Welcome to Magruder’s Landing, where all are welcome to come ashore.
I am an 11th generation descendant of Alexander Magruder / McGruder / McGruther, a Scotsman transported to Maryland in the 1650s as a prisoner of war and indentured servant. I have been researching Alexander’s life, times, and legacy for thirty years and maintain this site in order to share what I know and find others with like interests.
You can see the range of my interests by running your cursor over the tabs at the top of each page, and the drop-down menus under them. The site is also searchable–just click on the small magnifying glass at the top of any page.
My personal research focus is Maryland, particularly Prince George’s County, where my ancestors primarily settled, and the legacies of slavery as they practiced it for 200 years.
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Yet historical truths are rarely rooted in either shortcuts or comfort.
–Elizabeth Shown Mills
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In my professional life, I am a writer and retired university professor. This experience makes me value “hard” sources, documentation, and corroboration; but there are many kinds of truth, including oral history and family stories. Often, we can learn from asking why and how different kinds of truth disagree, and how different pieces of information do or don’t add up. When we can’t corroborate, how can we weigh what we know and put together the pieces to construct a glimpse of the past? Official records are not always accurate–sometimes they are intentionally deceiving, sometimes just sloppy or incomplete. At the same time, few among us have not had the experience of discovering that some treasured story handed down from grandmothers and grandfathers is balderdash. And then what? Is there something that story was meant to cover up? These are the kinds of questions I asked in private for 20 years. Now I ask them here, making my discoveries (and my mistakes) in public.
So don’t be offended if what I write here contradicts what you have been told. Share your stories and we’ll see where the contradictions lead us—perhaps to an insight none of us could have reached on our own.
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In the old books, the blood lines of good and evil are the same.
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Alexander began his American sojourn in indentured servitude.
Once out of bondage, he became a wealthy man, owning as much as 2,400 acres of farm and woodland, as well as the tobacco landing (shipping point) for which this blog is named. One of my first motivations for researching his life was the realization that all that land had previously belonged to the Patuxent and Piscataway people. Alexander was an original displacer of Native Americans in Maryland, and that is part of our Magruder heritage.
Not long after that realization, I read the inventory of Alexander’s estate and learned that he owned a slave–one man negro named Sambo–which also changed my ideas about what it means to be an American Magruder. Before that, though I knew that some of my ancestors owned slaves I had not realized just how deep and how far back our crime of slavery went. My direct Magruder ancestors owned slaves at least until 1842; most others owned slaves until Emancipation. Either way, Magruders were deeply involved from the very beginning of race-based chattel slavery to its bitter end.
As a descendant of this heritage I acknowledge the utter evil of slavery in America, and the personal and cultural harm it did, in different ways, to all of us. It is imperative that we recognize not only the cruelty of slavery and the greed that underlay it, but its role in our national history–the survival of our nation in its earliest years, the rapid expansion of the American economy, and the development of international capitalism. Slavery is not a quaint relic of the past, but a major underpinning of our history that continues to shape our society today.
We Magruder descendants are lucky: much is known about our ancestry and many of us know our personal genealogies right back to Alexander. This provides us with a strong sense of history and community. I also think of myself as related to the descendants of people my ancestors enslaved—possibly by blood, and certainly by our families’ shared and painful history. I hope this site will help bring us together to enlarge our knowledge of who we are.
For all with Magruder connections, I hope you’ll find something old, something new, and something unexpected at Magruder’s Landing.
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Comments and discussion always welcome. Flaming, abusive, or irrelevant comments won’t be published. If you send an email and want your communication to remain private, please make that clear. If you send an email and want me to post about it, please make that clear as well.
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Please note that this is not a genealogy site, nor am I a genealogist. I’m happy to make suggestions as to how you might research your line, but there is no space here for an ongoing genealogical forum.
Links in the sidebar will take you to Magruder/McGruder pages on a number of genealogy sites. Though you can’t assume all family lines posted there are accurate–the person who posted them may not know any more than you do–you can use them as a place to begin. Check to see if sources are cited, and check the quality of the sources. If citation is sloppy or absent, or if the sources look like they could be just another form of hearsay, go straight to primary sources, such as census, marriage and death records, military records, manumission records, Freedman’s Bank, and newspaper archives.
I particularly recommend that you join the Magruder/McGruder Family Genealogy Group on Facebook, where you can find some friends and get some help and advice.
If you are an African American Magruder or McGruder, or descended from a family with a different name who was or may have been enslaved by white Magruders, please write to me. I have more information than I have time to summarize and post, nearly all of it from Maryland (especially Prince George’s County) and Washington, DC. Keep in mind that all Magruders and McGruders in all parts of the country are descended from Magruders in Maryland, so we might be able to trace your family connections back from other states to a point where it intersects with information I have or can find. I look forward to helping in any way I can–and the more detail you provide the better the odds. Full names, dates, names of farms–whatever you have. I also hope to learn from you, from your research and your family stories and traditions.
If you are seeking help, rather than just commenting on something I’ve posted, please use the Contact tab (at the top of every page) to send me an email. It’s difficult for me to help you if you post your request as a comment.
This is fantastic, Susan! Thanks for doing this and keeping the Magruder inquiries about our history alive. One suggestion would be to add “McGruder” to the name, as many of our ancestors and their descendants spell their name that way. (I write this somewhat grudgingly, as my name was often so “misspelled” and my information misfiled in the Mc folder…). I now accept my McGruder brethren and sistren with open arms ::kumbaya::
Good idea, Jill. I don’t want to change the name of the site (since it’s named for a real place) but I’ll get the McGruder spelling onto the front page so a search for “McGruder” will be more likely to turn it up.
I’d like to introduce myself to the American clan, as it were. I am the great-grandson of David Lynn Magruder (1861-1937–owned large apple orchard in Kearneysville, WV) making me the g-g-g-g-grandson of Col. Zadok Magruder to help place me in your lineages. I am especially interested in knowing the living descendants of his siblings, Arnold Borders, Evard Lynn and Harry Files Magruder. Frankly, I’d enjoy corresponding with any living close relations. Please introduce yourself to me!
Erron Zadok Lamar Callahan
Hello Erron! If you are on Facebook, the forum you want is Magruder/McGruder Family Genealogy. If you are a subscriber to Ancestry.com, there’s also a forum there. Both are linked on the right side of this blog. You may find some close relatives there. Good luck with the search!
Dear Ms. Tichy,
Wow! Genealogists are fast-paced these days as I’m discovering, having picked up the research again after laying it down in 1999, frustrated by the limitations of the internet then and living so far from where the records were kept. My grandmother was the the one who seeded a love of family history into me since I could talk and spouted their names as if they were still living. As a result of one genealogy forum recently, I’ve found a cousin AND the “Magruder Maven” so far! Your site is just that much more lagniappe for me to explore! Now, you have me wondering how I fit into your line and vice-versa!!! Thank you for responding SO quickly and especially, for the added tips, which I can ALWAYS use, as the web changes incessantly.
Hello my name is Timothy David Magruder.I am the son of David Lynn Magruder..My dad passed away in 2008.We have lived in West Virginia all of my life..My dads brothers were Harry,Bobby,and Dan.Dan Magruder and Helen Magruder are the only ones left from that generation..
My dad was born in 1937..
I am Martha Magruder. The daughter of David Norman Magruder aka-Norman David Magruder. Grandaughter to David Magruder and it goes from there just like Erron. My dad’s sister “Jane” was my father’s sister. I now live in Minneapolis Minnesota. I have been here since I was 3 years of age. Born in Indiana after my father transferred jobs from Pennsylvainia and West Virginia. My father Norman D. Magruder was 76 when he passed away in 1996. Other than Erron, an aunt Virginia Magruder and my step mother from my granfather’s 2nd marriage, that is all of the people I have ever met in the Magruder clan. It’s nice to have a place to connect with others. Thank you for that opportunity!
I am trying to do research on black McGruder’s from Arkansas. If anyone has any tips, pass it long. I joined the facebook group.
Is there a DNA project linking McGruder DNA to Campbell DNA (perhaps solving the Margaret Campbell question once and for all)?
None I know of, Julia. Obviously, it would have to be a test including female descent. The small DNA project comparing Magruders/McGruders with well-established MacGregor markers was limited to men. Are you a McGruder?
