Using The Argyle Patent Documents to Identify the Parents of Catherine McArthur (ca. 1721—after June 1797) and her brother Duncan McArthur (ca. 1727—1 February 1813)

Case Study-2aCase Study: The Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) defines a case study as “an intelligent, honest illustration of how the writer used a technique to bring about the described result.” Case Studies and Proof Arguments have a different tone than telling a story. The idea of a case study is to focus on the methodology used to arrive at the conclusion.1

Introduction:

I had always thought Catherine and Duncan McArthur were siblings and the children of Alexander McArthur and his wife Catherine (née McArthur). I have explained my reasons over the years to countless researchers. Most remain married to the assertion that Catherine and Duncan were the children of Alexander McArthur and Catherine (née Gillis). In 2000 I became aware of some newly found documents relating to the Argyle Patent, documents previous researchers did not have access to. Fourteen years later I was able to examine those documents. At the same time, I acquired copies of most of the previously known original documents associated with the patent. A listing of the patent documents can be found here. Incorporating the new documents I sat down to do a comprehensive analysis. Could I finally prove one way or the other who Duncan’s and Catherine’s parents were?

Previous Assertions:

On 18 January 1956 Mrs. John MacMorris, the Argyle, New York, town historian published installment 72 of her series of newspaper articles, “Argyle Men who Fought in Revolution.” MacMorris asserts Catherine McArthur and her brother Duncan, who drew Lot 44 of the Argyle Patent, were the children of Alexander McArthur who arrived in the Province of New York in 1738. MacMorris does not specifically name Catherine’s and Duncan’s mother. However, the Alexander McArthur who arrived in 17383 was married to Catherine McArthur.4 The following year on 20 February 1957 MacMorris published “Installment #56 Duncan McArthur.” In this article, MacMorris asserted Duncan McArthur of Lot 44 is the son of Catherine Gillis & Alexander McArthur who arrived in 1739.5

These two articles are in direct conflict. There were two Alexander McArthur’s both married to Catherines. Alexander McArthur and Catherine McArthur arrived in 1738. While Alexander McArthur and Catherine Gillis arrive in 1739. In 1956 MacMorris indicated Catherine and Duncan were the children of Catherine (née McArthur). By 1957 Duncan’s mother was Catherine (née Gillis).

News Papers_Gill
The newspaper articles are from the reprints done in 2002 & 2004. “Argyle Men who Fought in Revolution, Installment #7 Archibald McNeil,” article, Greenwich Journal & Salem Press (New York), 21 November 2002, p. col. 5-6. “Argyle Men who Fought in Revolution, Installment #56 Duncan McArthur,” article, article, Greenwich Journal & Salem Press (New York), 5 February 2004, p.3, col. 3-4. Islay V. H. Gill, A History of the Argyle Patent (New York: Washington County Historical Society, 1956), Appendix No. 1, p. 66–7.

Sometime between MacMorris’ two articles, Islay V. H. Gill published A History of the Argyle Patent. In the appendix, Gill set out to identify the families and their immediate descendants of the original grantees of the Argyle Patent. He admits he fell short of that goal.6 He did write short biographies about each of the first grantees deriving most of the information from six sources.7 In his biographies, he identified Catherine McArthur as the daughter of Alexander McArthur and his wife Catherine McArthur.8 Gill identified Duncan McArthur as the son of Alexander McArthur and his wife Catherine Gillis.9 According to Gill Catherine and Duncan were not siblings. Was Gill’s assertion the reason for MacMorris changing her assertion for Duncan’s mother’s surname from McArthur to Gillis? It certainly appears so.

In the fall of 1847, Dr. Asa Fitch who at the time was an epidemiologist living in Washington County New York began work on a history of Washington County. Over the next 30 years, he compiled seven manuscripts of notes. His notes came from a number of sources including interviews with descendants of the original grantees of the Argyle Patent, original documents in the courthouse, newspaper articles and canvassing the local cemeteries.10 These manuscripts were not well known until 1997 when Laura Hulslander published The Asa Fitch Papers Volume 1 with the first index of the material.11 Entry no. 78 is an interview conducted by Dr. Fitch with William McNeil on 9 November 1847. McNeil stated that Catherine McArthur was his great-grandmother and Duncan McArthur was his great-uncle.12 It was with Hulslander’s publication that an overwhelming majority of researchers changed who Catherine’s parents were. The wind blew and Catherine became the daughter of Alexander McArthur and Catherine Gillis. This change made no sense to me. From what I knew about the Argyle Patent at the time it made more sense to “change” Duncan’s parents and not Catherine’s. When I tried to explain why I was met with an enormous amount of resistance from historians and genealogists. Researchers had absolutely no desire to consider another option. Duncan was the son of Catherine Gillis. Period. It didn’t matter that it didn’t make sense.

Asa Fitch Journal Page
Asa Fitch Journal-page entry 78.

Twenty-one years later there is still no sign of exploring other options. Currently, out of 30 trees on Ancestry, only two assert Catherine’s mother was Catherine McArthur. Eleven assert she is the daughter of Catherine Gillis. Five do not identify a mother. In twelve Catherine’s name is Catherine Gillis McArthur with no parents. There is only one tree on Ancestry that identifies Duncan’s mother as Catherine McArthur. Three claim his mother is Catherine Gillis McArthur. No less than 21 claim his mother was Catherine Gillis. None of the trees have sources other than other family trees and FindAGrave.13

THE ARGYLE PATENT

Background:
The Argyle Patent was granted to the passengers of three ships of immigrants who sailed from Islay, Scotland in 1738, 1739, and 1740. There were a total of 89 families comprising 358 persons, and 112 single persons for a total of 470 passengers.14 Captain Lauchlin Campbell promised the immigrants land in the Province of New York if they agreed to sail with him. In order to receive a land grant from the Province of New York interested parties filed a petition with his Majesty’s Lieutenant Governor. Once approved Letters Patent15 would be issued. The first petition of several was filed 17 October 173816 less than a month after the first ship arrived in New York City.17 The Argyle Patent was granted 26 years later on 21 March 1764.18 Due to the length of time between the arrival of the immigrants and the issuance of the patent a large number of documents including several lists of the passengers and their heirs was generated. Most of the documents fall into two primary time spans. The first, between 1738-1741 and the second between 1763-1764.

Passengers from the three ships Captain Campbell brought over were authorized to draw lots. By the time the ballot to draw lots occurred on 17 April 176419 all of the children who immigrated were adults. They along with their parents were eligible to participate in the balloting provided they were willing to pay the associated fees and expenses. Others that were eligible were heirs who were born after the ships arrived and both parents were deceased.20

Jennie M. Patten

In 1928 Jennie M. Patten published the History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, DeKalb County, Illinois With Ancestral Lines of the Early Members. One of her Appendixes has been published as a stand-alone book. The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents. The appendix contains a number of transcribed documents associated with the Argyle Patent. To a large extent, Patten’s transcriptions have been the foundation for discussions of the Argyle Patent. There is only one document that appears to have been created by Patten. The assignment of specific grantees to lots and holdings is shown in Patten’s Document VII.21 There is no source or citation for this document. The table appears to have been created by copying the list of the grantees named in the Letters Patent, then adding the lot numbers using the map first published in The Fort Edward Book by Robert Bascom in 1903 and his subsequent listing of grantees by lot number.22

The New Documents: Argyle Patent Land Records

In 1994 Professor Leo Hershkowitz donated a collection of original documents dealing with the beginnings of the Argyle Patent to the Washington County Archives. He had acquired them in the mid-1970s at an estate sale. Hershkowitz was a professor of history at Queens College in New York City. This collection of documents would have been the types of records held and generated by the trustees tasked with distributing the land. The collection includes receipts, letters, a number of original deeds, an original map of the Argyle Patent used during the balloting, and perhaps the most important document in this case study, a directory of grantees with their lot numbers including the number of acres in each lot completed during the balloting on 17 April 1764.23 (Document 22) This directory was never seen by Patten, Bascom, Gill or MacMorris. It is similar to Patten Document VII but there are differences. The crucial difference is the order of the grantees. For it is this order that determines which families received which lot. (For a listing of other differences see Document 22 here).

THE ANALYSIS:

The Analysis
Nine of the 22 Documents have been used extensively in the following case study. The first part uses Documents 9, 11, 12 & 13. The second part adds Documents 15, 18, 19, 21 & 22 to the resulting information from the first part.

