Myra McMurtry (1826-1914) was the granddaughter of Capt John
McMurtry (1738?-1790) and Mary Hutton (1752?-1840?) and the great-granddaughter
of Mary Hutton’s mother Mary Todd. John
and Mary grew up in the portion of
This essay traces the evolution of
The information she received from her mother, and her
cousins about her grandfather Capt. John McMurtry (1738?-1790), his wife and
his descendants was fairly accurate; however, much of what she received from
family historians about the earlier generations was inaccurate and has confused
many generations of those interested in the family history. The path of those historians in constructing
an erroneous picture of the early family history is described in other essays
in this series. The present essay
focuses on the evolution of
As she was growing up, she had experiences that made her
interested in family history that she began to pursue more vigorously in her
older years. When she was 14 years old
in boarding school, Mrs. Alice Todd Craig used to send a grandson to fetch her
on a horse and bring her 5 miles to her home for the weekends. There she met a relative of Mrs. Craig, Marie
Louise/Mary Louisa Todd who soon after became Sister Gabriella, a nun of the
Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, KY. By
She also was visited as a young girl by a Mr. Woods whose father had tried to save John McMurtry from the Indians in 1790, but had to leave him wounded to die.
In 1871, when she was 45, her mother met on a steamer on the
Children of John McMurtry
Joseph McMurtry d 1832
md William Sharp
David Sharp 1817-1877
Md Samuel Hogue
Rev. Aaron Hogue(1810-
Ann Hogue Noble (1824-1899)
Md Priscilla Sharp
William Sharp McMurtry
John Smith McMurtry
John McMurtry of
In a letter of whose date is smudged (could be 1872, 1882,
1892) but is likely 1872,
Mrs. Helm then seems to have written David Sharp for we have
in her collection of letters, a letter from David Sharp (which must have been
prior to 1877, the year of his death).
According to David’s letter, Mrs. Helm had written to him asking, “You
wish to know from me the relationship that exists between the Todds and McMurtrys.” His reply said he was sure there was a
relationship between the Todds and McMurtrys, but he wasn’t sure what it
was. Mrs. Helm’s letter must have
After receipt of the Dr. Todd letters,
One tradition in the earliest letters of Dr. Todd as
In a letter dated,
In Feb 1905,
In April 1905,
She is still uncertain and seems to have the tradition backwards – it was her grandmother that was a Hutton and her great-grandmother who was a Todd.
In Sept 1905,
This has gone beyond the conflicting information and has accepted that her grandmother was a Hutton and accepted with more certainty what her mother reportedly had told her 15-20 years before.
In Nov 1906,
In April 1907, she wrote that: “Cousin Ann wrote her name
was Mary Hutton and her mother was Mary Todd and grandma McMurtry was born at
the foot of the
At this point,
that John McMurtry’s grandfather was Joseph McMurtry, Sr.,
that Joseph had children John, James, Samuel, Joseph, and Sarah
that Samuel was the father of Capt John
that Samuel McMurtry had married a Hutton and had moved to
that Samuel McMurtry’s wife was the sister of James Hutton who married Mary Todd
that James Hutton and Mary Todd were the parents of Mary Hutton who married John McMurtry.
All this was in Dr. Todd’s 1895 letter to her cousin John McMurtry.
She also accepted information from the 1885 letters to her from Dr. Todd, that “three daughters of William Todd of Rockbridge married between 1750 and 1760 – one a McKee, one a McQuiddy, and one a McMurtry.”
Lastly, she included the idea that, “It is thought that the
third daughter’s name was Nancy Todd and that of her husband was James
McMurtry.” This last statement was not
in Dr. Todd’s original letters to
So this is how
Below are extracts of letters from letters that are the
sources of the family traditions reported in
Dear M..s Todd,
I was pleased to hear from you. Our name ..associations ..with Woodword, that I love to remember.
