1744    Hugh McGary born; unknown location (Hubert Harrison, Traces)

Hugh McGeary and Edward McGeary received land for service in Augusta Co. They sold land 5 December 1759. In January 1760 Edward McGeary was married, but the name of his is unknown. On 17 June 1761 court examined Robert McGary who was suspected of breaking jail and setting Edward at large. Edward was being held for assault and forgery. On 20 March 1767 Johnston Hill's estate was settled with a credit for Hugh McGary. [sounds like printed Augusta Co. VA records] from Carter-Coleman family of SW Indiana - no documentation] 

1768    Said to be living on the Yadkin River in North Carolina (Harrison

1770?  m. widow Mary Bunton Ray (HH) She was the mother of General Ray and it was her son, William that was killed  in 1777 just before Blue Licks. James Ray survived. 

1772    Boone was back in Kentucky with five North Carolinians, including Samuel Tate and Benjamin Cutbeard, two of his old companions and a new one, an impetuous young man named Hugh McGary. In the 19th century, at the base camp on Hickman's Creek, near its mouth on the Kentucky, now known as Boone's Knob, a farmer found the inscription Deed Book 1773 and below it McGary's name.  (Draper Papers DM 4C126-128) 

1775    Hugh McGary was with Boone on the second trip to Boonesboro in August of 1775. On that trip, the party traveled as far as the present Broadhead on the Dix River. At Broadhead, the Boone party “bore a more northerly direction for Boonesboro while the McGary party when down to Dick's River. The party, consisting of the families of Hugh McGary, Richard Hogan, and Thomas Denton became hopelessly lost after leaving Boone's group.”[1]  

1775    Boone put together a company of families in Bedford Co. VA for settlement in Kentucky. Amongst them was Hugh McGary and his children. McGary was known as “a headstrong man of fierce passions.” His wife was an equally strong-minded widow woman, who, it was said, “could manage McGary where a whole army couldn't.” Draper Papers DM 22C11 & (DM11CC219. Interview with Sarah Graham.) 

1775    James Ray of Mercer Co. KY was one of the step-sons of Hugh McGary. Came to Fort Harrod in 1775 at the age of 14 or 15.  His mother's name as Mary Buntin. Father unknown. Shortly before the family moved to Kentucky, she married Hugh McGary. When her son was killed 6 March 1777 she took to her bed with a long and serious illness which ended in her death in 1780. In 1781 James m. Amelia Yocum d/o Matthias Yocum who had come to KY in 1779 from Botetourt Co. VA. Register of KY State Historical Society 43 (Jan. 1945) p. 59.  

1777    The first incident with the Indians took place on 7 March at Boonesboro. After workers failed to return, McGary rode out with a search party and coming upon the horribly mutilated body of his step-son, [William Ray] he swooned and nearly fell from his mount. When McGary's wife, the widow Ray, heard the news she was overcome and took to her bed, and though surviving for a year or two more, she remained in a helpless stupor. The following morning the Indians set fire to the cabins outside the fort walls. McGary rushed out with several men, and in sharp fight, he and another man were wounded but the Shawnee found to wearing the hunting shirt of McGary's dead stepson. In a mad rage, McGary hacked the Indian's body to pieces and fed them to dogs. [12CC136] Harrodsburg women gossiped that while McGary's wife was alive, he sought solace with other women, but returning to his own cabin, his dead stepson would “appear to him as a specter, wrapped up in sheets and talk him out of it.” He would go see Caty while his first wife was still living and her deceased son would appear in the spectre of his present wife's spirit. [Draper Papers DM 12CC45] 

1779    Commissioned Colonel during the Revolutionary War and served under Col. George Rogers Clark in Northwest Territory campaigns against Kaskaskia and Vincennes. The Heritage of Hopkins County, Kentucky.           

            Mary Buntin Ray McGary died. (The Heritage of Hopkins County, Kentucky, 1988, p. 182)


1780    Around this time, he married Catharine (Caty) Yocum, daughter of Matthias. Caty would have tantrums and McGary would have to hold her down and slap her around. It did little good, however.  

1781    Charged in Mercer County with “giving and accepting bets on popular Sunday horse races.” he was found guilty and proclaimed by the court to be an “infamous gambler...not to be eligible to any office of trust or honor with the State of Virginia. (HH)”  

1782    Some held him responsible for the massacre at Blue Licks by challenging the men to follow him rather than wait for Col. Logan and supporting troops to arrive.  

1782    In the command of the Fayette militia was John Todd, a patrician lawyer from Virginia. The men from Lincoln were led by Stephen Trigg with assistance from Maj. Hugh McGary of Harrodsburg. In the five years since the death of his stepson, McGary had become increasingly unstable. He bickered constantly with his new wife and in a public fight with his brother-in-law had threatened “to shoot his damned gourd.” In the meeting of the officer's at Bryan's Station, however, McGary cautioned against hurrying out. Scorning what he characterized as McGary's “timidity” Todd declared that they could not afford to let the Indians get away.

