A little Surprise from Heritage Group North, Pine River

You never know when something really amazing comes your way. The Heritage Group North of Pine River makes attempts to preserve the history of the town and area. Today I got a present in email.

A Flyer by Amarilla for her business

We do not know when the was published but she was using the Dawes name from about 1902 to 1919 up until she remarried to George Urton. We also don’t know if this was a flyer in the newspaper or separate. She did have her store well into the 1920’s.

Thanks to the Heritage Group North of Pine River you can visit them on Facebook for the latest updates and news.

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An Update: Time for me to Take a Trip to Scotland!

Yes, I am going to Scotland, and I will be touring the country for several weeks. I will try to share some of the events as they happen but it will be a busy trip. I am not as young and eager as I used to be and I want to take time and savor it all and it also depends on the WiFi situation?

Scotland simplified

It has been awhile, since I last posted on this blog. I have been busy on another blog titled Solomon Goss in Fearing Twp. in Ohio and writing about my Dad’s Goss Family connections.

Just because I have not been posting on this blog, it does not mean that I have not be trying to further the research on the Barclay family.

John Barclay has been very uncooperative. I am referring to the man who was supposedly born in 1801 in Edinburgh and died in 1897 in Shakopee, Minnesota, and the man who is the father of George A. Barclay my great grandfather.  He refuses to be found in the records before his time in Shakopee.

Well, I am going to do some traveling and I am headed to Scotland soon. It will be an EPIC trip.

Hopefully, I will share some of the adventures on this blog and see what comes up.

I will be visiting several archives, societies and repositories in my travels. I will be looking into the surname of MacDonald/MacDonell, and Barclay.  I will be seeking information about the surnames of  McMurray, and Jackson discussed on the Boardman and Brown blog. I know more about the MacD’s and Barclay’s and little about the McMurray’s and Jacksons and their origins.

As I visit these archives I will ask lots of questions so I should be very educated in Scottish research by the time I get home. I will also leave behind my family history and maybe it will have some effect?

I will visit lots of castles that have to do with MacDonald/MacDonell history as well as areas and places and also just Scottish history. Unfortunately the castle for Barclay is in private hands at this time. There will be battlefields to see and the Scottish Highlands to explore including the Isle of Skye and the area west of Fort Augustus.  Click the map and it will open.

The Highlands of Scotland

I will share this trip on two of my blogs, this one and The Man Who Lived Airplanes http://macdonellfamily.wordpress.com

It will be EPIC! Bonnie

A Resting Place for this blog about the lives of George and Amarilla Barclay of Pine River…

This blog was started in March of 2010.  It has now been six years of postings about the lives, ancestors and families of George Angus Barclay and Amarilla Spracklin, founders of Pine River, Minnesota.

George A. Barclay ca. 1878

George A. Barclay ca. 1878

I have covered George Angus Barclay’s early years, his siblings, his life in Minnesota, his service in the Civil War and his settling in the Pine River area.  There is always more you can do in genealogical research and I still have questions but I think I have covered quite a bit on this blog.  They were truly two very colorful and complicated people.

Unfortunately, I have not yet determined if George was born in Enfield, Connecticut.  There is no birth record for him at the Enfield Courthouse.  I was actually there at the courthouse on two separate occasions searching for his birth and anything on the Barclays. I have studied George’s siblings to try to find out if they knew anything.  They all have their own version of their origins in the USA but not much about Scotland so far.

The last name of George’s mother Margaret was found on his sister Mary Jane Barclay Ford’s death certificate but it is unreadable.  I have asked many genealogists to try to help me decipher it but they have failed as well. It is something like Margaret “Davison or Davidson.”  If I could find another source it might reveal the name in a more readable manner.

George’s father,  John Barclay, was supposedly born in Edinburgh, but I am not so sure about that. We all know the great city of Edinburgh and he might have just used that city because it was known.  If he had a Scottish brogue it might have been difficult to understand his actual birth location. I have experience with a mispronunciation and spelling of a birth location in Scotland on my mother’s side. However, Edinburgh is a very big city and he could have come from some area in or around that city. What this means is I need to learn about Scottish genealogical research and I started that process with the course I took several years ago at the British Institute in Salt Lake City.

Evergreen Cemetery - Barclay plot

Evergreen Cemetery – Barclay plot

John Barclay stated that he came to the United States in 1833.  This is what he testified to in his naturalization papers that I found in Scott County, Minnesota records. So far I have not found any evidence of a John Barclay coming to the United States in that year of 1833 online. I am told by accomplished genealogists who have studied immigration that people often forget the year of their immigration.

John’s age is also in question, it changes from census to census. It is said that he was born in 1801 and died in 1897 which makes him 96 years old at his death.  His obituary notice is also vague about his origins, immigration and his first wife.