My grandmother, or perhaps it
would be my grandmother McMurtry’s mother was Hannah Todd. I have a cousin Mr
David Sharp, Salvisa.. He who now a
sister Hannah Todd (Mrs. Mckee) as he is better posted as to family
relationship than I am. …always lived
most among my
To Mrs. Ben Hardin Helm,
…You wish to know
from me the relationship that exists between the Todds and Mcmurtrys as a
portion of that history you are writing.
Like too many I have neglected to keep up with the changing years and
can only go back a little way to disclose the names that have been left to
forgetfulness. That there is a
relationship between them, there is no doubt
I have heard my Mother and relatives often speak of the fact, and that
the name of Hannah Todd is a highly respected and cherished name among .. kin
is no less certain but just where … is the great question. If cousin Myra McMurtry is right and she had
abundant opportunity to know that her great-grandmother was Hannah Todd
McMurtry it is comparatively an easy task to ferret out the kinship. Hannah Todd McMurtry would be the mother of
Cap. John McMurtry my grandfather he married his cousin Mary Hutten and was in
the battle of the Blue Licks and was taken prisoner remained for twelve months
with the Indians and was finally exchanged and got back home just in time to
make that interesting incident related by Judge George Robertson chief justice
which you will find under Garrard Co. heading in Collins History of Ky. After his marriage he went to
(Ed Note: David Sharp is responding to a letter he
received from Mrs. Helm asking about the connections of the McMurtrys to the
Todds. Mrs. Helm must have already
Todd had a sister Nancy Todd md to Joseph McMurtry and a sister Elizabeth Todd
md Samuel McMurtry of
Nancy Todd children: Elizabeth McMurtry md Lusk, Joseph McMurtry, William McMurtry;
Elizabeth Todd’s children: John
McMurtry whose son was Dr. Joseph McMurtry of
b. Hannah Todd married ____ McMurtry
A son Capt John McMurtry married Mary Hutten and he was killed in Harmars defeat in 1790. His wife married afterwards Col Lewis Rose
Mrs. Hannah Todd McKee, Durant, Miss
A Nancy McMurtry married Lusk
Her daughter Elizabeth Lusk
Married Hays, the father of Jos Hays
The mother of Mrs. Lusk was Hannah Todd.
David S. Sharp of
(Ed Note: This appears to be a note by Mrs. Helm synthesizing what she had heard apparently from David Sharp with respect to the Capt John McM-Todd connection and someone else who told her about a Lusk connection. The Hannah Todd marrying a McMurtry seems to have been introduced by David Sharp who confused what Mrs. Helm had written him about what Myra had written to Mrs. Helm, namely that Hannah Todd was their great-grandmother, but on the grandmother’s side, not the grandfather’s side.)
“Your great-grandfather Capt John
McMurtry of Shakertown was son of Samuel and Joseph your gr-gr-grandfather was
father of Samuel. He (Joseph Sen.) was a
Scotchman, but came to
Yours truly, S.S. Todd
Note by RKM: In the introductory essay to this series, the tradition above is compared with what we have subsequently learned to be true. The incorrect synthesis of McMurtry family structure is easily explainable.
I suspect that this common source was a third party,
possibly an agent hired by Dr. Todd, who inspected the
The source must not have had the record of Samuel McMurty, being an orphan of Alexander McMurty or not taken the McMurty to be a McMurtry. The source also must not have had the full copy of the record of Sarah McMurtry’s marriage to James Young that revealed she was a widow McMurtry with children, not a McMurtry sibling. The synthesis is understandable if the source did not have these two records.
Hence, we can conclude that at least the erroneous parts of the tradition were influenced by the correspondence that included the work of this common source.
Similarly, there was only one Hutton in the
The notion of a
“I have three letters from you and they give an account of the children of your great-grandfather, Capt John McM of Shakertown,Ky but nothing of your grandfather’s descendants.”
Some 30 years ago my mother met on
a steamer on the
Some years ago, a cousin William
My mother Lucy Lewis Madison died
at the age of 88 in 1890 in New “
My mother visited grandmas McM when my sister Kate (Mrs. Lehman) was a baby. Cousin Ann Hogue (Mrs. Judge Noble) and Aunt Sallie Sharp’s baby – three babies lying together asleep on her bed. Grandma put up a beautiful prayer that the Lord might keep these children of hers and make them followers of Christ.
