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John Jameson McCauley

b. 8 February 1795, d. 26 February 1863

Family Susan Dingledine b. 28 September 1812
Marriage* 24 December 1835  VA, Principal=Susan Dingledine 
Children  1. William McCauley b. 17 Jul 1837, d. b 1910
  2. Calpernia McCauley b. 1838, d. b 1920
  3. Isabella Jameson McCauley b. c 1840
  4. Virginia V. McCauley b. Dec 1842
  5. Edward Augustus McCauley b. c 1844
  6. Charles Austin McCauley b. c 1846, d. b 1870
  7. Mary Melvina McCauley b. Apr 1850
  8. Antoinette "Nettie" McCauley b. 1852, d. 7 Dec 1941

Note*   John was first married to Cynthia Van Lear Robinson, 1825 in Roanoke County,Virginia. They had the following Children:
1) Timoxena P. McCauley
2) James McCauley
3) John McCauley
4) David Robinson McCauley 
Biography*   (From the "History of Roanoke County, Salem, Roanoke City, Virginia and Representative Citizens" Edited and Compiled by William McCauley, A. M., 1902)


The subject of this sketch, by reason of his agency in the formation of Roanoke County, and his long service in the capacity of its representative in the State Legislature, is entitled to a place in this record.
John McCauley was born February 8, 1795, in the township of Dunbarton, County of Hillsboro, New Hampshire, He was descended from one of the Highland clans of Scotland, its Gaelic name being Mac Aulaidh, and its Anglicized form being McCauIey. The clan had an ancient and royal pedigree, and was connected with some of the most famous of the Highland clans, among these being the Mac Gregors. The colors of their tartan were red, white and green. Their armorial bearings were a red shield with a checked bar running laterally across it, two silver arrows, crossing the shied diagonally and three golden buckles between. The crest was a boot of mail armor with a spur on it. The motto was "Dulce Periculum" (Danger is sweet). The badge for the hat was a sprig of pine. Originally they were Norse, and were named "Olla" or "Qllai." Several centuries ago, some of the clan went over to the northern part of Ireland, and with the families of Scotch Highlanders and Lowlanders, who at various times migrated thither, formed that sturdy, adventurous Scotch-Irish race which has given to America some of her best material. They were, truly, in the words of the Scottish bard:

Types of a race that shall the invader scorn,
As rocks resist the billows round their shore;
Types of a race that shall to time unborn
Their country leave unconquered, as of yore.