Yes. from Alexander McGruder in America. I have homes in Scotland and live there. I have access to ongoing research opportunities there. Perhaps I will stumble on some new information.
Please tell me…what were the results of the DNA project comparing Magruders with MacGregors? I keep seeing references to the DNA project, but have never been able to find out the conclusive results. Thanks so much! Holly Sellers ( I am descended from Alexander through his son Samuel)
Hi Holly. As far as I know, the older results you found (2009?) are all we have so far. None of the Magruder/McGruther men tested were matches for well-defined MacGregor DNA markers; but it was only about four men. You should contact Jill Magruder Gatwood through the Magruder/McGruder Family Genealogy on Facebook. If you’re not on FB, send me a message through the Contact link, and include your email, and I’ll send you Jill’s email.
Oh! I just found the Magruder facebook group and joined it last night! Thanks, Susan! Your Magruder’s Landing site is FABULOUS! What a great thing for you to do to help all us Magruders out there who are fascinated with our heritage. My boys are 18 and 20 and they are interested in everything I can pass down to them. They are also grateful for your site and the FB page. My mom is 81 and has always passed down everything she can get her hands on to the family. She is in Clan Gregor Society and told me she had actually met you one time at a meeting. Her name is Grace Key. We live in Birmingham, Alabama and have lived in Montgomery for years. Anyway, thank you for all you do to keep us all straight and to share all the wonderful photos. I am just blown away with the great photos you just posted by Hugh Rose. Holly Sellers
Holly–The web site is my pleasure, in every sense of the phrase, and I’m always glad it’s meaningful for others. I’m especially glad to hear that your boys are interested in their family history! They must be wiser than most their age.
Thanks, Susan! I think my boys sort of inherited their interest in their family heritage because they, just like me, grew up with it as an important family priority. Our large family would get together at the Highland games, the children in their kilts, and we would have SUCH FUN! Their Great-Aunts and Great-Uncles, grandmother, and cousins would participate with gusto. We would all stay together for 3 days and savor all things Scottish. We would also have many other family events throughout the year with much reference to our heritage. That is why I am so focused on finding out the truth about our relationship with the McGregors because, of course, family tradition stated that Gillespie MacGregor the Cruiter born in 1375 had William MacCruiter born in 1413 who had Gillespie McGruder B 1453 and so forth on to Alexander (the Immigrant). Where did it all go wrong!!!?? Ha Ha. No. Seriously. Where is the line of Magruders proven back to? I have ordered the book and CD’s from Sue Emerson and I am hoping there will be some clarification there. Or you may have it on this site and I haven’t found it yet. Thanks, Holly Sellers
Yeah, I was raised the same way, and that gave me a lifetime interest. On my site, you can look under “Alexander” at “Aexander’s Family Tree,” and “Was Alexander Who We Think He Was?” When you get Don McGruther’s book (from Sue Emerson) you’ll find all his gleanings of early instances of the McGruder/MacGrouther name. Don spent years combing records and archives in Scotland. He found numerous individuals, but no family trees can be constructed farther back than the guy I call on my page “James II.” The stuff about Gillespie the Cruiter sounds convincing until you try to track it down. First, linguists say the name isn’t derived from Cruiter, but more likely from Grudair (brewer). Second, the hypothesis linking Gillespie to the McGruders originates with Henry Lathan Magruder, an American who, around the turn of the 20th c, did a lot of research into Alexander’s origins. (Up till then, American Magruders believed we got our name when MacGregors had to change their names at the time of Proscription.) In the correspondence preserved at the ACGS archives, Henry offers no evidence for his belief in this Gillespie. When pressed by his correspondents, he says nothing stronger than “it is my belief.” He offers no source, and never says why he believes this. When it starts getting repeated (in early ACGS yearbooks, for example), the simple “it is my belief” is magically transformed into “it is believed” (which sounds more authoritative) or even “it is traditional” (which is only true if by “traditional” you mean “we’ve been saying this for ten years”). Also much to the point: Henry argues passionately in his letters for the founding of an American McGruder/Magruder organization. He says there is no firm basis for the MacGregor link beyond “remote origin from a common stock.” He also points out that the name Magruder had a 250 year history in this country, while the name MacGregor had none. So, you always have to look for the source. One of my dear friends is a professional folklorist, and she has taught me this: if people say a belief or custom has been handed down, ask “handed down by whom?” and “where?” and “when?” and “why?” In the ACGS materials, this is very important. Often the writers of historical articles in the yearbooks cite each other as authorities! So you find yourself chasing your tail. It’s been maybe 15 years since I accepted that there is no evidence we are MacGregors–and it wasn’t easy to accept. I grieved, really. But then I reminded myself that when I started researching it was Alexander I was interested in. Who was he? What were his circumstances? The answers to those questions don’t lead to Clan Gregor, but the history is fascinating nonetheless. We’ve lost all the MacGregor romance, I’m afraid; but we’re still Scottish, and our roots still lie in the Highlands.
Julia my sister and I believe we descend from the Magruders. She is in Scotland right now researching our line (Margaret Campbell/Alexander Magruder through their great granddaughter Isabell Magruder who married John Henry.
Does any one else follow this line?
Hi Judith. The basic genealogical research on the Scottish Magruders has been done, so unless Julia just loves the process she doesn’t need to duplicate that work. There are two main sources, the most complete is Don McGruther’s book Wha’s Like Us? MacGrouthers in Scotland before 1855. You can get a copy directly from him. Send me an email via the Contact button on my web site and I’ll put you in touch with him. I can also send you a PDF of the older source. And: the places to find Magruders who share your line are the Ancestry.com Magruder group or the Facebook Group. You’ll find links on my home page.
The best thing to do when is Scotland researching the McGruders (please tell your sister so she does this while over in Scotland).
1. Go to Drummond Castle (the father was chamberlain here)
2. Drive out the BACK entrance from Drummond Castle and drive down the tiny one lane road towards Culloch. You will see the farm where Alexander grew up on the right side (Craigneach). You can also see the standing stone from the road.
3. Go to Castle Campbell above Dollar. (You can drive almost up to the castle, don’t use the lower parking lot unless you like uphill walking).
4. Go to the National Archives on Princes Street (Edinburgh) at the Leith end of Princes Street. You need to call and make an appointment. They give you a code to enter the research rooms.
5. Keep in mind that the Scots get thousands of americans coming through every year looking for ancestors. Do your research first. Don’t walk in and announce “my ancestors are from Scotland can you help me find them”. They will be nice but thinking “here’s another one…”. The research rooms at the National Archives take time and most the the research has been done. Your sister is better off with limited time visiting the sites.
6. With extra time she could drive to Cupar Angus and visit the church yard where Nicholas Campbell is buried.
Tip from McGruder descendant that lives in Scotland, 40 minutes from Craigneach and Drummond Castle.
Thanks for chipping in! If she has a bit more time, I also recommend driving up Glen Artney. It’s beautiful and has long MacGrouther associations. Most of the time the road is high above the river, but if she keeps going to the church she can park right by the river.
I agree Susan. If you stay on that one lane road from Drummond Castle to Culloch, that will take you right to Glen Artney. Go straight at the intersection across the B827, don’t turn right to Comrie on the B827. The end of the road dumps into Glen Artney. Aso, if you sign up for Scotland’s People http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/, they have most of the information available at the National Archives (unless you want to look at the orginal documents).
The ladies at Magruder’s Landing sent me this site to get certified documents at, not to pricey, if you know what you’re looking for.
As we both live in Scotland it would be nice to meet up. If you would contact me on mcgruther @ btopenworld.com I would be delighted to see you.
On a more general basis, if any Magruders are coming to Scotland to trace Alexander’s origins give me a call. I consider myself the unpaid fount of Magruder history in Scotland, and all other things being equal (like competing commitments) would be pleased to show visitors around.
Boy I wish I had found this site early on. Such great information! I am related to the Magruders through Elizabeth Magruder who married Robert Whitaker in 1733. I wish there were a catagory that would allow those of us that are related to leave our names so that we could see who else out is out there now. Thankyou for this site.
Charlene Whitaker Cherry
I believe I have you as a match on Ancestry.com but hadn’t figured out our match yet, this may be it!
