Will of Joseph McDowell of Pleasant Gardens*
In the name of God amen, I Joseph McDowell of the [Pleasant Gardens, marked out] State of North Carolina and the County of Burke and of the Pleasant Gardens do make my last will and testament [to Wit, marked out] in the manner and form following to wit,
My will is that my wife Mary McDowell have her lawful share of all my lands if she chooses during life. My further will is that she have my three slaves Cato Bine & Africa for her share of my slave property. My further will is that she have one of my best feather beds and furniture her own wearing apparel and my trunk. My further will is that she have two of my best work horses and a young black mare.
My will is that my son John have my six hundred acre tract of land lying on both sides of Pigeon river joining below the flower Garden in fee simple. My further will is that he have my half of the flower Garden place on Pidgeon river in fee simple.
My will is that my son George have the lower half of the old original six hundred and forty acre survey called the Pleasant Garden tract which is to be divided by a line running due North and South from the center of the said tract. My further will is that he have another two hundred and sixty acre tract joining the lower part of the aforesaid tract also another fifty acre tract on the waters of Garden Creek all of which lands I will to him in fee simple.
My will is that my son James have the upper half of the aforementioned six hundred and forty acre tract known by the name of the Pleasant Garden as soon as the life incumbrance expire. The meaning of this clause is, that the said James shall possess the aforesaid lands in whole, or, in part in proportion as it ceases to be incumbered. My further will is that he have that tract of land lying Bridge Creek joining the north end of the Pleasant Gardens tract containing one hundred acres more or less. All the preceeding lands I will to him in fee simple. I further will to my son James that tract of land lying on Buck Creek and known by the name of the McClewer or Chambers place containing two hundred and sixteen acres and that my Executors immediately procure a title to be made to my said son James by McClewer or Chambers according to their bonds now in my possession.
My will is that my daughter Ann have four hundred acres of land be the same more or less lying on both of the forks of French Broad River being my share of two tracts granted to me and James Miller. My further will is that three hundred and twenty acres of land lying on Richland Creek granted to my father and me and being my half of said grant be equally divided between my son James and my daughter Ann the aforesaid lands I will to my son James and daughter Ann in fee simple.
My will is that my executors shall sell the following lands to the best advantage for the benefit of my creditors and the education of my children, to wit, two hundred and sixty acres joining above the cherry fields lying on each side of French Broad River being my share of a tract of land granted to James Glasgow and me also two hundred acres of land lying on new found creek also seven hundred and fourteen acres of land lying in Cumberland which I purchased of Col. Joseph McDowell of Johns river and have his bond to make me a title and that my Executors have full power to make good and sufficient titles for said land, so sold.
My further will is that my Negro [word "man" marked out] slave Cate with her children Jean and her children Negro man Bob, James and Hannah Binahs child be kept with their issue as a joint property until my oldest child arrives at twenty one years of age. Then to be all valued and that a division take place between my four children as nearly equal as possible provided never the less it is my desire that my wife Mary have one of the girls whichsoever she chooses to wait upon her untill her day of marriage if that should ever take place. And my further will is that my Executors dispose of the aforesaid Negroes in the interium in such a manner as shall be most productive of benefit to my heirs at the same time it is my will that care be taken that said negroes be treated well. I further will that my Negro man Harry be sold at the discretion of my Executors. My further will is that one half of a tract of land containing [words "four seven hundred" marked out] seven hundred acres lying on Jonathan Creek on the west side of Pidgeon River be sold to the best advantage at such a time as my Executors may think most proper, and that the other half shall be vested in fee simple in the Heirs of a Col. Henderson of Greenbrier in Virginia they being entitled to it by virtue of an instrument of writing obtained of me about laying a land warrant they paying the _____ of taxes and their proportion of any cost and charges that may ___ in consequences of ___ of ___ with respect to said land.
My further will is that my cattle sheep hogs and geese together with my farming utensils be left in the care of my wife for the benefit of raising my children. That my bed furniture not ___ to willed to my wife be kept for the ___ use of my children and the remaining part of my household [word "furniture" marked out] affairs to remain with my wife to assist her in raising my children. The waggon & geers which I bought from Major Neely to be returned to him with some compensation for disappointment of sale provided he will again take it. But if he will not to be sold to the best advantage by my Executors.
My further will is that my Library be kept for the Joint of my sons. My further will is that my lands kept by way of legacy to my children be rented from time to time by my Executors in the most advantageous manner and that the profits arising from said lands be applied to the maintenance and education of my children. Also I appoint Joseph McDowell John Carson and James Murphy my Executors to this my last will and testament. The above will containing four pages and a part I declare to be my last will and testament published this 19th day of March in the year of our Lord 1795.
