Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The McNaughtons, Clearing Some Haze

William Malcolm McNaughton (1850-1914), my great-great-grandfather.
In this previous blog post about my McNaughton ancestors, I said that my earlier McNaughton ancestry was lost in the haze of time. Since then I’ve pierced the haze a little.

On the actual McNaughton line, I still can’t really go beyond Malcolm McNaughton (1790-1870), the great-grandfather of my great-grandmother Edna Marietta McNaughton Shanower (1891-1964). It’s possible that his father was named John McNaughton, but that’s not certain. I’d previously thought Malcolm immigrated from Reispole, Scotland, but that was incorrect. Instead he was born in New York State. He married Mary McIntyre (1791-1867), my great-great-great-great-grandmother, and it’s mostly the McIntyre side, not really the McNaughtons, that has allowed me to clear some of the haze away from the distant past.

In the late 1700s many families from the Argyll region of Scotland emigrated to the Mohawk Valley town of Johnstown, New York, forming a Scottish settlement there. They were among the earliest settlers of European origin in the area. It’s likely that Malcolm McNaughton’s parents were among these immigrants—since Malcolm McNaughton was born in the USA in 1790—but I don’t know that for sure.

In 1801 western New York opened up to settlers. When Genesee County, New York, was carved out of Albany County in 1802/03 a number of Scottish-origin families moved there from Johnstown, New York, to found the town of Caledonia. Three of my McIntyre relatives were among the earliest settlers that went from Johnstown to Genesee County.

My five times great-grandparents John Roy McIntyre (abt 1753-1831) and Helen “Ellen” Stewart McIntyre (abt 1765-1834) arrived with their children in Johnstown, New York, from Argyll, Scotland, in 1805. In 1811 three of the McIntyre siblings left Johnstown for Genesee County. They were Allen (b. 1788), about twenty-three years old; Peter (1795-1851), about eighteen years old; and Elizabeth (1797-1890), about fourteen years old. It’s likely that twenty-year-old Mary, my four times great-grandmother, didn’t go with her brothers and sister because she was already married to Malcolm McNaughton.

Peter, Allen, and Elizabeth McIntyre spent fourteen days on the journey by ox cart to Genesee County. They crossed the Genesee River in a scow and settled in the Caledonia area on the south side of Ellicott Pond on lot 43. In 1814 the rest of the McIntyre family joined them. In 1819 the northwestern area of Caledonia they lived in became the town of York and in 1821 their section of Genesee County became Livingston County.

It seems that Malcolm and Mary McNaughton joined Mary's three pioneer siblings in Genesee County before the rest of the McIntyre family arrived in 1914, because their first child, my great-great-great-great-uncle John Malcolm McNaughton (1812-1893) was born there in 1812. The rest of Malcolm and Mary McNaughton’s children were probably born in the same area, but I don’t have firm evidence of that.

Their fifth son Malcolm Duncan McNaughton (1824-1905), my great-great-great-grandfather, was still living with his parents in 1850, but by 1851 he had married his first wife Sarah Jane Mann McNaughton (abt 1830-1907) and they’d moved further west to Galt, Waterloo County, Ontario, Canada. There they had two children, William Malcolm McNaughton (1850-1914), my great-great-grandfather (pictured above), and Elizabeth Alvira McNaughton (abt 1851-unknown). Malcolm Duncan’s brothers Joseph (1824-unknown) and Alexander (abt 1828-1919) were also living with them.

By 1860 Malcolm Duncan and Sarah Jane McNaughton had moved south with their children to Montville, Geauga County, Ohio. I don’t know what became of Malcolm Duncan’s brothers Joseph and Alex. But their eldest brother John Malcolm McNaughton lived next door with his wife Clarissa Almeda Hodges McNaughton (1818-1893) and their four children. The rest of the McNaughton siblings and their parents seem to have remained back in Livingston (formerly Genesee) County, New York. (Except possibly for Peter McNaughton [1815-1874], who seems to have died in Michigan.)

Malcolm Duncan and Sarah Jane split up before 1873, and each married again. Malcolm Duncan’s second wife was Lydia Annette Clark (1839-1905), and they lived in Brecksville, Cuyahoga County, Ohio. Sarah Jane’s second husband was the much younger James W. Sweet (1868-1895), and they lived in Claridon, Geauga County, Ohio. Both Malcolm Duncan and Sarah Jane had children with their second spouses.

Malcolm Duncan and Sarah Jane’s eldest child, my great-great-grandfather William Malcolm McNaughton married Mary Elizabeth Grant (1856-1946). They had eight children, including Edna Marietta McNaughton Shanower, my great-grandmother. That brings me to ground I’ve covered in past blog posts here and here. And I think that clears a lot of the haze surrounding my McNaughton line.

One of the more interesting details about my McIntyre forebears is this: Mary McIntyre McNaughton’s sister Elizabeth McIntyre McKenzie, who pioneered the move to Genesee County, New York, with her two brothers in 1811, maintained until the end of her days that the family was descended from the royal house of Stuart. In the book A Short History of the Campbell Family (1906) author Hugh Campbell writes that Elizabeth “never forgot the trace of royal Stuart blood that was coursing through her veins, and long life, clear complexion and clean skin were all attributed to it, forgetful of the fact that the Stewarts never were noted for their longevity, or for much of anything else that was good.”

King James I of England and VI of Scotland.
I have no idea whether this old family tradition of royal descent is true or not, and I wouldn’t know how to prove it. Elizabeth and Mary McIntyre’s mother was my five times great-grandmother Helen “Ellen” Stewart. There are plenty of Stewarts and Stuarts in the world, especially of Scottish origin. I wouldn't be surprised if many of them claim relationship with the Stuart royals. So I take the story with a grain of salt.

But David is pretty solidly descended from the Stewart family. His estimated fifteen times great-grandmother was Jane Stewart, the six times great-aunt of King James I of England, son of Henry Stuart and Mary Queen of Scots. So if it’s true that I’m descended from the Stewarts, then David and I have another blood connection, in addition to our common Bartlett cousins. However, until DNA testing can be refined more precisely than it currently is, I doubt we’ll ever know for sure.


  1. Hello! I am also a descendant of the Scots that made it to Caledonia-- and in fact, I'm still local to the area. I come from the Campbells that made it here sometime between 1802 and 1816. I think my Campbells originally settled in Saratoga NY and then moved along the way. I haven't seen mention of John Hugh McNaughton on the pages of yours that I've looked at.. The Campbells also married in to the Stewarts from Mumford (the next village north) and there is some evidence they are royal Stewarts as well. If there's any info I can provide, please let me know! If you have an Ancestry DNA kit or are in gedmatch, we can compare if we're related.


  2. I do have a DNA kit on My screen name there is ericshanower, so I'm easy to recognize. But I haven't found any McNaughtons turning up in my DNA match list. Not that this means much--my McNaughtons are through my paternal grandfather and I have few matches to his forebears. I guess I only got a little of my DNA through him. I don't know of a John Hugh McNaughton in my family tree, but I suspect we are related somehow, probably back in the mists of time. I suspect all McNaughtons and everyone with the standard variations of the spelling are related.

  3. This is currently for sale on ebay. I don't know if it's the same family, but it's worth a look.

  4. Cool info. I might be descended from that lost Peter. Trying to figure this out still. So many McNaughtons were roaming about!