The Isabelle Magruder who married John Henry was the daughter of James Magruder, son of Alexander the Immigrant. I am descended from James’ brother Samuel. Our lines might intersect again later, though, because they all used to marry their cousins and other relatives.
Correction – We share a match to Abigail Osborne and Zachariah Wells – my 4th great grandparents (and I guess our Magruder’s as well!) We’re related on both sides of my family!
Hi Susan, I am 12th generation from Alexander Magruder, through the William Selby/Sarah Magruder marriage and the Selby family that later migrated to Indiana in the early 1800’s, and then married with the Robling family. I appreciate all the work you have done in creating this web site. I will enjoy exploring it. My brothers and I were were very pleased to find that we were related to such distinguished Maryland founding families and Patriots as the Magruders, Selbys, Braithwaites and Bealls.
Thanks for the info..i have been trying to get info on john magruder as to land that was granted to him aro und 1748 as i have found the original signed deed granted to him by lord baltimore but still unclear where the property is if you have any info in regards to the actual location i would greatly appreciate it
Correction…after further investigation the grant is dated 1747 to john magruder for a property named the ridge that is adjacent to properties named robert and sarah bearing the signatures of john magruder and samuel ogle
Hi Wayne. I have a map that may help, but seem to have misplaced it. I’ll post something here when I find it. Which John Magruder is this? Who are his parents/grandparents?
From my research its the son of samuel grandson of alexander father of zadock thx for the info
I just discovered this website and look forward to devouring the content. I am a descendent of Alexander Magruder’s son Samuel and his descendants into the state of Georgia. I joined the Society of Colonial Wars in NJ through that ancestry.
My daughter, Elizabeth, is now in the University of Edinburgh Medical School studying Veterinary Medicine and we are spending more and more time in Scotland. I take great relish in bringing up our Perthshire roots and look forward to reading and learning more from your content here.
Thanks for this and I will check back in with questions or comments as I read on. (I just discovered this website today)
I am learning new information everyday about my family. I, too, just found this site although I have had to link for who knows how long. I am now starting to do what I should have done from the beginning, look only for validated sources. However, I started looking into genealogy as a hobby in the mid-late 1990s and then got distracted with teaching – from which I am now retired.
I, too am related to Alexander Magruder. If I counted right, he is my 12th great-grandfather. My line is Alexander, Samuel, Zachariah, Nathaniel Beall and finally Elizabeth Magruder (1781-1854 who married Littleton “Little” Bryan (1780-1836). Three generations later, Elizabeth Virginia Bryan (1863-1923) married my gGrandfather George Coulby Thistlewood. Their daughter, Gertrude Irene (1894-1949) married my grandfather, Vasco C. Rhoden, Sr. (1889-1977).
My father’s family was from Georgia and he married a Texas girl and they had four of us kids in Denver, CO. As Malcolm said, I look forward to reading more of your blog.
Ronda J. Rhoden
Thank you Julia and Susan! I emailed your info to my sister – can’t wait to see the pictures!
Sarah Magruder is my 7th great grandmother (on my moms paternal side) She was born in 1691 in King Georges county Maryland. Married William Selby. I have been unabel to get back any further than that. Look forward to hearing from you!
Tonya Kelley Johanson
Hi Tonya. For once, it’s an easy question. Sarah Magruder b 1691, who married William Selby, was the daughter of Samuel & Sarah Magruder. Sarah’s maiden name is much debated. For a long time it was believed she was a daughter of Ninian Beall, but that has been disproved by Beall genealogists. Samuel was the son of Alexander Magruder the Immigrant. You can pick up his family tree under the “Alexander” tab on this site.
Samuel Magruder died in 1711. He left nothing to his daughters but 10 pounds each “for to buy her a gown and a petticoat.” His wife Sarah died in 1734, 14 years after your Sarah died. The elder Sarah left to William Selby “Six silver spoons and one Negro girl” [name unknown, though some slaves are named in the will]. You should be able to find a transcription of Sarah’s will online.
Oh, and it’s Prince George’s County, Maryland, not King George.
HI Tonya. We share 7th great grandparents, William and Sarah Selby, and are 8th cousins. I have quite a bit of information on the Selby family, and will be glad to share with you.
It’s nice to hear some information on Alexander magruder. I am eleventh generation the great great great great granddaughter of Emma Louise and James Phillips.
Hi all..I joined this blog some time ago to do some research on a deed that I found buried with some junk in a home I had purchased. I believe I mentioned it before here trying to get info on it. It has been a interesting conversation piece on my wall and now I have the info on it I believe that it would be more appreciated elsewhere and was wondering what you would recommend..I’ll try to attach a pic of it..the deed is to land attached to the ridge purchased by John Magruder. On Apr 6, 2015 7:56 PM, “Magruder’s Landing” wrote:
> L Wargo commented: “It’s nice to hear some information on Alexander > magruder. I am eleventh generation the great great great great > granddaughter of Emma Louise and James Phillips.” >
Hi Wayne. I’m not sure where that document would best be housed. You might start by making sure the Maryland state archives have this deed on record–they probably do, but old records can be spotty. You can search Land Records on line, by name, so you could search for John Magruder and/or the name of whoever deeded the land to him. Or just call the Hall of Records and ask for help. Beyond that, there’s the American Clan Gregor Society Library in Special Collections at the University of Baltimore. Though we are not MacGregors, the ACGS has not recognized that fact, and they have a lot of Magruder information, correspondence, and so forth, in the collection. I’m not sure how much the collection actually gets used, however. Another idea is to get a good quality scan of the document and attach it to the correct John Magruder on Ancestry.com, where many would be be able to access it.
Thank you for this. Alexander was my 9th Great Grandfather. While my name was never Magruder I am from them. I am interested in him because he was the one to come here. To bring his bloodline to the new world. I’ve always wondered why? With so many Titled ancestors and Kings and Queens what happened? Thank you for doing this blog so that many of us can benefit. Thank you cousin!!
Hi Kelly I’m glad you’ve discovered the site. I think you’ll find answers to your questions if you read the pages under the “Alexander” tab. Alexander Magruder was transported as a prisoner of war, sold as an indentured servant, obtained his freedom, and acquired land and a wife in Maryland. He was not descended from titled people, nor from kings and queens. His family included several men (including his father and older brother) who were literate and privileged servants to the Drummond family, including the Earl of Perth, but he himself was nota Drummond ( nor was he a MacGregor).
I’m glad i finally made it to this site. The immigrant Alexander Macgruder is my 10th great grandfather. I’ve read about their life in Scotland and the feuds. Funny with the feud with Campbells that Margaret Campbell married a Macgruder. Anyway as to the slavery. I wouldn’t feel bad about it as long as you have never owned a slave or condone it. i have alot of ancestor that were slave owners. But on the other hand i’m descended from Abraham Lincoln lol. 6 cousin once removed. I think life was rough in Scotland and they were used to things like slavery. I just hope they at least treated them nice. i descend from Macgruders and Beall mainly. i’m just want to know more about the clan. I descend from several different clans and know least about the McGregors. So i will be reading all you have here. thanks
Thanks for your comment, Donna. I hope by now you’ve read the Magruder history on this site, including all the reasons it is impossible that our Magruder ancestors were MacGregors. I know that is widely believed–I was raised with the same belief–but we now have too much counter evidence to go on believing it. Alexander’s father was Chamberlain to Lord Madderty, and his elder brother was Chamberlain to the Earl of Perth. Not exactly outlaws! As to slavery: there was nothing in Perthshire, Scotland, that in any way resembled chattel slavery. In America, Magruders bought and sold human beings, separated families, and forced women into concubinage, for two hundred years. That is an important part of our heritage and ignoring it will not change that fact. Our entire society suffers the consequences of slavery, and of Jim Crow, to this day. Facing the truth about the past is the only way we can hope to heal the present. Your descent from both slave owners and from Abraham Lincoln illustrates the complexity of human relations throughout our history, and the fact that we each have a choice of how to live and how to treat others. Our ancestors also had that choice, and many of them chose to build their wealth on the bodies of enslaved workers. I choose to call them to account, and to call on other Magruders to recognize the truth of our history. Lincoln is your sixth cousin–that’s of great interest; some of my 6th and 8th and 4th cousins are black Amaericans who also descend from Alexander Magruder, and that is of equal interest and importance.