J. McDowell (SEAL)
In presence of
John M Wilson
Robt Logan, Jurat
J.E. ____ Clk.
*A copy of this will is found at the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh. The original is said to be in Burke County.
Thursday, December 15, 2016
Will of Joseph McDowell of Pleasant Gardens*
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
*Charles McDowell, born about 1697, was the son of Joseph McDowell and Ann Calhoun. He preceded his brother Joseph J. McDowell to the Carolina frontier from Virginia.
Monday, December 12, 2016
**“The Wrestling Match,” from Father Weidner, The King of the Forks, by R. Vance Whitener, 1916, Spartanburg, South Carolina
***Henry Weidner’s name is also found in documents as Widener, Whitener, and Whitner.
Sunday, December 11, 2016
Saturday, December 10, 2016
Friday, December 9, 2016
The McDowells were among devout Presbyterian Scots who, beginning in the late 1500s, migrated from the lowlands of Scotland to Ireland. Religious persecutions in the reigns of James VI of Scotland (who later became England’s James I) and Charles I of England provoked many Presbyterians to leave Scotland, particularly in the aftermath of the Ruthven Raid, during which several Protestant noblemen staged an audacious coup d’etat. In August 1582, those nobles met up with James VI while the teenaged King of Scots was out hunting, and invited him to join them at nearby Ruthven Castle. James accepted their invitation and was subsequently held hostage for ten months during which time William Ruthven, 1st Earl of Gowrie, ruled Scotland. After James’s escape in June 1583, Protestants became prime suspects regarding their allegiance to Scotland’s king. Though brought up in the Protestant Church of Scotland, he had been baptized in a Catholic ceremony at Stirling Castle. And he was, after all, the only child of Mary, the devoutly Catholic former Queen of Scots, who had been held in England by Queen Elizabeth I since 1568.
Meanwhile, during this time, the Presbyterian McDowells were still in Galloway, the descendants of Prince Fergus, born around 1095. Nearly five hundred years later in 1575, John McDowell, great-grandfather of the first Joseph McDowell of the line, was born in Galloway. (John's father Uchtred, 1oth of Garthland, had been a suspect in the Ruthven Raid before his summons was deleted by royal warrant in 1584.) By 1595, John emigrated to Ireland as a political exile along with others who would become called Scots-Irish, Scotch-Irish, or Ulster Scots. However, within a few generations Ireland, too, would become unsafe for Presbyterians such as he.
Thursday, December 8, 2016
In 1631 Thomas McDowell, son of Alexander, was born in the village of Glenoe, a settlement on the plain above the larger towns of Larne and Carrickfergus in County Antrim, Ulster, Ireland. Thomas became a blacksmith, and he married Anne Locke around 1668. They named the first of their five sons Joseph. He was the first “Joseph” of this McDowell line. Their other four sons came in succession: John, Alexander, Ephraim, and William. Two daughters, Esther and Sarah, followed.
Joseph would become grandfather and great-grandfather of the two American cousin Josephs McDowell who later became the subjects of much confusion in the aftermath of the Revolutionary War. He married Ann Calhoun of Corkagh, County Donegal, Ulster. (Her father Robert was a Scottish immigrant born in Dunbarton, and maintained for himself the Gaelic surname spelling of “Colquhoun.” Ann’s sister Mary wed Huguenot Andrew Lewis, whose son John was a primary settler in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley and a northstar for his McDowell relatives.) Joseph and Ann had four children together, all sons: Charles, Robert, William, and Joseph J.
Charles, Joseph’s oldest son, was born about 1697. He married Rachel, who gave birth to one son and five daughters. Son John, born about 1717, made the journey from Ireland to America as a teenager. In the American wilderness he earned renown for his skills as a hunter, and would ever after be called “Hunting John” McDowell. Hunting John, like his father, would have but one son, born in 1758: Joseph “of Pleasant Gardens,” one of the McDowell cousins of the Revolution.
Joseph J., the youngest of Joseph and Ann’s sons, was born 27 February 1715, nearly twenty years after his oldest brother Charles. Young Joseph J. was raised to become a weaver in Ireland’s textile industry, but he instead emigrated to America shortly after taking the thoroughly Irish Margaret O’Neill* for his bride. As a grandson of Scottish lowlanders, Joseph J. McDowell had allegedly offended his wife’s Irish relatives by marrying one of their own. Margaret was, after all, a member of Ireland’s revered O’Neill clan, descended from a Gaelic dynasty that ruled much of Ireland in the early Middle Ages, particularly in the north. They were fierce nativists and did not take kindly to clouding their pure Irish gene pool with outsiders. Rather than tempt a tragic fate, Joseph J. McDowell and his bride Margaret fled Ireland for the American colonies, and their eight children would all be born there. The youngest, born in 1756, would be named Joseph, and later in life became known as “Quaker Meadows Joe,” the other McDowell cousin in question.
