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William MaGill and Margaret Gass
In-laws of James and William Berry


    The father of Elizabeth Eleanor MaGill was William MaGill/McGill (~1690 - October/November 1749), who is believed to have been born in either Scotland or northern Ireland. While there is a fairly large body of secondary source material dealing with William MaGill and several generations of his progenitors (probably primarily based upon family tradition and oral history), few primary sources are available. Unfortunately, the primary sources that do exist, mostly deal with the last few years of William MaGill's life when he was living in Augusta County, Virginia. There are, however, at least two other significant primary data sources. One of these is a letter written by a grandson of William MaGill in the mid 1800s. The other is a series of biographic essays of MaGill descendants living in Bucks County, Pennsylvania in the late 1800s. These sources reveal that at least one man named William MaGill emigrated from northern Ireland to the Philadelphia area in the mid 1720s, accompanied by a number of children and one or more brothers. 21,100,107,110,111,112,116,128,169,204,265,321,335,336, 337,342,343,344,345,346,347,360


   In a letter written on 12 September 1838 in Franklin County, Kentucky (a segment, of which, is reproduced below), John MaGill, a grandson of William MaGill relayed some family history to his nephew, Caleb MaGill. As is noted under the segment discussing William Berry (section B.2.), a brother of the James Berry that married Elizabeth Eleanor MaGill, it seems apparent that the William Berry mentioned here actually married Jane MaGill instead of Sarah, as noted in this letter.169


   My grandfather, William MaGill, migrated from Ireland in the year 1727 with the three sons named James, William and John, who was my father, and five daughters, to wit, Jane, who married William Dickson, he died, she married a McKee; Sarah married William Berry; Betty married James Berry, later John Jones; Esther who married Hugh Campbell; Ann, who married Robert Fowler.


   Our forefathers were Scotch, lived in Scotland and were Protestants. The time of the persecution in England and Scotland in the reign of King James of England, they with many others, emigrated to Ireland which gave them the name of Scotch-Irish which name they are frequently called by to this day


   The biographic essays in the Bucks County, Pennsylvania county history for Watson P. MaGill, Joseph E. MaGill and C. H. MaGill yield the following information on their earliest MaGill ancestor in America:321


   Watson P. MaGill, farmer, was born in Solebury township, December 1, 1827. and is a son of Jonathon P. and Mary (Watson) MaGill. His paternal grandparents were Jacob and Rebecca (Paxson) MaGill. Jacob was the son of John and Amy (Whitson) MaGill, and John was the son of William and Sarah (Simcock) MaGill. William MaGill came from the north of Ireland and settled in Bucks county about 1726. …


… His (Joseph E. MaGill's) first ancestor in this country was William MaGill, who with his brother, Alexander, emigrated from the north of Ireland in 1727. The latter died in Troy, N. Y. William located in Falls Township and was a tailor by trade. Soon after his marriage he settled in Solebury, where he engaged in farming and remained until his death. …


… The great grandfather of our subject (C. H. MaGill) came from the north of Ireland with his brother and settled in Bucks County. The brother returned to Ireland. The settlement was made 150 years ago.


   Records from the Mount Bethel Church in Soddy, Hamilton County, Tennessee for descendants of the William MaGill that married Margaret Gass note that William MaGill first settled in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. From the information provided in these biographic essays, the 1838 John MaGill letter and the Tennessee church records, it can be seen that William MaGill first arrived in Bucks County, Pennsylvania in either 1726 or 1727. The Bucks County biographic essays, however, seem to be referring, at least in part, to another William MaGill, and, as will be noted below, a William MaGill can be traced through Bucks County, Pennsylvania tax records long after the William MaGill, who was the father of Elizabeth Eleanor MaGill, had left the area. The combined evidence suggests that there were at least three men named William MaGill in Bucks County, Pennsylvania in the late 1720s. One of these men was the William that moved to Augusta County, Virginia and was the father of Elizabeth Eleanor MaGill. A second William MaGill remained in Bucks County and married Sarah Simcock. A third William MaGill was the son of the first William MaGill and a brother of Elizabeth Eleanor MaGill. As will be noted below, the most likely relationship between the first two William MaGills here noted appears to be that of uncle and nephew. Several sources indicate that William MaGill moved to Bucks County with several brothers, and it seems very likely that the William MaGill that married Sarah Simcock was a son of one of these men. Since there are several individuals named William MaGill, for the purposes of this discussion, the father of Elizabeth Eleanor MaGill will be identified as William MaGill, Sr. in this report.360


   William MaGill Sr.'s birth date is typically given as either 1670 or 1690, but no primary sources are available to independently confirm either date. Perhaps the only alternative for determining which date is more likely to be correct is through the indirect approach of examining the birth dates of his eight known children. While these birth dates are also defined through secondary sources, and do not always agree from source to source, they appear, for the most part, to be consistently concentrated between 1715 and 1725, although there are a few sources that give earlier, albeit undocumented dates for one or two of his children. Based on their birth dates (and considering all of the sources), all of William's children appear to have been born by 1726 or 1727, when he first landed in the American colonies. Had William MaGill, Sr. been born at the earlier date (1670), he would have been in his mid forties or older when he started this, fairly large, family in 1715. Based on this analysis, it seems that the 1690 date is more accurate, since he would have been in his 20s or possibly early 30s when he began having children.116,169,321,337,344,345,346,347,360


   Most of the available sources indicate that William MaGill, Sr. emigrated to northern Ireland from Scotland with his father around 1715, although at least one source has the MaGill move from Scotland to Ireland taking place in the previous generation. These sources mostly agree that William's father was Robert MaGill/Makgill, although two sources give the name of his father as either Charles or William. Regardless of the name, all of the sources indicate that the father of William MaGill, Sr. was born either in Scotland or Ireland, and died sometime after 1715 in Tullycairn/Tullycarn or Ulster, Ireland (Figure 26). The birth dates for Robert MaGill have been variously given as 1627, 1629, 1630, 1645, 1651 and before 1651. Robert MaGill is generally believed to have assisted in hiding the future English king, Charles II, following the execution of this monarch's father, King Charles I. In 1651, Charles II compensated Robert MaGill for his services by awarding him knighthood, a title (Viscount of Oxenford), and a land grant in Tullycairn, Ireland. 113,116,128,169,264,321,322,335,336,337, 342,344,347,349,360


   If William MaGill, Sr. was, indeed, born in 1690, and the cluster of birth dates for Robert MaGill from 1627 to 1630 is correct, then Robert MaGill would have been as old as 63 at the time of William's birth. This age differential seems somewhat extreme for a father/son relationship, so either the birthdates must be wrong or else the father/son relationship is incorrect. If the birthdates are considered to be approximately correct, then the most logical interpretation is that the Robert MaGill born around 1627 was William's grandfather. William MaGill, Sr.'s father, therefore, must have been born between 1627 and 1690. Many of the sources have a Robert Magill (or in several instances a William or Charles MaGill) born sometime between 1645 and 1651, and this individual seems to be a logical candidate for William's father. Several of the sources indicate that William's father assisted the exiled English king, Charles II, however, the MaGill born in the 1645 to 1651 time period could not possibly be that person, since Charles II's (1630 - 1685) exploits in Scotland occurred in 1650 and 1651. From this analysis it seems possible that there were two individuals named Robert MaGill (probably father and son), and the information for them has been conflated into one person over the years. It seems more logical to interpret the Robert MaGill born in 1627 as representing William MaGill, Sr.'s grandfather, and the same man who assisted the exiled English king. The Robert MaGill born in the 1645 to 1651 time frame most likely represents the father of William MaGill, Sr. Several of these undocumented sources postulate two and sometimes three generations of Robert MaGills, with the youngest one often being noted as having been born in or around 1651. The absence of primary source material, however, seriously hampers any definitive statements on the issue, so logical assessments, historical analysis, and circumstantial evidence must suffice for hard facts. Despite these uncertainties, what seems clear is that a Scottish ancestor of William MaGill, Sr. aided an exiled English king in the middle of the 17th century; was awarded land in Tullycairn, Ireland in 1651; and around 1715, some MaGills, possibly including William Sr., moved there from Scotland.169,322,338,342,344,347,360


   Figures 27 and 28 show the Irish provincial boundaries and the counties of present day Northern Ireland. From these maps it can be seen that Ulster is one of four provinces in Ireland, and, within present day Northern Ireland, there are six counties, one of which is County Down. A 1776 map of the northern part of Ireland shows Tullycarn, Gill Hall and MaGill Esq. along a river between the towns of Dromore and Lurgan, both of which are just south of Belfast in Ulster province, County Down. Most of the roads, streams and towns from this map can be found on a modern day map of Northern Ireland, and are portrayed in Figure 26. The locations of Tullycarn, MaGill Esq. and Gill Hall from the 1776 source were also generally identified and located on Figure 26. Tullycarn is, quite clearly, well within the province of Ulster, so both of the sources citing the place where a Robert MaGill (probable father of William MaGill, Sr.) is believed to have passed away (Tullycairn and Ulster, Ireland) are probably correct. If the MaGill sources are accurate, then William MaGill, Sr. probably spent at least some of his youth in the Tullycarn area.


