Anna McCuaig of White County

Anna McCuaig was a first generation American, a very ordinary person, I suspect, but important in that she was by great-grandmother. She was born in 1847 near Marietta Ohio, the ninth child of Neil and Margaret (Johnson) McCuaig. In 1842 her parents along with five brothers and sisters had emigrated from Scotland to Ohio where Neil McCuaig's older brother, John McCuaig, had earlier settled. Neil McCuaig was a farmer and yeoman and Anna grew up in a farm environment.

We know little about Anna's childhood other what we can presume knowing that she was raised in a rural farm family with five sisters and one brother. In 1860 (at age 13) she is listed as having attended school in White County Ohio. We can presume, therefore, that she was educated and literate (which is also confirmed by other information). Family tradition says the McCuaig women were accomplished seamstresses. We can assume that Anna was also trained in all the skills needed to raise a family and to thrive on the Indiana prairie

A fuzzy studio photograph, probably taken about 1885 when Anna was in her late thirties, shows a pleasant, kindly, motherly woman. Her appearance is plain, perhaps bordering on severe, but is not inconsistent with her Scottish Presbyterian upbringing and with her life on the frontier.

On December 4, 1868 Anna, age 21, married Judson S. Paul, a former officer in the Union Army, and local farmer. Judson had earlier that year bought a 160 acre farm straddling the border between Monon and Honey Creek Townships in White County, Indiana. In the next fifteen years Judson and Anna had six children, two daughters and four sons. Together, they wrested their farm from the swamps that comprised that portion of White County near the Tippicanoe River. My father told stories that suggested that Anna was a staunch woman who was firm in her insistence that no blasphemous remarks should be uttered in her hearing. We do know that she was a dedicated Presbyterian and defended her creed against alien denominations.

According to Anna Paul Rainier Lowe, in February of 1888 her grandmother "was taken to Monon in a spring wagon to have teeth pulled. She caught cold from the ordeal and died on February 8th of what was called lung fever." Perhaps the best portrait of Anna is found in her obituary in the Monticello Herald.

"Anna McCuaig Paul was born in Ohio in the year 1847 of Scottish descent. She was the tenth of eleven children (sic). She was known as an exemplary wife and mother. Kindness and gentleness were marked traits of her character. From childhood she was a devoted Christian uniting with the Presbyterian Church of Monticello early in life. Her membership was later transferred to the church in Bedford of the same denomination of which she was an honored member at the time of her death.

The funeral services were held in the church of Bedford and were conducted by the Rev. G. L. Mackintosh. The church was crowded to its utmost by sympathetic friends. The esteem in which she was held was fittingly shown by the large concourse of friends and neighbors who followed her remains to their last resting place in the beautiful cemetery nearby."

There are actually two grave stones for Anna in the Bedford Cemetery. On large and modern headstone that marks the graves of Anna, Judson, and their son James. A second much older stone in the shape of a tree trunk is situated a hundred yards from any other grave near the southern boundary of the cemetery. It is engraved simply, "Anna McCuaig Paul/ wo Judson Paul/ b 3-12-1847/ d. 2-8-1888". It seems a solitary and lonely memorial. I have wonder why it was placed so.

A final epitaph for Anna is found in the 1900 White County Census. Anna had, of course been dead for over 12 years. Yet the census enumerator lists Anna, the wife of 31 years of Judson Paul, as a member of the household. Who chose to list Anna as a member of the family, and why?

Leaving Scotland

Anna McCuaig was descended from generations of Scots, concentrated, so far as we know, in the county of Argyll. It is most interesting that her parents turned their back on centuries of culture and emigrated to America. In many respects, her family was typical of millions of European emigrants, and of Scottish emigrants in particular, who came to America in search of a better life and relief from the incessant hardships of their home countries.

Why did the McCuaigs leave their native country for the frontier of a foreign country four thousand miles away? Angus Martin in his book Kintyre Country Life attributes it to lack of opportunity.

"Throughout the nineteenth century the population of rural areas ebbed away. There was a steady movement into the towns and cities for work in the distilleries, factories, trades, and at labouring and fishing, but the greatest movement was overseas, to Canada, the United States, Australia, and elsewhere.

