History of Clarion County McCalls

by Bert McCall

This account was compiled and written in about 1910 or 1912 by Bert McCall, a son of Simeon. Bert McCall died in about 1950. This account was saved by Mrs. Mina McCall Lemon of 132 West Brookdale, Fullerton, Calif. She is the daughter of John McCall, whose father was also named John McCall. Mina furnished this information to Malvern and Myrl McCall who published a booklet in 1978 entitled The Family of Robert McCall (1777-1856) of Clarion County, Pa.

Dating from 1790
Robert McCall 1777 - 1856

Although the McCall family has been in this country about 123 years, and in Clarion County almost from the time it was first open to settlement, we find it exceedingly difficult to get reliable information and facts concerning its members. It seems as if no attempt has been made to keep a record, and we have been compelled to rely for the most part of fragments found in different histories and the memory of the older members of the family. Among those who have furnished interesting material for this short history is Mrs. Jane Stewart, now more than eighty years old. Mrs. Stewart, in response to a letter from Mr. Bert McCall, wrote a lengthy letter in her own hand, reciting all she knew concerning the early history of her family.

From what we have been able to learn we are inclined to believe that the McCalls were identified with the McDonald Clan of North Ireland. Some writers claim that they are part of this clan. It is a striking coincidence that they espoused the cause of the Stewarts during a fierce uprising and for many years were closely identified with them. If this is true we have an ancient precedent for the clannishness of the Stewarts and McCalls in these latter days.

The ancestors of these people were originally Scotch who for some reason pushed over into North Ireland, drove the natives out and possessed it for themselves. They were a thrifty people and one writer states that, although the county in which they located was one of the poorest of the Island, by their diligence and industry it was soon transformed into one of the most productive. They were naturally religious, and under the preaching of John Knox, became Presbyterians. Firm in their religious convictions, they were often persecuted and even oppressed by church and state.

Lovers of liberty, both religious and political, they naturally turned their eyes toward the new world. Large parties crossed the Atlantic from the years 1750 to 1800, as many as forty thousand locating in the Carolinas. Many came into Pennsylvania, and owing to the fact that the Irish and the Dutch did not always get along well together, there was kind of a gentlemen's agreement, at the suggestion of the provincial government, that the Dutch and the Swedes should locate in the eastern and central part of Pennsylvania and the Irish in the western, beyond the Alleghenies. This accounts for the fact that such a large portion of western Pennsylvania was settled by the staunch people from the North of Ireland.

The original ancestor of the Clarion county McCalls left Ireland with his wife and family of at least four children and landed at Charleston, South Carolina, some time during the year 1790. the names of the children were William, Robert, Sarah and Nellie. It would seem that the parents died soon after landing as there is no record of their ever having established a home on American soil. the children were bound out to learn trades, scattered, and never all met again. Two sons located in Clarion County, William in Salem Township, and became the progenitor of the McCall family of that section. Many of his descendants are still living. The youngest sister married John Shaw and located in Huntington County, Pennsylvania.

Mrs. Shaw paid her Clarion county relatives a visit more that seventy years ago (Mrs. Jane Stewart states that she distinctly remembers this incident.) A few years later a son of Mrs. Shaw and a son-in-law by the name of Eakly paid a visit to their Uncle Robert McCall. No communication has been had with the Shaw family for many years and all trace of them has been lost.

Nellie McCall married a man by the name of Gibson and resided near Martinsburgh, Butler County, where some of her descendants still remain. Robert McCall, the pioneer ancestor of the Perry Township McCall family, was born in 1777 and was thirteen years old when he landed with his father and mother. After the death of the parents the children seem to have turned their steps towards Pennsylvania.

