McDonalds of Virginia
Chapter 2 - Angus McDonald
As all family records and
papers were destroyed when Col. McDonald's home, Glengarry, near
Winchester, Virginia, was burned to the ground, I have to rely for
material in this memoir upon the few imperfect histories of that period
and the public records; supplemented by incidents which have been handed
down orally to the younger members of the family.
And from a careful
comparison of all the data which I have been able to collect on the
subject, I believe that Angus McDonald (emigrant) was the son of Angus,
who was a younger son of Alastair Dulbh McDonald, the hero of
Killicrankie. [This battle was fought on the banks of the Garry river
July 27, 1689.] John, Alastair Dubh's oldest living son, being chief of
Glengarry at the time of the "rising," in 1740.
Draper's M. S. Record,
says: "He was born in the Highlands in 1727 and educated at Glasgow, and
having fought in the battle of Culloden, he was at-tainted of treason
and fled to Virginia in following year (1746) ."
He landed at Falmouth,
Virginia, in 1746, being then nineteen years of age, bringing with him
the short sword, sash and gorget he wore on the field of Culloden; the
gorget having on it. the Glengarry arms. [I remember seeing the Gorget,
and I have heard my father say that the sash was so stoutly woven that a
man could be carried in its folds.]
Cumberland had destroyed and laid waste the Highland homes, I imagine he
had little of this world's goods, and like the thrifty Scot he proved
himself to behe accepted the first position that offered itselfand
engaged in merchandising in Falmouth, for the next two or three years.
Having gotten on his feet again, so to speak, he moved further into the
interior and it was not long before the military spirit, which a long
line of Celtic ancestry made almost a second nature, began to assert
itself and he entered the service of the Colonies, under Governor
Dinwiddle, holding the rank of Captain. For these first services, he
received, in 1754. four hundred acres of land.
In 1760 he established
the first Masonic lodge in Winchester, where he was now located, and was
also a member of the Committee of Safety. On October 29th, 1762, he
purchased from Brian Bruin a tract of land lying to the east of
Winchester, containing 370 acres; along which the old Winchester and
Potomac R. R. was subsequently located. There he built his home and
called it "Glengarry" after his old home in the Highlands.
In 1765 he was
commissioned Major of Militia for Frederick County, and about the same
time was appointed by Lord Fairfax as his attorney and agent, to collect
all rents, &c., due his Lordship. On June 20th, 1166, he married Anna
Thompson, of Hancock, Maryland.
Draper further says, "in
December, 1774, Angus McDonald was commissioned Lieutenant Colonel. And
was made Sheriff in 1775, and was re-commissioned by new State Justice
and Deputy-Sheriff in
1776. It is not known
whether he was out. with Braddock or not. Although Col. McDonald was a
staunch Whig, he refused to enter the Continental Army, being unwilling
to serve second in command to a Colonel without military experience. He
was a man of commanding figure, strong personality and a rigid
disciplinarian with his troops. After the Wapatomica expedition he
served under Dunmore until the close of the war."
According; to the
original records, and to the statement in Norris' "History of the Lower
Shenandoah Valley:" "On Aug. 6th, 1776, he took the oath of Sheriff of
Frederick. County; - before the New County Court, under an ordinance of
the Virginia Convention of 1776. Of this Court, Chas. Minn Thruston was
The Sheriff of Frederick
at that time was in command of the Militia of both Frederick and Augusta
Counties which, excepting .Hampshire County, were the only Virginia
Counties west of the Blue Ridge, and embraced all the territory between
the Ohio river and the 'Tennessee line, including the State of Kentucky.
The Sheriffalty was therefore an important office, civil as well as
De Hass' "History and
Indian Wars," says of the Wapatomica Campaign: "Colonel 'McDonald, who
lived near Winchester, Virginia, and was a man of great energy of
character, intrepidity and courage, was sent West early in the Spring of
1774 to survey the military county lands lying within the Colonial Grant
made to the officers and soldiers of the French and Indian Wars of
1754-63. Col. McDonald net hostile Indians at almost every step, until
finally they were compelled to relinquish the undertaking and to resort
to Wheeling for safety. He then reported to Dunmore the state of affairs
in northwest Virginia, whereupon the Governor authorized him to raise a
sufficient force and proceed to punish the savages without delay. The
call was nobly responded to by gallant men on the frontier, the purpose
being to destroy the Indian towns.
