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Archive for the ‘GENERAL Information’ Category

As we have seen, George’s was busy with his life.  He had established a trading post on the south fork of the Pine River, then moved it to higher land, and obtained several patents for land in the area.  In July of 1878 he went to Brainerd for some reason, probably to get supplies or do business, and took time to go a courting.  He met and married Amarilla Grace Spracklin at a friend’s house.

Amarilla had left her home near Blairstown, Iowa and migrated to Brainerd, Minnesota sometime after the 1870 U.S. Census.  Her granddaughter Miriam said Amarilla arrived there about 1877.  Amarilla had been living with her father, step-mother and  half siblings since about 1863 in Iowa. 

If you look at Iowa in reference to Minnesota you would see that Iowa is just straight south of Minnesota. 

State Map of US

Miriam writes in another part of her notes, that Amarilla was not happy in her situation:

“Her father, Daniel Dare Spracklin had two families. Amarilla (Ammarilla , sometimes varied it) belonged to the first family, hated the second and left home.  Supported herself as a seamstress. ” 

“Came to Brainerd, Minn., in 1877 and earned her living as a dressmaker and milliner.” Miriam McDonald Notes circa 1980′s.

There is no state census in Iowa for 1875 so we cannot be sure if Amarilla was still at home at that time.  Miriam makes a further comment:  “Born near Marengo, Iowa, Nov. 17, 1858.”  It was probably closer to Blairstown which is north of Marengo.  In 1878 Amarilla would have been 20 years old.  

The Logsleds to Snowmobile book  makes the following statement:

“On July 27, 1878, in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brainerd, with the Reverend Herbert Root officiating.  George Angus Barclay married Ammarilla Spracklin.  Barclay’s new bride was the first permanent white woman settler on the Pine River.  She continued to hold the distinction for 15 years.” pg. 105 

This reference implies that George and Amarilla were married in the St. Paul Episcopal Church in Brainerd, however the evidence shows that the record of the marriage from the St. Paul Episcopal Church hint that it was at the residence of a C. H. Mayo.  Click on the photo to make it larger.  

St. Paul Episcopal Church Register

Here is a copy of their marriage license.  It is one of several that were in the Civil War Pension file of George A. Barclay’s.

1902 Copy of Marriage License

A brief article found in the Brainerd Tribune dated Saturday, August 3, 1878 on page 2 on the left at the bottom also repeats this information of a marriage at a friend’s house, the home of a C. H. Mayo. 

Barclay & Sprecklin Marriage

How George and Amarilla met is  a mystery.  Miriam said that Amarilla was a milliner, a person who makes hats.  

An article in the Brainerd Daily Dispatch taken from the Centennial Edition (1871-1971) on the history of Brainerd and the Crossing states that their were 21 stores,  and 1 tailor shop.  So it might be possible that George spotted Amarilla in the town at one of these locations? 

“After a brief courtship they were married on July 27, 1878.  Following the ceremony, the new bride of 19 and her husband drove as far as Gull Lake, probably to John Bishop’s half-way house on Bishop’s Creek, where they stayed overnight.  The next day they continued on with their “tote” to George Barclay’s Ranch on the Pine River.” 

Logsleds to Snowmobiles, pg. 112

The Coroner’s Inquest file regarding the murder of George Barclay from Cass County Records had a testimony by a Andrew Whitesides, an employee of George A. Barclay since 1894.  He testified at the coroner’s inquest about George’s murder but in addition he made an interesting comment  about Amarilla – that she was “an inmate of a variety theater?” 

Now the same article I mentioned from the Brainerd Daily Disptach does indicate there were 15 saloons, and 2 billiards halls but it does not mention a theatre in Brainerd?

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Back in April of 2000 I ordered all of great-grandfather George’s patents from the National Archives in Washington D.C.  I received eight (8) patents with seals embossed on them.  I followed that up by ordering the Cash Entry files for three  (3) of the patents hoping for more information in 2002. 

