Matthew McCune, Dr. (1811 - 1889)

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Birthplace: Douglas, Isle of Mann, England
Death: Died in Juab, Utah, USA
Managed by: Della Dale Smith-Pistelli
Last Updated:

About Matthew McCune, Dr.

Birth: Jul. 23, 1811, Douglas, Isle of Man, England

Death: Oct. 27, 1889, Nephi, Juab County, Utah, USA

Burial: Nephi City Cemetery, Nephi, Juab County Utah, USA, Plot: NC A 6 7 7

Son of Robert McCune and Lucy Jane Fleming

Married Sarah Elizabeth Caroline Scott, 11 Apr 1835, St. Panoas Church, London, Middlesex, England

Married Ann Midgley, 8 Jun 1859, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah

Married Isabella Bailey, 11 Feb 1865, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah

Married Ann Chalmers, 12 Oct 1870, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah

History - Among the first Latter-day Saints to emigrate from India to America were Captain Matthew McCune, a British soldier, and his family. He was a missionary to Great Britain twice. He was a Military officer, and a physician and surgeon, as well as a pioneer of Nephi, Utah, in 1858.

The Gospel found Matthew McCune in Calcutta, East India, where he was serving in the British Medical College in order to help the backward natives of that country understand modern hygiene and to prevent the wholesale death which often occurred there from the blight of superstition which marked the oriental medical magicians.

The father of Matthew McCune was Robert McCune who was born in Newtonard, in the northern part of Ireland, and was a descendant of one of the famous Scotch settlers, sent into Ulster County by King James the First to help colonize. Robert McCune settled on the Isle of Man where his son, Matthew, was born. His mother was Agnes Jelly. On reaching majority Matthew went to Paisley, Scotland where he engaged in the manufacture of Paisley shawls with his Uncle Fleming for a number of years. He finally disagreed with the business policy of his uncle and sold out his interest. He then went to London where he married Sarah Elizabeth Caroline Scott. Not long after his marriage he was given a major's commission in the British army and went out with his division to East India in 1835. He was billetted to the cantonment of Dum Dum near Calcutta and it was here their children were born.

The first son was Alexander John, born Feb. 21, 1835; then Agnes Jane, born March 21, 1838; Henry Frederick, born May 31, 1840; Alfred Robert born April 8, 1842; William Thomas born September 15, 1844; George born December 27, 1846; Alfred William, born July 11, 1849; Edward James Fleming born September 27, 1851. In February, 1843, Alexander was bitten by a mad dog and died on the ninth day, plunging the parents into great sorrow. Alfred Robert and William Thomas died of cholera within an hour of each other and were buried in one grave. At the time of the cholera scourge hundreds of English soldiers and civilians died daily. This led Matthew McCune to take up the study of medicine.

The home in Calcutta occupied by Major McCune was an official bungalow having forty rooms with the usual retinue of servants. His intimate friend, Captain James P. Meik, lived not far from him. Both of these men had joined or instituted the Plymouth Brothers Association attached to the Baptist Church of India.

The Major sometimes entertained soldiers from the British Man-of-War in his home. Two sailor boys, Benjamin Richey and George Barber, about eighteen years of age, heard the singing in the McCune bungalow and in their eagerness to enter the walled-in-gardens, common to oriental homes of wealthy people, knocked repeatedly upon the outer gate, finally beating the gong in their determination to get inside where the singing was in progress. The noise reached the attention of Matthew McCune and he directed his servants to open the gate. He himself welcomed them.

After the entertainment was over the talk drifted to religion. Both of these young men, who were members of the Latter-day Saint Church, though they did not hold the priesthood, joined in the discussion. Their questions and replies to other questions attracted the attention of their host. He invited them to remain. The boys gave some literature to their new friends. As a result Major McCune and Captain Meik wrote to Apostle Lorenzo Snow, then presiding over the Italian Mission, for some Church works. The books arrived three months later and as a consequence, Matthew McCune and wife, Captain Meik and wife and Maurice White were converted to the Gospel. They wrote requesting an Elder be sent to baptize the converts. In 1851, another sailor, Joseph Richards, arrived in Calcutta and baptized these five, all of whom emigrated to Utah and remained faithful to the end of their lives. These with a Mrs. McMahon were practically the only converts from East India.

In 1852 the war broke out in Burma and Major McCune's battalion of artillery was ordered to the front. Before leaving he baptized his older children. Soon after his departure several Elders from Utah arrived in India and were received at the landing stage by his son Henry McCune, and a number of servants to escort the Elders to the bungalow. When the party saw Henry, Chauncey W. West took him in his arms and said, "Brethren, this is the little man I saw in my vision last night." The Elders asked why the boy had brought so many servants and when told that they were to carry their luggage and wait upon them the Elders were both amused and surprised. Arriving at the bungalow Mrs. McCune appointed a servant to each Elder and they retired each to his own room under very different arrangements encountered usually by Mormon missionaries.