About the middle of June,
177-4, nearly tour hundred men rendezvoused at Wheeling, embracing some
of the most energetic and experienced on the frontier. Col. McDonald met
the force at Captina Creek, twenty miles below Wheeling, and thence
proceeded to Wapatomica on the Muskingum. In his command were some of
the first and bravest men of the West. James Wood, afterwards Governor
of Virginia (from Winchester), Daniel Morgan, afterwards the
distinguished General of Revolutionary fame, Michael Cresap, and others
who afterwards became prominent, commanded companies."
Withers' "Border Warfare"
says that "George Rogers Clarke also accompanied this expedition as a
scout." Also, that "the first Fort built in Wheeling was by Dunmore's
order, built under the direction of Majors Angus ,McDonald and William
In relation to the
building of this fort. I find in American Archives, 4th series, vol.
1st, the following letter from Arthur St. Clair to Gov. Penn of
`'Ligonier, July, 4th,
I have the honor to
enclose to You the last piece of Indian intelligence which came by White
Eyes a few days ago and am happy that affairs have so peaceable an
aspect. Yet I can but fear that it will soon be interrupted, as a large
body of Virginians are certainly in motion. Col. Henry Lewis is ordered
to the mouth of the Kanawha to build a fort there and Maj. McDonald with
500 men is to march up Praddoek's road and down to Wheeling to build
Also another letter from
Eneas McKay to Coy.
Penn's Sect. (same
"Jul, 8th, 1774.
The Virginians, from
their conduct, seem determined on War. Maj. McDonald and others are
expected here shortly who it is said are going down the river to build
forts and station men at different places."
I find in "Dunmore's War"
this account of the Wapatomica expedition: `'Early in June, Dunmore
planned an expedition against the Indian towns, but it was not until
July that McDonald succeeded in securing a force sufficient, to move
out. About four hundred were then recruited, chiefly on the Monongahela
and Youghiogheny, under the following Captains: Michael Cresap, Michael
Cresap, Jr.. Hancock Lee, Daniel Morgan, James Wood, Henry Hoagland and
two others, marching across country and ,joining Crawford at Wheeling.
McDonald ordered every
man to take seven days rations in his pack, and crossed the river at
Fish Creek some twenty miles below Wheeling. George Rogers Clark, who
had a lard claim in the vicinity, was a subaltern in McDonald's
regiment. After this Wapatomica expedition McDonald served under Dunmore
until the close of the war."
In connection with this
expedition, I find in "Dunmore's War" a letter from Col. Fleming to his
wife, in which he says: "My Lord Dunmore is near Pittsburg by this. He
will have upward of seven hundred men with him. Four hundred that
marched with Major McDonald and three hundred with himself. Have you
heard that McDonald, with a part of his men, destroyed an Indian town,
In another letter to Col.
Preston, Col. Fleming says "Major McDonald with four hundred men, being
Lord Dunmore's advance guard below Fort Dunmore, was boldly attacked by
the Indians. His men were marched in three columns, himself at the head
of the middle one, which was attached and about four killed and six
wounded. He ordered the right and left columns to file off and surround
the enemy, which could not be clone, but they killed three or four
Indians and took one McDonald afterwards found his men's scalps hung up
like colors, but the town had been evacuated."
The Maryland Journal of
Sept. 7th. 1774, says of the same expedition, "By an express from
Williamsburg (August 15th), we learn from the frontier that Col.
McDonald had just arrived from Wapatomica, a Shawnee town on the
Muskcingum, which he has destroyed will all the plantations around it.
Killed several Indians and taken three scalps, and one prisoner with the
loss of only two of his people and six wounded. Also that an expedition
is planned against some of their other towns. which, if successful, will
probably put an end to the war."