Thanks for replying I’m sorry to say i’m just seeing this. You are right about one thing i have not research McGruder family yet. Until i’m 99% sure of it i don’t put it on my chart. So the next project is to research them. i did read your work and found it very interesting and something for me to go on. As far as slavery is concerned my dna shows traces of African and i just read about one on Beall side. Bealls are also from Scotland named Bell. I don’t ignore slavery persay i just think it’s in the past and people today had nothing to do with it. I think people if their descendant had some land which in 1600’s was easy and alittle money they had slaves. Indentured slaves when they did their time got land grants and in turn got slaves. So a large majority of people’s ancestors were slaves owners and that includes blacks. If there is blacks in my family which there is then they have ancestors that were slave owners. I think we should go forward and not backwards. I’m a history buff so i read alot of history. I like to know about ancestors no matter who they are. I’m glad to say that Bealls in my family only had a couple of slaves. Some others had hundreds. I don’t know how they thought but probably it was greed. Slaves are cheap labor. It still goes on today. People hiring immigrants and not paying them much. Your right there were not slaves in Scotland . They called them prisoners and had them work for free and treated them bad. In Ireland thousand were transported to the America’s as slaves and half didn’t make it. I think it’s time to go forward and get along. But i might repeat i’m not responsible for other people’s action just my own and try to set a good example. Sorry this is so long
Thanks for your thoughtful reply, Donna. After 200 years of chattel slavery and 100 years of Jim Crow, I believe we have only just begun the process of racial healing, and of equalizing real-life conditions. So, for me, going forward from here still includes a need to tell the truth about the past and to recognize how it shaped (and still shapes) the society we have now. It’s interesting that your DNA shows a trace of African descent. I know another white woman who has some African descent, and has researched it and even visited some graves and so forth, but won’t speak about it publicly. We all have our own paths. I fully agree that we are responsible for our own actions, not those of our ancestors; but my own actions include acknowledging our history and calling my own family and ancestors to account. Perhaps it’s because I’m a writer and professor that I feel I must do this publicly and clearly, not just in private ways in my private life. It would be rather strange to speak and write publicly about other injustices, while remaining silent about my family’s share in such things. I did so, actually, for many years, before I was able to look it in the face. I won’t be returning to that silence.
My husband and I owned “The Ridge” for several years after purchasing it in 1979. We were the 3rd owners after the Magruder family. When we sold it we both had tears in our eyes because we loved it. We had the Log Cabin restored as it was originally with a new stone foundation, hand made shingles with special wood purchaed from Canada, buttermilk white paint etc.. I gave original papers and letters to the Rockville, MD historical society and museum, as well as photos. Although I kept copies of ever thing and many many photos, including photos of the Smithsonian Historical restorers who did the work. Our antiques fit beautifully. I am also a genelogist.
Thank you for your message, Beverly. Can you remind us all which Magruder family were at the Ridge?
I think Alexander was my 8th gr. grandfather through his son Samuel then Sarah Katherine Magruder who married William Selby. William’s son, William Magruder Selby and his son, William Wilson Selby both fought in the Revolutionary War…DAR #A101666 and A101667. All of your information is very interesting…love the site. My mother was a Selby.
Welcome, Betsy. I’m glad you like the site.
After years of believing i was a descendant of Alexander Mac Gregor, I’ve found the truth. It was Alexander McGruder who my grandfather came from. My grandpa was Joseph Levin Harvey. I’ll be reading more as i can.
Hello, all I know about my Family’s history goes back as far as 1896 my great great grandfather’s name was Braxton McGruder and my great grandfather was born in 1916 or something close to that his name was Russell Corneilus McGruder and my grandfather was Russell Corneilus McGruder of Palmyra VA and once my grandfather met my grandmother they relocated to Washington DC
Rashaun–So sorry I missed your comment when it was first posted. With that spelling (McGruder) you could be descended from Alexander McGruder/Magruder, or you could be descended from other McGruders who came to this country via Ireland, at a later date. (Many of those folks identify as Irish-American, being ignorant of or uninterested in the older Scottish origin.) See my blog post from Dec 24, 2014, called “Are You a McGruther or McGruder Who Is Not Descended from Alexander Magruder?” Don McGruther, in Scotland, is actually descended from one of those families (that later immigrated back to Scotland!) and has been researching those families. If you think there’s any chance yours could be one of them, he may be able to help. His email address is in that blog poet, or just contact me via the Contact tab on this site. Good luck, and thanks for writing.
Hi. I am of African descent and discovered there is a possibility I am a blood descendant of the Magruders by way of the Beall family in MD. Based on my research on ancestry.com, Alexander Magruder was my 10th maternal great-grandfather. His granddaughter Verlinda Magruder (1693-1745) married John Beall (1688-1742). They bore my 7th great grandad Samuel Beall (1713-1778). Samuel’s grandson, Robert Beall (1770-1838), moved to Ohio and bought property around 1810. He had a son named Josephus Beall (4th great grand) in 1811 (d. 1843). Josephus moved from Ohio to Missouri, married, and had a son named George Beall (1847-1937). He married and had my 2nd great grandmother, Blanche Irene Beall-Gill (1888-1971). She married and had my great grandfather, Raymond Gill. According tocensus records, my family tree “mixed” when my great grandfather married a Black woman (Carrie Sullivan; 1911-1954). From them came my maternal grandmother (Elizabeth Gill) my mother (Jacqueline Gill). My maternal family members took root in MO. I live in PG county, MD and didn’t realize my maternal family tree began in my background! My mom & I are still amazed at the findings.
Denise, do you have Robert Bealls (1770-1838) fathers name?
I scrolled through Sue Emerson’s Magruder genealogy and didn’t find the answer to this question, nor could I locate a Robert Beall b. 1770 that seemed to match. But I wouldn’t despair–I might have missed it, or Sue might have missed it. Her PDF is more than 1700 pages and therefore does contain some errors and omissions. Do you have the info, Denise?
His father’s name was Richard Beall (1738-1778).
Thanks, Denise. That fills in the gap. Have you put your tree up on Ancestry, or any other public site? I know it isn’t free–and that’s a barrier for some–but what I like about Ancestry is that it allows you to link each person in your tree to documents that back up your conclusions…and that’s very helpful to others whose lines intersect with yours.
Hi Denise. Thanks for sending this info–yours is an interesting family history, to be sure. In case you’re interested, there’s a DC-area chapter of Coming to the Table that meets monthly. Here’s the organization’s web site. If you’re interested in the DC group, send me a message via the Contact tab on this site and I’ll reply with info on the meetings. I am currently not in Virginia, but expect to be back in time for the December 12 meeting.
Well my lineage comes from John and then Samuel then Daniel so your John would have come from a brother of Daniel. You do live in Beall country. Are you close to Fredricksburg. My family went to West Virginia then To Texas. If you don’t know John’s father i probable can find it. I’ve researched Beall’s alot
Denise, You and I are related, but it’s quite distant. I’m descended from Verlinda Magruder’s brother, Samuel (parents: Samuel & Sarah Magruder).
Ms Osborne I wish you would perform a dna test with family tree dna, I would like to see if we match. I am a descendant of Ninean Beall and Alexander Magruder it would allow me to know more about other cousins. Thx Warren
Alexander Magruder had 3 sons by Margaret Braithwait. Their son, Samuel of Good Luck, is in my grandfather line.
Hi Stephanie. The marriage to Margaret Brathwaite comes from oral tradition (I was raised on the same story, and my mother was named Margaret in her honor), but there is no evidence for such a marriage. In particular, there is no evidence of patronage by the Brathwaite/Calvert family, who were known for great generosity to their own. The first wife appearing in any surviving record is Sarah, and I personally believe that the three older children were hers. I, too, am descended from Samuel of Good Luck, as are many Magruders today–he and his wife had a large number of children–and personally I believe that Sarah was Samuel’s mother.
