Alexander’s Family Tree

Here is Alexander Magruder’s most commonly accepted genealogy. In the families below, I use bold font to indicate Alexander’s direct line. Note that “James McGrudir (II)” is the first point in this lineage at which we can be reasonably certain of family relationships. Identification of James McGrudir (II)’s father and siblings is tentative at best.

  • Details & discussion are marked with bullet points.

Spellings of the name vary. Where I am not quoting a particular document, I will use McGruder as the default spelling.

Earliest records of the name occur in Comrie and in nearby Glen Artney, in Perthshire. According to Scottish custom, when a person is recorded as “in” a certain place (as in “James McGruder in Cargill”) it means he lives there as a tenant. When recorded as “of” a certain place (as in “James McGruder of Cargill”) it means he owns land there.

* * * *

1. James McGrugor or MakGruder (I), active 1502-1540s

  • Jacobus McGrugor/MakGruder appears twice in surviving records, on 10 March 1502/3 and on 7 June 1508.
  • He may have been the father of at least two sons [Duncan and James (II)] and a daughter.
  • From this period, if not before, the family is associated with the farm at Craigneich, south of Comrie.

2. a daughter? Some sources call her Margaret.
+ John (or Thomas) Drummond, 3rd of Drummondearnoch

3. John Drummond, 4th of Drummondearnoch

  • It is known that in this period a McGruder woman married John Drummond, 3rd of Drummondearnoch. That she was a daughter of this James McGrugor or MakGruder is only surmised.
  • The eldest son of this marriage–John Drummond, 4th of Drummondearnoch–was a Royal Forester in Glen Artney who in 1586 fell victim to an infamous murder, attributed to the MacGregors.
  • If identification of the Magruder woman who married Drummondearnoch is correct, the murdered man was a cousin of Alexander the Immigrant’s father.
  • See, under “Scotland,” the page called “McGruder / McGregor / Campbell / Drummond: Are you confused yet?” for more detail about the murder, its aftermath, and the McGruder-Drummondearnoch connection.

2. Duncan MakGruder (I), active 1525-1591
+ unknown

  • Duncanus Makgruder is named among the supporters of John Drummond of Innerpeffray and Andrew Drummond of Carnock, in a legal action of 1525 regarding the slaughter of six men in 1519.
  • On 26 February 1546/47, Duncane McRudir and James McGrudir [presumably James (II) (see below)] were among the 400-some men from Perthshire who were granted remission for rebellion in 1545–the revolt of the “Protestant Lords” against Queen Mary’s government. Prominent among leaders of the revolt were David, 2nd Lord Drummond, and Andrew Drummond of Belliclone along with his son William.
  • Also in the lists are John and Duncane Bordoun, members of another Glen Artney family with whom the McGruders would later intermarry.
  • In 1545 Duncanus MakGruder matriculated from the University of St. Andrews.
  • In 1546 and 1547 he appeared as witness to several documents involving David, 2nd Lord Drummond; his brother James Drummond, Commendator of Inchaffray; and James, 4th Lord Drummond. Duncan also witnessed the Testament of Agnes Burdoun “at Craignocht.”
  • A document of 1591 was witnessed by a man named James Cuik, identified as a servant of Duncan McGruder. (McGruther 43-44)

Duncan may have had a son and grandson–

3. William (I), active 1591-1606

4. Duncan (II), active 1603.

2. James McGrudir (II), active 1540s & after
+ unknown

3. John, 1st of Meigor, Chamberlain to Patrick, 3rd Lord Drummond

  • James McGruder (II) is believed by most to be the father of the John McGruder who achieved the rare transition from land renter to land owner, acquiring title to lands in Meigor, in Glen Artney.
  • He is also believed to be the father of Alexander McGruder (I), the father of Alexander Magruder the Immigrant and his brother James (III), who was Chamberlain to the Duke of Perth during the Civil Wars.
  • John MacGregor, writing in 1919, collapses James (I) and James (II) into the same person, speculating that he may have been the father of both the McGruder woman who married Drummondearnoch and the John McGruder who acquired land in Meigor (see below). (66)
  • John MacGregor also states that Duncan and James (II) were brothers (as I show here), but Don McGruther could not confirm that relationship when he examined the sources MacGregor cited. (43)
  • Gordon MacGregor, writing in 2006, makes no claims about family relationships prior to James (II). His research focused exclusively on families who owned land (for whom there are more records than for any who did not), so his lineage begins with James (II)’s son “John MacGruther, in Innerclair and 1st of Meggar.” (491)

     3. Alexander McGruder (I), Chamberlain to James Drummond, the 1st Lord Madderty, Barron of Innerpeffrey and Commendator of Inchaffray (eldest brother of Lord Drummond).

  • In 1600, Alester McRuther witnessed a Bond of Caution involving James Drummond, Commendator of Innerpeffrey, William Drummnd of Balmaclone, and his son Andrew Drummond of Ardeweney.
  • In May of 1602, Helene McGruer, daughter of Alester McRuther and Katherine Jardin, was christened at Canongate, Edinburgh. (McGruther 45)
  • As Alester (Alastair) is the Gaelic form of Alexander, and there is no further mention of Alaster, it is likely that they are one and same person and that Katherine Jardine died some time after the birth of her daughter.
  • By 25 May 1605, Alexander was married to Margaret Campbell, relict (widow) of Andrew Drummond, 4th of Belliclone. They are mentioned again as man and wife in 1606, and in 1610 he is identified as “Alexander McGruder in Belliclone.”
  • He died before 1 May 1617, the first reference to Margaret Campbell’s third husband, Donald Campbell.