The primary method used to analyze the documents was a spreadsheet. Each document contains the name of the primary immigrant followed by additional information about them and their family structure. Two spreadsheets where used.

Spreadsheet One:
One line was used for each primary individual. Columns were added for each piece of data contained in an entry. The columns include the document number, order of entry on the document, a standardized spelling for the given name & a column for the standardized spelling of the surname. Additional columns include actual spellings of given and surnames any identifiers included in the document, their status (alive or dead), family structure, additionally named or numbered individuals, allotted acres and lot numbers. The original documents contain two spellings of the surname McArthur. The second is McCarter/MacCarter. McArthur was used as the standardized spelling. This spreadsheet contains 1449 rows of data.

Spreadheet-1Spreadsheet One
Due to the size of this spreadsheet, this is a partial image.

Spreadsheet Two:

While sorting and filtering the spreadsheet a two-part pattern started to emerge. It appeared that the primary immigrant was in the same order on each document beginning with Document 12.

Document 12 lists the immigrants in 6 groups. The groups are:

  1. Heads of Families 1738
  2. Heads of Families 1739
  3. Heads of Families 1740
  4. Single Passengers 1738
  5. Single Passengers 1739
  6. Single Passengers 1740

It also became obvious that several documents were not in chronological date order. This was the result of a rearrangement of the original documents circa 1819.24 They are numbered in the order in which they are now filed. During the rearrangement and binding Documents 15, 18 and 19 were filed in reverse date order.

The second part of the pattern is the amount of acreage allocated to a primary person. Documents 15, 18, 21 and 22 contained the same amount of land for each grantee. Documents 12 and 19’s allocated land is 100 acres less.

To test the pattern a second spreadsheet was developed. The rows are the primary individuals. The columns are; document number in order of entry, given name, surname, and the number of acres allotted. Documents 12, 15, 18, 19 and 22 were used for this spreadsheet. The final two columns are immigration year and if the primary individual was a head of household or single when they immigrated. This spreadsheet contains 183 rows of data. Individuals were added and others removed from the subsequent documents explaining why the individual entry numbers can and do change between documents. The actual overall order remained consistent across the documents with two exceptions. Entries 9 and 10 in Document 22 were moved from their original locations in previous documents and reinserted in spaces where two others were removed. In the following spreadsheet they were inserted in the order they appeared on Document 12, entries 104 and 65 respectively.

In the entries for Documents 15 and 22 where the primary individual had died; the named person was his or her previously named, spouse, child or an heir.25

Of the 141 lots granted four do not follow the pattern for the amount of acreage received by the grantee. In Document 22 entries: 1, 33, 41 and 132 the acreage is greater than the pattern would indicate. One possible explanation is primary individuals that appear on Document 12 but not subsequent documents may have been children or heirs of the primary and their allotment was combined in order to receive a larger lot. Document 22 entries 83 and 84 were one after the other in the first three documents then reversed in the last two. This can be explained by a transcription error when copying the document.

Documents 12 19 18 15 22Spreadsheet Two

Part One:
The Documents 9, 11, 12, 13 & a letter:

Though organized in different ways the four documents contain passenger lists for all three years. Document 9 is the only one where an original exists.26 The other three were lost in The 1911 Capital Fire in Albany, New York. Fortuitously Patten transcribed these three documents and published them in her book.27 Without those transcriptions, this analysis would not have been possible. Patten’s transcriptions of available original documents are accurate. There is no reason to think that she changed her methods for the three documents lost in the fire.

Document 9lDocument 9

Document 928 begins with “A List of Familys [sic] and Their Desendents [sic]…” This list contains those passengers that emigrated and information about people who did not immigrate but were born in the colonies. It gives the primary person’s name, their status, and the family structure. It tells you if the person was married at the time of immigration if they married after their arrival and the number of sons, daughters, and grandchildren they may have that are living. The three McArthur family groups who arrived in 1740 are missing from this list.

Document 11Document 11 Patten Document VIII

Document 1129 is basically three very long paragraphs with one name after the other. It begins with “A List of Passengers from Islay…” There is no mention of descendants in the title and a comparison with Document 9 bears this out. Document 11 contains the names of the immigrants that actually sailed with Captain Campbell. The list includes the full name of the wife using maiden names and it includes the given names of any children that sailed with their parents.

Document 12Document 12 Patten Document IX

Document 1230 begins with “List of Persons brought from Scotland by…” Even though it is not stated at the start of the document, Document 12 contains information from both Documents 9 and 11. The lists of names are grouped by Heads of Family by year of arrival followed by Single (adult) Persons by year of arrival. The document does not name each child but does reveal how many are living. With this information, the number and sometimes the sex of children born after the ships arrived can be determined.

Document 13Document 13 Patten Document X

Document 1331 begins with “A further Account.” This list is comprised of individuals not included in the previous lists or updates the status of some of those included in the previous lists.

Letter p111Letter Dated 9 April 176332

This letter is part of the Argyle Patent Land Records collection donated by Professor Hershkowitz. It was not available to Patten, Gill or MacMorris. Information from this letter clarifies several of the McArthur family groups.

McArthur Family Groups:

Combining the McArthur information from the four documents and the letter dated 9 April 1763 produced nine distinct McArthur family groups. The tables below include the year of immigration, the document number where the information came from, the entry order on the document and information from the document is noted. McArthur is used as a standardized spelling. If different the surname spelling found in a particular document is noted below each table.

In Documents 11, 12 and 13 the primary individuals always appear in the same order as the number of the family group listed below. The actual entry number may change from one document to the next due to persons being added or removed from a particular list. Document 9’s order is reversed.

Family Group 1
Family Group 1
Family Group 1 Neil McArthur and Mary Campbell33

Family Group 2
Family Group 2
Family Group 2 Patrick McArthur and Mary McDougall34

Family Group 3
Family Group 3
Family Group 3 Duncan McArthur and Anna Quinn35

FAMILY GROUP 4
Family Group 4
Family Group 4 Alexander McArthur and Catherine McArthur36

FAMILY GROUP 5
Family Group 5
Family Group 5 Alexander McArthur and Catherine Gillis37

FAMILY GROUP 6
Family Group 6
Family Group 6 John McArthur and —?— 38

FAMILY GROUP 7
Family Group 7.jpg
Family Group 7 Ann McArthur Sr.39

FAMILY GROUP 8
Family Group 8
Family Group 8 Ann McArthur Jr.40

FAMILY GROUP 9
Family Group 9
Family Group 9 Charles McArthur41

Who was Catherine McArthur, immigrant (adult/child) or heir?

Catherine McArthur drew Lot 67 in the Argyle Patent.42 There are three options that would have allowed her to participate in the balloting.

  1. Catherine was an adult when she sailed from Scotland or
  2. Catherine was an heir born after the arrival of one or both parents and both parents died by 1764 or
  3. Catherine was a child on one of the ships.

OPTION 1: Catherine was an adult.
There is only one adult Catherine McArthur on the ships lists. She was the wife of Alexander McArthur43 and was dead by 1764.44 Eliminating option 1 from consideration.

OPTION 2: Catherine was an heir born after the ships arrived.

A marriage record for Catherine McArthur and Archibald McIlepheder/McNeil has not been found.45 The sale of Catherine’s lot was not recorded in the Washington County or Albany County deed books. However, a number of other documents can help narrow down when Catherine and Archibald were married and started to have children.

Archibald penned his will on 21 March 1793. In his will, he mentions his wife, children, and a grandson. Archibald bequeaths the northern half of Lot 11 to his son John, “now in his actual possession.” Archibald names his grandson Archibald [Jr.] as the “son of John McNeil” to whom he bequeaths the southern half of Lot 11 where he now resides. Archibald goes on to direct his grandson to “maintain my wife Catherine with a good and comfortable living during her natural life.” The executors were his son John McNeil and Duncan McArthur.46 The only Duncan McArthur living in Argyle at the time was Duncan McArthur of Lot 44.

Archibalds WillArchibald McNeil’s Will

Archibald’s grandson Archibald [Jr.] was interviewed by Dr. Fitch on 5 January 1850. Archibald [Jr.] died in March 1852 in his 83rd year.47 Calculating back he would have been born circa 1771 the year following the marriage of his parents. He would have been about 22 when his grandfather named him in his will and about 81 when he was interviewed by Dr. Fitch.

