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Ancestral Memories in Letters from William McGaughey's relatives


Letter to William McGaughey, Sr. from his sister Mary Jane McIlwain, September 6, 1960

Dear Bill:

I enjoyed hearing from you - I’ve almost lost touch with everyone - even local this summer, what with my summer schedule. I finished my work for my M.S. in Education a week ago last Saturday. It was a rather horrid summer, made possible by the wonderful cooperation of everyone in the family. I came out with 6 hours of “A” and 5 hours of “B”, which represented a course in Research (Introduction), Philosophy of Education, Psychology of Education, Research in School-Community Relations, and a workshop in School-Community Health Relations. I started officially teaching today, in the very humid temperature of 94 plus, but with a class of 31, for which I am grateful. Steve, besides running the sweeper and scrubbing the floors for me this summer, also earned his Senior Life-Saving badge and acquired a motor Cycle, which he can take off on after Sept. 27th, his 16th birthday. So we all made it, although there were times I wouldn’t have been sure. And now I’ve gotten interested in guidance - we do not have such a program in Martinsville, but with an additional 15 hours I would be equipped with a certificate. Whether I will go ahead with it or not depends on what the next few weeks will bring. It would mean night courses plus some more summer work so I’ll have to see what my state of mind brings.

I was most intrigued with your letter and Davy’s (David McGaughey’s) curiosity. It sounds like he is your sentimentalist - a boy after my own heart. I’ve sent your letter on to Aunt Mae, since I found myself, too, a little vague on the Elliott side. I do know that Granny was born Mary Agnes O’Ragen, in county Cork, Ireland. Her uncle was archbishop of Ireland and she was raised in a convent. She was evidently quite talented musically, but never said anything about it. I do remember her darning socks, which were a work of art! A lost art, too! As I recall, she came to he U.S. to join her sister, Aunt Kate (she of the beautiful red hair), and hence met Calvin Elliott. But I will depend on Aunt Mae to furnish those details.

As far as the McGaughey side of the family - I have a History of Indianapolis and Marion County, published in 1884, which gives the McGaughey side. If you want, I will have the page photostated (I did for Sammy Tomlinson) and have sent to you. Grandfather McGaughey (who has the original Samuel) was a descendant of David (his grandfather), a native of Scotland. Grandfather McGaughey’s father was Robert L., who married Mary Ann Clark (12 children born to this union). Samuel was the third son, born July 22, 1828, Franklin County, Indiana. He taught and then began study of medicine with Dr. D.S. McGaughey of Morristown. Graduated from Ohio Medical College, Cincinnati 1851. Made residence in Acton, in 1856. Married to Miss Mary A. Morgan in 1852, to whom were born Robert and Otto Livingston (remember Mother speaking of “Livvy?). She died in 1857. He married in 1858 Miss Mary S. Boal (the Boals down by the Mill) whose children were Rachel (Ralph and Rob’s mother), Mollie, Elizabeth (both deceased while babies), Jennie, and Samuel (our dad). The Dr. S.M. (also Samuel) Brown you spoke of was married to Matilda McGaughey (evidently a great-aunt of ours) to whom were born Harry, Edward, Frank, and Rachel. This, I believe, was Ruth Adams’ grandfather - though she would be the one to fill you in on this. I have this information some place that I got from her after Steve was born.

Grandfather McGaughey’s picture shows him to be a fine-featured, intelligent looking man (signature accompanies the picture). The high-bridged nose and piercing eyes which seem to appear in my boys were characteristic. If your Davy would ever like to come visit us, I would take him down to Acton, where the ancestors are buried, as well as the old house which still stands. This house, as you remember, Grandfather McGaughey built, and dad planted the locust trees in front which gave the farm the name “Locust Lane Farm”. I took Steve back to the farm many years ago and still got the pang I had when we moved away from there.

I’ll send on the info I get from Aunt Mae. We‘re fortunate to have her still to furnish it. Mother was related to Robert E. Lee, and I’m hoping Aunt Mae can give the details. Whatever else I can find, I’ll send to you. According to Mary Adams, her mother has a wealth of information concerning the McGaugheys. As she said, “there were many professional people in the tree.” I saw Mary, Ruth, and Dr. Dan early this summer. Dan as quite intrigued with my Steve whom I had with me - his mind and his professed profession of medicine.