Thus I believe Alexander (I)’s wives and children were–

       + (1) Katherine Jardine
               4. Helene McGruder
       +(2) Margaret Campbell, relict of Andrew Drummond, 4th of Belliclone.
               4. James McGruder (III) b ~1607, Chamberlain to the Duke of Perth.
  • In 1645, James McGruder appears in transactions undertaken for the Duke of Perth, supplying meal to the Army of the Covenant. In 1649 he was among those nominated to a Committee of War in the Sheriffdom of Perth, and in these documents is styled “Laird of Cargill” and Chamberlain to the Duke of Perth. In 1649 he is mentioned in a letter between John, 2nd Earl of Perth, and one of his sons.
  • American oral tradition long held that James was killed at the battle of Worcester in 1651, but unless there was another James McGruder filling his shoes we find him still at his post in 1652, designated as factor to the 5th Lord Drummond and 2nd Duke of Perth.
               4. Alexander McGruder (II) (the immigrant) b ~1610
  • On 22 November 1622, one Alexander McGruder, 12 years old, was fined at Spittalsfield, Caputh Parish, about six miles from Cargill near Dunkeld, for illegally carrying arms and shooting deer and wildfowl. It is from this single record that we date Alexander’s birth to 1610.
  • He appears in no other surviving record until his first acquisition of land in Maryland, in 1653.
               4. John McGruder b~1612
  • American oral tradition identifies this John with the John Magruder who was Constable of Kent County, Maryland, in 1668, but no evidence can be cited. Don McGruther located records of a John McGruder, a Burgess of Perth in 1654, but nothing ties him to Alexander’s family.
  • If our identification of Alexander the Immigrant with the young deer-hunting Alexander McGruder is correct, he was more than 40 years old at the time of his capture and transportation and very likely had been married. If this is the case, we might just as easily speculate that the John Magruder briefly recorded in Kent County was his son from an early marriage. He was much too old to be Alexander’s American son named John.
  • In my mother’s Maryland Magruder family a story was handed down that a young man from Scotland showed up at Alexander’s home one day, eighteen years old in my mother’s telling, and identified himself as Alexander’s son. I have never found a trace of this story, even as legend, beyond my own family.
* * * * * * * *
Charles Kurz, The McGruder Lineage in Scotland to Magruder Family in America.
Gordon MacGregor, The Red Book of Perthshire, pp 491-493.
John MacGregor, The MacGrouthers of Meigor.
Don McGruther, MacGrouthers in Scotland before 1855, especially pp 13-18, 42-53.
See Bibliography pages for full citations on these & other sources.

48 comments on “Alexander’s Family Tree

  1. jillgat says:

    This is fascinating. I haven’t seen the Kurz book. Is it available anywhere? (will do a search for that now) What has mystified me is why the descendants of Alexander in America believed themselves to be from the McGregor family; so much so that Magruders/McGruders revived (if not started) the Gregor Clan society in America, authoring much of the documentation, holding meetings, etc.. Why did they not inherit more information about their Scottish roots? I remember one record referring to a gavel, made from the wood of a tree on Alexander Magruder’s land in Maryland, being a relic that was held somewhere. I wonder where that is now. Did you ever find the exact location of the Magruder land (Alexander or his son)?

  2. susantichy says:

    Oops, the Kurz title shouldn’t have been italicized, as it is only an article. Go to the Sources page for Magruders and you’ll find pdf’s of Charles Kurz’ two articles. He does give lip-service to the MacGregor connections, but the articles are really about the Magruders. For my thoughts on the whole Clan Gregor and ACGS thing, see my blog post of December 19, 2011 (actually written before I went public). I believe the gavel is still in ACGS possession, possibly at University Baltimore Special Collections, but I can’t remember which Magruder property it was from.

  3. jillgat says:

    Alexander Magruder’s resting place was on his plantation, Anchovie Hills. It was located SE of the intersection of Croom Rd. and Magruder’s Ferry, according to the Maryland Historical Trust. There are some buildings there now (obviously not that old). I wonder who lives there and if they’d let us explore it?

    • Jim Magruder says:

      Years ago, while surfing the web for anything related to Anchovie Hills, I came across several websites that were very interesting. One was a Federal survey of historic structures in Maryland c. 1937 (if I recall correctly), and the three photos were of the original 17th century house (plus modifications). Later I found photos from several aerial surveys commissioned by Prince George’s County, one of which (again, if I recall correctly) was from 1938 or 1939. I thought – what if I can match up the aerial photos to the Federal survey? Trees and buildings don’t move over only a few years, right? I thought I might be able to identify the location of the original structure – then go walk the property… But – to my dismay – and as was borne out by more recent aerial photography and Google Earth – the current home (circa 1950’s, and currently a rental property) is on the exact location of Alexander’s 17th century house. So the old house is completely gone. I have since traded emails with the current owner; she is not aware of the significance of the property to the Magruder family. On a lark, one afternoon, my uncle and my daughter and I traveled to Anchovie Hills, and took a very brief look around… The current owner’s efforts to turn the (now 114 acres) property into a wildlife sanctuary are working… as the property was pretty much overgrown near the modern house. I wouldn’t recommend that you visit the property – there just isn’t much to see. The remaining farm buildings just cannot be safe. Even the view to the road is almost completely obscurred. I’d suggest visiting the nearby landing at the river, which is quite picturesque.