   Most MaGill sources agree that William MaGill, Sr. was married at least twice, and although the majority of these sources indicate that the identity of his first wife is unknown, several sources, albeit without documentation, have identified her as either Sarah Elizabeth, Sarah Simcock or Mary Eakin. Unfortunately, no primary source documentation has yet been found that identifies his first wife or the date and place they were married. If William began having children around 1715, it can probably be safely assumed that he got married not long before that time, especially if his 1690 date of birth is correct. This places the location of his marriage either in northern Ireland or Scotland. Sarah Elizabeth and Sarah Simcock probably represent the same woman, and some researchers suspect that Sarah Simcock married a different and much younger man named William MaGill, who, as noted above, is probably a nephew of William MaGill, Sr. No additional information is available concerning Mary Eakin, but, at this time, she appears to be a more likely candidate for the first wife of William MaGill, Sr.21,116,264,321,322,336,342,348,360


   The date and place of the death of William MaGill, Sr.'s first wife is not known. His second wife was Margaret Gass (1694 - ?), but the date and location of their marriage is also not known. Margaret's first husband was John Gass (~1670/1690 - 1734), and it appears that he was born in northern Ireland. Several sources indicate that Margaret's maiden name was Margaret Cowan/Cowen, and that she was born in northern Ireland, as well. It should be noted, however, that no primary sources have been found documenting Margaret's maiden name. John and Margaret's marriage date has been given as 1716, and one source indicates that he emigrated to the American colonies in 1718. If this information is correct, then, quite clearly, they were married in the old country. Upon emigrating to the American colonies, they settled in Donegal Township, and in 1730, a John Gass purchased land adjacent to the Donegal Presbyterian Church in Donegal Township (Figure 29). This couple had at least seven children, all or most of who are believed to have been born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. John Gass passed away sometime between June and December of 1734 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and since he asked to be buried in the local Presbyterian churchyard, there seems no doubt as to his Scottish ancestry. One of the witnesses to his will was Archibald Woods, who married his daughter, Isabella Gass. Several sources indicate that, following her husband's death, Margaret traveled with her newly married daughter and son in law to Albemarle County, Virginia, which is just to the east of Augusta County, Virginia - just across the Blue Ridge Mountains. If this is true, then William MaGill, Sr. must have met and married Margaret Gass in Virginia. However, this does not appear to be the case, because Isabella and Archibald moved to Virginia at least by 1735, based on the birth date and place of their oldest child, and, more importantly, Margaret Gass can be shown to still be living in Pennsboro Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in 1738 next to Henry Gass. Since John and Margaret had a son named Henry, this is most likely her son. Other records show David Gass, the youngest son of Margaret and John Gass (and step son later mentioned in William MaGill Sr.'s 1749 will) to be living in Albemarle County in 1758.108,339,340,341,350,351,352,353,354,355,356,357,381,393,394


   Several sources note that William MaGill Sr. emigrated to Bucks County, Pennsylvania in 1726 or 1727 from northern Ireland, and tax records in Solebury Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania document the presence of a William MaGill in that county from 1751 at least through 1778 (Figure 30). William MaGill Sr., however, can be documented as living in Augusta County, Virginia by 1745, and remained there until his death in 1749. Furthermore, William Sr.'s son named William MaGill (here referred to as William MaGill Jr.), can be documented as living in Augusta County, Virginia from the mid to late 1740s at least through 1776, so the William MaGill documented in Bucks County through 1778 must be another individual. To further confuse the issue, one of the Bucks County biographic sources notes that the oldest family member that emigrated to Bucks County was named William MaGill, and that he first settled in Falls Township, Bucks County, later moving to Solebury Township. It appears that this data has conflated the story of two individuals with the same name, William MaGill Sr. and his nephew, into one person. From the various sources available, it appears that several of William MaGill Sr.'s brothers accompanied him on his immigration into the American colonies, namely Alexander, Charles and John, although there could have been more. One brother is believed to have subsequently returned to northern Ireland; another ended up in New York (Alexander); and at least one (John) is believed, by some researchers, to have emigrated to Augusta County, Virginia with William, settling across the river from him. Clearly, there were other related MaGills in Bucks County, Pennsylvania that could have been the father of the William MaGill that remained in Bucks County, and it seems quite likely that this is the case.21,100,116,169,264,321,322,336,342,348,360


   Since William MaGill, Sr. started out in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, the key questions are how did he get to Augusta County, Virginia, when and where did he meet and marry Margaret Gass, and when did he make the journey? William MaGill, Sr.'s whereabouts are of no small consequence to Berry research, since two of his daughters (Jane and Eleanor) married two Berry brothers (William and James), probably sometime in the late 1730s. Wherever these two families were at this time, it was not Augusta County, Virginia, although it seems quite clear that they must have been living in proximity to each other. 


   The 18th century witnessed a massive population transfer from northern Great Britain to the American colonies. Beginning as a slow trickle through the mid-to-late 1600s, a series of immigration pulses from 1717 through 1774 brought anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 people per year from northern Ireland, Scotland and the northern English counties to American shores. They arrived mostly as family groups rather than as individuals, and were predominantly landless farmers, farm laborers and semi-skilled craftsmen. Those from northern Ireland and Scotland tended to be Presbyterian, while the settlers from the northern English counties were typically Anglican. Many sailed to New England, New York and the Carolinas, but, by far, the largest percentage of this human tide of Ulster Scots or Anglo-Scots (also known as Scotch-Irish) first stepped foot on this continent in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and New Castle, Delaware. The Quakers of Pennsylvania, while generally tolerant, were very disturbed this by massive influx of coarse, poor, belligerent, English-speaking immigrants, and rather than absorb them, they encouraged these new arrivals to shuttle through their communities to the periphery of the colony, where they served as a buffer between the existing population of Germans and Quakers and the, generally antagonistic, native Americans, as well as the pugnacious Catholic colony established by Lord Baltimore to the south in Maryland. Until the late 1720s and early 1730s when settlement began pushing west of the Susquehanna River and north of the Pennsylvania extension of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the frontier in Pennsylvania was defined as being south of these mountains and east of the Susquehanna River. The German settlements in the William Penn colony were concentrated, primarily, around the Philadelphia area and up the Shuylkill River. Since the Scotch-Irish were directed to the periphery of these areas, they tended to settle into the un-surveyed areas of Chester County, fanning out into the countryside into two general areas. In the northwestern part of the county they settled into the areas that eventually became Donegal, Derry and Hempfield Townships. Another concentration of settlers in the southwestern part of the county eventually became Drumore/Dromore Township (Figure 29). Donegal, Drumore and Derry Townships, in fact, were named for the places in northern Ireland that served as the homeland for these immigrants (Figure 27), and these counties served as a sort of focal point of burgeoning Scotch-Irish community. Especially at first, these unwanted settlers were generally of the opinion that they could settle wherever they pleased, so they "squatted" on land of their choosing, taking up residence without bothering to acquire legal ownership or paying rents to existing owners. As a result, early land records, tying many of the Scotch-Irish to a particular piece of property, are not widely available.226,369,370,371,376,379,380,381,382,391,392,393


   Until 1729, the year Lancaster County was formed from Chester County, there were only three counties in Pennsylvania, Bucks, Philadelphia and Chester (Figure 2), and all were located in southeastern Pennsylvania in the piedmont area south and east of the mountains. Following this political reorganization, this area of Scotch-Irish settlements became part of Lancaster County. By the late 1730s and early 1740s, a series of roads connected the major population centers of the American colonies, which, at the time was essentially restricted to the eastern side of the Appalachian Mountains. Essentially, the British Empire occupied the eastern side of the Appalachians with a rapidly growing population, while the French claimed the area from New Orleans, Louisiana to Montreal, Canada with a relative sprinkling of settlers.


   The route across southeastern Pennsylvania, which eventually was extended to Pittsburgh and beyond, was variously known as the Lancaster Pike, the Philadelphia Wagon Road and the Pennsylvania Road, as well as other local names. It began in Philadelphia and ran to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where it then extended across the Susquehanna River to Gettysburg and through a gap in the Blue Ridge Mountains to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. At this point it intersected the Great Wagon Road, which ran the entire length of a great-elongated valley between the Blue Ridge Mountains to the east and the Allegheny Mountains to the west. The latter trail extended northward toward New York, and ran in a southerly direction across the Potomac River, through Winchester, Virginia, passing directly through Augusta County, Virginia. These two great roads served as a conduit for the cross-country movement of large numbers of mostly German and Scotch-Irish immigrants throughout the 18th century. The best way for oxen drawn wagons to cross the Appalachian Mountains was by traveling parallel to it along the great transverse valleys, and cutting across gaps rather than proceeding directly across (Figure 31).358,367


   Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (and it's predecessor, Chester County) was a temporary stopping point for many Scotch-Irish families that eventually moved on to the Beverley and Borden Grants in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The Buchanan, Walker, Cathey, Houston, Kennedy, Patterson, Patton, Fulton, Gilmore, Anderson and Jameson families all can be documented as passing through Lancaster County. Furthermore, families that married into the Berry families (or, conversely, that Berry family members married into), such as the Cunninghams, Halls, Givens and Campbells can also be shown to have traveled the same route.21,33,129,369,381,384,385,386,387,388,389,390,424


     William MaGill ultimately settled on some acreage he purchased along the North River of the Shenandoah, one of the three major upstream branches of the Shenandoah River, by the mid 1740s. Several of his son in laws, Hugh Campbell and Robert Fowler, also settled in the immediate vicinity. (Figures 119 and 120) Since he doesn't appear to have left many tracks, William MaGill, Sr.'s journey from Bucks County, Pennsylvania to Augusta County, Virginia can be reconstructed only from a few scattered pieces of reliable data connected by a general understanding of the conditions that prevailed in this part of the American colonies during this particular time period. It seems quite probable that, when he left Bucks County, William MaGill, Sr. passed through Philadelphia, which was very near Bucks County, and took the road to the Lancaster and/or Carlisle area, where there were thriving Scotch-Irish communities. Either location would have been logical stopping points, and may even have been the initial destination. He most likely stayed in these areas, at least for awhile, and this could be where he encountered the Berry family, another Scotch-Irish family group making their way across Pennsylvania from northern Ireland, as well as the widow, Margaret Gass. Two of William's daughters married two of the Berry boys, and another daughter, Esther, married another Scotch-Irish emigrant, Hugh Campbell. With the opening of the Beverley and Borden Grants in Augusta County, Virginia in the late 1730s and early 1740s, there seems to have been a general exodus of Scotch-Irish from the Lancaster County, Pennsylvania area, and it is not difficult to imagine William MaGill, Sr. participating in this movement. 


