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Archive for the ‘Grace Barclay McDonald’ Category

John Barclay, my great great grandfather, was introduced to me by my Aunt Miriam in her family history notes, so I knew about him.  I also had a copy of the book by the city of Pine River, celebrating their first 100 years, and he is mentioned in that book: 

  “…not far from Shakopee where George’s father chose to live “because it reminded him of his native Scotland.”  Apparently the father, John, remarried and had other children…”  

John Barclay had two families.  He was first married to Margaret.  When he married Margaret is not known and where she is buried is also unknown.  She probably died in Connecticut but so far a search of records reveal only one possibility of a Margaret Barclay dying in Enfield in 1848 of about the right age. 

continuing the quote above…” because at the time of Alexander’s death in 1906, there was quite a bit of difficulty in locating all the Barclay heirs from “both families.”” pg. 105 

In my Aunt Miriam’s notes she mentions Alexander’s probate: 

Alex's Probate

 

My great-uncle Alexander Barclay has been very good to me.  I secured his probate file at some expense from the Dakota County Courthouse in Minnesota and it opened up a very big genealogical door!  

From this first marriage came seven (7) siblings that were listed in Alexander’s estate file.  There wasn’t a will so some of the information is carefully taken from the probate file.  Other information such as census searches and indexes were also used.  I am slowly gathering the facts together on the siblings and will present more at a later time. 

1.  John Avery Barclay born abt 1836, died – unknown.  According to Alex’s estate file he disappeared and was presumed dead as stated in an affidavit of his sister Sarah Agnes. He appears in deeds, land records, and court documents in Silbey Co., Minnesota till about 1880.  He may have gone to California.  John Avery Barclay was probably born in Scotland per census information and other sources but that is not yet proven.  John married Minerva  Parks on 3 July 1865 in Henderson, Sibley Co., Minnesota.  Since John Avery Barclay was considered dead his two children where his heirs and they are mentioned in the estate file.  The couple actually had four children:  

1. John Avery Barclay II born 23 July 1867 in Sibley Co., Minnesota and died 8 March 1951 in Seattle, King Co., Washington.   

2. Sarah Ellen born 29 March 1869 in Sibley Co., Minnesota.   

3 and 4. There were two other children twins: Albert and Alice born 1870 Silbey Co.,  Minnesota but it is looking like they didn’t survive.  Some of this information was supplied by another cousin.  

2.  James A. Barclay born about 1838 in Connecticut, he died about 1906 in Bridgeport, Fairfield Co., Connecticut during the probate process of Alexander’s estate.  He married a Maryanne Stewart and had children.  

3.  Sarah Agnes Barclay born about 1840 in Connecticut.  She married Porter Blinn about 1860 in Connecticut.  He was born about 1842 in Connecticut.  They had 6 children and it looks like they stayed in Newington, Hartford Co. , Connecticut. 

Update:  May 26, 2010 – I was at the Family History Library researching when I discovered that the Sarah that I thought was Sarah Agnes Barclay in the census married to Porter Blinn was the Sarah I should be studying for the Barclay’s.  Turns out she is a Griswold and her father is Henry Griswold.  So back to the drawing board on #3.  This is why it is so important to check other sources like marriages and birth records and not totally trust the census. 

4.  Mary J. Barclay born about 1841 in Connecticut and died 28 March 1917 in Bristol, Hartford Co., Connecticut.  I have her estate file.  She married a Jerome B. Ford and had 3 daughters.  Jerome was born about 1846 in Connecticut. 

5. Alexander A. Barclay was born September 1842 in Hartford, Connecticut and died on 9 December 1905 at the Rochester Hospital for the Insane in Olmsted Co., Minnesota.  He apparently suffered in the end with dementia.  He was only in the hospital about 6 days before he died.  He was buried 17 December 1905 in the Corinithian Cemetery in Farmington, Dakota Co., Minnesota. 

6.  Martha M. Barclay born about 1843 in Connecticut and died around 1920 or later in California.  She married a Jeremiah Ford in about 1859 in Connecticut.  I do not know if Jeremiah and Jerome were brothers.  Martha and Jeremiah had two daughters.  

7.  George Angus Barclay was born 18 August 1844 probably in Connecticut and died on the 28th of October 1898 in Pine River, Cass Co., Minnesota.  George is the subject of our blog and more information will be forthcoming on his life. He married Amarilla Spracklin in 1878 and they had 2 children. 

The second marriage of John Barclay was to Helen in Scott Co., Minnesota.  I have not been able to find their marriage in Minnesota records but it happened prior to 1860 per the census and from this marriage their were four (4) children born. 