Asa Fitch Journal Page 676Asa Fitch Entry No. 676

Archibald [Jr.] states his father, John, and grandfather, Archibald came to Argyle in 1768. They cleared some land and planted a crop of wheat. Then returned to the Highlands (an area in Ulster County, N.Y.) The following summer, in 1769 they began building a log house and in May 1770 brought the entire family to Argyle.48 Archibald [Jr.’s] parents John McNeil and Jane Wharry were married two months earlier on 15 March 1770.49 John was born 1 August 1745 and died 23 May 1826 three months before his 81st birthday.50 Original records have not been found for John’s birth or death. He does not have an existing tombstone. A birth year of 1745 does align with a marriage in 1770. On 20 September 1776, John was named as an executor in Alexander Gilchrist’s will.51 By law, John would have to be at least 21 years old when he was named as an executor supporting a birth year of at least 1745.

In 1874 Duncan R McNaughton wrote a biographical sketch of John’s family stating he died “in a good old age over fourscore years.”52 Both Patten’s notes and McNaughton’s sketch assert John had an older brother Archibald born circa 1743. Both Patten and McNaughton assert that this Archibald wandered off into the woods. McNaughton claims he was never found while Patten claims he died.53

Catherine and Archibald were married and having children by 1743 or at the latest by 1745. She was most assuredly older than 6 or 8 when she married. Eliminating option 2. She was not born after 1738. Leaving only one option.

OPTION 3: Catherine was a child.
There is one child with the name Catherine McArthur. She is the daughter of Alexander McArthur and his wife Catherine McArthur from Family Group 4.(FG 4)54

Family Group 4Family Group 4

Duncan McArthur of Lot 44:
There is one head of family named Duncan McArthur (FG 3) and two children named Duncan McArthur.55 Duncan McArthur from FG 3 is dead by 176456 eliminating him as the Duncan of Lot 44.

When Dr. Fitch interviewed William McNeil. McNeil asserted Duncan was his great-grandmother’s brother.57 One of the children named Duncan is the son of Catherine’s parents Alexander McArthur and his wife Catherine McArthur (FG 4) The other is the son of Alexander McArthur and Catherine Gillis (FG 5). The evidence is compelling that Duncan of Lot 44 is the son of Catherine McArthur and not Catherine Gillis. Part 2 will analyze five additional documents to determine if the hypothesis holds.

Part Two: Documents 15, 18, 19, 21 & 22

Part one used the four documents that contained the various passenger lists. Part 2 examines the five documents pertaining to the amount of land each primary individual was to receive. The primary individuals used in this case study are in the same order relative to each other on Documents 12-19 & 22.

Documents 15-19 are not numbered in chronological order by date. They are numbered in the order they appear in the New York State Department of State Applications for Land Grants. These documents were rearranged by date in 1819.58 Unfortunately, not all of the documents contained a date. The result is several documents are not in the order they were created. Upon examining the documents the order becomes clear. The order of creation appears to be Document 19, 18, 15, 21 & 22.

Doc 15Document 15

Document 1559 contains the final amount of land each grantee was to receive during the balloting. This document is the first list to replace a deceased primary individual’s name with the heir to receive the lot. In most cases, this is the oldest living child of the primary.

Doc 18&19Documents 18 & 19

Written by different hands, neither document contains a date. It appears that Document 19 was compiled prior to Document 18. This may be the reason Patten did not include Document 1960 in her appendix. Document 1861 is similar to but not exactly the same as Patten’s Document V.62 Both documents were almost certainly compiled at the time the Argyle Patent was granted and before the balloting occurred. They contain the names of the passengers entitled to draw a lot, the grantee. Each passenger’s entry contains an abbreviated family structure followed by an allotted amount of acreage. The two documents are copies of each other with some minor differences. The obvious difference is the amount of allotted land. With one exception that of Alexander Montgomery all of the entries on Document 19 are 100 acres less than Document 18’s. The grantees are in the same order with a few exceptions. A detailed discussion can be found here.

Doc 21Document 21

Document 2163 is the Letters Patent. The document contains a listing of the grantees grouped by the amount of land they are to receive in descending order.

Doc 22Document 22

Document 22 is the directory of lot assignments including lot numbers and the amount of land. The lot numbers were entered at Mrs Sarah Campbell’s house in New York City on 17 April 1764.64 This document was not available to Patten, Gill or MacMorris. Patten’s Document VII is an approximation of this document which she created using information from Document 21 in conjunction with the map found in Bascom’s Book.65 Patten’s document lists the grantees in the order of the amount of land received starting with the largest lots. The directory from the Argyle Patent Land Records follows the same order as previous documents. It is this order when compared against the previous documents that determine which primary individual/family received which lot.

Comparing the lists:
The table below shows the nine McArthur families from Documents 12, 15, 18, 19, 21 & 22. They include family structure and their allotted acres in each document. Document 12 determined the order of the primary individual in Documents 15, 18, 19 and 22. The order is based on the year of immigration. First by families then by single persons who immigrated. The exception is Charles McArthur who first appears on Document 13. The document numbers are in the apparent order in which they were created.

Table 1 Family Groups 1-966
FG Docs 12 15 18 19 22

Family Groups 4 and 5 contain the two children named Duncan McArthur. The tables below adds Documents 9 and 11 to the above table for Family Groups 4 and 5.

Table 2 Family Group 467
FG 4 combined
Table 3 Family Group 568
FG 5 combined

Documents 15 and 18 clearly shows FG 4 with 450 acres the same amount of acreage awarded to Duncan McArthur of Lot 44 in Document 22. While FG 5 shows 300 acres on Documents 15 and 18. The same 300 acres awarded to John McArthur of Lot 54.

Document 11 listed the names of the actual immigrants. Document 12 listed the number and makeup of the those still living including children born after their arrival. Unfortunately, it does not name children born after their arrival. FG 5 is recorded as a widow and 1 son. It does not name that son. Following the pattern, Document 18 lists a widow and one son. The next Document names John as the grantee. Therefore, John is the son referred to in Documents 12, 19 and 18.

Since John is not named as a passenger he could have been born after 1739 and Duncan had died before 1763. However, two pieces of indirect evidence suggest John may have been incorrectly identified as Duncan in Document 11.69

The day the petition was filed a letter was sent to Duncan Campbell &c in the Highlands. The letter informed them of the petition and that they had “put in as many of your names into the governor as we could remember.”70

Document Letter 23_Feb_1763l
Letter Dated 23 February 1763

Mixing up these two families has a long history. A comment written on Document 12 for FG 5 supports the idea that the families may have been mixed up.71 The comment; “brought over a large family.” A comparison between FGs 4 and 5 would suggest the Alexander in FG 4 was the one who brought over the large family and not Alexander of FG 5. The amount of acreage awarded to FG 4 is 150 acres more than FG 5. Larger families received larger lots.

It had been 25 years since the families had immigrated. There are enough similarities between the two Alexander McArthur families that it would have been very easy to misidentify John as Duncan in Document 11.

Either way following the pattern, it is clear that Duncan McArthur of Lot 44 was the son of Alexander McArthur and Catherine McArthur and not the son of Alexander McArthur and Catherine Gillis.

A COMPARISON OF PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED ASSERTIONS OF THE McARTHUR FAMILIES:

In order to properly identify the parents of Catherine and Duncan all of the McArthur families were analyzed. That analysis revealed multiple conflicts with earlier assertions. Specifically the makeup of the various McArthur families and which family received which lot in the Argyle Patent.

Background:
Argyle Patent Time Line:

23 February 1763: Petition filed that resulted in the issuance of The Argyle Patent. Document 10.72
16 March 1763: Petition filed requesting grant be located in one tract. Document 14.73
2 May 1763: Report of the Committee. This report determined the amount of land granted. Document 15.74
10 June 1763: Letter from Duncan Reid to Alexander Campbell, surveyor requesting that Campbell join Reid to survey the perimeter of the patent.75
1 February 1764: Petition filed to reduce the number of trustees from ten to five and to request a way to mitigate the risks for the trustees. Document 17.76
3 March 1764: Memorial of the attorney general. This document addresses the above risks by adding additional clauses to the Letters patent. Document 20.77
21 March 1764: Letters Patent issued which named the township the Township of Argyle. Document 21.78
17 April 1764: Date of the ballot.79
7–12 January 1765: Conveyances issued to grantees.80

Newspapers & Survey Letter
Letter of Duncan Reid to Alexander Campbell 10 June 1763 & Newspaper Articles.