I have actually been to the National Archives in Washington D.C.  They house in their lobby for viewing many historical documents including the “Declaration of Independence.”   The National Archives also has branches throughout the country and I have been to the one in Seattle, Laguna Nigel (closed) and Chicago.  In Spring 2011 I will visit the Pittsfield, MA branch.  Here is their website link: http://www.archives.gov/  Their website will be revamped soon. 

National Archives Main Branch, Washington D.C.

Patents are the land an ancestor bought directly from the U.S. Government.  Once this first sale was completed land sales and purchases would then be done through county courts. This means a trip to the courthouse in the location where your ancestor lived.  On a visit to Minnesota in 2007 I again visited the Pine River area.  This time I did go to the courthouse and looked up deeds under Barclay to see what I would find.  I studied the deeds at the Cass County Courthouse and there were many.  The clerk was very kind and patient I am indebted to her. I also studied the deed books in the Crow Wing Courthouse.  Still later I decided to take a look at the track books at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. 

Today you can order patents from the National Archives in Washington D.C. or you can go to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) website and do a patent search:   http://www.glorecords.blm.gov/PatentSearch/

There you can search for patents for any person who obtained land in a land state.  You can even search for surveys and more.  Once you create a summary list you can actually click further and actually look at an original patent and obtain more detail.  It is wise to perform a variety of spelling searches on surnames and first names in you’re searching to make sure you find all the information for an ancestor.  As you can see “G.A.” was the spelling used for one of the patents.  I also tried other spelling variations of the surname Barclay and this is the list I came up with for George A. Barclay. 

Here is the summary list of George A. Barclay’s Patents. 

Patentee Name State County/
Parish
Issue
Date
District
Land Office
Doc.
Nr.
Accession or 
Serial Nr.
BARCLAY, GEORGE A  MN  Cass  8/1/1874  St. Cloud  7082  MN1660__.167 
BARCLAY, GEORGE A  MN  Cass  8/1/1874  St. Cloud  7083  MN1660__.168 
BARCLAY, GEORGE A  MN  Cass  8/1/1874  St. Cloud  7084  MN1660__.169 
BARCLAY, GEORGE  MN  Cass  5/1/1875  St. Cloud  7373  MN1660__.405 
BARCLAY, GEORGE  MN  Cass  5/1/1875  St. Cloud  7374  MN1660__.406 
BARCLAY, GEORGE A  MN  Cass  9/23/1879  St. Cloud  7946  MN1670__.289 
BARCLAY, G A  MN  Cass  5/10/1884  St. Cloud  11834  MN1740__.425 
BARCLAY, GEORGE A  MN  Cass  4/5/1888  St. Cloud  16446  MN1840__.002 

Numbers #7373 and #7374 George purchased with his partner D. McNanny. I tried searching on the spelling “McNannie” but I found nothing more.  These two patents are all that are in McNannie’s name.

Both sources, my Aunt Miriam and the Logsled’s book, mention the Northern Pacific Railroad and this is a warranty deed filed at the Cass County Courthouse. 

Interestingly, some of these patents that are in the search list above are also recorded in the deed books of the Cass County Courthouse in Walker, Minnesota.

This list is nice to have but it really doesn’t help us understand where great-grandfather George’s land was located so we need to get more detail and the description of the land that was written on the patent.

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Great grandfather made a critical decision to move his trading post up to the present area of Pine River, Minnesota.

Two years after building his post on the South Branch of the Pine River, George Barclay apparently decided to move and expand his activities.  He chose a site on higher, more open ground located next to land currently occupied by the Durkee Manufacturing Company.   (Logsleds to Snowmobiles, pg. 104, published 1973).

My Aunt Miriam sent this to me as part of her notes about George’s land purchases (1986).  Just click on the photo and it will open up so you can read it.  She mentions three patents and one deed. 