                        The American forces arrived on the south bank of the Licking near Blue Licks Aug. 19, 1782. Todd, afraid the Indians were luring them into an ambush, suggested they not heedlessly run into the trap. McGary heatedly protested the delay declaring that “we have force enough to whip all the Indians we find.”  [Draper Papers DM 20C84[30-33]

                        If you are determined to proceed, Boone advised, divide your force, cross half the men here, the others upstream where there was a good ford, bringing the two together in a pincer movement. For an army of poorly organized Kentucky rangers this would have been a complicated operation requiring good communications and coordination. It risked the destruction of two widely separated and badly outnumbered wings. It was the practice of the Kentuckians to impetuously assumed the offensive, and there was a strong desire to inflict punishment and take revenge. "By Godly," McGary shouted in frustration, "what did we come here for?" He turned directly to Boone. "I never saw any signs of cowardice about you before." His words hit with the force of a rifle ball. "No man before," Boone shot back," has ever dared to call me a coward." One of his nephews, standing nearby, saw Boone "actually burst into tears." "I can go as far in an Indian fight as any other man " he shouted furiously. All rational discussion ended in these frustrated taunts. Once Boone had lighted his fuse, McGary blew off like a keg of black powder. He rushed for his horse, mounted, and charged into the river, waving his rifle over his head. "Them that ain't cowards follow me," he screamed to the assembled rangers, "and I'll show where the yellow dogs are." The explosion reverberated through the ranks of the Kentuckians. McGary's company from Harrodsburg charged forward to join their officer, and others began to mount and follow. "The contagion was irresistible," said one of Boone's kinsmen, for "the taunt of cowardice was unpalatable to a Kentuckian and stung them on to recklessness." In a regular army, colonels Todd and Trigg would have ordered McGary shot on the spot. This was no regular force, however, but a highly irregular band of Kentucky warriors, ready to follow the chief who boldly commanded their immediate loyalty. Bowing to the inevitable, Todd and Trigg ordered their men to take up the charge, hoping to bring some order to the chaos once they had crossed the river. Having made this decision, all of the officers became implicated in the blunder, thus saving McGary from a court‑martial after the battle. Boone hurried to join his company. "Come on," he cried as he led them into the river, "we are all slaughtered men." Once they had crossed, the officers organized their men into three ragged formations, Trigg commanding on the right, Todd in the center, and Boone on the left, leading the men from Boonesboro had Boone's Station, including his son Israel; his nephews Thomas, Squire, and Samuel Boone; and his cousins Abraham, Joseph, and Peter Scholl. We "kept near to Boone," wrote Peter Houston, one of the Boonesborough rangers, "having faith in him to get us out of trouble." Some of the officers remained mounted, but most men left their horses standing at the river's edge and, loading their guns, began the half mile march along the trace to the crest of the hill, following McGary and two dozen rangers.[2]

                        The Indians suddenly arose from their hiding places and, in a coordinated volley of deadly fire, cut down all of the advance rangers but three. In an odd quirk of fate, McGary was among these survivors. It was said that the others "were shot down like pigeons."

                        At least forty Americans were killed including Col. John Todd and Israel Boone. In Kentucky history, Hugh McGary is the scoundrel who brought on the disasters. "I understand I am much censored for encouraging the men to fight the Indians when we came up with then, he wrote soon after the battle to his commander Benjamin Logan. But the rumors of "my bad conduct" he asserted were being spread by officers who had schemed to "gain great applause" by hurrying to the Licks before Logan arrived, and the ambush had been the result. [Samuel Wilson, Battle of the Blue Licks, 66-67. Lexington, KY, 1927.) 

            George Rogers Clark blamed the disaster on the reprehensible leadership of the officers. Writing from Fincastle County, Arthur Campbell agreed that the defeat had resulted from "want of proper authority." In Kentucky history, Hugh McGary is the scoundrel who brought on the disaster. "I understand I am much sensured for incouraging the men to fight the Indians when we came up with them," he wrote soon after the battle to his commander Benjamin Logan. But the rumors of "my bad conduct, he asserted were being spread by officers who had schemed to gain great applause by hurrying to the Licks before Logan arrived and the ambush had been the result. [Faragher quoting Wilson in Battle of Blue Licks 66-67.  

1783-   On 13 January he obtained a pre-emption tract of 640 acres on east fork of Station Camp Creek that included a large Spring known as McGary’s Spring and an improvement made by Thos Spencer. As assignee of James Hays, the same day, Hugh obtained another parcel of 640 acres on Station Camp Creek. (The Preemptors: Middle Tennessee’s First Settlers (1989) by Irene Griffey.)  

1786    Hugh McGary again had a pivotal role in the inter-action with the Indians when he appeared at one of the battles with the Shawnee in which Chief Moluntha had been captured. Misunderstanding the Indian's answer as to whether he had been at Blue Licks, McGary drew a tomahawk from his belt and with one powerful blow cleaved open the old man's skull, killing him instantly. Men jumped on McGary to keep him from attacking Nohelema and Simon Kenton had to be restrained to keep him from killing McGary. This time McGary's rashness resulted in a court-martial that busted him from rank, but he otherwise suffered no criminal punishment. [Draper Papers DM11CC3] 

            The above incident came about during Col. Ben Logan's marches against the Shawnee in the fall of 1786. The campaign became something of a farce and the men devised a ballad which they sang until threatened by their commanding officers.[3] 

                        Oh, our soldiers when done, in the town they convene,

                        Where trophies of Vic'try were everywhere seen,

                        a brave son of Mars slaps his bloody old dagger,

                        And swears by the Lord that he made a squaw stagger,

                        A dastardly fellow advanced to the King,

                        Who was promised protection and brought to the ring,

                        He soon was espied by intrepid McGary,

                        Who just at this juncture came up from the prairie.

                        He gave the old savage a cuss and a blow

                        And sent him bare-skulled to the region below. 

1787    Hugh McGary court-martialed and found guilty of murdering Moluntha. He was suspended for a year of "conduct unbecoming to the character of an officer and a gentlemen."  