   The date at which William MaGill, Sr. moved from Bucks County, Pennsylvania to Augusta County, Virginia has not been documented with primary sources, but it can be broadly bracketed as occurring between 1726/1727 and 1745, which is an 18 or 19 year span. As a further refinement, it appears that somewhere between 1738 and 1745 he moved from the Carlisle, Pennsylvania area to Augusta County, Virginia. As noted above, it is not entirely clear that he made the complete journey at once, and, indeed, it seems more likely that it was at least a two-stage journey with a stop in the Carlisle, Pennsylvania area to meet and marry the widow Margaret Gass, who lived in an established Scotch-Irish community just west of the Susquehanna River along the Great Wagon Road. From there, William and his new wife probably made the final journey to Augusta County along that trail. The reason for postulating a two-stage trip is two-fold. First, as noted, there were several significant Scotch-Irish communities part way along the route to Virginia that would serve as logical stopping points. Secondly, Margaret Gass, his second wife, is known to have been living within one of these Scotch-Irish communities as late as 1738. Some of the MaGill/Gass literature suggests that Margaret Gass moved to Albemarle County with her daughter in 1735 after the death of her husband. If that is true, then she had returned by 1738 when she was documented in Pennsborough Township in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Since William MaGill, Sr. and Margaret Gass would probably require some time to get to know each other before they decided to get married, it seems logical to assume that they must have lived near each other. Since two of William MaGill, Sr.'s daughters married two Berry brothers sometime in the late 1730s, it appears that the Berry family was also in close proximity to Margaret Gass and William MaGill, Sr. at this time. 

   Another source of data allowing a further bracketing of William MaGill, Sr.'s emigration timeline is the 1742 Augusta County Militia List (Table V). Scotch-Irish settlers were pouring into the Beverley and Borden Grants and surrounding areas in Virginia, and by 1742 a local militia was formed, presumably to protect the settlers from attacks from the native Americans. Membership in the militia was defined by being an able bodied male, capable of participating in defensive and occasional offensive actions. Both families had several young males that would be expected to appear on any list of people defending their homes and families on the frontier. The fact that neither Berry nor MaGill family members are noted as being militia members suggests that these families had not yet immigrated to this area by 1742.


   Of all the Berrys and MaGills, William MaGill, Sr. can be documented as being in Augusta County at the earliest date: 1745. William Berry (section B.2. of this report), one of his sons-in-law and the first Berry to appear in these records, is first documented a year later, in 1746, as is one of William's brothers, Charles Berry (see section B.3. of this report). The absence of any Berrys and MaGills in the 1742 militia list combined with their first appearance in county records a few years later seems to strongly suggest that these families most likely arrived in Augusta County from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania sometime between 1742 and 1745. 


   William MaGill, Sr. passed away in Augusta County, Virginia sometime between 10 October and 29 November 1749. Although his burial location is not known, it seems likely that he would have been buried somewhere on his property. Margaret apparently remained on the property for some time, and lived at least until 1758, and it is quite possible that she eventually moved in with one of her stepsons in Augusta or with her daughter or son, David, in neighboring Albemarle County.108,366

 

Timeline of William MaGill/McGill, Sr., Margaret Gass and John Gass

 

10 Mar. 1730359

History of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, 1883
James Cunningham was one of the pioneers who settled near Donegal meeting-house in 1723. He took up several hundred acres of land adjoining the glebe land on the north. On the 10th day of March, 1730, he sold to John Gass, whose executors, in 1736, sold to William McClelland and Michael McCleery, who, in 1739, sold to James Kerr, who sold to Andrew Kerr, William Wilson, and William Kerr.

25 Feb. 1734424

Blunston Licenses 1733/34, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
John Gass, 250 acres. No Survey returned. On the South side of the Conedogwainet about three miles above the Mouth of Letort Spring.

25 Feb. 1734424

Blunston Licenses 1733/34, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
March 2nd, for the use of Minister, 300 acres. No Survey returned. Between the tracts of John Gass and John Davis.

11 Mar. 1734424

Blunston Licenses 1733/34, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
John Gass, 150 acres, Assigned to Wm. Miller. No survey returned. On the North side of the Conedogwainet to be bounded to the Westwd with John Garner.

28 June 1734366

Will Book A, Vol. 1, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, page 19
I am sick in body but sound in memory and judgment blessed be almighty God for it I make this my last will and testament revoking all other wills and testaments made by me. I bequeath my sole to the great God who gave it to me and my body to be decently buried in the church yard of Donegal as my exs. some site allow. I leave my dear wife two child's parts of the whole after my just and lawful debts is paid: also if she marries in eight to ten years she is to leave the plantation to my sons: also my children are not to receive their part for four years after due. Also I leave my dear wife and Benjamin Gass executors and William Brayns and Sam Smith or Peter Rod tutors to my whole family. Signed Sealed and Delivered in the Presence of Use: and dated this 28 day of June 1734. Memorandum before signing that it is only the three oldest of my children that are to want their part for four years after it is due. Archibald Woods, William Wallace, Sa(m) Smith, William Bryan
Jon. Gass (Seal)

26 Apr 1738 353,395,423

Warrant Register, No. 68, Vol. 11, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, p. 73
Margaret Gass, widow of John Gass lived "opposite to Henry Gass" in Pennsboro Township, Lancaster County, PA. Jno Gass's widow, 200 acres

12 Aug. 174521

Land Entry Book, Augusta County, Virginia
Robert Foyle, North River of Shenando, between McGill's and Wilkins'.

12 Jan. 17461183

Land Grant for Charles Campbell, Land Office Patents No. 25, 1745-1747, p. 258 (Reel 23)
George the second by the grace of god of Great Britain France and Ireland king defender of the faith &c To all to whom these presents shall come Greeting Know ye that for diverse good causes and considerations but more especially for and in consideration of the sum of five shillings of good and lawful money for our use paid to our Receiver General of our Revenues in this our colony and dominion of Virginia
We have given granted and confirmed and by these presents for us our heirs and successors do give grant and conform unto Charles Campbell one certain tract or parcel of land containing fifty acres lying and being in the county of Augusta and bounded as followeth to wit
Beginning at a red oak a white oak and hickory corner to Robert Brown and running thence north thirty six degrees east one hundred and twenty poles to a white oak thence north fifty four degrees west twelve poles to two white oaks corner to William McGill thence north seventy nine degrees west sixty poles thence south thirty nine degrees west one hundred and eight poles thence south sixty six degrees east seventy poles to the beginning
With all woods underwoods swamps marshes low grounds meadows feedings and his due share of all veins mines and quarries as well discovered as not discovered within the bounds aforesaid and being part of the said quantity of fifty acres and the rivers waters and water courses therein contained together with the privileges of hunting hawking fishing fowling and all other profits commodities and heriditaments whatsoever to the same or any part thereof belonging or in any wise appertaining
To have and to hold possess and enjoy the said tract or parcel of land and all other the before granted premises and every part thereof with their and every of their appurtenances unto the said Charles Campbell and to his heirs and assigns forever
To the only use and behoos of him the said Charles Campbell his heirs and assigns forever
To be held of us our heirs and successors as of our mannor of East Greenwich in the County of Kent in free and common soccage and not in capite(?) or by knights service
Yielding and paying unto us our heirs and successors for every fifty acres of land and so proportionably for a lessor or greater quantity than fifty acres the fee rent of one shilling yearly to be paid upon the feast if Saint Michael the Archangel and also cultivating and improving three acres part of every fifty of the tract also mentioned within three years after the sale of these presents provided always that if three years of the said fee rent shall at any time be in arrears and unpaid or if the said Charles Campbell his heirs or assigns do not within the space of three years need coming after the sale of these presents cultivate and improve three acres part of every fifty of the tract above mentioned then the estate hereby granted shall cease and be utterly determine and thereafter it shall and may be lawfull to and for us our heirs and successors to grant the same lands and premises with the appurtenances unto such other person or persons as not(?) our heirs and successors shall think fit.
In witness whereof we have caused these our letters patent to be made
Witness our trusty and beloved William Gooch Esq our Lieutenant Governor and Commander in chief of our said colony and dominion at Williamsburg under the seal of our said colony the twelfth day of January one thousand seven hundred and forty six in the twentieth year of our reign.
William Gooch

11 February 1745/46861

Augusta County, Virginia Road Orders 1745 - 1769, Book I, page 8
William McGill and Thomas Stinson are appointed Overseers of the Road from the North River to John Anderson's & it's further Ordered that they clear the sd Road according to the law.

1746 - 174721

Fee Books of Augusta, page 110
page 5, Alexander Thompson, son to William, (August, 1746), swearing to Military Commission; page 13, Joseph Carroll, in Pennsylvania, (February), vs. Burden; page 22, Widow Fulsher, in Orange; page 31, John Smith, Jr., in Orange, vs. Price, (March); page 36, James Camell, son of Gilbert Camell, (June), vs. Sayers; page 46, David Kingkade, in Albemarle; page 65, Doctor Henry Galesby, "Quack," (May), Petition, vs.Young; page 75, James Rutledge, in Frederick; page 80, Martha Arthur by Thomas Williams, her guardian; page 91, John Lidderdale, Merchant, (August), vs. Borden; page 93, Robert Young, white, McMahon's deed to, (August); page 94, James Armstrong, Black, (August), vs. Black; page 95, Mary Cunningham, alias Mitchell, (August), administratrix of ye husband's estate and Breckinridge's deeds to you; page 97, Christian Zimmerman, in Orange; page 103, Andrew Barclay, Merchant, (August, September, November); page 106, John Walker, South Branch; page 110, Charles Campbell, near McGill's, Anderson's deed to you; page 110, James Scot, South Branch; page 113, George Johnston, in Frederick; page 113, John Steven, in Philadelphia; page 116, John Carlile, in Prince William; page 121, Andrew McCool, "The Priest", (September), vs. Stewart; page 123, John Patton, Sr., (November), Green's deeds to you; page 123, John Patton, Jr., (November), Green's deeds to you; page 124, John Smith, on South Branch, (November) Green's deeds to you; page 127, Benj. Hensley, in Louisa, (November), Entering order to Certifiy &c.; page 82, James Armstrong, white, (August), vs. Lewis.