Thank you! I have not not heard of that story before!! I also have not found any documents saying Margaret was married to Alexander. My great aunt went to Maryland years ago and did extensive research into our family history. Oh, the son of Samuel of Good Luck that my line follows is also Samuel!! That made interesting hunting for a bit!!! :)
My great grandmother maiden name is macgruder. She was born in west virginia
Around 1863. Her mother was sylvia macgruder and grandmother was matilda
There is a uncle name charles. That is about all i have. I would like to know more. I have heard them say that they were Molly Gaskins.
Not certain about the pronunciation. I have been thinking about taking a blood test for my DNA.
Just now catching up on all the news. Now my question has anyone come up with the ancestry of Elizabeth Hawkins who married Alexander Magruder (1610-1677)? Their daughter Elizabeth married Robert Whitaker. I can find other Hawkins in their area but nothing that definitive on Elizabeth. I saw some interesting information that when Alexander’s will was (read) that it was stated she had died but that was not the case. She came back and said she was alive. I am related to the Hawkins also and would love to see if anyone has been able to unravel the mystery.
Charlene Whitaker Cherry
As far as I know there is nothing definitive on Alexander’s last wife. Probably her name was Hawkins, though some suggest it was Green. Somewhere I have an old typescript (on onionskin! remember that?) from a Magruder I don’t know, who lists a lot of information/speculation about Elizabeth. When I next run across it, I’ll let you know. I can’t vouch for the accuracy of his info, but you could try to corroborate it, which would be a place to start your search.
Thanks Susan that is more than I have now. I remember onion skin paper. I learned to type on that. And if our teachers could see what we can do now.
I believe I also am 11th generation descendant from Alexander Magruder. My Great Grandmother was Maude Jewell Magurder 1891 daughter of Barrett Daniel 1860. Been doing a lot of looking at the history in Maryland, cause we are planing a trip to DC. Personally I want to see the places and stand where my ancestors did. Thank you for this site.
It appears that I have been finally able to determine just who Metropolis/us/es Magruder was. According to research by the Virginia Historical society he was Thomas Contee Magruder of Maryland.
Thank you for all your hard work!! I am sort of new at tracing my roots. My great Aunt Martha Frances Driver-Magruder spent time researching with documentation s, church records, death-birth and etc. She shared with our family. I have started connecting from myself back to Alexander there Immigrant. My children are grown and i’m retired from teaching so I have time!!! :) I have only recently heard that the McGregor’s and Magruder’s are two different families. I suspected the findings of slavery. Those were dark times to say the very least to my Afro-American relatives. My father’s mother’s line is Webb and story has it they too had slaves. :( I pray both families were kind and not like some shown on tv.
Was Alexander Magruder involved in the government in our country’s early day? My line to Alexander is through his son Samuel of Good Luck. Once again thank you for all the information you have on here!!! I will be following on here.
Hi Stephanie, and welcome to Magruder’s Landing. My line also goes back to Samuel of Good Luck. Which of his children do you descend from?
Yes, the years of slavery were dark times indeed. It’s futile, I think, to pray or to hope that our ancestors were kind to the enslaved. Degrees of suffering and of cruelty are real, certainly; but the whole system rested on violence–there’s no other way to perpetuate bondage. Our ancestors had as much free choice as we have. They made their choices and we make ours–to face history honestly as a foundation for change in the present. I wish you luck in your searches.
Ms.Tichy, Can you tell me where James Edelbert Magruder is buried? Thx, Warren Smith
No, I’m sorry. I am not a genealogist, nor could anyone know the location of the many thousands of MacGruder/Magruder graves in America. You might try a website called findagrave, or you might post a query on the Magruder/ MacGruder family Facebook group.
I am from ‘ll Samuel b.1689-1779!! This is cool!! I am trying to get the information I have on Ancestry and Family Search. It I’d most interesting to learn about my family!!
Wow, this is amazing history. I am a descendant of enslaved people owned at some point by MaGruders. DNA has confirmed this link. As an African American, we often can’t trace our lineage before the Civil War. While I don’t like to think about how it is that I have come to have Magruder DNA, having it does give me a glimpse of my lineage before the civil war on my European side.
Hi Karran, and welcome. I’m glad you like the site. If you’d like to, please send by private email (use the Contact tab) whatever you know about your Magruder/McGruder connection. I might have more information for you. Many people, both Af-Am and white, contact me about ancestry and historical links. Soon, I’m going to create a new section of the site and move all such comments and queries there, to make it easier for people to find each other, and for me to find them when/if I come across any useful info. Whatever you send by private email I will keep in confidence unless I have your permission to post something on the site. Susan
I am a McGruder one of the slaves ancestors kids
looking for the McGrue family
where are you from? my great grandmother was from west Virginia per cenus report of 1900.
My name is Jim Long and I live in St Stephens Al. My 7th generation grandfather was John Mcgrew (from Scotland). My mothers maiden name was Harriett Magruder Wilson. Any connection?
Hi, my grandparents are Macgruder. My grand mom is Frances Lee Mcgruder. I’m trying to trace her ancestors. I know my great grandfather was Edward H. Mcgruder and his wife Mattie L Mcgruder. I believe there from Maryland. I am trying to go all the way back to Scotland. If anyone knows? Please help. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks
My name is Leroy Soles. Iam a descendant of Thomas W. Dodson, an African-American who was born in Henrico, Va. in 1859. I want to know his ancestry. I read that among the Magruders slaves,several had the surnamed Dodson.
I’d appreciate any help you can provide. Thanks, email@example.com
Hi Leroy. Do you have access to Ancestry.com, or another genealogy site? If not, I can do some preliminary searching for you, but I’ll need more details. 1) What is the source of the info you have? 2) Do you know the names of Thomas’ wife, children, or parents? 3) Have you searched on line in records of manumitted slaves? The place to start is census, then birth/death/marriage records and land records. Where available, church records can also be useful, and military. Also on Ancestry, you can search other people’s family trees (if they have made them public) to look for intersections. Findagrave.com sometimes has family information. And those are just the starting places. African American newspapers are also invaluable. Personally, I have not researched in Virginia, but I can try to figure out if your Dodsons are linked to the Maryland and DC Dodsons descended from people enslaved by Magruders. Dodson is a pretty big name, I’m told, among DC African Americans. I have just emailed you a 1910 census record for a Thomas W. Dodson born in Virginia, living at that time in DC, with his wife Julia A Dodson & 8 others–perhaps all their children, perhaps other relatives. See if the names are familiar. You can send me email privately by using the “Contact” tab at the top of any page on this website. All best.
Hi Susan, What do we know about the Magruder family who changed their name to McGregor (erroneously believing that they were descended from them)? I’m helping a McGregor who believes they come from a family that used to be Magruder. Thanks! Jill firstname.lastname@example.org
See this cluster of pages–lots of info. And the genealogy is in Emerson. https://magruderslanding.com/slavery/john-s-magruder-mcgregor-wills/
I’m wondering about a story that has been passed down to me about the changing of the name
MacGregor to Magruder because there was a horse thief in the family.
Hi Margaret. Since you don’t say where or when or what family, I suppose it is possible that somewhere at sometime in history this could have happened. However, looking at the historical record in Scotland, and at the DNA evidence, there is no known connection between the McGregors and the MacGruders. American Magruders/McGruders believed for a long time that they were McGregors, but there is zero evidence to support that. You can find several items on my website about this issue.
I have been researching for some time my Beall ancestors. It tends to get very messy with everyone naming their children John, William, and Alexander. I also keep seeing these individuals marrying people with the surname Magruder. Do you know if these families came from Scotland together? Both families seem to be concentrated in Maryland. I’m thinking of adding a 2nd tree so I can haphazardly add people to my own tree to see what I can dig up. It is so very frustrating trying to sort through these names while trying to validate through documentation in my main tree.
Hi Janice. If you read about Alexander on my site, you will see that he was a transported prisoner of war. Ninian Beall was his contemporary and friend, an executor of his will, but there is no evidence they knew each other in Scotland. Genealogists once believed that Alexander‘s son Samuel married Ninian’s daughter Sarah. We now know Sarah was not Ninian’s daughter, but circumstantial evidence is strong that she was some kind of close relative. Ninian gave money and land to some of her children, one of them was named Ninian, etc. and the two families continued to intermarry. It does get very confusing. One of my favorites is “Ninian Beall Magruder Beall,” a cousin of my great grandfather in the early 20th century.