The children of the first Joseph McDowell did descend from lowland Scots, the target of native Irish discrimination. But they were also nephews of Ephraim McDowell, who, at age 16, helped defend Londonderry against the approach of Jacobite Alexander MacDonnell at the beginning of the Williamite War in Ireland in December 1688. Ephraim also served in the successful defense of Ireland at the tide-turning Battle of the Boyne two years later against England’s deposed King James II. In 1729, though, Ephraim left with his children and grandchildren to live the rest of his years in America. He continued a life of service, and was a member of the Virginia militia until age 70, when he was deemed too old to serve. (He nevertheless lived another 30+ years.) He was progenitor of the McDowells in the colony of Virginia, as well as in the territory that became Kentucky, on the far side of the mountains. Indeed, he is also said to have built the first road across the Blue Ridge Mountains. Ephraim McDowell was an exceptional man and set an example for the generations that followed.
*Margaret O’Neill, daughter of Samuel O’Neill (c. 1680-), was born about 1717 at Shane’s Castle on Lough Neah in County Antrim, Ulster, Ireland. Built in 1345 by a member of the O’Neill dynasty, the castle was originally called Eden-duff-carrick. Shane McBrian O’Neill (c. 1530-1567), known by historians as Shane the Proud, renamed it for himself. Numerous additions were made to the castle complex throughout the centuries. Shane’s Castle has been used extensively as a set location in all seasons of HBO’s award-winning series Game of Thrones.
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
The monks of Holyrood in Edinburgh, where he lived his last days, called him “Prince” Fergus. They were alluding to his marriage with Princess Elizabeth, one of the many illegitimate children of King Henry I of England. Elizabeth’s mother was likely Princess Nest ferch Rhys of Wales, known to have also borne a son named after Henry.*
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
|Source: Lumpkin County, Georgia, Marriage Book A-1, 1838-1849|
(click to enlarge)
To any Judge Justice of the Inferior Court Justice of the Peace or Minister of the Gospel You are hereby authorized to join together in the holy Estate of Matrimony Joseph M. McDowell* and Miss Mary Queen and to make your return on this license to this office of their actual _ intermarriage and of the day on which the same was solemnized Given under my hand this 16th of June 1839.
M.P. Quillian C.C.O.
By Bessy Turner
June 16th 1839. I have this day Join together in the holy Bands of Matrimony Joseph M McDowell and Miss Mary Queen Bessy Turner J.P.
*I am speculating that this may actually be Joseph Moffett McDowell, son of Joseph "P.G." McDowell and Mary Moffett, claimed by many to have died young. Census data proves that both bride and groom, as well as their parents, were born in North Carolina. In 1822, sixty-one families moved to Georgia's Nacoochee Valley in Habersham County from Burke County, North Carolina, during the Georgia Gold Rush. Lumpkin County, just west of Habersham, was the area where the rush initiated, and was created in 1832 in conjunction with the seizure and survey of Native American lands. (White County was formed between the two counties in 1838 from parts of Habersham and Hall counties. Joseph and Mary McDowell's federal census data indicates they lived in White County 1860-1880 after residing in Habersham 1850, though they may not have physically moved.)
Another key to the theory is Joseph and Mary's third child, a son, my great-great-grandfather. Born 1847 in Habersham County, Georgia, he was named Adolphus Erwin McDowell. In 1848, James Moffett McDowell (born 1791), who had inherited McDowell House at Pleasant Gardens (in what by then had become McDowell County, North Carolina) from his late father P.G., deeded the property over to his late wife Margaret Caroline Erwin's brother Adolphus Lorenzo Erwin in order to pay off debts. The matching names of Joseph's son Adolphus Erwin and possible brother-in-law Adolphus Erwin are simply too blatant to pass off as random coincidence. The implication of a Pleasant Gardens connection is too strong to ignore. Research is ongoing.
Joseph McDowell's possible nephew Dr Joseph Lewis McDowell, was born in North Carolina in 1812, and later made his home in Gordon County, Georgia. He was the first-born of Joseph "P.G." McDowell's own first, John Moffett McDowell, born at "Pleasant Gardens," Burke County, North Carolina, in 1787.