George's Land - Miriam's Notes

The Logsleds and Snowmobiles book published in 1973 by the town of Pine River for the Bicentennial gives these descriptions of the land holdings on page 105 at the bottom of the 1st column and top of the 2nd. 

In 1876, he moved his establishment to higher ground and started purchasing land at the intersection of four townships:  137N-29W (Wilson), 137N-30W (Walden), 138N-29W (Barclay), and 138N-30W (Pine River).  From this site grew the village.  Appropriately, this largest settlement along the river eventually took the name of the river and became “Pine River.” (Logsleds to Snowmobiles, page 1.) 

…Barclay’s land purchases may have been formally registered as early as 1875 and definitely by 1876; however, the abstract indicates that the first purchase of the NW1/4 of the NW1/4 of Section 6, Township 137, Range 29 (Wilson Township) was not recorded as purchased until July 20, 1878, and the patent not received from the federal government until 1879.  On May 15, 1883, he purchased according to record the NE1/4 of the NW1/4 of Section 6, Township 137, Range 29, from the federal government.  (Logsleds to Snowmobiles, page 105).

The final 80 acre purchase of the SE1/4 and the SW1/4 (Lot 7) of the SW1/4 of Section 31, Township 138, Range 29 (Barclay Township) was bought on June 7, 1883 from the Northern Pacific Railway Company for $329.36.  (Logsleds to Snowmobiles, page 105).

I was doing my usual poking around the internet and found that Cass County government has the 2009 Land Atlas & Plat Book for Cass County, Minnesota up for searching.  I own the 2005 published version.  Here is that link:  http://www.co.cass.mn.us/platbook/platbook_web.html  You can click on various townships and cities in Cass County and pull up great maps in today’s world. 

The online version does not seem to have the “Information About Land Descriptions” that appears on pages 8 – 10 in the 2005 published version?  It is very important to understand how to read the land descriptions.  The National Atlas has this link to an explanation of the public land survey system:  http://www.nationalatlas.gov/articles/boundaries/a_plss.html  It might help to make the above information make more sense.

I also stumbled on the Heritage Group North website and discovered they were posting excerpts from the Logsleds to Snowmobiles book.  I also noticed that they have referenced this blog! So in the spirit of sharing here is their link along with my thank you:  http://www.pineriverhistory.org/5.html.

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Naturalization Papers

Several events had taken place in the life of George and Alexander’s father before the Civil War began.  John Barclay naturalized as a citizen in 1855.  This document was found in the records of the Territory of Minnesota, Scott Co., Declarations of Intent #118 at the Scott County Historical Society:

 

Here is the best interpretation of the handwriting:   

Territory of Minnesota, County of Scott – I John Barclay do and on my oath declare that I first arrived in the United States about the fifteen day of November in the year 1833. That I have since that time continued to reside in the United Sates, and that it is bona fide my intention to become a Citizen of the United States, and to denounce forever all allegiance and fidelity which I’m _____ to any foreign ___, Potentate, State or Sovereignty and particularly all allegiance and fidelity which I have to Victoria I, Queen of Great Britain of whom I have heretofore been a Subject. Subscribed and sworn to this 12th day of June A.D. 1855 before Mr. G. Ab_____dorf, Clerk. – Territory of Minnesota, Scott Co., Sign by John Barclay. 

I find this document to be both wonderful and frustrating.  

So far I have not been able to find anything that fits the date of November 15, 1833 for John Barclay coming into the U.S.  I still have more researching to do regarding John’s immigration.  The possibility that he came in through Canada is not something to ignore.  There were weavers in the area around Ottawa who came to homestead.  If  he was connected to the Scottish weavers that came to Thompsonville, Connecticut to work in the carpet factory that adds a little more of a challenge to this puzzle.   Thompsonville is part of Enfield, Connecticut. 

The vague reference to Queen Victoria without specifically mentioning Scotland is frustrating.  This is however typical of most naturalizations done through the courts. The other possibility is that John was in England for a while before he immigrated to the US.  This document catalogued under Declaration of Intention so that implies there is another document finalizing it but I have not been able to locate one. 