1788    Catharine relinquished dower on 25 Jan. 1788 in a deed from Hugh and her to his step-son James Ray.  

1789    Deed filed Sumner Co. Tennessee in 1789 in which Hugh McGary of Mercer County, Kentucky sold negroes to Kasper Mansker. Wit: Andy Jackson and Charles Hamman. (Sumner County Will Book 1:9) 

ca. 1790     Supposed to be in Davidson Co. Tennessee in Andrew Jackson’s court. Involved in the court case against Rachel Robard’s Jackson according to The President’s Lady. Hugh is again portrayed as the villain—even in the novel. See case.  


            After peace, McGary got a place on the Ohio above Maysville. The Indians hid under the brush of the fence and would have got him if they could. He then left that area and went to “Red Banks” where he died. [Draper Papers 12CC45-53]


            Lived in Mercer County, Kentucky. McGary's station was located where the courthouse "now" [ca. 1843] stands. [12CC45-53] Justice of Mercer County court at Harrodsburgh from 1 Aug. 1786 until November 1796. He was a trustee of Harrodsburg in 1798.  

1800  He was living in Barren Co. on 27 March when he and wife Catharine sold 666 2/3 acres on Barren River, Barren Co. that was patented to McGary to John Cole. (A:60) 

1801    He kept a tavern in Henderson.   

1801    Hugh was living in Henderson County, Kentucky when he sold 222 acres each to his sons William R. McGary, Robert P. Steen Burgen and Hugh McGary Jr. There was no dower release. Each received the same amount of land confirming that Steenbergen was a son-in-law. [Barren Co. Deed Book A: 178 and 212.] 

1803  On 21 November Hugh McGary liberated from slavery a negro woman named Poll. Test: John Hamilton; On the same day he liberated negro woman Tena [Tenna]. For £25 she then bound herself for 20 years to McGary or his assigns to serve him or his heirs truly and faithfully in this state or in any state or place that he may request. For the same amount of money negro woman Grace did the same. Test: Moses Spencer, D. McBride and Catrin Magary made her mark. Poll did the same, but she wanted American money equal to $66_. {Henderson Co. Deed Book A:256-257.} [This was probably a formality to allow him to convert them from slaves into long term indentured servitude which was permitted in the Northwest Territory.] See Illinois Constitution of 1818. 

1802  m. Mary Ann Jones Howell, poss. Henderson Co. Kentucky, but not recorded there. She had first m. (1) 9 May 1789 Jillson Howell. After McGary's death, she m. (3) in Knox County, Indiana 14 July 1807 in Knox Co. Indiana Henry Kirk. He d. 20 November 1815. 

1804    On 11 February Hugh McGary of Indiana Territory sold to Samuel Hopkins of Henderson Kentucky for $1000 ten acres in several lots in the town of Henderson. (He received these after Richard Henderson relinquished his claim in the Henderson Company. Wit: Marston Clay, David Dunagin and William Williams. {Henderson County Deed Book A:281.} 

1805    Hugh McGary Sr. moved to Gibson County, Indiana 

1805    Hugh McGary Jrn. and his wife Mary of Henderson County, Kentucky sold to William R. McGary of Henderson 222 acres in Barren Co. on waters of Skaggs Creek.  He signed; she made her mark. (Barren Co. KY Deed Book B: 72-73) 

1806  Hugh McGary left a will in Knox Co. Indiana Territory recorded WB A p. 5  Isaac Montgomery Executor was appointed September 1808.  McGary asked that the quarter section of land on which he then lived and the next west be purchased and divided between three sons John, Jesse and James McGary when they attained 21 years of age. Wife Mary Ann McGary shall hold 1/3 of land during her life. Negro women Tenar and Poll bound by indenture shall be “slaves”[4] of Mary Ann during 7 years to support the young family and then set free. He also left to discretion of Executor how live stock should be appropriated to use of two daughters Patsey and Sally; daughter Elizabeth to have one mule and step daughter Mary Howell. Negro girl Charlotte was given to my daughter Elizabeth. Daughter Catharine one black horse colt, son John the bay horse. Son Jesse was to have the roan short eared mare which he claims, to James one tract of land in Mercer Co. near Harrodsburgh. Son Hugh McGary one small tract in Mercer Co. at the mouth of Harrods Landing and son Jesse one acre of ground in Henderson Co. Son Robert McGary shall be Executor and trusted friend Isaac Montgomery take charge of goods and chattels. 16 April 1806  Wit: Robert Evans, William Barker, James McClure.  

1806    Hugh McGary died. Mrs. Mary Ann McGary m. 29 Jan. 1807 Vinceness Indiana Henry Kirk. Kirk died around 1815 and his estate named his step children: Patsey McGary, age 13, Sally McGary age 11 and Mary Howell age 16.[5]  

1808    Executor appointed for McGary's estate.  

[Stories told of McGary with unclear chronology: Col. John Thompson bought his place from McGary and gave him six or seven young negroes. These McGary treated most inhumanely. He burn one of them by knocking him down with a burning log. McGary kept a tavern at Harrodsburg (Mercer Co.) His stealing was a notoriety. He also had a tavern at Henderson. He died somewhere in the Wabash country. Having robbed a man whose saddle bags he discovered to be pretty heavy. When the man came back and forced restoration, McGary promised if let go he would move over the Ohio to himself. He had a bastard child by whom when she grew up he then had a grand child. Mrs. McGary had two bastard children. Draper Papers DM 14CC192:132 

There is a town of McGary's in Hopkins Co.  

