McCAIN, Family
HAMILTON, Family
McCAIN, Unknown*
HAMILTON, Unknown*

McCAIN, Hugh*
(Abt 1729-1821)

 

Family Links

Spouses/Children:
1. NUTT, Mary Eleanor*

2. DAVIS, Jane Pickens

McCAIN, Hugh* 1534

  • Born: Abt 1729, Antrim County, Ireland Or Pennsylvania 1059,1534
  • Marriage (1): NUTT, Mary Eleanor*
  • Marriage (2): DAVIS, Jane Pickens circa 1795 1533
  • Died: 26 Aug 1821, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, United States 1059,1534
  • Buried: Tirzah Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Union County, North Carolina, United States 1534
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bullet  Burial Notes:

Tombstone says "Hugh McCain d. 26th Aug 1821 age 92 married to Jane McCain d. 24 June 1820 age 79".

Tombstone says "Dedicated / to the memory of / Hugh McCain, / who departed this life / 26th August 1821 / in the 92nd year of his age. / Likewise by his side rests / the body of / Jane McCain / his wife / who departed this life / 24th June 1820 / in the 79th year of her age."

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bullet  Noted events in his life were:

He has conflicting birth information. 1535 Determining where Hugh was born is difficult. Some researchers believe he was born in Ireland. Others say his father was the one born in Ireland and Hugh was born in Pennsylvania. John Stewart McCain in a 1904 letter, Ney McNeely writing in the 20 July 1911 issue of the Waxhaw NC "Enterprise", and George T Winchester in his 1937 book all believe that Hugh was born in County Antrim, Ireland, in 1729 and came to America ca 1745-52. An earlier descendant, Rev John Nesbit McCain, however, in an 1886 letter said "He, my great grandpa (Hugh McCain, Sr) was born in Pennsylvania about 1720." James McCain of Crowley, LA, who did extensive McCain family research, wrote "Hugh McCain, Sr is thought to have been a son of the original Scotch-Irish immigrant who came from County Antrim, Ireland; settled in Pennsylvania, married into the Hamilton family, lived in the Marsh Creek Settlement and may have lived briefly in A gusta County, Virginia before coming to the Waxhaw area of North Carolina." Mary Steele Niven wrote that she believed Hugh to be the son of Alexander McCain who married Sarah Hamilton in York Co, PA in 1728.

He had a residence. 1536 Hugh Sr is reported to have pitched his tent on the eastern bank of the Catawba River near its confluence with Waxhaw Creek and close to the plantation of William Nutt, the father of Eleanor Nutt. According to George T Winchester, Indian hostilities forced him to move several times. He finally settled permanently on a hilltop on the south side of Cane Creek, a short distance southeast of where present NC Highway 16 crosses Cane Creek. His plantation, located about midway between Monroe NC and Lancaster SC was in South Carolina until the boundary line was redrawn in 1771 . It was here that Hugh reared a large family, acquired a number of slaves, and prospered.

He had a residence. 1537 The text of a letter written in 1904 from John Stewart McCain to Benjamin Jasper McCain (of Clermont, FL and College Park, GA) reads (spelling and punctuation is from the letter as printed): "Great grandfather came over from Ireland to Va. in about 1745. the seat ove government was at Philadelphia, P.A. his name was Hugh McKain as then spelled. then he moved from Virgina (to now) union county, N.C. he entered "Land" in 7 miles of the catawba river, N.C. (Lancaster, S.C.) Just a cross teh N.C. line 1/2 mile settled. There was know coutys in that day. he was quite a strainger in a Strainge land. The country for miles was oridyinal forest. George Town, S.C. was the nearest point of note and there he had to go, a distance ove a bout 1.75 (175) miles to eaven get his salt....My Grate Grandfather was Hugh, my grandfather was Hugh and my father was Hugh. My father married Ellen Harris August, 1831. He was 43. Mother 26. I am the only living son."

He had a residence in 1752 in Pennsylvania Colony. 1059 Came to America in 1752, came to the Waxhaw area with the Pennsylvania colony of Presbyterians who first settled in the area. His home was on Cane Creek.

He had a residence. 1536 Rev John Nesbit McCain wrote that two brothers came to NC with Hugh Sr - a brother, Alex (Alexander), whose descendants were living around Greensborough (sic), NC in 1886 (another source said it was Ashboro) and another brother John, who settled on White's River in Eastern Tennessee.

He had a residence in 1753 in Anson County, North Carolina Colony.