Enclosed in a letter from
Sir Thomas Walpole to the Earl of Dartmouth, we also find this extract
from one of McDonald's letters to Major John Connolly, relating to the
same expedition: "On the 2nd, I and my party attacked the Upper Shawnee
towns. I destroyed their cornfields, burnt their cabins, took three
scalps and one prisoner. I had two men killed and six wounded."
We are also indebted to
"Dunmore's War" for a copy of the following letter from Angus McDonald
to Capt. Sharrod:
`Winchester, Jan. 8th,
1775. "DEAR CAPT.:
I have just returned from
Williamsburg. The news is that all the country is well pleased with the
Governor's expedition. We shall be paid if the Gov. and the Assembly
don't differ at the meeting. The 2nd of February is the day of the
meeting, but I am afraid they will not agree. If that should be the case
we will not be paid for two or three months.
We are all preparing for
war, both Maryland and Virginia are in motion, and I believe will fight
before they suffer themselves to be imposed on.
"I am, dear sir, your
In American Archives 4th,
series, Vol. 1st, I find an account of a mass meeting of the citizens of
Frederick County to protest against an act, passed by the Government "To
discontinue in such manner and for such time as are therein mentioned,
the landing and discharging and lading and shipping of goods, wares and
merchandise at the town of and within the harbor of Boston, in the
Province of Massachusetts Bay in N. America.":
Angus McDonald with C. M.
Thruston, Isaac Zane, Geo. Rootes, Alex. White, Geo. Johnston and Samuel
Brent were appointed a committee to draw up a protest against said act.
It seems to me that there
is sufficient evidence in this letter of Col. McDonald to Capt. Sharrod
and his action in the mass meeting in Winchester to completely refute
the idea indulged by some of his descendents, that he was bound by a
parole to the English Government (exacted of so many of the Highlanders
after Culloden), and for that reason could not enter the Continental
The fact that he became
an exile from his home looks more as if he might have declined a parole.
Both Draper and De Hass say that it was because he would not serve under
a man with no military experience. And when we take into consideration
his Colonial record, "his military character and attachment to that way
of Iife," as Washington expressed it in his Ietter to McDonald, urging
his acceptance of this commission under Thruston, we are convinced that
nothing except the reason which has been assigned by both Draper and De
Hass, could have actuated him in declining the Commission.
And when we further
reflect that in his veins flowed the blood of the men who had, since the
battle of Bannockburn, in the 12th century, held, as the post of honor,
the right wing of the Scottish army, we can still better understand how
his proud spirit must have been stung by this cruel disregard of his
conspicuous claim to a place in the fore-front.
Following is Washington's
Ietter urging Angus McDonald to accept a commission as Lieut. Col. in
the Continental army:
Being informed that you are not yet in the Continental service, I have
taken the liberty to appoint you Lieut. Col. to one of the additional
battalions, the command of which I have given to Mr. Thruston.
I sincerely wish that you
would accept this office, and let me entreat you not to permit the love
you bear to the cause to be smothered by any neglect of attention to
your military character, the contest is of too serious and important a
nature to be managed by men totally unacquainted with the duties of the
field. Gentlemen, who have from their youth discovered an attachment to
this way of life, are in my opinion called upon in so forcible a manner
that they ought not to withhold themselves. You will please to
communicate your resolution to me by the very first opportunity.
I am your most obedient
In Draper's M. S. Record
above referred to is an autograph patent of Lord Dunmore to Angus
McDonald for 2,000 acres of land, which tract he bequeathes in his will
to his eldest sons, John and Angus. Following is a copy of the original
"I do hereby certify that
Angus McDonald is entitled to two thousand acres of land agreeable to
his Majesty's proclamation in the year 1763, and he is desirous to
locate the same in the County of Fin-castle on any of the Western
waters, if he can lay it on any vacant lands that have not been surveyed
by order of Council and patented since the above proclamation.
Given under my hand and
seal the 5th day of February, 1774."
"To the Surveyor of
Endorsed (Col. Preston's handwriting)
"To be surveyed by
Hancock Taylor. Angus McDonald 2,000 acres came to hand ye 16th of May,
"To begin on the Ohio at
a branch near the old Indian Fort, above the mouth of Big Meame and to
extend down the river."