Children of Hugh McGary:

2.         i.          Hugh McGary Jr. b. ca. 1768 prob. North Carolina

3.         ii.         Robert McGary b. ca. 1770 prob. North Carolina (one of sons by first wife and over 21 in 1774) m. Mercer Co. Kentucky 12 March 1793 Delicia Davis, daughter of James Davis.[6] Delicia had died by 1809 (prob. ca. 1798) leaving three children: Hugh, Nancy and Harrison McGary.[7] Robert m. (2) 15 January 1799 in Montgomery Co., Kentucky, Patsy Montgomery. Robert then moved to Gibson Co. Indiana with Hugh Sr. Robert McGary and his wife Martha lived in Gibson Co. in 1821 and sold lot in Evansville.

4.         iii.        Daniel McGary b. ca. 1772 prob. North Carolina.

5.         iv.        Elizabeth McGary b. ca. 1774 m. John Stafford.

6.         vi.        Nancy McGary b. ca. 1776 in Kentucky m. Hugh Sportsman.

7.         v.         William Ray McGary b. ca. 1778 in Kentucky

8.         vii.       Mary Ann McGary b. ca 1780 in Kentucky m. 1 December 1796 Robert Pendleton Steenbergen. They settled in Barren Co. Kentucky in 1801. She named her first born Hugh. On 7 January 1804 Hugh McGary of Henderson Co. for love and affection he bore daughter Mary Steenbergen and for $1.00, sold negro woman Lucy and one negro child Phillis. Wit: Benj Davis, Jas Wallace and William R. McGary. {Henderson Co. KY A:264}

9.         x.         Catharine McGary b. ca. 1782 in Kentucky d. 1854 m. Thomas Cardwell; moved to Hopkins County, Kentucky.

10.       viii.      John McGary b. 1787 in Kentucky as he was the first mentioned as under 21 in his father's 1806 will. m. 14 June 1822 in Adair County, Kentucky Betsy Womack. By 1830 only John McGary was left in Indiana as head of household and he was in Washington Co. There was, however, another John McGary listed in Chicot Co. Arkansas with Jesse and William R. McGary. He was listed on p. 44 and household consisted of 2 males under 5, 1 male 5-10, 1 male 10-15, 1 male 20-30, 1 male 40-50. Only one female age 20-30 lived in the home.

11.       ix.        Jesse McGary b. ca. 1789 in Kentucky; under 21 in 1808.

12.       xi.        James McGary b. ca. 1792 in Kentucky d. November 1828 in Hopkins Co. Kentucky.

by third wife:

13.       xii.       Martha Rosa (Patsy) b. 21 December 1800 in Henderson Kentucky m. 16 December 1824 Henry Crow. He was b. 31 December 1795 Georgia d. 29 Dec. 1852. She d. 9 Aug. 1884, the daughter of Hugh McGary Sr. and Mary Ann Howell.[8]

14.       ix.        Sarah McGary (Sally) b. ca. 1805 in Kentucky m. 10 July 1828 Gibson County, Indiana Philip Coleman. They were living in Gibson County in 1850.  

2.       Hugh McGary Jr. b. ca. 1768; He is often confused with his father in the early records of Indiana. It was Hugh McGary, Jr. that was the first permanent settler of Vanderburgh County, Indiana. m. Mary “Polly” Anthony d/o Jonathan Anthony. Hugh purchased a tract of land from the federal government on 27 March 1812, the land now covered by the city of Evansville.[9] The grantor index shows that Hugh McGary sold a large number of lots in Evansville—most in 1818. In 1820 Hugh McGary and his wife Mary C. sold lots in Evansville for love and affection to Clarissa H. McGary, Jonathan A. McGary, Warwick W (M?). McGary, Daniel McGary, Elisha King and Jonathan Anthony (and others). (A:188-190)  

            Vandenburgh Co. Deed Book A:190 28 Sept. 1820 Hugh McGary bargained with Elijah King for good consideration purpose to settle "upon his wife Mary C." a permanent estate for her support reserved four town lots.

                        About 1832 he was said to be charged in Scott Twp. with stealing a horse from Mark Wheeler. He claimed to have purchased it from a man named Wasson who disappeared and most accepted the story. Finally, the tongues wagging led to his going south on business, never to return.[10] (This does not appear accurate) 

                        He lived in Evansville, Vandenburg Co. Indiana in 1820. Both Hugh and his wife Mary had died by 1833 when Hugh Jr.'s children became a party in a lawsuit regarding the estate of Jonathan Anthony. On 12 Nov 1833 Thomas J. Dobyns guardian of Daniel H. McGary and Jonathan A. McGary filed his bond and petitioned to sell land for their education and sustenance. Thomas J. Dobyns guardian proved to the satisfaction of the court that he stands charged in the books of Haywood Co. Tennessee for $628.00 for the estate of minor heirs.[11] The court found that the McGary children were not residents of the state in 1834.


4.       Daniel McGary b. ca. 1772 probably in  North Carolina. d. September 1841 Hopkins County, Kentucky m. 9 January 1790 in Mercer Co. Kentucky Nancy Berry. She was b. 1772 d. 21 September 1834, age 62 years bd. Flat Creek Cemetery, Hopkins County, Kentucky near the now extinct settlement known as McGary’s station. No other McGary’s, but Daniel is also said to be buried there.[12] 

            He was probably named for Daniel Boone.           Around 1798 he and his brothers Robert and William moved into Henderson County in what later became Hopkins. He was living in Hopkins County, Kentucky in 1818 when his father sold him land in Vandenburgh Co. Indiana. Wm. R. witnessed the deed.            

            Vandenburgh Co. Indiana A: 76 26 Dec. 1818 Daniel McGary and Nancy his wife of Hopkins Co. KY sold to Wm. R. McGary of Vandenburgh a lot in Evansville #65. By 1820, however, he had returned to Hopkins Co. where he was listed as head of household on p. 40. His household consisted of 1 male under 10, 1 male 16-18, 2 males 16-26, 2 males 26-45, 1 male over 45; 1 female 16-26, 1 female 26-45 and 1 female over 45. He remained there with his family in 1830. He was between 60-70 and his wife 40-50. He was alone in 1840.