I attended a lecture in April 2010 at the National Genealogical Society Conference by John Philip Colletta.  John stated that people would frequently forget 20 years later the exact date of their arrival in the United States.  They might remember the day but the year could be wrong, so broaden your search.  

If he immigrated in 1833 that means he has been in this country 20 years by the time I pick up his trail if he truly was born in 1801 and he appears in Eagle Creek, Shakopee, Scott County, Minnesota.  According to his son Alexander’s probate file the first son John A. Barclay would have been born about 1836 if the age given is correct.  The Minnesota census have the son John Barclay living in Sibley Co., Minnesota as born in Scotland.  

So I have a puzzle and it will be a very good day when I finally figure all this out. Meanwhile lets take a look at John Barclay’s patent for his land in Shakopee, Minnesota.

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My Aunt Miriam writes in her notes about George’s enlistment in the Civil War.

Miriam’s Notes – Civil War

The book from Pine River “Logsleds to Snowmobiles” gives this information about George’s service:

“George became a wagoner with Company A, Ninth Volunteer Infantry.  Barclay was with General Sherman on his “march through Georgia to the sea.” He was honorably discharged on August 24, 1865.” page 105.

The company is “I” and not “A,” that George served with.

Did my great-grandfather George Angus Barclay “march with Sherman” as my Aunt Miriam states or did he “marched through Georgia to the sea” as the book reference suggests?

Well let’s examine the evidence.

Because I am a curious creature I ordered George’s Civil War Service record from the National Archives (NARA) and waited impatiently for its arrival.  I also ordered his Civil War Pension Record but NARA didn’t have it?  NARA wrote back to tell me that it was with the Veterans Administration.  So of course, I wrote for it immediately.  It came – all 3 inches thick of it!  The pension file was huge and covered 1892 to 1942.

After studying both the Civil War Service Record and the Civil War Pension files of George A. Barclay I cannot state with certainty that George  “marched with Sherman” or ‘marched through Georgia to the sea!”  George never mentions it in his pension file. The goal of the pension file application is to get a pension and it is probably better to keep your answers short.  The Service Record is more like an attendance record for the soldier.

George writes in his own hand on an affidavit from his pension file:

I have not been in the military or naval service of the United States since August 24th, 1865.  That I served as Wagoner in Company I, 9th Minn. Vol. Inft. for the period of 3 years and 9 days and was never in any company.”  From G.A. Barclay Civil War Pension File.  

We need to understand the history of George William T. Sherman’s military career.  The History Channel website has this interactive video of the three of the campaigns of Sherman:  Sherman’s March.

http://www.history.com/topics/william-t-sherman

1.  The Atlanta Campaign.  It started in the Summer and he took Atlanta on September 7, 1864.  It is from Atlanta that Sherman started his march to the sea.

2.  The Savannah Campaign started on November 15, 1864 and went for 300 miles. This is the famous “March to the Sea” campaign.  He did march across Georgia to Savannah, NC to accomplish this goal.   This link to the History Channel gives more on this specific march.

http://www.history.com/topics/shermans-march/interactives/shermans-march

“Sherman’s Army:  Sherman had a massive army.  Over 60,000 troops, 8000 horses and mules, 2500 wagons.  Two 900 foot pontoon bridges to cross the many rivers and streams of Georgia.  In some places the army would march by a house or plantation for 2 straight days without a break during daylight hours.  The March proceeded in two wings.  Each wing was divided into two columns.  Often the four columns were on separate roads.”

Wikipedia’s – Sherman’s March to the Sea has a really good explanation and even details the “Opposing forces” which breaks down the various army groups that participated in this march in more detail along with links.  They have some maps with details of the campaigns and you can click to make them bigger.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherman%27s_March_to_the_Sea

3.  The Campaign of the Carolinas.  In this campaign Sherman marched north through these two states starting on January 15, 1865.

