John McCargo (1736-1814) Died Charlotte County VA.


Hugh McCargo of Cumberland
Relationship Not Determined

Submitted April 1998 by: TOM MCARGO

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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

Mar: Lucy Morton

2 - Letty MCCARGO

Mar: Jonathan Morton

3 - David MCCARGO

Mar: Nancy Portwood

4 - Susannah MCCARGO

Mar: Thomas Murray

5 - Robert MCCARGO

Mar: Rebecca Portwood

6 - James MCCARGO, SNR

Mar: Prudence Roberts

7 - Elizabeth MCCARGO

Mar: Thomas Portwood

8 - Hezikiah MCCARGO

Mar: Tabitha Herndon

9 - Littlejohn MCCARGO

Mar: Elizabeth Williams Callicott

b. Cumb Co. VA: 1762

     d. Boone Co MO: 1839

b. Cumb Co VA: 1763

      d. KY: Unkn

b. Cumb Co VA: 1764

     d. Char Co VA: 1814

b. Cumb Co VA: 1764

      d. KY: 1814

b. Cumb Co VA: 1767

     d. Lim Co AL: 1814

b. Cumb Co VA: 1771

      d. Char Co VA: 1843

b. Cumb Co VA: 1772

     d. Char Co VA: Bf 1800

b. Cumb Co VA: 1777

      d. Char Co VA: 1852

b. Cumb Co VA: 1779

      d. Char Co VA: 1856

(See further)



Married: ca 1760

Husband: Hugh McCargo

Born: ca 1740

Parents: Unknown

Died: ca 1785


Wife: Margaret (?) McCargo

Born: ca 1742

Parents: Unknown

Died: ca 1795


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)

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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 had acquired the property by deed from Matthew Burk. The price indicated on the deed, i.e. 300 or 15 shillings per acre does seem somewhat high in light of the price of 12 shillings, one pence, paid for the other two parcels.

By the summer of 1789 John had completed the move and the whole family was now together in the new Charlotte county home, which was destined to be his residence until his death some twenty years later. The property lay in a corner of a triangle formed by the main north-south road through Charlotte county; called "the Kings Road" and two minor roads running from it to the Court House in the west. One road ran from Keysville at the northern corner and the other from Wylliesburg, at the southern end. The McCargo house, which still stands today, was on the Wylliesburg - Court House Road and not far from the James Callicott plantation on Kings Road. Other neighbors whose homes were along this road were the Portwoods, Sullivants, Brezindines and Rawlings. Though John was not a wealthy man at this stage in his life, he was well on the way to becoming a leading figure in this frontier society. The earliest record I have found reflecting this growing affluence is found in the Court Orders for August 1789 when he sat on a jury to hear a case "in assault & battery & trespass". and in July of 1790 he was the defendant in a suit filed by George Caldwell. In March of 1792 for the first time, he sat on a grand jury. The importance of this public recognition of his new status can best be pointed out by quoting from The Role of the Grand Jury - Gwenda Morgan VMH&B 10/87

For many of Virginia's planters, membership on the grand jury was the largest public role they would be called upon to play, a role in which they might judge and influence not only their peers and inferiors but also their betters.

see Hennings III (1705) 367 & (1748) 523

.... "Jurymen should be freeholders, excluding those holding local county office such as constables & surveyors of public roads and those that hold licenses from the county court for operation of mills and ordinaries."

A new law passed ... in 1705 buttressed the authority of the grand jury. It fixed the membership at 24, of whom at least 15 had to appear to constitute a legal jury. Those who failed to respond to the sheriff's summons were liable to a fine of 200 pounds of tobacco.

Most grand jurymen were small landholders, owning less than 500 acres, but also included a few more substantial planters, from whose ranks the foreman was usually, but not invariably chosen.

A summary of John's service on both Petit and Grand juries in Charlotte County may be found at the end of this monograph.

