Cumberland Co. NC McLaurins and Kentucky McClarens the J & K Families

What became the (J) McLaurin and (K) McClaren families today, were part of the group that was led by John McLauren and Patrick Stewart. At this time I am uncertain where John McLauren came from in Scotland but I am inclined to believe it was Argyll, perhaps Glencoe.

Patrick Stewart, 1st of Ledcreich who was eldest son of Alexander, 4th of Glenbuckie, was the first to obtain the sole assignment of the lands of Ledcreich. According to the historical compiler, Gordon MacGregor, author of Landed Families of Strathearn, this "Patrick Stewart,"...was..."styled as eldest son to his father in a Bond of Manrent to Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenorchy in 1586. He did not succeed to the lands of Glenbuckie but obtained those of Ledcreich and had issue." This also seems to be confirmed in the family notes made by his later descendant, Patrick Stewart of Ledcreich in 1763, and published in the American Historical Register, Vol. I (Jan 1895), pp. 441-446.

The succession of Stewarts of Ledcreich continued to hold assignment to these lands until 1739 when Patrick Stewart and his wife, Elizabeth Menzies, immigrated from Ledcreich to Cape Fear, in the North Carolina Colony along with approximately 300 fellow Highlanders. They were the vanguard of what began as a trickle and grew into a flood of Highland emigrants to what was then Bladen County, North Carolina, later to be divided into Cumberland, Moore, Robeson, Harnett and Hoke Counties. The colonists sailed from Scotland in June 1739. On 6 June, the customs office of Campbeltown, Argyll, cleared the "Thistle" (ship) of passengers for "Cape Fear in America." From Campbelltown, she sailed to Gigha to take on additional passengers and join the "Charming Molly" (ship), cleared at Belfast also to carry part of the colony.

Stewart Clan Magazine contradicts itself as to who purchased Ledcreich.  At one point it says that Patrick sold Ledcreich to John Glas Stewart of Benmore (k. at Culloden, 1746), a younger son of John Stewart of Acharn, Duror, Argyll and father of the three Benmore Stewarts who inherited Glenbuckie in the mid 18th century. However, in another issue of SCM, the magazine claims that Patrick sold Ledcreich to his younger brother Robert.  At some point the lands were then sold to the later line of Glenbuckie as Ledcreich was part of the land sold by John Lorn Stewart, 17th and Last of Glenbuckie in 1847.

Patrick Stewart, 5th of Ledcreich, born about 1687, at Ledcreich, Loch Voil, Balquhidder parish, Perthshire, was heir to the lairdship of that estate. With his younger brother William, "in company with six Argyllshire gentlemen, and upwards of 300 common people from Scotland," Patrick and his wife came in 1739 to Wilmington, North Carolina, forming a settlement at Brown's Marsh, on the Cape Fear River. In 1740 Patrick and Dugald Stewart received grants of land on the Cape Fear River in Bladen County. In 1756 Patrick had a grant of land on Harnett's Branch, and in 1763, at Brown's Marsh, both in Bladen County. After the Stuarts failed to re-establish themselves on the throne in 1746 the laird of Ledcreich is said to have decided never to return to Scotland, and sold his estate there to his younger brother, Robert. After the marriage of his daughter Catherine in 1764 he and his wife "removed to South Carolina at the Cheraws, where he died about 1772."  The will of Patrick Stewart of St. David's parish [co-extensive with Cheraws district], S.C., dated May 8, 1772, divided his property among his wife Elizabeth, son James, daughters Catherine Little and Margaret Caraway, and his grandson Charles Stewart Caraway: the executors were Catherine Little and Alexander Gordon.

Let me add, it does not appear that McLarens lived at Ledcreich until after 1739, when in 1756 Donald McLaren & Janet McKie appear in the Balquhiddder Parish records until 1766.

Acharn was part of the Ardsheal estate the senior cadet branch of the Appin Stewarts. By 1745 it was owned by Campbell of Airds with Alexander Stewart holding the Tack. Also on the Airds estate in Duror is Aucharr, where Donald, Duncan and Hugh McLarine known Jacobite rebels, in 1745.

Patrick Stewart sold his lands of Ledcreich in Balquhidder to John Stewart a younger son of John and Ann (Campbell) Stewart of Acharn, Duror, Argyleshire, and sailed with his wife and young children for American in 1739.

Patrick Stewart and John McLauren (J-aa/K-a) bought October 31, 1739, of Ann Shirley two tracts of land of 300 acres each in Bladen County, North Carolina. Later, on May 21, 1741, he was granted a patent to 600 acres of land on Maple branch, in the same county. He, "of New Hanover County," sold to John McLauren (J-aa/K-a) on June 16, 1747, his half of the 600-acre tract which together they had bought of Ann Shirley in 1739.

Aucharn was also the home of James Stewart of the Glens, convicted of murdering Campbell of Glenure in 1752. From his trial comes this interesting insight into literacy in Appin mid-1700's.

"Thus the Highland servant is no better off abroad than at home because there are the same masters. But this phonetic letter also refers to the illiteracy of the Highland lower classes in the early decades of the eighteenth century. It was a situation which was not to change much after Culloden, and which was not confined to the lower classes. Many of the judicial declarations of the Appin murder trial of 1752 end with the statement: 'and declares' he or she 'cannot write.' Admissions of illiteracy even close the declarations of Margaret and Elizabeth Stewart, wife and daughter of the accused James Stewart of Aucharn, the small, but genteel born Appin landowner."See Trial of James Stewart (The Appin Murder), Ed. D. N. Mackay,
(Glasgow, 1907) pp. 207-08. Sir Walter Scott and the Highlands, Lorn M. Macintyre. Doctor of Philosophy Degree, University of Glasgow, Department of Scottish Literature. March 1976 Volume One.

Looking at the 1739 and 1741 land sale record in Bladen County, NC, it is obvious that John McLaurin had funds to buy land, along with Malcolm (K-aa) and Duncan (J-b) and their families. At this time, I have not found any record for John McLaurin (J-aa/K-a), Malcolm or Duncan in Scotland.

There is still much to research, as the relationship between Archbald, John, Malcolm and Duncan McLearan in North Carolina is not etched in stone by any means. The name Archibald is rare among McLaurins in Appin and Duror. The name is found in Glencoe, Kilmartin Parish, Glassary with the Testament of Archibald McLaurin in 1685 who has a son John. There might be something there!

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