Robert McGrew (c.1668 - c.1745)

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Birthplace: MacGuirebridge, County Tyrone, Ireland
Death: Died in Adams County, PA, USA
Managed by: Scott Roberts
Last Updated:

About Robert McGrew

THE MCGREW FAMILY

Information from James Vandermark Fitzsimmons Hathaway, Biggs -McGrew and Allied lines; 1720 - 1900; page 171

Relationship: Sixth Great-grandparents, Robert and IsabellaFinley McGrew. Comment: Graham: The family was an off-shoot ofthe Clan Macgregor which was a distinct clan in the ScottishHighlands as early as 1296. The family McGrew moved fromScotland to Ireland when they refused to fight and they wereordered to take another name. Most settled in County Tyrone.

Residences: The family of Isabella and Robert settled nearPetersburg (now Dillsburg) in Adams Co., 3 miles NE ofMillersburg (?) and 20 miles north of Gettysburg.

Comment: Hathaway says best source of materials on early familyis W. A. K. Johnston®s Clan Histories and the Clan Macgregor:The nameless Clan by W. R. Kermack (1953, Edina Works,Edinburgh Scotland). The listings of the families in the Claninclude the name McGrewer which was shortened to McGrew whenthe families moved to Ireland. "The MacGregors were a hardy lotand resented having their lands taken by the King, and whenthey rose in rebellion he ordered the clan disbanded andbanished and the name not to be spoken in Scotland again. Thiswent on for some time, and eventually some lands were restored,but in the meantime many had been driven out and the clanscattered. The Clan is of Royal descent. The genealogy in theDean®s Book by Duncan is stated to have been written in 1512,and to have been taken " from the book of the genealogies ofthe Kigs." It traces the descent through Hugh of Urchy fromAlpin, who ruled about 787, the father of Kenneth, "High Kingof Scotland. The suppression of the name was annulled byParliament in 1774, but that of course, was after our McGrewswere settled over here. At the time of the suppression of theclan many young children were taken to Ireland also at aboutthat time England sent many of the hardy Scots to Ireland tocontrol the Irish. the Scots were not happy in Ireland andafter a generation or two emigrated to America. Where, underPenn®s rules, they could have freedom of religion.

In the family records, we know that Robert McGrew and wifeIsabella came from County Tyrone, Ireland 1726/ 1727 and thatwhen Robert arrived he was wearing a Blue Scotch bonnet orGlengary Cap".

Residences: Family is originally from Scots Highlands nearAnstruther, County Fife on the Firth of Fourth, 15 milesSoutheast of Cupar, according to Thomas Dixon Graham.

Comment: Legend says that King Edward banished MacGregor®sbecause he believed they were "too patriotic for the safety ofhis throne."

Emigration: Soon after Robert emigrated, he was followed by twobrothers and a cousin.

Burial: Chestnut Hill Cemetery is 1 mile west of Heidlersburg,Pa. On Pa 234 on the farm of Finley McGrew. (Informationreceived from Lesley Wischmann - jansen@plains.uwyo.edu)