We are hoping that Steve will continue in his line. He is doing so well. He is quite proud of his size 12 (!) shoes - he has long since passed up his dad! He is bigger than I am and still growing. We have a house rule “ no going steady” - and the gals rather like him, too! But so far he knows where he is going and I hope he sticks to it in the next two years. He has everything in his favor - a good mind, a passable personality (to everyone but his family!), and clean looks. I still get out and ride on his motor cycle with him, so I hope he’ll listen to me occasionally. Time will tell - I’m not making any predictions:

Will keep you and Davy posted on family (past) news.


Mary Jane

Note: Steve is Mary Jane McIlwain's older son.


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Letter to William McGaughey, Sr. from his sister Mary Jane McIlwain, February 26, 1961

Dear Bill:

I’ve been a long time getting this letter to you it seems! I’m enclosing a thermofax copy of the page from the Marion County History which gives the information on Grandfather McGaughey. I will try to sift through the letters from Betty Barrett for you to pull out information you want (much of it I didn’t know).

Calvin Rufus Elliott (grandfather Elliott) was born in Maysville, Kentucky of English parentage (though Betty didn’t know any further back). Great-grandmother Elliott (his mother) was (Robert E.) Lee’s first cousin (you have heard that, haven’t you?) I quote: “Grandfather Elliott was one of the pioneers into the Oklahoma territory on one of the first trains sent through there. He was also master mechanic of the round house.” Evidently he brought home with him at one time an Indian arrow that had been shot at the train and which stuck. the Elliott children were : Martha (our mother, the eldest), Anna Georgia (Aunt Ann), Waren Francis (Bud, who was a polio victim, hence the crippling), Carl William (who died of diphtheria while young), John Joseph (electrical engineer, killed on duty repairing a line), Mary Elizabeth (Aunt Mae) and Richard Earl (Dick). According to Betty, Dick was the youngest man ever to be elected to the Society of the Canners Association of America. He piloted his boat, the Audax (name taken from the O’Regan coat of arms) to second place in the Mackinac Race of 1929. He was president of Elliott, Rolle, and Wurthumberg canned goods brokerage.

Now for the O’Regan (grandmother Elliott’s line): Evidently her father was in the import business in Ireland and while in France met our great-grandmother (name Lambert). He evidently imported silks, brocades, perfumes, and church vestments. Our great-grandparents spent much of their time in Europe, especially the Alps, since she was delicate. They both died of either cholera or smallpox. Granny Elliott’s uncle, who was dean of the College of Mallah and later elevated to bishop (Granny’s father’s brother) put Granny, her sister Kate and brother Jerry (both red-heads) into a convent in Ireland after the death of their parents. He later shipped them to Memphis because of an epidemic raging in Ireland. Jerry was evidently a contractor and builder in Memphis. When Granny married out of the church all the children were cut off from a fair amount of inheritance which went to the church.

She also mentioned that Grandfather Elliott’s mother on the death of her husband married a “Brown”. This was the reason for Cal leaving home - first to be a drummer boy and then he went into railroading.

Betty has some O’Regan papers and the coat of arms which she says she will have copied for me someday. I believe I have a copy of the coat of arms in a book around here some place - as I remember the motto reads “Veritas et Audax” (truth and strength)
This probably sounds rather garbled, but I’ve tried to sift thru two letters to get the important information. I didn’t know of the French lineage myself, though much of the other I had heard. I have pictures of the family - and John has the best picture of Grandmother McGaughey in the old locket he took when mother died.


Steve got his taste of applause by having the male lead in the Dramatic Club presentation of “Arsenic and Old Lace”. He did a terrific job - but it startled me to hear the lines with innuendo and to realize that he knew what they meant! He made his first
B” last semester, but got the word yesterday that he ranks the highest in the junior class. On the National Scholastic Achievements tests taken several months ago he ranked in the 97th percentile in English and 98th in math. I felt that was pretty good since it was figured on a nation-wide basis. He’s enjoying his high school life, too. Has learned to play bridge, goes to dances, and keeps his hand in many activities. We entertained the “junior class” ... here several weeks ago. We figured around 60 came ...

Bill is feeling like himself now - he reads everything he can get his hands on - newspaper, magazines, and is beginning to work on the library here at home.

