placed in McFarland cemetery.
Wow! Thirteen again—I was too quick to award the “Mother of the Century”
award to Mary Kinder McFarland—except she was in the eighteenth century
and Jane Jackson McFarland is the nineteenth century, so I guess it is
OK to have two awardees.
Jane was only 15 when she married James (who everyone called Jimmie)
McFarland on December 1, 1816 in Missouri. Her birthplace has been variously
stated as being Missouri or North Carolina, however she stated to the census
takers in Texas that she was from Kentucky and her birth date is February
5, 1801. Her father’s name was Elliott Jackson and his name appears on
the Scott Co., Kentucky census of 1800. It also was a family tradition
that she was part Indian, however there is no information about her mother
or when they moved to Missouri. Her brother was John C. Jackson, born also
in Kentucky about 1811. It would seem that her father had laid claims to
extensive acreage because he sold 151 acres in St. Francois Co. in 1826
to “his beloved son-in-law and daughter Jane and James McFarland.” He also
sold them another 240 acres in 1831, as well as leased land to Reuben McFarland,
a cousin. Owning 391 acres, however, was not enough to keep them in Missouri,
and James began disposing of property that same year. In October, 1836,
the couple sold the last of their acreage in St. Francois Co. to Samuel
P. Harris and headed for Texas—the last big move to frontier territory
for our branch of the family. This time the move was 450 miles away. Family
tradition says that they stopped in Arkansas on the way, which makes sense,
because Jane’s brother, John C. Jackson lived in Hempstead Co., Arkansas.
He followed James and Jane and appears on the 1850 census as aneighbor.
Texas had just won its independence from Mexico in March, 1836 and
the new republic was a prime place to find new, cheap land. The new
government proclaimed that heads of families who arrived in the Texas Republic
by October 1837 could claim 1280 acres (two square miles). Our ancestor
James M. McFarland arrived just in the nick of time in September 1837.
His oldest son, A. Jackson, just turned 20 and single, was allowed to claim
320 acres at this time. James’ land was just north of the Sulphur River
on gently rolling hills. Jackson’s was just south of the river. It
was also in the last months of 1837 that the area they moved into was recognized
as the 11th county in Texas. Fannin County was named after James Walker
Fannin, the elected Colonel of the Texas Revolutionary forces at Goliad,
who was captured by Santa Anna’s forces and executed by a firing squad
The only problem with moving into this prime black-land prairie
was that the local Indian inhabitants were not too eager to see those McFarlands
heading into their territory. Two years earlier, Isaac Lyday from
White Co. Tennessee (a neighbor to the Hills and Merediths), came to Texas,
while it was still a part of Mexico, with the two-fold purpose of gaining
control of this wilderness for the Mexican government, and to acquire cheap
land for himself and his brothers. In the interim, Cherokee Indians,
displaced from their native lands in Alabama and Georgia, had moved into
East Texas displacing the Caddo. Promised land by Sam Houston if they stayed
neutral in the fight for Texas independence, the Cherokees found those
promises shattered by the new Texas Senate, which saw no need to fulfill
those agreements. Indian raids led to Isaac Lyday building a fort
in 1837, Fort Lyday, near present-day Dial, Texas to provide a safe haven
for new settlers to this area. This became the temporary home to the first
settlers who moved to the Ladonia area in 1837: the families of James McFarland,
Daniel Davis, Wiley B. Merrill, Frank McCowan, David Waggoner, and Andrew
Terry to name a few. It was the only safe place to be until the Cherokees
were defeated and pushed into Oklahoma-or as it was called then-Indian
In 1838, James and A. Jackson McFarland were granted citizenship
by the Republic of Texas and both formally received their land grants in
1845, the last year of the Republic. Anson Jones, the last president of
the Republic, signed the grants. Jackson received another 320 acres at
that time and purchased the Reuben Brown land grant of 640 acres as well.