The Vestry book of
Cunningham Chapel in Clarke County, Virginia, shows that Angus McDonald
was appointed Vestryman for the Parish of Frederick on March 2nd, 1768.
At the same time is recorded this minute: '`The Rev. Chas. Minn Thruston
motioned the Vestry that he might be inducted into the Parish as Rector.
It was also motioned that until the arrival of Mr. Walter McGowan on the
last day of Nov. that no person be inducted into the Parish without Mr.
Thruston having previous notice to attend, in order to make his
application to the Vestry."
"At a meeting of the
Vestry 18th of Nov., 1768, on motion of Rev. Chas. Minn Thruston it is
ordered that he be inducted and received into the Parish as Rector and
that his salary commence with the time of his moving into the Parish and
it is ordered that he regularly attend to perform divine at the church
in Winchester, at Cunningham, McKay's and Mechlinburg Chapels, by
rotation and at the other Chapels in the Parish twice a year, that is to
say in the months of May and Nov."
"At a meeting of the
Vestry Nov. 26th, 1770, a petition of sundry inhabitants of the Parish
of Frederick presented to the Vestry and read, set forth that the Rev.
Minn Thruston had neglected his duty in preaching but once in his Parish
Church since laying the last Parish levy, Nov. 7th. Whereupon several
evidences were sworn and examined, whereof it is the opinion of the
Vestry that the petitioners have proved their allegations."
"Resolved that the sum of
200 lbs. be levied to be applied to the purchase of 16,000 pounds of
tobacco to be paid to said Thruston if he should recover his salary by
due course of law, otherwise to be applied by the future direction of
the Vestry, to which Thomas Rutherford, John Neville, Thos. Swearingen
and Charles Smith entered their dissent."
"At a meeting of the
Vestry Dec. 27th, 1770, they considered upon application of Rev.
Thruston, its late order concerning the payment of his salary. and he
having excused himself and given satisfactory reasons to the Vestry for
his neglect of duty, complained of by the inhabitants of Winchester, and
moreover agreed to snake up the deficiency by preaching on Wednesday, if
required by the Vestry, it is ordered that the Collector do pay Mr.
Thruston the sum of 160 lbs."
gentleman withdrew before signing the order, signed by Chas. Minn
Thruston and Vestry."
Angus McDonald is
mentioned as Col. McDonald in the minutes of the Vestry held April 25th.
1778, and in these minutes it is stated that the powder and lead
belonging to the Parish was turned over to Col. McDonald and he was
directed "to dispose of the same and to use the money with the fund from
which it was originally taken."
I have given the
proceedings of these Vestry meetings in full in order to justify, as far
as possible, the alleged cause which has been attributed to Angus
McDonald for not entering at once the Continental army. His withdrawal
from the Vestry meeting shows plainly his disapproval of the Rev. Chas.
Minn Thruston and that he should have declined to serve in a regiment
commanded by the Rev. Charles Minn Thruston, seems to my mind, perfectly
His death occurred on
August 19th, 1778, from the effects of a wrong dose of medicine. An old
letter from his granddaughter, Mrs. Millicent Holliday, says: "His death
was very sudden and caused by a close of tartar emetic, taken for
His wife and seven
children survived him. Mary, born May 9th, 1767; John, born August 19th
1768; Angus, born December 30th, 1769; Eleanor, born September 5th,
1771; Anna, born June 25th, 1773; Thompson, born March 29th, 1776;
Charles, born April 28th, 1778. The records of his marriage and the
births of his children, are to be found in his large family bible, given
by Anna to her grandson, Angus W. McDonald, and now in the possession of
Major Edward H. McDonald, his son, who lives at "Media,' Jefferson
County, W. Va.
They are also entered in
a pocket bible, bearing on the title page the name, "Angus .McDonald,
his book. 1747." Which is now in possession of Miss Millicent McDonald,
of St. Louis, Mo., a great granddaughter.