My father Dr. Joseph McM owned the
iron works in Greenup Co, failed and moved his family to Jessamine Co. where he
left my mother and went to
“Grandma lived with Aunt Hogue but uncle and Aunt both died and then she lived with Aunt Sharp was over 90 when she died.
.. Grandma is not an aunt of Mrs. Lincoln.
.. Charles Hogue’s 5
children: preaching at
“I knew Mrs. Ben Hardin Helm – Mrs. Lincoln half sister, was writing a history of her family of Todds. I knew her mother and herself in Woodford Co., KY – a number of letters passed between us but she said that there were no families of Huttons kin to her family.
I wrote to Mrs McCampbell – whose
grandmother sent for me at School near
The Historic Families of Kentucky says “Capt Harry Innes Todds family of Todds were seated in Tidewater, Virginia many years before Mrs. Lincolns family (the progenitors of the brothers Levi, John and Robert) emigrated from Ireland to America or even before their ancestors left Scotland for Ireland.”
Note from RKM 2003: Capt Harry Innes Todd was the son of Judge Thomas
Mr. Boatwell Dunlap is writing a genealogical sketch of his family, the McKees – as Cousin Margaret (Uncle Alick daughter) married Mr. James McKee and Cousin Todd Sharp married another McKee he wished to include their family in his book.
I have all my life been intimate with my Hogue cousins and grandma made her home with Aunt Hogue until Aunt & Uncle Hogue died, and then she went to Aunt Sharp, but never did I hear that Grandpa was a cousin of grandma. It was another generation. I have heard that Grandmas’ mother was a Hutton and cousin Sarah May had Hutton in her name.
Then a Mr. Woods, whose uncle in Woodford Co was a near neighbor called on me when a young girl and told me of his Father I think it was who was a friend of Grandpas’ and tried to save him in retreating from the Battle of Blue Licks by holding him on his horse, he was wounded in the thigh but the Indians gaining on him, the horse could not carry double Grandpa asked him to lay him on the roadside where he could not see the Indians when they came to scalp him. He did so and brought the horse home but could not tell his wife that he had left him to die so he turned the hose in the enclosure without seeing her.
Then again I saw at boarding School in the 40ties near Versailles a family of Craigs came every day on horse back their grandma made one of her grandsons lead a hose five miles for me to spend Friday, Saturday with her was two cousin of hers and mine I was told a Mrs. Fenwick and a Miss Todd, daughters of Judge Todd of Frankfort they were Catholics.
Grandma lived until past 90 years and died in 1837.
The Craig family said Mary Todd was our grandmother.
I met Cousin William the Doctor in
I have one sister younger than
myself. She makes her home with her son,
Stuart Brown in
Dear Mrs. Helm,
I received your letters yesterday
with thanks for that trouble you have taken, I though possibly my Grandma might
have been a Great aunt of your grand Father as she was married with two
children the (same time as ?) Harrodsburg was settled. I send you another letter to ask you about a
Todd family lived in
I saw in your book the names of a great many Craigs as relatives. I was at boarding school nears Versaillles when I was 12 years of age. I became intimate with a family of Craigs living with their grand.. Craig who sent Berrywick Craig her grandson who afterwards became Postmaster at Versailles Post Office who led a horse 5 miles to me to go home … and stay until Monday Morning- she was a cousin of grandma McMurtry, and visiting her was two relatives. I was told of a Maria also one a Mrs. Fenwick dying with consumption. Her sister Miss Todd was nursing her and afterwards became sister Gabriella a nun. All that family are dead except Eliza Craig McCampbell. Before I commence writing for Mr Dunlap a sketch of ..McMurtry family but I sent you her letter – please tell (?) who are that family of Todds.
