A brief history of the McGrew Family of Preston County, West Virginia - descendants of John McGrew of Scotland to Pennsylvania then to (West) Virginia

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A BRIEF HISTORY

By Ron Wall

Buried in the Chestnut Hill Burial Ground, Cumberland (Adams) County, Pennsylvania. Ref. History of Washington County, Pa., in an account of Finley McGrew. Robert McGrew
Ireland, Pennsylvania
"Robert McGrew may have been born in Scotland about 1675, before his family was sent to Ireland. A 1694 church document in Omagh, County Tyrone, Ulster (Northern Ireland) was signed by William and Robert McGrew. According to the most widely accepted tradition, Robert McGrew came from County Tyrone, Ireland to Pennsylvania about 1726/27, with his wife, Isabella, their five sons, and two grandchildren, Archibald and Catherine, children of John. Isabella's surname is not known, but is has been suggested by a number of investigators of the family history that it may have been Finley. There is a strong association of the name Finley with the McGrew family. Robert and Isabella named their second son, Finley, having named the first one John, which was probably the name if Robert's father."When Robert arrived in the Americas, he was wearing a Blue Scotch bonnet or Glengary cap. Originally part of the Highland Scotch Clan Macgregor, the family McGrew left Scotland to avoid religious persecution and for other reasons. Declaring them outlaws, the king of England confiscated the Macgregor land and commanded them not to use the name Macgregor. Of those who chose the name McGrew, most settled in County Tyrone. In Pennsylvania, Robert's family lived near Petersburg (now Dillsburg) in Adams County (then Chester County), 3 miles northeast of Millersburg and 20 miles north of Gettysburg. Pennsylvania was a haven for religious refugees and attracted many Scotsmen. Robert died about 1745 and is buried in Chestnut Hill Burial Ground, Adams, PA, one mile west of Heidlersburg on PA 234."It is probable that this family came first to New Castle, Delaware, and then to Chester County, Pennsylvania. Chester County at that time comprised a great area in Southeastern Pennsylvania. As western lands were opened up, through Blunston Licenses, Robert and his sons moved westward, crossing the Susquehanna River, into what was Lancaster County after 1729, York County after 1749, and Adams County after 1800. In 1732, Thomas Penn gave a commission to Samuel Blunston of the Lancaster County Court, to grant licenses to sundry persons who wished to settle and take up land on the west side of the Susquehanna River."The family were believed to have been Episcopalian when they came to America. It has been said and generally accepted that two of the sons, Finley and James, married Quaker wives and joined that faith. But both Finley and James were married in the Old Swedes' Holy Trinity Church, in Wilmington, Delaware, Devout Quaker girls would not have been married in this church. Instead, it is known that Finley joined the Quakers in 1745 after marriage. James likely followed suit, and their descendants for several generations remained in the Society of Friends. Soon after Robert emigrated, he was followed by two brothers and a cousin."
chuckell54 [Chuck Elledge, Indiana] added this on 7 Apr 2009 [Ancestry.com, Family Trees, Robert McGrew]

John "Ian" MCGREW was born Bet. 1720–1730 in Scotland or Ireland and may have died between February 1775 and May 1786 in York County, Pennsylvania (based on land survey for John McGrew in right of warrant of John McGrew the Elder deceased).  Survey on May 11, 1786 in York County, Pennsylvania (for John McGrew in right of warrant for John McGrew the Elder, deceased)

  • Warrant on October 19, 1741 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (273 acres surveyed 11 May 1786 in right of John McGrew the Elder, deceased).
  • Warrant on February 24, 1742 in Tyrone Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (from survey of 329 acres dated April 29, 1742) [2]. Survey on April 29, 1742 in Tyrone Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (surveyed for John McGrew 329 acres).
  • Warrant on February 13, 1775 in West Pennsboro, Cumberland, Pennsylvania, USA (Archibald McGrew, 178 acres adjoining his other land).
  • Survey on April 02, 1788 in West Pennsboro, Cumberland, Pennsylvania, USA (Archibald McGrew survey adjoining land of John McGrew).