Dividing the lots:

Customarily when a grant was awarded to multiple grantees each grantee received the same sized lot. The perimeter would be surveyed and the interior divided into equal sized lots based on the number of grantees. Following the survey, a ballot took place where the grantees drew their respective lots.

The Argyle Patent was different. There were five trustees who were awarded the grant in trust for the others. Each person was awarded a different proportion. The proportion a grantee received was based on several factors. Whether they were single or married when they immigrated, male or female and how large a family was. The trustees received extra acreage as partial compensation for the work they did. Due to these differences, several clauses were added to the Letters patent.81

Instead of the lots being divided at the time of the survey a scheme was developed. This scheme can be seen in the map included in the Argyle Patent Land Records. The township was laid out with a “main street” down the center. The idea was the grantees would have town lots and farm lots. The town lots were 1/10 the size of the farm lot. As you can see in the map below each lot was drawn as the same size. The size of each lot was determined after the ballot on 17 April 176482 instead of before as was the custom. This was done to give all the grantees the same opportunity in the draw.

Scheme_Map Mockup
The Scheme for the Argyle Patent commonly called the Scots Patent.83

The Interior Survey:

Once each lot size was determined the interior of the patent was surveyed. The map published in Bascom’s book is of the interior survey.84 It is the same map Patten published in her appendix.85 Bascom gives the following information about the map and an explanation for his lot assignments:

“The following list of names of the original farm lot owners of the Argyle Patent is principally made from the original parchment map of the patent, now in possession of Mr. Donald Reid, of Argyle. The map is indorsed as follow: “Diagram of Argyle Township, granted to 107 persons; Emigrants from Scotland, with Captain Laughlin Campbell, in the years 1738–1740, and surveyed in the year 1762 by Messrs. Arch. Campbell and Christopher Yates.”86

The map is currently in the possession of William Wood of South Argyle, Donald Reid’s grandson.87 The survey year quoted by Bascom as “1762” is a typographical error and should read 1764.

One hundred and forty-one persons received lots in the Argyle Patent. The indorsement shows “granted to 107 persons.” Why not 141? The reason can be found in the petition dated 23 February 1763.88 There were 107 signatures attached to the petition. The first signature was Alexander McNachten’s (sic). The Letters patent where addressed: “to whom these Presents shall come GREETING

Whereas Alexander McNachten and others our Loving Subjects, to the Number of one hundred and seven Persons in the whole, some now deceased, who emigrated with Captain Laughlin Campbell from North Britain in our Kingdom of Great Britain, in the Years of our Lord One thousand seven hundred and thirty Eight, One thousand seven hundred and thirty nine, and one thousand seven hundred and forty;”89

Even though the number of grantees increased after the petition was filed legal documents retain the same information from the first document to the last. This practice is what ties the documents together. As you can see the maps indorsement retains the information from the petition and the Letters patent.

Interiior Survey
Interior Survey90

The lot sizes are in proportion to their actual acreage. They are basically in the same place as was shown in the Scheme map with the two exceptions. The first is the lots to the South and West of Cossayuna Lake (the large lake in the upper center of the map). The lake necessitated realigning the lots. The map is orientated so that South is to the right and West is to the bottom of the page. The second is Lots 122-129 located on the North side of the patent. Lot 127 contains a solid line through its center. The actual lot contains both squares the one above the number 127 and the square containing the number 127.

It is not known when the names were added to this map. They appear to have been added at a later date. How much later has not been determined. Differences in the ink used maybe discernible with high-resolution color images of the map. Even without high-resolution images differences in the formation of letters can be seen. This may be an indication they were penned by more than one hand. See blue circles below.

Letterforamtion Letter

In addition to the letter formation, a number of lots are not identified correctly or are missing names. Another indication the names may have been added at a later date or perhaps from memory. Below is a table showing the discrepancies between the interior survey, Bascom’s list and Document 22 (the document used during the ballot). The differences include spelling, omitted names, different names, identifiers and missing elements on the map. Differences are in red.

Table 4
Interior Survey v Doc 22

The last clue indicating that the family names may have been added later are the small xs on 39 lots.91 An x typically indicates the location of a farmhouse or building. The 1789 Quit Rent does not list anyone residing on 19 of the lots with xs.[92]

The Other McArthur Assertions:
Four previous researchers have published information about various aspects of the Argyle Patent. Each researcher, after the first built on the previous research.

The four researchers were:

Robert O. Bascom. He published a list of grantees primarily based on the interior survey map. He did not explain his additions and/or corrections from the listings on the map. Bascom did not assign specific families to specific lots.92

Jennie M. Patten. Her lot assignments were based on the listing of grantees with the awarded acreage found in Document 21 and the interior survey map. She compiled the information creating Document VII in her appendix. She did not assign specific families to those lots. She made note of the differences between Document 21 and the interior survey map.93

Islay V. H. Gill. He set out “to give the names of all those who first cleared and cultivated the land, with a start on genealogical data showing their immediate descendent’s.” Gill admits he did not succeed in his goal. He did not assign three of the identified McArthur family groups (FGs 7, 8 and 9) to specific lots instead he combined them with other families.94

James A. MacNaughton, Jr. His primary goal was to locate and document all of the early land transactions and not necessarily which family received which lot.95 He did not combine the McArthur families except for Charles McArthur of FG 9. Most of MacNaughton’s comments about specific families came from other researchers, previously published information or family files located in Washington County. He is the only one of the researchers who had access to Document 22.

Agreed Upon Assertions

Family Groups 2 & 3
FG 2 & 3 All
Table 5

Family Groups 2 and 3 drew Lots 111 and 86 respectively. Both Gill’s and McNaughton’s assertions agree with this analysis.

Conflicting Assertions by Family Group Not Previously Addressed

Family Group 1
FG1 All
Table 6

Lot 102 was drawn by John McArthur of Family Group 1.  John was the oldest living son of Neil McArthur and his wife Mary Campbell.96 Two months after John drew Lot 102, on 7 June 1764 he sold it to John McKesson an attorney in New York City.97 John is identified as living in Claverack, Albany County and the son of Neil McArthur deceased. Today Claverack is located in Columbia County. In 1764 it was part of Albany County and just north of Livingston Manor.98 Which is where Neil McArthur and his wife resided prior to the first petition filed in 1763.99 MacNaughton also asserted John McArthur was of FG 1.100 Gill asserted that Lot 102 was granted to FG 4.101 He suspected John McArthur was Alexander McArthur’s and Catherine McArthur’s son John. Their son John was dead before 1763 making him ineligible to draw a lot.102 The evidence does not support Gill’s assertion.

Family Group 5

Table 7

Lot 54 was drawn by John McArthur of FG 5. McNaughton asserts that John of FG 6 drew Lot 54. He bases his assertion on Articles of Agreement103 between Neal McArthur a mariner of New York City and Crean Brush of New York City, a gentleman. In the Articles of Agreement Neal McArthur is further identified as the husband of Barbara McAlister [sic] otherwise known as McArthur.104 Even though Lot 54 was drawn by John McArthur as shown in Document 22.105 MacNaughton speculates that he died before 21 November 1763 the date of the Articles of Agreement. MacNaughton further speculates that the Articles of Agreement were negated by the Trustees who later sold the lot to someone unknown.106

The main problem with the assertion is one of the clauses added to the Letters patent by the Attorney General.107 and explained in his Memorial dated 31 March 1764108 “That in case where any of the persons are dead their respective shares shall be conveyed to their Heirs.” If Neal’s father John McArthur was dead by 1763 then Neal would have been listed on Document 22 as the grantee of lot 54 and not John McArthur. The evidence does not support MacNaughton’s assertion.

AP79
Articles of Agreement between Neal McArthur and Crean Brush

Gill asserts Lot 54 was drawn by John McArthur of FG 1. The son of Neil McArthur and Mary Campbell. He gives no explanation as to why other than Neil and Mary have a son named John.109 Gills assertion is not supported by the evidence.