  4. says:

    Confused by this part:
    [[James McGrudir (II), active 1540s & after
    + unknown
    •James McGruder (II) is believed by most to be the father of the John McGruder who achieved the rare transition from land renter to land owner, acquiring title to lands in Meigor, in Glen Artney.
    •James (II) is also believed to be the grandfather of Alexander Magruder the Immigrant and his brother James (III), who was Chamberlain to the Duke of Perth during the Civil Wars]]

    James is bolded as an ancestor of Alexander Magruder (the Immigrant), but no one after him is bolded. From your text, it looks like James McGrudir II had a son named John McGruder, who would have been Alexander’s father?

  5. susantichy says:

    Thanks, Jill. It’s very helpful when you point out errors or confusing bits. I have fixed the bolding problem. The male line goes James McGruder (I), James McGruder (II), Alexander McGruder (I), Alexander McGruder (II)–our immigrant ancestor. Alexander (I)’s brother John is the one who acquired land at Meigor and thus he and his heirs left more records than other McGruders. That branch of the family flourished for several generations, but suffered the consequences of supporting the Stewarts in the two Jacobite uprisings of the 18th c. One or two were executed, many others “died abroad”–which could mean they were in exile with the Jacobite court or that they died while in military service.

  6. Jill Gatwood says:

    Fascinating! Thanks.
    Do you have general estimated dates of birth/death of these guys? Do you know where the land at Meigor was and have you visited?

  7. Jim Magruder says:

    Much has been said over the past 20 years, in various forums, electronic and otherwise, about the Magruders’ affiliation with the MacGregors. There’s little to go on, and even the scientific data can be questioned. The varied mutation rates of the (effectively) random choices of genes in a strand of human DNA and their extrapolation to familial relationships hundreds of years past can reasonably be considered “shots in the statistical dark” in a rational discussion, if for no other reason that these mutation rates can increase between near generations simply by a life-long (over-) exposure to the sun’s natural radiation or by a male fathering children at an advanced age, both of which we know has happened quite often just in the post-1650’s portion of the Magruders’ history. So the science really isn’t there yet, and it’s unlikely (probabilities again!) that the historical record will ever show any more than what we know today.

    We do know that the MacGregor chieftains have designated ‘Magruder’ to be a family sept. How this came to be would an excellent topic for discussion. I know an (American) MacGregor gentleman who has been working to have some of the old MacGregor family sites in Scotland restored and preserved. I asked him what he thought about this subject. His theory is that if the Magruders are not near-bloodline MacGregors, they were probably assimilated into the Clan during the Proscription. Even before the Proscription, it was difficult to be a MacGregor, particularly a male MacGregor, and the Clan membership was certainly reduced. Whoever was officially a part of Clan MacGregor even by 1603 might have been more than happy to extend the right to wear the MacGregor tartan to worthy individuals who professed fealty to the MacGregor chieftain, and there would have been many disaffected individuals that could have come under the Gregor umbrella in that fashion. Misery loves company, as they say, and the haggis might have been a bit less foul were there more people at the table grumbling about it. The sept being officially recognized by the various Chieftains effectively makes it ‘settled law’, but even so, it would still be interesting to know when the Magruder sept was first recognized officially as a MacGregor sept.

    I can personally attest to these points about Alexander’s descendants in America. (1) OH MY are we Scottish in temperament. May the Lord save us from ourselves. (2) There has been a very strong and consistent assertion, since the 17th century, of the MacGregor connection. (3) There is a profoundly high percentage of the American Magruders that is interested in family history and genealogy, all things Scotland, and ultimately, the Clan Gregor and the operation of the handful of societies around the world that are dedicated to that cause. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

    • susantichy says:

      Hi Jim. Thanks for writing. I’ll respond in more detail when my work week is over, but for now a few points. 1) The historical evidence is extremely clear that Alexander’s family had nothing to do with MacGregors, except for one occasion when several of his relatives took part in hunting them. The only way he could be a MacGregor is if we are wrong about who he was. But if we are wrong, how would we explain his having named one of his plantations for a small and obscure farm Perthshire? 2) I have been unable to find evidence for the American Magruder/MacGregor belief before around 1800. If you know of earlier evidence, please post it! It’s clear the 19th c. Magruders believed they were descended from survivors of the Proscription, so (again) we can’t put faith in the oral tradition unless we decide Alexander wasn’t who we think he was. There is no such belief among Scottish McGruders. As my professional folklorist friends put it: when someone says a belief has been handed down, ask where, when, and by whom. I have found only 19th and 20th century claims. 3) The Scottish Clan Gregor recognized the American Magruders after the founders of the American Clan Gregor Society approached them, at the time the society was founded. The correspondence is in the ACGS archive, in the University of Baltimore’s Special Collections. 4) MacGregor DNA markers are well established, and the Scottish clan now admits members based on DNA evidence; so if more Magruders and Scottish McGruders/McGruthers would get tested we’d have more to go on. The one Scot who was tested did not match the MacGregor line.

      And, finally, I’d just like to say that I was raised in the MacGregor tradition, with a strong Scottish identity. I have spent a lot of time learning Clan Gregor history (in minute detail!), and it was a great loss to me to give up the belief. I grieved over it; but my rational mind just can’t find any evidence for its truth. One thing I HAVE found is a tendency among white southerners to invent Romantic family histories.