Hi My name is Felicia Johnson my moms name is Trisha Mauck and her mom is lee magruder We lived in Alexandria, Virginia and they were from front Royal, Virginia and there family were from Maryland. I’m just starting to piece the family line. Do you think we are related?
Hi Felicia. Everyone in the U.S. named Magruder is descended from Alexander Magruder. The name is an American spelling of the Scottish name variously spelled McGruder, McGruther, MacCrouther, etc., and as far as I know no one but Alexander’s descendants have ever used the “Magruder” spelling. So, yes, we are related. The problem is that there are now thousands of Magruder descendants, so it’s not always easy finding links to each other. I suggest you join one or both of the Magruder/McGruder Facebook groups linked on my home page and post there everything you know about your Magruder folks–full names, birthdates, where they were born and lived, race, marriages, date and place of death, etc. There is also a Magruder/McGruder group on Ancestry.com, if you are a member there, and that allows you to link into others’ family trees. If you are new to this research, remember that you need evidence, not just assertions and family stories. One mistake can throw the whole family tree off. So, take the time to look for the primary records of birth, death, marriage, land ownership, business or employment, military service…whatever you can find. A lot of old newspapers are now available on line, as well, and they can lead to whole new directions. ****Some American descendants of Alexander use alternate spellings, as well–McGruder is most common, but there are others, especially among people of African descent, who sometimes wanted to distinguish their families from others.
Felicia–The fact that you can trace your family to Maryland may prove to be very useful. That’s where Alexander lived, so all of us trace back there eventually. Finding your Maryland origins can be crucial. Do you know where in MD? County? Town? Plantation name? And of course you need some dates.
You and I are 3rd Magruder cousins. Your 2nd great-grandfather, Lloyd Magruder Jr., and my 2nd great-grandmother, Ann Holmes Magruder were brother and sister. My 2nd great-grandmother married Thomas Johnson, 2nd Chief Justice of the Arkansas State Supreme Court. My great-grandfather was Peyton Johnson Sr. and my grandfather was Carter Johnson Sr. My mother was Martha Eloise Johnson. I really enjoyed yout site and postings. I ordered Trafficke on Amazon and cannot wait to get the book. I am looking forward to your Pelham Family of Arkansas article. My 2nd great-grandparents lived for a time in Batesville, Arkansas. Thank you again.
Hi Leighanne. Glad you are enjoying the site…though you seem to have me mixed up, at least partially, with another Magruder. The family you list I am not related to (except in the sense that we are all ultimately related), nor have I done any research on anyone in Arkansas. My Magruders are Maryland all the way from Alexander to me, with an occasional interloper from DC or an adjoining state.
I’m glad you’re enjoying the site, Leighanne. You have mixed me up with another Magruder, however. I am not related to any of the people you list (except that we’re all descendants of the Immigrant), nor have I researched anything in Arkansas. My Magruder line stays in Maryland all the way from Alexander to me.
Ms. Susan Tichy. Just as a point of reference I want to mention to you that the late Rob Roy Ratliff published an article in April 2008 about the marriage of my cousin Imogene Magruder to Edward W. Scott at St. Augustine Church in Washington D.C. in 1899, he described it as a most “unique marriage”, you may want to read it.
I understand that Alexander Magruders half-brother was a Drummond. I have a number of Drummond dna matches on my geneology site. I have reviewed listings in a Clan Gregor yearbook as well as Perth birth/marriage listings also VA and North Carolina dates on line. I thought maybe through your research you may have come across these individuals with their associated birthdates and could help me identify them: Janet Drummond 1757, Helen Drummond 1762, William Drummond 1760, William Drummond 1750, John Drummond 1755. Any help would be appreciated.
Warren: This is a question for Duncan McGruther, who has researched both families in Scotland. If he sees this, he will probably respond. If you would like me to forward your question to him directly, send me a message via the Contact tab on my site. Include the text you typed here, and any other detail that might help narrow the search. Locations? Relationships among that list of names?
I concentrated onl
Y on the McGruders, somthe Drummond Families I know little or nothing about.
Mr. Mcgruther, thanks first for responding. I did have a number of McGruder matches on my previous dna geneology site but did not keep them for my records. At some point I plan to rejoin and will try to retrieve that information, I would certainly appreciate any help you are willing to render, Warren.
I’m Doris P. Magruder Johnson.
Thank you for your Blog, your time, your unselfish willingness with the desire, to explore and to share.
Jil Magruder Gatewood and I have been communicating vie, email & text.
My brother & I meet with Ms Betty Dekeyser, Genealogists, of the Maryland Historical Society, in 2011. Her comment to us was & I quote, “All Magruder’s are related to one another and to the following families” (given names) unquote”. My Father was William C. Magruder, born July 13th, 1924 in Aquasco, Maryland, to Sarah E. Magruder, 1900, died December 7th, 1969. His father, George Contee, born July 1903 and died In 1980. In my research I discovered many Magruder plantations were in the area of my father’s family home. My Father’s grandparents were, Rinaldo Magruder, died in 1925 & Rebecca Gray Glascoe. His great grandparents were, Robert & Margaret Magruder from 1867 census. Robert was a laborer for Thomas Rawlings. Rawlings was a large land owner. I’m sure our last / sir name was given to our enslaved family by their owners..Magruder. I vividly remember my Uncle working in a tobacco barn on Eagle Harbor Road…where my father’s family home was located.
I sincerely will appreciate any information you could share with me that will support my search.
Hi Doris. Please read the response I just posted to your comment on the Maryland Plantations page. And please send me a message via the Contact tab, so we can be in direct communication.
Thank you, for your prompt response…
Yes, Rinaldo Magruder is my father’s grandfather his name is inscribed in our families Bible. His grave is interned at the old John Wesley United Methodist Church grounds, now United Church of Christ in Aquasco Maryland. In the Bible there is only a death date recorded & it’s January 25th, 1925. My assumptions are correct with our name…just don’t know which direct descendant of Alexander Magruder.. I did take a DNA test with Ancestry.com
my results are amazing…
I earlier confused geneology with geneticist. I am happy that I have a better understanding of the two disciplines, Warren
I am seeking information on William McKinnon, born 5 Jun 1825 and died 7 Jun 1896 in Pottawatomie County, Kansas. I see anecdotes that suggest born either in Scotland or Virginia and perhaps came to the US as an indentured servant. He was a 4th sergeant in the Virginia Army [54th infantry, Company F] in the Confederacy. He is my great great grandfather. I have been unable to find his origin or any information on his parents. Thanks for any help you may have.
Jerry: Unless your lineage crosses into the Magruder/McGruder lines it is unlikely anyone connected to this site will be able to help you. Very sorry.
are one and the same person.
See McGruder Macgregor dna projects.
No one can read it that unless they have an account there. Can you provide details for others?
God Bless You, Susan!
Your work and research are incredible. THANK YOU! I am descendant of Judge David Lynn (see website) Magruders are also part of my ancestry. Thank you SO much for acknowledging The Native American Tribes of Maryland. I have tried to speak with family regarding this and the Precious Souls that were enslaved only to have the subject ignored. The abhorrent atrocities committed under the veil
Thank you again for your Light and Love, for All Life.
My name is Nathaniel Magruder and my family is from Maryland. My father died 3 years ago and I am researching his father to find out information. His name was James Freeman Magruder and he was married to Virginia O Doye. If you could help me with any information that would be great. And this is the black Magruder’s that I am talking about.
Hi Nathaniel, and thanks for writing. If you can use census and other public records to trace your line back to the post-Emancipation period, I might be able to connect the dots. I am not a professional genealogist and can’t do that search for you, but if we’re lucky your line might intersect with some of the black Magruder families who appear in records before or after freedom. I will also bring your comment to the attention of some other black Magruders from Maryland who have been in touch with me.
Please I want to attend. I have been unsuccessful with completing registration.
Thank you, for the opportunity to share.
Did you get the email I sent a few minutes ago? If so, please reply and I will do what I can to help. I cannot help in this public comment space. If you did not get the email, please do as I suggested and use the CONTACT tab at the top of this page. That will generate an email to me, which is private communication.
My name is Tiffany Magruder. Carroll county Westminister, MD.