John may have arrived but still was not important to be named foreman. Instead the 1792 jury was headed by Obediah Claybrook, Foreman and included John Rice and Philip Goode both neighbors of John.

I readily admit I am fascinated by the minutiae of every day life in colonial times that, from time to time, turns up as a by-product of my research. Some one once wrote " After many boring hours with my head in a micro film reader, I sometime happen on a bit of ancient gossip, I then become less of a researcher and more of a voyeur". As an example of those side paths leading away from my main subject "John McCargo", here is an extract from the Charlotte Co. Order Book that has the county levy for that year and provides an insight into life in the late frontier period (Bk 8-197)

Reps Osborne for two young wolves......... 300# Tobacco 1/17/6

Reps Osborne for 3 young wolves.......... . 450# Tobacco 2/16/3

Philip Osborne 1 old wolf................. 300# Tobacco 1/17/6

Next a brief look at the Charlotte Co. tax lists for those first years of John's residence there. The earliest I have found beginning in 1791, are in Richmond in the State Archives, though I have been told there are others that are earlier. I have included in a separate annex, extracts of these lists through 1806, which give an over view of the growth of John's estate. This extract taken from Thomas Spenser's 1791 and 1793 returns are representative of the genre:

Year Acres Rate Value Tax Commissioner


1791 313 6/3 97/16/3 1/9/4 Thomas Spenser

1793 544 6/2 86/218 1/5/10 Same

If the year 1800 was marked throughout the county by special celebrations of the beginning of a new century, there is no indication that in Charlotte County such ceremonies were conducted. But for John McCargo, that year must have been a water shed year. He was now 64 years old. His wife Mary Magdalene had died in 1787 and he had remained a widower for the last thirteen years. Of his nine children, only the two younger boys, Hezikiah and John, Junior were still at home with him. Two, Susannah and Elizabeth had died, two more, Radford and Letty had gone across the mountains to Kentucky, seeking cheaper and better land. The remaining children, all boys had married, and with John's help started dynasties of their own. David, had been given 270 acres in June of 1792. Then, Robert had been given 200 acres of the Williams property in March of 1795 and@ in June of 1797, John gave James the remaining 200 acres. I have found no records showing John executed deeds of gift to either Hezikiah or to Little John, though I suspect some property was transferred to each before they married. There is one uncharacteristic sale of property occurring just about this time. In July of 1798, John sold a small tract of 37 acres to a William Johns (or Johnston ?) for 10 and 12 hundredweight of inspected tobacco. No boundaries were shown so the exact location of the property is unknown. The witnesses: Joseph Haley, Bartlett James and James Connelly were all neighbors, so my interpretation is William had been working for John for some years and in recognition of his service John reluctantly parted with some of his precious land.

Once John had settled down in Charlotte County, he embarked on an ambitious program to expand his acreage. As a wave of emigration to Kentucky swept the neighborhood, he bought several tracts adjacent to his land on the Reynolds Fork of Horsepen Creek and even expanded across the Lunenburg county line to acquire two farms on the Meherrin River in that county. So far as I have been can determine, with the one exception mentioned above, John never sold any of these holdings and at the time of his death, he and his five boys owned over 2,500 acres in the two counties. The following is a summary of the purchases made in the final years of his life:

10/10/1797 - Lunen Co, from John & Mary Robertson on the Meherrin River " which he holds by deed from Lewis Dupree" 335 acres for 135

4/3/1801 - Char County, from Henry Portwood "bounded by Hezikiah McCargo" 255 acres for 145

6/3/1805 - Charlotte Co from William & Catherine Crenshaw

10/8/1805 - Lunen Co, from Allberry B. Ward "bounded by John McCargo" 142 1/2 acres for 68

5/9/1807 - Char Co, from Martin Worthy & ux for ___ acres Where? How much? This has a release dated one year later from Philip Worthy.

5/21/1812 - Char Co, from Clairborne Osborne &ux ___ acres for ?? Where ??