    • Duncan Donald McGruther says:

      Hi Jim
      I have to challenge your understanding of how DNA works, especially as I am the Scottish end of the DNA testing. DNA cannot be considered a ‘shot in the dark’ and its presence in a crime scene is more than enough to put one on death row. It is non-negotiable, and non-deniable, and the McGruther/Magruder DNA bears no comparison to the McGregor DNA.

      • Jim Magruder says:

        Oh please… let’s not elevate statistics to religious dogma. Statistics is mathematical alchemy that is so often misused/abused it isn’t funny.

        I suggest that “DNA” (as you put it) is one of many tools that a genealogist can use to discern the truth. I, for one, would rank your research on the MacGrouther/Magruder family (yes, I own a copy) well ahead of genetics, because your research is based at least in part on real artifacts. Genetics BY DEFINITION brings a certain amount of uncertainty and assumption with it; an authenticated hand-written church record from the 13th century does not.

        Don’t get me started on epidemiological studies…

      • Jim Magruder says:

        It is with more than just a little dismay that that I say that many American Magruders consider you and Mrs. Emerson to be heretics. I wonder what they are afraid of… A blood relationship is one thing, but back in the day, allegiances were just as important, and whether ancient or contemporary, our association with the MacGregor clan today is real. I would be curious to hear your perspective.

        I have come to the conclusion that if we are not blood-related to the MacGregors, the MacGregors would still do very well by themselves to (continue to) include our sept in their membership. In my research, I have found an inordinately high proportion of Magruders that have been successful doctors, lawyers, engineers, professors, military leaders, founders of cities, etc., and they often married the same kinds of people. It’s uncanny.

        As a family, MacGrouthers/Magruders have achieved much, and have quite a lot to be proud of. I suspect you would agree.

  8. Jill Gatwood says:

    Hi Jim, As Susan said, we have an excellent, evidence-backed paper trails for American Magruders and support from our distant Scottish relatives that we descend from the McGruthers/McGrouthers and not the McGregors in Scotland. As for the scientific evidence, we have that, too. My brother, Brooks Magruder shares almost identical YDNA markers with every other white American Magruder we have tested, including sixth and seventh cousins. This cannot happen by chance. The McGregors have a vast YDNA database and can identify the different branches of their family and when they split, how closely they are related. A common ancestor for McGregors and Magruders would have been more than a thousand years ago.
    That being said, you are right that early Magruders contributed much to collecting history and building the Clan Gregor in America. I love reading the early newsletters. However they were mistaken about the genetic and clan history. Most agree that the Drummond Clan tartan would be the one Magruders should claim.
    I am interested in seeing where you fit on our tree. Who were your grandparents/great grandparents and where did they live?
    Cheers, Cousin.
    Jill Magruder Gatwood

  9. Jim Magruder says:

    From what I’ve read from various sources, the paper trail that leads away from the MacGregor bloodline is pretty solid. But – Clan Gregor recognizes Magruder as a family sept. So it appears that we Magruders are faced with a choice. We can choose to continue our association with Clan Gregor, or choose to associate with Clan Gregor, or associate with both (!) – without having to explain ourselves to anyone.

    But there’s another choice in play. Sir Malcolm MacGregor, the sitting Clan Gregor chieftain, could choose to remove our affiliation with Clan Gregor with the stroke of a pen and a curt “thank you very much, but we’re not interested, off you go…” As the chieftain, Sir Malcolm certainly doesn’t have to explain himself to anyone…

    But I’m not content with just accepting the suggestion that I can just call myself a Gregor. There are some things I want to know. When did Clan Gregor decide to add Magruder as a sept, and what were the circumstances? Why does it continue to this day? There is a rational explanation; I just haven’t heard it yet.

    As far as the genetic research is concerned, I would caution against putting a lot of faith in the interpretation of the data – particularly when genetic differences are found. When you ask the so-called experts in-depth questions about all of this, they invariably say the words “I don’t know” when it comes to the most critical assumptions they’ve made in their models. The fact is that we just can’t know the truth because we can’t be sure we’ve even identified all of the variables (like the two I mentioned previously). It may be that we can say that an individual is in a particular bloodline, but it’s just not possible to rule some individuals out. If anything, we should express these statistically-based conclusions in terms of the confidence intervals – but that takes all the fun out of it… kinda like the high-speed legalese that inevitably follows all those “woah this is an amazing super-duper price for this new car” radio commercials. It can and should makes you wonder – what did I just hear?

    My line starting with The Immigrant: Alexander, Samuel, Ninian I, John, Ninian Offutt, George, Cephas Bailey, Lawson, James, and then myself.

    • Taylor Kirsch says:

      Hello. I just wanted to add that Clans were NOT composed of only “blood related” individuals. That’s an American misconception that’s hyped in movies. But it’s not real. The “Chieftans” line was usually the central blood line of the clan, but ANYONE could join and take their last name if they swore loyalty and showed it. My understanding of the clans is that are a mix of different family blood lines anyways, so a DNA test would not settle this question. Also, James McGruther I may be down from a FEMALE MacGregor line, which would NOT be a YDna match to the American Magruders. That’s a very very real possibility. Also ‘infidelity’ and false paternity events could have occurred somewhere along the way too. I agree with you though, Drummond may be another option for Magruders. I cant believe there are so few documents surviving in Scotland. Those blasted wars and Oliver Cromwell, it’s all his fault. Taylor

      • susantichy says:

        Hi Taylor. You might want to read my page on the relationships among McGruders, Drummonds, McGregors, and Campbells ( Aside from the events and allegiances discussed there, you have to remember that from 1603 for the next couple hundred years (with a few brief respites) Clan Gregor was the target of the most severe genocidal laws ever enacted in Britain. It was a crime to use the name McGregor, a gathering of four McGregor men in one place was by definition a rebellion against the crown, women who would not renounce their McGregor husbands were branded in the face and transported, children as young as 14 were hanged. So though we can imagine that an individual might decide to leave his family and ally himself with one of the clans, it’s hard to imagine a man born in 1610 to a literate and comfortable family in the domain of the Drummonds–in fact, to a family holding positions of high authority and confidence–would abandon that life and become a McGregor outlaw. There was no other way to be a McGregor at that time. It might make a good novel, but you can’t posit that in historical terms without some evidence. He also would have had to become a Catholic, and he definitely was not a Catholic in Maryland. The American belief in Clan Gregor origins can’t be traced back earlier than the close of the 18th c. and is entangled with the craze for the writing of Sir Walter Scott (the first best-selling author in America). I know it’s hard to let go of the McGregor story. I was raised in the heart of the ACGS, so I know the pain of that loss.

      • jillgat says:

        My enduring question is how and why the early (1700s) Magruders didn’t know more about their origins in Scotland. Did they know better, but just like the McGregor myth?

      • susantichy says:

        In the early 2000’s I tried to pinpoint the origin of the American Magruders’ McGregor belief. I tracked it (by stories handed down in one family) to the late 18th c., but no further. If that’s when it crystalized, it coincided with the popularity of Sir Walter Scott, who based six or seven published works on McGregor history. In Romantic literature, they were the original “noble savages.” The MD Magruder who changed all his children’s names to McGregor in 1820 was, according to his great-granddaughter (who wrote a memoir about her grandmother, his daughter) a devoted fan who read Scott aloud to his children. I’m working on revitalizing the site now, and plan to post on the McGregor question soon.

  10. Jim Magruder says:

    OK now I see that Ms. Tichy has an answer for one of my questions. The next time I’m in Baltimore, I will locate that document, just for fun. I wonder what evidence the ACGS founders offered.

    As for the comment that Southerners invent romantic histories, I can affirm that at least one “whopper” was invented within my own line. I found myself in hot water with near relatives once for correcting that myth.

    In all of this, I seek truth.

  11. Jim Magruder says:

    Ms. Tichy, I find this statement (which I think can and should be interpreted to be somewhat of a warning) to be absolutely fascinating – and I quote it here: “One thing I HAVE found is a tendency among white southerners to invent Romantic family histories.” I would very much like to learn how you came to that conclusion, and if there are other examples in other families, etc. It sounds like a doctoral thesis in the making.

    Full disclosure: I am a Southern-born-and-raised male.

    So I think I’ve been called out. (LOL) Again, in full disclosure, I have ABSOLUTE ZERO proof that any Magruder anywhere in the world claimed any affiliation with the Gregor clan at any time prior to 1909. My statement was purely an assumption on my part – that the propensity to claim this affiliation had to be an old one – not a “Hmmmm… let’s throw a dart at a map of Scotland and see if we can improve our family’s story line”, as, well, it could have been.

    One thing I have found: people can and will do absolutely anything. Oh to be a fly on the wall back in the days when the ACGS was formed…

    • susantichy says:

      Hi Jim. The tendency of white Southern families to invent romantic histories is definitely not my original discovery. I’ve met other people who have found out their family stories were untrue, and read a few books that include observations along that line. There are probably books out there that focus on the phenomenon, but I haven’t looked for them. I think it’s a “called out” moment for all of us, and a cautionary note.

      Personally, I think the main impetus for the Magruders to sign up to be MacGregors was the popularity or Sir Walter Scott (America’s first best-selling author), who featured MacGregor history in no less than 7 works, including RobRoy and Lady of the Lake. John Smith Magruder, who changed all his children’s names to MacGregor around 1820, was a huge fan and read Scott to his kids in the evenings.

      There’s another story I’ve been piecing together from materials in the ACGS archive, that I probably won’t try to explain in public until my book comes out, a couple of years from now.

      Both that story and the impact of Scott date to the period around the beginning of the 19th century.

      I think it’s highly unlikely that the belief was passed down orally from Alexander himself, because there’s evidence the 19th c. American Magruders believed they were descended from MacGregors who had survived the Proscription–that belief is central to their sense of Clan Gregor identity. It can’t be true, unless we are completely wrong about who Alexander was and what family he came from. But then we’d have to explain why he named one of his Maryland plantations for an obscure farm in Glen Artney, home to McGruders for several hundred years…

  12. jillgat says:

    Hi Jim, I got an email with your response to my post about Anchovie Hills, but when I followed the link here, looks like I was directed to the wrong page. So I posted it below: [[From Jim: Years ago, while surfing the web for anything related to Anchovie Hills, I came across several websites that were very interesting. One was a Federal survey of historic structures in Maryland c. 1937 (if I recall correctly), and the three photos were of the original 17th century house (plus modifications). Later I found photos from several aerial surveys commissioned by Prince George’s County, one of which (again, if I recall correctly) was from 1938 or 1939. I thought – what if I can match up the aerial photos to the Federal survey? Trees and buildings don’t move over only a few years, right? I thought I might be able to identify the location of the original structure – then go walk the property… But – to my dismay – and as was borne out by more recent aerial photography and Google Earth – the current home (circa 1950′s, and currently a rental property) is on the exact location of Alexander’s 17th century house. So the old house is completely gone. I have since traded emails with the current owner; she is not aware of the significance of the property to the Magruder family. On a lark, one afternoon, my uncle and my daughter and I traveled to Anchovie Hills, and took a very brief look around… The current owner’s efforts to turn the (now 114 acres) property into a wildlife sanctuary are working… as the property was pretty much overgrown near the modern house. I wouldn’t recommend that you visit the property – there just isn’t much to see. The remaining farm buildings just cannot be safe. Even the view to the road is almost completely obscurred. I’d suggest visiting the nearby landing at the river, which is quite picturesque.]]

