Search for content in message boards


Replies: 7
Posted: 894196800000
Classification: Biography
Edited: 1066683322000
John McCargo (1736-1814) Died Charlotte County VA.


Hugh McCargo of Cumberland
Relationship Not Determined

Submitted April 1998 by: TOM MCARGO (

* * * * * *


Husband: John McCargo

Born: ca 1736, site unkn

Parents: Unknown

Died: 1814 Char Co, Va

Buried: Char Co, site unkn

Wife: Mary Magdalene (unk)

Born: ca 1742 Site unkn

Parents: Unknown

Died: ca 1795 in Pr Ed Co

Buried: Pr Ed Co, site unkn


Abt 1737 Va.


Mary Magdalene MCCARGO

Abt 1742 Va.


1 - Radford MCCARGO b. Cumb Co. VA: 1762

Mar: Lucy Morton d. Boone Co MO: 1839

2 - Letty MCCARGO b. Cumb Co VA: 1763

Mar: Jonathan Morton d. KY: Unkn

3 - David MCCARGO b. Cumb Co VA: 1764

Mar: Nancy Portwood d. Char Co VA: 1814

4 - Susannah MCCARGO b. Cumb Co VA: 1764

Mar: Thomas Murray d. KY: 1814

5 - Robert MCCARGO b. Cumb Co VA: 1767

Mar: Rebecca Portwood d. Lim Co AL: 1814

6 - James MCCARGO, SNR b. Cumb Co VA: 1771

Mar: Prudence Roberts d. Char Co VA: 1843

7 - Elizabeth MCCARGO b. Cumb Co VA: 1772

Mar: Thomas Portwood d. Char Co VA: Bf


8 - Hezikiah MCCARGO

b. Cumb Co VA: 1777
Mar: Tabitha Herndon

d. Char Co VA: 1852

9 - Littlejohn MCCARGO

b. Cumb Co VA: 1779
Mar: Elizabeth Williams
Callicott d. Char Co VA: 1856

(See further)



Married: ca 1760

Husband: Hugh
McCargo Born: ca 1742

Born: ca 1740 Parents: Unknown

Parents: Unknown Died: ca 1795

Died: ca 1785 Buried:


Wife: Margaret
(?) McCargo

I suppose I should admit up front, I am not comfortable with assigning this Hugh McCargo to our direct line. My only reason for doing so is that the presence of two families with the rare name of McCargo in the primitive backwoods of colonial Cumberland County in the same period of time is simply stretching the long arm of co-incidence too far. UntiI such time as some proven descendandts of the seventeenth century Willaimsburg John McCargo,(or McCargoes) can be documented, I am placing both Hugh and John as the only known members of the first generation of the McCargo Family in America.

Hugh and his wife Margaret and our John McCargo and his wife Mary Magdalene, first appear in court records of Goochland and Cumberland counties in the fifth decade of the eighteenth century. Hugh McCargo seems to be the elder, but not by enough to make the relationship to John McCargo that of father-son. Estimated dates of birth for each place them between 1730 and 1740, too late for either to be children of the first John McCargo, the emigrant. It is possible that they are brothers, but I feel that the more likely relationship is that of cousin. That is, they are both grandsons of the emigrant from Scotland whom I have called Old John McCargo.

Hugh first appears in the tithable lists of Littleton Parish, Cumberland County Va. in 1763 and again in 1768, in the earlier he is shown accountable for three tithes, and in 1768 this is reduced to two.

The earliest property record is also found in Cumberland county, the sale of 75 acres by John Hughes to Hugh McCargo & Margarett(sic), his wife for £35 and dated Oct 26, 1767. The earlier tithable record may reflect the family as tenants before purchasing the property.

Hard data on this family is sketchy, and in some cases contradictory. That there were at least three children is clear, and evidence seems to indicate Stephen was the oldest (1)

. He would have been only two years old at the time of the 1863 tithable list and seven in 1768, hence not reportable as a tithable. Who then were the two that are reported as tithable? Another interesting fact, the enlistment record gives Stephen's birthplace as London!! Stephen's date of death can only be inferred from the 1784 claim which David entered for land due Stephen under the Revolutionary War Land Grant Program. (2) .