Alexander McCauley, the grandfather of John McCauley, was born in the province of Ulster, Ireland, in the year 1707, and emigrated to America in 1737. On his arrival, he lived for a time in the vicinity of Boston, Massachusetts, but later located in Hillsboro, New Hampshire, of which his brother James was one of the first settlers. His wife, whose maiden name was Mary Pinkerton, was born in Ireland. They lived during their later lives in Merrimack, New Hampshire, and their graves are in the burying-ground of the old Congregational Church in that town. This church was still standing a few years ago, but had not been used as a place of worship for many years past. The wife of Alexander McCauley, the emigrant, was a cousin of the two Pinkerton brothers who endowed Pinkerton Academy, New Hampshire, which fitted young men for Dartmouth College, and which has done so much to encourage and foster education in New Hampshire.
James McCauley, the father of John McCauley, was born in Hillsboro, New Hampshire, April 1, 1745, and died January 24, 1812, in Dunbarton, New Hampshire, in which town he resided the greater part of his life. He was, for a brief period, a soldier in the Revolutionary War. Stark, in his "History of Dunbarton," mentions him as a well-known agent in promoting the progress of his town. He married Isabel Jameson, a daughter of Thomas and Margaret (Dickey) Jameson, and belonged to a family, many of whose members attained to prominence in the useful and honorable walks of life. Several became eminent in the learned professions. The Jameson family originally emigrated to Londonderry, Ireland, from Argyleshire, Scotland. Tradition relates that William Jameson, Mrs, Isabel McCauley's grandfather, served with distinguished gallantry in the defense of Londonderry during the memorable siege of that city in 1689, and fought with such bravery in the "Battle of the Boyne," July 1, 1690, that he was exempted from taxation throughout the British dominions, by William III, Prince of Orange.
Mrs. Isabel (Jameson) McCauley was a woman of intellect and of devoted piety, which was but a logical sequence of her Scotch-Irish ancestry and training. She died at the advanced age of 88 years. She could see with out glasses until within a short time before her death and was skillful with her needle in her old age. In her later years, she was accustomed to entertain her grandchildren with the recital of Irish legends and fairy stories, with which her memory was well stored.
John McCauley, the subject of this sketch, spent his earlier years in hard toil on the farm on which he was born. He attended the public schools of his native town and also spent one term at the academy, at Fryeburg, Maine. Imbued with the adventurous spirit and ambitious aspirations which prompted so many young men of New England, at that early day, to leave their fathers' farms in search of more promising fields of work, he determined, about the year 1818, to seek his fortunes in the more genial clime of Virginia. He embarked at Boston, in a sailing ship bound for the port of Norfolk. During the voyage the vessel was visited by a violent storm, which came near sending all on board to watery graves. After reaching Virginia, his first point of destination was Bedford County, in the neighborhood of the location of the Campbells, the Grays and the Williamses, and not far from the present Thaxton station, on the Norfolk & Western Railway. Here he took charge of the "old field" school in the vicinity, and made his first home with Robert Campbell, who lived on the great road running from Salem to Lynchburg. The house in which Mr. Campbell lived is still standing, apparently but little changed in the lapse of time. Having lost his trunk, containing all his clothing except what he wore, during the storm at sea, having no money with which to buy more, and being in the midst of strangers, he became much dispirited and quite homesick. As soon as Mr. Campbell learned of his forlorn condition, he kindly ministered to his needs, and he and Mrs. Campbell treated him as a son. Often, in after years, he referred in most grateful terms to the warmhearted sympathy and kindness of Mr. Campbell and his family. Mr. McCauley also received from the other leading patrons of his school many evidences of appreciation and kindness.
After teaching for several years in Bedford County, he went to Christiansburg, Montgomery County, Virginia, where he also taught school for several years and many of his pupils became prominent citizens of the town and county. One of these, Hon. Henry A. Edmundson, was accustomed to refer to the Spartan discipline to which he was subjected in this school.
In 1825, Mr. McCauley married Cynthia Van Lear Robinson, daughter of James Robinson, who lived on the North Fork of the Roanoke River. He continued to live in Christiansburg, for several years after his marriage, and then removed to the farm on which his wife was reared. He served as deputy sheriff of Montgomery County from 1828 to 1832, under Sheriffs Barnett, John McC. Taylor and Jonathan Conner. In December, 1832, he was bereaved of his wife. In the fall of 1833, he was elected a member of the House of Delegates from Montgomery County, and served as such, with the excaption of one term, until the close of the session of 1836-37. The only mode of travel to Richmond, in those early days, was by the stage coach, or by private conveyance. On one occasion, at least, Mr. McCaulcy traveled on horseback from his home to Richmond to attend a meeting of the State Legislature.
On December 24, 1835, he married Susan Dingledine, daughter of John B. Dingledine, who resided on Mason's Creek, near Salem, in Botetourt County, Virginia. His wife was born on December 29, 1812, near Lexington, Rockbridge County, Virginia. They removed in January, 1838, to the home owned by Mrs. McCauley's father, and this home was later known as "Dingledale." Here they continued to reside until the death of Mrs. Dingledale, in 1851. The family lived on a fann in the neighborhood until the year 1860, when they returned to the old homestead.
About the time of the removal of Mr. McCauley to Botetourt County, the question of forming a new county from the upper end of Botetourt was being warmly agitated by the people of Salem and its vicinity. Soon after his arrival, Mr. McCauley was elected an agent, to go to Richmond and make an effort to secure an act of legislation which had been earnestly but vainly sought for eighteen years. In this mission he was eminently successful, and on January 30, 1838, the act, creating Roanoke County, was passed. No doubt the success of his mission was due in part to the influence acquired by him while a member of the State Legislature in previous sessions. In the organization of the County Court, he was commissioned as one of the justices of the peace.
In the fall of 1838, he paid a visit to his former home in New Hampshire. He traveled as far as Philadelphia, on horseback, and the rest of the way by public conveyance. On this occasion, he saw his mother for the last time.