His family continued to
live at Glengarry until it was destroyed by fire, when they moved to a
large plantation on Patterson's Creek in Hampshire County, where his
widow lived to be eighty-four years of age, having been born in 1748.
She was just eighteen at the time of her marriage and Angus was
I was a good deal puzzled
in my researches at finding no record of Angus having accompanied
Braddock on his expedition, until I discovered that Braddock had been an
officer under Cumberland at the battle of Culloden.
Following is a copy of
his will taken from the Clerk's office of Frederick County, Virginia.
'`In the name of God,
Amen! I, Angus McDonald, of Frederick County and Parish, in the Colony
of Virginia, Farmer, do make and ordain this my last will and testament.
That is to say, principally, and first of all, I give and recommend my
soul into the hands of Almighty God that gave it, my body I recommend to
the earth to be buried in Christian burial, at the discretion of my
Executors, nothing doubting but at the general Resurrection I shall
receive the same again, by the mighty mercy and power of God. And as
touching such worldly estate wherewith it has pleased God to bless me in
this life, I give, devise and dispose of the same in the following
manner and form.
"First, I give and
bequeathe to my dearly beloved wife, Anna, the house and plantation
whereon I now live and the choice of six cows, all the sheep and hogs
and five horses, for the support of the young children, also all the
servants and slaves, so long as she shall remain a widow. Also all the
rents and profits of my estate after my debts and funeral charges are
"Secondly, I give to my
well beloved son, John McDonald, the Plantation near Winchester which I
bought of Mr. Richard Henderson, containing 729 acres, to him, his heirs
and assigns forever. And I give to my well beloved son, Angus :McDonald,
the plantation I now live on after his mother's decease, containing 466
acres. Also my two houses and lots in Winchester and their
appurtenances, to him, his heirs and assigns forever. I give to my two
eldest daughters, namely, Mary and Eleanor, my land in Maryland, which I
bought of my wife's three brothers, containing 445 acre, also three
other tracts near the same land surveyed in Virginia, not yet patented,
to be equally divided between them, to them and their heirs lawfully
begotten, forever. And I give to my youngest daughter, Anna, my
plantation on Patterson's Creek, which I bought of Col. Stephens; with
two hundred pounds to erect a mill thereon, to her and, her heirs
lawfully begotten, forever.
"I also give to my two
sons, John and Angus, my 2,000 acres of land on the Kentucky, to be
equally divided between them, their heirs or assigns forever. And I give
to my youngest daughter, Anna, 400 acres, it being my lot of land under
Governor Dinwiddie's proclamation, as a soldier in the year 1754. And it
is my will and desire that all my land in Maryland, called Fair Island
and the land on the main, and every other tract or parcel of land in
Maryland, or elsewhere, not before mentioned, shall be sold to the best
bidder for the payment of my just debts and the remainder be put out at
interest and divided equally among all my children. And I give each
child an equal proportion of all my personal estate, to them, their
heirs and assigns forever.
"I constitute and appoint
my dear loving wife my whole and sole executrix, as long as she remains
single and after death or inter-marriage, I constitute my worthy friend,
Doctor John McDonald, my executor and guardian to all my children and I
give unto him, the said John McDonald, my small sword, sash and gorget
as a token of my respect.
"Given under my hand and
seal this 26th day of June, 1775.
ANGUS McDONALD. (Seal)
"At a Court held for
Frederick County the 2nd of March, 1779, this will was returned unto
Court by Ann McDonald, the widow of the deceased and there being no
witnesses to prove the sane according to law, the same was examined by
the Court, who is of opinion that it is in the hand writing of the
Decedent and therefore is ordered to be recorded, and on the motion of
Ann McDonald, the executrix therein named, who made oath according to
law, certificate is granted her for obtaining probate thereof in due
form, she with security- having entered into and acknowledged bond
conditions as the law directs.
By the County Court, James
Keith, C. C."
In addition to the
property inherited by Anna from her husband, Angus McDonald, a deed
recorded in the Clerk's Office of Frederick, Maryland, names the
following parcels of land as being left to Anna Thompson by her father,
John Thompson. A part of each of the following named tracts : "Fair
Island, The Hills, Invention, The Fork of Gruby, The Addition, Patience,
Froggy Island, Fountain, Partnership and Widow's Mite."