The two other documented children are David and Mary and only David seems to have survived to maturity. David's marriage and one census record are the basis for the estimate of his birth date. Now for some of the conflicting data mentioned above. In 1834 David entered a claim in Campbell county court for the same service, and in it a witness states there were but two children.(3)

Hugh & Margaret continued to live on the property until their deaths, Hugh around 1786 and Margaret around 1794. Around 1779 Hugh probably became too ill to farm, since both Mary and David were bound out by the Church Wardens.(4)

In October of 1786 the property was sold to Thomas Sugg Hill for £40. Hugh must have died shortly after this since Margaret began a long suit of ejectment to recover the property, apparently because it was sold with out securing from her, a relinquishment of dowers rights. She was successful, recovering the farm sometime around 1791, and lived there until her death about four years later. Hugh and Margaret appear but once in the Court Minutes as plaintiffs in a suit in 1779, and that seems to have been settled before it came to trial.(5)

Her son David was the only remaining heir, since he is not joined by his sister Mary in the final sale of the property to Lloyd Evans on Mar 3, 1797. David had moved to Campbell County around 1795 and there is evidence that he continued to live there until after 1838. Evidently there were no children from his 1796 marriage to Nancy Overstreet, and his death might have marked the end of the Hugh McCargo line. I say "might have", since recently I have been advised of the possiblilty that descendants of Hugh's daughter Mary might be found in nearby Bedford County. Barbara Lee Jackson, 504 Old Orchard Circle, Millersville, MD., 21108. She states:

Kitty Miller McCargo daughter of Hugh McCargo married a Solomon Tracy in Bedford Co Va. (6) Solomon was born ca 1759 and he died around 1830. The couple were married in Quaker ceremony in 25 August 1783 and they raised a family there. Solomon's father William Tracy Sr. [and his wife Rebecca] had a land grant and I believe that a Quaker Meeting house once was on or near his property at Goose Creek and Sycamore and Otter Creeks. This would be in the N.E. cornor of Bedford Co. I have information on Kitty's property in Bedford and her move with husband and family to KY. Solomon Tracy enlisted in the REV WAR in Halifax County, VA he was mustered out in N.C. Kitty Miller McCargo and Solomon Tracy stayed in Bedford till 1813 and then moved to Madison Co, KY. I am still looking for their children. They had many girls and at least one boy named Uriah Tracy who was in Indiana by the time Solomon died. I found the wills of both William and his brother Macajah Tracy. That is how I have the names of the children. I went to land records and found where the Sr. William Tracy had sold land to his boys and later land went to his widow and the children. Kitty Miller McCargo was indeed part of that in Land Records.(7) In Lynchburg I found out that there was a land Grant to William Tracy for the land I found in Bedford. I know that after 1813 when William Tracy died all the Bedford land was sold and that Solomon and Kitty went to Madison CO KY and then to Fayette Co KY and to Indiana. This I got from the Rev War record in the Archives. The Bedford County Index to Wills from 1754 to 1830 mentions Thomas Overstreet SR. 27 Feb 1792.

As I mentioned above the first record styled HUGH McCARGO is found in Cumberland County in 1763. However, there is a possibility that an earlier record exists. A small-time trader of uncertain wares appears as plaintiff in several suits as early as 1746. Admittedly, there is little real evidence to support a conclusion that this early Hugh Magarroch of Goochland & Cumberland Counties is indeed the same person as the later Hugh McCargo of Cumberland County. However, phonetic rendition of a Scotsman's brogue would make such an assumption reasonable. (8)

The Children of Hugh & Margaret McCargo

Married: ca 1760

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Number 121 Stephen McCargo (John1, Hugh2)

Born: ca 1760, site unknown

Married: unmarried

Died: ca 1790 - After the Revolutionary War

Census: Not found

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Number 121 Kitty Miller McCargo (John1, Hugh2)

Born: ca 1761, site unknown

Married: 25 Aug 1783 in Bedford Co. VA to Solomon Tracy

Died: ca 1837 in Ind.

Census: Not found

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Number 121 Mary McCargo (John1, Hugh2)

Born: ca 1763. site unknown

Married: Unknown

Died: Unknown

Census: Not found

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Number 121 David McCargo (John1, Hugh2)

Born: ca 1771, site unknown

Married: Dec 12, 1796 in Campbell Co., Va. to Nancy Overstreet

Died: after 1838 in Campbell Co., Va.