In a short time the Elders were sent to the various parts of India, but the climate and the bitter indifference of the people induced the mission president, Nathaniel V. Jones, to abandon the work. Major McCune was advised to leave India as soon as it was possible for him to wind up his affairs, for the judgment of God was about to be poured out upon India, a prophecy which was fulfilled to the very letter in the great Sepoy Mutiny in 1854. The Burmese troops, having subjugated the Burmese empire, peace was proclaimed, and, in 1856, the Major decided the time had come for him to emigrate to Zion, across the world. The experiences of that long, tedious and dramatic voyage on the ship Escort around the world were shared by all similar emigrants.

On reaching the Valley they were persuaded by Elder Ballantyne to settle in Nephi and here Major McCune brought up his family of boys. The McCunes were unused to toil of any kind. They had to learn to drive ox teams, cook around a camp fire, chop wood, mend and sew, bake and clean. However, no one ever heard a complaining word or criticism of the authorities of the Church from these Latter-day Saints.

Major McCune became a doctor in Nephi. He had two other wives, one of whom was Ann Midgley, who had two children, Grace McCune and Matthew Midgely McCune. Six years later he married Isabella Chalmers. He reared a large family of sons and daughters in difficult pioneer surroundings which taxed both faith, courage, loyalty and physical powers. He worked and merged his own highly trained faculties into the solution of pioneer problems shared by community associates.

His first wife died in 1876. He died in 1889, the beloved and honored friend of Brigham Young and Erastus Snow and of all the early pioneer leaders who recognized his strength and wisdom. By: Joy McCune


Spouses:

 

Sarah Elizabeth Caroline Scott McCune,1812-1877


Ann Midgley McCune 1826 - 1911


Children:

 

Henry Frederick McCune 1840 - 1924

 

George McCune 1846 - 1871

 

Alfred William McCune 1849 - 1927

 

Edward James McCune 1852 - 1940

 

Matthew Midgley McCune 1861 - 1937


Created by: S. M. Smith Record added: Jun 08, 2007 Find A Grave Memorial# 19772186 --------------------

Biographical Summary:

"...Matthew McCune (1811-1889) was born at Douglas, Isle of Man, England and was the son of Robert McCune and Lucy Jane Fleming.

Marriages:

  1. Married Sarah Elizabeth Caroline Scott, 11 Apr 1835, St. Panoas Church, London, Middlesex, England
  2. Married Ann Midgley, 8 Jun 1859, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
  3. Married Isabella Bailey, 11 Feb 1865, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
  4. Married Ann Chalmers, 12 Oct 1870, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah

History:

Among the first Latter-day Saints to emigrate from India to America were Matthew McCune, a British soldier, and his family. He was a missionary to Great Britain twice. Military officer. Physician and surgeon. Pioneer of Nephi, Utah 1858.

The Gospel found Major Matthew McCune in Calcutta, East India, where he was serving in the British Medical College in order to help the backward natives of that country understand modern hygiene and to prevent the wholesale death which often occurred there from the blight of superstition which marked the oriental medical magicians.

The father of Major McCune was Robert McCune who was born in Newtonard, in the northern part of Ireland, and was a descendant of one of the famous Scotch settlers, sent into Ulster County by King James the First to help colonize. Robert McCune settled on the Isle of Man where his son, Matthew, was born. His mother was Agnes Jelly. On reaching majority Matthew went to Paisley, Scotland where he engaged in the manufacture of Paisley shawls with his Uncle Fleming for a number of years. He finally disagreed with the business policy of his uncle and sold out his interest. He then went to London where he married Sarah Elizabeth Caroline Scott. Not long after his marriage he was given a major's commission in the British army and went out with his division to East India in 1835. He was billetted to the cantonment of Dum Dum near Calcutta and it was here their children were born.

The first son was Alexander John, born Feb. 21, 1835; then Agnes Jane, born March 21, 1838; Henry Frederick, born May 31, 1840; Alfred Robert born April 8, 1842; William Thomas born September 15, 1844; George born December 27, 1846; Alfred William, born July 11, 1849; Edward James Fleming born September 27, 1851. In February, 1843, Alexander was bitten by a mad dog and died on the ninth day, plunging the parents into great sorrow. Alfred Robert and William Thomas died of cholera within an hour of each other and were buried in one grave. At the time of the cholera scourge hundreds of English soldiers and civilians died daily. This led Matthew McCune to take up the study of medicine.