The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans: Volume VII, M. McGuffey, William Holmes.
"McGREW, James Clark, representative, was born in Monongalia county, Virginia, Sept. 14, 1813; son of James and Isabella (Clark) McGrew; grandson of Patrick McGrew, and great-grandson of Ian (John) McGrew, a Highland Scotchman. ..."

The records below are the only land records referring to John McGrew; however, I believe these records probably refer to another John McGrew of York County (later to Westmoreland and Washington Co.).  If these land records do reflect our John McGrew, it is highly likely that he was a part of the Quaker McGrews who eventually settled in  Westmoreland County.  The first survey refers to "Tyrone Town'p in Lanc'r Coty" actually refers to the same property as the later ones, but before York Co. was formed.  The large and prosperous Quaker family of McGrew's who came from Ireland or Scotland settled west of the Susquehanna River in the area that became York and later removed to Westmoreland and Washington Counties.  Their genealogy and history is recorded in Quaker records.  Unfortunately, I can find no indication of a connection to our Patrick and John McGrew who settled in Cumberland County near Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Records of the Land Office, COPIED SURVEYS 1681-1912; Book C115-213
[drawing shows nearly rectangular shape with triangle coming off NW corner oriented more or less North-South]; "John McGrew 329 as. & Allow in Tyrone Town'p Lanc'r Coty. [adjoining land - north end] Wm. Field, Jno. Pope, [Southwest bottom half] Finley McGrew, [south end] Culbert Mains, [rest is vacant land]; "A Draught of John McGrew's land Situate in Tyrone Township Lancaster County containing 329 acres & Allow By Virtue of the Hon'ble Prop's Warr't dated 24 February 1742, Surveyed the 29 April following."

Records of the Land Office, COPIED SURVEYS 1681-1912; B9-140 [drawing shows oblong plot north-south]
"John McGrew in Right of John McGrew the Elder Deceased 273 a. 58 ps. & allowances; [surrounding tracts beginning on NW corner running counter-clockwise] Archibald McGrew; James Cuthbertsons Claim; William Steward; Heirs of David Davies; [south end] Alexander Richeys Claim; [from south east corner running to northend] Archibald McGrews Land:" "A Draught of a tract of land situate in Huntingdon Township in the County of York Surveyed the 11th day of May 1786 to John McGrew in pursuance of a warrant to John McGrew the Elder Deceased Dated the 19th Day of October 1741 Containing Two Hundred and Seventy Three acres & fifty eight perches & the usual allowance of six acres p.Cent for Roads &c."

Records of the Land Office, COPIED SURVEYS 1681-1912; C147-234; [drawing shows irregular shaped tract labeled:] "Archibald McGrew 178 as. & 160 ps. & Allowance; [surrounding land, North side] Archibald McGrew's other land; [upper NW side] Peter Smith; [west side] John Fistle; [south end] vacant piney land; [lower SE side] John McGrew; [upper NE side] Archibald McGrew's other land." "The Draught of a Tract of Land Situate in West Pennsborough Township Cumberland County Containing One Hundred and Seventy eight Acres and 160 perches and Allowance of Six Percent for Roads &ca. Surveyed for Archibald McGrew the 2nd day of April 1788 in pursuance of a warrant from the Hon'ble the Proprietaries Dated Feby 13th 1775"

Patrick MCGREW was born 1751 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania died November 1829 in Pennsylvania. Burial 1829 in Preston County, Virginia (McGrew Cemetery on McGrew family farm)  He married Martha WELSH Abt. 1778 She died on September 16, 1824.They had nine children.

1. Assesment List 1779 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania (Supply Rates for the County of Cumberland) [6].
2. Assesment List 1780 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania (Patrick McGrew blacksmith) [6].
3. Military Service on August 22, 1780 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania (3rd Bat., 6th Co., 5th Class, Capt. Jas. McCurdy, Col. Samuel Erwin) [7].
4. Tax List 1782 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania (Taxed on 1 horse and 2 cows) [6].
5. Residence 1810 in Monongalia County, Virginia (Same page as Jas. McGrew) [8].
6. Residence 1820 in Preston County, Virginia (Same page as James McGrew) [9].