The main cause for depopulation were rooted in the land itself and in the economics of farming: increased mechanization, crop failures, and market collapse. In short, the land could not support its swelling population."

There were other several factors that contributed to the disenchantment with Scotland. In the mid 19th century, there was little or no individual ownership of land. Most of the land was owned by the Dukes and other lairds. Farm land was leased to the highest bidder for a 19 year period. It was always difficult to meet lease payments and improvements to the land were not encouraged by this system. Even basic life seemed doubly hard. While urban Europe was basking in the age of enlightenment and undergoing the industrial revolution, the Scots were tilling their rocky fields with wooden plows. Accommodations were rarely better than stone and sod huts with dirt floors. Education, though valued, was difficult to pursue. Lease holders, as difficult as it was, were the fortunate ones. The unlucky were reduced to laboring, squatting, or emigrating.

Scots also had a tendency to have very large families where eight to ten children in a family was not at all unusual. This put a tremendous strain on the capacity of the generally marginal agricultural land.

Finally, the land owners from the end of the 18th century onwards discouraged the continuation of the traditional subsistence farming in favor of sheep and cattle raising. In many parts of Scotland whole regions were depopulated as farmers were turned off of their lands in forced evictions in favor of more profitable uses of the land.

These factors led the most ambitious citizens to seek a way out. An attractive option was to emigrate to a country where land was available and inexpensive and fertile, and where hard work could result in an improved life. These adventurous settlers usually wrote back to their families and neighbors with stories of their success and encouraged then also to emigrate. But it took either courage or despair to leave one's homeland. I asked an expert in Scottish history if he thought my ancestors could have been well off. He said "Absolutely not. If they had been rich or even comfortable, they would have stayed. One had to be desperate to emigrate".

One interesting aspect of Scottish emigration is that Scots rarely emigrated as individuals. Usually they moved as extended families, groups of families, congregations, and in several cases as entire parishes. Often this process took years with each new wave of emigration acting as encouragement to those who stayed behind. More often than not, a neighbor in America had also been a neighbor in Scotland.

Who Were The McCuaigs?

The McCuaigs were highland Scots, a small segment of the MacLeod Clan. The name means "Son of Blackie" in Gallic. The MacLeod clan surprisingly does not have Gallic origins but descends from Norwegian warriors, specifically Harold the Black of the Norwegian royal family. The clan was concentrated on the islands of Harris and Lewis in the outer Hebridies in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. In the 17th and 18th centuries, most of the McCuaig families lived on the island of Islay (pronounced eye-lee) in the Scottish Inner Hebridies. In the 19th century, many McCuaigs migrated to other parts of Argyll and neighboring counties. There is some confusion about the lineage of the McCuaigs since there is a family with a similar name, the McCoig's, who are part of the Kintyre branch of the MacDonald clan. The McCoigs, who lived mostly in Southend on the Kintyre peninsula, are an entirely separate family.

Obviously Anna McCuaig had many progenitors and thus descended from many different families. We can state with certainty that her ancestors, in addition to the McCuaigs, consisted of members of the Johnson, Macmallan, and MacGibbon families. With great (but not absolute) assurance, we can identify Hunter, McConochy, Dallas, and Adam as part of her ancestry. Finally there is a strong possibility that the following names are also part of her lineage: McArthur, McNeilage, McNeil, and Campbell.

When I started my study of the McCuaigs in 1991, I had a few preconceptions (misconceptions, really) of who the McCuaigs were. What I knew I had heard in stories my father had told over the years. The McCuaigs, he said, had been wealthy Scottish farmers from Marietta Ohio. The impression I got was that the McCuaigs had been well off in Campbeltown and had simply relocated to America. My great-grandmother, the beautiful Anna McCuaig of White County, had been wood by my great-grandfather Judson Paul, a dashing Civil War veteran, and had married at 16 years of age.

It turned out that much of this lore turned out to be false, a result, I believe, of my father's penchant for distorting the truth in favor of a good story. The McCuaigs may have been well-off when my father was a boy, but they didn't start off that way. Nor had they been established residents of Campbeltown (having lived there for only one generation). Anna McCuaig married at 21 years of age (a sensible age) and Judson Paul, may have been dashing, but he was a hard- working dirt farmer like everybody else in Monon Township, White County, Indiana.