    My response: I would love to visit that area! Can you post the three photos you found of the original 17th century house from the Federal survey? Not sure I’ve seen those. I wonder if the current owner you traded emails with is the one Sue and I contacted. Is the owner’s house unoccupied now, or does someone live on the wildlife reserve? I doubt it would be easy to find anything, but you have to wonder about gravesites there…

    • Jim Magruder says:

      Jill. I did not see your request until tonight. Here is a link to the Federal survey: At the moment I have misplaced the link to the various aerial surveys. It may be a while before I run across that again. You might try sending an email to the Prince George’s County GIS folks… I think that was who told me how to find the aerial surveys online. I hope they haven’t made it a fee-based service!

    • Jim Magruder says:

      I wanted to follow up on visiting the “home place”. To compare notes: the “owner” I spoke with by phone lives in Alexandria, I believe (I would have to go back and look that up); she spends much of her time working in animal rescue, and perhaps animal rights, and so forth.

      Anchovie Hills was considerably larger when The Immigrant was living; I do not know where the property boundaries circa the late 1670’s would be located. The remaining 114 acres is in three parcels, the largest of which is bounded generally by Croom Road (MD 382) to the west, Magruder’s Ferry Road to the north, and Milltown Landing Road to the south. More information is here: You can find out where the several parcels are by visiting the Prince George’s County GIS website.

      If you’re expecting to find anything there, I think you will be disappointed. It’s basically overgrown except for the immediate area around the house. You would need a machete or a swingblade to get close to some of the outbuildings. Frankly, I would be worried about finding old well holes, not to mention hornets or snakes. If anything can be done at the site, I think it’s going to have to include ground penetrating radar, but you’d have to have an idea as to where to start. You would also have to essentially clear the land, and I’d guess the restrictive covenants won’t permit that.

  13. Kathleen Reed Kocher says:

    Does anyone know anything about Granville Magruder ? He was supposedly born on the voyage to America but there is controversy. One of his sons with Zem was my Grandfather, Alvin Lewis Magruder 1903-1982. His son is my father Lewis Marion Magruder Reed 1925-now almost 89 yrs young. We would love to find out anything about the Magruders, that anyone can share.

    • susantichy says:

      Hi Kathleen, and thanks for visiting. I don’t actually understand your question. The “Magruder” spelling, so far as I know, is only used in America, by descendants of Alexander Magruder who arrived in the 17 th c. as a prisoner of war. He had no wife with him on the prisoner transport. So when you say Granville Magruder was born on the voyage to America, I don’t know what voyage you mean or what story you are alluding to. Was he possibly a Scottish McGruder or McGruther whose family came over in the 19th c.? You might try the Facebook group or forum–they’re linked on the “Blog” page of this site.

      Sue Emerson’s Magruder genealogy shows a Granville Claudius Magruder b 1854 in Howard County, MD, son of Andrew Jackson Magruder and Zarinda Baskett, but no family matching the names you mention. She tried to find all of Alexander’s descendants, though that is nigh to impossible.

      • Kathleen Kocher says:

        Yes, Andrew Jackson Magruder, and Zarinda Baskett do appear in my research as his parents. Thnakyou

    • Rachael DeBrouse says:

      Alvin’s brother Charles is my great-grandfather. In fact, my grandfather’s middle name was Alvin. Gene Magruder- so your dad and my grandfather would have been first cousins. I don’t have much more than that!

  14. jillgat says:

    I just posted a picture of Granville “Charles” Magruder (probably the same as Claudius) and his family on the Magruder/McGruder Facebook page. Clearly he was no rich tobacco farmer.

  15. jillgat says:

    I just found this comment on
    [[On one of the US Censuses, Granville reported that he was “born on a ship (England/Scotland??)” but this is not true. He was born in Kentucky, there are several census records showing that. He also misrepresented his age on that census so that he appeared 10 years younger than his wife. This is curious behavior, but I’ve seen one of his descendants, my own mother Anne Austin, behave much the same way. She fabricated stories about her past and stuck with the stories through hell and high water. Until adulthood we girls thought we were FRENCH for heaven’s sake, not Greek (although she did admit to the Scots heritage). Apparently this was because the first set of kids (Jim, Anne, Helen) were forbidden to use the name Zongas due to a falling out Peggy had with Antone’s brother after Antone’s death; and Anne hated her stepfather Pete due to the burned-hand incident, and so was reluctant to claim her Greek heritage..
    Jean Austin Anderson.

    Somebody responded:
    Granville Magruder: This story is so similiar to the one I have read about my great grandfather Grander Magruder. He too was supposed to have been born at sea.