The History of West Virginia, Old and New, Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc., Chicago and New York, Volume 11; pg. 173, Monongalia Co. WV [James H. McGrew, grandson of James Clark McGrew]
"Mr. McGrew was born at Morgantown, October 31, 1873, a son of William Clark and Julia E. (Willey) McGrew, and is descended from an old Scotch family which has been in America since prior to the War of the American Revolution and in West Virginia (then old Virginia) for over a century and a quarter. The American ancestors of this branch of the McGrew family came from Scotland in Colonial days and settled first in Virginia, removing thence to Pennsylvania. Patrick McGrew, son of the original immigrant, was born in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, and in 1786 came to Preston County, now in West Virginia, settling near what is now Brandonville. His son, Col. James McGrew, was born in Preston County, where he spent practically his entire life. He commanded a regiment of Virginia Militia during War of 1812. Colonel McGrew married Isabella Clark, the daughter of James Clark, a native of Ireland, who became an early settler of Preston County. James Clark's first wife, who bore the maiden name of Mary Ramsey, died in 1770, and he returned to Ireland, where, in 1773, he married Eleanor Kirkpatrick, and later came back to America."

J. R. Cole, Oren F. Morton, A History of Preston County, West Virginia; Vol. I, pg. 374
"The American ancestor of the McGrews was a Scotchman, who about 1774 came to Cumberland county, Pa. There he died suddenly, leaving a son, Patrick. The widow remarried. In 1786, Patrick with his wife and four children and the grandmother located on the Samuel Murray place, a mile south of Brandonville. James, familiarly known as Colonel McGrew, was the only son of Patrick to stay on the homestead. Soon after his marriage in 1807, he purchased what was later known as the Lucian Smith farm, two miles north of Bruceton. It had a few acres cleared, and near the mineral spring by the present public road was a story-and-a-half log cabin. Here he did blacksmithing as well as farming. Aboout 1819 he sold to Jacob Smith and returned to the homestead to care for his parents, who were now alone. Though often urged, he always declined civil office. During the war of 1812, and for some years afterward he was colonel of the 104th Regiment. It was called into service in the Northwest. James ranked as one of the more substantial citizens of Preston, attained a great age, and lived a quiet, retired, orderly, and contented life. The wife was a woman of more than ordinary ability and was noted for the systematic arrangement of her household affairs. There being for years no doctor within 25 miles, she was often called upon in emergency cases, and when it was possible at all she gave assistance. Their distingquished son, James C., is elsewhere mentioned. Samuel, a younger son, was graduated from the Virginia Military Institute. Isaac, an older son, remained on the homestead ."

Colonel James MCGREW was born on January 10, 1779 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania and died on May 19, 1873 in Brandonville, Preston County, West Virginia. He married Isabella CLARK, daughter of James CLARK and Eleanor KIRKPATRICK on December 30, 1802.  She was born on February 15, 1779. She died on March 30, 1867.

1. Residence 1810 in Monongalia County, Virginia (On same page as Pat McGrew) [8].
2. Military Service 1812 (104th Regiment of Virginia Militia) [5, 11].
3. Residence 1820 in Preston County, Virginia (Same page as Patrick McGrew) [9].
4. Residence 1830 in Preston County, Virginia (pg. 17) [13].
5. Residence 1840 in Preston County, Virginia (Pg. 215) [14].
6. Residence on Dec. 03, 1850 in Preston County, Va. (Also in the household is son Isaac and his family) [12].
7. Residence on June 15, 1860 in Preston County, Virginia (pg. 23; Dist. 1, P.O. Brandonville) [15].
8. Burial 1873 in McGrew family farm [4].
9. Title was Colonel of Virginia Militia [4].

Colonel in 104th Virginia Regiment during and for some years after the War of 1812. Service mostly in the Northwest Territories (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois).

The History of West Virginia, Old and New Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc., Chicago and New York, Volume 11 pg. 173, Monongalia Co. WV [James H. McGrew]
"Col. James McGrew, was born in Preston County, where he spent practically his entire life. He commanded a regiment of Virginia Militia during War of 1812. Colonel McGrew married Isabella Clark, the daughter of James Clark, a native of Ireland, who became an early settler of Preston County. James Clark's first wife, who bore the maiden name of Mary Ramsey, died in 1770, and he returned to Ireland, where, in 1773, he married Eleanor Kirkpatrick, and later came back to America."