Another source of information, far more reliable, has been Anna Paul Rainier Lowe (Anna's granddaughter) who has faithfully passed down well-documented family lore. Anna (Lowe) passed on much that she had heard first hand from her mother, Edna Paul, youngest child of Anna McCuaig Paul. But Anna (Lowe) did not have the benefit of the most recent research documents, so her knowledge does not much extend further back than her great grand parents, Neil McCuaig and Margaret Johnson.

Family Migrations Within Argylleshire

The McCuaigs and their related families lived in Argyle County Scotland, called Argyleshire. Argyleshire is a rugged fiorded land jutting out of the north western shore of Scotland into the stormy North Atlantic Ocean. Nearly a third of the land mass is in the form of islands. It is occupied principally by Highland Scots. In spite of poor transportation and an economy rooted to the soil, the ancestry of Ann confirms that the population of Argyleshire was surprisingly mobile.

It is known that Anna McCuaig's parents, Neill McCuaig and Margaret Johnson, lived near Campbeltown on the Kintyre Peninsula. Today, Campbeltown is a charming, well-tended, town surrounding a beautiful harbor. Many of the structures date to the years when the McCuaigs lived nearby. However, as stated earlier, the McCuaigs were really transplants from the island of Islay. Donald McCuaig, Neill McCuaig's father, moved from Islay to Kintyre around 1790. He and has parents and grandparents were born in Kildalton Parish on Islay. It seems likely that their wives, Katherine Hunter and Margaret McArthur, were also from Kildalton.

Donald Mccuaig married into the Macmallan family who were apparently long-time Campbeltown natives. However, Isabell McConochy, wife of Neill Macmallan and mother of Donald McCuaig, was born in Kilfinan fifteen miles up the Kintyre peninsula from Campbeltown.

Margaret Johnson, like her husband's parents, was born in Kildalton on Islay. Her father was born in a neighboring parish, Killarrow and is presumed to have been a long time resident of Islay. Margaret's mother, Betty MacGibbon, on the other hand, was born fifty miles north east of Islay in the parish of Kilmoden on the present day Cowal Peninsula. Her parents were born in the parishes of Inveraray and Inverchaolain.

Scottish Research Methods

A few comments on Scottish research methods may be helpful in judging the family histories that follow. Scotland has generally excellent records for births and marriages in the form of church records. These are known as the Scottish Old Parochial Registers. They provide primary source information for Scots from the 18th and 19th century. Useful information from Argyll prior to 1700 is scarce. These records are all hand written and of varying degrees of completeness, legibility, and preservation. Many entries and, in some cases, complete ledgers are missing. One cannot assume that since a birth or marriage is not in the records, the event did not occur.

The process of establishing a family tree is to work backwards from a known person. It is necessary to find the birth record that best matches that individual by name, age, and location. This birth record usually identifies one or both of the child's parents thus providing the names and approximate ages of the parents. The process is repeated for older and older generations. marriage records provide supporting evidence. Just because a birth record may best fit the known facts, there is no absolute guarantee that it is the correct person. The real record may have been lost or there may be several records that are equally suitable. Alas, therefore, some of the information presented below is a best guess that awaits confirmation from other sources.

Scottish genealogy research is hampered by the fact that "everybody has the same name". Scottish naming practices followed rigid rules that tended toward the reuse of a limited set of family names. For example, there were eight Margaret Macmillans born in Campbeltown (a town of only several thousand people, in the ten year period 1770-1780. Any one of these young ladies could have been the future wife of Donald McCuaig.

As excellent as the ledgers are, they would be useless for research if it were not for the recently completed LDS Indices to the Old Parochial Registers. These computerized indices were prepared by the Mormon Church and contain the essential information about births and marriages indexed by name, place, and date for all the registers. These indices permit one to immediately find the records for a specific individual. The indexers have also done the hard work: reading the frequently illegible handwriting of the ledgers.

The following pages summarize each of the generations of Anna's McCuaig's ancestors. The numbers in parenthesis, one assigned to each ancestor, follow a pattern. Anna McCuaig's number is 1. A father's number is always twice the child's. The mother's number is the father's number plus 1.

