William Magill was born in Ireland in the year 1715, of Irish or Scotch-Irish parentage. His father's name was William, and his mother or step-mother's name was Margaret. He had two brothers, James and John, and one sister, Elizabeth. Wife's name unknown. His stature was six feet. He had black hair and blue eyes, and very good health; had only a primary education. There is no record as to what year he came to America, nor where he first settled. He evidently came to America with his father, William Magill, and was one of the brave pioneers who subdued the unknown and dangerous wilderness lying along the eastern slope of the Alleghanies, in what is now the State of Virginia. The old records of Augusta County show he was held in high esteem by his neighbors, as he was appointed guardian of orphan children, and possessed large tracts of land in this new country. A family grew up around him, one of whom Grandfather James Magill seems to have ministered tenderly to in his declining years, as he accompanied this son James to Tennessee after the Revolutionary War. The record shows that he died in 1805 ; disease, died with old age; place of death, eight miles south of Greeneville ; age, ninety years ; place of interment, Greeneville, Tenn. ; occupation, a farmer ; politics, whig ; religion, Presbyterian.
Moved to Lincoln County, Virginia (now Kentucky) in the late 1770's. Possibly accompanied by John Berry and Hannah Berry.
Six feet tall with black hair, blue eyes in good health. He was a Whig.
Biographical Sketch (1918):15503019
￼ "William Magill, Tennessee Pioneer, Born 1749 [sic]. Since all roads lad to Rome — in these articles the Tennessee Trail — we have a least reached the patriarch of the first Tennessee family of McGill, or Magill, as some them were soon to become known. This was William Magill, son of William Magill of Rockingham County, Virginia. William Magill was twenty-four years of age at the time of his father's death in 1749, and some thirty-four years had elapsed when we find him in Tennessee in the year 1783. The author of the Magill Family Record states 'That in his old age William accompanied his son, James, to Tennessee , and that James cared for him during his declining years.' William Magill was sixty years of age at the time of the migration and he lived to be ninety-two. He accompanied not only one son, but six sons, one daughter and a wife. It is supposed he had a second wife named Jean.
It is thought that most, if not all, of his children were born in Virginia. During the years 1777-78-79 Jean resided in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, but had disappeared from the township in which she lived in the year 1785. A probable theory is that William McGill married Jean in Pennsylvania and that she returned there while her husband and his sons were serving in the Revolution. Mention has been made in a previous article of the North Carolina families who settled around old 'Timber Ridge Church' in Greene County. William McGill and his family were among the charter members of this church. Almost all of the families in this vicinity were Scotch-Irish who originally settled in the Cumberland Valley, but who had branches in Augusta County, Virginia, and in North Carolina. Some of the families came direct from Pennsylvania and a number from the township in which Jean McGill resided during the Revolution. It is possible that the family of William Magill emigrated with the Pennsylvania colony.
The William McGill, senior, plantation lay on what is now known, as it was then, as Meadow Creek, and contained three hundred acres; he owned other tracts of land in the county. James lived on two hundred acres nearby. The oldest, perhaps, of the sons lived on what is known as 'Pigeon Creek.' He married either in Pennsylvania or Virginia and did not long survive his father. He was a widower at the time of his death, and left ten children, five of whom were married daughters. Another son, who married in Greene County, died just about the time the author of the Magill Record terms 'the breaking up' of the Magill family in Tennessee — that is, the breaking up of the 'James Magill family' in 1829 or possibly a little later. With the exception of these two brothers and their families, probably the youngest of the children of William Magill, the other Magills had long since migrated to other counties and other states. Two of the sons of William, senior, moved to Wayne County. The daughter, Elizabeth, married John Walker."