One important duty imposed on all free holders in early part of the 19th century Virginia was the office of "surveyor of the road". The duties included opening and keeping clear, a thirty foot wide road way and posting signs at each intersection. Surveyors were generally appointed during the winter court sessions and served three or four year terms. The post appears to have been rotated among the freeholders lying on the road and all were required to furnish "hands" to assist the surveyor. Surveyors of the road described as leading from Wyllie's tavern to Robert's at Almonds were William Rawlins 1787 -1790, Lloyd Portwood 1790 - 1794, John Rawlins 1794 - 1798, John McCargo 1798 - 1801, Thomas Portwood 1801- 1804.

Another unpleasant but necessary minor office that free holders were required to fill was that of "Overseer of the Poor". An example of the low regard in which the office was held is found in the records of the September Court of 1801, where it appears John had the office foist upon him:

Hilliary Moseley who was elected one of the Overseers of the Poor in the third district ... refusing to act in that office, the court therefore do appoint John McCargo to serve in the place of the said Moseley, whereupon the said John McCargo came into court and took the oath of office as by law required

Another civic duty closely allied to that of "Overseer of the Poor" was the voluntary responsibility of assisting in settling the estates of their neighbors and acting as guardians to their orphan children. As was mentioned earlier, when John Sullivant died in 1796 John was one of those who came to the aid of the family. The Sullivants had been neighbors of the McCargos earlier in Cumberland county, but had moved to Charlotte county much earlier than John, Owen Sullivant patenting land in the Reynolds Creek area in 1755. While it is not my purpose to here sort out the Sullivant family, the family of John & Polly Sullivant seems to have a special relationship to John McCargo's family. Two of the Sullivant children, Jerral and Henry, were adults and five Peggy, Woodson, Elizabeth, James and Amelia were minors. David McCargo became Peggy's guardian until she married Griffin Dodd in 1803 and John acted as Elizabeth's guardian until she married Elijah Fulkes in 1806. Woodson and Amelia Sullivant were placed with Allen Gilliam and John Roberts respectively. Finally John was appointed special guardian to represent all the minor children in a suit filed in November 1798 to divide and settle the Sullivant estate. In addition to this guardianship, John acted either appraiser or commissioner in the following action on the dates indicated:

To John May 3/4/1796 Bk 10-161 & 11/2/1801 Bk 13-96

To Micheal Gill 4/6/1801 Bk 12-251

To Ambrose Hunseley 6/1/1801 Bk 13-25

To John Rice 12/6/1802 Bk 13-233 & 8/01/1803 Bk 14-52

To settle Wm Brooks vs Dudley Brooke 8/6/1804 Bk 14-185

To Dudley Brooke 7/7/1806 Bk 15-174

To John Rawlins 1/29/1807 15-239

John became enmeshed in something he hadn't bargained for in one of the cases noted above. He provided the required bond when Elizabeth Rice decided to act as executrix to her husband's estate in June of 1805. A year later she married Jackman Parkinson, who apparently did not meet John's standards as a co-executor and in December of 1809 he took action to have the estate turned over to him for settlement. (12)

Finally before considering his will and final settlement of his estate another excursion into what life must have been like in those days. On a Sunday afternoon in late November 1805 Lloyd Portwood and John McCargo were called upon to conduct an inquest over the body of a negro man slave found dead in the neighborhood.

They examined the body of the said negro man named John, in the possession of Thomas Petty ... which appeared to be severely beaten from the neck to the heels with large switches and that there was a large bruise on his right breast ... which they supposed produced the death of the said negro. Thomas Petty confessed he had whipped the said negro on Friday afternoon before and the negro had died Saturday morning.

John McCargo and Lloyd Portwood ... are bonded to appear as witnesses before the Prince Edward District Court next.