This Anna Thompson (the
wife of Angus McDonald) was the youngest daughter of John Thompson and
Yocomanche Eltinge, of Hancock, Maryland. The Eltinges being of Holland
There were three sons and
two daughters. Named, respectively, William, John and Cornelius Thompson
and the two daughters were Elizabeth and Anna.
Anna, after her husband's
death, lived at Glengarry until it was burned, as has been stated, and
must have been an unusual woman even for that period. Her husband's
comparatively early death left her with a large family and many
responsibilities, all of which she seems to have discharged most
conscienciously. On an old fashioned Sampler, still in the possession of
one of her descendants, and which was embroidered by her at the age of
eleven, is the following unique verse:
"Have communion with few,
Be intimate with one,
Deal justly with all,
Speak evil of none."
Her oldest son John
married a lady from Georgetown, Md., from whom he afterwards separated.
He then went West and made his home in later life with his nephew,
Edward C. McDonald, of Hannibal, Mo. He finally died at the home of his
niece, Mrs. Millicent Holliday, of St. Louis, from the effects of a
stroke of paralysis. His attending physician was Dr. May, of St. Louis,
and he was buried there by Rev. Peter Minard, Rector of the Episcopal
Dr. Thompson McDonald,
the third son of Angus and Anna McDonald, was a physician and
distinguished in his profession. Owing to an unfortunate love affair in
his youth, he never married and died July 31st, 1822. He made his home
with his mother and is spoken of, by those who knew him, as a man of
The only members of the
Thompson family with whom this generation had any intimate acquaintance
were the descendants of John Thompson, who married Miss Nellie Dick. It
was his youngest daughter, Anna, named for her aunt, Anna McDonald, who
married John Peerce, and was the dear old lady whom we always called
"Grandma" and loved and admired so extravagantly for her many noble
qualities and uniform kindness to us during the many visits we made her
during our childhood.
No one admired and loved
my father more than she. A Iittle circumstance, which I have often heard
him speak of, will illustate her inflexible sense of honor. A small
legacy was left my father by Cornelius Thompson, a mutual relative, but
through some technicality of the law it was diverted to "Grandma" Peerce,
but her own strict ideas of equity convinced her that she was not
entitled to receive it, so for years she supplied her cousin, Angus,
with marketing from her farm near Burlington, until the entire debt was
Charles, the fourth son,
and youngest child died in infancy. Mary, the oldest child of Angus and
Anna, married Col. Elias Langham, of Fluvanna, and moved to Chillicothe,
Ohio. They had three sons, Angus, Elias and John. Elias, the second son,
was made Surveyor-General for Missouri and Illinois, and Indian agent at
Fort Snelling, where his daughter Winonah was born, and named for her
They (Mary and Elias)
also had three daughters, Jane, Betsey Anne and Mary. Betsey Anne
married Wharton Rector, of Arkansas.
Eleanor, second daughter
of Angus and Anna, married James Tidball and lived near the town of
Hancock, Maryland, on the Potomac river. The oldest daughter of Eleanor
and James Tidball, named Anna for her grandmother, married at nineteen,
George Brent. They had several daughters and one son. Lucelia, the
second daughter of Eleanor and James married Henry Claubaugh of
Baltimore, Maryland. Mary Jane married Dr. Wilson near Martinsburg. No
children. Another daughter married Mr. Wm. Harness, a wealthy man of
Maryland, and left one son. Eleanor, youngest daughter, married John
McDonald (no relation that I am aware of) near St. Louis, Mo. The only
son of Eleanor and James Tidball, Joseph, married Rose Orrick and lived
in Lexington, Mo.
Anna, youngest daughter
of Anna and Angus, married Richard Holliday. They had three sons, James,
Richard and Angus, besides several daughters. This family moved to
Shelbyville, Mo. Richard, the second son, was the second husband of
Millicent. McDonald, my father's only sister. Her first husband was
William Sherrard, of Winchester, and died in Jacksonville, Fla.
