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

1895 State Census – The Barclays

George, Amarilla and their daughter Grace are featured in the 1895 census for Minnesota.  The 1880 U.S. Federal Census was rather vague and the 1885 spelled names wrong so this 1895 census was the only one that showed them together as a family.  I have posted about George the census in past posts.

A portion of that 1895 Minnesota State Census for Pine River

A portion of that 1895 Minnesota State Census for Pine River

Here is the 1895 Minnesota census:

Line 13, Barclay Geo. A, age 51, born in Conn., occupation [Lumberman], 12, sold, no, no, no. Barclay, Ammarilla, 37 years born in Iowa. Barclay, Grace A., 13 years born in Minn. 

 Source:  Geo. Barclay Family, 1895 Minnesota State Census, Twp. 137 Range 29W, Cass Co., Minnesota, Schedule 13 pg. 1,  FHL #0565765.  

When I went to source this census, I had a bit of a fright because the actual page looks like Twp. 127 rather than Twp. 137.  I therefore went to Family Search and double checked the film number to make sure I was not wrong.  I am happy to report that I am now correct with both FHL and Ancestry.   When I first started doing genealogy I was not very good at sourcing so a lot of the older research needs updating.  I do remember looking at the film for this particular census and probably doing that research at the Minnesota Historical Society at that time using film.

George’s brother Alexander Barclay was living in Dakota County.  Let’s see what was happening with Alex

6th line down: Barklay, Alexander A. 52 years, Male, White, born Conn. 40 years in area, 4 years?, farmer, 12, sold, yes, yes, yes.

Below him is Giles, Fannie B. 73 years old, female, white, born Mass, housekeepr, 12, no, no, no.

Source:  1895 Minnesota State Census, page 3, Lakeville Twp., Dakota Co., Minnesota, P.O. Farmington.

His father John Barclay was still living in Scott County with his wife Ellen/Helen and son Charlie

Family #54:  Barclay, John, age 94, male, white, born in Scotland, Resident of state 45 years, 45 years in enumeration district, occupation none, mother and father both of foreign birth.  Barclay, Ellen, age 65, female, white, born in Norway, both parents of foreign birth.  Barclay Charlie, age 35, male, white, born in Minnesota.  In state and enumeration district 35 years, a farmer, employed 12 mos of the year.  Both parents of foreign birth.

Source: 1895 Minnesota State Census, Eagle Creek, Scott Co., Minnesota, pg. 2, schedule #5, enumerated on 10 June 1895, FHL#565810.

This will be the last census that George (died 1898), Alexander (died 1905)  and John Barclay (died 1897) all appear in.  Even though Alexander lives till 1905 I have not been able to find him in the 1900 census nor the Minnesota state census of 1905.

A Tragedy: An Accident – Baby George Dies!

For many years I did not know how little baby George died.  I had been to the cemetery and viewed his tombstone next to his father but I didn’t understand why he had died so young?

On my last trip to Minnesota in 2007, I found a brief article in the Brainerd newspaper that described the whole ordeal.

George Alexander was only 18 months old.  He died on the 19th of June 1881 on the way to Brainerd from Pine River.  Apparently he drank  some German Cough balsam that was filled with probably codeine and his little body could not handle the amount of narcotic and he died en route probably in his mother’s arms as George tried desperately to get them to Brainerd and get help.  They were too late.

There is no mention of the death of the baby in the Whipple papers at the Minnesota Historical Society (Methodist Episcopal).  The papers are very difficult to read and I have actually looked at them twice to see if I could make out anything else. 

The article appears in the Brainerd Tribune, Saturday, June 25, 1881 under Local News – Death of Baby George A. Barclay.

1) Mr. and Mrs. G.A. Barclay desire to express their heartfelt thanks to the citizens of this place for their kind sympathy and attentions manifested during their recent bereavement, and for the assistance rendered during the last solemn rites at the funeral of their lamented child.

2) A sad occurrence transpired in the family of Mr. George Barclay, postmaster at Pine River, last Saturday.  Their infant child, about seventeen months old, had in some manner got hold of a bottle of German cough balsam , and drank the whole of it.  No physician being nearer Pine River than Brainerd, Mr. and Mrs. Barclay immediately started with the child for this place. But the effects of the potion were to speedy, as just upon arriving in town the child expired.  This is a very severe blow to the bereaved parents, and the sympathies of the community are heartily enlisted in their behalf.  The remains were interred in the Brainerd cemetery on Monday.

George Alexander is buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in Brainerd, MN location:  Center N 1/2 Lot 17 Block 7.  He is next to his father and mother, George and Amarilla Barclay.

George Alexander Barclay

Written on the tombstone for baby George is the following: 

Sacred to the memory George A. infant son of G.A. & A. Barclay died June 19, 1881 1 yr. 5 mo. 9 days.  Underneath this stone do lie as much virtue as could die which when alive did vigor give to us much beauty as could live. 