John's actual date of death is not known, since his family bible has been lost, as well as his burial site. However it must lie between January 4, 1814 , the date his will was signed; and February 7, 1814 when the will was presented for probate to the Charlotte County Court. From its appearance and langauge it must have been prepared at his home, during his final illness. It was probably drawn up by one of the lawyers living around Reynolds Creek and Horsepen Creeks. The Bouldin family comes to mind, since they lived nearby and were prominent attorneys.(13) There is no proof of this however. The two witnesses were John Garnett and John Hundley. Of the first, I have very little data, beyond that Charlotte County Rich Indeed has but a single entry, a bare identification that he was a Revolutionary War pensioner, and a feeling that he probably was a neighbor. John Hundley however left many tracks - he was one of the several members of the Hundley family living between Reynolds & Little Horsepen Creeks. At one time, 1788, William Clark operated an ordinary in his house, though there is no indication that this arraignment lasted more than that year. He is also joined in an 1809 Court Order, with John as being responsible for furnishing road labor. (14)

The will is in most respects a normal will for those days. It provided that all debts were to be paid, previous gifts to his children were confirmed and the major part of his property and slaves were distributed to his heirs. There was a major surprise in the final paragraphs that disposed of the residue, his house and his personal property. Here a stranger intrudes and in a form that cast a different light on his final days. In essence John made a similar provision for this stranger that his contemporaries were making for their wives. That is he directed that "To Barbara Lewelling during her natural life, a tract of land ...containing 100 acres and after her decease, be sold at a credit of twelve months, to the highest bidder, . . . and the money arising from such sale be equally divided among my seven children." The Lewelling family (from the name, probably Welsh in origin), were early settlers in Prince Edward county, living near John at the time his wife Mary Magdalene had died.(15)

Barbaba's role in the McCargo household may have been nothing more than that of a housekeeper and the bequest a gift from a grateful employer. In any event she apparently retained control of the property until April 1822, when the family's patience finally ran out. James became the vehicle to eject her from the old McCargo place on Reynolds Fork. The details of how James accomplished this are lost, but the results are plain. Barbara was ordered by the Charlotte Court to make a deed to James in return for one dollar. Thus the place is returned to McCargo control, and Barbara disappears from history forever.(16)

A second surprise - to me at least, is John's designation of his youngest son, John McCargo Jnr., as one of his two executors. It was the custom in those days to nominate the eldest son to carry out his father's wishes as expressed in his will. The choice of the youngest son indicates to me either special affection or recognition of exceptional talent, or perhaps a little of each. John Jrn, ar Little John as he is named in the will was joined by John G. Bacon a recent County Justice, and a neighbor, apparently to act as advisor and counselor, since all, subsequent court actions are in Little John's name.

An inventory of John's estate was taken by Little John on 21 Feb 1814 and a final accounting made by the Commissioners; John Bacon. Frances Barnes, Jr., Robert Moore on 14 Aug 1817. Transcriptions of each of these documents may be found in Volume II -Deeds, Marriages, Probates and Other Documents Related to The McCargo Family and its Connections. The inventory does not place a value on the items listed, since his will requests no appraisement be made. It begins with a mention of 28 slaves which is followed by names of only twenty. John's will which was entered the following week names and distributes twenty-eight slaves to the heirs.(17) I would assume that the eight not named were already in the possession of the heir. Some interesting insights can be derived from the inventory. For example, there are two men's and one woman's saddle. John's wife had been dead for more than twenty years. Did this saddle belong to Barbara Lewellen? From the structure of the inventory the household goods appear to have been located in just one dwelling place, but there are five beds and their furnishing listed. Does this mean that at the time of John's death the house had been expanded to include five bed-rooms? The inclusion of such items as knitting needles, spun cotton, cotton wheels and flax would seem to indicate the presence of a woman in the household - again, was this Barbara? The inventory lists the following live-stock: 26 sheep, 12 horses, 14 cows, 6 oxen, 5 turkeys and 58 hogs; but strangely does not list either wagons or carriages. Perhaps the account of sales will reveal more on this.

