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Daniel McPherson

Birthdate: (63)
Birthplace: Near Inverness,Highland,Scotland
Death: August 5, 1755 (63)
Salisbury Township, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Place of Burial: Kennett Township, PA, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Donald McPherson and Janet Cuthbert McPherson
Husband of Ruth McPherson
Father of Mary Swindell; Ann McPherson; John McPherson; Daniel McPherson; Stephen McPherson and 2 others

Managed by: Tim Shoemaker
Last Updated:

About Daniel McPherson


Daniel MacPherson, the common ancestor of many of that name who reside or have resided in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa and other western states, was born in Scotland, at or near Inverness, about 1680, and was brought to the America about 1696 or 1698, and settled in Pennsylvania.

Two traditions concerning Daniel's childhood have come down tous. By one, he would appear to have been reared in good circumstances for it is said, "he lived at home with his parents, and entered college in 1696."

"While at home during a vacation, and while leisurely strolling on the warf (sic), he was kidnapped together with many others, gagged and put into the hold of a vessel bound for Philadelphia. On arriving at Philadelphia, he was sold until he should become of age, for the payment of his passage."

The foregoing account of Daniel's childhood and capture is the version among some of his descendants. Another tradition was to the effect that he was captured while tending sheep; was down in a well when taken by men to the ship; the ship sailed immediately for the Delaware River. Daniel was sold until he became of age, ("bound out") which would be six years, but according to this version being told, he was represented by his kidnappers to be only fourteen years old, hence he was bound for seven years.

There are three theories of a cause of the kidnapping: to defraud an heir; to reduce the military strength of the Highlands which had been for years in a partly rebellious state; to profit by supplying labor to the colonies. The last theory is more probably than the others although the second received some credit among the descendants.

The inducing of people to some to the colonies, either by deception or violence, and then selling their service to pay their passage, was quite a business with ship owners and their confederates.

The second tradition would seem to indicate a childhood in different circumstances from those indicated in the first tradition. Living with his parents in the capitol of the Highlands, and attendaing college, would lead to the supposition that he was connected with a more pretentious class than herders of sheep. Yet the second tradition is believed at least in part, by some of the descendants acquainted with the second tradition and the first as well. In an obituary notice of a member of the family, the following language was used: "His ancestors were from the Highlands of Scotland; were shepherds by trade; and mostly large men, of which the deceased was a fair specimen, being six feet high and having a strong constitution."

Little is known of Daniel's condition during the years of his service. It is narrated that he often dreamed of seeing his home; and once, so great was his feeling of homesickness, he started to run in the direction of this spot.

The fact of Daniel's abduction seems to have been known among the Scotch who settled near Cross Creeks (now Fayetteville) North Carolina. It is related once when Joseph was at Cross Creeks on business, an old Scotch woman asked him -- "Was it you fayther or grandfayther who was kidnapped bye?" -- but whether she heard of the kidnapping before she left the old country, or learned it there in North Carolina where some of the people of Scotch name who were descendants of the kidnapped boy, are questions upon which no light can be obtained. As it was fifty years after the kidnapping when the Scotch settled at Cross Creeks, and must have been twenty before an opportunity occurred for the conversation, the latter supposition is more probable.

It is said that in the later years, Daniel was discovered by a kinsman or friend of his family, and was at the time of discovery "well to do and of easy circumstances" and that communication with his family was thus re-established. This tradition seems to be as clear as any we have, and rendered the theory of the defrauded heirship improbable.

After he became of age, proceeds the first tradition, "William Penn gave him a hundred acres of land in Chester County, Pennsylvania" on which he lived until the time of his death.

"Previous to occupying this land, he was married to RUTH SHIRES of Pennsylvania."

Ruth Shires came to this continent with a married sister whose husband's name was Pemberton. It is said, in after years, an estate in the old country fell to those two sisters or their heirs, and was secured by the Pemberton descendants. Some correspondence was had among the grandchildren of Ruth, with a view of making an effort to secure their portion. Joseph communicated with his cousin Isaac of Baltimore, on this matter. Finally the word came that the "Pendletons got the whole of it." (Note: the name of Pendleton instead of Pemberton).

Ruth died before her husband. It was told of him, that after her death, end in his old age, he would walk -- such was his great strength of body -- some seven miles to attend meeting at the place where she was buried. One account is that her grave was his place of prayer. When he returned home from meeting, he would bring some flower or twig and show it to his children, saying, "This is from your mother's grave".

No events in the middle life of Daniel, or in the life of his wife, Ruth, have been brought down to us. There is some confusion as to their places of residence and burial. The first account told to the compiler, gave "Delaware or Maryland" as the state in which he was bound for service; and it is thought more likely Delaware, as mention had been frequently made by Joseph and his children of the Delaware River which touches Delaware state and not Maryland.

