Scott County Historical Society
Scott County, Virginia

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The Quillin Clan Traces Roots to Northern Ireland

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The Quillen Place, located In Snowflake , Is two log cabins with two stories. The house was built during the log cabin era. On top of these logs, a federal house was constructed between 1790 1830. This house has been recommended for phase two of the Virginia Historical Registry.

Betty Jane Greene
Special Writer

     In the beginning, before arriving in America, the Quillins had been strong in Ireland. Some remarks stated in the Quillin Clan History book as follows:

     The Quillen Clan can trace its ancestry to Celtic tribes originating in Spain and Gaul. They immigrated to Ireland around the fourth century BC. The name Celt is derived from its Spanish name, Celtiberi. They setteled in Northern Ireland in a region around the present city of Ulster.

     Over the years, before the Irish prunciation, the McQuillin name came from the region that they lived in which was Rutamacullin also spelled Ruta Mac Clan. The name also came from the fact that the Clan Quillin were fair-haired blueeyed people. Cullullin is the ancient Irish word for fair-haired.

     The Cuillin spelling was anglicizes to MacQuillin. After the reign of Elizabeth I, people wishing to avoid persecution for being traders to the Crow dropped the Mac and adopted Quillin.

     The MacQuillin Clan controlled a large region that was called The Route. It was the pleasant lands situated between the Glynnes of Antrim and the River Bann. Their neighbors were the O'Neilles and just across the bay in Scotland the MacDonnels.

     The policy of Queen Elizabeth I was to encourage the Clans of Ireland and Scotland to fight among themselves so that their forces would be weakened and not able to fight England. Queen Anne of Scotts was Queen of Scotland, and Queen Elizabeth I was Queen of England. During this time, Queen Elizabeth I had Mary Queen of Scotts beheaded. The Clans of Ireland fought each other in battle until they were very weak.

     After that, the McDonnells wiped out the MacQuillins in battle. It is generally accepted that the Mac Quillin Clan was annihilated after the Battle of Aura. The Chief Edward MacQuillin was still alive but too old to fight. He moved out of the castle Dunluce into a small house on the land.

     After the battle the McDonnalls moved into the castle at Dunluce. The only Quillin known of at that point in history was Rory Oge McQuiillin, the nephew of the old chief, and he was too young to fight. The younger MacQuillin later married an O'Neille.

     The British prepared a banquet in 1574 at Belfast for many clan members from Ireland and during the banquet a terrible massacre took place. Rory Oge MacQuillin and some 39 others were seized and executed. The only thing that Rory Oge MacQuillin could have been charged with was rebellion.

     Teague Quillin arrived in Virginia in 1635. There are records of Teague living in Maryland in 1657 and 166l. There is a record of his son, Daniel, and his wife, Lydia, having tithables in Maryland.

     From the time of the landing of Teague Quillin on the Eastern Shore of Virginia in 1635, it is of interest to note how the family has scattered throughout the country by the first census that was taken in 1790. In the 1790 census, it reveals Quillins in North Carolina. The Quillins of Scott County were from North Carolina.

     The records of the soldiers of the American Revolution from North Carolina include John, James, Robert, Daniel, Teague IV and Walter Quillin. Teague IV died, leaving his wife who married again, and two young sons, James and Teague V, who settled in that part of Russell County, what is now Scott County.

     Teague V bought four tracts of land of the waters of Obey, Copper and Plank Creeks about five miles from the present site of Gate City. He married in North Carolina, Peggy Nations, b 1772. They had three children: Nancy, John and Thomas.

     John b.1793 married Rebecca Lawson, the eldest daughter of William Lawson Jr., a Revolutionary War veteran whose father, William Lawson Sr. was an immigrant from Montrose, Scotland b. 1733: d.1826.

     The 1820 census shows that in Scott County: James Quillin, with eight sons: John Quillin with three sons: and William Quillin.

     James (one of 12 children of James and Martha Evans Quillin) and his wife, Martha Evans Quillin, also bought land adjoining that of Teague on one side and Thomas on the other on Big Moccasin Creek, Scott County. Their son, Old Uncle Charlie who lived at the Quillen Place on Big Moccasin Creek was born in Surry County, N.C. on July 31, 1801 and d. June 17, 1890 in Scott County. He m. 1822 Harriet A.L. Guyer, b. N ov. 20 1806, d. March 22,1881.

     My grandfather is Charles Quillin, the nephew of Old Uncle Charlie Quillen that lived in the Quillen house on Big Moccasin. Charles b. 1833 and his parents are Elisha and Mary Ruth Agee of Fall Branch, Charles Quillin married Mary Jane Polly Quillin Feb. 3, 1838.

     Charles and Polly Quillen are Betty Jane Osborne Greene's greatgrandparents. These grandparents lived in the Quillin or Quillens place at Snowflake, once known as Quillinsville, Va. during the Civil ,War. Old Uncle Charlie Quillin was the postmaster during the Civil War at Quillinsville and served in the Virginia State General Assembly from 1830s to the 1850s.

Information comes from The Quillen Family History, Scott County, Va. Claude MacQuillin and Milligan W. Quillen. 1961 rp. 1987.

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