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The McGills
The Descendants of Arthur the Pioneer, Cont’d.—Robert, the Fourth Son of Arthur and Margaret McCloskey, His Daughter

Robert McGill, the fourth son of Arthur, the Pioneer, was born at the McGill Settlement in the French Creek country about 1798. The date of his birth precedes the founding of Alden’s Mills, Crawford county, Woodcock township (all names applicable to the same place), and nearly thirty years before there was any Saegerstown. The locality was doubtless included at that time in Mead township, Allegheny county, Pa.

It was here that Robert spent his youthful days and was a lively participant in the wild frolics of the logging days of the valley, where brain and brawn, mingled with toil and temerity, brought forth an order of men inferior to none on the face of the earth. Tales of the escapades of these old men when they were young, could they be recounted as they were told half a century ago would be a rich contribution to the family lore, and in all these stories of the boys, the name of Robert McGill appears as a central point from which radiated bright rays of jovial mirth and irrepressible fun.

Long after he left the land of his birth for western shores, the mention of his name would extort from old associates sparkling reminiscences of his good-natured manners and mirth-provoking wit. His name was not forgotten as long as his contemporaries and coadjutors in manly sportive ways were above the sod.

About 1825, Robert married Susan Alexander of the Brokenstraw county, on the Allegheny. She was born in the state of New York in 1802. The Alexanders were prominent in Western Pennsylvania, and their name is conspicuous in the early history of Erie, Crawford and Warren counties.

Soon after his marriage Robert built a home on the ancestral patent near the village of Saegerstown, where he resided until after the death of his father, when he disposed of his interests in the old place and removed to Edinboro, in Erie county, then known as Washington, where he remained not to exceed two years, when the family took up their residence in Erie.

It was about 1843 when, with his wife and six children, he settled at or near La Porte, Ind., and thenceforth his established habitation was in Northwestern Indiana.

In 1850 Robert crossed the plains for California. Starting out with a well organized and equipped company, their prospects seemed good for a successful expedition, but they met with the usual troubles that beset the emigrant on that long and tortuous trail, and he arrived on the golden sands of the Sacrament alone and his rifle and frying pan were the only remnants of his well appointed outfit.

He was six years in California, but whether successful in accumulating much wealth, I am not informed, but it was reported of him that he was in good circumstances, highly respected by the peo

ple among whom he lived, and much beloved by every one on account of his happy, jovial disposition and the strict integrity that characterized all his dealings with his fellowmen.

Robert died at Hebron, Ind., in February, 1878; Susan died in September, 1871. Robert and Susan McGill had seven children-three sons and four daughters.

Margaret, the eldest, was born near Saegerstown, Pa., February, 1826. She was married in Indiana to S. B. Kinney, June, 1861, and is living in Valparaiso, Ind., with her youngest son, H. B. Kinney, who is County Treasurer of Porter county. Her eldest son, Robert, lives at Hebron, Ind., and is engaged in the manufacture of tile.

Henry, the eldest son, was born near Saegerstown, Pa., October, 1827. He was married to Eliza Norton in 1867; died at La Porte, Ind., January, 1905. Mrs. McGill still lives at the above named place. They had one son, David McGill, who lives in La Porte.

Charles Archibald McGill, second son of Robert, was born near Saegerstown, Pa., June, 1829, was married to Mary F. Brownley at Hebron, Ind., in June, 1863. They have two children living, a daughter at home with her parents at Hebron, and J. H. McGill (James Henry), who lives at Valparaiso, Ind.; is married and has four children, to-wit: Charles S., Rachel, Robert and Frances. J. H., aforesaid son of Charles A., is President of the Crescent company of Valparaiso, manufacturers of electrical specialties. He is mentioned as an enterprising business man. I am indebted to his courtesy for valuable information.

Mary Ellen McGill, daughter of Robert, was born at Edinboro, Pa., in February, i834; was married in 1858 to David Bryant; both deceased. They left one child-Nettie (Applegate) Bryant-Mary E, died at Hebron, Ind., January, 1903.