8.  Charles Barclay was born about January 1860 in Eagle Creek (Shakopee), Scott Co., Minnesota.  After the death of his mother in 1907 he seems to have moved from Shakopee and might have gone to Minneapolis and died about 1938.  Charles didn’t marry as far as I can determine from census and other documents. 

9.  William Barclay was born about 1863 in Eagle Creek (Shakopee), Scott Co., Minnesota and died 7 Dec 1937 in Gallatin Co., Montana.  He married a Clara E, probably in Minnesota.  She was born about 1859 in Wisconsin and died about 21 March 1919 in Madison Co., Montana.  They had one child name Foster born 1891 and probably died by 1907.  

10.  Mary E. Barclay was born about 1864 in Eagle Creek (Shakopee), Scott Co., Minnesota and died 19 February 1930 in Cascade Co., Montana.  She married Charles B. Clark probably in Minnesota for he was born there about 1856.  He died 28 February 1932 in Deer Lodge Co., Montana.  They had at least one child named Ruth Clark who was born about 1895.   It is interesting that there are two Mary’s named in John’s family a good 20+ years apart. 

11.  Anna Elizabeth Barclay was born 15 April 1870 in Shakopee, Scott Co., Minnesota and died 4 August 1955 in Menominee, Menominee Co., Michigan.  She married David Maurice Carter on 9 July 1885 in Eagle Creek (Shakopee), Scott Co., Minnesota.  David was born 9 January 1860, Marinette, Marinette Co., Wisconsin.  The information for this family was supplied by a cousin and has not been verified.  Anna had 4 children. 

The person that initiated the probate process for Alexander was his niece, my grandmother Grace A. Barclay McDonald.  She was pregnant at the time and lived in International Falls.  She was unable to attend the court sessions because she had the baby and was “indisposed.”  The baby was my Aunt Miriam. 

Book: Logsleds to Snowmobile’s, Pine River Centennial Celebration, 1873-1973, Written by the Citizens of Pine River and edited by Norman F. Clarke, Pine River Centennial Committee, 1979.  A copy is available at the Family History Library.

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Amarilla was my great-grandmother and wife of George Angus Barclay.  On the same page of Miriam’s Notes, below George’s paragraph, was a similar one about Amarilla.  As I read for the first time about my great-grandmother I pondered what her life might have been like.   

Here is what my Aunt Miriam shared with me in 1986:  

Amarilla Spracklin Barclay Notes

 

Some thoughts on these notes:   

Her name was Amarilla Spracklin and she was born in 1858 and died in 1942.  It is true that she would change the spelling of her name adding an extra “m” so it could be “Ammarilla.” 

Was she born near Marengo, Iowa, well I think she was born closer to Blairstown which is north of Marengo about 10 minutes by car.  I know this because I traveled there to Iowa in April 0f 2003.  Her father, Daniel D. Spracklin, owned land first in Benton County, then later in Iowa County, Iowa. 

Amarilla was the 4th child of Daniel D. Spracklin and Elizabeth Keller, this is true.     

Elizabeth Keller died March 10, 1859.  Amarilla was born November 17, 1858.  Amarilla really never knew her mother.  She was a baby when Elizabeth died just months later. 

Her father Daniel D. Spracklin remarried in 1863 and proceeded to have 7 more children.  This is true. 

She did migrate to Brainerd and later in life had a store.  I have not found anything that really states she was a milliner.  She did own a store and helped George run his many enterprises. 

She did marry George on July 27, 1878 but not in the St. Paul Episcopal church.  It was at a friend’s home in Brainerd according to the Brainerd newspaper.  Rev. Root did officiate. 

They had a son George Alexander who was born January 10, 1880 and died a year later on January 19, 1881.  The circumstances of his death were a mystery that unfolded much later. 

Their daughter Grace was born on April 10, 1882 in Pine River and she married and had eight children, six of which lived long happy lives.  

Amarilla was the daughter of Elizabeth Keller who was the daughter of John Keller and Mary Delano.  This is true.  

George and Amarilla are buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in Brainerd.  I have visited their graves several times.  

With this information from these two paragraphs I was ready to dig in and learn as much as I could about the life and times of my great grandparents Amarilla and George Barclay.

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Most of the stories I heard growing up were dominated by my McDonald side through my father Keith.  His full name was Keith Barclay MacDonald.  I heard stories about the family through his siblings. My father really didn’t talk that much about his family.  He was close to his father and siblings.  I knew a little about my father’s mother Grace, my grandmother, but the stories were mostly about her death and it was all very sad.   

