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.
We were five minutes outside of Pine River, Minnesota. The date was April 2000. I had picked up a travel brochure in Walker with the title of “Pine River, Minnesota – A Visitors Guide to the Pine and Lakes Region.” In the upper right corner is said “Free Take One!”
As we were driving along I was turning the pages and came to page 10, “A History of Pine River.” I started to read out loud to my hubby.
“Pine River owes much of its history to the pine, particularly the white pine. The pine forest stretching across the state from the shores of the “big sea water” to the plains of the “American desert” contained thousands of square miles of the finest virgin timber east of the Pacific Northwest.
Found near the center of this mammoth forest preserve, located in the giant forest-fertile crescent formed by the headwaters of the Mississippi River and flowing through what many termed “the richest stand of timber in the Old Northwest,” is a river memorialized by early explorers as “The Pine.”
And at the place where its two major tributaries, the South Fork and Norway Brook merge to form this majestic stream a peppery Scotsman founded a trading post in 1873, then a ranch followed by a hotel. Later came a railroad, then a town – and finally a prosperous city.
Within two years after the Northern Pacific Railway had bridged the Mississippi River at “The Crossing” (now Brainerd), George Angus Barclay established the first permanent trading post on the Pine River. From this site grew the village, which eventually took the name of the river and became “Pine River.”
– from “Logsleds to Snowmobiles”
Little did I know that a door had opened and my genealogical life would never be the same.
Welcome to the Barclay’s of Pine River, Cass County, Minnesota.