    Is it possible that they are one in the same person. My Dad’s grandfather was married to Jelina Magruder. Could this have been a first or second wife? My grandfather’s marriage certificate from 1924 has the name of his mother as looking more like Zelema than Jelina?

    Another response: Grander / Jelina: Granville’s nickname was Grander. Zelima’s nickname was Zem. Jelina and Zelima are the same person. There are many mistakes on censuses – family members who reported the facts may have been illiterate, and census takers themselves made mistakes.

    • Kathleen Kocher says:

      It isn’t just the Magruder’s…my Dad’s mother Deckie May Renner told all sorts of tales. She made herself 9 yrs younger. Said that she was the youngest mother in America (at ll yrs old). She made up her history as she went along, which made getting real information about her very hard. She invented a twin brother, changed my Dad.s last name…he didn’t even know his father, just remembered a verbal exchange from when he was a kid!

  16. Jill Magruder Gatwood says:

    Granville C. Magruder (some say middle name is Charles, some say Claudius) was born in Kentucky. A number of people have him on their trees as having been born on a ship. I think he was pulling everyone’s leg, though maybe it was a later trip overseas and back from the US? Anyway, Granville is my sixth cousin twice removed.

  17. Kathleen Kocher says:

    I, too, have found evidence that he was born in Kentucky, but it does make a more interesting story to say that he was born at sea! Granville would have been my dad’s grandfather ( by his son Alvin). Thankyou so much for your response.

  18. Jill Magruder Gatwood says:

    As an epidemiologist, I don’t quite follow your logic, Jim. I don’t understand who or why anyone would consider the ones with the paper trail, historical trail AND the genetic trail to be “heretics”? I don’t know “many American Magruders” who agree with you, once they see the evidence.

    Yes, the MacGregors would be lucky to have us. So would the Vigils, but we aren’t related to them, either. I’m glad the early American Magruders contributed to the journals of the Clan Gregor Society, but it still doesn’t make us descended from them. It doesn’t matter whether one is “proud” of or prefers a different history; what matters to me is the truth. We descend from McGruthers and the Drummond tartan would be our historic plaid. I am baffled why someone would argue with the overwhelming evidence, except for on some kind of emotional level.

    I like being related to Duncan. I also have uncles I wish I wasn’t related to, but it doesn’t make it go away.

    And yeah, I know *quite a bit* about the strengths and limitations of epidemiological studies.
    Cousin Jill

    • Jim Magruder says:

      Apparently this is a bit more emotionally charged than I thought. I should be more clear.

      It is not my personal view that Don and Sue are heretics, and I believe that if you read what I wrote carefully, you will see that. I am genuinely interested in Don’s perspective on the value of “allegiance” in lieu of a direct bloodline relationship; I would think that Don, being native to Scotland, might through his life experience have an understanding as to the relative importance of those two factors.

      As to “heresy”, I was only stating what I have observed first-hand among a number of American Magruders (many refuse to participate in the MacGregor DNA project). I do not share this view; I would prefer to test any and all evidence, and very much prefer that all evidence be brought to light. As I have already said, as evidence goes, Don’s work carries far more weight in my book than anything else… and I have yet to see or hear of a challenge to its accuracy. (No, I am not begging the question…)

      (For the record, I am a participant in the MacGregor DNA project.)

      And please do not take it as a personal affront that I am skeptical of the application of statistics – to genealogy or anything else. My bachelor’s was in industrial engineering, and I have had quite a lot of college coursework in the field of statistics, to the point that as an undergrad, I helped correct many a grad student’s statistical analysis, and I presume that improved the defense of their research before their committees…

      “Drummond” is fine with me. Truth is truth.

  19. jillgat says:

    Re: this: [[ The varied mutation rates of the (effectively) random choices of genes in a strand of human DNA and their extrapolation to familial relationships hundreds of years past can reasonably be considered “shots in the statistical dark” in a rational discussion, if for no other reason that these mutation rates can increase between near generations simply by a life-long (over-) exposure to the sun’s natural radiation or by a male fathering children at an advanced age, both of which we know has happened quite often just in the post-1650′s portion of the Magruders’ history.]]

    I recommend that you check out the McGregor genealogical site that includes genetic records of hundreds of McGregors and a number of Magruders (and others). It maps out where and when, historically, the McGregors and Magruders branched away from each other. Probably way before they had names. I also recommend that you read more about the science of ancestral DNA. It’s fascinating. And statistics: what are the “chances” that Duncan, my brother and my 4th and 6th Magruder cousins happen to have matching or closely related DNA results and that we don’t match any McGregors?

    We are a pattern seeking species. Without evidence, we tend to see and believe what we want to instead of what’s there. It’s a constant struggle for all of us.

  20. Jill Magruder Gatwood says:

    Jim, Sorry if I misinterpreted anything you said. Rereading your post, I see that you aren’t calling Sue and Don heretics, so that’s good! It’s more the part where you call DNA evidence a “shot in the dark” and talk about the “so-called experts” who can’t defend their critical assumptions. There actually is quite a bit of solid science there. Many of us have found distant blood relatives starting with only DNA results which then led to the paper trail. As for epidemiological studies; the more you know about how a study was set up and conducted, the better you understand the strengths and limitations of the results. It’s not all con-artistry or astrology, after all.

    Carry on and thanks for the discussion!