Susanna McGill, daughter of Robert, was born at Erie, Pa., July, 1836; was twice married; September, 1855, to James Oliver-no issue-second marriage, January, 1862, to Hugh Fickle. They had three sons-David, Charles and John. David Fickle, son of Susanna, has three children: Oliver, Mary and Hugh. Another son has two: Syril and Katherine. Susanna died January, 1903, on the same day that her sister, Mary Ellen, died.

James McFarland McGill was born at Erie, Pa., June 28, 1842. He was married May 18, 1869, to Kate Starr. They have one son and two daughters living, and their present residence is Washington, D. C. The son, Rual Starr McGill, is in business in Chicago. Phoebe is married to Barnard and has two children-Catherine and job. Flora is the youngest and is a vocalist of some celebrity.

James McFarland McGill was, no doubt, named after James E. McFarland, late of Meadville, Pa., a noted journalist, politician and banker of former years, who was an intimate friend and associate of Robert McGill.

At the breaking out of the War of the Rebellion, James M. was in school at Valparaiso, Ind. He enlisted in Company -, 5th Regiment, Indiana Cavalry, and was appointed Orderly Sergeant of the company, and was afterwards promoted to First Lieutenant, and in April, 1864, was made Captain, in which capacity he served until mustered out August 11, 1865.

From a school boy of nineteen to a captain of cavalry is a military record of which he and his friends may well be proud, especially when we consider the strenuous times and the bloody whirlpool of battle from which promotion and rank were

wrested by valor and worth. It was no holiday excursion that led through the battle of Franklin, where seven Confederate generals were killed in the fight, nor were they feeble blows that were struck on the desperate field of Nashville, nor on the hills at Knoxville, Tenn., where the boy lieutenant rode to victory and promotion, and carried away as trophies his commission and "a scratch." Twenty-one great engagements are placed to the credit of the Valparaiso schoolboy from 1861 to 1865.

Jane McGill, the youngest daughter of Robert, was born at La Porte, Ind., April, 1844. She died at Hebron, Ind., in 1888, unmarried.

Robert McGill has passed away, and nearly all of his children have followed, but his contributions to the light and life and happiness of those around him will not perish from off the face of the earth, but, transmitted through other generations, will live forever.


Margaret McGill, daughter of Arthur the Pioneer, first saw the light in his famous castle by the big spring, May 9, 1800. The date of her marriage to John McCloskey is not given in any of the family archives that have come under my observation. She was the mother of twelve children, and a mother to be revered, one whose memory was a benefaction to her children and made her sons brighter and better men. No mother was ever more true to her trust of care than was "Aunt Peggy." She died at Venango, Pa., April 1, 1867, and all who knew her wept, for a saintly vision had gone out from before them. She was a woman entirely destitute of society fads, the whole devotion of her soul being centered upon her family brood, and on them she lavished the richest treasures of her great loving heart.

John McCloskey was born at Greensburgh, Westmorland county, Pa., March 19, 1799, and died at Venango, May 29, 1881, aged eighty-two years. Their residence for more than forty years was in Saegerstown, where all their children were born, and John was Postmaster for many years.

The McGills and McCloskeys were acquainted before they ever came to the French Creek country. Whether their associations extended beyond the sea, I am unable to say, but would be very willing to be convinced that they did, and that they came down together from the Caledonian hills to the Antrim land three hundred years ago.

The McCloskeys passed through Northumberland on the Celtic trail from the seaboard to the limit of population while the McGills were at Duncan's Island on the Susquehanna. They (the McCloskeys) settled in Westmoreland county, when it was against the law for white men to go any further West, and the McCloskeys of our next preceding generation were born there and were natives of Westmoreland. They were visited by Arthur and Patrick in 1792, when on their exploring expedition to the French Creek country, before John McCloskey was born, and some kind of communication and intercourse was maintained in after years, resulting in the coming of John and Michael McCloskey to Crawford county, and the marriage of John to Margaret, the daughter of Arthur McGill, and the marriage of Michael to Maria, the daughter of Patrick McGill.