20 Nov. 174621

Augusta County, Virginia Order Book No. I, page 133
Hugh Thompson and Thos. Stinson appd. overseers from Wm. Thompson's to the Meeting House. Wm. McGill appointed Constable.

03 Sept. 174721

Augusta Parish Vestry Records, page 4
Processioners appointed, viz: Capt. James Campbell and Erwin Patterson, on waters of Roanoke; John Sloane and Hugh Caruthers, on South Side of South Branch of James River joining Roan Oke; Joseph Long and Richard Woods, in Forks of James River; Alex. McClure and Robert Huston, from North Branch of James River to Andrew Baxter's, thence on a straight line to John Hayse's Mill, joining the North Mountain; Francis McCown and John Montgomery, from Andrew Baxter's on a straight line to John Hayse's Mill, joining the North Mountain to the Upper line of Beverley Manor; John Mitchell and James Fulton, from Upper line of Beverley Manor opposite to Robert Ramsey's as low as the Sugar Loaf, thence on a line to William Long's; Wm. McFeeters and Patrick Martin, from upper line of Beverley Manor, near Robert Campbell's, to the Buffalow Gap, from thence to William Ledgerwood's by the Sugar Loaf; Robert Christian and James Caldwell, from William Ledgerwood's in a line as low as John Madison's, thence to Samuel Davis's, near the South Mountain; John Linn and Robert Young, from Buffalow Gap as low as John Madison's, from thence as high as Ledgerwood's; James Hogshead and John Moffett, from Buffalow Gap to Walter Trimble's, from thence to Alex. Blair's, thence to John Finla's; Thomas Stevenson and David Edmonston, from Alex. Blair's to Capt. Samuel Gay's; Edward Erwin's and Wm. McGill, from Alex. Blair's to Samuel Wilkin's, thence to Henry Smith's; Wm. Thompson and Samuel Givens, from Samuel Wilkins to Capt. Henry Downs's, Jr.; Robert Craven and Thomas Harrison, from Samuel Wilkins' to the lower end of the Great Plain to Fairfax's line, thence with the said line to the South Mountain; Daniel Haldman and John Riddle, from Fairfax's line to the Narrows and across to the North Mountain; Mathias Selzer and Abraham Shickler, from Fairfax's line to the extent of the County between the two mountains; Daniel Harrison and Morgan Bryan, from Samuel Wilkins' to the Great Plain to Lord Fairfax's line, thence with the said line to Henry Smith's; John Denton and Abraham Collet, from the Narrows to the extent of the County from mountain to mountain; Wm. McCutchen and James Carlile, Sr., on Little River of Calf Pasture, and the Great River below Dunlap's Gap; Thomas Weams and John Graham, from Dunlap's Gap, including all the waters of Great Calfpasture.

10 Oct. 174921,204

Augusta County, Virginia Will Book No. 1, page 202
In the Name of God amen I William Magill of Augusta County being sick in body but of perfect wit and Memory thanks be to God calling to ? ? the uncertain State of this transitory life and that all life? must yield to Death when it ? please God to call do make ? ? ? and declare this my Last Will and Testament in Manner and form following revoking and ?ing and by those presents all and every Testament and Testaments Will and Wills ? heretofore made by me and declared ? by Word or Writings and this ? taken only for my last will and Testament ?? And first being sorry from the bottom of my heart for my sins past ?? humbly desiring forgiveness for th? ?. I give and comitt my Soul to God my Saviour and Redeemer in whom and by ? ? of Jesus Christ & believe to be Saved and to have full remission (?) & pardon of all my sins and that my Soul with my body on a Genoral Day of Resurrection Shall rise again with Joy and thru the Merious of Christs death and passion ? of Inherit the Kingdom of heaven prepared for his ? and ? and my body to be buried in such a place where it shall ? my ? hereafter ? And now following of my temporal Estate of Such goods Chattels or Debts as in ? pleased God for above my ? to bestow upon me I do order or give and disposs as followeth That is to say. First I wish that all my Debts and dues that I owe in right and ? to any person or persons whatsoever shall well and truly be paid within convenient time after my decd? by my Executors I order my wife Margaret to have ? of the half of the Cows and one bay two year old Mare and the half of the household furnishings & the Gray mare to her Son David Gass and as for my land I order it to be Divided between my sons James and William, and ? to run a straight Course from the river by the ? and of James Meadow towards a little Spring between and Charles Campbell and James to have the land he now lives on and William the land he now lives on I order my Son John to have the young bay Yearling ?. And as for the rest of the Young Cattle I order them to be equally divided among my children And likewise my hoggs I order to be divided equally between my wife and my children I order my brown coat for my son John and the white coat to William and the half of the house hold Goods to William ? one ? to be excepted for my wife more than her equal Shares and the ? of one ? to my wife also above her equal Share. I order my grandchild James son to have one heifer of a year old I order my wifs Share of the Creatures and William and Elizabeth to be maintained on ? plantation this Winter, and my funeral charges to be taken out of the whole estate. My Sadlo (?) and other Tools I order them with the plow Irons to William and the bigg Bible I leave it to James as Witness my hand this tenth day of October 1749. I order Robert Craven and Hugh Campbell to be my Exs Memorandum before signing William is to have the black mare and Gray horss
William Magill
Margaret M. Magill
Andrew Erwin
Charles Campbell

29 Nov. 174921

Augusta County, Virginia Order Book No. 2, page 292
Margaret McGill, relict of William McGill, renounced all benefit or advantage under her husband's will

29 Nov. 1749204

Augusta County, Virginia Will Book 1, page 203
The Last Will and Testament of William Magill decd was presented into court by Robert Craven Hugh Campbell the Executors therein named and being proved by Andrew Erwin and Charles Campbell the Witnesses thereto subscribed is ? ? and on ? of the law Ex who made oath thereto according to Law Certificate is granted them for obtaining a probate thereof for due form And Margaret tho which of those deced personally appeared in Court and declared that she would not receive or take any legacy or Logands (?) to her given ? thereby or any part thereof and did renounce all be ? or advantages which she might Claim By the Said Will.
Teste John Madison Clbur
Know all men by these presents that Robert Craven Hugh Campbell Andrew Erwin and Charles Campbell are held and firmly bound unto John Lewis the first Justice in the Commission of the Peace for Augusta County; for, and in behalf and to the sole Use and Behoos of the Justices of the said County, and their Successors, in the sum of five hundred pounds to be paid to the said John Lewis his Executors, Administrators, and Assigns: To the which Payment well and truly to be made, we bind ourselves, and every of us, our and every of our Heirs, Executors, and Administrators, jointly and severally, firmly by these Presents. Seated with our Seals. Dated this 29th day of November Anno Dom 1749.
The Condition of this obligation is such that if the above Robert Craven & Hugh Campbell Executors of the Last Will and Testament of Wm Magill deceased do make or cause to be made a true and perfect inventory of all and singular, the Goods, Chattels and Credits of the said deceased which have or shall come to the hands possesion or knowledge of the said Executors or into the hands or posession of any other person or persons for those and the laws to made do exhibit unto the County Court of Augusta at such time as they shall be thereunto required by the said Court and the ? Goods Chattels and Credits and all other the Goods Chattels and Credits of the said deceased which at any time after shall come to the Hands or Possesion or knowledge of the said Robert Craven & Hugh Campbell or into the hands and possession of any other person or persons for those also well and truly Administer according to Law: And further do make a full and true account of their Actings and Doings therein when thereto required by the said Court; and all official well and truly pay and deliver all the Logarios? contained and specified ? ? said Testament as far as the said Goods, Chattels, and Credits will thereunto extend and the Law shall Charge: Then this obligation to be void and of none effect or else to remain in full force and Virtue.
Sealed and delivered in the presence of:
Robert Craven
Hugh Campbell
And. Erwin
Chas. Campbell
At a court continued and held for Augusta County the 29th day of November 1749.
Robert Craven & Hugh Campbell Edward Erwin & Charles Campbell in open court acknowledged this ? ? Cravens & Campbells ? and faithfull administration of the Estate of Wm Magill decd which is ordered to be certified.
Teste John Madison

28 Dec. 174921

Augusta County, Virginia Will Book No. 1, page 222
William Magill's appraisement, by John Seawright, John Erwin, Charles Campbell. Cash by Hugh Dever and Hugh Ross.an.

28 Dec. 1749204

Augusta County, Virginia Will Book 1, pages 222 - 225
An account of Appraisement of Sundry Goods and Chattells of the Estate of William Magill decd Robert Craven Hugh Campbell John Seawright John Erwin Charles Campbell Appraisors December the 28th 1749.

 

£/s/d

One old red cow

1/0/0

One red spotted cow 

1/5/0

One old black cow 

1/5/0

One red cow 

1/10/0

One young black cow 

1/15/0

One red cow 

1/10/0

One black heifer 

1/5/0

One cow and calf 

1/10/0

One bull 

1/0/0

One hogg 

1/0/0

One steer with ? white on ? ? 

0/15/0

One steer

0/14/0

One black and white heifer 

0/12/0

One brown heifer 

0/12/0

One / yearling steer 

0/7/0

One red steer calf 

0/5/0

One two year old filly with a Star

7/0/0

One three year old gray horse

7/0/0

One black mare

4/0/0

One gray mare 

5/0/0

One yearling bay filly

3/10/0

Two stacks of wheat 

5/0/0

One stack of rye 

0/15/0

Two stacks of hay 

1/10/0

One stack of hay

0/1/0

Two cribbs of flour

7/0/0

Thirty four hoggs & piggs 

6/0/0

Coru? bladder? 

0/2/0

plank of laths

3/10/0

One grind stone 

0/2/0

Dried? sleuiglos?

