Briefly, it is believed that there were three groups of McMunns who emigrated from Ireland to the United States in the mid-late 1700s. One group settled in the Hudson Valley of New York. The second group settled in New Hampshire. The third group and the focus of this website settled first in Maryland then in Western Pennsylvania. This group consisted of three brothers, sons of Alexander McMunn of County Donegal, Ireland. The sons, Alexander, Daniel and Joseph McMunn, emigrated to the United States, probably between 1774 and early 1776. It is known that Alexander McMunn (and his brothers) were in the United States in May 1776, when Alexander enlisted from Cecil County, at Baltimore, to serve in the Revolutionary War. He served in the company of Capt. Nathaniel Ramsey. After his war service, he settled in Cecil County, northeast of Baltimore, where he married the first of his three wives. In 1786, for his war service, Alexander was granted a land warrant on the Western Frontier, then Western Pennsylvania. The family relocated to Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania from Maryland. The area to which they moved would later be part of Wilkinsburg, in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.
There have been other groups of McMunns who emigrated to North America. One line, that of John McMunn's descendants (another of Alexander McMunn's sons), settled in Canada. Another group settled in the Southern United States. Still another line, that of Robert Andrew McMunn, a fifth son of Alexander McMunn, settled in Manchester, England.
The presence of Alexander McMunn (the emigrant to the U.S.) is well documented. There is also evidence of Daniel McMunn's presence in Western Pennsylvania at the same time, 1786-1810. Little is known about Joseph McMunn. According to the Family History of 1904, Joseph McMunn emigrated to Erie County, Pennsylvania. This is possible, but it is also likely that his son, Joseph McMunn lived and died in Robinson Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. References to this Joseph McMunn are found from about 1790 to 1830.
The sons were successful in farming the wildnerness. One historical account, written in 1909, states:
McMUNN FAMILY. The pioneer ancestor of this family came to this country at an early age, and was actively and prominently identified with the agricultural interests of Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, settling near Turtle Creek, here he owned and conducted a large farm. He married and reared a family of five children, three sons, George, David and John, and two daughters.*
The article from which the quote above is excerpted appears to refer to the father of John McMunn, born in 1825 near Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania.
It is known that Alexander McMunn, the emigrant, served his community. He began the library of Bethel Church. He was a constable for Allegheny County. Is is rumored, though not proven, that he arrested his brother, Daniel McMunn, for public drunkenness. Daniel McMunn did, however, have trouble with the law.
In 1790, a woman named Agnes Montgomery, the daughter of the man owning the farm bordering on Alexander McMunn's farm, accused Daniel McMunn of of impregnating her. He was charged by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with fornication and bastardy. The case was rendered nolle prosequi, meaning that Daniel was not tried on the charges, but that the charges could have brought him to trial at a later date. It appears that he was never tried on these charges, but there was a financial settlement which he paid to the Commonwealth. In turn, part of this settlement was probably paid to the family of Agnes Montgomery. The affair resulted in a child outside of marriage, given Daniel McMunn's surname. This was almost certainly David McMunn.
Daniel McMunn married in 1791 to Martha Myers. While not wealthy, the family of James Moirs (or Meirs) was well off, as shown by Martha's Will. Daniel McMunn's death is not recorded except by the 1904 Family History, which states that he died in the "United States Frontier Indian Wars." This is unlikely. More likely, he may have been slaughtered by Indians during the early 1800s. There are accounts of Indian massacres of individuals and congregations during that time. He did serve in the Frontier Scouts.