The home in Calcutta occupied by Major McCune was an official bungalow having forty rooms with the usual retinue of servants. His intimate friend, Captain James P. Meik, lived not far from him. Both of these men had joined or instituted the Plymouth Brothers Association attached to the Baptist Church of India.

The Major sometimes entertained soldiers from the British Man-of-War in his home. Two sailor boys, Benjamin Richey and George Barber, about eighteen years of age, heard the singing in the McCune bungalow and in their eagerness to enter the walled-in-gardens, common to oriental homes of wealthy people, knocked repeatedly upon the outer gate, finally beating the gong in their determination to get inside where the singing was in progress. The noise reached the attention of Matthew McCune and he directed his servants to open the gate. He himself welcomed them.

After the entertainment was over the talk drifted to religion. Both of these young men, who were members of the Latter-day Saint Church, though they did not hold the priesthood, joined in the discussion. Their questions and replies to other questions attracted the attention of their host. He invited them to remain. The boys gave some literature to their new friends. As a result Major McCune and Captain Meik wrote to Apostle Lorenzo Snow, then presiding over the Italian Mission, for some Church works. The books arrived three months later and as a consequence, Matthew McCune and wife, Captain Meik and wife and Maurice White were converted to the Gospel. They wrote requesting an Elder be sent to baptize the converts. In 1851, another sailor, Joseph Richards, arrived in Calcutta and baptized these five, all of whom emigrated to Utah and remained faithful to the end of their lives. These with a Mrs. McMahon were practically the only converts from East India.

In 1852 the war broke out in Burma and Major McCune's battalion of artillery was ordered to the front. Before leaving he baptized his older children. Soon after his departure several Elders from Utah arrived in India and were received at the landing stage by his son Henry McCune, and a number of servants to escort the Elders to the bungalow. When the party saw Henry, Chauncey W. West took him in his arms and said, "Brethren, this is the little man I saw in my vision last night." The Elders asked why the boy had brought so many servants and when told that they were to carry their luggage and wait upon them the Elders were both amused and surprised. Arriving at the bungalow Mrs. McCune appointed a servant to each Elder and they retired each to his own room under very different arrangements encountered usually by Mormon missionaries.

In a short time the Elders were sent to the various parts of India, but the climate and the bitter indifference of the people induced the mission president, Nathaniel V. Jones, to abandon the work. Major McCune was advised to leave India as soon as it was possible for him to wind up his affairs, for the judgment of God was about to be poured out upon India, a prophecy which was fulfilled to the very letter in the great Sepoy Mutiny in 1854. The Burmese troops, having subjugated the Burmese empire, peace was proclaimed, and, in 1856, the Major decided the time had come for him to emigrate to Zion, across the world. The experiences of that long, tedious and dramatic voyage on the ship Escort around the world were shared by all similar emigrants.

On reaching the Valley they were persuaded by Elder Ballantyne to settle in Nephi and here Major McCune brought up his family of boys. The McCunes were unused to toil of any kind. They had to learn to drive ox teams, cook around a camp fire, chop wood, mend and sew, bake and clean. However, no one ever heard a complaining word or criticism of the authorities of the Church from these Latter-day Saints.

Major McCune became a doctor in Nephi. He had two other wives, one of whom was Ann Midgley, my grandmother, who had two children, Grace McCune and my father, Matthew Midgely McCune. Six years later he married Isabella Chalmers. He reared a large family of sons and daughters in difficult pioneer surroundings which taxed both faith, courage, loyalty and physical powers. He worked and merged his own highly trained faculties into the solution of pioneer problems shared by community associates.

His first wife died in 1876. He died in 1889, the beloved and honored friend of Brigham Young and Erastus Snow and of all the early pioneer leaders who recognized his strength and wisdom..."

SOURCE: McCune, Joy; Find A Grave Memorial# 19772186; www.findagrave.com

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Matthew McCune, Dr.'s Timeline

1811
July 23, 1811
Isle of Mann, England
1835
April 11, 1835
Age 23
St. Pancras,London,Middlesex,England
1836
February 21, 1836
Age 24
Calcutta,Bengal,India
1838
March 21, 1838
Age 26
Calcutta,Bengal,India
1840
May 31, 1840
Age 28
Calcutta, India
1842
April 8, 1842
Age 30
Calcutta,Bengal,India
1844
September 15, 1844
Age 33
Calcutta,Bengal,India
1846
December 27, 1846
Age 35
Fort William,,Bengal,India
1849
June 11, 1849
Age 37
Calcutta,Bengal,India
1852
1852
Age 40
Calcutta,Bengal,India