Family Group 6
FG6 All

Table 8

Lot 57 was drawn by Alexander McArthur of FG 6. The pattern indicates that Alexander was an heir of John McArthur. Since John did not immigrate with his wife. The presumption is she died in Scotland. In order for Alexander to draw a lot, he was of age by 1764. There are three possibilities for who Alexander was.

  1. Alexander was John’s son and he immigrated after his father and siblings.
  2. John remarried after his arrival and had Alexander between 1740-1742.
  3. John’s son Neil married and had Alexander within two years of his arrival in 1740.

The evidence supports Alexander as an heir of John’s but it does not give a clear indication as to what Alexander’s relationship is to John.

Both Gill and MacNaughton assert Alexander was the son of Neil McArthur and Mary Campbell FG 1. As before Gill’s assertion is solely based on Neil and Mary having a son named Alexander. It is not supported by the evidence. MacNaughton agrees with Gill and provides no evidence for the assertion.

Family Group 7
FG 7 All
Table 9
Lot 7 was drawn by Ann McArthur, Sr. FG 7. There were two Ann McArthurs who arrived in 1740 as single women110 they are distinguished by the use of Sr. and Jr. The senior and junior is an indication of age and not a relationship. Ann Sr. was the older of the two. By 1763 she was married and residing in Albany.111 By 1771 she and her husband Alexander McKay were residing in New York City when they leased both town Lot 7 and farm Lot 7 for one year to John McKesson of New York City for 6 shillings.112 MacNaughton also asserts Ann McArthur Sr. was awarded Lot 7113 Gill asserts she was the daughter of Duncan McArthur and Anna McQuinn, FG 3.114 In his assertions he implies both Ann Sr. and Ann Jr. were the two daughters from Document 9.115 Document 11 lists three daughters, named Anna, Mary, and Margaret.116 They immigrated in 1738 and not 1740 when Ann Sr. and Ann Jr immigrated. The evidence does not support Gill’s assertions.

Family Group 8
FG 8 AllTable 10
Ann McArthur Jr., FG 8 drew Lot 96. She was married and living in the Highlands with five children in 1763.117 On 22 October 1765, Neil Gillespie received Ann McArthur, Jr.’s deed which he promised to deliver to her.118 Unfortunately, the receipt does not give her married name. McNaughton agrees with the assignment of Ann, Jr. to FG 8.119 Gill’s assertion is discussed in FG 7 above. The evidence does not support his assertion.

AP105Receipt to deliver deeds.

Family Group 9
FG 9 All
Table 11
Charles McArthur drew Lot 51.120 Both Gill and MacNaughton speculated that Charles McArthur was the son of Patrick McArthur, FG 2. Gill also speculated he might be the unnamed son born to Duncan McArthur & Anna Quinn, FG 3, after their arrival.

An adult Charles first appears on Document 13121 and continues to appear in the same sequence on subsequent documents. He was not allowed on board in 1738 due to overcrowding. Because he and his family had already sold all their belongings they went to Ireland to board another ship to join the others in New York City.122 Document 13 identifies Charles as a resident of New York City. In the letter, Patrick McArthur authored 9 April 1763 a Charles McArthur was one of the named persons living in Livingston Manor[^124] He is probably the Charles McCarter who signed Document 10, the petition dated 23 February 1763.123 On 19 November 1763, via an Article of Agreement Charles McArthur of New York City, laborer agreed to sell his proportion of the Argyle Patent to Crean Brush for £26.124

A comparison of the two signatures one from Document 10 the petition filed in February 1763 and the Articles of Agreement dated November of the same year shows they are two different men. It is unlikely that the Charles of New York City is the same Charles who signed the petition in February 1763.

Charles McArthur signatures
The two Charles McCarter/McArthur signatures.

Based on the pattern and the agreement to sell Lot 51 the Charles who was not allowed to board the ship in Islay in 1738 is the Charles McArthur of Lot 51.

Hugh McCarty of Lot 134
Hugh McCarty AllTable 12
Per Document 22 Hugh McCarty drew Lot 134.125 Based on the interior survey both Gill126 and MacNaughton127 assigned Lot 134 to John McArthur of FG 6. The lot owners on the interior survey were added after the draw on 17 April 1764.128 How long after has not been determined but there are indications it may have been several years.

Hugh McCarty was not included in the McArthur analysis. He first appears on Document 9129 as Hugh McCarter with the following note; “married after arrival.” He signed Document 10 with his mark. His name was written as Hugh McCarter.130 He does not appear on the subsequent passenger lists by name. He next appears on Document 15131 as Hugh McCarty and remains in the same sequence for the subsequent documents. His location on Document 15 suggests he was added to the master list after Document 13 was submitted to the Council. Document 15, dated 2 May 1763 is the Report of the Committee in Council recommending the grant and is the first document to list the final amount of acreage to be awarded.

In addition to being the first document to replace a deceased primary individual with the heir’s name, Document 15 is the first document to list additional children separately of a deceased primary. For example Catherine McArthur of FG 4132 and Marian the daughter of Neil McEuen133 who drew Lot 110.134 There is only one McArthur FG that has an unidentified son, FG3. If Hugh is an unnamed McArthur son then FG 3 is a better candidate than FG 6. But without further research, it is not possible to assign him to one of the identified families. Either way, he does not impact the outcome of the analysis.

Conclusion

Conclusion:
In Part one of this case study the evidence is compelling. It supports the assertion that Catherine McArthur and Duncan McArthur of Lot 44 were the children of Alexander McArthur and Catherine McArthur. The new documents were not needed to write a proof argument. The addition of the new documents clearly supports the proof argument in Part one. Without Document 22 showing the same relative order of the previous documents, there is not a clear indication as to which families received which lot.

Computers and the use of spreadsheets have made analyzing large amounts of data easier and less prone to mistakes due to transcription errors when rearranging data. The genealogical proof standards have become more rigorous with the passage of time. Assertions made just 20 years ago may or may not meet those standards. Were the assertions backed up with a proof argument or were they just best guesses? Go back and look at your own assertions. Are your assertions backed up with sound, proof arguments?

When new information becomes available it is our responsibility to determine if it supports or refutes previous assertions. A solid well thought out proof argument should stand up when new documents are found. The documents donated by Hershkowitz fall into this category. It is up to us to go back and make sure what we are asserting is based on the evidence and not “a best guess” or because so and so said so without evidence.

Final Thoughts :

If you have ancestors who were original grantees of the Argyle Patent or passengers on Captain Campbell’s ships you should do your own analysis. Are your assertions accurate? Do they hold up with the new information? Are they supported by the original documents?

Finally, I would like to thank Patricia Hobbs a Board Certified Genealogist for doing a peer review of the material.