The meeting attended by Daniel, and the place of his wife's burial is reported as "Kent" or "Kennett". If the meeting at Kennet Square is meant, the locality would be Chester County, Pennsylvania.

Six children are named as born to Daniel McPherson and Ruth Shires, his wife:

     Daniel - date of birth and name of wife unknown.
     ANN - married Nathaniel Carter
     John - born November 6, 1718; married Mary Green.
     William - married (1) Mary <nowiki>----</nowiki>; (2) Phebe Passmore
     Stephen - married unknown
     Othniol - killed by lightning, when about ten or twelve years of age.

The manner of the death of Othniel is related as follows: He was standing behind a chair of Mary Green, then the wife of his brother John. Mary was spinning. The lightning is supposed to have been attracted by the wheel. The flax at the wheel took fire. Othniel was thrown into a closet standing open, and in the excitement the door was pushed to, and his death was not discovered until later in the day. The other children settled in the region of the country where Daniel lived and died.

Daniel McPherson lived to be somewhat advanced in years but was very strong in his old age. His walks to meeting have already been mentioned. He would go out early and be back before the family thought he could have had time for the journey.

He had a friendly feeling for his daughter-in-law, Mary, John's wife and as she was quite tall, he would call her "his long-legged Highlander".

He was member of the religious Society of Friends, which he, in all probability joined after coming to America. By some calculations, we are led to suppose that he reached this continent about 1698 and died about 1765.

In his will it was found that all his property was given to his oldest son. The other children were much incensed thereat and proposed to leave that part of the country. One statement accused the oldest son of using improper means to induce the old man to sign a will in favor of himself. However, under the English law of primo geniture then in force in the English colonies, the result would have been the same in the absence of a will, and the younger children would have received little or nothing of whatever their father had to leave.

The children all sought new locations, except Daniel, the oldest, who remained upon the homestead. John, William, and Ann went to North Carolina, and Stephen to Southwestern Virginia.

Ruth C. Haines, R. 1. Waynesville, Ohio also is a descendant and added this information: "According to Sarah McKay Smith, (Mrs Harley) now desceased, who was a descendant, Daniel McPherson, son of Daniel and Ruth Shires McPherson, married Mary Richardson.

Mary Carey Thornburg, (Mrs. Raymond) has an old family history written by her grandmother, Elizabeth Lundy Carey (wife of John). She wrote in it that Stephen McPherson, son of Daniel and Ruth, married Mary Carter.

The above records were lent to Kathryn E. Williams, 229 E. Locust St., Wilmington, Ohio, 45177 (who kindly lent them on to E.B. Buffa -- reviser of this Carter family history) by the late Phyllis Schoepke and the same by Mrs. Ruth Carey Haines who gave K.W. permission to use any of it in the book she compiled for the Hale family, who likewise are descendants of Daniel and Ruth Shires McPherson.

Kathryn Williams relates that back in 1918 when she first began to assemble date concerning the Hale family and their ancestors, William Hale and John H. Hale, grandsons of Jacob Hale, Sr. told her the story of the kidnapping of Daniel McPherson and that he was brought to America and bound out. At that time they knew nothing about Daniel's background.


   * The book Bonded Passengers to America, by Peter Wilson Coldham, Volume I: History of Transportation, 1615-1775, (published by Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, 1983) chapter XI: The Scottish Experiment, tells of the common occurrence of Scottish young people being kidnapped and bound for indentured servanthood, particularly in the 1700s, though it began earlier: " ...the merchants of Bristol in the 17th century ran a brisk and profitable trade by rounding up unsuspecting youths and shipping them off to America to be sold to plantation owners."
   * Othniel is a Biblical name. He was brother of Caleb. See Judges 1:13; 3:9-11, Joshua 15:17.

(1) Daniel McPherson b: Abt 1680, Inverness area, Scotland d: Aug. 05, 1755 in Lancaster Co. PA

