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Twigs to Trees

TWIGS TO TREES #45 DECEMBER 2021

Twigs to Trees

December, 2021

Mary Helen Haines

 

It is late November; the weather outside today is a breezy 80 degrees here in Texas. My family is looking forward to gathering for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and we have all been triple vaxxed. I wish it was possible for the whole world to get vaccinated so we could get back to normal, but with outbreaks still occurring, it is hard to predict when that will happen. Our CMW trip to Scotland, originally planned for 2020, lost so many of the original participants that it had to be cancelled. Until we can be sure that countries will stay open and airline travel will be certain, it will be hard to plan another one.  

This quarter I have been working with our Irish members, as well as McFarlands descended from the early settlers in Massachusetts and Mercer County Pennsylvania.  The earliest MacFarlane immigrant to the American colonies was Purthe Macvarlo, who arrived about 1660, settled in Hingham Massachusetts and fathered 12 children with wife Patience Russell. DNA tests have confirmed he is a MacFarlane, just with very odd spelling by the first people who recorded his name. Our new member Heather represents a branch from Purthe we did not have in our database.

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TWIGS TO TREES #44, SEPTEMBER 2021

Twigs to Trees

September, 2021

Mary Helen Haines

 

It is nice to see cooler weather arriving this September. We actually had a rather mild summer for Texas, but I know it was scorching elsewhere. In August, my family and a few relatives made a trek to Ladonia, Texas to check on our McFarland cemetery. The cemetery is tucked under a grove of trees in the middle of pasture north of the Sulphur River in Fannin County. Once family land; it was part of a 1280 land grant given to my ancestor James McFarland, who arrived in 1837, one year after Texas became a Republic. The oldest stone dates to 1852, the year James’ son William died. However, it is likely that there are earlier burials. In 1839 there were skirmishes with local Indians that resulted in at least one death: Daniel Davis, the earliest settler in the area. He and other Texas Rangers (my McFarlands included) were sleeping in his home, when Indians attacked and he was killed. His body and his family were moved to James McFarland’s home, three miles directly east, for protection. It is likely that Daniel was buried in what ended up becoming known as the McFarland cemetery. Today, a reservoir lake is being constructed on the Sulphur River and will encompass much of the McFarland and Davis land grants. The cemetery will be above the water line, so should be safe, but some of the McFarland descendants  wanted to check on it and make sure the Water Authority knew there were present-day people who knew and cared about its preservation.

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TWIGS TO TREES #43 JUNE 2021

Twigs to Trees

June, 2021

Mary Helen Haines

 

Welcome to summer; although it still feels like a very wet spring here in Texas.  With the worst part of Covid 19 behind us, it feels good to begin going out to movies, gyms, and restaurants.  Some of the Scottish games are beginning to happen, but it will probably be next year before they are fully up and running.

In the interim, I have been working on McFarland lines that have been mixed together in various ancestry trees.  Most recently, I have been digging into records in North Carolina and Pennsylvania. There are two family lines in the southwestern part of Pennsylvania; Fayette and Greene counties, as well as Monongalia County in West Virginia. Then separately there are two other McFarland lines in Moore and Lee counties in North Carolina.

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