George and Alexander, brothers, indicate they were born in Connecticut but so far I have not found any birth records for the children of John and Margaret Barclay in that state and I have been to several of their archives in person on several occasions and local courthouses.  I have conducted a cemetery search in the Enfield area for Margaret but have had no luck on a burial location. It is possible that she is buried near the Bristol area based on her daughter Mary Jane’s information. So the origins of the Barclay’s are still shrouded in mystery.  We will see, and if I do find out anything I will of course share it on this blog.

Amarilla about 1911 in Pine River, MN.

Amarilla about 1911 in Pine River, MN.

Amarilla’s connection have been a little easier to find and search. I have covered Amarilla’s life in Iowa and Minnesota on this blog.  Her father Daniel D. Spracklin was born in Knox Co., Ohio and he migrated to Iowa by 1856 with his first family.  That family consisted of mother Elizabeth Keller Spracklin, and her siblings Henry, Oliver, and Mary with Amarilla following in 1858.

Because there was a lot to share I decided to divide up the story of Amarilla’s origins between Ohio and Iowa/Minnesota. So you will find the origins of the Spracklin’s on another blog titled “Solomon Goss of Fearing Twp., in Ohio.”  This blog will take you back into the history of Amarilla’s father and mother’s origins in Ohio focusing on the counties of Washington, Knox and Morrow.  It covers Daniel D. Spracklin’s family origins through his parents John A. and Lydia (Goss) Spracklin, his siblings and what happened to them.

Amarilla’s lineage goes to DAR and the Revolutionary War and to Mayflower through her grandmother Lydia Goss Spracklin. I have yet to share about that side of the family but will be doing so on the Solomon Goss blog after I complete the Spracklin’s history.

Amarilla’s also has lineage to DAR and Mayflower through her mother’s side of the family Elizabeth Keller Spracklin’s mother Mary Anne Delano Keller and her father Stephen Delano.  This lineage has been covered in the Solomon Goss blog.

I need to join DAR and Mayflower and in the next year hopefully that will go well and I will let you know the outcome.  I also might give information to other organizations in order to preserve my and our family history.

I have taken DNA tests and some family members have done so as well.  I have a PAGE at the top of this blog describing that process.  I encourage anyone who is a Barclay or a cousin to take a test and let me know so I can seek you out in the database and see how you compare with myself.  I have tested with all the major companies – Ancestry, Family Tree DNA and 23&Me.

So I come to a stopping place on this blog and will not be posting unless I have something of merit to share with you. The blog will remain online and active and I might make some changes adding material or updating and do a little maintenance on occasion so check back once in a while to see if anything new occurs.  Check the right side at the top of the blog for any updates and announcements.

This does not mean that I am finished.  I want to clean up my research binders for the Barclays and when that is to my satisfaction, I will start working on more research into the origins of the Barclays.

I will be putting my time and energy into the Solomon Goss blog and going further back into the past to cover the Goss family history. It will be a great challenge and will take a great deal of care.  It will be harder because the further back you go the harder the research gets.

To help you find things, I have created PAGES at the top of this blog on various topics and as table of contents for the different surnames making it easier to find the posts that cover the information you seek. There are tips on how to search this blog.

Please feel free to comment, just make sure you have the correct blog before you click send for I have several blogs.  You can also contact me at my other email  bjmcdonell@gmail.com.

Happy hunting Bonnie

Heir Mail article honoring George A. Barclay, Civil War Soldier…

In 1998, The Crow Wing County Genealogical Society Newsletter in Brainerd, Minnesota published an article about George Angus Barclay.  This article appeared in their Heir Mail newsletter. The editor kindly sent me a copy and I thought it was well done considering he was not her ancestor.

Heir Mail Newsletter excerpt

Heir Mail Newsletter, a portion

  • CIVIL WAR VETERAN MEETS UNTIMELY END
  • George A. Barclay
  • 1844 to 1898
  • Wagner, Company, I, 9th MN Infantry
  • Enlisted 15 Aug. 1862,
  • Discharged 24 Aug, 1865
  • Resident about 25 years.
George A. Barclay Article

George A. Barclay Article a portion of…

George Barclay operated a hotel and store in Pine River for a number of years. He was also engaged in lumber operations in the areas.

The following quotation is taken from Down the Mississippi written by Captain Glazier in 1881. Capt. Glazier describes his trip to Pine River and his pleasant surprise in finding George Barclay’s place. “Sometimes in the road and sometimes out of it; now driving along the shore of a lake and again over huge logs and boulders, it was voted that our ride to Pine River was unlike anything we had ever else where experienced. The ranch of George Barclay, the only white habitation between Gull and Leech Lakes, was reached at five o’clock in the evening. Here we were most agreeably surprised to find very good accommodations for both man and beast. Barclay is a decided favorite with the Indians, and his prosperity in this isolated corner of Minnesota is largely due to his friendly relations with them.  He is always supplied with guns, knives, beads, tobacco and such other goods as are in demand by his dusky neighbors, for which he received in exchange furs, game, snake-root, and such other products of the forest as find a ready market at Brainerd or St. Paul.”