Anna McCuaig's Parents:

Neill McCuaig (2) and Margaret Johnson (3)

Neil McCuaig was born on the 20th of April, 1801 in Campbeltown, Argyleshire the son of Donald McCuaig (4), a carpenter, and his wife Margaret Macmallan (5). His birth is recorded in the Campbeltown parish register as follows:

"Donald McCuaig & Margaret Macmallan in town had a lawful son born 18th, baptized 20th named Neil"

He was the third of nine children and the second son. Little is known of his early life. Since his father was a skilled tradesman and the family lived in the town, the largest in the region, it can be presumed that he received basic schooling. No doubt, the Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) played a significant part in the life of young Neill as it did for all Highland Scots of the period.

Margaret Johnson was born 24 October 1805, in Kildalton Parish on the island of Islay. She was the first child of six or seven. Her father was Archibald Johnson (6), a farmer, and her mother was Betty (Elizabeth) MacGibbon (7). Her birth is recorded in the Kildalton parish register as follows:

"Oct 24th Margaret d to Arch'd Johnson & Elizabeth MacGibbon in Tayycarmagan"

There is evidence that Margaret Johnson's family remained in Kildalton while Margaret alone moved to Campbeltown probably around 1823 at age 18. Margaret Johnson was listed as a resident of "this parish" at the time of her marriage in Campbeltown in 1826. We do know from the parish registers that the parents were still living in Kildalton on Islay as late as 1819 when their son Alexander was born. It is likely that Margaret Johnson had left her home to take employment on one of the Kintyre farms or, more likely, with some Campbeltown industry.

Neil McCuaig married Margaret Johnson, 21 Sept 1826 in Campbeltown. This is recorded in the Campbeltown parish registers as follows:

"Neill McCuaig labourer and Margaret Johnston both of this parish were married 21 Sept 1826"

There is a discrepancy in the spelling of Margaret's family name. American records identified her as a "Johnson" (without the "t") and in her birth record in Kildalton she is listed that way. Yet in most of the Campbeltown Parochial Register records, her marriage and her children's birth, she is listed as a "Johnston" (with the "t"). This difference would appear to be a typical recording clerical error and is not considered significant.

Neil did not enter one of the trades as did his father or brothers who were carpenters and blacksmiths. Neil had a varied early life as chronicled by his listed profession in the Parochial Registers at his marriage and at the birth of each of his children:

"Ballyvouline" in the 1831 entry is a local farm name. Elizabeth Marrison, president of the Kintyre Antiquarian Society, and an historian of local farm records, offered some very useful information:

"Ballywilline Farm is on the outskirts of Campbeltown, just before you enter the Royal Burgh. The Currie's were tenants there from 1787. The name was often spelled Ballyvouline. Donald Shaw was tenant there in the 1830's and gave it up in 1846. I have no mention of McCuaigs here at all, especially as a tenant. He looks to have been a labourer, rather than a tenant."

"I came across Neill McCuaig who became tenant in Calliburn (also called Killypole) in 1837. In 1815 William Steward renewed his lease on Calliburn for 19 years. In 1826 he wrote to the Duke of Argyll asking for a new lease in the name of his son-in-law, Dougald McDougall, which he got. Dougald and his wife gave up the lease in 1837 and moved to a smaller farm nearby. The new incoming tenant was described as 'Neill McCuaig, tenant in North Ballywilline'. The lease was for nineteen years and the rent was 70 pounds yearly. This was followed by a John Blair from Renfrewshire taking over the tenancy in 1838, a year later, as 'sometimes possessed by Neill McCuaig". Next I have an Alex Macmallan from Campbeltown taking over the tenancy in 1842 'as sometimes possessed by Neill McCuaig' - which was four years later still. Which was right? Did Neill give up the tenancy in 1838 or in 1942? Or could the farm have lain empty for a short time while a tenant was found?"

Calliburn is found about four miles north of Campbeltown about two miles inland from the eastern coast of Kintyre. Mrs. Marrison's question may be answered by the Scottish census of 1841 which shows Neil McCuaig and his family still living in Calliburn in June of 1841. Also living on the farm are six other family groups, each in a separate dwelling, a total of 32 individuals, 15 adults and 17 children. The men are all listed as farmers or agricultural laborers except one who is listed as a blacksmith. Two family groups are Macmillans who may have been cousins of Neil McCuaig.

Neil and Margaret are known to have had six children born in Scotland.