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
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.