  1. Thomas W. Jones, “Proof Arguments & Case Studies,” Elizabeth Shown Mills, editor, Professional Genealogy Preparation, Practice and Standards (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2018), 477-500, particularly 491. 
  2. “Argyle Men who Fought in Revolution, Installment #7 Archibald McNeil,” article, Greenwich Journal and Fort Edward Advertiser (New York), 18 January 1956, sec. A, p. 2, col. 1–2. 
  3. Jennie M. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members (Chicago: Privately published, 1928), “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document VIII, p. 326–9. 
  4. It is important to remember the Scottish tradition that woman retained their maiden name when they married. In the lists with the spouses’ name, it will be her maiden name. 
  5. “Argyle Men who Fought in Revolution, Installment #56 Duncan McArthur,” article, Greenwich Journal and Fort Edward Advertiser (New York), 20 February 1957, sec. A, p. 8, col. 1–2. 
  6. Islay V. H. Gill, A History of the Argyle Patent (New York: Washington County Historical Society, 1956), Appendix No. 1, p. 55. 
  7. Gill does not include specific citations. He writes: “First, the passenger lists of the three ships which sailed from the island of Islay and the island of Jura in 1738, 1739 and 1740.” This appears to be Patten’s Documents VIII, IX and X. See Ann C Gilchrest “Argyle Patent Documents,” Documents 11, 12 & 13. “Second the Petition of 1738.” See Gilchrest, “Argyle Patent Documents,” Document 1. “Third, the Petition of 1763.” See Gilchrest “Argyle Patent Documents,” Documents 8 & 9. “Fourth, the supplement to the Petition of 1763.” See Gilchrest “Argyle Patent Documents,” Documents 10 & 14. It is not clear which specific documents Gill is refereeing to in his third and fourth source. “Fifth, the Petition of 1764.” See Gilchrest “Argyle Patent Documents,” Documents 17 & 18. “Sixth, the order of 1764.” See Gilchrest “Argyle Patent Documents,” Document 21. 
  8. Gill, A History of the Argyle Patent, Appendix No. 1, p. 66. 
  9. Ibid. 
  10. Dr. Asa Fitch’s manuscripts were originally donated to the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. In 1952 they microfilmed the manuscripts and in 2008 they donated the manuscripts to the New York Public Library. 
  11. Compiled by Asa Fitch, transcribed and edited by Laura Penny Hulslander, The Asa Fitch Papers Volume 1 (Fort Campbell, KY: The Sleeper Co., 1997). 
  12. Asa Fitch, History of Washington County, New York, 7 Vols. (MS, ca 187_?), vol. 1, p. 38, entry 78, “Mrs. Archibald McNeal (sic);” microfilm *R-USLHG *ZI-1315 (MssCol NYGB 18065), New York Public Library, New York City. 
  13. “Ancestry Family Trees,” database Ancestry (http://ancestry.com : accessed 6 November 2018). 
  14. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document VII, p. 326. 
  15. Legal instrument used by a government to assign title to a private entity. 
  16. “Petition of Alexander Montgomerie (sic) &c for a 7200 Pat[ent] at Wood Creek,” 1738, “New York State, Department of State, Applications for Land Grants,” vol. 7, folio 170, Series 10272; New York State Archives, Albany. 
  17. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document I, p. 297. Landed in NYC 22 September 1738. 
  18. “Report of the committee in council on the petition of Alexander Montgomerie, (sic)” New York State, Department of State, Applications for Land Grants, vol. 16, folio 167, Series A0272; New York State Archives, Albany. 
  19. “Province of New York ss. [scilicet] WE the Subscribers,” New York Mercury (New York City), 26 March 1764, p. 4, col. 1. 
  20. “Memorial of the Attorney General in relation to the Draft of the Letters patent for the Township of Argyle granted in trust for the Emigrants with Capt. Lauchlin Campbell deceased.” March 1764, “New York State, Department of State, Applications for Land Grants,” vol. 17, folio 87, Series A0272; New York State Archives, Albany. 
  21. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document VII, pp. 324–5. 
  22. Robert O Bascom, The Fort Edward book, containing some historical sketches, with illustrations, and family records (Fort Edward, NY: J. D. Keating, 1903), Chapter IV, pp. 35-42; digitized at Internet Archive (Link: accessed 15 November 2018). 
  23. “A List of Persons Names who are Entitled to Lands in The Township Called by the Name of Argyle..,” land records, Argyle Patent Land Records, inventory no. 14479, Washington County Archives, Fort Edward, New York. “Likewise the Quanity [sic] of Acres Granted to each of them and the Number of Their Lotts [sic] According to Ballotting [sic] at the House of Mrs. Sarah Campbells in the City of New York this Seventeenth Day of April in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred Sixty. 
  24. Finding aid Series A0272, “New York State Department of State Applications for Land Grants,” Scope and Content Note and Related Information; New York State Archives (http://www.archives.nysed.gov/ : accessed 10 October 2018). Link. 
  25. “Memorial of the Attorney General in relation to the Draft of the Letters patent for the Township of Argyle granted in trust for the Emigrants with Capt. Lauchlin Campbell deceased.” March 1764, “New York State, Department of State, Applications for Land Grants,” vol. 17, folio 87, Series A0272; New York State Archives, Albany. 
  26. “List of Families and their descendants that came in three vessels with Capt, Lauchlan Campbell, from the Island of Isla, in North Britain…” no date, “New York State, Department of State, Applications for Land Grants,” vol. 16, folio 142; Series A0272; New York State Archives, Albany. 
  27. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Documents VIII, IX & X, p. 326–38. 
  28. “List of Families and their descendants that came in three vessels with Capt, Lauchlan Campbell, from the Island of Isla, in North Britain…” no date, “New York State, Department of State, Applications for Land Grants,” vol. 16, folio 142; Series A0272. 
  29. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document VIII, pp. 326–9. 
  30. Jennie M. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document IX, 329–35. 
  31. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document X, pp. 336–8. 
  32. “Dugald Thompson and Pat. McArthur (Livingston Manor, New York), to Ronald McDougall at New York,” letter, 9 April 1763; Argyle Patent Land Records, inventory no. 14479; Washington County, New York, Archives, Fort Edward. The letter is a response to a letter dated 23 February and contains the following information in regards to the Neil McArthur family. John McArthur, grandson of Neal McArthur deceased. John McArthur, Duncan McArthur & Charles McArthur sons of the foresd. Neal Deceased.” 
  33. Document 9. “List of Families and their descendants that came in three vessels with Capt, Lauchlan Campbell, from the Island of Isla, in North Britain…” no date,“New York State, Department of State, Applications for Land Grants,” vol. 16, folio 142, Series A0272. Document 11. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document VIII, pp. 326–9. Document 12. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document IX, pp. 329–35. Letter. “Dugald Thompson and Pat. McArthur (Livingston Manor, New York), to Ronald McDougall at New York,” letter, 9 April 1763. 
  34. Ibid. 
  35. Ibid. 
  36. Document 9. “List of Families and their descendants that came in three vessels with Capt, Lauchlan Campbell, from the Island of Isla, in North Britain…” no date,“New York State, Department of State, Applications for Land Grants,” vol. 16, folio 142, Series A0272. Document 11. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document VIII, pp. 326–9. Document 12: Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document IX, pp. 329–35. 
  37. Ibid. 
  38. Document 11. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document VIII, pp. 326–9. Document 12: Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document IX, pp. 329–35. 
  39. Ibid. 
  40. Ibid. 
  41. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document X, pp. 336–8. 
  42. Asa Fitch, History of Washington County, New York, 7 Vols. (MS, ca 187_?) vol. 1, p.38, entry 78 “Mrs. Archibald McNeal (sic);” microfilm *R-USLHG *ZI-1315 (MssCol NYGB 18065), New York Public Library, New York City. 
  43. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document VIII, pp. 326–9. 
  44. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document IX, pp. 329–35. 
  45. There are two churches in the area where Archibald and Catherine could have married. The Protestant Reformed Dutch Church at Tappen in Rockland County and Goodwill Presbyterian Church in Montgomery, Orange County. Tappen’s marriages contain two 25 year plus gaps. The first set of marriages begin in 1699 and end in January 1725. The second set begins in September 1750 ending in October 1754. The third set begins in November 1784. Goodwill Presbyterian’s marriage records begin in 1769. Catherine and Archibald’s suspected year of marriage is circa 1742 squarely in the break in the Tappen register. 
  46. Washington County, New York, Wills vol. I, p. 141, Archibald McNeil, filed 1 June 1797; Washington County Archives, Fort Edward; FHL microfilm, 513861. 