The descendants of John and Margaret McCloskey are as follows :

Mary McCloskey (-) ; born at Saegerstown, Pa., June 6, 1823. Died at Venango, Pa., Dec. 21, 1873. Mary was married, but left no children.

Catherine McCloskey; born at Saegerstown, Pa., Nov. 2, 1824. Died July 10, 1825.

Arthur McCloskey; born at Saegerstown, Feb. 2, 1826. Died at Venango, Pa., March 15, 1905.

Arthur was one of the best liked men of his day. His bright, sunny disposition and humorous ways attracted men to him, and he was always the popular center of every gathering in which he participated. He was a small man, and yet an athlete; muscles hard as iron, and sinews like steel.

He engaged in the boot and shoe business at Venango at an early date and continued in the same without change of occupation or place during his lifetime. His wife was Maria Sherred, a daughter of one of the oldest and most respectable families of the community, and their marriage relations were most happy. They had three sons, all of them bright, intelligent, quick-witted boys. They are now men, gone from the old home, making their tracks through the world by no devious ways.

It was not long after the death of Arthur that Maria died. If Arthur McCloskey had an enemy on earth, I never heard of him.

Michael McCloskey; born at Saegerstown, Pa., July 24, 1827. Died same place, June i6, 1897.

Michael was a man of adventurous disposition and saw much of the world in his time. He was a tanner and courier and went into the leather business. In i849 he went to California, by way of the Isthmus, and passed through some startling adventures. Some years later he returned and with a partner bought a tannery at Venango, Pa.

This he operated until the large establishments absorbed everything when he closed out and went into the oil country, where he operated for a time.

He married in Michigan and finally went South in the employ of the Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, then under the management of some of his wife's kindred.

Mrs. McCloskey sickened and died in New Mexico, leaving no children. Michael, some time after the death of his wife, broken in health and spirits, though with means ample for his wants, returned to the old home to die. He was buried with his kindred in the family lot in the Venango cemetery.

Charles McCloskey ; born at Saegerstown, March 2, 1829. Died at Valparaiso, Ind., Dec. 16, 1878, unmarried. (These three brothers, Arthur, Michael and Charles, all so near my own age, were among my most intimate playmates and associates in early youth.)

Henry McCloskey; born Oct. 29, 1830. Died in September, 1846, at Saegerstown, Pa.

Margaret McCloskey, unmarried; born at Saegerstown, Pa., Dec. 19, 1832. Died at Venango, Pa., May 7, 1878.

Emeline McCloskey; born at Saegerstown, Pa., Oct. 8, 1834. Died same place, Aug. 23, 1836.

Nancy Ann McCloskey; born Aug. 20, 1836, at Saegerstown, Pa. Died May 17, 1866, at Venango, Pa., unmarried.

John Newton McCloskey; born at Saegerstown, Pa., March 17, 1839 (St. Patrick's Day). Attended the State Normal School at Edinboro, Pa., read law, and was admitted to practice in the courts of Crawford county, where he has acquired wealth and distinction. John Newton is a good companionable man and pleasant associate, but a fierce antagonist in forensic strife. He is at present traveling in Europe for the benefit of his health. (Since returned.)

He has twice married. The first wife was the mother of three children, of whom I know but little. I have met one son, John, who graduated at Allegheny college, read law and was admitted to the bar, but afterwards engaged in mercantile pursuits at Pittsburg. Of the others, I am not informed.

The present Mrs. McCloskey is a lady of fine presence, refinement and culture, and is the mother of one son, Ray, at home.

Nehemiah McCloskey; born at Saegerstown, Pa., Dec. 27, 1841. Died at Meadville, Pa., October, 1889.

Oliver McCloskey ; born at Saegerstown, Pa., April 17, 1843. Died same place, June 6, 1847.

There are details in the lives of those seven sons of John and Margaret McCloskey that, could they be recalled, would prove of surpassing interest, but time has so obliterated the score that they must remain untold.

There were three other daughters of Arthur the Pioneer, who were married and had children. I never saw them; have been unable to locate them or their posterity. Extensive inquiries have proved ineffectual, and their story must remain untold. I have done the best that I can by our cousins, and the books are closed.

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