Miriam, my aunt, had provided my first introduction to my great grandparents on the Barclay side by sending me a page of typed notes about 1986 that had two paragraphs describing each one of these two individuals with the surname of Barclay. 

As I read the two paragraphs that described by great-grandfather and grandmother I tried to reach my mind behind the words.  I was astounded! Who were these two people?  Reading about these two individuals for the first time sparked a great curiosity in me.  I will start with George’s paragraph  

George A. Barclay Notes

 

In reviewing these notes here are a few thoughts based on what I have learned.  I will go into more detail in future posts.    

His name was George Angus Barclay and this is correct. 

The date of birth of 1846 is not correct. He was born August 18, 1844 per his Civil War Pension file.  

The death of date of 1898 is correct.  He died October 28, 1898.  

He enlisted August 15, 1862 as a wagoner Co. I, 9th Minn. Vol. Inf.  This is all correct according to his Civil War Pension file and Civil War Service file.  The enlistment at Fort Snelling is not correct.  He enlisted at Fort Ridgely at the time of the Dakota Indian uprising.  

He homesteaded in what is called Pine River.  Yes he bought land in the Pine River area and settled there by about 1873.   

He operated a half-way house.  I didn’t know what this term “half-way house” meant.  Answers.com defines this as:   

“A stopping place, such as an inn, that marks the midpoint of a journey.” 

True, he first had a trading post on the south fork of the Pine River and later he moved up to the present area of Pine River about where the visitor’s center is located.  He built a house, barn, a store, later a hotel.  It was situated by a train depot after about 1896 and was a place were a lot of hunters, loggers, businessmen, settlers and travelers would stop for the night.  

He financed “gyppo loggers.”  Again I did not know what this term “gyppo” meant.  Dictionary.dot com defines this term as: 

 “a logger who operates on a small budget and typically gleans the timberlands already cut by larger companies.” 

“someone willing to do piecework, usually a non-union worker…” 

George did have logging interests.  I have a timber contract he had signed.  To what extent and who he employed is not known.  

He was shot while reading the paper on October 28, 1898.  This is true my great-grandfather was shot and killed.  The bullet traveled through the front window of his hotel. It caused quite an up roar and resulted in a Coroner’s Inquest and later a trial.  

It is not known whether he was born in Scotland or New Jersey.  George’s birth is still shrouded in mystery.  I have tracked him back to 1850 where he was living in Enfield, Connecticut.  He is six years old.  He is not with his father or mother.  He is with a completely different family.   

His father was John Barclay.  This is true.  I have been researching John Barclay and have quite a bit of information on him.   

His mother was “Margaret.”  George’s mother is a mystery.  Miriam knew very little about her and so far I have not been able to identify her.   

George was indeed a small man as described in his Civil War Pension file medical records.  He came in at 5 feet 4 inches tall.  In 1892 he weight 125 lbs.  If you compared my great-grandfather with me, we would be about the same size.  He was a wagoner in the Civil War which means he handled those huge wagons and mules?  

I was able to target each one of these comments written by my Aunt Miriam and it started me on a great adventure in researching the life of my great-grandfather.

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Miriam McDonald

Before I go any further on this blog, I want to stop and take the time to acknowledge the work done by my Aunt Miriam.  Miriam is the granddaughter of Amarilla and George Barclay.   

George and Amarilla had a daughter named Grace.  Miriam was Grace’s daughter and older sister of my father, Keith.  She provided me with  family history notes on my great-grandfather and mother George Angus Barclay and Amarilla Spracklin Barclay. In 1986 I wrote to my Aunt Miriam and in response she sent to me approximately six pages of Family History notes, photos, charts and other memorabilia.  From those six pages which later grew to about 10, I was able to find information about my family and go well beyond what Miriam started by sharing this information.   I will be sharing her notes with you. 

Miriam probably did this research prior to 1980.  She had no internet or options for research like we do today.  On the whole the notes are accurate if not vague.  There are slight mistakes but mostly she was right on.  I am so grateful.

Miriam was an English teacher at Franklin Junior High School in Yakima, Washington from about 1935 to 1972.  She never married and did not have any children.  After her retirement Miriam traveled the world.  She visited Scotland where the Barclay’s and McDonald’s came from many years ago. 

She died before most of this research was done (1997), so she never knew that her notes would lead to many wonderful discoveries regarding the Barclays and other surnames in our family such as McDonald, Spracklin, Goss, Delano, Keller, Cooley, Wolcott, Bliss, White, Vassall and more. — Thank you, Miriam.

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