Our step grandfather Rose who daughter married uncle Samuel – Grandfather of Dr. McMurtry in Louisville wrote in his grandson’s bible, the names of Grandmas’ 8 sons and daughters. But neglected to write Grandma marriage either to Cap John McMurtry or to himself and has given me all this trouble. All the old members of the family are dead except the Doctor’s mother and her memory is not accurate. Grandma had to stay in the Harrodsburg Fort when Indians were around.
I had a letter from my cousin
Charles Alexander ..widow, the mother of Mrs. James Lawrence Blair ?. She took her only son who is dying with the consumption
Don’t you remember the summer we spent to gather at Waverly Your Aunt Mrs. Humphreys… with us a French lady.
Rev Chas Hogue,
I could not discover any Todd kin to us – so accepted Dr. S...S. Todds letter that Grandmas was a Hutton. My mother visited grandmas at Aunt Hogues and she told me the same thing.
This I got from Cousin Ann Noble and my mother who visited her mother-in-law at Aunt Hogues house when my sister Kate Lehmann, Cousin Rebecca Leavell, and Cousin Ann Noble were little babies together.
Note by RKMCM, 2003: This would have been in the early 1820s, say 1825.
Then Cousin Todd McKee told me Grandmas was an aunt of Mrs. President Lincoln. Mrs. Lincoln’s half-sister has just written a history of the Todd family. I wrote to her to know if she had any mention in her work of the McMurtry family – she (replied) in her relationship there was not a McMurtry or a Hutton in it. She said she would like to help me if she could. I then sent her Dr. S.S. Todds’ letter. She wrote that efforts had been making to publish Dr. Todd manuscript for the benefit of his children who had been left in need of all they get from their Fathers estate.
Mrs. Helm sent me the family
biography of Mrs. Alice Craig, Grandmas Cousin whom I visited near
Note by RKM: This sketch would be interesting to get.
The Todd family of which Grandma is allied is an older and more distinguished family than the Levi and Robert Todd brothers who settled Harrodsburg.
I accepted Dr. Todd’s letter, there was nothing else to do then my mother said Grandmas maiden name was Mary Hutton, she told her so at this visit I mentioned. I could not have the sketch published otherwise. I hope you will not feel hurt about my publishing her name as Hutton when the Todd family denied the relationship.
Dr S.S. Todd wrote to me also 20 years ago and the letters were mislaid until this fall when expecting my landlady to move, I was looking over some old letters before destroying them and he wrote, “in 1750 there were three relatives of his, daughters of Wm Todd in Virginia who married one a McMurtry- my Gr G Grandmother, one a McKee and one a McQuiddy – they live here in New Lebanon and the name of Todd is handed down in their family as an ancestor and moved her from Frankfortk Ky where Judge Todd lived. Mr. Boutwell Dunlap is a descendant of the McKees I thought he knew more than any body else of my relatives.
According to Dr. S.S. Todd, Gr Grandpa Samuel moved from Pennsylvania to North Carolina and then moved to Rockbridge Co., Virginia there Grandpa Capt John married his wife Mary Hutton – daughter of Mary Todd – daughter of Nancy McMurtry and secured ht Patent of land with Alexander Robinson…
Dr. Todd writes that on the Todd side Capt John McMurtry was a first cousin of his wife Mary Hutton. This Wm Todd of Rockbridge was a wealthy planter, had large grants of land whose daughter married in 1750 to 1760 a McMurtry- their daughter married James Hutton and their daughter married Capt John McMurtry of Shakertown her cousin some where in 1770.
Cousin Ann wrote her name was Mary
Hutton and her mother was Mary Todd and Grandma McMurtry was born at the foot
I think Mr. Dunlap is a descendant of the Todd sister who married a McKee.