                        i.          Mary McGary m. Isaac Whyte

                        ii.         Thomas McGary

                        iii.        Tolliver McGary b. 15 December 1802 in then Henderson County, Kentucky d. 26 November 1846 from complications after being thrown by a horse. m. 18 August 1825 Elizabeth Dorinda Young. She was b. 12 October 1806 in North Carolina, the daughter of Thomas Cade Young, Jr. She d. 6 August 1854. Both were buried in Tabernacle Burying Ground, but it is belived they were later moved to Flat Creek.

                                  He was a giant of a man, being 6’4" tall and 350 pounds. However, he was very athletic participating in foot races and jumps. He was the father of 12 children named in Heritage of Hopkins County.

                        iv.        Samuel Goode Hopkins McGary 

7.        William R. McGary b. ca. 1778 m. Elizabeth Davis, daughter of James Davis, Sr.[13] They owned land on Skaggs Creek in Warren County, Kentucky in 1801, but were living in Henderson Co. by 1806. In 1811, William R. held the rank of Major in the Kentucky militia.  He later moved to Vanderburg County, Indiana.[14]

                        They owned land on Skaggs Creek in Warren County, Kentucky in 1801. However, on 11 October 1802 Wm. R. McGary and Elizabeth his wife of Barren Co. sold to Hugh Hicklin of same 222 acres on Skaggs Creek for £230.. Wit: Robert P. Steenburgin, William Davidson, William Higgins.[15]  They were living in Henderson Co. by 1804 when he witnessed his father's deed of gift to sister Mary Steenbergen. Barren County Deeds Book B: ca. 100. On 15 October 1806 William R. McGary of Henderson sold to Richard Davidson for £222 a parcel of land on Rows Creek being part of military entry in the name of William Ballard. Wit: Thomas Dickenson, William Higgins and Cheadel Harris. (no dower release) {Henderson Co. Deed Book B:127.}

            Early deeds in Hopkins Co. show William R. McGary buying parcels around the town of Madisonville.[16] In 1811, he purchased 60 acres on Flat Creek from William Berry.

                        He was listed in 1810 in Hopkins Co. census p. 1 with 2 males under 10, 3 males 26-45 and 2 females 16-26.

                        Wm. R. McGary was a Major in the 6th Regiment. (Barbour's Kentucky Milita in War of 1812. In the early years of Hopkins County, he served as tax collector, sheriff and surveyor. On 14 October 1816 William R. appointed his brother Daniel also of Hopkins Co. to transact any business that he left unsettled in the state and to collect all money which may be due.[17]

                        In 1820 Wm. R. McGary was listed in Vanderburg Co. Indiana p. 178 with 1 male under 10, 1 male 10-16, 1 male 16-26, 1 male over 45; 1 female under 10, 1 female 26-45, 1 female slave and 1 "other." However, they were back in Hopkins County by 1821 when William R. and Elizabeth made a deed of gift to their son John D.[18]           

            Vandenburgh Co. Indiana A: p. 53 28 May 1819 Robert M. Evans and Jane his wife, James W. Jones and Elizabeth, his wife of Gibson Co. Indiana sold to Wm. R. McGary a lot in Evansville #135. Vandenburgh Co. Deed Book A:212 14 Feb. 1821 Wm. R. McGary and his wife Elizabeth of Evansville sold to William Lewis of same for $300 lot No. 65 in Evansville. Wit: John Conner, Jr.  

                  On 28 April 1821 Wm. R. McGary sold to Octgavior Newman and others a lot in Evansville. {Vanderburgh Co. Indiana Deed Book A:269.} Most researchers have thus concluded that William R. McGary died in Indiana since no additional records were located for him there. However, one researcher stated that he tracked him to Breckenridge. Co. Ky. Although a man of the name appeared there on the tax rolls of 1824, and the census listings of 1830 and 1840 he never used the initial "R" and he was considerably poorer than William R. His first land purchase was in 1836 for 100 acres on Sailes Creek. This just does not fit with this McGary family.  

          Hopkins Co. Deed Book 3:119 3 January 1820 William R. McGary and his wife Elizabeth of Vanderburgh Co. Indiana sold for $250 to Thomas Cardwell of Hopkins Co. two lots in Madisonville. Wit: Joseph Robertson, Winston Harvey and J.W.G. Godman.  

            The family appears to have moved for a short time to Arkansas. John McGary and Sarah H. Williams were married on 25 November 1824 at the home of William R. McGary in Oden township, Chicot County, Arkansas.[19] William R. McGary was listed in 1830 on p. 42 of the Chicot County, Arkansas census. His household consisted of 1 male 10-15, 1 male 20-30, 1 male 40-50,. 1 female 40-50. He was also on the 1831 and 1832 tax list, but gone by 1833.

                        Elizabeth McGary was not head of household in Hopkins Co. in 1830 and may have been living with a married child or in another household.


16.                   i.          James Davis McGary b. ca. 1803 in Kentucky

17.                   ii.         Hugh H. McGary b. ca. 1807 in Kentucky

18.                   iii.       America I. McGary b. ca. 1811 m. 28 April 1829 in Villemont, Arkansas, Thomas W. Langley. They were married by Richard Latting.[20]


Hopkins Co. KY Deed Book Grantor - McGary

William R. to William Rice Comr D 1:10 7 September 1825 A suit in chancery resulted in sale by McGary to William Rice a lot in town of Madisonville beginning at the SE corner of James WEr’s new brick house.