1/0/0

One bridle & sadl/14 & cushell? G. shries?/1 

0/15/0

Three p. of hames & a collar & a bridle 

0/2/3

Hemp of a fence/1, tongs/2, a pot? crook/3

0/6/0

Two frying pans/5, four chavies?/8, hikyards?/3 

0/16/0

22 May 175121

Original Petitions and Papers Filed in the County Court
Valuation of Samuel Porter's improvements on Buffalo Creek, 22d May, 1751. Petition for road from John Davis's Mill to Woods's Gap, or to the road now clearing over the mountain near said Gap: Andrew Erwin, Robert Fowler, Edward Erwin, Francis Ervin, Charles Campbell, Michael Dickey, Hugh Diver, John Davies, John Francis, Andrew McCombe, John Magill, Hugh Campbell, Robert Carskadan, William Frame, Robert Campbell, Robert Brown, Charles Diver, Daniel Smith, William Alexander, James Patterson, William Magill, John Erwine, Edward Erwine, Benjamin Erwin, William Brown, Henry Smith, David McCammis, James Anderson, Robert Gamble, Francis Brown, Gabriel Pickens

28 May 175121

Order Book No. 2, page 574
Road ordered from John Davis's mill to Wood's New Cleared Gap, and John King, with Andrew Erwin, John McGill, Wm. McGill, Robert Fowler, Hugh Campbell, John Erwin, Edward Erwin, Robert Carscaden, Francis Erwin, Edward Erwin, Wm. Frame, Benj. Erwin, Charles Campbell, Robert Campbell, Wm. Brown, Michael Dickey, Robert Brown. Henry Smith, Hugh Diver, Charles Diver, David McCummins, John Davis, Danl. Smith, James Anderson, John Francis, Wm. Alexander, Robert Gamble, Andrew Combe, James Patterson, Francis Brown, Gabriel Pickens, keep it in repair.

31May 175121

Augusta County, Virginia Order Book No. 2, page 597
Margaret, relict of Wm. McGill

12 Feb. 17551182

Land Grant for Hugh Campbell, Virginia Land Office Patents No. 32, 1752-1756 (v.1 & 2 p.1-715), p. 457, (Reel 30)
George the second by the grace of god of Great Britain France and Ireland king defender of the faith &c
To all to whom these presents shall come Greeting Know ye that for diverse good causes and considerations but more especially for and in consideration of the sum of Five shillings of good and lawful money for our use paid to our Receiver General of our Revenues in this our colony and dominion of Virginia
We have given granted and confirmed and by these presents for us our heirs and successors do give grant and conform unto Robert Fowler one certain tract or parcel of land containing fifty acres lying and being in the County of Augusta on a branch of the North River of Shanando and bounded as followeth to wit
Beginning at three white Oaks on a Meadow side Corner to Hugh Campbells Land and running thence with his Line Crossing a branch and Meadow ninety Poles to a white Oak on a ridge in the said Line thence North sixty four Degrees West one hundred and thirty Poles to a white Oak in a Line of Charles Campbells Land thence with the same North thirty five Degrees East eight four Poles to a white Oak thence to the said Campbells Land by a Branch thence North fifty five Degrees West crossing a small branch fourteen Poles to a white Oak Corner to Charles Campbells Land William Magill and the Land the said Fowler now lives on Thence South sixty four Degrees East ninety eight Poles to the Beginning
With all woods underwoods swamps marshes low grounds meadows feedings and his due share of all veins mines and quarries as well discovered as not discovered within the bounds aforesaid and being part of the said quantity of fifty acres of land and the rivers waters and water courses therein contained together with the privileges of hunting hawking fishing fowling and all other profits commodities and heriditaments whatsoever to the same or (any part thereof belonging or in any wise appertaining)
To have and to hold possess and enjoy the said tract or parcel of land and all other the before granted premises and every part thereof with their and every of their appurtenances unto the said Robert Fowler and to his heirs and assigns forever to the only use and behoos of him the said Robert Fowler his heirs and assigns forever
To be held of us our heirs and successors as of our Mannor of East Greenwich in the County of Kent in free and common soccage and not in capite(?) or by knights service
Yielding and paying unto us our heirs and successors for every fifty acres of land and so proportionably for a lessor or greater quantity than fifty acres the fee rent of one shilling yearly to be paid upon the feast if Saint Michael the Archangel and also cultivating and improving three acres part of every fifty of the tract also mentioned within three years after the sale of these presents provided always that if three years of the said fee rent shall at any time be in arrears and unpaid or if the said Robert Fowler his heirs or assigns do not within the space of three years need coming after the sale of these presents cultivate and improve three acres part of every fifty of the tract above mentioned then the estate hereby granted shall cease and be utterly determine and thereafter it shall and may be lawfull to and for us our heirs and successors to grant the same lands and premises with the appurtenances unto such other person or persons as not(?) our heirs and successors shall think fit.
In witness whereof we have caused these our letters patent to be made
Witness our trusty and beloved Robert Dinwiddie Our Lieutenant Governor and Commander in chief of our said colony and dominion at Williamsburg under the seal of our said colony this twelfth Day of February MDCCLV in the XCXVIIIth year of our reign.
Robt. Dinwiddie

15 Nov. 175821

Augusta County, Virginia Will Book No. 2, page 280
Accounts against estate of William Magill paid by Hugh Campbell and Robt. Cravens. Legacies paid, viz: To James, John, William, Margaret McGill, Hugh Campbell, John Jones, Robert Dickson, John Berry, Ro. Fouller (to each of these 9, 1 shilling, 6 pence).

25 Sep. 17621184

Land Grant for James MaGill, Land Office Patents No. 35, 1762-1764 (v.1 & 2 p.1-556), p. 34 (Reel 35)
George the Third & c To all &c. Know ye that for diverse good causes and considerations but more especially for and in consideration of the sum of five shillings of good and lawful money for our use paid to our Receiver General of our Revenues in this our Colony and Dominion of Virginia
We have granted and confirmed and by these presents for us our heirs and successors do give grant and confirm unto James MaGill one certain tract or parcel of land containing fifty four acres lying and being in the county of Augusta on the south side of the North River Shanando and bounded as followeth (to wit)
Beginning at three pines corner of his own land thence north thirty five degrees east one hundred poles to two pines on the river thence down the river one hundred eighty six poles to two pines corner to the said MaGill’s land and with a line of the same north seventy nine degrees west two hundred poles to the beginning
With all &c to have and to hold &c yielding and paying &c provided &c in witness &c
Witness our trusty and well beloved Francis Fauquier Esq our Lieut. Governor and Commander in Chief of our said colony and Dominion at Williamsburg under the seal of our said colony the twenty fifth day of September one thousand seven hundred and sixty two in the second year of our reign.
Frans. Fauquier

22 May 17631185

Land Grant for James MaGill, Land Office Patents No. 35, 1762-1764 (v.1 & 2 p.1-556), p. 157 (Reel 35)
George the Third & c To all &c. Know ye that for diverse good causes and considerations but more especially for and in consideration of the sum of fifteen shillings of good and lawful money for our use paid to our Receiver General of our Revenues in this our Colony and Dominion of Virginia
We have granted and confirmed and by these presents for us our heirs and successors do give grant and confirm unto James MaGill one certain tract or parcel of land containing one hundred and fifty four acres lying and being in the county of Augusta on the south side of the North River Shanando and bounded as followeth (to wit)
Beginning at two pines in a line of Andrew Erwins land and running thence south forty four degrees east two and sixty hundred poles to two white oaks corner to William MaGills land thence with the lines Campbels land north eighty degrees west one hundred poles to two pines and a white oak south thirty five degrees west seventy four poles to a pine and two white oaks north sixty two degrees west eighteen poles to three pines corner to said Campbell thence north forty eight degrees west one hundred and two poles to two pines and a spanish oak on a hill thence north twenty two degrees west fifty four poles to four white oaks in a line aforesaid Erwins land thence with said Erwins line to the beginning
With all &c to have and to hold &c yielding and paying &c provided &c in witness &c
Witness our trusty and well beloved Francis Fauquier Esq our Lieut. Governor and Commander in Chief of our said colony and Dominion at Williamsburg under the seal of our said colony the twenty third day of May one thousand seven hundred and sixty three in the third year of our reign.
Frans. Fauquier

180421

Circuit Court Causes Ended
Hansbarger vs. Fowler--O. S. 186; N. S. 66
Bond by Robert and Wm. Fowler of Rockingham County to Anne Fowler, their mother, and Easter, their sister, dated 17th April, 1782. Letter dated Holstein River, Hawken County, 21st March, 1788, signed Edward and Mary Erwin, addressed to William Fowler, Rockingham County, Va. Cousin William mentions aunt Ann and cousin Esther. William Fowler was appointed executor of Robert Fowler of Noluchudkie settlement before 1787. Ann Fowler was only child of Robert. Deed 20th November, 1778, by Robert Fowler, Sr., and Anne of Rockingham County to his son, William Fowler, 147 acres on No. River, Shenando, part of 400 acres patented to Robert, 12th January, 1746. Recorded in Rockingham, 22d March, 1779. Answer by Agnes Brooks. Her late husband, Robert Fowler, in Knox County, Tenn., 1804; also by Ann Fleming, Moses Brooks. Saml. Fleming, same time and place. Robert Fowler, Jr., moved to Tennessee in April, 1784, where he married Agness Gamble and died testate in fall of 1784. His widow married Moses Brooks. His daughter, Anne, married Samuel Fleming. Patent by Dunwiddie to Robert Fowler, 1755, for 50 acres in Augusta on No. River, Shenando. Corner Hugh Campbell. Corner Charles Campbell. Corner Wm. Magill. Corner land Fowler now lives on. Patent by Gooch to Robert Fowler, 1746, 400 acres in Augusta on No. River, Shenando. Will of Robert Fowler dated 22d September, 1784. Wife, Agness; mother, Ann; his child; legatee, Easter Fowler. Recorded in Washington County, No. Ca., 1st May, 1787. Will of Robert Fowler dated 11th September, 1777, of Augusta County. Eldest son, James; wife, Anne; sons, William; youngest son, Robert; daughters, Jean and Elizabeth and Esther.