Mac is working hard - this is his busy time. We hope to go south when school is out and then I want to hole up in our trailer in Michigan for several weeks. A summer of relaxation seems delightful at this point.

The Adams family are all in Ft. Myers, Fla. I have had several notes from Mary and guess she isn’t doing anything. George’s girl Judy (Diane’s age) is married and has a baby! It’s hard to imagine gorgeous George as a grandfather - but we’re all old enough, I guess.

Hope this information satisfies your David. Anything further I can run across I will send. I believe Ruth Adams has a thorough run-down on the McGaughey side, since her mother was a McGaughey. You might write her: 2532 Columbus Drive, Ft. Myers, Fla. If she sends you anything I haven’t told you, you might sent it back to me, since I think it would be nice to have the family history intact.

Write anyway.



Note: Steve is Mary Jane McIlwain's older son, Bill is her younger son, and Mac is her husband.


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From History of Indianapolis and Marion County, 1884, p. 297

Samuel McGaughey, M.D. - David McGaughey, the grandfather of the doctor, was of Scotch-Irish descent, though a native of Scotland. He married a Miss Litle, and had five daughters and four sons, among whom was Robert L., the father of the subject of this biography. He married Mary Ann, daughter of Ezekiel Clark, to whom were born six sons and six daughters. The birth of Samuel, the third son, occurred July 22, 1828, in Franklin County, Ind. where his life until his eighteenth year was passed in the improvement of such educational advantages as the vicinity afforded. After a brief period of teaching, finding his tastes in harmony with an active professional career, he began the study of medicine with Dr. D. S. McGaughey, of Morristown, Shelby Co,, Ind. under whose preceptorship he continued for three years. During this time he attended three courses of lectures at the Ohio Medical College, Cincinnati, from which institution he graduated in 1851. His first field of labor was at Palestine, Hancock Co., Ind., where he located the following year. He subsequently spent to years in Marietta, Shelby Co., and in May, 1856, made Action, Marion Co., his residence. He at once engaged in practice of a general character, which steadily increased until it became extensive and laborious. He was for a brief period associated with Dr. P.C. Leavitt, a very successful practitioner, who served with credit in the army, and on his return resumed his practice, which was continued until his death.

Dr. McGaughey is a Republican in politics, though neither his tastes nor the demands of his profession lead to active participating in the political events of the day. He is identified with the order of Masonry, and a member of Pleasant lodge, No. 134, of Free and Accepted Masons, of Acton. He is descended from Scotch Presbyterian stock, and is a member of the Acton Presbyterian Church, as also one of its trustees. Dr. McGaughey was in 1852 married to Miss Ann A., daughter of Daniel W. Morgan, to whom were born children - Robert and Otto Livingston, Mrs. McGaughey died in 1857, and he was again married in 1858 to Miss Mary S. Boal, whose children are Rachel, Mellie (deceased), Elizabeth (deceased), Jennie, and Samuel.

Note: This Samuel McGaughey is Dad's grandfather. His father was also named Dr. Samuel McGaughey.


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Letter to William McGaughey, Sr. from "cousin" Ruth B. Adams, June 7, 1961


Dear Bill,

My guests have gone but I still seem to keep busy but will try to give you the information in a rambling sort of way as it comes to my mind and I find my notes and many letters scattered about after our move here. I have wanted to get them together in a systematic way but seem never to have the time.

It is interesting and really fun especially when I unexpectedly found my great grandfather’s name, David McGaughey, in the History of Hamilton Co., Ohio, at the Indiana State Library. My mother always spoke about her grandfather living in Butler County but there wasn’t a History of Butler County, Ohio, at the State House but found there was one of Hamilton County, which is the oldest county in the state. In glancing over it, I came to a section on “Indian Hill”. I remembered my cousin Isa (Isabel) McIntosh (her mother was my mother’s cousin and lived in the vicinity of the ancestral home) telling me that my grandfather Robert Lytle McGaughey and Mary Ann Clark were married on “Indian Hill”. It was described as “picturesque and a place of fine views.” And at the bottom of the page I was thrilled to see the name, David McGaughey, and that he was one of the first settlers in Hamilton County along with Nicholas Longworth and Major Jas Mann and that he held offices there. (I believe Columbia township.) He was Trustee 1803-18x1 and Township Clerk 1804-1808. Nicholas Longworth held office about the same time. I think it stated that they were also justices also. There is a rumor that “Old Nick”, as he was called, fenced off some of Grandfather’s ground and it was finally outlawed by time although Grandfather’s family had tried to get him to sign some papers, which he neglected. In New York I met someone who was Secretary of a Historical Society and she said the same thing about some of her friends or relatives and used the same name, “Old Nick”. It also stated meetings were held at David McGaughey’s home and business of the township was transacted there.