Census: 1810 - Campbell Co., Va pg 13A line 6

1820 - not found (9)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Founder of our line

Husband: John McCargo

Born: ca 1736, site unkn

Parents: Unknown

Died: 1814 Char Co, Va

Buried: Char Co, site unkn

Married ca 1761, site unkn

Wife: Mary Magdalene (unk)

Born: ca 1742 Site unkn

Parents: Unknown

Died: ca 1795 in Pr Ed Co

Buried: Pr Ed Co, site unkn

Leaving aside for the moment all questions about the parents of the John McCargo who founded our line, and who I have come to know as "Old John", I will confine this monograph to what I have learned of his life since he first appeared on the pages of Virginia Colonial history. That may prove to be a promise I cannot keep, since it is tempting to fill the blanks of his life with conjecture. However, I hope to keep this within the realm of "reasonable conjecture".

Hard data on John's origin, that is his date and place of birth, his parents, even his date of marriage do not exist, or if they do exist, they have not yet been uncovered. It is one of the modern researcher's problems, that most of our colonial ancestors did not play a major part in events of their time. Many lived their entire lives with the sole record of their existence, an entry on a militia muster or as the "party of the first part" on a deed. But if the researcher is patient and persistent, sometimes hints or clues that may cast light on these questions may be found in records in which they may appear as bystanders to larger events. Witnesses to deeds, lists of those purchasing property at estate sales, probate records of estate distributions are some examples in which valuable information may be found. However the task of sifting though volumes of un-indexed, barely legible records is formidable, and discouraging to all but the most devoted researcher.

One such clue that casts some light on the above questions has been found in the application of his son, Radford for a pension based on his Revolutionary War service. The application, which was filed in Fayette County, Kentucky; February 20, 1834, states that he, Radford, was born in Cumberland County Va. in 1762, but that the only proof of that statement is "in my bible at home". Base on this simple statement we can make some statically based estimates on John's date of birth and date of marriage. Knowing that Radford was the first child and assuming John married at age 25, 1761 becomes the date of marriage and 1736, the date of birth.

"Old John" first appears to us in Cumberland County Virginia in October 1763, as the plaintiff in a suit in case law " McCargo vs Hall". As we have seen from Radford McCargo's pension application above, John had been married for at least two years, had one child over a year old and another on the way. As far as we can tell at this time, he owned neither land nor slaves, so how did he support this growing family? Sadly at this time we cannot supply the answer to these questions.

Cumberland County in 1763 was still very much a part of the Virginia frontier. It had existed as a county only since 1749, when the clearing of lands and the spread of settlements south of the James River, made trips to the old courthouse at Goochland too burdensome for these new settlers. Colonial government was located in Williamsburg, as were the centers of commerce and finance. The immigrants of the preceding generation had by this time formed themselves into a well established class system, based to some degree on merit, but with its roots in the English class system. Here, at least among the aristocracy, the son, after his marriage began his married life either in the father's home or on property provide by his parents. In a much more primitive fashion, the lower orders followed this same plan, but with one important difference. With the flood of new immigrants, both from abroad and from the colonies to the north, land had become scarce, and the younger sons began to looking to the virgin lands to the west, looking up the James River toward the mountains. As the newcomers pushed the frontier forward, they were joined by these "second sons" of the older generation in staking out claims in these new lands. As mentioned earlier, we cannot be sure to which group "Old John" belonged; that is was he a "new man", fresh from Scotland; or the younger son of an impecunious earlier settler? Perhaps we will never know for sure, but the odds appear to favor the later. (10)

But back to our question of - How did Old John provide for his family in the early years of his marriage? The simplest answer is, he either rented from or more likely, worked for a land owner. The only other McCargo in the area, Hugh was not a freeholder, but he had been in the county since 1753 for sure and he does appear on the parish tithe lists in the same year John's suit is filed, i.e. 1763, with three tithes listed. John could very well be one of these, since thithables then were defined as "All male persons of age sixteen and upwards; also all negro, mulatto and Indian women sixteen and above".