The final accounting places the total value of the estate exclusive of land at slightly over 1,513; a substantial sum for those days. There is mention of funeral expenses of 1/10/0, but no mention of a payment to a doctor for his services. The list of bonds collected reads like a whose-who of Charlotte County, and includes one bond, the largest, of 475/05/02 from, James M. McCargo. This poses somewhat of a problem, since it probably reflects purchase of the John McCargo home-place consisting of 220 acres, less the 9 acres reserved for Barbara Lewellen. The problem is: John's son James, who appears to have had no middle name, became the owner of the home place, including the dwelling house now known as Westview-Saxe and passed it on to his daughter Cicley Booth. Hezikiah's son James M. McCargo or David's son James McCargo, called James Jr. were the only grandchildren old enough to have been the purchaser, and neither ever seemed to have been associated with the property. The moneys arising from the sales was distributed between 9 May 1814 - when the first payment of a child's share of 67/15/00 was made to Radford - and 13 Apr 1815 when Thomas Portwood received his children's share of 217/07/04.

I have neglected to obtain copies of the account of sales, but expect to remedy this in the near future. The final action I have extracted is from Char Co Court Orders Bk 20 pg 108 9 Mar 1814 where the commission appointed to divide the residue of John's estate make their final report. (18)



Assault & Battery:

Vs Joseph Hailey 5/3/1802 13-156


1) Vs Jas Loggins Charlotte Co Bk 7-7 No date (May be earliest in Charlotte Co)

2) stay judgm't against Jerral Sullivant est 8/8/1797 11-73

3) Vs Geo Redman "Pltf having departed this life" 3/7/1809 19-185

Wit to Will:

1) John Rawlins 12/5/1803 14-107

2) Non Cup will of Edward Goode Witnessed by John McQuie & Thomas Goode, on oath of Mack Goode, father, and William Goode brother .. Joice Goode, the widow - Property in Char & Meck Cos 9/5/1803 Bk 14-76

Wit in suit:

3/5/1799 12-7

8/5/1805 15-54


For Bartlett James 8/8/1797 Bk 11-79

For John Roberts, his Ordinary 4/3/1802 Bk 12-140

For Elizabeth Callicott Guardian of the orphans of William Callicott 1/7/1805 Bk 14-228

For Little John McCargo admr of James Callicott 6/6/1807 Bk 16-29

Court Orders Charlotte County

Petit Jury Grand Jury

08/5/1793 9-107 03/07/1796 10-139

08/4/1795 10- 81 05/01/1797 11-48

Petit Jury Grand Jury

08/4/1800 12-167 05/03/1802 13-153

08/1/1803 14-67 08/01/1796 10-205

11/04/1806 15-213 05/04/1797 11-35

05/1/1797 11-48 08/05/1805 15-39

11/5/1798 11-228

05/8/98 11-164

7/7/1800 12-167

8/01/1803 14-67

11/4/1805 14-79

8/3/1807 16-47

1. A Register & Description of Non-Commissioned Officers & Privates taken at Chesterfield Court House, Powhatten Court House, Carters Ferry Albemarle Old Court House, Cumberland Court House & at Winchester Barracks - Enlisted at different times 1777 to 1783

Pg 39 line 20

Stephen McCargo age 19 5 foot 3 1/2 in tall: Black eyes: fair complexion: no particular mark on features: occupation; hatter: Residence: Goochland Co: born; England, borough of London enlisted 27 Jan 1781 at Goochland Court House for duration of war

2. Revolutionary War Records - Brumbaugh (Copy in Va State Library)

Pg 187 " List of Off & sol of Va Cont Line, who are entitled to lands from the US, whose warrants are on file in the Bounty Land Off and who have not yet applied therefor" (Report to US Senate 1/16/1828)

Pg 234 Stephen McCargo (granted 200 acres by State of Va) soldier, Inf

Continental Line Warrants - Military Dist of Ohio

# 3020 Stephen McCargo (Benj McDonald, assignee) Soldier, duration of the war. Original warrant in Va. State Archives

I do certify that Benj McDonald, assignee of Stephen McCargo is entitled to the proportion of land allowed a private of the Continental Line who enlisted for the war and has served to the end.

