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The Ancestors of Gen. George B. McClellan

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The Ancestors of Gen. George B. McClellan

Posted: 1232808381000
Classification: Query
Surnames: McClellan
I would like to share the following on the ancestors of Gen. George B. McClellan.

From: Scotch Irish Pioneers in Ulster and America by Charles K. Bolton (originally published in 1910)

Pg. 179:
“…….At the head of the party of emigrants was the Rev. Edward FitzGerald from Londonderry, of who less is known than of the other ministers of the migration. James McClellan was one of the leaders, and he may have even been in Worcester when the band of emigrants came slowly out of Boston, if he landed on July 28th (1718), as seems possible. It was on Saturday, August 9th, of the week after the ships entered the harbor, that McClellan made terms with Gershom Rice of Worcester for a farm of seventy five acres.” -- Middlesex Deeds, Vol. 19, p. 328.

Pp. 182-183
“The orthodox church was built in 1719……… In 1733…… In the fore seat of the long gallery were William and James McClellan, and Robert Barber; in the second seat were Patrick Peables, John McConkey, John Peables; and in the second seat of the “frunt galiry” were Samuel Gray, Thomas Hambleton, and Matthew Clark…..”

The following information is in regards to the Will of James McClellan; signed 29 Sept 1729; probated 31 Oct 1729, in Worcester, MA.

Pp. 185-186
Exact information may be had in regard to a few o the Worcester settlers. James McClellan, whose early purchase of land has already been mentioned, was a very religious, industrious and thrifty man. His will, on file at the Middlesex Probate office, was signed September 29, 1729, when he made his mark. It was probated October 31st. The will was written apparently by Samuel Jenison, who with Moses and Jane Harper were witnesses. McClellan mention “Margaret my dearly beloved wife”; the son William to have lands at Boggerhoage, (NOTE: “The south part of town, then known as Bogachoag [now Auburn].” – Carl’s tour in Main Street, p. 119.), 104 acres with buildings, and to give his mother yearly 100 weight of beef and 100 weight of pork; the son James to haul and cut her fire wood, and to provide yearly ten bushels of Indian corn, three of English corn, two of malt, one barrel of cider, fodder for two cows, and a horse in the winter season, and also to fit (?) him in order whenever she wants to ride. To Margaret he gave the use of the orchard for life. To William’s children William, Samuel and Ann he gave three pounds each, and to James children James and Rebecca like sums. James he made executor. It is an excellent will, clear, simple, and thoughtful through all details, worthy of the Worcester colony, and of the emigrant’s distinguished descendants General Samuel McClellan, General George B. McClellan, and the mayor of greater New York.

Various posts in the past have stated that John McClellan, one of the sons of James McClellan, died in July of 1718 when he drowned off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. I have not located any records that document and support John McClellan’s death by drowning. John McClellan is mentioned in the above book as already living in the area in 1717. He represents the Presbyterians settlers and James McClellan the Orthodox Church supporters. Somehow I believe the arrival date of James McClellan in Massachusetts has been assigned to John McClellan erroneously as his death date. In 1724 John McClellan, along with J. McClellan, James McClellan, and William McClellan, is still paying for his pew in the local church. By 1733, only James and William McClellan are still members of the church. From here tradition says that after James died in 1729, the sons lived in the area for a while but later moved away. William went north then west and that James later sailed south to the Carolinas. The information on James is supported by the following:

On page 288 of Scotch Irish Pioneers, Bolton relates that a group of settlers came to the Carolinas in either 1732 or 1733 and petitioned for a grant of land. A township 20 miles square along the Black River was laid out for them, and was given the name Williamsburg. To this colony came John Witherspoon, James McClelland, William Sym, David Allen, William Wilson, Robert Wilson, James Bradley, William Frierson, John James, William Hamilton, Archibald Hamilton, Roger Gordon, John Porter, John Lemon, David Pressley, William Pressley, Archibald McRae, James Armstrong, the Erwins, Plowdens, Dickeys, Blakelys, Dobbinses, Stuarts and McDonald’s.

James McClelland helped organize the first Orthodox Church in Williamsburg and was a member of that church for many years.

When the migration to Maine began in the mid 1720’s, John McClellan is later found in Maine in the 1730s in a number of court records for debt, assault, and trespass. William McClellan is also found in these records for the same charges as above before 1740 along with an Elizabeth McClellan for fornication. The location is approximately 50-60 miles north of Boston Harbor. In the records I have from several lines of McClellan’s, John McClellan of Maine is named as the ancestor of the McClellan line that settled at the location known as Boonesborough, and later renamed to Cane Hill, Arkansas. John McClellan married Anna Arbuckle, and they later settled in Virginia.

There is a discrepancy with the dates of General Samuel McClellan of the Revolution, General George B. McClellan’s Great Grandfather. Most records give his birth date as 1732/1733. The earliest datea I have found referenced to are 1729/1730. Any way you look at it, the Samuel McClellan named in James McClellan’s will does not seem to be the right age at all for the Samuel McClellan who became the Rev. General. Even if he were born 1729/1730, he would still have been born after James McClellan’s death and most likely is not the Samuel named in the will.

Another recent post I’ve read concerning General George McClellan mentions that Robert McClellan of Chester Co., PA is a younger brother (?) of James McClellan of Worcester, MA. Is there any proof of this relationship? I ask this question because all the information I have points to General Samuel McClellan of the Rev. as most likely being the son of Robert McClellan and Elizabeth Ewing McClellan. Robert died in 1741 in Chester Co., PA and left a will. William McClellan was named the guardian of his young orphans including Samuel McClellan who was born in 1733. After his father’s death in 1741, Samuel was now referred to as the son of his oldest brother, William McClellan. Robert McClellan and several of his sons all embraced the Quaker beliefs.

I am told that General Samuel McClellan is buried in Sadsbury, PA beside his brother, Thomas McClellan, who is another son of Robert and Elizabeth Ewing McClellan.

Check out the Sadsbury Tax list for 1753:

You will find a lot more names of the early settlers who removed from the eastern coast to the new lands being settled by the Quakers. Remember to take into account the different phonetic spellings of the surnames. Anyone who argues about the spelling of a surname not being exact to today’s version, especially when researching the McClellan surname, is a very inexperienced researcher.

Nancy McClellan Feroe

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