The court action mention above, was filed against Thomas Hall and though John prevailed, and a conditional judgement issued, the suit was dismissed in June of 1764,"for failure to prosecute" - probably because Hall had settled John's claim. Nothing more than these bare facts are known about the circumstances surrounding the suit.

By July 1764 John had accumulated enough spare cash to purchase his first piece a property, a two hundred acre tract on Great Deep Run Creek. This would have been in southeast Cumberland County, and located on the fork of the Little Deep Run. The property had been patented by John Alexander when it was still part of Goochland County and he sold it to John and Ann Scott, from whom John purchased it for £45. John's next-door neighbors at the new farm would be John Alexander as well as Nicholas Barnes and William Palmer. The deed was witnessed by James Pleasants, William Cunningham, Mary Gaines and Judith Scott, hence we can assume they were also neighbors, though not living on adjoining property.

The Ligon family is connected to our branch of the descendants of John McCargo, through Martha Christine (Blankenship) McCargo's mother, Elizabeth (Ligon) Blankenship. The Ligon's had been early settlers in Virginia and early to the frontier, succeeding generation moving south and west as the frontier moved that direction. There were at least four members of the family in Cumberland County in the mid-part of the 18th century. One of these James Ligon died late in 1764. His property was sold early in 1765, and in an accounting of his administration dated June 23, 1766, the administrator reported to the court, as still outstanding from the sale "Bond by John McCargoe for 5 pounds 12 shilling, 10 pence". Again what purchase this has reference to is unknown at this time.

During the next eight years, John continued to prosper. Five more children joined the family: Letty on 1763, David in 1764, Susannah in 1769. Robert in 1770 and James in 1771. The growing family, especially now that Radford was ten years old, and able to work in the fields, would naturally require more land, so John bought a one hundred acre tract adjacent to the older place. Drury and Lizzy Hudgen were the owners, and got £50 for the farm, or more than twice the price per acre over the cost of the first farm. John Creasy, William Parmore and Hezikiah Harding now became neighbors, with the witnesses to the deed; Jessee Thomas, L. Mosby and Davis Davenport probably living near-by.

Only two years passed before John acquired more land. In September of 1774, he bought neighbor Hezikiah's farm. Adding that 100 acres to his 300 acres giving him what might be called a small plantation. He paid £50 for the land, the same as he had paid for the previous 100 acres and what one might suspect was the "going rate" for land at that time. The child born in 1772 had been another girl, Elizabeth. But David, now ten, was old enough to join Radford in the fields. This would not have been enough to work what was by now a 400 acre farm, far too large to be productively worked by a small family such as John had then. The obvious solution to this problem would the acquisition of one or more slaves to augment the family labor force. While there is no evidence to support the assumption that John owned slaves at this time, he is shown as a slave owner later in Prince Edward county. The Hardin place was located on Great Deep Run Creek, and had been also been acquired by Hezikiah from John Alexander. William Turpin appears as a new next-door neighbor, and neighbors John Walker and Peter Martin are present to act as witnesses to the deed. Both sign with their mark.

In the interval between the last two land purchases, John had appeared in Cumberland court again, on July 27, 1771, this time as a witness for John Scruggs in his suit against John Mayo. Both men were long time residents of the county and both powerful in county politics. Here again we don't know the details of the suit, only that John was awarded £150 pounds of tobacco for five days at court and that presumably he was neighbor to both parties.

The years 1774 to 1781 were years of turmoil through out the colonies, and the John McCargo family felt the impact of those war troubled years. Two more children were born; Hezikiah in 1777 and John Junior in 1779, and in that same year Radford, had gone off to join the Revolution. John had even managed to get into the fight. Radford had come back home in the summer of 1880 to help his father in the fields that year and after the harvest was over, John joined Radford when he returned to the army for the winter campaign of 1881 on the North Carolina border. John probably came back home in April, in time for spring planting, leaving Radford to serve until the war dragged to it's end at Yorktown. Radford returned to his father's home in the fall of 1781.

The home that Radford returned to was not the one he had left in the fall of 1779. Something, some event, perhaps the war itself, led John to decide to leave Cumberland county and move further south to Prince Edward county.