He served in the military on 8 Jul 1755. 1059 Was an officer under George Washington at the time that Braddock was defeated in the French Indian War. Soon after the war of 1756 he moved to Mecklenberg (now Union) county, NC. Later in the same article, it implies that McCain was already living in Mecklenberg County, and was serving under Washington as a member of the Colonial force, during the battle of Fort Duquesne (8 July 1755) where General Braddock was killed. Same article states that Braddock brought two Irish regiments with him when he arrived in Alexandria, VA, in March, 1755. Could McCain have come over as a member of one of those regiments? Member of the Anson Guards, probably a company of King's militia commanded by General Andrew Pickens, prior to Revolutionary War.

He served in the military on 7 Oct 1755. 1137,1538 Hugh McCain is listed in the roster of the military company led by Captain Andrew Pickens on 7 Oct 1755. There are no other McCains listed. Other members of company include Andrew Nutt, Andrew Pickens, George Davies, John Davies, John Nutt, John Pickens, Joseph Pickens, Moses Davies, Robert Davies, Robert Nutt, William Davies, William Nutt, William Nutt Junier [sic], William Pickens. The primary source for this is "North Carolina Department of Archives and History Military Collection, Troop Returns (1747-1859), Militia Returns (1747-1769), Box 1, Folder - Anson.")

He served in the military in 1755. 1535 Although it is believed by some that Hugh was the Hugh McCain who was an Ensign under George Washington at Braddock's Defeat in 1755 during the French and Indian War, it is doubtful that he was the one. Circumstances place him in the Waxhaw area of NC as early as 1753. Hugh's eldest son, John S, stated in his application for a Revolutionary War pension that he was born in 1753 in Mecklenburg Co (earlier, Anson Co), NC. Also, Hugh McCain was a witness to a land deed involving Andrew Nutt in Anson Co., NC, in May 1855 (sic, prob meant to be 1755). Finally, Hugh McCain was a member of Captain Andrew Pickens military company of colonial troops in Anson Co, NC in 1855 (sic, prob meant to be 1755).

He owned property on 24 Sep 1758 in Anson County, North Carolina Colony. 1539 Hugh McCain purchased 200 acres in the Waxhaw area from John Clark and wife Martha Pickens.

He owned property on 28 Oct 1760 in Anson County, North Carolina Colony. Hugh McCain is a buyer of part of the estate of James McCorkell. Other buyers include Hugh Montgomery and John Nutt. ("Anson County Deeds and Wills", p141, citing Anson County Wills and Estates p270-72)

He owned property in 1772. 1533 Hugh McCain and Eleanor Nutt both signed a deed in 1772.

During Revolutionary War, when Cornwallis was coming through the Waxhaw area, a party of British troops came to his house and demanded of him all the money he had, which was said to have been a considerable amount for a backwoodsman. He refused to deliver the goods, and the soldiers hanged him to a nearby walnut tree. There he would have died had it not been for one of his negro slaves, who upon the soldiers immediately leaving, ran to his master's rescue and cut him down.

In "The Oft Told Story of Hugh McCain" as recorded by George T Winchester and appearing in "The Wisackyola Historical Festival Review", printed in 1967, the following incident happened to Hugh Sr during the American Revolution. Having accumulated a huge sum of money and having no way to protect it, Hugh decided to bury it between his house and the creek. A band of foraging Tories, having heard of the old man's wealth, accosted him near a walnut tree, and demanded his money. When he refused, they tied his hands behind his back, ran a noose over his neck, threw the rope over a limb and hanged him. An old colored mammy servant named Tenor and her two boys caught on to the situation and came running and screaming at the top of their voices. The Tories became frightened and fled. Old Tenor and her boys cut the old man down and carried him into the house for dead, but he rallied and lived for an additional fifty years or so. According to the Dec 19, 1931 issue of the Charlotte Ovserver, a gavel, the head of which was made from the celebrated walnut tree, was presented to Speaker of the House of Representatives John Nance Garner by John W Lambeth, Jr, 7th NC District, on behalf of J W McCain of Waxhaw, its maker and donor, with the following statement - "The head came from a walnut tree in North Carolina, whereon the Tories hanged a well known patriot, Hugh McCain, four of whose sons fought for American Freedom, and who suffered the Tories to hang him rather than give up his gold to enrich the enemy " Other parts of the gavel paid homage to Andrew Jackson ("Old Hickory") and James P Belk, the oldest man who ever lived in Union County. A slightly different version of the "Hanging Tree" story, however, it found in the article about grandson Robert McCain in "Memorial Record of Alabama". This grandson said Hugh McCain ran a tannery. Rather than allow the British to take his fine leather, he and some neighbors dug a hole in the bottom of Cane Creek and covered the leather with sand. Supporting this version, somewhat, is the fact that the Scotch-Irish in the Waxhaw area raised cattle and a deed of the late 1700's stated that Hugh McCain had the occupation of hatter.