It is believed that Samuel A. McMunn, from whom most of the Western Pennsylvania McMunns descend, was the son of Daniel McMunn and Martha Myers. Samuel A. McMunn also ran afoul of the law, having eviction papers served on him by (most likely) his siblings, who sought a small tract of land he had purchased in Western Pennsylvania. In later years, he settled on a farm at Crooked Creek Settlement, in what was Allegheny Township, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. (The area is now part of Bethel Township.) The exact location of Samuel's farm has been located on an 1876 Atlas. The land is probably underwater, being part of the basin formed by the Crooked Creek Dam. Samuel and his sons, John, Thomas, Joseph, Samuel and James, farmed this land until his death in 1879. Tax documents show that his third son, Joseph McMunn, bought half of the land the other brothers inherited from Samuel A. McMunn. Work is being done to corroborate research showing that:
A. McMunn distributed his land to his children in sixths.
John McMunn, who died in 1871, was passed over and the land was inherited by his daughters, Lizzie McMunn and Nora McMunn. Lizzie and Nora later sold their one-sixth to Mary Ann Banks.
Thomas McMunn sold his one-sixth of the land to Joseph McMunn.
Samuel McMunn sold his one-sixth of the land to Joseph McMunn.
James McMunn sold his one-sixth of the land to George Banks.
Mary Ann McMunn, it is believed, married George Banks. George Banks purchased the one-half share of the land held by Joseph McMunn, and the land passed from the McMunn family to that of George and Mary Ann McMunn Banks.
Joseph McMunn married Priscilla George, a daughter of John George and Nancy Baker of Kiskiminetas Township, Armstrong County, in about 1881. In about 1892-1893, John George sold his farm and land to Joseph McMunn. A new farmhouse was built on the property. The older six children of Joseph McMunn were born at Bethel Township, near Crooked Creek. The last three children were born at the farm in Kiskiminetas Township, Armstrong County.
The Georges and Bakers were well-established farmers in Armstrong County, as were the McMunns. The land Joseph farmed continued to bear until at least the late 1960s. There were apples, peaches, pears, mint, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and other produce.
Joseph McMunn died in 1916, and Priscilla continued to live at the farm until her death in 1935. Her body reposed in the parlor at the farm after her death. Her will, dated 1933, stated:
Mrs. Priscilla McMunn in my last Will and Testament, being in my right
mind and good health on this 22nd day of May in the year of our Lord 1933,
do hereby bequest all my land to my children as follows. Beginning
on the right hand of the Public Road leading from Avonmore to Shady Plain
at the Wilson line, I leave to Samuel G. and Children after 5 acres to
Daisy. Next to Samuel G., I leave 5 acres. Next to Daisy, I leave Joseph
N. and Children 5 acres. Next to Joseph N., I leave to William 5 acres,
which he has received and got deed for same. Coming back down to the Wilson
line on left hand side of Public Road, I leave to Maude 5 acres.
Next to Maude's I leave to Harvey 5 acres, he is selling to Maude and John
Flickinger 4 acres reserving 1 acre for himself. Maude also having deed
for her 5 acres. Next to Harvey, I leave John C. 5 acres. I myself reserving
15 acres. As long as Florence and Margaret lives they are to have their
living off on the 15 acres. After their death, I leave all to John including
house and 15 acres. Those who do not have their Deeds for their 5
acres are at my Death to receive deed for same as I have it laid out in
this will. I do hereby appoint John C. Administrator. I leave
Will, Harve, Sam and Joe 1 quilt apiece.
Signed by Priscilla McMunn
1. Maude Flickinger
2. Blanche Maguire Aites"
Priscilla's Will was witnessed by her daughter, Rosa Maude McMunn Flickinger and a neighbor. Priscilla was likely related to Blanche Aites, also. Her sister, Matilda George, married Matthew Maguire prior to 1890. Note that Priscilla left the farmhouse and 15 acres to her son, John. John died in 1960. Until that time, his sister, Maude, and her husband, John Flickinger lived at the farmhouse. Until 1967, when Maude died, there were at least three siblings living in the house at all times, often Maude and the two youngest females, Florence and Nancy, who were blind, and often John. It is thought, though not yet proven, that John left the house to Maude at his death. The house was then turned over to the Commonwealth at Maude's death, in return for perpetual care of the two blind siblings, until their deaths in the 1970s. The land has never stayed in one hand long after being sold since 1967.
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