+Ruth Shires b: Abt 1685 in England,

m: 1712 in Kennett Square, Chester Co., PA

     (2) Ann McPherson b: 1714 in Inverness, Scotland d: Sept. 22, 1795 in Spring MM, Orange Co., NC
     +Nathaniel Carter b: June 21, 1707 in Carter's Alley, Dublin Ireland, d: July 04, 1795 in Spring MM, Alamance Co., NC
     m: Dec. 15, 1733 in Holy Trinity Church, Wilmington DE
           (3) John Carter b: Sept. 19, 1734 in Kennett TWP, Chester Co., PA d: Sept. 19, 1815, Orange Co., NC
           (3) Elizabeth Carter b: August 16, 1736 d: Feb. 16, 1832 in Springfield Meeting, Clinton CO, OH
           (3) Hannah Carter b: July 04, 1738 in Chester Co., PA d: Dec. 03, 1742 in Chester Co., PA
           (3) Mary Carter b: August 08, 1740 in Chester Co., PA d: 1824
           (3) Ruth Carter b: Jan. 30, 1741/42 in Chester Co., PA d: Dec. 24, 1837 in Randolph Co., NC
           (3) Nathaniel Carter b: March 23, 1745/46 in Chester Co., PA d: May 22, 1822 in ?
           +Jane Edwards
           *2nd Wife of Nathaniel Carter:
           +Sarah Edwards b: Unknown m: 1769 in Orange Co., NC d: 1787
                 (4) John Carter b: Jan. 22, 1772 in Chester Co., PA d: June 05, 1849 in Mill Creek MM, Hendricks, Co., In.
                 +Ruth Newlin b: July 02, 1774, Orange Co., NC
                 m: Jan. 17, 1798 in Parke Co., IN Spring Creek MM, Orange Co. NC d: Dec. 27, 1866 in Howard Co., IN
                       (5) Sarah Carter b: in NC
                       (5) William Carter d: Oct. 12, 1834 in Bloomfield, Park Co., IN
                       (5) James Carter b: May 08, 1799 in Chatham Co., NC d: March 07, 1877 in Honey Creek MM., New London, Howard Co. IN,
                       +Martha Holaday b: Jan. 18, 1802 in Guilford Co., NC m: Unknown in NC?
                       d: June 02, 1874 in Honey Creek MM., New London IN, Howard Co.
                             (6) Eli Carter b: Oct. 21, 1823 in Orange Co NC d: Jan. 09, 1899, New London, IN
                             (6) Hannah Carter b: June 07, 1825
                             (6) Samuel Carter b: March 22, 1827 in OrangeCo., IN d: August 31, 1901 in Prairieville, IN
                             (6) Mason Carter b: July 23, 1829 in Paoli Twp., Orange Co., IN d: Jan. 14, 1862, Jeffersonville
                             (6) Sarah Carter b: Oct. 13, 1832
                             (6) Jonathan Carter b: April 02, 1837 in Lick Creek MM, Paoli Twp., Orange Co., IN d: August 10, 1887 in Tipton, IN, at Mary Duncan's home
                             +Nancy Jane Duncan b: Sept. 12, 1843 in Ohio ? m: June 05, 1862, Tipton, IN
                             d: April 12, 1927 in Russiaville, Howard Co., IN
                                   (7) Clara Lake Carter b: Nov. 18, 1863 d: Dec. 10, 1940, Ambia IN
                                   (7) Ella Carter b: Feb. 03, 1865 d: 1943 in Russiaville, Howard Co., IN
                                   (7) Charles Duncan Carter b: May 10, 1867 in Prairie Township, Tipton Co., IN, d: March 08, 1923
                                   +Lora Wilson b: Abt 1870 in West Middleton, IN ? m: Sept. 06, 1893 d: Sept. 19, 1933
                                         (8) Wilna Carter d: July 28, 1934
                                         (8) John Wallace Carter b: May 26, 1894 d: Unknown
                                         (8) Garner Kenneth Carter b: May 19, 1896 in Prairie Township, Tipton Co., IN d: March 07, 1978 in Tipton, IN
                                         (8) Laura A. Carter b: June 21, 1901 d: March 23, 1976
                                         (8) Ward Ernest Carter b: Unknown d: Unknown
                                   (7) Vincent Gurney Carter b: July 28, 1873 d: June 25, 1946 in Reed City MI
                                   (7) James Landon Carter b: March 14, 1875 in Tipton Co. IN d: Abt March 26, 1940 in at home "Gentry Place" Tipton Co.
                       (5) Thomas Carter b: August 01, 1805 in Orange Co NC d: March 13, 1873 in Vermillion Co., IL
                       (5) Jonathan Carter b: Abt 1807 in Orange Co NC d: March 07, 1888 in Bloomingdale, Parke Co., IN
                       (5) Mary Ann Carter b: Nov. 27, 181(4) d: Feb. 07, 1889 in Kingman, Fountain Co., IN
                       (5) John Carter b: March 17, 1819
                       *2nd Wife of John Carter:
                       +Hannah Holliday b: Unknown m: 1827 in Orange Co., IN d: Unknown
                       (5) Nancy Ann Carter b: April 02, 1828
                       5) Joshua Carter b: March 28, 1830 in Orange Co., IN ? d: July 18, 1908 in West Middleton, Howard Co., IN