 

Analysis of the Timeline

 

   The oldest source record for either William MaGill, Sr. or John Gass, the two known husbands of Margaret (Cowan ?) Gass MaGill, is indirect evidence chronicling a land purchase made by John Gass in the spring of 1730 in Donegal Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. While the amount of acreage was not noted, the location was described as being just south of land owned by the Church of England and near the Donegal meetinghouse. Figure 29 shows the overall area and the location of the Donegal meetinghouse, which was well within an established Scotch-Irish pioneer community on the east side of the Susquehanna River. 


   The next series of land records document John Gass' acquisition of 400 acres of land west of the Susquehanna River in the spring of 1734. This area was part of Lancaster County until the formation of Cumberland County in 1750.425 The first west river land purchase consisted of 250 acres described as being south of the Conodoquinet Creek and about three miles north of the mouth of Letort Spring. Both the stream and the spring can be found on Figure 33. The diameter of the circle template measures six miles, so the radius measure is three miles, consequently, somewhere near the northern end of the template is the location of John Gass' 250-acre tract. Illustrated on the map, it is very near the present day town of Carlisle, Pennsylvania and right along the Great Valley Road. About a week later a license was issued to someone for an adjacent tract of land, and about a week after that John Gass obtained an additional 150 acres located on the north side of Conodoquinet Creek. Unfortunately, from the brief property description available, it cannot be determined if the second property was adjacent to the first 250 acre plot. 


   The two Conodoquinet Creek properties purchased by John Gass were part of the Blunston Licenses, and the bulk of these records, including the John Gass procurements, conspicuously note that there was no accompanying survey for the property. To understand the significance of these licenses and the surveys (or, in this case, the lack thereof), the land acquisition process needs to be examined, and, in particular, the unique ethno-political situation in Pennsylvania at this time in history. 


   A land purchase consisted of three steps, the first of which was the issuance of a warrant (or in this case, a license), typically after the payment of a fee. This entitled the bearer to fulfill the second step, which was to hire a surveyor (involving another cost), who established the boundaries and acreage of the land. Finally, for another fee, a patent was issued, transferring the title to the new owner.429,430 The Penn family, descendants of William Penn and owners of the proprietary colony of Pennsylvania, had been issuing legal titles for lands east of the Susquehanna River to mostly German, English and Scottish settlers since the inception of the colony. Until the fall of 1736, however, the native American Indians maintained title to all lands west of the Susquehanna. The continuous surge of immigrants funneling into Pennsylvania had the effect of inexorably pushing settlers westward and by 1720, many of them, mostly Scotch-Irish, were "squatting" on Indian lands west of the Susquehanna. To remedy the situation, the Penns negotiated with the natives for ownership rights, and, anticipating eventual success in this endeavor, began a program of identifying and issuing licenses or land warrants to those that had already settled and made improvements in the area. Samuel Blunston was hired to survey the lands and issued licenses to the squatters along the Conodoquinet, Yellow Breeches and Conococheague Creeks in present day Cumberland County, as well as along the Codorus and Conewago Creeks in what was to eventually become York and Adams Counties. The purpose was to firmly establish the rights of the settlers, as well as to inhibit further transgressions against the rightful owners.430,431


   In June of 1734 John Gass (1670/1690 - June/December 1734) wrote his will, which was proved in December of 1734, according to several Gass researchers. Unfortunately, the latter document was not located during the research for this report. If the will was, indeed, proved at that time, John Gass' death can be bracketed as occurring sometime between 28 June and December of 1734, presumably in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. His age at the time is uncertain, since two birthdates can be found in the literature, specifically 1670 and 1690. However, neither date is supported by primary sources. If the later birthdate is correct, then he was only 44 years old when he died. If the earlier date is correct, he was a much older man at death. Birthdates for his children, although undocumented, range from 1715 through 1735 in most sources. If the latter date is true, it probably represents a posthumous child (born after the death of the father).341,353, 354,356,357,366

 

     Margaret's undocumented birth date has been cited as occurring in 1694 in several sources, and a comparison of that birth date with her husband yields two interpretation options. If Margaret and John were about the same age, then the later birth date (1690) for her husband is probably correct, and he died somewhat early in life. His will does state that he was "sick in body", which suggests that his death may have been caused by an illness. If the older birth date is correct, then Margaret married a man 20 years her senior, which is certainly not impossible, although somewhat unlikely. In his will, John Gass requested that he be buried in the Donegal churchyard, which is quite understandable, since he is known to have been of Scottish ancestry and owned property adjacent to the church at the time. He also indicated that if his widow should remarry within eight to ten years, the farm would go to the male children. He further noted that his children were not to receive their share of the estate until four years after they had become of age, suggesting that they none of them is old enough to be on their own in 1734. He also identified several people who were to be tutors for his family, further suggesting that his children were still quite young. This possible occurrence of underage children seems to support the 1690 birth date for John Gass. On the other hand, of the six people specifically named in his will, only one, Archibald Woods, can be identified with certainty. An Archibald Woods married John Gass' only daughter, Isabella, which may suggest that the earlier birth date for John Gass (1670) is correct. However, this could also be the father of that Archibald Woods. At the present time no definitive statement can be made in regard to the birth date of John Gass other than the later date of 1690 seems more plausible than the earlier date.341,353,354,356,357,366


   In 1736, the executors of John Gass' estate sold the land he owned near the Donegal church. The first entry that specifically identifies Margaret Gass as the widow of John Gass shows her living in Pennsborough Township in the spring of 1738 near Henry Gass. As shown by several Gass researchers, John and Margaret had a son named Henry, and it seems quite logical to assume that this is her son. As shown on Figure 34, Pennsborough Township was formed in 1735 in Lancaster County, and was gradually reduced in size over the next 15 years. In 1738, Margaret Gass and her son most likely lived on the same properties purchased by her late husband around 1734, and from reference to Figures 32, 33 and 34, both can be shown to have been located in Pennsborough Township. 


   From all of this data it can be seen that John Gass purchased land on the east side of the Susquehanna River in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania as early as 1730, and had moved to the western side of the river by 1734. John Gass must have been living in the latter location in 1734, since he was issued a license for the occupied property by Samuel Blunston, a surveyor and agent for the Penn family. From the stipulations of his will, John Gass' widow, Margaret Gass, needed to remain unmarried for eight to ten years after his death (i.e. until 1742 or 1744) if she expected to receive her share of the property. 


   By 1738, which was four years after her husband's death, Margaret Gass appears to be living near her son on the same property her husband acquired. It must have been in this area, in the Great Valley along the Great Wagon Road, the primary route to Augusta County, Virginia and points beyond from this area, that she met and eventually married her second husband, William MaGill, Sr. on his journey from Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Although no documentation has, thus far, been discovered placing William MaGill, Sr. in this part of Pennsylvania, or in any part of Lancaster County for that matter, there appears to be a preponderance of evidence suggesting such a course of events. This moment in time was characterized by a great flux of Scottish and German migrants making its way across Pennsylvania to newly opening, inexpensive lands in Virginia. The actual movements of these people were focused on a centuries-old Indian footpath which had developed in the topographic chute formed by a great valley between mountain uplifts along the Appalachian front. That chute led directly to Augusta County, Virginia and points beyond. William MaGill, Sr. and Margaret Gass appear to have been caught up in the great tide of humanity, as a human current, down that chute. (Figure 119)


  In 1738 Margaret Gass was still anchored in Pennsylvania as a widow, and would be for at least four more years before she could remarry and retain her legal share of the land. It seems that William MaGill, Sr., along with his associated clan of relatives must have been there at the appropriate moment that she became free. William and Margaret had to meet each other, probably through church affiliations, and get married. The fact that Margaret Gass’ need to remain a widow until at least 1742 in order to meet the minimum qualifications for inheriting her husband’s land, and the absence of MaGills (and Berrys) in the 1742 Augusta County, Virginia militia list, seem to be related. Neither William nor Margaret had yet arrived in Virginia by that date. After 1742, however, she could remarry, sell her land, take the profit from the sale and move with her new husband to the newly opened lands in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia where so many Scotch-Irish (and Germans) in the area were headed. While no marriage record for William and Margaret has yet been found (and may never be found) that would definitively state the case, it seems that all of the primary sources along with the inexorable flow of humanity toward Virginia through the spigot of the Great Valley, make a strong circumstantial case for this scenario.

 

     The earliest direct record of William MaGill in Augusta County, Virginia consists of a county government record dated February 1745, where he was identified as being responsible for overseeing the construction and/or maintenance of a road in that county, which brings up several points: land ownership, an upper limit on the timing of William MaGill’s arrival in Virginia, his property location, and a major change in the calendar for England and the English colonies that occurred in the 1750s. First to be considered is the land ownership and the upper limit of William MaGill’s arrival time in the area. Virginia colonial laws imposed a requirement for the construction and maintenance of public roads upon all landowners living on or near a particular road under consideration or maintenance. The fact that William MaGill was included in an Augusta County, Virginia road order means that he was living somewhere along that road in that colony and county at the time the order was issued, so this record documents his presence in Virginia at least by February 1745. A land record from a neighbor establishes the date as August 1745, but that will be examined more fully after a critical calendar detail is explained.

 

     Secondly, the road order noted that William MaGill was assigned a section of road that was located between John Anderson's property and the North River. Figure 120 is a property map derived from metes and bounds descriptions in Virginia colonial patent records, showing the location of property owners along the south side of the North River of the Shenandoah between Goose Creek/Long Glade Creek and Naked Creek, including William MaGill and John Anderson. The location of William MaGill's property within Augusta County, Virginia can, thus, be accurately pinpointed to a location on the south side of the North River of the Shenandoah. It should also be noted that the section of road that William MaGill had responsibility for was only about a mile in length, extending from the river to John Anderson's property.