Later Brainerd historian, Sarah Thorp Herald added, “In 1894 Barclay’s establishment had lost all resemblance to a trading-post and had become a lumberman’s hotel of some pretensions. It was a two-storied structure with the inevitable “false front” of frontier towns, and stood in a grove of jack pines near the newly-laid Brainerd and Northern Railroad tracks. 

Newspaper accounts of 3 Nov. 1898 describe Mr. Barclay’s death: “Mr. Barclay was shot about seven-thirty on Sat. evening. When the fatal shot was fired, he was sitting in a chair, smoking a cigar, and talking to four or five men, about five feet away from a window in the barroom of the hotel. The assassin fired through the glass, the ball passing through Mr. Barclay’s neck from side to side, probably cutting the carotid artery of the jugular vein.”

After authorities were notified the remains were brought to Brainerd for burial. The Pap Thomas Post of the BAR handled the arrangements. The funeral services were conducted from the Episcopal Church with Rev. C.F. Kite officiating. Burial was in Evergreen Cemetery (Current records do not list his burial.) (Note:  There is not death certificate for George only the Coroners records.) He was survived by his wife and a married daughter, Mrs. R.A. McDonald.  (Note: Should be R.S.) 

From what I’ve been able to determine from my research, no one was ever convicted of shooting George Barclay. Those on the scene saw no one, the killer apparently was able to escape into the darkness of the nearby forest and escape being brought to justice. Her Mail, Fall. 1998. (Note: There are several posts on this blog describing the murder, coroner’s report, grand jury and trial regarding the murder of George A. Barclay.)

I have visited the Crow Wing Genealogical Society in Brainerd located in the Family History Center near the Church.  http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mncrowwi/gs/  Researching George Barclay and Amarilla required extending my search beyond Cass County.  I thank them for this nicely done article on my great-grandfather.

I wrote a post on this blog about George’s service as a Wagoner in the Civil War.  It is really difficult to find information about men who served in the support part of the Civil War. The focus is the battles and the officers.  It has turned out to be one of the most popular posts on this blog.  A quick Google search reveals a little more information about this valuable service to the war effort now appearing online.

Centennial of Pine River, 1973 looking forward to 150+ years!

The city of Pine River has been good to me.  On my first visit they gave me my own copy of their book: Logsleds to Snowmobiles and I am happy to say that it has fallen apart because I used it so much.  I have it safely cared for in a binder.

I celebrate Pine River, Cass County, Minnesota.  I thank them for honoring my great-grandfather George Angus Barclay and great grandmother Amarilla Spracklin Barclay as the founders of the town. In honor of the preservation of the Train Depot, I had a plaque created, dedicated to the memory of my great grandparents and their descendants.  Hopefully it is on the wall of the museum there or the Visitor Center.

Family History Library has this book in its library in Salt Lake City.

Logsleds to Snowmobiles

Logsleds to Snowmobiles

I was also given a copy of the Pine River Journal Newspaper 1873 to 1973 Centennial Vol. 37, Number 22.  The newspaper has received a bit of wear but is still in pretty good shape.

Pine River Journal - Centennial 1873 to 1973

Pine River Journal – Centennial 1873 to 1973

Both of these historical items have been of immense help to me in my research on my family.  They have given me a base from which to build my research on my great grandparents George and Amarilla Barclay.

Thank you Pine River, and I look forward to 150 years more.

The Park and the Hospital in Pine River in 1949

Amarilla had given land for the Pine River park and on 15 December, 1949 her granddaughter Miriam received a letter from Mr. Lundrigan regarding a question of land use near the park.

Map of the Park and area in question

Map of the Park and area in question

The portion of land was deeded to the village of Pine River a long time ago by your grand-mother, Ammarilla Urton, with the provision that it be used only for park purposes. The whole tract so deeded extended along the river front, which has been used as a park and converted and improved into an excellent bathing beach, picnic grounds etc., and continually used.  The portion of land which we are interested in is part of the tract so deeded…but located back, away from the river, and has not been actually under use for anything… the city is in need of a hospital…Across the river is another large tract also used as a park.  He requests the heirs release the land for use by the hospital. 

The part that interests me is he goes on to say: I am very sure that your grand-mother, Ammarilla Urton, were she alive, would more than gladly make such a release. I knew her quite well. Sigh…the stories he could have told.

The letter was very well written, however, again he does not reference the deed or deeds in question.  I was all over the deed registers for Amarilla and George Barclay and beyond. There was a lot in both Crow Wing and Cass County.  I am sure I did not find it all.

When I visited Pine River in 2000 and 2001 I went down to the park area and took a few pictures and looked the area over.  It was very nice, clean, with picnic tables, an a covered area with tables and a wooded area. The steps go down to the water. There is a bridge there where you can cross over and check out the other side of the river.

Pine River park

Pine River park

Looking north - Pine River Park with picnic tables and a covered picnic area

Looking north – Pine River Park with picnic tables and a covered picnic area

Pine River's park

Find A Grave has a memorial with tombstone picture for Mr. Lundigran in the Pine Ridge Cemetery he died in 1990.