Eleanor McDonald is said
to have been a strikingly handsome woman. Very imperious in manner and
bearing a strong resemblance to her father, Angus, the first.
Following, is copy of
letter from Angus W. McDonald to Dr. Lyman C. Draper concerning Angus
:McDonald (Emigrant). Original in possession of State Historical Soc. of
'`Romney, April 18th, 1817.
MY DEAR. SIR:
It is I who should, and
do feel ashamed, that I have so long neglected to give some reply
however brief and unsatisfactory, to your several letters.
I should be grieved to
have you think that I would be indifferent to the interesting subject to
which they have so often called my attention.
Be pleased, Sir, to
excuse my long silence, and seeming neglect of your letters. I know but
little, and that little imperfectly of the family traditions, and have
been since the age of fourteen almost a stranger in the circle of my
kin, who knew the history of my grand-father.
I will state in answer to
your interrogatories. what I can assert with confidence of its truth,
and then give you what I have gathered as hearsay.
My grand-father was a
Scotchman by birth; a Highlander of the clan Glengarry, but raised and
educated with two brothers in the city of Glasgow. He was engaged in the
rebellion of 1745, then only eighteen years old. He fled or was sent to
this country in the year 1746. During the Revolution his two brothers
were merchants in Glasgow, who often, before the Revolutionary war, used
to send my grandfather cases of goods. I have frequently heard my
grand-mother speak of this. She died in 1832, aged eighty-six years. The
name of my grand-father's father, I do not remember, but think that it
also was Angus. He was educated, and independent. He was also engaged in
the rebellion of '45, but whether he was killed, executed or whether he
died, I do not remember. He was not alive when my grand-father left
Scotland in 1746.
My grand-father landed in
this country at Falmouth, and for some years was engaged there in
From there he removed to
Winchester, I think as early as 1754.
In 1766, he intermarried
with Anna Thompson, the grand-daughter of Isaac or Cornelius Eltynge, of
Frederick County, Maryland, by whom he had seven children, six of whom
survived him (he died Aug. 19th, 1778). Mary, his oldest child, married
Col. Elias Langham, of Fluvanna. .John, who died about ten years since,
Angus, my father, who died in consequence of a forced march, between
Buffalo and Black-rock, in 1814, whilst a Captain in the 12th Reg. of U.
S. Infantry, during the last war with Great Britain. Nancy, who married
Richard HolIiday, Eleanor, who married James Tidball, and Thompson
All the sons are dead and
only one daughter lives yet. John left a daughter, Mary, three sons and
three daughters. Eleanor, one son and four daughters. Nancy, living, has
six sons and three daughters. Thompson never married. Nancy might be
induced to answer a letter from you, she lives in Shelby County,
Missouri, and has in her possession an original letter from Gen.
Washington, expostulating with my grand-father for his having refused to
accept a Lieutenant Colonel's commission in a reg. to be raised in
Frederick County, to be commanded by Thruston, who had been the parson
of the Parish, I think. My grand-father, who had great military pride,
refused to serve subordinate to him. Gen. Washington wrote to him upon
the subject and would no doubt have prevailed upon him, but he died not
long after receiving, this letter.
You ask if he was older
or younger than his brother, Doctor McDonald. Doctor John McDonald was
certainly not his brother, perhaps he may have been his cousin, though I
even doubt that. They differed in politicks, Dr. McDonald opposing and
Col. McDonald advocating the revolution, whenever the subject was
agitated. I have often heard my grand-mother speak of Col. McDonald, on
one occasion, expelling Dr. McDonald and others from his house, in
consequence of Tory opinions expressed by them. However, Dr. McDonald
was highly esteemed by him and in his will he bequeathed to him his sash
and small sword. At some future day, I will send you some old papers
which I have been, as yet, in vain endeavoring to find; one of them is a
list of Capt. Daniel Mortan's men, who had secured their pay from my
grand-father, which document I have treasured for a long time but have
now mislaid or lost it. But in the course of the Summer I will examine
all my papers and if I find it, or any others, I will send them to you.