James and Daniel Davis were the earliest settlers in this area,
Davis arriving in 1836 (therefore allowed to claim a much larger grant
than James who came in 1837.) The size of these early grants allowed the
men to provide plenty of land for their siblings, children and children’s
spouses, who moved into the area shortly after.
We can only imagine the hardships of settling on unbroken land,
building their homes from scratch, trying to avoid Indian attacks, and
not dying in childbirth. Jackson was present at Daniel Davis’ home along
with other members of a scouting party from Ft. Lyday who were sleeping
at Davis’ place, when an Indian attack at daybreak left Davis dead. This
most likely occurred in November, 1839. It seems Davis had left Ft. Lyday
12 days before, thinking it safe to go back to the home he had built, and
then abandoned in December, 1838 because of the Indian raids. His
family was then moved to James McFarland’s place for safety. Jackson was
also in Denton County when Capt. John Denton was killed in 1841 in another
attack. One story that has been passed down from Audrey McFarland Churchwell
is that several Indians and McFarlands died in an Indian raid on the early
settlement. When the Indians returned to gather their dead, they were already
buried in what is known to us today as the McFarland cemetery. The Indians
therefore announced a truce with the McFarlands because the “dead were
buried with the dead.”
This generation was the first McFarlands to die on Texas soil, and
that might explain some of the missing sons and early deaths we have no
record of today. A very likely casualty is James and Jane’s son, John Ewing
McFarland, although there is no marked gravesite today. James and Jane
were able to file a land claim as “the heirs of John Ewing McFarland” indicating
he moved to Texas with them, and died very early, before the 1840 census.
The oldest marked grave that can still be seen is the grave of William
McFarland, a son of James and Jane who died in 1852 at age 17. This late
date would indicate an illness rather than an Indian attack.
James McFarland and Daniel Davis are credited with establishing
the town of Ladonia around 1840. They are given this designation because
they were the first settlers in the immediate area, although the town itself
was not founded before Davis’ death. Daniel Davis died before 1840, as
discussed above, and James lived north of what became Ladonia, however
Jackson and Albert had land claims in and around the town. According to
family information published in the 1914 book A History of Texas and Texans,
by Frank W. Johnson, James was one of the early Justices of Peace in this
area and he is recorded as being a land commissioner for Fannin County
from 1852 to 1858.
A new highway, the Central National Road, was commissioned by the
Texas Republic’s government. It ran from present day Rockwall, through
Collin County, missing Greenville and Wolfe City, but passed through Ladonia
on its way to Ft. Lyday and Paris. This helped Ladonia become a center
for business in later years.
Before Ladonia became a boomtown, however, the town started very
simply with the establishment by Frank McCowan of a general store and tavern,
and in 1860 the present square was laid out. A couple of miles north of
the town, in the 1850 census, James and Jane McFarland were in one household
with their unmarried children and their married children were living nearby.
Howard Etheridge from Mississippi (36) was married to Anna McF. (27) with
4 children. Elijah Scott Sebastian (24) from St. Francois Co. Missouri
was married to Sarah McF. (29), and A. Jackson McF.(33) had married Artemissa
Pence(20) in 1846 and had 2 children in the house, James Franklin (2) and
John Ewing(1). Jackson was not living on any of the land grants he received;
instead he made his home on the 640 acres he bought from Reuben Brown,
northwest of James’ land grant.
More McFarlands had moved into the area. Another very early settler
was Samuel McFarland, born in Ireland, who moved here in 1838 and married
Desina Kerr from Tennessee on May 15, 1838. (For the Hill relatives, the
Kerrs from White County Tennessee are also connected and a goodly number
moved to Fannin and Collin Counties during this time period.) In the 1840
census of the Republic, Samuel McFarland, born in Ireland, is listed next
to James and Jackson, with 640 acres to his name. He probably was related,
but that connection is not known. He was very prominent in early government
and served as the county tax assessor in 1869 and represented this area
at the Republic’s capitol. His signature is on a tax receipt collected
from Jackson McF. Another McFarland family that gets settled in Fannin
County is James O. McFarland, born in Greene County, Tennessee, whose father
was born in Ireland. James O. settled in the Orangeville area of the county.