Robert worked his way across the Carolinas, up through Maryland, then up the valley of the Susquehanna to Belmont Forge. From there he went west to Huntington County where his youngest sister, Mrs. Shaw was already living. The next we hear of him is in Clarion County, making his home with the Smiths who were located on what is known as the John Harshaw farm near Monterey; this was in the year 1801 or 1802. for a time he was employed as a farm hand by Gideon Gibson, one of the earliest settlers. Soon after his arrival he purchased a tract of land from Gideon Gibson; one old history gives the date 1802. This tract of land was located on the North bank of the Allegheny in Perry Township, in later years known as the Matthew McCall farm and the Finley McCall farm, and is now the Allen McCall farm owned by Melvin McCall, a grandson.

Robert McCall was married to Elizabeth Thomas in 1803 and no doubt went to housekeeping on the farm he had purchased from Mr. Gibson. He was a cooper by trade and made barrels which he floated down the Allegheny to Freeport and sold to the salt factory at that place. This union was blessed with seven children; John, William, Thomas, Alexander, Eliza, later Mrs. William Stewart; Sarah, later Mrs. Robert Stewart; and Hetty.

Robert McCall was married a second time to Hannah McGarrah and this union was blessed with seven children; James, Eleanor, Matthew, Jane, now Mrs. Stewart; Harriett, now Mrs. Samuel Logan; Robert, Walker, Allen and Lavina. Mrs. Jane Stewart, now eighty-two, is the only surviving member of these two families.

James McCall married Sarah Prichard and had five children; Mary B., Elkana, Estella, Frances and Cora. John McCall was married to Rachel Coe December 5, 1833 and was the father of twelve children; Robert, Benjamin, John, Simeon, finely, Elizabeth, Harrison, William, Nancy, Hamilton, Olive and Lyman, who since the death of Harrison a few months ago, is the only surviving of this family.

William McCall married Peggy Stewart and was the father of nine children; Eli, Robert, Silas, William, John, Miles, Peter, Esther and Anna. Of this family William, John, Peter and Esther are still living. Thomas married Lavina Gibbs and was the father of ten children; Annie, Oliver, Joshua, Alfred, Sylvester, Robert, Clarke, Malinda, Mary, Margaret and Lizzie. Alfred located in the west many years ago. He and Malinda are the only surviving members of this family.

Alexander McCall married Peggy Stewart and was the father of five children; Elizabeth, William, Robert, Sarah, (Mrs. James Graham) and Hulde, (Mrs. Peter Peters). Of this family Robert and Hulda only survive. Eliza married William Stewart and was the mother of six children; David, Alexander, Robert, Amos, William and Linda. Amos and Linda only survive. Sarah married Robert Stewart and was the mother of four children; John, William, Robert and Elizabeth, (Mrs. Jacob Peters), all deceased.

Time will not permit to trace these descendants down to the present but an effort should be made to collect a record all the families which can be added from time to time. From the military record we find that Eli, son of William McCall, Oliver and Robert and Clarke, sons of Thomas, and John D. and Sylvester served in the Civil War. Several of the later generations have gone west and located in the rich farming districts. A few have professions: Horace McCall, son of Joshua McCall is a prominent physician and surgeon in Kansas City.

Eleanor married john McKibben; mother of Dora, Dave, Tillie and Tirzah. Matthew married Lizzie Barr; father of eight children, Mealy, Tillie, Hamilton, Brady, O. M., E. O., Mary and Dora. Jane McCall married William Stewart; mother of ten children, Loney, Olive, Munrow, Rhoda, Orrin, Lucy, Mack, Leslie, Brady and Chesney. Harriet married Samuel Logan and was the mother of none; William, Margaret, Lizzie, Olive, Robert, Dellie, Cora, Ida and Lee. Robert married Lizzie Taylor; father of ten children, Samuel, Jane, Peter W., Harriet, Ellen, Stewart, Lavina, Maggie, William and Cleveland. Allen McCall married Rebecca Jane Know; mother of seven children, Ethel, Myrtle, Edith Florence, Millie Etta, Addison Wesley, Eliza Lula, Melvin B. and Walker Clyde. Lavina McCall Married Isaac Latshaw.