  47. Mary S. Jackson and Edward F. Jackson, Death Notices from Washington County, New York Newspapers, 1799-1880 (Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, Inc. 1995), p. 65. 
  48. Asa Fitch, History of Washington County, New York, 7 Vols. (MS, ca 187_?) vol. 3, p.163, entry 676, “Archibald McNeil, Argyle;” microfilm *R-USLHG *ZI-1315 (MssCol NYGB 18065). The date and place of the interview are found in entry 675, “William Reid Esq. Millwright.,” p. 161. 
  49. Transcribed by Kenneth E Hasbrouck, Goodwill Church Records Presbyterian Church Orange County, New York, Located in Town of Montgomery, (publication information not listed), marriages, p. 13, 15 March 1770, John McNeil and Jane Wherry; FHL microfilm 529187, item 5. Both of Wallkill congregation. 
  50. Jennie M. Patten, “The McNeils of Argyle, New York,” notes, April 1935; Washington County Historians office, Fort Edward, New York. 
  51. Albany County, New York, Wills 1629–1802, vol AG–AH, folder AG44, Alexander Gilchrist, 1784; Surrogate’s Court; FHL microfilm 481,439. 
  52. Duncan R McNaughton, “Biographical Sketch The Mac Neil Family,” copy of the original sketch, 1874; In 1990 the original was in the possession of Mildred Peck, NYC. The sketch was published in 1888. “Biographical Sketch 1874,” The Peoples Journal, (Greenwich, NY), 5 April 1888, p. 1, col. 8. 
  53. There is a reference in the Public Papers of George Clinton to an Archibald McNeil that may explain this story. James Van Duesen in an affidavit dated 23 October 1780 during a court-martial stated; “two young Fellows from the Scotch Patent joined Major Carlton’s party at Fort George: and the Name of the one he understood was young Archibald McNeal (sic) and the Name of the other was Gillchrist.(sic)” Public Papers of George Clinton, first Governor of New York, 1777–1795, 1801-1804. Volume VI, (Albany: J.B. Lyon Company, 1902), p. 337. 
  54. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document VIII, pp. 326–9. 
  55. Ibid. 
  56. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document IX, pp. 329–35. 
  57. Asa Fitch, History of Washington County, New York, 7 Vols. (MS, ca 187_?) vol. 1, p.38, entry 78, “Mrs. Archibald McNeal [sic];” microfilm *R-USLHG *ZI-1315 (MssCol NYGB 18065), New York Public Library, New York City. 
  58. Finding aid Series A0272, “New York State Department of State Applications for Land Grants,” Scope and Content Note and Related Information; New York State Archives (http://www.archives.nysed.gov/ : accessed 10 October 2018). Link. 
  59. “Report of the Committee in council on the petition of…,” 2 May 1763, “New York State, Department of State, Applications for Land Grants,” vol. 16, folio 167, Series A0272. 
  60. “Duncan Reid, Alexander McNaught, Alexander Montgomery, James Gillis, Alexander Campbell, Duncan Campbell, John McCore, Neil Shaw, in Joint Tenancy In Trust for the persons and in the proportions assigned in the said Schedule,” 1764, “New York State, Department of State, Applications for Land Grants,” vol. 17, folio 64, Series A0272. 
  61. “Schedule of names, with the number of acres to each grantee, respectively, in the Argyle Patent,” no date, “New York State, Department of State, Applications for Land Grants,” vol. 17, folio 63, Series A0272. 
  62. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document V, p. 307–10. 
  63. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document VI, p. 311–24. 
  64. “A List of Persons Names who are Entitled to Lands in The Township Called by the Name of Argyle..,” land records, Argyle Patent Land Records, inventory no. 14479. 
  65. Bascom, The Fort Edward book, containing some historical sketches, with illustrations, and family records, Chapter IV, pp. 35–42. Link 
  66. Document 12. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document VIII, p. 326–29. Document 15. “Report of the Committee in council on the petition of…,” 2 May 1763, “New York State, Department of State, Applications for Land Grants,” vol. 16, folio 167, Series A0272. Document 18. “Schedule of names, with the number of acres to each grantee, respectively, in the Argyle Patent,” no date, “New York State, Department of State, Applications for Land Grants,” vol. 17, folio 63, Series A0272. Document 19. “Duncan Reid, Alexander McNaught, Alexander Montgomery, James Gillis, Alexander Campbell, Duncan Campbell, John McCore, Neil Shaw, in Joint Tenancy In Trust for the persons and in the proportions assigned in the said Schedule,” 1764, “New York State, Department of State, Applications for Land Grants,” vol. 17, folio 64, Series A0272. Document 21. Jennie M. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document VI, p. 311–24. Document 22. “A List of Persons Names who are Entitled to Lands in The Township Called by the Name of Argyle..,” 1764, land records, Argyle Patent Land Records, inventory no. 14479. 
  67. Document 9. “List of Families and their descendants that came in three vessels with Capt, Lauchlan Campbell, from the Island of Isla, in North Britain…” no date, “New York State, Department of State, Applications for Land Grants,” vol. 16, folio 142, Series A0272. Document 11. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document VIII, p. 326–29. Document 12. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document VIII, p. 326–29. Document 15. “Report of the Committee in council on the petition of…,” 2 May 1763, “New York State, Department of State, Applications for Land Grants,” vol. 16, folio 167, Series A0272. Document 18. “Schedule of names, with the number of acres to each grantee, respectively, in the Argyle Patent,” no date, “New York State, Department of State, Applications for Land Grants,” vol. 17, folio 63, Series A0272. Document 19. “Duncan Reid, Alexander McNaught, Alexander Montgomery, James Gillis, Alexander Campbell, Duncan Campbell, John McCore, Neil Shaw, in Joint Tenancy In Trust for the persons and in the proportions assigned in the said Schedule,” 1764, “New York State, Department of State, Applications for Land Grants,” vol. 17, folio 64, Series A0272. Document 21. Jennie M. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document VI, p. 311–24. Document 22. “A List of Persons Names who are Entitled to Lands in The Township Called by the Name of Argyle..,” 1764, land records, Argyle Patent Land Records, inventory no. 14479. 
  68. Ibid. 
  69. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document VIII, p. 326–29. 
  70. “Duncan Reid &c (New York), to Duncan Campbell &c (Highlands, New York),” letter, 23 February 1763; Argyle Patent Land Records, inventory no. 14479; Washington County Archives, Fort Edward, New York. 
  71. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document IX, pp. 329–35. 
  72. “Petition of Alexander Montgomerie (sic) &c for a 7200 Pat[ent] at Wood Creek,” 23 February 1763, “New York State, Department of State, Applications for Land Grants,” vol. 16, folio 154, Series A0272. 
  73. Ibid. 
  74. “Report of the Committee in council on the petition of…,” 2 May 1763, “New York State, Department of State, Applications for Land Grants,” vol. 16, folio 167, Series A0272. 
  75. “Duncan Reid (New York), to Alexander Campbell (Amboy, New Jersey),” letter, 10 June 1763; Argyle Patent Land Records, inventory no. 14479. The letter is requesting Alexander Campbell to bring his surveying instruments to survey the perimeter of the land to be granted. 
  76. “Petition of Duncan Read, Neal Campbell, Archibald. Campbell, Alexander McNachton & Neal Gillespie, trustees for the emigrants of Captain Lachlan Campbell,” 1764, “New York State, Department of State, Applications for Land Grants,” vol. 17, folio 62, Series A0272. 
  77. “Memorial of the Attorney General in relation to the Draft of the Letters patent for the Township of Argyle granted in trust for the Emigrants with Capt. Lauchlin Campbell deceased,” March 1764, “New York State, Department of State, Applications for Land Grants,” vol. 17, folio 87, Series A0272. 
  78. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document VI, pp. 311–324. 
  79. “Province of New York ss.[to wit] We the Subscribers….,” notice, New York Gazette (New York City), 26 March 1764, issue 276, p. 4, col. 1. 
  80. “The Trustees appointed by the Patent commonly called the Scotch Patent…,” notice, New York Gazette (New York City), 26 November 1764, issue 312, p. 3, col. 3. 
  81. “Memorial of the Attorney General in relation to the Draft of the Letters patent for the Township of Argyle granted in trust for the Emigrants with Capt. Lauchlin Campbell deceased,” March 1764, “New York State, Department of State, Applications for Land Grants,” vol. 17, folio 87, Series A0272. 
  82. “Province of New York ss.[to wit] We the Subscribers….,” notice, New York Gazette (New York City), 26 March 1764, issue 276, p. 4, col. 1. 
  83. “The Scheme for Dividing the Lands Granted in the Scots Patent Into 141 Lots…,” land records, Argyle Patent Land Records, inventory no. 14479; Washington County Archives, Fort Edward, New York. 
  84. Bascom, The Fort Edward book, containing some historical sketches, with illustrations, and family records, Chapter IV, p. 35. Link. 
  85. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” between p. 296 and p. 297. 
  86. Bascom, The Fort Edward book, containing some historical sketches, with illustrations, and family records, Chapter IV, between p. 36 and 37. Link