Elizabeth et al to William Thomass Comr D 1:29  1830

Elizabeth et al to Hugh Kirkwood Comr D 1:34 1830

Elizabeth et al. to Ambrose G. Gordon Comr D 1:43 500 acres. 1832


1850 Hopkins Co. Kentucky p. 89 #573  Elizabeth McGary age 43 b. North Carolina $2000; William H. age 22 b. KY, Sarah age 17 b. KY, Elizabeth R, age 14 b. KY, Pamlina age 12 b. KY, Judith age 10, Toliver age 5 and Edward age 13.

            This may be the Elizabeth D. McGary b. 12 October 1806 d. 6 Aug. 1854 bd. Grapevine Cemetery, near Madisonville, Hopkins Co. Same cemetery: J.D. McGary b. 31 Dec. 1839 d. 1 June 1854.


Court orders jump from 1818 to 1899.  Wm McGary did not leave a will; administrator's bonds do not start until 1846. WHERE are the Commissioners' deeds. Need to be published!


Query asks if Nancy McGary b. 1794 in Kentucky m. Stephen H. Hyten in 1816 in Montgomery Co. Kentucky was daughter or grandaughter of Col. McGary. Her age almost assures she was granddaughter, but of which son? Apparently Nancy d. 1849 Callaway Co. Missouri.

 11.      Jesse McGary b. ca. 1784  m. 7 May 1812 in Hopkins Co. Kentucky Catharine Robertson.

           13 November 1819 Jesse McGary of Kentucky sold to Hugh McGary of Vanderburgh Co. for $300 sold SE of 28-4-10 of lands sold at Cincinnati and patented to Jessey by President of U.S. (no dower release) Wit: ? W. Linsay and Harrison McGary.[21] (no county in Kentucky given) 

          Jesse McGary has the distinction of committing the first murder in Vanderburgh County, Indiana although he was acquitted by the jury. More information is available without documentation in the Harrison article.[22] He murdered his wife, Catharine Robertson.  

          Jesse had returned to Kentucky by 1820 where he was listed alone in the household, one male 26-45. By 1830 he appeared to have moved to Arkansas with two of his brothers. He was listed on Chicot County census in 1830, p. 44. His household consisted of 2 males 15-20, 1 male 30-40, but no females.  

12.     James McGary b. ca. 1792 in Kentucky; under 21 in 1808. d. November 1828 in Hopkins County, Kentucky when he was drowned in a creek during a rainstorm.[23] He was briefly in Vanderburg Co. Indiana with his brothers. He returned to Hopkins Co. Kentucky by 1820 when a young man 16-26 with a woman 16-26 is head of household there next to Jesse and Daniel. m. 20 April 1820, in Hopkins Co. Martha (Patsy) Thompson b. 20 January 1800 d/o Samuel D. Thompson. Patsy d. 4 May 1861 in Oregon City, Oregon. She m. (2) John Holman. He was also on the Applegate train.  

            On 10 June 1825 William Wilson, commissioner of Hopkins County admitted a suit in chancery between William Thompson, James McGary and wife Patsy, formerly Thompson against Richard Littlepage, and wife Nancy, formerly Thompson, Samuel Thompson, Hardin Thompson, Susanna Thompson, Sarah Thompson, Betsey Thompson,  Dickson Thompson, heirs of Samuel Thompson, deceased regarding 200 acres subject to widow’ dower.[24]  

            September term 1830 Hopkins Circuit Court: Suit in favor of Henry H. McGary, Garrett W. McGary, Samuel D. McGary, Sarah J. McGary and Elizabeth McGary heirs at law of James McGary by their next friend Joseph Robertson who was also administrator of estate. Suit involved land that where title was not cleared before James’ death.[25] 

            Children of James and Martha (Thompson) McGary:

                        i.          Henry H. McGary b. 1821 d. 13 September 1842

                        ii.         Garret W. McGary b. 17 June 1822 d. 20 December 1897 m. 11 October 1850 Catharine Sparkes. He was on the Applegate wagon train to Oregon in 1843.

                        iii.        Sarah Jane McGary b. 23 December 1823 in Madisonville, Kentucky, d. 29 January 1887, Salem, Oregon; m. 14 October 1841, probably in Dade County, Missouri, William Thomas Newby b. 25 March 1820 in Warren County, Tennessee.[26] He was on the Applegate train.

                        iv.        Samuel D. McGary b. 1825 d. 12 September 1842

                        v.         Elizabeth Martha McGary b. 10 January 1829 in Hopkins Co. Kentucky the daughter of James and Martha (Thomassson) McGary. d. 4 January 1904 in Portland, Oregon. m. 4 March 1845 at Forest Grove, Oregon Asa Lawrence Lovejoy. He was b. 1808 in Massachusetts and d. 10 September 1882 in Portland. He was the first proprietor of Portland. Lovejoy was in Oregon as early as 1842, returned in 1843 and met his wife on the 1843 Applegate train from Missouri to Oregon after his mid-winter ride back east.  

            [Note: Sometime after her husband’s death, the family must have moved to Missouri to have hooked up with the Applegate train (perhaps Dade Co.) Descendant says that Martha McGary married Holman after they arrived in Oregon. It seems peculiar for a widow to take the wagon train to Oregon with three adolescent, unmarried children. All the males who later married into the family were on the Applegate train as was G.W. McGary.

                        Dr. McGeary wrongly places James McGary as a son of Wm. R. McGary rather than his brother. He also wrongly places Wm. R. McGary as the Wm. F. McGary living in Breakenridge Co. Kentucky in 1840 and 1850. This is a completely family different man and much younger than Wm. R. William R. returned to Hopkins County.  

