Lake Maxinkuckee Its Intrigue History & Genealogy Culver, Marshall, Indiana

One Township's Yesterdays Chapter XXIX  


Precisely at the half-way turn of the Nineteenth Century, the MC FARLAND family arrived in Union Township. In 1850 ROBERT H. MC FARLAND settled close to the shore of Lake Maxinkuckee. With his wife, Eliza, and their two children, Theodore, not quite five years old at the time, and John, barely two, he came from Miami County, Indiana, to try his fortune in the comparatively new region of the northern lakes.

Not many of the early families of the township have such a fascinating and romantic background as that of the MC FARLANDs. Following the MC FARLAND lineage back into the mists of the past, we find first the clan MC FARLAND in Scotland, founded by Gilchrist, brother of Malduin, third Earl of Lenox.

The entire MC FARLAND clan fought with Bruce at Baunockburn in 1314, and contributed much to that victory which forever freed Scotland from the British yoke. In 1460 the clan MC FARLAND claimed the Earldom of Lenox as heirs male, and while their claim had the strongest legal support, they were strenuously opposed by pretended feudal heirs. After a long and bloody conflict, lasting twenty-eight years; the estate was finally settled on STEWART DARNLEY. In this unsuccessful and disastrous attempt to secure the Earldom, the chief of the clan perished, the clan suffered severely, and the majority of the survivors took refuge in remote parts of the country.

ANDREW MAC FARLAND helped save the remnant of the DARNLEY clan. For about six hundred years, 1200-1784, the MC FARLAND clan held in hereditary possession a large tract of laud, called Arrochar, in the highlands of Scotland. The estate was sold in 1754. Sir Walter Scott mentions the clan in his famous novels, "Waverly" and "Rob Roy," and in "Cadyow Castle" he speaks of "Wild Macfarlane's plaided clan." The spelling MC FARLAND is confined almost en­tirely to the American descendants of those members of the clan that fled from Scotland to the north of Ireland in 1608.

In 1830 a large company of Scotch-Irish Presbyterians came to America and settled in northern Virginia and western Maryland, along the Potomac River and in the Shenandoah valley. There were many MC FARLANDs amongst them. Our own Union Township family began its career in the United States in this Virginia-Maryland colony. In many respects, these Scotch-Irish col­onists differed from all the other English settlers. They did not mix with the English colonists, but pushed into the backwoods and formed, it has been said, a special class not entirely amenable to conventional procedure. Wandering about seemed engrafted in their nature. They were forever imagining that the lands further off were still better than those on which they were already settled. True to their nature, the MC FARLANDs soon spread over the entire United States.

WILLIAM MC FARLAND and his wife, NANCY KILGORE, were the original heads of that branch of the family in America from which the Union Township MC FARLANDs sprang. In "The Book of the Generations of William MC FARLAND and Nancy Kilgore, _ Dr. JOSEPH MC FARLAND, the family historian, of Galion, Ohio, says that as WILLIAM MC FARLAND died while the children were very small, we are dependent for the facts of his life upon the stories told to the chil­dren and grandchildren by his wife, who survived him many years. We have some of these stories in the handwriting of the grandchildren who were grown when their grandmother died, and had heard her tell them. From these, the historian gathered interesting items, including the following:
"WILLIAM MC FARLAND's parents and grandparents belonged to the Scotch-Irish settlement in Ulster in the north of Ireland. Because of some trouble arising out of one of the numerous political disturbances, they returned to Scotland and settled near Edinburg, where William was born and brought up. He joined the British army and came to the United States as a captain at the time of the old French and Indian war, 1855-1863. For some reason he left the army and became a part of the Scotch-Irish settlement in Western Virginia. He also had a part in Lord Dunmore's Indian war in 1774. This incident of the In­dian war is related. On one oc­casion about four miles from the fort they were compelled to re­treat in disorder, every man for himself. William MC FARLAND was pursued by two large Indians. He ran as far as he could, and then stopping behind a large tree, he held his hat out to one side. One of the Indians shot through the hat. He dropped the hat, and both Indians left their guns and ran up to scalp him. He shot one of them and the other ran away. He always remained true to the king, and at one time during the Revolutionary war, was captured by the American troops and held prisoner for awhile. It is not cer­tain that he actually bore arms against the American troops, but he may have done so.

"He was married in 1777, and his youngest child (the father of the Union Township settler) was born in 1790. He died probably very soon after that. The circumstances of his death were these: He was helping a neighbor in the harvest field on a very hot day. Going to a spring of cold water, he bathed his head and hands and feet. On his way to the house he fell in a faint and died soon afterward. The family home was in Virginia, probably in what is now Berkeley County, West Virginia, as the children were born in that county."

The fact that all three of William's sons were shoemakers, and that two of them followed shoe­making as their only occupation, seems to indicate that he must have been a shoemaker also, although the boys may have learned the trade with their mother's people, as their father died while they were so young.

WILLIAM MC FARLAND married NANCY KILGORE in 1777-1778, or very early in 1779. There were more KILGOREs than MC FARLANDs in this Scotch-Irish settlement. Not a great deal has been re­corded regarding her or her fam­ily. She was remembered by her grandchildren as "a very large, fleshy woman, and a great knitter, who was about 99 years of age at the time of her death." She moved to Ohio with her son John and his family in 1831. In 1836, she was living with another son, William. That year, William moved to Indiana, and she re­turned to John's and remained there till her death in 1840-41. Their home in Ohio was a few miles south of Xenia. The mother died just before John removed from Ohio to Indiana in the fall and winter of '41-'42.

