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The Cargo Family


Russ Cargo writes:

From the research we did at the Scottish Genealogical Society in Edinburgh in July, I am beginning to believe that the family was originally MacCargo in Scotland (that also fits with what my father always told us). During the later part of the 1600's they either moved or were involuntarily moved by the English to Northern Ireland during the settlement of protestants there (hence the trouble ever since). I speculate that they dropped the "Mac" or in some cases switched to "Mc" to blend in with the Irish. In the early 1800's they left Ireland and some came to the US and some returned to Scotland. I found some records this summer of Cargo children being born in Scotland to parents who had come from County Down in Northern Ireland. We also found a small village of Cargo in Cumbria, England, just northwest of Carlisle. There are no Cargos living there but there are a couple in Carlisle and quite a few in Scotland around Glasgow.

Benjamin Bakewell Cargo was born in the Pittsburgh area in 1862. We think his father was a Robert Cargo and his mother a Barbara Bakewell. We also think he attended/graduated from U of Pittsburgh. We know he married Minnie Peden and lived in Johnstown in 1889 at the time of the great flood. He moved sometime after that and worked as a "Master Mechanic" (an industrial engineer) designing large locomotives for the Baldwin Locomotive works in Lorain, Ohio. He died there in 1914 but was buried with his first wife in Johnstown, PA, in the Grandview Cemetery. We have found his grave site there near the Peden Family plots.

Also of interest is this entry from Craig's Daguerreian Registry, an indexed reference to the Practioners of the Art of the Daguerreotype in the United States from 1839 to 1860:
Cargo, Robert M.

(Also spelled McCargo), daguerreian, Pittsburgh, Pa., 1852-1859 and later; he was listed in Pittsburgh as late as 1865. In 1852 he was listed as R. Cargo & Co. in Lafayette Hall, Fourth Street, a few doors west of Wood Street. In 1854 he advertised the "Enterprise Gallery". In 1857-1858 he advertised three galleries: the "Apollo" "Sunbeam" and "National". He was listed at 76 Fourth Street, and lived at 74 Fourth Street. R.M. Cargo & Co. was listed the same year at the corner of Market and Diamond Streets, and included John Cargo. In 1858-1859 Cargo and Cargo & Co. were both listed at 21 Fifth Street, and Cargo and Brother was listed at the corner of Diamond and Market Streets. In 1859 Cargo and Co. was listed at 21 Fifth Street, opposite Daly's, and at 83 Market Street, the southwest corner of Diamond Street, over the Philadelphia Shoe Store. Information corrected to November, 1997; 1996, 1997 John S. Craig

Source: Craig's Daguerreian Registry.

In 1870 Robert Cargo was living in the 2nd Ward of Johnstown with his family. He reported his age as 57, his birthplace as Ireland and his occupation as "Taylor." With him was Barbara, age 31, also born in Ireland. Also in the household was Emma, 18 years old. Emma was certainly too old to be a child of Barbara's. More likely she was some sort of female relative of Robert's. She might even have been Robert's daughter by a previous marriage. Also present are Benjamin, 8, and William, 3 months old.

Source: 1870 Census for the 2nd Ward of Johnstown,
Cambria County, PA
Written page 23
Printed page 216

Benjamin Bakewell Cargo married Minnie Elizabeth Peden on February 1, 1883 in Johnstown, Cambria County, PA. They had five sons:

  1. Henry Earl Cargo (Baby Earl) b. 19 April 1886 and died as an infant. He was buried in Johnstown with his parents.

  2. Frank Reed Cargo, b. 4 February 1884. No other information.

  3. Thomas Herbert Cargo, b. 12 June 1888 in Johnstown, PA. Family legend has it that mother Minnie held Herb in her arms on the roof-top as the house floated down stream in the Johnstown flood. Herb died in Grand Junction, CO, in 1964.

  4. Robert Edgar Cargo, b. 14 January 1891. Robert was sickly and his father, Benjamin ,sent him out west to Arizona for his health. Social Security Death records indicate that he died in Kentucky in 1976.

  5. William Russell Cargo, b. 4 December 1893, in Johnstown, PA. William grew up in Lorain, OH, went to Ohio Northern University, worked on the railroad for a time, played professional football for the team in Cleveland that eventually became the Browns. He lived and died in Warren, Ohio on September 22, 1957.

It is thought that Benjamin had two brothers, William F. and Thomas R. Cargo. The only other information is that it is thought that William stayed in Pittsburgh and worked for Westinghouse.

Thanks to Russ Cargo for sharing this information about his family.

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Copyright 2000-2001 Nancy McAdams
September 19, 2000
Last update December 11, 2001

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