 

     Next, there is the issue of the actual date as represented by the February 1745 road order, which brings into play the Gregorian calendar. Until 1752, when the Gregorian calendar was adopted, the first day of the new year was considered to be the 25th of March, which means, until 1752, any document containing a date between the present day New Year start of January first and the old start of the New Year on March 25th, would have been counted as being part of the previous year rather than the new year. In this context, the first documentation of William MaGill in Virginia, the February 1745 date, would actually be from February 1746. Since he was already recognized as a land owner in early February of 1746, it seems quite likely that he had already established a presence in Augusta County at least by the previous fall. A winter overland journey by wagon from central Pennsylvania does not seem very likely, so, in all likelihood, the earliest documentation of William MaGill in Virginia most likely indicates an arrival in the area at least by the fall of 1745 rather than early 1746.

 

     As noted above, Figure 120 shows the property boundaries for a number of land owners on the south side of the North River of the Shenandoah in Augusta County based on land patents issued by the Virginia colonial government to original land purchasers. Although William MaGill was not issued a patent from the colonial government, survey notes of metes and bounds descriptions from several land owners who did receive government patents (Charles Campbell 1746 land patent for example) indicate that their properties adjoined his land. Quite clearly, then, at an early date, William MaGill purchased his land from someone who had already acquired a patent for the property. Unfortunately, the identity of the original owner has not yet been determined. In addition, although the metes and bounds description for a son in law, Robert Fowler, do not mention William MaGill as being a neighbor in Fowler’s 1746 patent, an earlier land entry notation for the same property (from August of 1745) did identify William MaGill as an adjacent property owner. Consequently, this document more concretely establishes William MaGill’s presence in Augusta County by the summer of 1745. The same record also noted that Robert Foyle (actually Robert Fowler) owned land on the North River between William MaGill, Sr. and someone named Wilkins, probably the Samuel Wilkins mentioned in Augusta County 1747 processioning records, which will be examined in more detail in the following section. Samuel Wilkins apparently owned land on the north side of the North River of the Shenandoah – just across the river from both Robert Fowler and William MaGill. It should be noted that several nearby property acquisitions mentioning William MaGill were recorded after his death, and most likely document William MaGill’s original land since William MaGill’s son, who was also named William MaGill, inherited some of the land after the death of his father. James MaGill, a brother of the younger William MaGill, inherited the rest of the property.222,861
 

     In the fall of 1746, a William MaGill was appointed as a constable. This, along with several other entries, may actually represent William MaGill, Sr.’s son of the same name. In this instance, however, the two men cannot be differentiated, so the entry is assigned to the father. Other than his will, the last entry generated for William MaGill, Sr. during his lifetime is a listing of the Augusta County parish processioners for 1747. A close reading of the entry shows that the county was divided into segments and two landowners were assigned the task of processioning the properties (walking the property boundaries) of each land owner within the segment. William MaGill, Sr. and Edward Erwin were assigned a triangular shaped area formed by the properties of Alexander Blair, Samuel Wilkins and Henry Smith. Unfortunately, none of the properties can be precisely located, although two can be generally defined. Augusta County court records show that Edward Erwin lived on Long Glade Creek, which lies just to the west of William MaGill’s property on the south side of the North River of the Shenandoah, and Samuel Wilkins lived somewhere on Cook’s Creek, which lies on the north side of the North River of the Shenandoah – just across the river from William MaGill’s property. Both creeks are tributaries of North River, and can be identified on Figure 35.21

 

     Before William MaGill, Sr.’s will and the associated documents are examined, it would be useful to evaluate several other records out of sequence in the timeline in order to confirm the geographic framework of William MaGill’s neighborhood. The first two entries under consideration are orders for road construction and maintenance from John Davis’ Mill to a mountain gap, referred to as Wood’s Gap. The Davis Mill is probably along Mossy Creek, and, although Wood’s Gap has not yet been identified, it clearly represents one of the breaks in the mountain front lying to the west. Since these two entries were recorded in 1751, two years after his death, the William MaGill mentioned in both records represents the elder William MaGill, Sr.’s son of the same name, who had inherited his father’s land. Most of the names in both entries are the same, and probably represent William MaGill, Sr.’s neighbors. Two of the men, Hugh Campbell and Robert Fowler, are sons-in-law of William MaGill, Sr. Andrew, Edward, Francis, John and Benjamin Erwin represent two Erwin families. Edward and Francis lived on Long Glade Creek (see Figure 120), while Benjamin Erwin appears to have lived on Cook’s Creek. Charles Campbell lived near the North River (see Figure 120) and both John Campbell and William Frame lived near the Stone Meeting House (also known as the Augusta Stone Meeting House), which can be located west of North River on Figure 35. William Frame’s father, John Frame, lived along Naked Creek, which can also be located on Figure 35. Gabriel Pickens lived on Howell’s Branch near possibly near Middle River. Unfortunately, Howell’s Branch has not yet been located. Henry Smith can be documented as living on the east branch of Cook’s Creek, while Daniel Smith lived at the head of Linville’s Creek, both, of which, can be found on Figure 35. Hugh Diver lived somewhere around the Dry River bottoms and Beaver Creek and Spring Creek. Dry River and Beaver Creek can be located on Figure 35, but not Spring Creek. There is, however, a small community by the name of Spring Creek in this area, so a smaller scale map may, indeed, show a Spring Creek. It should also be noted that another son of William MaGill, Sr., John, is also identified in one of these entries.21

 

     The 1760 processioning district identifies many of these same individuals, including James MaGill, another son of William MaGill, Sr. It should be noted that Robert Cravens, Hugh Campbell, Andrew Erwin and Charles Campbell were all listed as witnesses to William MaGill, Sr.’s will, and, although Robert Cravens does not appear on these Augusta County entries, he can be documented as owning land on Cook’s Creek before 1745. An old historical atlas shows the Robert Cravens property near the confluence of Christian Creek and the North River (Figure 25), which is not far from Cook’s Creek. All of these streams can be identified on Figure 35. Of further interest is the fact that eight of the 31 men on the 1751 road lists and 1760 processioning list (Andrew Erwin, Benjamin Erwin, John Erwin, Benjamin Erwin, John Francis, Gabriel Pickens, Michael Dickey and William Brown) were already living in Augusta County by 1742, since they appear on the militia list. Furthermore, Michael Dickey, Andrew Erwin and Robert Brown’s properties are shown on Figure 120. In addition, five more individuals with surnames appearing on these lists also appear on the militia list. All of this data serves to illustrate the fact that William MaGill, Sr. lived near these men within the drainage basin of the North River of the Shenandoah and many of the neighbors, as well as two of his sons in law, who appear in court documents with him and his sons can be shown to be living in the general vicinity. It also shows that, at the most, only about half of these people were living in Augusta County in 1742, so, clearly, everyone did not arrive in the area at the same time.21,329
 

     Four Augusta County court records, primarily dealing with information related to Robert Fowler, when considered together, provide more definitive information on the location of William MaGill, Sr.’s neighborhood. Three of them, descriptions of the processioning districts from 1764 and 1767, and the results of the 1760 processioning, are not included in the William MaGill, Sr. timeline, since his name is not listed in these records. The fourth record, however, includes a reference to William MaGill, and comprises the final timeline entry for him. Since the 1764 and 1767 processioning district descriptions are essentially the same, only the 1764 entry will be reviewed in detail here. Processioning results are not available for these two years, but they are available for the 1760 processioning. Unfortunately, the description of the 1760 processioning district is not available. Since the boundaries of the 1764 and 1767 districts are, essentially identical, it can probably be safely assumed that the 1760 boundaries were the same or at least reasonably similiar. As a result, the 1760 results most likely apply to the 1764 and 1767 boundary descriptions. The fourth record represents a court record in which the children of Robert Fowler describe his original settlement, and definitively connects not only the processioning data, but much of the other data associated with the neighbors of William MaGill, Sr.
 

   In the 1764 processioning district information, shown below, several processioners are identified and the segment of the processioning district for which they bear responsibility is broadly defined. Most of the features mentioned in these descriptions can be identified in Figure 35, so the outline and extent of each segment of this processioning district can be determined, and from this information the location of Robert Fowler's property can be approximated. Below are six segments from the 1764 processioning district, falling in the Great Valley over present day Augusta County. Segment 1 covers the north/south area between the north end of Borden's Grant to Jenning's Gap, and east/west between North Mountain and Kennedy's Road. The Shenandoah Valley was bounded by mountains to the north and south for it's entire extent through Virginia and Pennsylvania. The settlers referred to North Mountain as the consistent line of mountainous uplifts forming the northern boundary of the valley, while the southern boundary was typically referred to as South Mountain. All of these features can be located on Figure 35 except Kennedy Road, and that feature is either not represented on the map or comprises at least part of the one or more of the north/south trending roads generally paralleling the mountain front. Kennedy Mill Creek, also referred to as Ott Creek lies at the northern boundary of the Borden Grant (Figure 8), and was probably connected to the surrounding area by a road. On modern day maps there are a number of back roads that certainly could have corresponded to that road, but the major road today, and quite possibly even in early times was highway 252, which leads directly into Staunton (see Figure 35). The road from Ott/Kennedy Mill Creek connects to this road, so, if this is not above mentioned Kennedy Road, it probably most closely corresponds to the position of that road.21,250


   Segment 2 extends from Borden's line to Spring Hill, although the northern boundary appears to be offset somewhat through Staunton and the Tinkling Springs meetinghouse. In the east/west direction, this segment extends from South Mountain to the elusive Kennedy Road. All of these features can be identified on Figure 35. Segment 3 extends from the Tinkling Springs meetinghouse to nearby Christian Creek, then down stream to it's confluence with the segment of the South Shenandoah between Middle and South River, then on to South Mountain. Segment 4, which mentions Robert Fowler's property begins at the Christian Creek ford below Staunton, then proceeds down Christian Creek to it's confluence with the South Shenandoah River. At this point it extends up the North River to Fowler's residence, then back to Staunton. Segment 5 goes from the Staunton Courthouse to Jenning's Gap, then northward along North Mountain to the Dry River. At this point, the boundary of this segment runs down the valley of Dry River, then down the North River to Fowler's property, and back to Staunton. Finally, Segment 6 begins at Fowler's property and extends northward. From this data it can be seen that Robert Fowler lived along the North River somewhere between the mouths of the Dry River and Christian Creek.