He served in the military. 1541 Hugh and four sons participated in the American Revolution. Hugh was a petty officer under General Andrew Pickens and his sons were all taken prisoner in the Battle of Camden, SC.

He was employed in 1778 in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, United States. 1542 Hugh McCain was Mecklenburg County Constable in 1778 and 1779, and commissioner to lay off roads in 1779.

He appeared on the census in 1790 in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, United States. 166 Hugh McCain, living with 3 males over 16 [one is Hugh], 1 male under 16, no females, and 3 slaves. (Salisbury District, Mecklenburg Co, NC)

1790 Census also lists Thomas McCain Jr in same district, with 1 male over 16, 3 males under 16, and 1 female. Two other McCains are listed in the Charlotte district, Hance McCain (1 male over 16, 2 females) and John McCain (with 1 other free person in household).

He signed a will in 1805 in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, United States. 1062 Hugh's will lists seven sons and one daughter (Jane is not listed as a daughter). He divided his plantation between sons James and Joseph and appointed Hugh Jr as one of the executors of his estate. The will is in Mecklenburg Co Will book B, p98.

He appeared on the census in 1810 in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, United States. Hugh McCain, age 45 and over, living with 1 female 16-26, 1 female 45 and over, and 10 slaves (Mecklenburg Co, p476). There is another Hugh McCain listed as age 45 and over, but he has a younger family and fewer slaves.

He appeared on the census in 1820 in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, United States. Hugh McCain [maybe different one, such as Hugh's son Hugh], over age 45, living with 3 males 16-24, 1 female 16-24, 1 female over 45, and 4 slaves (Mecklenburg Co, p196)

He worked as a Pre-Revolutionary Soldier, Farmer.

He was Presbyterian.

Document: 1059 Children were (not necessarily in correct order) William (eldest), James, Hugh, Andrew, Robert, and Joseph (youngest), with one daughter Eleanor. The sons that were in the Revolutionary War were John S, William S, James, and Hugh. Then same article says the other children were Andrew, Joseph, Eleanor, and Jane. [so article is not consistent]

He was religious. 1062 Hugh McCain was active in the affairs of the Presbyterian Church. He is reported to have been a lay preacher in the old Waxhaw church and the first moderator of the Charlotte Presbytery.

He had a residence. 1543 Map shows Hugh McCain living adjacent to John Davis, just south of the old line abolished in 1771 (NC/SC State Line?), north of Waxhaw Creek and East of Twelve Mile Creek.

He had a residence. 1544 There are photographs of Hugh's home on Cane Creek in "Hugh McCain of the Waxhaws." They are listed as in possession of Lawrence W Maynard.

He had a residence. 1064 Supposedly born in the Marsh Creek settlement of southeastern Pennsylvania, then came to Waxhaw area with the Scotch-Irish group that established the Old Waxhaw Presbyterian Church on the Catawba River in the early 1750s. After moving several times to avoid Indian hostilities, Hugh finally settled permanently on a hilltop on the south side of Cane Creek a short distance southeast of present NC highway 16. His plantation was in SC until the boundary line was redrawn in 1771. Hugh was a petty officer under General Andrew Pickens in the American Revolution. Four of his sons were taken prisoner at the Battle of Camden, SC. After Mary Eleanor Nutt died (ca 1788), Hugh married Jane Pickens Davis (between 1790 and 1805). Family tradition says that Jane Davis was a widow who had raised a large family before marrying Hugh. Hugh was an influential member of his community. He served as constable in 1778-79, was commissioned to lay off roads in the county in 1779 and was active in the affairs of the Presbyterian Church. He is reported to have been a lay preacher in the Old Waxhaw Church and the first moderator of the Charlotte Presbytery.

Text of a letter from John N McCain to William S McCain, dated 10 June 1886: Dear Nephew, ... My Great Grandpa [Hugh McCain] was under General Washington at the defeat of General Braddock and held some little office in the command. He lived to be very old, I think 102 year old, and died when I was about 4 years old. He died about 3 miles from my father's home in NC. I cannot remember seeing him but his marble headstone is one of the first mementos of the kind I can recollect. He kept up family worship to the last of that long life. ... My Grandpa McCain was a son of Hugh McCain and Eleanor Nutt. He, my great grandpa, was born in Pennsylvania about 1720 and came to North Carolina about 1760. He had two brothers, Alexander whose descendants still reside in Greensborough, NC and John who settled on White's River in Eastern Tennessee. ... Your Uncle John.