1745 Road Overseer: William Magill and Thos. Stinson named overseers of road from North River to John Anderson's.
1746 Constable: William McGill appointed constable.
1754 Estate Appraiser: On April 11, 1754, William Magill served as appraiser for Robert Foil's estate.
1758 Taxation: "At a General Assembly, begun held at the Capitol, in Williamsburg on Thursday the fourteenth day of September . . . in the year of our Lord 1758, being the first session of this assembly, Chapter I, an Act for the defence of the frontiers of this colony, and for other purposes there-in mentioned . . . be it therefore enacted, by the Lieutenant-Governor, Council, and Burgesses, of this present General Assembly, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, that so much money as shall be necessary for the purposes shall be paid by John Robinson, esquire, treasurer . . . The Schedule to which this act refers. To the Militia of the County of Augusta, and for Provisions furnished by sundry inhabitants of the said county, viz . . . To Sampson Archer, John McKay, Robert Minnis, Henry Smith, John Snith, Adam Stephenson, William McGill, jun., Robert Boyd, William McGill, sen., Matthwe Patton, Moses Hall, Peter Venenian, John Young, Michael Erhart, William Minter, Richard Wilson, John Shanklin, Edward Megary, Paul Shever, James McClure, James Fowler, Joseph Skidmore, Nicholas Huffman, Henry Peninger, and Robert Megary, three shillings each.
1758 Guardianship: On 15 November 1758, William Magill and Daniel Smith chosen as guardian for John Berry, orphan of James Berry.
1760 Land Sale: 18 March 1760, William and James Bell and Sarah, wife of James, sold 400 acres of land on Buffalo Lick Branch of Cathey's River granted to James Bell, deceased of Augusta, by patent 1st December 1740, and bequeated to said William and James, for £85.
1762 Jury Service: William McGill served as juror for Thomas Fitzpatrick, who refused in open court to take the usual oaths to his Majesty's person and government.
1769 Land Sale: 1 March 1769, William and Jean Magill sold 400 acres of land on a branch of Cathey's River, called Buffalo Lick Branch, to Charles Phillips £122.
1773/74 Tax List:3027 William McGill included on list of levys returned bad by John Smith for 1773-1774.
1806 Will: "William's will, Greene County, Tennessee, Wills and Inventories, volume: 1802-1810, entry no. 150: Tuesday 28 of October, 1806, Court Session.
The last will and testament of William Magill, deceased, was exhibited in court for probate.
Whereupon came William Shields and James Shields, two of the subscribing witnesses thereto, and made Oath, that they saw the said William Magill sign, seal, publish and declare the same to be his last will and testament, and that he was at the time of signing the same of sound and perfect mind and memory to the best of their knowledge. Whereupon it is ordered that the said Will be recorded, and is as follows, to wit . . .
In the name of God, amen. I, William Magill, of the County of Greene and State of Tennessee, farmer, being in a bad state of health but of perfect mind and memory thanks be given unto God, calling unto mind the mortality of my body, and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die, do make and ordain this my last will and testament . . . That is to say, principally and first of all I give and recommend my soul into the hand of Almighty god that gave it and my body I recommend to the earth, to be buried in decent Christian burial at the discretion of my Executors, nothing doubting but at the general resurrection I shall receive the same again by the mighty power of God. And as touching such worldly estate wherewith it has pleased God to bless me in this life, I give, devise, and dispose of the same in the following manner and form . . .
First I give and bequeath to Jean Magill my dearly beloved wife the whole of my household furniture, also her choice of two milk cows and two steers out of my stock of cattle, and my riding mare, her side saddle and bridle together with my negro woman named Jude, the whole of which I bequeath to her as her absolute property, and also one ewe and one lamb.
Secondly, I give and bequeath unto Samuel Magill, William Magill, James Magill, Robart Magill, John Magill, Hugh Magill, and Charles Magill my sons, and Elizabeth Walker, my daughter, wife to Thomas Walker, the residue of my stock of cattle to be equally divided amongst them.
Thirdly, I give and bequeath unto my beloved sons Hugh Magill and Charles Magill the whole plantation on which I live for to remain in one entire tract until they may agree to dispose of it and then the money or property from thence arising shall be equally divided between them reserving a comfortable living for my dearly and well beloved wife Jane Magill out of the plantation or of the profits arising therefrom at sale during her natural life.
Fourthly, I hereby make, constitute, ordain and appoint Hugh Magill and Charles Magill my sole executors of this my last will and testament and I do hereby utterly disallow, revoke, and disannul all and every former testaments, wills, and bequests and executors by me in anyways before named, willed, and bequeathed.
Ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my last will and testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this nineteenth day of July in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and six.
William Magill (seal)
Signed, sealed, published, pronounced, and declared by the said William Magill as his last will and testament in the presence of us, who in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names.
Valt. Callahan, William Shields, James Shields.
And thereupon came Hugh Magill and Charles Magill the executors named in the said will and being duly qualified to the execution of the said will. It is ordered that Letters Testamentary be issued to them accordingly."
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