Thanks for compiling this information and for looking frankly and fully at our shared history with those our family enslaved and displaced. I hope you have also appreciated the NY Times 1619 project as I have.
What ought to be done now? What would be just and efficacious?
Hello Ms Susan, I loved reading and learning about the Magruder’s history. My Great Great Grandfather was Lloyd Magruder, the one who was murdered in Idaho and is a very interesting story as well. Thank you for all the work you have done and I will return to your site regularly.
It seems that most Magruder discussion is about the past. Has the burden of the past been so great that no one is willing to step up in the present to lead? There are as we know pressing issues internationally including geopolitical, environmental etc. The Magruders have a blemished past but many did serve with distinction. Warren
Each of us does the part that falls to us. My site began with two purposes: 1) to make public part of the research I did while working on my book, Trafficke, & 2) to correct false histories of our family. Why don’t you start a project focused on Magruder/McGruder accomplishments, to fill the gap that’s concerning to you. If you do, I hope you will include all descendants we white Magruders are linked to by history & blood.
I have found through ancestry.com all of the different slave ancestors I’ve had and where they have come from. I found that I am related to Hezekiah Magruder and Malatto slave Sarah Simpson, Hezekiah is the son of Alexander Magruder III and Elizabeth Howard. Hezekiah and Sarah had a son Henry Fitz Edward Goe.
Nelly, I am so happy for you, & filled with admiration, b/c I know how difficult it is to trace ancestors before Emancipation. Would you be interested in a feature on Magruder’s Landing, about what you have found & how you found it? Please let me know through the Contact tab at the top of any page on the site.
Hi Nelly: That is great you have been able to trace your ancestor. I have also recently learned that I am related to Sarah, she is my 6th great grandmother, and her son Henry Fitz Edward Goe is my 5th great grandfather. My grandfathers name was William Goe (b.1930) who was born in Fayette County, PA — a couple miles from where Henry and Sarah lived and were buried, and a few miles away from where I was born 200+ years later.
I was surprised to find out all this information considering so much of the timeframe is pre-Revolutionary. I have been looking for source material for her and her parents. I have seen the Simpson name used, as you do. I have read that her mother was “Old Catherine” who was also enslaved by the Goes/Magruders/Huttons. I have also seen that, if her name was Simpson, perhaps her father was named Gilbert Simpson. I haven’t seen any citations to back this up. I will keep searching. I’ll post any new information, if I find it.
Chris (& Nelly, if you’re reading this), I would love to know more about your research, your ancestors and how you found them. It’s possible I can help in the search for Sarah Simpson’s mother or origins. If you’re interested, please get in touch using the Contact tab, which will send a private email directly to me.
Good job, thank you for the information well done. You really doing a great job in keeping us informed.
Dr. Emilia Williamson
Anyone doing dna searches for Magruder I suggest also check Mcgruder. I noticed man deep south matches presumably descendants of Charles Mcgruder. W.
Yes, researchers should consider multiple spellings: Magruder, McGruder, McCruter, & others. There are many black Magruder/McGruder families, not all descended from Charles, so it still requires detailed research.
Thank you, Dr. Williamson.
Actually my read is that dna suggests he descends from Ninian Offutt Magruder. W.
That’s right. See my two posts on The Alabama Black McGruders–one from a few years ago & one recently about the forthcoming book. We are editing and revising it now. If you think you have any info JRR Rothstein & his team don’t have, do please get in touch with JR. jrr483(at)gmail.com
But of course there were many slaves and slaveowners and varied situations so it’s highly complicated. W.
MacGruder-son of Gruder- The spelling does not matter all McGruders. The first Americans were illiterate and depending on someone to write for them and they wrote how they thought it was spelled. INn Scotland there were faithful people who could be adopted into clan. Slaves sometimes took thier masters name. Only dna can tell the story. Personally I don’t think it matters Most families have this problem. In 1500’s a castle would be defeated men killed and women raped. from then on the children would be from victor but given family name ect. Black women slaves raped and had white babies hence black MaGruder ect Geneology is never certain. I have no trouble with black MaGruder or white they are just seed from times past
The oldest spellings are MacCrouther, McGrouther, & others similar. Whatever the spelling, MacGruthers were never a clan, just a family. They emerge in surviving records by the mid 15th c., and possibly as early as 13th c., depending on how you interpret some signatures on documents. There is some evidence the name emerged from a monastic community, and linguists have opined that the name means “son of the brewer.” Monasteries all had breweries, b/c plain water was too dangerous to drink. There is definite evidence that by mid-15th c. they were tenants, retainers, and literate servants to the first Lord Drummond, and then to his descendants, all the way to the Earl of Perth, whom Alexander the Immigrant’s older brother served as Chamberlain in the 17th c. I’ve studied events in that part of Scotland a lot, and not seen evidence of anyone taking on new surnames after battles. Some individuals change their names due to specific circumstances and specific dangers they faced. But it wasn’t a wholesale practice. The McGruthers never became Drummonds, for example, despite many generations as Drummond dependents. Historically and culturally, it was a very different situation from that of chattel slavery in America, which produced mixing of a completely different kind. DNA is most informative for recent generations, so it’s the American story we can peer into best through our genes. I hope you are enjoying exploring your family past!
I am a granddaughter of Henry Magruder Thompson, whose parents were from Baltimore.We have both Mahool and Magruder on this side of the family, based on my brother’s research. Family followed naming traditions until my parents’ generation stopped…Names since Baltimore and assuming before, include Elizabeth, Warfield, Pinkney, Barry, Malcolm, Margaret Elizabeth, Magruder, and Thompson. Unfortunately, I don’t have tons of time to spend but just touching base. Hi cousin!
Same to you, cousin!
My name is Rahsaan McGruder. I was watching the segment on McGruder’s on Soul of a Nation and wanted to see if I can connect my linage here in Camden NJ to those in VA and in Alabama
Rahsaan, I sent you a private email with suggestions. There are many black McGruders not related to the Alabama family…though right now I figure everyone hopes they are, b/c that family has preserved and discovered so much of their history.
I value your sharing of the Magruder family. I have a 4x Magruder grandfather from Scotland who served in the Revolutionary War. I’d love to read your research findings. Do you have a web site that I can go to?
Hi Suzanne. Thanks for getting in touch. Actually, this is my website! Use the tabs across the top of each page to navigate. Each represents an anchor page plus several linked pages. I know nothing about a Magruder born in Scotland who served in the Revolutionary War.
What was his name, and what can you tell me about him? You can email me via the Contact tab at the top of every page on this site. With few exceptions, all Magruders and McGruders in the U.S. are descended from the Alexander McGruder/Magruder, who arrived in the 1650s as a prisoner of war. Click on the “Alexander” tab for info about him.
Hello, my grandfather mother was a McGruder from Hale County, Alabama. I think she was a descendant of Charles McGruder who is directly linked back to Alexander Magruder from Scotland.
Hi Frank. Thanks for commenting. Are you in touch with the Alabama Black McGruder family featured in Soul of a Nation? If not, you can email JR Rothstein, jrr483(at)gmail.com. Family members are also very active on the two Facebook Groups–Magruder/McGruder Family Genealogy & African American Magruder/McGruders. They love finding new family members & figuring out relationships. As you say, if you are descended from Charles McGruder you are definitely descended from Alexander McGruder/Magruder, the Scottish immigrant, via Ninian Offutt Magruder, who was Charles’ white grandfather.
No, I’m not in touch with them. My mom was doing some research last night at 3AM CST and found the information. I will be 50 next year and of course she thought it was a big deal the info so she sent it to me early this morning. We traced her great-grand mother on her mom side to Virginia back in the early 1800s. This was our 1st time finding something on her father’s side. The older family members always passed down what knew from the bloodline. Even on my father’s side from (Hale County), my great-great grandmother was the color of charcoal with green eyes. We found her grandmother was white. Crazy world! We’re ALL related….
Super interesting – especially the tie-in with Alice Maude Ewell. John Smith Magruder Ewell is my great great grandfather (i have his pistol and saber). My mom grew up summering at the family’s home (Edgehill) in Virginia, so I was raised with the lore about the connection to Clan Gregor. It is always fascinating to see where the fact starts and the fiction begins. Thanks for taking the time to put this site together.