There is a legendary story about Hugh McCain. I have found several versions of this story. Version 1: During the Revolutionary War, when Cornwallis was coming through the Waxhaw area, a party of British troops came to Hugh's house and demanded of him all the money he had, which was said to have been a considerable amount for a backwoodsman. He refused to deliver the goods, and the soldiers hanged him to a nearby walnut tree. There he would have died had it not been for one of his negro slaves, who upon the soldiers immediately leaving, ran to his master's rescue and cut him down. Version 2: Having accumulated a huge sum of money and having no way to protect it, Hugh decided to bury it between his house and the creek. A band of foraging Tories, having heard of the old man's wealth, accosted him near a walnut tree, and demanded his money. When he refused, they tied his hands behind his back, ran a noose over his neck, threw the rope over a limb and hanged him. An old colored mammy servant named Tenor and her two boys caught on to the situation and came running and screaming at the top of their voices. The Tories became frightened and fled. Old Tenor and her boys cut the old man down and carried him into the house for dead, but he rallied and lived for an additional fifty years or so. Version 3: Hugh McCain ran a tannery. Rather than allow the British to take his fine leather, he and some neighbors dug a hole in the bottom of Cane Creek and covered the leather with sand. Supporting this version, somewhat, is the fact that the Scotch-Irish in the Waxhaw area raised cattle and a deed of the late 1700's stated that Hugh McCain had the occupation of hatter.

According to the Dec 19, 1931 issue of the Charlotte Observer, a gavel, the head of which was made from the celebrated walnut tree, was presented to Speaker of the House of Representatives John Nance Garner by John W Lambeth, Jr, 7th NC District, on behalf of J W McCain of Waxhaw, its maker and donor, with the following statement - "The head came from a walnut tree in North Carolina, whereon the Tories hanged a well known patriot, Hugh McCain, four of whose sons fought for American Freedom, and who suffered the Tories to hang him rather than give up his gold to enrich the enemy " Other parts of the gavel paid homage to Andrew Jackson ("Old Hickory") and James P Belk, the oldest man who ever lived in Union County.


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Hugh* married Mary Eleanor* NUTT, daughter of William* NUTT and Eleanor* UNKNOWN. (Mary Eleanor* NUTT was born about 1733 in Prob Virginia Colony, died about 1788 and was buried in Prob Old Waxhaw Presbyterian Church, Unmarked.)

bullet  Noted events in their marriage were:

Some researchers believe that Hugh's first wife was Mary Hamilton, but that seems doubtful. Rev John Nesbit McCain wrote in his 1886 letter that his grandpa, William S McCain (born ca 1755) was the son of Hugh McCain and Eleanor Nutt. In applying for free land in the 1805 Georgia land lottery, which he did not receive, Hugh Sr apparently reported that his first wife was Mary. In a story about Robert McCain, son of Hugh Sr's son Joseph Nutt McCain, in the 1893 edition of "Memorial Record of Alabama", it is stated that his father was the son of Hugh and Mary McCain. It appears, therefore that the first wife, Mary, was Mary Eleanor Nutt rather than Mary Hamilton and that she was the mother of all of Hugh Sr's children. Circumstances indicate that Eleanor Nutt McCain, born ca 1733, died ca 1788. She is probably buried in an unmarked grave in the old Waxhaw Presbyterian Church cemetary, since the graveyard where Hugh Sr is buried was not begun until twenty years after her death. In the 1805 Georgia Land Lottery application, Hugh Sr listed Jane Pickens Davis as his second wife. He probably married her, the sister-in-law of General Andrew Pickens, between 1790 and 1805. He did not indicate any females in his household in the Federal Census of 1790, but mentioned Jane, his wife, when he made his will in 1805. Also, according to W B Smith of McRae, GA, family tradition holds that Jane Davis was widowed and had already raised a large family of her own before marrying Hugh McCain.


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Hugh* next married Jane Pickens DAVIS, daughter of Family DAVIS and Unknown, circa 1795.1533 (Jane Pickens DAVIS was born about 1741,1546 died on 24 Jun 1820 in North Carolina, United States 1546 and was buried in Tirzah Presbyterian Church, Union Co, North Carolina, United States 1546.)

bullet  Noted events in their marriage were:

Between 1790 and 1800, Hugh McCain married Jane Pickens Davis.




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