Cousin Isa’s father told me that Grandfather taught school also. Isa’s father was in the nineties then, about fifty-five years ago. And they also told me Lyman Beecher, with young son Henry Ward, were very good friends and often visited in Grandfather’s home and (they) spoke of the Kempers, too.

This book stated that Hamilton Co. was so large that they divided it and called part of it Butler County. Cousin said the old home was located between Allendale and Madeira, a small place, only a station. Cousin Isa wrote, “the old neighborhood now has become the place of millionaires and our old pasture and others are Golf Links and Country Club grounds.” I corresponded with her for several years and Clara (McGaughey Williamson .... aunt of Harriet & Susan McGaughey) and I visited her and saw the old home in the distance, as it was off the road at that time. The hilly country was beautiful and many lovely homes were being built there. I think Isa died, as she didn’t answer my lst letter several years ago and was getting quite old and was not well.

I am quoting her again from one of her letters. “I was under the impression that David McGaughey was born in north of Ireland of Scottish stock and we are descended from “the Scotch Covenanters”. She later visited Ireland and Scotland.

She wrote that Cousin Mary Handy, daughter of Dr. David McGaughey, told her that our grandfather was an Aide-de-Camp to General Washington and I think that the battle of Monmouth was fought on the Lytle farm, which was his wife’s maiden name.

And Uncle Mose also said one of our ancestors signed the Declaration of Independence but he couldn’t remember the name. I had no idea Uncle Mose knew all this, and I was with him so much. I haven’t found a family name there. I wondered about your uncle Otto Livingston McGaughey. Your grandmother talked to me so much about him and loved him dearly and she and my mother called him “Livy”. I wondered if there were Livingstons in our family. A Livingston signed the Declaration of Independence.

I am looking thru a number of Isa’s letters and quoting what I think will be of interest to you. “Grandfather (David McGaughey) lies in the cemetery of the Presbyterian Church at Pleasant Ridge (part of the City now) in an unmarked grave and Grandmother at Lebanon, Ohio.” I saw the church and cemetery. Isa sent me a page from “Pictorial Cincinnati Enquirer” dated March 4, 1951, showing a picture of the church and cemetery, on Montgomery Road and written underneath the picture these words, “Legend says George Washington’s bodyguard is there.” There had been an anniversary celebration at Pleasant Ridge, where, Isa said, “our grandfather and a Revolutionary soldier were mentioned but not his name.” Isa called the Historian of the Church to try to find out the names and gave her my address and she wrote me January 14, 1947, for information I might have. Her name was Mrs. Edward C. Marshall, 6326 Ridge Ave., Pleasant Ridge, Cincinnati, Ohio. She found no record of David McGaughey but in one of the early published histories she found these words, “the grave of an unknown Revolutionary soldier, supposed to be an Aide to General Washington, this grave being close to the front door of the church. The stone was in place until 1880 or there about when it disappeared.” I think Isa & family had told me about the stone to the unmarked grave of the unknown soldier, which might have been Grandfather. Mrs. Marshall wrote “The D.A.R. marked with bronze plates the graves of all the other Revolutionary soldiers buried there.” I wrote her, giving her all my information but didn’t hear from her again. I think I read that Senator Taft was buried there, and I have associated him with that vicinity. The Enquirer stated that Pleasant Ridge is attractive and a pleasant place to live.

The biography of Dr. David McGaughey (mother’s uncle) in the Shelby County, Indiana, History states that his father, David McGaughey married Mary Lytle, a native of New Jersey. Now I had heard that the Battle of Monmouth was fought on our great great-grandfather’s farm. One of my mother’s nieces thought his name was Samuel and that they called him “Uncle Sammy”. I am not quite sure about the Samuel.