J. R. Cole, Oren F. Morton, A History of Preston County, West Virginia; Vol. I, pg. 374 (The Journal Publishing Co., Kingwood, W.Va., 1914).
"The American ancestor of the McGrews was a Scotchman, who about 1774 came to Cumberland county, Pa. There he died suddenly, leaving a son, Patrick. The widow remarried. In 1786, Patrick with his wife and four children and the grandmother located on the Samuel Murray place, a mile south of Brandonville. James, familiarly known as Colonel McGrew, was the only son of Patrick to stay on the homestead. Soon after his marriage in 1807, he purchased what was later known as the Lucian Smith farm, two miles north of Bruceton. It had a few acres cleared, and near the mineral spring by the present public road was a story-and-a-half log cabin. Here he did blacksmithing as well as farming. Aboout 1819 he sold to Jacob Smith and returned to the homestead to care for his parents, who were now alone. Though often urged, he always declined civil office. During the war of 1812, and for some years afterward he was colonel of the 104th Regiment. It was called into service in the Northwest. James ranked as one of the more substantial citizens of Preston, attained a great age, and lived a quiet, retired, orderly, and contented life. The wife was a woman of more than ordinary ability and was noted for the systematic arrangement of her household affairs. There being for years no doctor within 25 miles, she was often called upon in emergency cases, and when it was possible at all she gave assistance. Their distingquished son, James C., is elsewhere mentioned. Samuel, a younger son, was graduated from the Virginia Military Institute. Isaac, an older son, remained on the homestead. "

PRESTON COUNTY West Virginia HISTORY, pg 285;
http://awt.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=kfoster2222&id=I0036
"The farm was handed down from Patrick to his son Colonel James. As these aforesaid facts were penned by Col. James’ son, James C. in 1908, he recalls his father in person as: a handsom man, six feet tall, 185 pounds, erect bearing, dark brown hair, pleasant address, strictly honorable in his dealings with others, at the same time exacting a full recognition of his own rights. Frequently solicited, he never accepted but one public position - that of Colonel of the 104th regiment of Virginia Militia.
      "Col. James McGrew married Isabella Clark. During his later years the homeplace near Brandonville was deeded to his son Isaac. Isaac and his wife, Margaret Forquar, continued their lives here rearing seven children. Their only son to remain at home, Samuel, was next in line for the McGrew farm."

1810 Census, Monongalia Co., Virginia, pg. 23; Jas. McGrew: males - 2 under 10; 1 26-44; females - 2 under 10; 1 16-25
1820 Census, Preston Co., Virginia, pg. 237; McGrew, James: males - 2 under 10; 1 10-15; 1 16-18; 1 16-25; 1 26-44 - females - 2 under 10; 2 10-15; 1 26-44
1830 Census, Preston Co., Virginia, pg. 17; McGrew, James - males: 1 5 to 10; 2 15-20; 1 20-30; 1 50-60 - females: 2 10-15; 1 15-20; 1 50-60
1840 Census, Preston Co., Virginia, pg. 215; James McGrew - males: 1 10-14; 2 15-19; 1 30-39; 1 60-69 - females: 1 5-9; 3 20-29; 1 50-59
1850 Census, 45th Dist., Preston Co., Virginia, 3 Dec. 1850, pg. 476; dwelling 1659, James McGrew household
James McGrew, age 72, M, Farmer, born Penna.
Isabel age 72, F, born Va.
Isaac age 40, M, Farmer, born Va.
John age 5, M, born Va.
James age 4, M, born Va.
Edward C. age 2, M, born Va.
Margaret age 31, F, born Va.
David Sterling age 20, M, laborer born Va.
1860 Census, Dist. 1, Preston Co., Virginia, pg. 23; P.O. Brandonville; dwelling 149, families 153, 154
C. James McGrew, age 81, M, Blacksmith, born Pa.
Isabella age 81, F, born Va.
Isaac McGrew age 52, M, Farmer born Va.
Margareth age 41, F, born Pa.
John F. age 15, M, born Va.
Edward C. age 11, M, "
Samuel age 9, M, "
Laura V. age 6, F, "
Isaac E. age 5, M, "
 
 
 
Ronald N. Wall
Modified: 29 March 2017