I have heard from old
John J. Jacobs, and old Mr. Sam'l Kercheval many anecdotes of my
grandfather, which they did not introduce into their respective books,
and which tend to illustrate his character.
He was a man of great
composure and equanimity, sedate, stern and commanding, and I have often
heard my grand-mother and oldest uncle say, that no one who knew him
ever ventured to oppose or contradict him.
He held a Colonel's
commission in the Colonial service, during; the wars with the western
Indians, and commanded the expedition which destroyed the Miamis, on
return from which expedition it was charged against Cresap, who had been
with Col. McDonald, that he had massacred the family of Logan, the Mingo
Mr. Jacobs told me that
he was with that expedition, and that after it reached the enemy's
country that a rigid and vigilant discipline was established by Col.
McDonald, for the government of his camp. A Captain of a western company
of volunteers, who had joined him, not appreciating the necessity for
the orders for quiet in the camp, which had been issued, ventured to
disobey them, and upon being summoned before Col. McDonald and
admonished of the impropriety of his conduct, refused to promise
compliance, whereupon my grand-father ordered his arrest, and upon the
delinquent's refusal to obey the arrest, he had him tied to a tree and
put in care of the guard for fourteen hours, his company giving him no
countenance or support, he finally apologized, was released and
afterwards proved a most obedient and excellent officer, enforcing the
strictest order and discipline.
Colonel McDonald was a
powerful man, about six feet two and one-half inches tall, and of fine
proportions. Mr. Jacobs told me that upon one occasion he had left his
camp on a very fine horse, to recconnoitre the ground in front of his
command and whilst so engaged two Indians discovered and endeavored to
cut off his return to camp, they being on horse-back (also other Indians
not mounted, in view) . As they approached him to either take him
prisoner or kill him, he wounded one and unhorsed him, and the other he
grappled with, and jerked from his saddle and carried him before him, a
prisoner into his own camp.
I have but little leisure
just now to give you in detail the anecdotes which illustrate his
character, but I shall in the course of this Summer gather from the
records of Frederick County much that will fix the dates of the
principal eras of his life and from my relatives, whatever they may
remember of his history and in November next I will come to see you and
furnish all I can collect.
As an apology for my own
ignorance in regard to his history, I will state that I was, at the
early age of fifteen a Cadet at West Point, and my father in the army of
1814 on the Northern Frontier. I remained in the army five years, then
resigned and entered the Custom House at New Orleans, where I stayed for
twelve months. From there I went to St. Louis, Mo., and engaged in
surveying public lands for another year, then I went into the Indian
trade as a partner of the Missouri Fur Company; was four years in that
and then for the first time I returned to Virginia. to the land where my
grandfather died, found all his children dispersed and his papers
uncared for and scattered, I know not yet where.
But it is my duty, and I
will attend to the matter, to have them searched for and at the day
named, report my success and its fruits to you.
I am, sir, most
respectfully and with great consideration,
Your obedient servant.
ANGUS W. McDONALD.
To Lyman C. Draper.
Draper's notes of an interview with John Grim of Winchester in August
Mr. Grim was not along,
recollects this about it; that Col. Angus McDonald twent out about June,
1774. drove the Indians over the river at Vapatomlca, near night; some
were for pursuing across the river, others opposed it----finally gave it
up. Patricia Haggerty, a brave soldier in Captain Wood's company and who
afterwards fought bravely during the Revolution, bawled out, when the
matter was discussed about crossing the river"Captain, if you go to
h---, I'll follow you."
Col. McDonald commanded
the Frederick troops. Under him were Capt. Peter Helphenstine, Daniel
Morgan, James Wood and Abm. Bowman. Also under Dunmore were Capt. Hugh
StephensonMitchell of Berkeley, Capt. Cresap, and Major William
The enemy was said to
number 1,500 men. Dunmore was a little church of a Scotchman. Col.
Angus, McDonald was likewise a Scotchman and Mr. Grim thinks McDonald
was 50 or 60 years old when he died in '78. (Ed. NoteHe was 51.)
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