There is a little lamb on the top of the tombstone.  This tombstone is to the right of the father, George A. Barclay in Evergreen Cemetery in Brainered, MN.

Pine River: June 1880

June 1, 1880 the U.S. Federal Census was enumerated for Pine River.  We find George is listed with a family but not much detail:

Source:  The George Barclay Family, 1880 U.S. Federal Census Pine River, Cass Co., Minnesota, SD 3, ED 218, pg. 10, Line 1:

Barclay, George, male, 30 years old, husband, tavern keeper, place of birth unclear.  Under George’s name is written wife, age 26 place of birth not indicated, child age 7/12, male born Minnesota.  The wife is keeping house. 

This census is not very clear and lists the family members under George as “wife” and “child” with no names given.  We do know that George has a family started and is living in Pine River.  

Along with George and his family there are two other individuals:  John Eins age 32 and Thomas [Nourling] age 62.  Both men are helping in the Tavern.  John is from Norway and the other is from Kentucky. 

There is only one page for Pine River listed for this census. 

This 1880 census lists as enumeration districts for Cass County as follows with the approximate number of people in parentheses:

The Chippewa Agency (21), Clayton (18), Gull Lake (19) and Gull River (135?), Hay Creek (2), Leech Lake Indian Reservation (6), Not stated – Twps 139 and 140 with 9 pages with children and wives listed (200+), Pelican Lake (3), Pillager (18) , Pine River (5) and West Brainerd (36). 

The birthplace given for George is also obscure and has the word “Native” written above another scribble that is very faded and difficult to read.  It might indicate he refused to answer or more likely he wasn’t home?

The listings from the above census enumeration districts had lots of families listed but most of the population was north of Pine River.

1875-1876 Commissioner?, 1877 Postmaster, 1879 Patent

George and Amarilla settle in at Pine River.  George helps out the settlers before the county was organized in 1897.   He is given credit under the Cass County Commissioners for his assistance.

Source:  Cass County Heritage, Cass County Historical Society, Taylor Publishing, 1999.

pg. 23 – Cass County Commissioners – “Before the organization of Cass County in 1897, we were under the governance of a number of different counties. Prior to 1897 there were a number of men that intervened for the early settlers of Cass County, Charles Ahrens 1872-1875, George N. Bardwell 1872-1875, George A. Morrison 1872-1875, George A. Barclay 1875-1876, Reuben Gray etc.”

UPDATE:  In the Cass County Courthouse in the Bond Book A pg. 2 we find two entries:  1) Certificate of Election, Filed January 22, 1875 @ 11 O’clock in which George A. Barclay receives the highest votes and is therefore elected County Commissioner for the ensuing term.  2) Oath of Office in which George promises to “faithfully and impartially discharge the duties…” Dated at West Brainerd this 4th day of January A.D. 1875…” 

George also took on the role of postmaster for Pine River

Source:  Record of Appointment of Postmasters, #M841, Roll 63 NARA, Minnesota Counties Aitkin-Faribault Co., Target 14, Cass County, Vol. 39, ca 1871-81, Vol. 57 ca. 1881-1892, Vol. 84 ca. 1892-1930.

George A. Barclay was appointed the postmaster for Pine River in 1877 and continued till his death in 1898.  After him came Edward Coyle 5 Jan. 1899, James R. Kinler May 4, 1899, Eddie J. Holman Mar. 21, 1906, W. P. Stervant 24, Apr. 1914, Elmer Dahl, Irvin Lembke, Dec 2, 1924, Oliver Dahl Oct. 16, 1924 to 1930.

A little over a year after his marriage to Amarilla, George obtains another patent for land.  It is interesting that George states he is from Hennepin Co. and not Cass Co.

3. Patent from BML – Cass County –  9/23/1879 – St. Cloud #7946

#7946 Patent: George A. Barclay of Hennepin County, Minnesota, ….St. Cloud, Minnesota..whereby it appears that full payment has been made by the said George A. Barclay… and the acts supplemental thereto, for the northwest quarter of the northwest quarter of section six in township one hundred and thirty-seven of range twenty-nine in the district of lands subject to sale at Saint Cloud, Minnesota containing forty-one acres, and twenty-one hundredths of an acre.  In testimony whereof., I R. B. Hayes… 23 of September 1879, etc…




NW qtr Sec 6 #7946



The Deed Mapper software does not do 21/100ths so what you see is an approximation of the patent of 41 and 21/100ths of an acre.  We are now carving out the town of Pine River as George adds to his land holdings.

So far we have about 233+ acres of land totalled for George A. Barclay at this time.  We still have more to go and we have not addressed deeds.

1874: Barclay Patents Section 6

Below are two (2) patents that were assigned to George A. Barclay in 1874. They are located in Section 6, Township 137, Range 29.  Section 6 is located in the northwest corner of Wilson Township in Cass County, Minnesota. 

Most of the city of Pine River, Minnesota is located in the northwest corner of Wilson Twp. T137  R29.  To the north is Barclay Twp., T138 R29 and Pine River is in the southwest corner.