My own grandfather’s name was Robert Lytle McGaughey and he named one of his sons Robert Lytle and he was called “Lytle”. I called him “Uncle Lytle” and Rosie Richardson (her father was Dr. Porter, dentist of Acton, my mother’s cousin) said she had an uncle called Lytle and as a child thought it a funny Christian name and her father told her there was someone prominent in the family by that (Lytle) name. I know there was a prominent Robert Lytle in Cincinnati and a boat named for him, but I couldn’t make a connection with our family.

David and Mary Lytle had 5 daughters: Elizabeth Porter, Sallie, Katherine Woodruff, Mary Powers (Isa’s mother) and 4 sons: Dr. David of Morristown, Samuel, George, and Robert Lytle, my grandfather and yours, born January 13, 1794 and died at age 79 (tombstone in New Bethel Cemetery). He married Mary Ann Clark, daughter of Ezekial Clark. She was born April 1, 1807 and lived to be 89 years old. They were married on Indian Hill, Ohio, and I have heard that she was considered prettiest girl on the Hill. I think Mother said she was 16 or 17 years old. They moved to a farm in Franklin County, Indiana, near Mt. Carmel, which is near Brookville. I think I found that the farm was in his father’s, David’s, name. They had 12 children, 6 boys and 6 girls. David, born in 1825, lived in Iowa (I think a Judge there), Aaron born 1826 (lived Boone County), Samuel b. 1828, Robert Lytle, jr. b. 1835, Moses, John, Susan, Mary Ann, Joanna, Elmira, Rebecca and Marilda b. 1843, my mother. They moved to Marion County, Franklin township about 1857 when my mother was 14. She remembered those awful corduroys in comparison to the Brookville Pike. They had many friends in Brookville. Mother spoke about her father hitching two horses to their carriage and driving to her grandfather’s in Ohio.

I am sorry I don’t have this in better order. I have given you all these little details and names, thinking it might give you some clues to work on.

Isa said that Cousin Mary Handy did some work on our “family tree” and I know Aunt Jo’s daughter did. I hope you will be successful in verifying some of these interesting reports about our family.

I would appreciate it if you would drop the Mrs. and claim me as your “Cousin Ruth”. I often visited your grandmother and Aunt Jennie and Aunt Rachel, for whom I was named, and lived with your grandmother one term while in Butler, so (I) felt very close to your family.


Ruth B. Adams

Note: Ruth Adams' mother, Marilda McGaughey, was the sister of Dr. Samuel McGaughey, my father's grandfather.


About Ruth B. Adams:

As Ruth R. Brown, she was married to Daniel S. Adams on June 6, 1910. A minister R.E. Bender signed the certificate issued in Marion County, Indiana. Clerk H. Dale Brown signed the certificate.

Memorial services for Ruth B. Brown were held at the Harvey Funeral Home Chapel in Fort Myers, Florida, on December 31, 1976. Interment at the Memorial Gardens Cemetery of Lee County, Florida.

An obituary states: "Ruth B. Adams, 93, of Winkler Ave., died Wednesday morning. She was formerly of Indianapolis, Ind., and had resided here for 17 years. She is survived by a daughter, Miss mary E. Adams, and a son, George E. Adams, both of fort Myers; a granddaughter, Mrs. Judith Ann Royal, and a grandson, Daniel F. Adams, both of Fort Myers, and six grandchildren. She was a widow of Dr. Daniel Shimer Adams, an Indianapolis physician. She was a charter member of the Indianapolis Medical Auxiliary and the oldest member of the Congregation of the Covenant Presbyterian Church."

Another obituary: "Services for Mrs. Ruth Brown Adams, 93, Fort Myers, Florida, a native of Wanamaker and a former Indianapolis resident, were held Friday at Harvey Funeral Home at Fort Myers. She died Wednesday in a Fort Myers nursing home. A graduate of Butler University, she was the daughter of a pioneer doctor, Samuel Brown, who settled in the New Bethel/Wanamaker area in the 1800s. Mrs Adams was a charter member of Indianapolis Medical Auxiliary, Irvington Presbyterian Church."

Ruth Adams was the daughter of Dr. Samuel Miller Brown and Marilda McGaughey Brown.

Information supplied by Kathy Adams, Ruth’s daughter-in-law, who lived for eight years in the Birmingham/ Bloomfield Hills area of Michigan, starting in the late 1960s. Often ate at the Red Fox restaurant made famous by Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance. She now works at the George E. Adams real-estate agency in Fort Myers.

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