17.       Hugh Hamilton McGary (William R., Hugh) was b. 1807 in Kentucky d. m. Susan Davis, widow of [-?-] McGary? m. (2) Rosetta Ewing. The original land entries of Callaway County shows a number of entries for James. D. McGary and Hugh H. McGary beginning in 1837 with most occurring in 1840 and 1841, Stephen Hyten there as well. 

             He was living in Callaway County, Missouri in 1850 #711. Z:140 Hugh H. McGary and Rosetta his wife to Willoughby Q. McGary my son for $1.00 80 acres. 29 September 1865.  


                        i.          James D. McGary b. ca. 1840 in Missouri; d. before 1880 leaving children remembered in his uncle's will.

                        ii.         William R. McGary b. ca. 1842 in Missouri.

                        iii.        Willoughby McGary b. ca. 1849 in Missouri; died at his residence near Barkersville, 2 March 1882 W.Q. McGary aged 22y, 3m. He leaves a wife and four children and aged father Hamilton McGary. Remains interred Middle River Church.[27]


Davidson Co. Tennessee Deed of Hugh McGary sale of negroes 1789 - not found.

William McGary of Breckenridge Co. KY

1830 Breckenridge Co. KY  William McGary 1 male under 5, 1 male 5-10, 2 males 10-15, 2 males 20-230, 1 male 50-60; 1 female 5-10, 2 female s15-20, 1 female 20-30, 1 female 40-50.

1840 Hopkins Co. Kentucky p. 389 Daniel McGary  1 male 60-70. No others in the household.


1840 Breckenridge Co. p. 457 Harrodsburg

Wm. McGary 1 male 10-15, 3 males 15-20, 2 males 20-30, 1 male 60-70; 1 female 15-20, 2 females 20-30, 1 female 50-60.

Wm F. McGary 2 males under 5, 1 male 30-40; 2 males under 5, 1 20-30

John McGary 1 male 20-30; 1 female 20-30. 

Breckenridge Deeds 1800-1875  K:457 On 28 October 1834 Lewis Springer and Jane his wife and Samuel Walker of Crawford Co. Indiana sold to William McGary of Breck. sold 130 acres willed by John Hardin of Washington Co. KY to Lewis H. Springer and Mordicai B. Springer on waters of Tuels Creek

Henry McGerry from Willis Maswell and wife M: after 500 (could not locate)

Wm. F. McGerry to Crawford Lowry N:60 

Taxes Breckenridge Co.

1816-1822 NO McGary

1824- Wm. McGairy no property; 1 poll, 1 horse.

1825-Wm McGary 1 poll, 2 horse

1827- Wm. McGary 1 poll, 2 horses

1831 - Wm McGary 1 poll, 5 horses

1833-Wm McGary Sr. 1 poll 6 horses, Wm. McGary Jr. 1 poll

1834 Wm McGerry Jr. 1 poll

1834 John McGerry 1 poll next to Wm McGary SR. 130 acres on Sailes Creek 1 poll 6 horses

1836 William McGery 130 acres Tucks Creek?

John McGerry no land 1 poll, 2 horses William McGery Jr. 1 poll

1837 Wm McGerry Sr. 130 acres, 1 poll 4 horses, John McGerry, 1 poll, 2 horses


Illinois Land Grants

Harrison McGary in Sangamon 1836

Hugh McGary in Sangamon 1831-1834

John McGary Mercer Warrant 1817 

Callaway County Death Notices from Callaway Newspapers: The Telegraph, The Missouri Telegraph, Fulton MO. 1848-1879 compiled by Cheryl Oberhaus published by K. Wilham Genealogical Research and Publishing Shelbyville, Mo. 1993 

p. 67 The death of Nancy G. McGary of Austin, TX. She was b. 1819 in Missouri; m. 1834 Wm. D. McGary Esq. and went with her husband to Austin in 1859 where they have resided ever since. Childless.

McCary Deeds


A:178 24 August 1801 Hugh McGary of Henderson Co. KY to William R. McGary of Barren for £100 222 acres on Skaggs Creek being the northwardsly part of a military claim that was obtained in the name of William Ballard. Wit: Elisha Thomason, John Toddman and Robt P. Steenburgern.


A:212 On 25 Aug 1801 Hugh McGary Sr. of Henderson Co. KY to Hugh McGary, Jr. of same for £100 sold 222 acres in Barren Co. being in the southern part of a military claim obtained for and in the name of William Ballard. Wit: William R. McGary in Nov. 1801 and Aug. 1802 Elizabeth McGary and Robert P. Steenburgen.


B:72  4 July 1805 Hugh McGary Jr. and Mary his wife of Henderson Co. KY sold to William R. McGary of same for $500 a tract containing 222 acres on waters of Skaggs Creek being southeastern part of military claim obtained for William Ballard.


A:210 24 Aug. 1801 Hugh McGary of Henderson Co. to Robert P. StennBurgen of Barren Co. for £100 222 acres upon the Skagges Creek being the eastern part of the Military land obtained in the name of William Ballard. Signed in presence of Elisha Thompson, John Goodman and William R. McGary. No dower release.