I’m glad you found the site, Tyler. Thanks for commenting. Do you have any family information–letters, diaries, Bibles, oral history–that might help others figure out how they connect, or what happened in their parts of the family? Descendants of enslaved people specially in need of info that might be held by white descendants. You can send me a private message through the Contact tab, if you don’t want to reply here. You also might want to look at the McGregor Family Correspondence at the Huntington Library. You can search for my post about it (with a link to online PDFs) on the Blog page. Ellen McGregor (née Magruder) married Jessie Ewell and they founded the Edgehill family. There are a few references to the family in the letters from 1861 & 1862.
I was surprised when I met a man in Maryland named. T. Macgruther. He said that he was Scottish but born in Virginia. He had never heard of the surname Magruder but did say that he was related to the Macdonalds. W.
MacGruther or McGruther is one of the spellings in Scotland. Magruder is a phonetic rendering, purely American. Most of Alexander’s descendants adopted it b/c it’s how he signed his will.
I know very little as a child to present we visit Laurel MS. McGruder/MaGruder my grandmother was Channie McClain her sister LooEtha there brothers Robert, Joe and others I can’t remember my mother was Malinda(Babyruth) her brothers Joe Elbert,Uncle Dan can’t remember his government name help me to connect.
Hi Carolyn. For better or worse, there are too many Magruders/McGruders for me to recognize your branch and point you toward information. The best place to start is Facebook, where there are two groups–African American Magruder-McGruders & Magruder/McGruder Family Genealogy. Despite the apparent division, everybody posts wherever they want, and most people of any race use the Magruder/McGruder Family Genealogy group. People are friendly & helpful, & Jill Magruder Gatwood, who runs both sites, has tons of information on families and relationships. You will probably find other MS folks. Several people from the Alabama Black McGruder t.v. program (if you saw that, on Soul of a Nation, back in March, and now on Hulu) are active in those groups. Quite a few people have tested their DNA, as well. On your own, you can start building out the full picture of your family using FamilySearch.org, which is free. If you need search tips, write to me via the Contact tab at the top of this page & I’ll help you get started. It helps to build out the whole family (siblings, marriages, in-laws, death certificates, etc.) rather than the single line you descend from, b/c all the details add up. It also helps to look at local history and information in the county your people come from. Good luck with your search.
You are blessed by the best because of your honesty. You know it is said “A bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush”. You do have something but check this, 7 Locks and River Road the 1751 Ninian Magruder blacksmith house, who were the slaves that operated it at this busy intersection and where in proximity did the slaves live to the smitty house around River and Seven Locks road? Ninian Magruder died in 1751 the year the stone blacksmith structure was built, his son Samuel built a house(Stone Hurst) up the hill on Old Seven Locks road in the year 1767, thats 16 years after the blacksmith shop was built. who operated it? Are there any records of the slaves that operated this blacksmith shop and where on that strip of land did they live?
Hi Robert. Most of my research is in P.G. County, where I have barely scratched the surface. Alas, I cannot research every worthwhile Magruder site or history. A project like the last I posted took 2-3 months of nearly full time work. So…It sounds like you have already begun researching this site and might continue. I would look at records for Ninian Magruder (always making sure you have the right one–there often were several in any given generation): probate records, following all the way through from will to inventory to sales and accounts; deeds of sale or other transfers that might show up in land records (mdlandrec.net), including mortgages taken out on enslaved property; local history sources for the smithy. See if tax records have survived–it varies by county. If you find them, you will see what Ninian or his heirs paid taxes on, including enslaved people and certain categories of nonhuman property. Skilled enslaved laborers are usually easy to spot in, say, an estate inventory. Often their trade is named, and they nearly always show a higher dollar value than ordinary laborers of the same age. A 50 or 60 year-old man, for example, who is valued the same or higher than a man in his working prime is either a house servant or a skilled artisan. Sometimes they are listed with a surname, while others are not, b/c they are well known in the community, perhaps personally known to the men recording the inventory. Who inherited or purchased those skilled men? Trades often passed from father to son (coach driver, blacksmith, carpenter, etc.), so watch for that, too. And then: who took over the smithy when Ninian died? One of his sons? (He is said to have had 11 children.) The MoCo Ninians can get confusing, so, again, be careful of identification. (I had to sort through them for someone else’s project last year, so I may be able to help on that. I have sent you a pdf by email.) I would expect to perform the whole search over again on the next owner of the smithy, and perhaps through multiple generations, and perhaps into families the Magruders married with. Also, skilled laborers sometimes were able to earn money independently and purchase their freedom. Or were manumitted and then purchased family members out of bondage. If you discover names, search freedom records for the same and adjoining counties and for Washington DC. Even if you don’t find surnames for enslaved men, search by the enslavers name(s). Let me know if you get some traction on this. I might be able to help with specifics, or suggest further sources to check.
I am a descendant of Alexander Magruder II through his son Samuel and his wife Sarah Beall to their son Alexander and his wife Ann Wade who are my 6th great grandparents. I have extensive research of Samuel Wade Magruder’s descendants if there is anyone out there who is related to his children. Samuel was married to Lucy Beall daughter of George Beall and granddaughter of Ninian Beall. My direct family line is through Samuel Wade Marguder to my grandfather William W. Magruder. Would love to hear from any cousins.
Hi Sheryl. The best place to find Magruder cousins is the Magruder / McGruder Family Genealogy group on Facebook–friendly and helpful people there. Also, it was believed for a long time that Sarah was Ninian Beall’s daughter, but Beall family genealogists have shown definitively that Ninian did not have a daughter named Sarah, and that none of his daughters married Samuel Magruder. So we don’t actually know his wife’s maiden name. Mills is the current theory–ardently believed by some, though unproven. BTW, I am descended from the *other* Samuel Wade Magruder, son of the second Samuel Magruder & Eleanor Wade. Robert Wade was a county justice and colleague of Samuel Magruder, and three pairs of their children married–Eleanor Wade married Samuel (II) in 1701, and (after the death of both fathers) Alexander Magruder married Anne Wade in 1723 (both still in their teens), and Eleanor Magruder married Nehemiah Wade around 1728. In your family, I’m interested in Lucy Magruder who married William Warman Berry. Send me a private message via the Contact tab if you have info on them–or want info on them. It’s a crazy story. Cheers, Susan
Hi Susan. Do you think Alexander Magruder will ever be admitted to the Gateway Ancestor list? I know he was once listed as a Gateway Ancestor and was taken off. He still remains in the Magna Charta Society and is still included in Gary Boyd Roberts book. He was taken out of the Order of the Charlemagne Society about 5 years ago. Can you please give me your thoughts. Is there a DNA Magruder sight to see on line? I love your sight. Thanks for keeping it up. It’s very much appreciated.
Hi LeRae. I have no idea about these matters. Frankly, they don’t interest me very much. At the time the Charlemagne Society removed Alexander, I asked Magruders who belonged to the society to find out if the genealogist had specific information about Alexander, or about Margaret Campbell (Drummond) McGruther’s lineage, or if they had simply decided the evidence of Alexander’s parentage was too thin. No one ever replied to me about that, and as far as I know the Charlemagne Society doesn’t make its evidence public. If they have new info, I wish someone would share it. If they just think AM’s parentage is thinly documented…well, we all know that. See https://magruderslanding.com/alexander/was-alexander-who-we-think-he-was/
This is in reply to Sheryl Barton’s and Susan Tichy’s discussion of February 15, 2023. According to my research, mostly through My Heritage.com. I am a 7th generation descendant of Colonel Samuel Macgruder (1661-1711), whose wife was Sarah Beall. They had a son named Samuel (b.1687) as well. That Samuel married a Eleanor Wade, and had yet another son named Captain Samuel Macgruder (1708-1790). He married a Jane Haswell and begat William B. Macgruder (1773 -1812). William married Elizabeth Hilleary. They had Haswell Macgruder (1807-1869). He married Adeline Elizabeth Boyd. They had Jane Adeline Macgruder (1849-1943), my great-grandmother. Jane married John Samuel Adams and had daughter Pauline Regina Adams (1886-1956), my grandmother. Pauline married Ninian Pinkney Barber and had my father, Samuel Franklin Barber (1917-2006). I hope this helps, or if anyone has a different take on this branch of the tree, please let me know.