In any event in November of 1780, he sold the entire 400 acre farm that he had put together to Thomas Walton for £10,000. The fluidity of the neighborhood is reflected in that of the adjacent land owners in 1774 only John Creasy and Peter Turpin were still living on their lands. Peter Montegue, and Richard Baskerville had replaced John Alexander and William Parmore. This deed apparently was executed at the court house and the record indicates "Mary Magdalene, his wife, being first privately examined, relinquished her right of dower in the land conveyed." This is the first clue we have concerning John's wife, so perhaps we should stop and examine:


The three basic items a genealogist seeks about an individual are:

1) Birth date

2) Parents

3) Date of Death

We can infer the first from the birth date of her first child, i.e. Radford in 1762, which would indicate her birth date as 1740. The date of death is more difficult to estimate. Without going into great detail, tax lists and deeds recorded in Prince Edward and Charlotte counties lead me to set this as occurring in 1787. Finally there is the matter of her parents.

Most would agree that the best and most reliable route to this information lies in probate court record - wills and estate distributions. Unfortunately this requires that one already knows the wife's maiden name, which in our case is exactly what we wish to know. In such cases another method may lead to unknown family name, that is look for it among succeeding generations, Finally and most untrustworthy, is a search of guardian records, looking for orphans cared for by the husband.

There are three clues in the case of Mary Magdalene that may ultimately solve the mystery. First, two of her sons gave the name Mary Magdalene to their daughters, and one of these, John Junr added a third name Mary Magdalene Smith. I have made a cursory search through the Smith probate records of Cumberland County without result. If a similar search through Goochland and perhaps Essex is unproductive, I feel this avenue will not be successful.

Next, her oldest was given the name Radford, and this name persists through the next three generations, usually coupled with George. Perhaps it is no coincidence that a prominent neighbor of the McCargo family in Cumberland was George Radford, constable of the Deep Run district. This too has not been fully investigated.(11)

Finally, much later, after Mary Magdalene was dead, John became guardian to two daughters of John Sullivant, who was the son of Owen Sullivant, also of the Deep Run area in Cumberland county during the 1760's. No serious effort has been made in the direction either.

But back again to the narrative of the life of our founder. Before finalizing the sale of the Cumberland county property, John prudently took steps to provide a new home for his family. In October 1780 he purchased a two-hundred farm in Prince Edward County from Drury Watson, which formerly had belonged to Benjamin Tyrce for £1,500. The property was bounded by lands belonging to Captain John Morton and Richard Morton. Witnesses to the deed were: Jeremiah Watson, Jasper Pillar, John Watson, Richard Morton, Jonathan Morton and David Morton.

Evidently John viewed the Prince Edward farm as only a temporary home, since he made no effort to expand. Indeed expansion may have been impossible, since he was surrounded on all sides by the rich and powerful Morton family. This may have been a factor that compelled him to almost immediately begin looking farther to the south to Charlotte county for a more permanent home. I have done little or no work in the Prince Edward county court records, but I have found only two deeds, one reflecting the purchase alluded to above and the other, an undated, strangely worded deed, executed when the property was sold. One of the "puzzlements" is the sale price £195.

Virginia had since the days of the Proprietorship, two currencies; tobacco and the English pound. But events in Philadelphia in the summer of 1775 led to the creation of a third and then to a fourth. One of the inevitable products of war is currency inflation, and the revolution was a typical war in this respect. The Second Contentional Congress of 1775 had created a continental dollar, to support and finance the expected war with the Crown. The events in Philadelphia were echoed, in short order, in Williamsburg by the creation of a third Virginia specie denominated in pounds, and really worth no more than the "Continental dollar".

Some idea of the magnitude and impact of the currency chaos this paper inflation created, can be found in Virginia county courts records. Numerous cases were instituted to collect a paper debt incurred before or during the war, in the only post war hard currency; silver, gold or tobacco. An example of attempts to settle this turmoil can be found in Charlotte county; quoting from Order Book 7-35 7 Nov 1786 . . . it is considered by the court that the plaintiff recover against the defendant and James Johnson, security for his appearance, the sum of two pounds, nine shillings, three pence and three farthings current money (being the reduction of 180 pounds paper money by the scale of depreciation) the debt in the declaration mentioned and his costs. Clk 157 shf 440 fee & tax 16/6 fifa 7 Dec 1786

Page 36 Debt expressed in gold or silver

15 shillings to equal 150 pounds of tobacco

Using this as a guide, the resulting Scale of Depreciation used by the courts can be set at 28 . However, if we assume that John lost nothing in his acquisition and subsequent sale of the Prince Edward property, then about half that figure or 13 would be a better estimate.