THE McGrew®s At the time of the American Revolution there wereestimated to be at least five large families of McGrews in thecolonies. Most of them had settled in Pennsylvania on thesouthwestern border of the state. It is believed by some familymembers and some genealogists that we are descended from aRobert and Isabella McGrew who emigrated from Omagh, CountyTyrone in Northern Ireland. Robert was born in Scotland about1675 and from there went to Ireland until 1725 when heimmigrated to America with his wife, Isabella, five sons and agranddaughter. They arrived in 1726 and went to Chester County,Pennsylvania to an areas northeast of Gettysburg which now inAdams County. The five sons were: John, Finley, William,Alexander and James. Genealogists recorded the families ofJohn, Finley and James but not Alexander or William It isbelieved but never been proven that our McGrews are descendedfrom William. Our known McGrews are sometimes referred to as the"lost Generation." As at this point there is only speculation,we will leave this family and go on what we do know. A numberof the McGrews were among the first settlers of WestmorelandCounty, Pennsylvania - primarily Huntington township. It is herethat very likely our Alexander, whom we believe to be the aboveWilliam®s son originated. We do know our Alexander was inPennsylvania during the Revolutionary War. His son Moses, wasborn there in 1781 and our James, his brother, 1786. We knowvery little about our Alexander, but in those days when an areabecame populated, many of the residents would want to move onto more and better open land. Alexander must have been one ofthese, as he is next found in Shelby County, Kentucky, in 1796.The settling of Kentucky during those years, was in the areas ofsome of the most hazardous and bloody events of America.Several thousand of the early settlers lost their lives inskirmishes with Indians who were determined to protect theirhunting grounds from encroachments of the white man. In oneMcGrew history, we are told of a flatboat arriving in Kentuckywith only half of their number, the other half having lost theirlives to Indian attacks. The first McGrew arriving in Kentuckywas a John McGrew in 1776. Those pioneers traveling to Kentuckyusually came by way of Fort Pitt, now Pittsburgh, down the OhioRiver by flatboat until they reached a fertile area they wouldlike, or more likely, where some of the family had gone aheadand found a site for them. Although they probably moved severaltimes, we do know that Alexander, his sons James and Moses andtwo of his sons-in-laws all settled along Drennon®s Lick Creekin Henry County, Kentucky. Henry County had been part of ShelbyCounty. The Jacob Colglazier/Colclasure family also settledthere, and on October 4, 1805, our James McGrew married MaryColglazier, whose hand was given by her father, Jacob. It isvery possible the McGrews had know the Colglaziers inPennsylvania, they all came from there about the same time.Alexander, James and Moses all paid taxes in Henry County,Kentucky, and bought and sold personal and real property there.On March 10, 1809, James McGrew bought all the personalbelongings and livestock of his father-in-law, JacobColglazier, as Jacob had decided to continue moving on intoIndiana Territory, formerly know as the Northwest Territory.Alexander continued to live on his land in Henry County Kentuckyuntil 1821 when he died. His wife®s name has never been knownfor sure, and the only clue that we have is that when hisdaughter Hannah married John Simmons in 1793, her mother®s namewas given as Alice. If this is correct, she would have diedbefore 1821, as she was not mentioned in the settlement ofAlexander®s estate. In the settlement, Alexander names thefollowing children: Hannah, Mrs. John Simmons: John: Molly(Mary), Mrs. Francis May: Moses: Margaret, Mrs. James Carr:James: Joseph: Nelly (Eleanor), Mrs. Joseph Shannon: Alexander;Rebecca, Mrs. Jeremiah Guilion; Elizabeth, Mrs. Jeremiah Riley.During these years of the family®s living on Drennon®s Creek,some of them began to get restless as new land opportunitieswere being open up in the Indiana Territory. Jacob Colglazierhad already left in 1809. In 1811, James McGrew bought land inIndiana Territory. He sold his land on Drennon®s Creek toDaniel Colglazier and moved his wife and daughters to Indiana.========================================================================== === McGREW The following is an exerpt from theIntroduction to a book called 'The Southern McGrews Grew' byEverette L. McGrew, his book and the gedcom files he gave mefrom his research are what comprise most of theInformation inthis page. The Southern McGrews Grew The name McGrew is Celticand most likely was MacGrew in Scotland. There are severaltheories about the origin of the name with a few examples asfollows: came from Buchanan Clan, was MacGruer sept of fraserClan, came from MacGregor name, was first MacGruder, came fromMacGrewer, or Mulgrew. The tale that seemes to be most acceptedpertains to the Scottish clans who were fighters. The MacGregorClan was in the Highlands, near Anstruther(county Fife on Firthof Forth, ca 13 miles southwest of Cupar) and the lairds gotthe advantage of another clan and misused them. For this thecrown of England confiscated their lands, declared them outlaws,and refused to allow them to use the name MacGregor. Therefore,several new names started to be used by this clan and one ofthem turned out to be McGrew. Many of these former MacGregorpeople left Scotland and went into Northern Ireland where theyprimarily rented property to farm or work for others. TheMcGrew family probably went to Ireland in early to mid 1600'sand settled in or near Omagh, County Tyrone, where we firstfind record of them on a church list signed by a William and aRobert McGrew in 1694 (it is suposed that all McGrews who cameto America were Williams's relatives or descendants, and Robertdid come to America 30 years after the signing). Not much isknown of all the happenings of the 16th and early 17th centurybecause all records were shipped from Scotland to England andthe ship was lost at sea. James C. McGrew, born in Pennsylvania,in 1761(later lived in Kingwood, VA) was one of the first knownMcGrew historians, and he wrote 'There is no doubt that theMcgrews who migrated from Ireland to America were native Scotsor descendants of Scotch immigrants who left scotland to avoidreligious persecution'.(this was found in 'History of the McGrewfamily' prepared for a McGrew reunion that was held at OlympiaPark near McKeesport, PA on August 15, 1912). James C. alsostated that his grandfather (Robert McGrew) came to America fromOmagh, County Tyrone, Ireland wearing a blue scotch bonnet.Effie McGrew Materi wrote the following wrote the following in aletter in 1983, 'Did a bit of research in Scotland and Irelandthis summer. There were MacGruer, MacGrewer, in Boleshire,Inverness. There are still McGrews in Northern Ireland,Protestants, and reffered to as 'Scots'. The first McGrew ofdefinite record was Robert (undoubtedly the same who signed thethe above mentioned church record.) Robert was born ca1675 inScotland or Ireland and Brought his family consisting of wife, 5sons , wife of the eldest son and their two children to thecolony of Pennsylvania from Omagh, County Tyrone, Irelandca1726. They were episcopalians when they came over andeventually settled in what is now Adams County, and they namedthe Township, Tyrone (data obtained from a book, Boyd family)Most of Roberts's descendants went west from Adams County, PA,but data pertaining to his family will be shown here becausethere is little doubt that many of his descendants went intothe South, even though there was only one instance recorded inthe early days where one of his grandsons went to North Carolinafor a few months before returning to PA to get married.Everette's book comprises of four McGrew families. The firststarts with Robert McGrew born ca1675 in Scotland or Irelandwho later migrated to Adams Co, PA. The second begins withAlexander McGrew born ca1715 in Ireland who later migrated toSouth Carolina (this family is the main concentration of thebook and is the begining of the southern migration of McGrews.The third family begins with Thomas McGrew born ca1733 in Omagh,Co. Tyrone Ireland who later migrated to South Carolina and thento Tennesee. The fourth family begins with James A. McGrew whowas born probably born in or near Omagh, Co Tyrone, IRE andmigrated to South Carolina in Sep 1773. Family Tree==========================================================Robert & Isabella and their 5 sons & 2 grand children came toAmerica probably first to New Castle Co., DE then to ChesterCounty, PA. Chester at that time comprised a great part ofSoutheastern PA. They then settled in Lancaster County after1719, York County after 1749 which became Adams County after1800. Robert's will made 9 Apr 1789 proved 18 May 1789 York Co.,PA, Will book G, Pg 404. Information from "Descendants ofRobert & Isabella McGrew" by Thomas Dickson Graham and PhyllisMcGrew Walklet, Clearwater, Flordia, 1979. This microfilm #1,299,999 is also available through the LDS Library in SaltLake City, UT. Donald Powell Maxwell, Jr. MD===========================================================