  87. William Wood, South Argyle, New York, telephone interview by Ann C Gilchrest, 25 November 2018. The indorsement on the map should read 1764. 
  88. “Petition of Alexander Montgomerie (sic) &c for a 7200 Pat[ent] at Wood Creek,” 23 February 1763, “New York State, Department of State, Applications for Land Grants,” vol. 16, folio 154, Series A0272. 
  89. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document VI, p. 311–24. 
  90. Bascom, The Fort Edward book, containing some historical sketches, with illustrations, and family records, “The Township of Argyle,” map, between pp. 36–7. Link
  91. See lots 3, 9, 10, 12, 17–8, 25–6, 30, 33, 37, 45, 52, 53, 65, 72. 73–4, 80, 83, 85, 91, 94, 96, 98–100, 105–6, 113–4, 116, 120, 125–6, 128, 130, 133. Bascom, The Fort Edward book, containing some historical sketches, with illustrations, and family records, Chapter IV, map between pages 36 and 37. Link. https://archive.org/details/fortedwardbook00basc/page/34 
  92. Bascom, The Fort Edward book, containing some historical sketches, with illustrations, and family records, Chapter IV, 35–42. Link.  
  93. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document VII, p. 324–5. 
  94. Gill, A History of the Argyle Patent, Appendix No. 1, p. 66. 
  95. James MacNaughton, Jr. The Argyle Patent and It’s Early Settlers, p. v. 
  96. “Dugald Thompson and Pat. McArthur (Livingston Manor, New York), to Ronald McDougall at New York,” letter, 9 April 1763; Argyle Patent Land Records, inventory no. 14479. The letter is a response to a letter dated 23 February and contains the following information in regards to the Neil McArthur family. John McArthur, grandson of Neal McArthur deceased. John McArthur, Duncan McArthur & Charles McArthur sons of the foresd Neal Deceased. 
  97. Washington County, New York, Deed Book C–2 (May 1796–November 1798): 268, County Clerk, Fort Edward, New York; FHL microfilm 475,425. 
  98. Columbia County, NY, “The History of Columbia County” (www.columbiacountyny.com : accessed 27 November 2018). 
  99. “Dugald Thompson and Pat. McArthur (Livingston Manor, New York), to Ronald McDougall at New York,” letter, 9 April 1763; Argyle Patent Land Records, inventory no. 14479. 
  100. MacNaughton, Jr. The Argyle Patent and It’s Early Settlers, p. 264. 
  101. Gill, A History of the Argyle Patent, Appendix No. 1, p. 66. 
  102. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document IX, p. 330. 
  103. “A written memorandum of the terms of an agreement. It is a common practice for persons to enter into articles of agreement. preparatory to the execution of a formal deed, whereby it is stipulated that one of the parties shall convey to the other certain lands, or release his right to them, or execute some other disposition of them.” Henry Campbell Black, M.A. Blacks Law Dictionary Revised Fourth Edition (St. Paul, Minnesota: West Publishing Co., 1968), p. 144. 
  104. Barbara McAllister drew lot 125 for 300 acres. The Articles of Agreement referred to is for her lot and not that of Neal McArthur. The clue is how her name is written. The Letters patent added a clause that required the use of both names when the land was conveyed. “where any the said Women have married or are now married that the said Trustees…respectively forever by the Name they shall respectively bear, or be Known by at the Time or Times the same shall be conveyed to them respectively.” Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document VI, p. 311–24. 
  105. “A List of Persons Names who are Entitled to Lands in The Township Called by the Name of Argyle..,” land records, Argyle Patent Land Records, inventory no. 14479. 
  106. MacNaughton, Jr. The Argyle Patent and It’s Early Settlers, 149. 
  107. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document VI, p. 311–24. 
  108. “Memorial of the Attorney General in relation to the Draft of the Letters patent for the Township of Argyle granted in trust for the Emigrants with Capt. Lauchlin Campbell deceased,” March 1764, “New York State, Department of State, Applications for Land Grants,” vol. 17, folio 87, Series A0272. 
  109. Gill, A History of the Argyle Patent, Appendix No. 1, p. 67–8. 
  110. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document IX, pp. 329–35. 
  111. Ibid. 
  112. Washington County, New York, Deed Book A (January 1774-May 1787): 505-511, County Clerk, Fort Edward, New York; FHL microfilm 475,424. “Alexander McKay now of New York City formerly of the County of Albany and called Alexander McCay of the County of Albany Merchant and Ann his Wife otherwise called Ann McCarter Senr. Dated 25 and 26 April 1771, Recorded 15 September 1792. One year later on 24 April 1772 Alexander and Ann sold the farm and town Lots 7 outright to John McKesson. Dated 24 April 1772. Recorded 15 September 1792. 
  113. MacNaughton, Jr. The Argyle Patent and It’s Early Settlers, p. 32. 
  114. Gill, A History of the Argyle Patent, Appendix No. 1, p. 67. 
  115. “List of Families and their descendants that came in three vessels with Capt, Lauchlan Campbell, from the Island of Isla, in North Britain…” no date, “New York State, Department of State, Applications for Land Grants,” vol. 16, folio 142, Series A0272. 
  116. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document VIII, pp. 326–9. 
  117. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document IX, pp. 329–35. 
  118. “Received New York March 22 1765,” receipt, Argyle Patent Land Records, inventory no. 14479. 
  119. MacNaughton, Jr. The Argyle Patent and It’s Early Settlers, p. 247. 
  120. “A List of Persons Names who are Entitled to Lands in The Township Called by the Name of Argyle..,” land records, Argyle Patent Land Records, inventory no. 14479. 
  121. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document X, pp. 336–8. 
  122. Patten, History of the Somonauk United Presbyterian Church near Sandwich, De Kalb County Illinois With Ancestral Lines of Early Members, “Appendix, The Argyle Patent and Accompanying Documents,” Document X, pp. 336. “Charles of the City of N. York with his Wife and Family came on Board in 1738, and the Ship being too much Crowded was turned ashore, and as they had sold all their Effects this Obliged them to go to Ireland where he took a Passage and arrived here a fortnight before the ship in which he first Engaged with Captain Campbell. 
  123. “Petition of Alexander Montgomerie (sic) &c for a 7200 Pat[ent] at Wood Creek,” 23 February 1763, “New York State, Department of State, Applications for Land Grants,” vol. 16, folio 154, Series A0272; New York State Archives, Albany. 
  124. Kristin Johnson, compiler, The Argyle Papers (Indiana: The First National Bank of Fremont, 1995), p. 78. 
  125. “A List of Persons Names who are Entitled to Lands in The Township Called by the Name of Argyle..,” land records, Argyle Patent Land Records, inventory no. 14479. 
  126. Gill, A History of the Argyle Patent, Appendix No. 1, p. 67. 
  127. MacNaughton, Jr. The Argyle Patent and It’s Early Settlers, p. 349. 
  128. “Province of New York ss.[to wit] We the Subscribers….,” notice, New York Gazette (New York City), 26 March 1764, issue 276, p. 4, col. 1. 
  129. “List of Families and their descendants that came in three vessels with Capt, Lauchlan Campbell, from the Island of Isla, in North Britain…” no date, “New York State, Department of State, Applications for Land Grants,” vol. 16, folio 142, Series A0272. 
  130. “Petition of Alexander Montgomerie (sic) &c for a 7200 Pat[ent] at Wood Creek,” 23 February 1763, “New York State, Department of State, Applications for Land Grants,” vol. 16, folio 154, Series A0272. 
  131. “Report of the Committee in council on the petition of…,” 2 May 1763, “New York State, Department of State, Applications for Land Grants,” vol. 16, folio 167, Series A0272. 
  132. Ibid. 
  133. Ibid. 
  134. “A List of Persons Names who are Entitled to Lands in The Township Called by the Name of Argyle..,” land records, Argyle Patent Land Records, inventory no. 14479. 

17 thoughts on “Using The Argyle Patent Documents to Identify the Parents of Catherine McArthur (ca. 1721—after June 1797) and her brother Duncan McArthur (ca. 1727—1 February 1813)

  1. Laura Hedgecock

    This is fascinating and a great example of the depth of research that is sometimes required. Kudos to you for a great analysis and not giving up when the details would have just made my eyes cross.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Document 22 shows that no matter how strong a proof may seem, somewhere there may lurk a record of rebuttal – or not, because some things are never reduced to pen. Either way, the truth will not out, except for the most persistent of inquiring of mind who is also a super keen observer.

    It is intense, but pleasurably readable. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Diane Schrader Anderson

    Fantastic article, with very detailed notes to back up all of your research! I am hoping to eventually get my certification, and have been reading case studies to educate myself on how they should be done. Thank you for providing me with an impressive lesson on how to do a thorough case study!

    Liked by 1 person

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