If John managed to avoid appearing in the Prince Edward Court Quarter Sessions, he couldn't escape the Tax Assessor. The late William S. Morton of Farmville Va., spent much of his last years transcribing Prince Edward Tax lists from originals in the Clerk's office. While I have not had access to the originals, I have seen and copied some of Mr. Morton's work. John McCargo appears on the 1783, 1785 and 1786 rolls, and on the 1788 roll under the category "A list of Alterations from May 1787 to May 1788: Dec 1787 John McCargo to John Morton 200 acres. These tax lists also give some idea of John's growing affluence; he now has 2 slaves, 5 horses and 17 head of cattle.

Though the John McCargo family stayed in Prince Edward County only seven years, these were critical years to the family. John himself had become active in the revolutionary cause, donating a "one beef, adjudged to weigh 200 pounds, including the fifth quarter" to the Army in July of 1780, and as noted above, for a brief period in 1781 he had become personally involved in the fighting. Letty had married Jonathan Morton, son of neighbor Richard Morton in November of 1784 and in January 1786, Radford now twenty-four, had married Lucy Morton, Jonathan's sister. Finally in 1787, wife and mother, Mary Magdalene had died.

As early as 1784, John took the first steps to carry out his planned move to Charlotte county. For on May 2nd of that year he bought two adjacent tracts, the first for £200, a tract of 313 acres from Joseph Freeman, the second a tract of 100 acres for £50 from John Redd. Both were described as "lying on both sides of the Reynolds Fork of Horse Pen Creek", a water course that lead down to the Little Roanoke River. The property had originally been patented by Benjamin Ward, sold by him to William Hudspeth and finally to Joseph Freeman and John Redd The land was still in much the same condition Benjamin Ward had found it when he filed the patent; virgin stands of white oak and hickory covering the slopes and valleys of the Reynolds Fork and its tributaries. The deeds identify John as well as Freeman and Redd as residents of Prince Edward County. There were no witnesses and the only boundary lines mentioned were in the second deed - Michel Gill, John Redd, Matthew Burk and Joseph Freeman

David now 20 was put in charge of clearing enough land to erect a house and in the following year construction was begun. By 1787 the house was ready for occupancy, though building must have continued until March 1794, since the administrator of George Brooke's estate reported to the March Court, 1794 that he had received:

"12/19/1791 sawing for John McCargo 850 ft planks ...... . 1/14/00"

"03/08/1794 By sawing at John McCargo's sometime past ... 8/02/00"

Based on the same cost per foot the later work could be estimated at 3,910 feet. We do not know it this reflects the current practice of invoicing lumber in "board feet", or was simply a statement for sawing that many "running feet" of lumber. In either case it must have been a substantial undertaking and apparently was carried out on site at the new house.

The next step in the move, after acquiring the Charlotte County property was disposal of the property in Prince Edward County, and in 1786 at the October Court there, he and Mary Magdalene appeared to acknowledge the sale and to relinquish her dower rights to James Morton for £190. The deed is somewhat puzzling in that it appears to be an exact copy of the earlier deed that conveyed the farm to John in 1780. The purchase price and grantee have been changed, but where the date appears in the earlier deed, here we find only a blank line. I proposed this be interpreted as: the sale was completed in October 1786, but John remained in possession until December 1787.

With the sale of the Prince Edward property, John had surplus funds that needed to be invested, and in those days land was the investment of choice. Property adjacent to his new place in Charlotte became available and on June 17, 1787 he bought another 400 acres from Thomas Williams, described as lying on Little Horsepen & Silcocks Creek and bounded by Thomas Williams, Dudley Brooke, Thomas Dunning, Henry Portwood, & William Johnston. Williams h
SubjectAuthorDate Posted
Tom McCargo 894196800000 
Velma A. McCargo 908020800000 
seanmccargo42 1363529441000 
PhyllissDavis 908884800000 
Betty Rush 1042769750000 
Phylliss Smith Davis 1042777504000 
bomcde 1294601947000 
bomcde 1294601988000 
per page

Find a board about a specific topic