The McQuiddys live in
Dr. Todd requested me to take notes from Cousin Ann Noble of her remembrances of Grandmas McMurtry. Cousin Ann wrote her name was Mary Hutton and her mother was Mary Todd and Grandmas McMurtry was born at the foot of the Natural Bridge in Virginia that is Rockbridge Co, Now you turn to Dr. S.S. Todd letter to you, he writes that Capt John McMurtry of Shakertown mother was a Hutton, his father “Samuel moved from Pennsylvania to North Carolina then back to Rockbridge co, Va. there Capt john found his wife and possibly through his wife’s relatives secured the Patent for the land near Harrodsburg.
There is not to be found at this late date, a stroke of a pen, telling anything about Grandmas, of Grandpa, early history except Dr. S.S. Todd and but for you we would have know nothing of Grandpas family.
Then you came to the rescue with Dr. S.S. Todd’s genealogy of descent from the Philadelphia McMurtrys.
Then I found three letters written to me by Dr. S.S. Todd twenty years ago asking for information of three cousins of his….The McQuiddys knew that they had rich Todd relatives in Frankfort Ky and that was all.
Cousin Ann said Grandmas was born
near the foot of the
Cousin Ann Noble grandson Walter Noble Burns is Sunday Editor of the InterOcean a Chicago daily
My father Dr. Joseph McMurtry had Ironworks in Greenup Co. when first married, His two nephews James McM and Lewis R. McM were with him as clerks in a store. After his death, they always kept in touch with we children. Cousin Aaron Hogue and his sisters were our favorite cousins and to them I am indebted for my knowledge of the McM and Rose history.
Frederica Venable, now Mrs. Geo.
Pond Parmelee, sent the account of Wm and Deniza’s children to Dr. Lewis McM
Louisville. He sent it to me with a
letter from Mr. Boutwell Dunlap for a McM genealogy. Mr. Dunlap lost financially in the
Aaron (Hogue) said Grandpa Rose made a Presbyterian Preacher of him and Dr. Charles Hogue was his son. Aaron Hogue had three sons, no daughters.
Aaron Hogue told that when
captured at Blue Lick and tied to the stake to be burned, he prayed as you
would think he would pray for deliverance and the answer came in a deluge of
rain which put the first out. The
Indians carried him to
I am descended from Price and Barbara Stone McMurtry of MO. There eldest child Elizabeth Young McM m Joseph Montgomery; their eldest daughter m Walter Robert Arthur who had only one child, my mother.
The earliest trace of the family
we have is of Joseph McMurtry who was Scotch Irish and settled in
We are descended from Elizabeth
Young, the eldest child. These were
Mary, who married John Corder- no children. William who married Eliza Benton,
there were children whom I am looking for.
William fought in the confederacy and died in a Union prison. John, Amanda who died in childhood. Sarah married Wm Hogue and afterwards Mr.
Hargrave. There are descendants from
both husbands. …
Mother remembers having heard from
her grandmother that Wm McM lived on the
I’ve found a McMurtrie who has
made quite a study of the family who has offered to make out my application
papers to join the DAR. He tells me our ancestor Joseph MacMurtrie was b 1685
Dalmellington, Ayrshire Co, Scotland; came to this country accompanied by his
brothers Robert and Thomas and latter's wife Mary in 1712. Joseph settled in
This William McMurtrie (of Rev.
War records) was the son of James McMurtrie who James was the brother of
William McMurtrie a merchant of
The data I have about grandfather
William is that he was born about 1750, came to Ky with his own cousin, Capt John
McMurtry some time around 1774 (He probably came to Ky from Rockbridge Co., VA
because his mother Nancy Todd was from there).
He married about 1774-75 perhaps at Harrods Station
I had a copy of a letter written
in 1884 by a Dr. William McMurtry of
The Dr S.S. Todd ms has been
located I do not know as anyone has had access to them yet. But we have found a lady who has time in her
possession. She lives in
I send a copy of Dr. S.S. Todds’
letter. What do you think? For many years since my childhood I have come
in contact with a family of McMurtrie who claimed relationship with me and I
could not place them. I send you a copy
of Dr. S.S. Todd’s letter. This is not
our branch of the family but related to us through Grandma McM whose name, is
it not Mary Todd and her mother was Mary Hutton. Grandpa came from