Council Chambers.

Apr 26, 1784 (Signed) Thos Merinwether (Wit): Benj Narmory

3. 3\. In the Court of Monthly Sessions held for the county of Campbell, at the Court House thereof, on Monday the 12th day of February, 1838, a motion and satisfactory evidence thereto was produced in court and proved that David McCargo

is the brother of and only surviving heir at law of Stephen McCargo, late a soldier of the Revolution of the State Line of Virginia, in Continental establishments in the War of the Revolution. Teste John Alexander Clk

This is to certify that I was well acquainted with Stephen McCargo, of Cumberland County, that he was a soldier in the Revolutionary Army, that he departed this life shortly after the close of the war . and that David Mccargo, formerly of Cumberland county, but now of Campbell county , Virginia, is the reputed brother of the said Stephen McCargo. I was acquainted with old Mrs. McCargo the mother of the said Stephen and David McCargo, if she ever had any other children, I do not know of it. Witness my hand this 23 day of December 1837 John (his mark) Faris

This day David McCargo of Campbell county appeared before, me, a Justice of the Peace, in the county aforesaid and made oath that he was a brother and is the only surviving heir at law of Stephen McCargo, late a soldier of the Revolution of the State Line of Virginia, in Continental establishments, in the War of the Revolution, that the said Stephen McCargo departed this life shortly after the close of the Revolutionary War, without having a wife or children at the time of his death. Given under my hand this 7th day of December 1837

4. CTO Cumberland Co Va.Book 12 pg 89 - 22 Nov 1779

Ordered that the Church Wardens of Littleton Parish bind out Mary McCargo, dau of Hugh McCargo, a poor person to Joseph Micheaux and David McCargo, son of sd Hugh McCargo to Nathaniel Wade Barker.

Book 12 pg 130

"...Bind out Mary McCargo, dau of Hugh McCargo, a poor person to Simeon Hughes."

5. CTO Cumberland Co. Book 12 pg 12 - 27 Apr 1779

Hugh McCargo & Margaret, his wife vs Chas Dial

Trespass, assault and battery - dismissed, pltf failing to prosecute.

6. Barbara says: I found this in Hinshaw. I have found no Monthly Meeting minutes to Bedford or Campbell Co. I found this out on prodgy with the resource BB of Bedford Co. Someone wrote and said she found a Tracy/McCargo Marriage listed in the Quaker marriage records of Bedford Co and a McCargo/Overstreet Marriage listed in the Campbell Co Quaker Marriage records.

7. The material in Bedford Co is zero on land records for McCargo, except for the Kitty Miller (McCargo) Tracy land which was sold in 1813. It is listed as DOWER. Her husband Solomon Tracy sold same piece in 1812???

8. Court Orders: Cumberland Co

Bk 1 Pg 47 - Feb 25, 1746

"Petition of summons brought by Hugh Magarrah pltf against Francis Sanders & John Harrison is dismissed, being agreeable to both parties." Bk 1 pg 73 - May 1753

Hugh Magarroh vs Joseph Rice: The pltf having departed this colony and failing to give security for cost, case dismissed.

Bk 1 pg 88 - May 1753

Hugh Magarroh vs John Salmon, a petition. Def summonsed and not appearing 1 pound 18 shilling & 2 pence and a Sarsen.