WILLIAM and NANCY MC FARLAND'S five children were
      the youngest, John, was born in Berkeley County, Virginia, in 1790, and died in Sheffield, Illinois, in 1857. He was married in 1814 to ELIZABETH BAILEY, a native of Virginia, who died in Miami County, Indiana, December 25, 1855. For several years after marriage, JOHN MC FARLAND worked at shoemaking in Virginia. For two years previous to his marriage he was a soldier in the war with England, taking part in the campaigns about Buffalo and Niagara Falls. In 1831 this family moved to the vicinity of Xenia, Ohio, and at the beginning of the 'forties came on to Indiana. A farm was bought near Mexico. Nearly the entire time John lived in Indiana his home was a preaching point on a Methodist circuit. After his wife's death, John made his home with his son William. When William moved to Sheffield, Illinois, in the spring of '56, the father sold his farm and went with his son, driving a one-horse spring wagon, while William drove two horses to a covered wagon.

"On the way," writes Dr. JOSEPH MC FARLAND, "he was robbed of all the first cash payment on the farm by a man who had asked to ride with him. (How mod­ern!) At Sheffield he made his home with William and went about from house to house making and mending shoes. About a year later, he received by mail at dusk, the last payment of $160 on his farm. Two men, LEMUEL JOHNSON and HENRY HOGCASE, followed him from the post office and about a quarter of a mile from the village fell upon him, beating him severely about the head and robbing him of all the money. He never recovered from these injuries and died soon after. The two robbers were arrested that same night in a saloon at Sheffield. They were convicted, but broke from the jail at Princeton and were never recaptured. JOHN MC FARLAND was buried at Sheffield, but the grave was un­marked, and cannot now be iden­tified." His wife, a faithful Christian woman, wielded a great influence in the pioneer church, both in Ohio and Indiana.

The children of JOHN and ELIZABETH MC FARLAND were seven:
    John Bailey
    Robert H.
    Jeremiah Swaney

The third son, Robert H., was horn October 5, 1819, in Darksville, Berkeley County, Virginia, moved with his parents to Green County, Ohio, in 1831, and in 1839 went to Miami County, Indiana. He was married September 25, 1844, to ELIZA ELEANOR SPECK, who was born May 18. 1823, in Preble County, Ohio. They lived on a farm in Miami County until 1850, when they moved to the farm in Union Township, Marshall County, which was their home until death. He died in Union Township, October 5, 1890, and her death occurred October 25, 1902. Both were buried in Washington Cemetery.

ROBERT MC FARLAND was Assessor of Union Township for fourteen years, and for many years Deputy County Surveyor. He was converted in Green County, Ohio, at eighteen years of age and joined the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was a local preacher in that church from early manhood until 1864, when he transferred his membership to the Methodist Protestant Church. He was admitted to the Indiana conference of that church and was ordained Deacon August 15, 1868, and Elder September 21, 1870, and held appointments for some years.

ROBERT MC FARLAND was favorably and widely known as a farmer and a clergyman, He lived on the east side of Lake Maxinkuckee. He is remembered for his many kindnesses, his thoughtfulness for others, and his sterling character and splendid community spirit. It is recalled that he used to carry the mail - - not officially, but just as a neighborly kindness. He would go to the post office at Maxinkuckee and get the mail for his neighbors 'round about. Then he would carefully distribute it throughout that vicinity.

There were five children of ROBERT H. and Eliza mc farland:
      born November 30. 1845, near Denver, Miami County, and who in 1881 married PHILENA FLAGG SAVAGE, a native of Ohio.
      born September 21, 1848, in Miami County, who farmed his father's farm in Union Township until March, 1900, when he moved to North Dakota, and whose wife was SARAH ALICE LOWMAN, a native of Miami County.
    Jacob Speck
      born April 15, 1853, in Union Township, who became a live stock dealer, and who in 1875 married MARY JANE MCELRATH, a native of Union Township.
    Frances Adelia
      born September 27, 1857, in Marshall County, who in 1875 became the wife of JORDON JONES.
    Robert Caton
      born May 25, 1864, in Marshall County, who always lived near Lake Maxinkuckee, following the occupation of well driver, and who in 1887 married LILLIE MAY LOW, also a native of Marshall County.
All five of these children of the MC FARLAND family are dead now.

JACOB SPECK MC FARLAND was the first of the children to join the deceased parents in the spirit land. He and his wife died within two days of each other. He passed away July 5, 1903, at the age of fifty. His wife, MARY JANE MCELRATH, died July 7, 1903, aged fifty-three. He had been in very poor health for a year. He had lost the sight of his right eye some time before, and he went through intense sufferings to­wards the end. He died on a Sunday, July 5th, and she passed suddenly, Tuesday morning, July 7th. As she arose for the day, she fell prostrate and died before a physician could reach her. Jacob had been building a new residence that summer, and it was almost completed at the time of their deaths. Both were buried in McElrath Cemetery.

The home of Jacob's birth was situated just east of Lake Maxinkuckee in what is known as the Washington neighborhood. As a boy he was educated in the common school and lived in his father's home until he was married. To this union ten children were born. The three eldest died in infancy. The remaining seven, in the order of their births were:
    Robert Theodore
    Winfield Scott
    Ellen Mary
      a nephew, but a son and heir by family adoption, from infancy, is to be named among the children of the MC FARLAND home.

Other MC FARLANDs, more or less closely related to the Union Township family group, were located in not far distant villages and neighborhoods, including Argos, Bourbon and Mentone.