                       (5) Martha Carter b: Nov. 02, 1832 in Parke Co., IN
                       (5) Gulielma Carter b: June 17, 1838
                 (4) Thomas Carter b: Unknown
                 (4) William Carter b: Unknown in Chester Co. NC
                 (4) Nathaniel Carter b: May 17, 1777 in Orange Co NC d: Oct. 27, 185(4) in Morgan Co., IN
                 (4) Joshua Carter b: Unknown
                 (4) Sarah Carter b: Unknown
                 (4) Nancy Carter b: Unknown
                 *3rd Wife of Nathaniel Carter:
                 +Jane Collins b: Unknown m: Unknown d: Unknown
                 (4) Enoch Carter b: Unknown
                 (4) Henry Carter b: Unknown
                 (4) Brice Carter b: Unknown
                 (4) Rebekah Carter b: Unknown
           (3) Edith Carter b: August 27, 1749 in ? d: May 15, 1830 in Orange Co., NC
           (3) William Carter b: Feb. 23, 1751/52 in Chester Co., PA d: Abt 1810 in Chatham Co., NC
           (3) Hannah Carter b: Dec. 24, 1754 in ? d: in Hamilton Co., IN
           (3) Rebecca Carter b: Abt 1755 d: Abt 1805
     (2) John McPherson b: Nov. 06, 1718 in Kennett Square, Chester Co., PA d: March 16, 1798 in Chatham Co., NC
     (2) Daniel McPherson b: Abt 1722 in Kennett Square, Chester Co., PA d: 1789
     (2) William McPherson b: Abt 1726 d: Abt 1817 in Chatham Co., NC
     (2) Stephen McPherson b: Abt 1728
     (2) Othniel McPherson (killed by lightning at age of 10 or 11) says that DANIEL, at about the age of 14, was kidnaped while tending the families flock of sheep in Inverness, Scotland area. He was taken to America (about 1696) where he was sold as an indentured servant, a Dutch Quaker farmer in Pennsylvania. [Taken from the Severs Clan Book] "Daniel McPherson, born in 1682 near Inverness, Scotland. The Highlands of Scotland are frequently covered with dense mist, and it was on such a morning that Daniel McPherson, fourteen years old, was told by his father that it was his turn to tend the sheep. He was not too happy about this job, as the moorlands were lonely and the days were long. His home in the valley was built of stones frm the hillsides and thatched with heather held down by stones. Daniel dressed for the day and walked slowly down the valley where the sheel were grazing. The ewes looked up at his approach and the lambs bleated as if to welcome him. He looked northward toward the town of Inverness, but the fog was too dense for him to see Moray Firth or the Ness River. Macbeth's Castle, visible on a clear day, was hidden in the mist. Daniel was a typical Scotch boy with reddish-blond hair, blue eyes, and fair skin with rosy cheeks, made more so by their crisp morning air. He had a weird, uneasy feeling as he heard a rustling in the shrubbery among the rocks. His job was to protect the sheep, and unusual sounds startled him. The sounds came nearer, and soon he heard low voices as two men approached out of the shadows of the rocks. His first thoughts were for the safety of his flock. He moved quietly among them, prepared to calm them if they became alarmed. The men approached and spoke quietly, as if they too feared they might startle the flock. Daniel asked what they wanted and why they were in the valley. They told him to quietly come with them; if he did, no harm would come to him. He contended that he did not wish to go, but when they persisted he asked to go to his home for permission from his father. It was then that they constrained him and without further ado he was forced to follow his kidnapers. He had heard stories of young men being kidnaped and forced to go to America, where they were sold as indentured servants. It was 1696, and he had heard of the new land of America; he tried to show an interest in the ship and the passengers into whose company he was so rudely thrust. After several weeks the ship arrived at New Castle, Delaware, where he was sold as an indentured servant. When his term of indenture was ended, he worked as a laborer until he earned money to by a farm." DANIEL was "bound" (indentured servant) for 7 years. After he became of age (abt 1703) it was reported that "William Penn gave him a hundred acres of land in Chester Co., Pennsylvania..."

view all 11

Daniel McPherson's Timeline

Virginia, USA
February 18, 1692
Near Inverness,Highland,Scotland
February 20, 1714
Age 22
Inverness, Scotland
November 6, 1718
Age 26
Chester, Pennsylvania, United States
Age 29
Age 32
Kennett Square, Chester County, Pennsylvania, United States
Age 33
August 3, 1755
Age 63
Kennett Township, PA, USA
August 5, 1755
Age 63
Salisbury Township, Lancaster, Pennsylvania