Again, if there is a physical relation, it is lost to us today.
James’ older brother, John 4 (aged 63), also moved here with his
wife Mary Fleming McF. sometime before 1850. They probably traveled with
their married children: Louisa married to Robert Stanhope Cox, Elizabeth
married to Francois Paul DeGuire (who had first been married to her sister
Sophia who died after her first child), Mary Emily married to James Newton
Pettit, and Rebecca married to Robert Holmes Lane. John purchased the James
McConnell claim of 640 acres just north of the Reuben Brown claim, where
Jackson made his home. Whatever happened to his son, John (5) born in 1828,
is unknown at this time. John (4) and Mary’s eldest son, Newton, had died
in Missouri in 1847, but the grandchildren’s names appear in John (4)’s
estate settlement, and one of them, Charles, must have spent time living
in Fannin County between Missouri and his move to Coleman County in west
Texas. He was called by “Flat-land Charlie” by his cousins in Fannin County
according to Ethel McFarland’s memories from her father, Cyrus Sylvester
(Bose.) For more information concerning John and his legal transactions,
see the associated article “Land Purchases and Sales by John McFarland
in Fannin County.”
Nancy Caroline, the sister of James and John, also moved here with
her husband Alexander Carson Sloan, and three children, sometime between
1850 and 1860. On the 1860 census they are shown living next to John in
Beat 5. There is a creek on the road to Bonham from Dodd City called Sloan’s
Creek and Nancy Caroline and her husband are buried at Shilo Cemetery nearby.
I don’t know if there is a connection with the other Sloan families in
Fannin County. I tried to visit the cemetery, but it is not visible from
the road and reputed to be in bad condition.
Other families that settled nearby were the Williams and the Sebastians
from Missouri, the Hulseys and Cunninghams from Georgia, the Terrys, Pences,
and Waggoners who seem to have come via Virginia, and Illinois before winding
their way to Texas.
Mary Fleming McFarland died in 1855 at age 70 and her husband John
died in 1874 at age 88. Her original tombstone can barely be read, but
it is in the middle of what is now the Oak Ridge Cemetery. Mary’s burial
was probably one of the very first in this location-it is the earliest
one that still exists. This cemetery is part of Daniel Davis’ survey- how
it came to used as a cemetery is unknown. There is another tombstone in
the style of Mary’s, next to hers, but it is completely unreadable. I assume
it is her husband’s, John McFarland. There is another standing tombstone
that was made at some later date for John, and is readable, but broken.
Their daughter, Mary Emily Pettit, is buried next to them. Mary Emily’s
daughter, Lucinda Pettit married John Wesley Hulsey, Jr, whose grandfather
Joel had moved his family to Texas in 1852. The John Wesley Hulsey Sr.
family donated the two acres that became the Oak Ridge Cemetery in 1878,
four years after John’s burial there.
James died October 18, 1871, at 76 years of age. His wife, Jane,
died the following year on May 14, 1872, 71 years old. They are buried
in the southeast corner of his land grant, just north of the Sulphur River
in the McFarland Cemetery. Tucked in the middle of pastureland is a small
grove of trees that form a shaded canopy for the gravesite. It is a beautiful
restful spot, cooled by breezes even on a hot July day. Even though the
land surrounding it has been sold to other people, the graveyard is maintained
with funds donated by various descendants over the years. Presently Robert
Wayne Milton takes care of its upkeep, while the Breedlove descendants
oversee its care. Hopefully, McFarland descendants will always remember
it. In July, 2002, Billy Rattan was responsible for putting up a sign designating
the cemetery. Mary Helen Haines did the background research so it could
be recognized by the Texas State Historical Society. Agnes Breedlove paid
for the beautiful monument, and Rhonda Shinpaugh’s family put it in place.
On May 30, 2004, McFarland descendants from all over the U.S. gathered
to dedicate the marker and honor their ancestors.