 

Description of 1764 Processioning Districts

 

Segment 1
David Cunningham and Samuel Downey, from Burden's line to Jenning's Gap between Keneday's Road and the North Mountain.

Segment 2
James Bell, Samuel Black, James Fulton, and George Robinson, from Burden's line to Spring Hill between the South Mountain and Keneday's Road by Staunton and from thence by the Tinkling Spring Meeting House.

Segment 3
John Ramsey, John Stuart, Geo. Crawford, Thos. Turk, from Spring Hill, thence by the (Tinkling Spring) Meeting House to Christian's Creek, thence down the Creek to the Mouth and down Middle River to South River, thence to South Mountain

Segment 4
William Hutchison (son of George), David Laird, David Bell, Thomas Patterson, from Ford of Christian's Creek below the Court House, down the same to the mouth, down Middle to South River, down to the Fork and up North River to Fowler's, to Staunton. 

Segment 5
Michael Dickey, Ben. Harrison, Michael Hogshead, James Gamble, from Court House to Jenning's Gap, then along the Mountain to the Dry River, down the same to the North River, down to Fowler's, thence to Staunton. 

Segment 6
Alex. Herron, Arthur Trader, Thos. Harrison, John Cunningham, from Fowler's along the road to the County line on the side of North Mountain. 


   The results of the 1760 processioning in this part of Augusta County are shown below.21 John Malkem/Melcom and Alexander Blair were assigned the task of performing the processioning duties in Captain Daniel Smith's district. Of particular interest are the following names that were interpreted to be neighbors (as well as their sons) of William MaGill, Sr., based on the 1751 county records dealing with road building and maintenance: James Anderson, Hugh Dever, John Francey (Francis), Daniel Smith, Henry Smith, Gabriel Pickens, Edward Erwin, Andrew, Erwin, John Erwin, Francis Erwin, William Frame, Hugh Campbell, Charles Campbell, Robert Campbell, Robert Fowler, William Brown and Michael Dickey. Of particular interest are the inclusion of two sons-in-law of William MaGill, Sr.: Hugh Campbell and Robert Fowler.

 

Results of 1760 Processioning in Capt. Daniel Smith's District

 

Processioned by John Malkem and Alex. Blair, viz:
For John Young, for Robert Young, for James Anderson, for Alex. Blair, for John Anderson, for John Francey, for Wm. Cunningham, for John McKemy. for Walter Trimble, for Hugh Dever, for John Davies, for _____ Doughlas, for Daniel Smith, for Bigham's land formerly known by the name of Gragg's, for Gabriel Pickens, for Robert Poage, for Abraham Smith, for Isaiah Shipman, for David Robiston, for Silas Hart, for John Cunningham, for Henry Smith, for Widow Ramsey, for Thomas Woodal, for Moses Hall, for Andrey McCown, for James Bell, for Edward Erwin, for Alex. Craig, for Wm. Frame, for Thos. Waterson, for Francis Brown, for John King, for John Searight, for John Kear, for Hugh Campbell, for Alex. Kile, for Robert Fowler, for James Gamble, for James Leeper, Sr. and Jr., for James Blair, for Edward Erwin's land formerly known as Brownlee's place, for Adam Stevenson, for Umphrey's place on North River, for Stevenson's place they live on, for Jacob and Christian Roleman, for John Malcom, for William Flimen, for Charles Campbell, for Robert Campbell, for William Brown, for Widow and John and James Alexander, for Michael Dickey, for James Young, for James Patterson, for Andrew Erwin, for John Erwin, for Edward Erwin, for Francis Erwin, for Hugh Campbell, Jr., for James McGill, for Robert Brown, for James Young. 


   In the fourth Robert Fowler record, his children noted that he received a patent for 400 acres of land on the North River on 12 January 1746. Since Robert Fowler is also absent from the 1742 Militia List, this suggests an arrival date for Robert Fowler into the area sometime between 1742 and 1746, the same as for William MaGill, Sr. Furthermore, this record documents the fact that his land bordered that of Hugh Campbell, Charles Campbell and William MaGill, Sr. It is quite conceivable that the MaGills, Campbells, Fowlers, Berrys and possibly others traveled together from Pennsylvania around the same time, and, at least some of them, settled in the same area along the North River in Augusta County, Virginia. It is of some interest to note that a James Berry was noted as being a Lancaster County, Pennsylvania land owner in the Blunston records, which, if this is the correct Berry family, would further suggest a close physical connection of the Berry and MaGill families. While there is no one piece of evidence that pinpoints the site of William MaGill, Sr.'s settlement along the North River (other than a generalized map), documents his emigration from Pennsylvania with friends and relatives, or defines the date at which these events occurred, the entire body of evidence, considered together, creates a very persuasive argument for postulating just such a scenario.329,424


  In the fall of 1749 William MaGill, Sr. wrote his last will and testament, noting that he was in bad health. In it he first identified his wife, Margaret, and ordered that she should inherit half of the cows he owned, a horse and half of the household furnishings. Margaret's son (and William's stepson) David Gass was also identified in the will as receiving some property. The land was to be divided between his sons William and James with the boundary between them to be defined as running a straight course from the river, presumably the North River, toward a spring near Charles Campbell's property. The rest of the will refers to the division of cattle, hogs, clothing, household goods, farming equipment and family bible among his children and widow. Robert Craven and Hugh Campbell were named as executors of his will, while Andrew Erwin and Charles Campbell were witnesses to his signing of the will. All of the men named in this will have been identified as nearby property owners and, in some cases, sons-in-law


  William MaGill, Sr. passed away in Augusta County, Virginia sometime in the 51 day interval between 10 October and 29 November 1749 The earlier date represents the date his will was written, while the latter date is when the will was presented in court. On the latter date, the executors were tasked with conducting an inventory of William MaGill, Sr.'s estate. Also on that date, Margaret Cowan Gass MaGill appeared in court to state that she would not accept any distribution from her late husband's will. The motive for her action is uncertain. Since she had borne no children from her second husband, there was no significant portion of his estate destined for one of her children. In fact, all of the land went to William's two sons from a previous marriage. At the same time, it makes no sense that would leave everything to her stepchildren and leave herself destitute. Clearly, she must have had other means of support envisioned. Either she intended to remarry right away, or she had plans to live with relatives. The latter case is more likely, based on Gass family research efforts. It is known that Margaret's daughter, Isabel (Gass) Woods and her son John Gass lived in nearby Albemarle County, Virginia, and David Gass, who was mentioned in William MaGill, Sr.'s will, was noted as living there, as well. At least one Gass researcher indicates that Margaret moved there after she was widowed.108,350,351,353,354,355,356,357


  William MaGill, Sr.'s estate was appraised, as per the court order, and the results were returned by 28 December 1749. From this data it can be seen that the bulk of his personal property consisted of livestock, although there were crops and a few household and farming items also listed, such as bridles, saddles, hames, a grindstone, pots, pans and tongs. The appraisal counted 15 cattle, five horses and 35 pigs along with harvested wheat, rye, hay, hemp and some flour. One of the farm implements itemized was a grindstone, which probably accounts for the flour. This information paints a picture of a rural, pioneer lifestyle. William MaGill, Sr. probably grew his own food, as suggested by the grindstone and the flour, although it is certainly possible that excess crops were sold to generate income. Hemp was widely grown throughout the area and sold to produce rope for the great wooden sailing ships of the day, so some of the crops were, indeed, cash crops. The bridle, saddles and hames indicates that the horses were used for transportation and probably also for labor.


  The two entries from 1751 clearly represent William MaGill, Sr.'s son named William, since the elder William MaGill had passed away by that time. The names and places in these entries, however, serve as further support for identifying the location of William MaGill, Sr.'s land, since he had bequeathed some of his property to William, Jr. Both of these entries date from the middle and end of May 1751. On the last day of that month, Margaret is noted as being the surviving spouse of William MaGill, Sr., which probably indicates that she is still living in the area at the time. In 1758, all accounts against the estate of William MaGill, Sr. were finally settled, and since it took nearly ten years to settle the estate, there may have been some problem encountered in the settlement process. In the distribution of personal property from William MaGill, Sr.'s estate, the beneficiaries included three sons (James, John and William), William Sr.'s widow (Margaret Cowan Gass MaGill), four sons-in-law (Hugh Campbell, Robert Fowler, John Jones and Robert Dickson) and one grandchild (John Berry). Although William's widow had given up any rights to his estate back in 1749, she is shown in 1758 as receiving a monetary distribution, so something must have changed in the intervening eight years. Furthermore, only four of the five daughters received money through this distribution. The daughter that married William Berry (the brother of the James Berry that married William's daughter Elizabeth Eleanor MaGill) is not mentioned at all for some reason, although it is possible that she had already received her share prior to her father's death. The grand child, John Berry, must be Elizabeth's son from her first husband, James Berry. Earlier that year (1758), young John Berry had selected William MaGill (son of William, Sr.), his uncle, as his legal guardian. Back in 1751, John Berry's stepfather, John Jones, had been accused of using money for his own personal use from the estate of his step son's father, James Berry. The inclusion of John Berry in the distribution of William MaGill Sr.'s will could represent the final monetary transfer from this source of money. The last entry for William MaGill, Sr. represents a description of Robert Fowler's property from an 1804 court document, and has already been addressed in this segment of the report. 

 

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