Russ, I have no idea where that date came from. Robert was verymuch alive when he came to PA with his family in 1725-6 fromOmagh, Co. Tyrone, Ulster (N. Ireland). He died about 1745 andis buried in Chestnut Hill Burial Ground, Adams, PA which is 1mile west of Heidlersburg on PA 234 on Findley McGrew farm andthat is Petersburg (now Dillsburg) 20 miles NE of Gettysburg."DAN" C.J. McGrew -------------------- According to the most widely accepted tradition, Robert McGrew came fromCounty Tyrone, Ireland, to Pennsylvania, about 1726/27, with his wife, Isabella, their five sons, and two grandchildren, Archibald and Catherine, children of John. Isabella's surname is not known, but it has been suggested by a number of investigators of the family history that it may have been Finley. There is a strong association of the name Finley with the McGrew family. Robert and Isabella named their second son, Finley, having named the first one John, which was probably the name of Robert's father.

It is probable that this family came first to New Castle, Delaware, and then to Chester County, Pennsylvania. Chester County at that time comprised a great area in Southeastern Pennsylvania. As western lands were opened up, through Blunston licenses, Robert and his sons moved westward, crossing the Susquehanna River, into what was Lancaster County after 1729, York County after 1749, and Adams County after 1800. In 1732, Thomas Penn gave a commission to Samuel Blunston of the Lancaster County Court, to grant licenses to sundry persons who wished to settle and take up land on the west side of the Susquehanna River.

The family were believed to have been Episcopalian when they came to America. It has been said and generally accepted that two of the sons, Finley and James, married Quaker wives, and joined that faith. But it will appear later that both Finley and James were married in the Old Swedes' Holy Trinity Church, in Wilmington, Delaware. Devout Quaker girls would not have been married in this church. (A girl from a Quaker family, as was Mary Dick, who was more interested in being married than in being a Quaker, might have.) Soon after Robert emigrated, he was followed by two brothers and a cousin.

BURIAL: Chestnut Hill Cemetery is 1 mile west of Heidlersburg, PA on PA 234 on the farm of Finley McGrew.

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Robert McGrew's Timeline

1668
1668
MacGuirebridge, County Tyrone, Ireland
1698
1698
Age 30
Probably County Tyrone, Ireland
1700
1700
Age 32
County Tyrone, Northern Ireland
1701
1701
Age 33
County Tyrone, Ulster, Ireland
1702
1702
Age 34
County Tyrone, Ire.
1703
1703
Age 35
County Tyrone, Northern Ireland
1706
1706
Age 38
County Tyrone, Northern Ireland
1745
1745
Age 77
Adams County, PA, USA
1789
1789
Age 77
Chestnut Hills Burying Grounds