Benjamin Cooper affidavit:


Controversy continued for decades over the 1782 Battle of Blue Licks in Kentucky and on 6 November 1845, Benjamin Cooper’s 1836 statement appeared in the Jefferson Inquirer.[28]


Saline County, Missouri—I, Benjamin Cooper of this State, formerly a resident of Madison County, Kentucky, state that I was Lieutenant in Capt. Scott’s company in Kentucky and was in the battle of the Blue Licks and was of Col. Trigg’s regiment. I was married to a relation of Col. Daniel Boone, and was intimate with him. I knew Levi Todd, a Major in command that day, having been in several battles with him. I knew Col. John Todd, who commanded in chief, and knew generally all the officers in the engagement. I joined the Fayette troops then collected, marched in pursuit of the Indians towards the Blue Licks. I was with Col. Boone when he, by counting the Indian fires, concluded there were at least 500 Indians—when the troops came near the Indians, at the Blue Licks, there was a general council of officers held, at which I was present, and I knew the officers were of opinion and had decided not to fight the battle—that they were too weak and the enemy too strong. I knew the opinion of Col. John Todd, and Maj. Levi Todd, to have concurred in that opinion, for I conversed with Levi Todd in the council and had just before requested him to speak to his brother, Col. John Todd, and inform him of the desperate state of our troops contending against so much odds, and I heard distinctly Col. John Todd’s opinion, Levi Todd’s and Daniel Boone’s to the same effect. The action was forced upon us by the act of Maj. Hugh Magarey, who broke from the council and called upon the troops who were not coward to follow him, and thus collecting a band, went without order, and against orders, into the action, and in consequence of this act a general pursuit of officers and men took place, more to save the desperate men that followed Magarey than from a hope of a successful fight with the Indians. I never heard of or knew myself of any expected reinforcement from Col. Logan, until in the retreat we met Col. Logan with his force six miles in advance of Bryant’s Station, to join us. In the pursuit of the Indians, and in the battle, I never saw or heard any disposition in Col. John Todd to force such an action, or to hasten it contrary to the known and expressed wishes of the council; and throughout, his conduct was prudent and regardful of the safety of his men. I believe that Col. Todd had no motive to anticipate losing the command by Col. Logan’s arrival, for, as I have stated, it was not expected that Col. Logan could or would join us in pursuit. Given under my hand. November 9, 1836. Benj. A. Cooper. P.R. Hayden certified that Col. Cooper retained his mental faculties to a remarkable degree for a man of his age and seems to have perfect recollection of the circumstances attending the battle.



     [1] Neal Owen Hamman, “Early Roads into Kentucky” Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, 68 (April 1970) 114, 118.

     [2] Battle paraphrased by John Mack Faragher, Daniel Boone: The Life and Legend of An American Pioneer. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1992.

     [3] Eckert, p. 301.

[4] It is interesting he still refers to them as slaves although he emancipated them in Kentucky before moving to Indiana. Clearly, his intention was not to “free” them, but to take them into the Northwest Territory.

[5] Henderson Co. KY marriage records destroyed. Mary Ann Jones m. 9 May 1789 in Shenandoah Co. VA Jillson Howell.  He d. in Henderson Co. KY 1800 and she signed away dower rights in 1804. Article contributed to Tri State Packet by Mary Powell Hammersmith says that Hugh McGary, Jr. probably was founder of Evansville. Hugh Sr. lived about a mile southwest of court in Princeton.  His oldest son Robert lived near Owensville but Hugh Jr. was at Evansville. "The Hunt for Mary Ann McGary's Parents...." Tri State Packet December 1981 Vol. V No. 2 p. 27-35.

     [6] Mercer County, Kentucky Deed Book 2:282. James and Ann Davis sold Robert 100 acres in Clark County.

     [7] Bundle 65, Hopkins County, Kentucky Circuit Court. Suit dated 24 February 1809. Their uncle, William R., became their guardian.

     [8] McGary Group Sheets submitted to FHL by Mr. & Mrs. Carlos T. Clem, Huntington Beach, CA 92647.

     [9] History of Vanderburgh Co. Indiana, 1889, Brant & Fuller Madison: Democrat Printing Co) 94, 95.

     [10] IBID. p. 119.

     [11] Vandenburgh County, Indiana Probate Order Book A [said to be copied fom Old Book B] Estate of Mary C. McGary, p. 125, 158.

     [12] The Heritage of Hopkins County, p. 182.

     [13] Bundle 65, Hopkins County, Kentucky Circuit Court. Suit dated 24 February 1809 over the division of James Davis’ property.

     [14] Harrison, p. 11.

     [15] Henderson Co. Kentucky Deed Book B:24.

     [16] Hopkins County, Kentucky Deed Book 1, Pt 2: 2 and 6.

     [17] Hopkins County, Kentucky Deed Book 1:427.

     [18] Hopkins County, Kentucky Deed Book 4:10.

[19] “Early Marriages in Chicot County, Arkansas, Arkansas Family Historian. XII(July-August-September 1974):117.

[20] Arkansas Gazette May 13, 1829.

[21] Vandenburgh Co. Indiana A:116.

[22] Harrison, Hubert. “Hugh McGary, Pioneer Indian Fighter,” Traces. 13(Spring 1985): 11.

[23] George D. McGeary, M.D., The Genealogy of the McGeary-McGary-McGarey-McGara Family of Pennsylvania and Related Families, n.p., n.d., p. X-14. The information came from descendant Robet L. Hudson.

[24] Hopkins County, Kentucky, Commissioner Deed Book 1:9-10.

[25] Hopkins County, Kentucky, Commissioners Deed Book 1:29.

     [26] Reg Duffin, “The Grave of Joel Hembree,” Overland Journal III (Summer 1985):9.

     [27] Callaway Co. MO Death Notices form the Callaway Weekly Gazette, Fulton, MO 1877-1884, 1993, 70.

      [28] Typed copy from Benjamin Cooper file at the Western Historical Manuscript Collection, University of Missouri-Columbia.