Rev. Robert McLaurine, 18th c. Cumberland County, Virginia

Rev. Robert McLaurine, Church of England

b. circa 1717 - 1727

Lived in Cumberland Co., Virginia

Since the surname McLaurin appears at different places and times in Scotland, with no “one” patronymic and considering the fluidity of surnames in Scotland in the early 1700s, Robert McLaurine could literally be, the first of his surname.

Three traditional accounts indicate Argyll as his families place of origin, Northern Argyll like most McLaurins to be more specific. The first tradition coming from the South Carolina McLaurins who came from Appin, Argyll is that Colin McLaurin’s mother Mary Cameron was a sister to ______ Cameron who married John McLaurin at Coire Bliochdaig, Appin. Which has nothing to do with Rev. Robert McLaurine.

A tradition resulting from the research of Confederate Col. Mosby of Virginia and Daniel McLaurin of South Carolina in the 1800s, is of a marriage between Margaret a sister of Rev. Robert McLaurine and Donald McLaurin in South Carolina.

"Col. Mosby remarked that his mother was a McLaurine, spelled with an "e". Uncle Daniel stated that his great grandmother, Margaret McLaurine, spelled her name with an "e". Col. Mosby continued, stating that the first of his McLaurine ancestors to come to Virginia was his great grandfather, Robert McLaurine, an Episcopal minister. That he had a son, James, who fought in the Revolution and he was the father of his (Mosby's) mother. Uncle Daniel outlined his family history back to the marriage of his great grandfather, Daniel McLaurin, to Margaret McLaurine.


Some time after this Uncle Daniel received a letter from Col. Mosby stating that he had learned that his great grandfather Robert McLaurine had a sister Margaret who had married a Daniel Mc-Laurin. That they had several children who came to America. That sometime after the Revolution Daniel and Margaret planned to come over, but she died, and he had never heard any thing more about the family. Uncle Daniel said that he immediately wrote Col. Mosby telling him that was exactly what happened to his great grandparents, Daniel and Margaret. They were making their plans to join their sons in America when Margaret died. Daniel came on a short time thereafter.” G.G. McLaurin And Some of His Kin Sketches and Genealogy

A third tradition originating in the 1800s is that Rev. Robert descended from Colin MacLaurin the Mathematician or his brother Rev. John. This tradition was later adopted by the South Carolina McLaurins also. This has been examined thoroughly and no link has been found, there are no known living descendants of Colin McLaurin or his brother John.

Coire Bliochdaig McLaurins and the Stronmagachan/Drumurch/Colin MacLaurine connection

However, it is possible that descendants of Colin’s McLaurin uncles and cousins Duncan, Alexander and Hew living at Stronmagachan and nearby Drumurch in Glenaray, could include Rev. Robert McLaurine.

First paragraph of Robert's Will

Robert or J. Robert as his will describes him appears to have been in Williamsburg, Virginia in 1743. From that year until 1750 when he became an ordained Deacon in the Church of England, Robert was a tutor in Williamsburg. Rev. William Douglas an emigrant Scot, Rev. William Dawson an emigrant Englishman and Gov. Thomas Lee a native Virginian referred to him as Robert McLaurine. In other records he is “Mr. McLaurine” or “Rev. McLaurine”.

Thomas Lee’s Letter of Recommendation for Robert McLaurine to the Church of England’s Lord Bishop of London, was written when Lee was the defacto Gov. of Virginia. Lee was extremely wealthy and well connected to London, “commonly” educated at William and Mary in Virginia and had his own Coat of Arms. Lee wrote ”The neighboring clergy recommended him for his learning and good life” Williamsburg April 23, 1750. It is my hunch that these recommendations came in the form of letters that might be in Thomas Lee’s Stratford Hall archives in Virginia.

The next day Rev. William Dawson President of William and Mary College, wrote a Letter of Recommendation stating he had known Robert for seven years as a tutor. There is no record of Robert’s education, perhaps privately tutored which was common in Virginia. Thomas Jefferson and the Monroe brothers were privately tutored in latin by the Scot Rev. William Douglas, a close older friend and neighbor of Robert McLaurine.

Robert was ordained and became the Reverend Robert McLaurine an Anglican minister in Southam Parish, which was in Cumberland County but is now in Cumberland & Powhatan County of Virginia. He served from 12/16/1751 until his death on 7/5/1773.

He was ordained as a Deacon, By Bishop Thomas Sherlock on August 12th 1750 (Ordination record 74465, Record #’s from CCED & actual scan’s of the Fulham papers obtained from Lambeth Palace library) Church of England Record Centre, London, England, including records of Anglican clergy.

He was ordained as a Priest, By Bishop Thomas Sherlock on August 24th 1750 (Ordination record 74468, Record #’s from CCED & actual scan’s of the Fulham papers obtained from Lambeth Palace library) Anglican

He was given holy orders and licensed for Virginia soon after and was paid K.B 20 pounds on September 5th 1750 to travel back to the Colonies. (Kings bounty, money book 43-419 from “The Colonial Clergy of Virginia”, page 34 as well as “A List of emigrant Ministers to America”, it references money book 43-419 on pg. 43)

Robert is also recorded as “Ord’r the Rev’d M’r Rob’t Mcklearing be rec’d as a probationer for this parish for a twelve month.” Vestry held at Court house 16 Dec 1751.

“A vestry-book of this parish, whose record began in 1745 and continued until 1791, famishes the following particulars. On June 30, 1746, the Rev. John Robertson enters upon his duties in this parish, being recommended by Governor Gooch and Commissary Dawson, having been ordained the previous year by the Bishop of London. He ceased to be minister in 1751. Mr. McClaurine is then received on probation for twelve months, and continues until his death in 1772. Mr. Jarratt, in his autobiography, speaks of him as a pious man.* The Rev. Jesse Carter, James Oglesby, and Hyde Saunders, at the death of Mr. McClaurine, became applicants for the parish, each preaching some time. “

“* Of Mr. McClaurine, other favourable accounts of his piety and great benevo- lence have come to me. He preached at Tar Wallett, Manakin, and Peterville Churches : beneath the chancel-floor of the latter he was buried. He was the first of his name in Virginia. He left three sons and three daughters, two of whom lived and died in Cumberland, and the third at Norfolk, during the last war. Of the daughters, one married a Hobson, another a Swann, and the third a Steger. Their mother was a Miss Blakely, from the Eastern Shore of Virginia.” FAMILIES OF VIRGINIA. 33 ARTICLE XLIX. Parishes in Cumberland, Buckingham, and Fluvanna. St. James Southam, Cumberland.

Married: Elizabeth Blaikley

Died: 5 July 1773 

His funeral was held on 7/23/1773, The Revered William Douglas held the service. (The Vestry Book of Southam Parish - Cumberland County, Virginia - 1745-1792)

There is no record of Robert’s immigration from Scotland.

Rev. Robert McLaurine was Church of England not Episcopalian, not Scottish Episcopalian and not English Episcopalian during his lifetime, the change in parish churches came about after his death in 1789.

Was Robert born in Virginia? 

Robert’s eldest son was named James. Is James what the initial “J” stands for in Robert’s will?

Is James MacClarren who came from Kilmodock, Perthshire and died in 1754 in Isle of Wight Co. Virginia, Robert’s father?

Was Robert related to Virginian Daniel McClaren who died at the Battle of the Meadows in 1754, in Hogg’s Company?

YDNA = I-M223

James Cockburn McLaurine of New Zealand is not a descendant of Colin McLaurine.

Copyright Hilton McLaurin 2022 - All Rights Reserved

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