The people of the newly formed county gave evidence of their appreciation by electing him as their delegate to the State Legislature, for the session of 1841-42, and he served almost continuously until 1853, as a delegate or senator, the senatorial district being at that time composed of the counties of Alleghany, Bath, Botetourt, Highland, Pocahontas and Roanoke. His whole period of service for the two counties covered 17 years, — eight, as senator, and six as a member of the House of Delegates. When his term as senator expired, in 1851, be expressed his wish and intention to retire permanently from public service as a legislator, but upon the death of Col. Robert Craig, member of the House of Delegates for this county, in the beginning of the session of 1852-53, Mr. McCauley was solicited to be a candidate to fill the vacancy. He reluctantly consented and was elected. This closed his legislative career.
After his retirement from public life, he was engaged as contractor in building bridges on the macadamized road, two of those across the Roanoke River, near LaFayette, being his work. He also made the turnpike road from Craig's Creek across the mountains to the Sinking Creek Valley. He was a practical surveyor, and was associated as assistant engineer, with Col. James H. Piper, engineer and superintendent of the Southwestern Virginia Turnpike (macadamized). Upon the death of Colonel Piper, he was made superintendent of the said turnpike, which position he held at the time of his death, September 3, 1864. His death was due to an attack of fever, superinduced by a cold taken on one of his trips over his road. He had all his life enjoyed excellent health, and up to the time of the illness which terminated his useful life, was unusually strong for one of his age, and yet it is probable that the mental strain and anxiety, which injuriously effected so many of our older citizens during the war, had made their insidious inroads on his system, and rendered it liable to succumb to disease.
Although a native of New, England, by his long residence here, and his association with the leading men of his adopted State, he had imbibed the sentiments and principles of those to the "manner born," and firmly believed in the doctrines of "State Sovereignty." Consequently, his sympathies were warmly enlisted with the South in her struggle during the Civil War, and yet his knowledge of the resources of the North and of the aggressive and determined spirit of her leaders, had made him apprehensive from the beginning, as to the success of the South in her undertaking. Being a man of varied and large experience in practical affairs, bis judgment was often consulted and relied on by his neighbors and friends. Of incorruptible integrity, he was never guilty of those little acts which sometimes mar otherwise upright characters. Of a social temperament, he was genial and affable in manner, and had a peculiar faculty of making friends. He was a fine conversationalist, and enlivened his talk with pertinent and well-related anecdotes. In a political canvass, he was a very effective speaker, carrying his audience with him by his forceful arguements, seasoned with apt illustrations. His inherited Scotch-Irish humor and ready repartee were often brought into play with telling effect in the social circle and on the public platform.
Mr. McCanley was of medium height, having a firmly-knit frame. In his younger days, he was fond of athletic sports and was frequently victorious as a runner and wrestler in the village games. He had bluish-gray eyes and light brown hair, inclining to auburn before it was silvered by age. The firmly set lips as seen in his picture, which appears on an accompanying page, indicate his decision of character. His features were regular and handsome, and he was accustomed to say they were of tbe Jameson type.
In politics he was a stanch Democrat of the Jeffersonian school. For several years before his death, he was a trustee of Roanoke College, in which he took an active and warm interest. The college was chartered while he was a member of the State Legislature. He was a great admirer and ardent friend of Dr. David Frederick Bittle, the president of the college. Dr. Bittle, in referring to a certain difficulty which confronted the college during the war, said of him that there was one man to whom he could always go for advice in such emergencies, and that "the college never had a safer adviser." When Mr. MtCauley died, this same friend remarked that both he and the college had lost their best friend. Mr. McCauley connected himself with the Evangelical Lutheran Church several years before his death, and from 1860 until that time, was an elder in the College Lutheran Church, of Salem. It was chiefly through the instrumentality of Dr. Bittle, under God, that he was led to become a follower of Christ. His widow died December 13, 1891. The remains of both sleep in Salem East Hill Cemetery. The children of Mr. McCauley by his first marriage were four in number, and were named, -- Timoxena P., James, John and David Robinson, of whom, two are still living, viz.: James and John. James McCauley was among the first of the gold seekers who went to California, in 1849, and has resided there ever since. Some years ago, one of the Salem newspapers published a series of unusually interesting letters from his pen, narrating his trip across the plains, and also printed other articles written by him, recounting incidents of California life. John is a prosperous farmer in the State of Illinois. David R. entered the Confederate service as a private in Company L, 4th Regiment, Virginia Infantry, in the "Stonewall Brigade." He took part in a number of battles and exhibited unusual bravery and gallantry, as is shown by Special Order No. '58, of Brigadier-General Paxton, dated November 20, 1862, at Camp Baylor, -— from which we quote:
"Upon the recommendation of his regimental commander, for the exhibition of extraordinary valor and skill in the battles of Kernstown, Winchester, Cold Harbor, Malvern Hill and Sharpsburg, David R. McCauley, elected 2nd lieutenant, November 1, 1862, of Company L, 4th Regiment, Virginia, is announced, subject to the ratification of the Secretary of War, as 1st lieutenant of the company, to fill the vacancy occasioned by the death of 1st Lieutenant W. C. Slusser, killed in action August 28, 1862, to rank as such from this date."
The exposure of camp life and the hardships of the arduous campaigns in which he took part, seriously affected his health, and after an illness of a few weeks at his father's home, he died, February 26, 1863.
By his second marriage, Mr. McCauley had eight children, namely: William; Calpernia; Isabel Jameson; Virginia V. B.; Edward Augustus; Charles Austin; Mary Melvina; and Antoinette. With the exception of Charles A., all are still living.1 
News/Obit*   (Excerpted from A Brief History of Salem, Virginia)

