John McCreary 1710-1777

The bare facts of these legal papers tells most of what we know about John McCreary and his family. However, historical research can give some explanation, though this must be the matter of my own opinion. No mention is made of the place of birth of John, as some wills show. In the family Bibles, the date of his birth was recorded in Erie after 1800, at which time John was listed as born in Scotland.

That John made a will also indicates that he did not want his money to be inherited by his eldest son, according to English law in 1773, nor be divided equally among his children. Poor men seldom made wills. By the standards of this period, John was not a poor man. His wealth can not be explained by his small amount of taxed real estate. By 1773 Samuel, Joseph and John (his sons) were well established on their own farms. These were equally as large as their father's and from the amount of taxes, Joseph seems to have been richest. Joseph had married Agnes Grubb, the daughter of the wealthy Grubb ironmaster of the city of Lancaster, whose company made cannon balls for the Revolution. Son John had married Rebecca Clark, one of the wealthiest families of Fulton Township, where John and Rebekka had built a stone house at Peachbottom. John's business interests were connected with the Martic Forge, where stoves were made and remained in operation for another hundred years, although the Furnace suffered failure.

Only the unmarried Samuel was not provided for. Samuel does appear on the tax list as a property owner, but after the death of his father, he appears to have moved to "Ye Mansion House," where his widow was living in 1790. The will was written in April of 1773 and Samuel was married in July of this same year. He seems to have taken over the various enterprises of his father's estate. At his death, his seven heirs inherited more than seventy pounds each, large sums of money for this date, 1804.

Several other reasons may explain why the will was written at this time. His son-inlaw John Caughey appears in the will, who was also the brother of Mary Caughey, who married Samuel that same year. Joseph Frazair (Frazer) appears as a witness. Neither were disinterested parties. My guess is that Mary McCreary, the wife of John, was a sister of this Joseph Frazair. Pictures exist of this family that indicate a strong family resemblance, big men, long faced, and red haired with the strong resemblance to pictures of the McCreary descendants. They came to Little Britain Township at about the same time. In 1790, the two widows of Samuel McCreary and Joseph Frazer were living on adjoining farms. Moreover, the name Frazer has persisted through many generation as though it were a family name. It is natural that Joseph Frazair would want to be sure of provision for his sister, the wife of John. Even more so, in the case that the two families were business partners in a mill on Octoraro Creek.

Old John must have been in plenty of trouble with his own household, interested in the disposition of his estate. There was Jean, an unmarried daughter at home, who needed a dowry. His farm and business included several indentured servants whose term had not yet expired. John's heir would inherit their contracts. Only one is mentioned in the will, Nancy Moore. John's married children, who were also probably associated in his business enterprises, felt that they should have some part of his inheritance. Probably, they encouraged their grandchildren "to be nice to grandpa" in which only William Ervin seems to have succeeded.

Before explaining how John McCreary on his little farm had become so wealthy, we must repeat the names of his children. No effort has been made to trace the lineage of his daughters, but the rest of this genearlogy will follow the history of the three sons, Joseph, John and Samuel.

1 - Joseph McCreary was born in 1732 in Little Britain Township, married Agnes Grubb at St. James Church in Lancaster in 1755, and moved to Erie in 1800 with most of his family, where he died in 1802. His will is in the Court House in Meadville and he is buried in an unmarked grave in Fairview cemetery, in Erie County.

2 - John McCreary, who signed his name McCrery, was born in 1733, married Rebekka Clark in 1764, and died in 1814. He built a stone house at Peachbottom, now Fulton Township, but died in the home of his son John in Martick Township. His will is on file in the Court House in Lancaster. Most of the information I have obtained has come from the Read Genealogy, written in Erie. He was probably buried at Mt Nebo Church in Martick Township, which was formerly the private burying groud of the Clark family. He became a Quaker, so investigation may show that he was associated with the Quaker Meeting House at Penn Hill near Wakefield. At this time, my information is not complete.

3 - Eleanor or Elinor McCreary married Samuel Ervin or Erwin of a family living in Little Britain Township nearer the town of Lancaster than the McCrearys. Only her son William is listed in the will.

4 - Margaret McCreary married Joseph Reiburn probably a French Acadian. In 1790, she was a widow.

5 - Samuel McCreary was born in 1739, married Mary Caghey in 1773 in Little Britain Township, and died in October, 1784. Tradition says at Harrisburg. There is no proof that he died in the Revolution, as the last date recorded in the Muster Roll was December 25, 1781. There was a severe winter recorded in 1784. His children, except his son John Britain, moved to Erie. His estate was not settled until the final date of 1804, although he died intestate in 1784.

6 - Rebecca McCreary married John Caughey. She later moved to the "Caghy" farm

John McCreary Clan by Marjorie MacCreary, September 1968
4253 Brookside Blvd, Cleveland Ohio, 44135
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