George William T. Sherman had a very long military career even before the beginning of the Civil War.  He was involved in many other campaigns.  To dig deeper on W. T. Sherman let’s go back to Wikipedia for a biography on Sherman.   There is a lot of great information at this particular Wikipedia site but always be sure you check other sources and there are plenty on the web referencing the Civil War.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Tecumseh_Sherman

Scrolling down the page to Civil War Service you see that Sherman was involved with other campaigns prior to the three mentioned above.

1.  First Battle Bull Run or First Battle of Manassas. I have had the privilege of visiting this park twice.  The park is west of Arlington, Virginia and easy to get to by car.  I believe it is haunted. The battle took place on July 21, 1861.  So if George mustered in on August 15, 1862 he most definitely was not in this battle. The National Park Services has wonderful websites of the major battlefields of the Civil War:  http://www.nps.gov/mana/index.htm

2.  Shiloh is in Tennessee and the battle took place April 6-7, 1862.  The National Park Services also has a website for this battlefield:  http://www.nps.gov/shil/historyculture/shiloh.htm  Again George musters in August 15, 1862 he misses this action as well.

3.  Vicksburg, Mississippi Dec 26, 1862 to July 4, 1863 and Chattanooga, Tennessee October and November 1863.   Now there might be possibilities in these campaigns?  We will see.

Let us review George’s military card service cards in the next post and see if we can find anything in them that will help us figure out this puzzle.

WARNING!  Researching and reading about the Civil War can be addicting!

Here are some other websites to explore:

The National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, PA is a wonderful place to visit.  I was able to wander this archive back in September of 2008.

http://www.nationalcivilwarmuseum.org/index_1.php

 

Civil War:  http://www.civilwar.com/

Don’t forget Google Images of the Civil War go here http://www.google.com/imghp?hl=en&tab=wi  and type in “Civil War” or “Civil War Wagons” and click!

Civil War Home Page http://www.civil-war.net/

Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System http://www.itd.nps.gov/cwss/  You can search for a soldier and more.

The Civil War (PBS) http://www.pbs.org/civilwar/

American Civil War.com http://americancivilwar.com/

Time Line of the Civil War:  http://rs6.loc.gov/ammem/cwphtml/tl1861.html

The National Civil War Museum

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In April of 2007 I traveled to Hartford, Connecticut to attend the New England Regional Conference.  This was an opportunity to do research on my Barclay and Goss families. 

Enfield Historical Society

I visited The Enfield Historical Society and talked with Mr. Anthony Secondo the President.  Mr. Secondo recommended the book about the carpet industry in Enfield and Thompsonville. 

After our talk I wandered the Enfield Museum looking at the displays.  I did review the names of the Shaker cemetery listing they had posted but did not see any Barclay names.

Mr. Secondo told me about some houses built by the Scottish weavers and told me where to go to see these houses.  He remembered the name Barclay and said it was the name of a street that was now nonexistent due to development.  I did find the area and the houses.

He suggested this book: 

Broadlooms and Businessmen: A History of the Bigelow-Sanford Carpet Company (Harvard Studies in Business History), by John S. Ewing and Nancy P. Norton. 

The background and company material for this book is housed at the Harvard Business School.  They do not allow outside researchers and genealogists to do research at the school.  The chances that I might find the names of John and Margaret Barclay among the papers is a long shot. I am hoping for a list of workers which is not given in the book.    

Apparently the carpet company would recruit weavers from Scotland and then bring them over to the U.S. to work in the carpet factories.  The Scottish company that did the recruiting of the weavers is the Gregory, Thomson & Co. (page 46.) .   These Scottish weavers were brought over in about 1829. 

The Enfield Historical Society Website has this article about the Thompsonville Carpet Factory: 

http://www.enfieldhistoricalsociety.org/EHScarpet.html

I find this idea of the Scottish weavers very interesting.  Does it have anything to do with my Barclay family, I don’t know at this time.

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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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