With the impending creation of Roanoke County in 1838, Salem citizens saw the opportunity to benefit from becoming Roanoke's county seat. John McCauley, a resident of Salem who had served in the House of Delegates, was commissioned by the town to lobby the legislature in Richmond toward that end. His efforts were successful. Three months after Salem obtained county seat status, eighteen justices commissioned by Governor David Campbell gathered at Faris' Tavern (where Salem Presbyterian Church now stands) to set the governmental machinery in motion. Three days later, the County Court convened and swore in six lawyers to practice in the new territory.2 
Birth* 8 February 1795  Dunbarton Twp., Hillsboro Co., NH1 
Marriage* 24 December 1835  VA, Principal=Susan Dingledine 
Census* 1840  1840 Federal Census, Virginia, Roanoke County, No Township, Series: M704, Roll: 578, Page: 220
McCauley, John (line 3) 1210001000000-2010100000000-000000-000000-011000-000100-12-0400000-0-0-000-000-00-00-00000003 
Census 1850  1850 Federal Census, Virginia, Roanoke County, District 57, Series: M432, Roll: 973, Page: 287B, August 5
20, 390, 390, McCauley, John, 54, M, , , , NH, , , , ,
21, 390, 390, McCauley, Susan, 38, F, , , , Va, , , , ,
22, 390, 390, McCauley, John, 20, M, , Farmer, , Va, , , , ,
23, 390, 390, McCauley, David, 18, M, , Farmer, , Va, , , , ,
24, 390, 390, McCauley, William, 13, M, , , , Va, , , 1, ,
25, 390, 390, McCauley, Calpernia, 10, F, , , , Va, , , 1, ,
26, 390, 390, McCauley, Isabella, 9, F, , , , Va, , , 1, ,
27, 390, 390, McCauley, Virginia, 7, F, , , , Va, , , 1, ,
28, 390, 390, McCauley, Edward, 5, M, , , , Va, , , , ,
29, 390, 390, McCauley, Charles, 3, M, , , , Va, , , , ,
30, 390, 390, McCauley, Infant, 4/12, F, , , , Va, , , , ,
31, 390, 390, Williams, Isaac, 36, M, , Laborer, , Va, , , , ,
32, 390, 390, Williams, Pleasant, 14, M, , , , Va, , , , ,
33, 390, 390, Batthis, John, 25, M, , Blacksmith, , Va, , , , ,
34, 390, 390, Woods, John, 24, M, , Carpenter, , Va, , , , ,4 
Census 1860  1860 Federal Census, Virginia, Roanoke County, Salem P.O., Series: M653, Roll: 1375, Page: 798, July 17
26, 863, 863, McCauley, John, 65, W, M, , Farmer, 6000, 1155, New Hampshir, , , ,
27, 863, 863, McCauley, Susan, 48, F, , , , , Va, , , ,
28, 863, 863, McCauley, William, 23, M, , Bopper?, , , Va, , , ,
29, 863, 863, McCauley, Calpernia, 19, F, , , , , Va, , 1, ,
30, 863, 863, McCauley, Isabell, 18, F, , , , , Va, , 1, ,
31, 863, 863, McCauley, Virginia, 17, F, , , , , Va, , 1, ,
32, 863, 863, McCauley, Edward, 15, M, , Farm Laborer, , , Va, , 1, ,
33, 863, 863, McCauley, Charles, 13, M, , , , , Va, , 1, ,
34, 863, 863, McCauley, Mary, 10, F, , , , , Va, , 1, ,
35, 863, 863, Trayell, James, 28, M, , Aveneer?, , 1500, Va, , , ,5 
Death* 26 February 1863  Salem, Roanoke Co., VA1 
Burial* after 26 February 1863  Salem East Hill Cemetery, Salem Twp., Roanoke Co., VA1 

Last Edited 28 Jan 2006

  1. [S506] History of Roanoke Co., Salem and Roanoke City, VA., A. M. William McCauley.
  2. [S505] A Guide to Historic Salem, online
  3. [S3] 1840 U.S. Federal Census , 1840 U.S. Federal Census.
  4. [S4] 1850 U.S. Federal Census , 1850 U.S. Federal Census.
  5. [S46] 1860 U.S. Federal Census , 1860 U.S. Federal Census.

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