1. Patent from BML:  Cass County – 8/1/1874 – St. Cloud #7082  

Patent:  George A. Barclay of Cass County, Minnesota, Register of the Land Office at St. Cloud, Minnesota.  The southeast quarter of the southeast quarter of section six in township one hundred and thirty seven, of range twenty nine in the district of lands subject to sales at St. Cloud, Minnesota, containing 40 acres, signed by U.S. Grant, 1 of August 1874, etc…(Cash Vol. # 166, Page # 167).

Cash Entry Folder Jacket: Reg. Sept. 21, 74 rect. ackd. October 3/74  – #7082 Cash Entry, Land Office at St. Cloud, Min. Sec. 6, Town. 137 Range 29. [Aff o June 20/74. F.O.B., Pd August 7th, 1874, Rec Vol. 12, Page 167 Ex .  Notes in Tract book 3/20/34 JGS. Vol 35  g123 – Sec to S/G F. Alderman, Brainerd, Minn Sept 22/86. 

#7082 Receiver’s Office at St. Cloud, Minn. May 22, 1874, Received from George A. Barclay, of Cass County, Minn. the sum of $50.00  dollars and — cents, being in full for the SE4 SE quarter Section No. 6, Township No. 137, Range No. 29 containing 40 acres — at $1.25 per acre signed by J. V. Brown Receiver.

#7082 Land Office at St. Cloud, Minn, May 22, 1874. It is hereby certified …George A. Barclay, Cass Co., State of Minn on this day purchased of the Register of this Office, the lot or SE4 SE4 Section no. 6, in Township No. 137, of Range No. 29, containing 40 acres at the rate of 1 dollar and 25 centers per acre amounting to $50 dollars and — cents for which the said George A. Barclay has made payment in full as required by law George A. Barclay shall be entitled to receive a Patent for the lot above described signed by H. L. [Lovelace] Register.

2. Patent from BML – Cass County – 8/1/1874 – St. Cloud #7083 

# 7083 Patent:  George A. Barclay of Cass County, Minnesota has deposited in the General Land Office of the United States a Certificate of the Register of the Land Office at St. Cloud, Minnesota, George A. Barclay…The south east quarter of the north west quarter of section six, in Township one hundred and thirty seven, of Range twenty nine in the district of lands subject to sale at St. Cloud, Minnesota, containing forty acres. …Do Give and Grant to said George A. Barclay and to his heirs, the said tract of land, above described. In Testimony Whereof: U.S. Grant… first of August 1874 etc… (Cash Vol# 166 Page #168)


The photo above of Patent #7083 is a copy of the original patent.  It is the only patent that survived to this day of all the patents George purchased and is in the possession of my cousin.  She shared it with me.

Cash Entry Folder Jacket: # 7083 Cash Entry, Land office at St. Cloud, Minn Sec. 6, Town. 137, Range 29, [App] o June 20/74 F.O.B., Pd August 1st 1874. Rec Vol. 12, Page 168 Ex. Notice in Tract Book 3/20/34 JGS, Vol. 35, Pg. 123. Other side:  Pat. August 1, 1874, Vol. 12, Page 168.

#7083 – Receiver’s Office at St. Cloud, Minnesota, May 22, 1874. Received from George A. Barclay of Cass County, Minnesota the sum of fifty and —- cents; being in full for the  SE4 NW quarter of Section No. 6, in Township No. 137, of Range No. 29, containing 40 acres — at $1.25 signed by J.V. [Browner]

#7083 – Land Office at St. Cloud, Minn, May 22, 1874. It is hereby Certified that in pursuance of law George A. Barclay, Cass Co., State of Minn, on this day purchased of the Register of this office, the lot or SE4 NW4 of Section No. 6, in Township No. 137, of Range No. 29, containing 40 acres at the rate of 1 dollar and 25 cents per acre, amounting to 50 dollars and — cents, for which the said George A. Barclay has made payment in full as required by law….George A. Barclay shall be entitled to receive a Patent for the lot above described signed by H. L. [Lovelace] Register.

The 1874 Patents

The patents in bold dark lines were created using the software Deed Mapper a product of Direct Line Software at: http://www.directlinesoftware.com/  This software is used mostly for complicated state land states like Virginia.  However, it does do a perfect patent for a Federal land state like Minnesota.  The patents are approximate to the topo map Pine River Quadrangle, Minnesota, Cass Co., 7.5 Mte Series Revised 1994.

Over the next series of posts I will build on this map of patents for George Barclay. Click on the map to make it larger so you can see it better. 

 Total acres:  40 acres + 40 acres = 80 acres

Please note that preparing these patents has not been an easy task.  It can get very confusing.  So please refer to previous posts that explain how to read a patent or deed.  I am not claiming that I have it correct so if you think there is a problem write me a comment.  Just click on the title of the post and it will bring up a page where you can write a comment.  The other option is to just click on “Leave a comment” highlighted at the bottom of the post.