9. There is another David McCargo in Penn, nearly the age of this David:

1810 Pa: David McCargo Fayette Co, Germantown Pg 81 Line 28

WM(-10) 3 WM(10-16) 1 WM(16-26) 2 WM(45+)1

WF(-10) 7 WF(10-16) 1 WF(26-45) 1

10. I have reservations about one source of John's birthplace found in:- DAR Application For Membership National Number 518504 Mrs Dorothy Flinn Stafford Jan 17 1983

7) The said Robert McCargo was the child of John McCargo born ca 1740 at Whitbyfirth Parish Scotland died at Charlotte Co VA before 7 Feb 1814 and his 1st wife Mary Magdalene born ___ at ___ died ___ at___ ca 1765 Married ___ at ___

Another doubtful reference was found in a World Family Tree file "The Ancestors of Jeanann Goss" which states Children of John Radford and Elizabeth Maxey are:

ix. Mary Radford, born 1735 in Powhatan County, Virginia; married John M. McCargo

11. Recently whhile browsing the Internet I found a reference to Mary Radford, wife of John McCargo:

I looked in my much loved "THE MAXEY'S OF VIRGINIA" book and I too have a John McCargo who married a Mary Radford. I do not have her middle name as Magdalene but that is possible as that is a common name to the 'Maxey' line. Mary's parents were Elizabeth Maxey and John Radford. It also states that: "In 1743 John Radford was listed as a constable in the records of the court, and in later years he Kept an Ordinary (???) in the in his home, having been licensed to do so by the court in 1752 and 1754." The author of my source book address is ; Edythe Maxey Clark - 6909 Chickasaw Bayou Rd. Bradenton, FL 34203.

If you need any info from her. She is getting up in age, I myself have never written her. I got her address from another Cuzin' a while ago.

12. 12\. 15 October 1809 Book 17 page 7

John McCargo security for Elizabeth Rice, Exorx of John Rice apprehends himself in danger of suffering therewith seeks counter security against Jackman Parkinson who hath intermarried with the sd Elizabeth Rice

4 December 1809 Book 17 page 35

John McCargo, pltf vs Jackman Parkinson and Elizabeth his wife, defs

Defs ordered to deliver the estate of John Rice dec'd into the hands of John McCargo

13. Thomas T. Bouldin and John W. Bouldin were neighbors, both were attorneys.

14. (#4 SEP 1809) Pg 2 Richard Connelly is appt surveyor of the road from the Court House Rd by Mays old mill leading to Joseph Gregory's and it is ordered that he with the male laboring persons of John McCargo, Mitchell Gill, Wm Skelton, Wm Farrel, Claiborne Osborne, Rich Rutledge, David Rutledge. Wm Rutledge, Wm Matthews & Jno Hundley do keep the same in repair and cleared 30 ft wide according to law.

15. The Lewellen family has not been thoroughly researched but perhaps a clue to Barbara's identity may lie in the will of Christopher Lewellen, which is recorded in Charlotte Co as follows:

Settlement WB 9-96 7 Sep 1847--mentions Mrs Lewellen, Elvira Lewellen and John S. Lewellen

16. Ordered the county surveyor lay off and assign to the pltf, James McCargo, 9 acres of land whereon the def Barbara Lewellin resides. Further ordered and decreed that the said Barbara Lewellin execute a deed to the pltf for the said 9 acres when laid off. Jun 6, 1821 Char Co. Court Orders 23-96

17. Analysis of the two documents indicate the following slaves were omitted in the inventory: Shadrack, Sam, Harrison,Julia, Anthony, Doll, Paul and Joshua

18. Robert McCargo; Hezikiah McCargo & Thos McCargo, admr of David McCargo, which said Robert, Hezikiah & David are sons & legatees of John McCargo dec'd vs

Little John McCargo, Exor of John McCargo, dec'd who is also a son & Legatee of said John McCargo.

Ordered and decreed that Travis Brooke, Robt Moore, Francis Barnes Jr and William Dupree, or any three of them do allot unto four equal parts that part of the estate devised under the residuary clause mentioned in the will of John McCargo, called in the bill "the residue of his estate" and assign three parts thereof in equal division to the pltfs Robert & Hezikiah and to Thomas as admr of David McCargo and the remainder, being one quarter of the whole to the def Little John McCargo, the legatee in the residuary clause mentioned in the testator's will.

NOTE: John G. Bacon added as commissioner 3 Apr 1815 (Page 111)

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