    • Duncan Donald McGruther says:

      Hi Jill
      Thanks for your comments on Jim Magruder’s erroneous assumption that there can be statistical doubt on DNA testing. For the record, because of how our genes work, there can be no doubt at all, and there is no provable connection at all between the Magruders and the McGregors, no matter how far back in antiquity one goes. If anyone is in doubt on that, please research how DNA works.
      There is however another assumption beginning to creep into the correspondence, that the Drummonds are definitely our ancestors through some DNA connection. We don’t yet know what DNA will prove in that regard. The connection is one of association, in that there is written testimony c 1750 by members of the McGruther family that they had by then lived continuously on farmland owned by the Drummond’s, Dukes of Perth for over 400 years. As c350 million Europe-descended people call themselves Americans but the country has been opened up to Europeans for less time than 400 years, I think that the Magruders are entitled to wear the Drummond tartan in the same way as the US flag is flown! (We may yet prove to be, DNA wise, a little family group unrelated to any major Clan).
      Keep up the good work.

  21. ZJ says:

    I descend from Alexander Magruder via Margaret magruder wife of Jacob Williams and daughter of Colonel Samuel magruder (1708-1786) and his wife Margaret Jackson. Frankly I have seen first hand what is being described here as well and have seen romanticized lineages proved false but also some proved correct. The DNA evidence could make all else a mute point but the only thing I will point out in my experience is that studying socioeconomic status is a far more revealing proof point then just about anything else, especially family histories or clan membership committees. Certainly the new world offered tremendous opportunities for social elevation but it was still an extremely class ridden society. The fact that so many of these early immigrants from Scotland held very prominent posts with in the colony both militarily and politically is a give away that the family came from a progenitor that had some hereditary importance. Clearly that doesn’t mean they are mcgregors, I am not saying that, however, they were treated with some distinction. Alexander was an indentured servant via punishment for treason, not as a means to eventually attain a better social standing and his rise after attaining his freedom is not indicative of a peasant who was simply very capable and was elevated for it. Let us not forget that even at this time, no member of the gentry would allow themselves to be ordered and legally judged and bound by a member of the lower classes, particularly one who had been a convicted criminal against the state.

    • Hi ZJ The DNA evidence has been done some time ago, and we are not McGregors. You are right about Alexander the Immigrant. When deported by Cromwell as reportedly ‘a poor indentured servant’ his family actually had access to great power and substantial wealth. His uncle John owned land at a time when this was virtually impossible in Scotland unless you were one of those or such as those. This uncle John, and his father Alexander were Chamberlains (think medieval CFOs) to the Dukes of Perth and his brother Duke, who had been left in charge of the Scottish Treasury at Drummond Castle when the Scottish King Charles went south to London to become the first King of Great Britain. It is no surprise he started buying up land in Maryland on his arrival.

      • zach says:

        sorry it took me so long to see this but I really appreciate the site and all the work. Thank you for the information. Its a fascinating history

  22. Hollie Riley says:

    This has been an interesting find. I am Hollie from Southern Maryland. My Grandmother’s line was To Hawell Magruder. One of his daughter’s is my Grandmother’s, and my bloodline. Her name was Jane Adaline Magruder Adams. Haswell and Jane’s story is very historical to Saint Mary’s County, Maryland. Particularly Leonardtown, Town Square Maryland. I am having a very hard time finding Haswell Magruder’s parents and unclear of whom is wife was. Jane pioneered the start for women to be entered as Chapter/charter members in The Clan Gregor Society of America. Haswell Magruder seems to be, perhaps a not so nice guy, maybe. Dies Anyone come from Haswell’s line or maybe Jane’s siblings? Jane b. 9/2/1849 d.7/27/1943 buried Morganza, Maryland; St. Joseph’s church Haswell b.Born yr.1805 d. yr.1869 buried in Bowie Maryland; White Marsh cemetery.
    Who is Haswell Magruder?

    • susantichy says:

      Hi Hollie. Get in touch through the Contact tab on this site & I’ll send you what I have on your Haswell. Are you in the Southern Maryland Families Facebook group?

    • Jill Gatwood says:

      Hi Hollie, Haswell Magruder’s wife (he may have had another one, too) was Adeline Boyd. His parents were William Washington Magruder, 1773-1822 and Mary Elizabeth “Polly” Hilleary. I have his line in my tree, so let me know if you have any other quesitons.

      • Hollie Doerflein says:

        Hi Jill, thank you for the reply.
        Yes, I am from William and Elizabeth Hilliary son Haswell Magruder II married Adeline Elizabeth Boyd. Parents of Jane Adaline Magruder, married John Samuel Adams.
        I emailed you and sent some papers from my family.
        Hope to find some official documents.
        Thank you so much

  23. John King says:

    Hi, I’m searching for information on McAree families in the Comrie area of Perthshire. I have John McGrouther of Blairnroar witnessing the will of elder Johne McArie in Glenlichorn in 1680 so there was some connection between the two families. While I’m interested in tracking down the beginnings of the McAree line, I’m also interested in the property changes which occurred during/after the annexed estates along what is now the 827B road between Comrie and Braco, including the break up of Blairnroar and other changes that appear to occur about the time the toll road was constructed.. Any insights would be appreciated. John King

    • Don McGruther says:

      I have Straid as the common location for McGruthers and McArie’s in the rentals of the Perth Estates in 1724 and 1725. John McGrouther, son of Duncan McGruther, with Hugh McArie and in 1733 with Hugh and William McArie, and again with Hugh alone in 1735.
      John McGruther in Cambushinie in 1772 was in a dispute over cattle with John McAra of Easter Conachan.

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