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Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: Ireland. Virginia. Maryland areamap
Surnames/tags: Cator McGaha_Magaha_Magahay Cooper_Chaney_Viers
Profile manager: Donna Cator private message [send private message]
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The family Magaha/McGaha and the family Cator merged through marriage and this is the lineage information leading to and from that joining of the Cator/McGaha ancestors

MANASSEH MAGAHAY of Ireland (Non-immigrant) Per

Manasseh was born in Ireland around 1729. He did not immigrate to become a settler in America. Manasseh married a Mary, whose last name is unknown to me. They had one known son, Jeremiah Magaha, born in County Londonderry, Ireland who did ultimately immigrate to America. [1]



JEREMIAH had many siblings and he married around 1777 when he was about 22. One of his sons was David McGahey.

ERROR: Jeremiah married Rachel Harris (born Oxley) Rachel was born on April 30 1742, in NJ, They had one son Jeremiah Oxley Magaha.

NOTE: FROM PAM PASCHKE received April 19, 2022:

I would like to point out an error on your page. You state: "Jeremiah married Rachel Harris (born Oxley) Rachel was born on April 30 1742, in NJ, They had one son Jeremiah Oxley Magaha."
Jeremiah McGahey did NOT marry Rachel Oxley and her surname was never Harris. Rachel Oxley never married and left a will probated in 1779 naming her two sons. Quaker records from 1772 document her claim that Thomas Harris was the father of her first child, and Harris was disowned by the Quakers for it. They were NOT married (which was part of her complaint). About four years later, she had Jeremiah, apparently by Jeremiah McGahey (based upon Y-DNA testing).
It is too bad we have yet to find anything regarding Jeremiah McGahey's wife and father of his four boys. I hope that our research will uncover information on her one day.

Father, Jeremiah Magaha, passed away circa 1797, at around age 42 in Loudoun County, Virginia. Note: When he ventured to America, he came as an indentured servant.

Seal of Loudoun County VA as of 1757


Click to Enlarge.

DAVID MAGAHA was born in 1785 or 1790 in Virginia. His father is Jeremiah. David married DORCAS LOUISE CHANEY of Ireland. They had four sons and four daughters between 1812 and 1833, including Armistead, Joseph and Thomas James and perhaps Samuel Magaha.. David died in 1846 in Lovettsville, Loudoun Co, VA and buried in the Waterford Union of Churches Cemetery in Waterford, VA. (Thanks to the Bond family for this correction found when researching court records in Loudoun Co.) In 1820 he was living in Waterford, VA; in 1830, Leesburg VA, and in 1840 Loudoun VA.

Please see: Magaha-4

Joseph Magaha, son of David and Dorcas.


John Sr. was born on July 1st 1822 in Loudon County, VA. He died on December 1st in 1891 in Frederick County, MD at the age of 69. His mom Dorcas was 33 when he was born and his dad David Magaha was 32.

John married Savilla Cooper on October 31, 1847 in Loudoun, VA. Savilla was born June 11, 1827 in Loudoun VA and died on March 28 1890 in Frederick County, MD. They had 12 children in 24 years. Twenty years later they were living in Medleys, MD. Unknown how long they resided there. Savilla's mother's name was Sarah McPherson and she married a Cooper, first name unknown.

John and Savilla are buried at Monocacy Cemetery in Maryland. Same stone, shown on two sides here. They died approximately 1 year apart, she passing away first. [2]

John's Grave.

Burial: Monocacy Cemetery, Beallsville, Montgomery County, MD; Plot: Row D, Lot 25, Site 3

Savilla's Grave.

MILITARY SERVICE: John served in the military as of 27 Jun 1861 at Camp Allen, VA. Information from the Civil War records of that time.

The 2nd Virginia was assembled at Charles Town in April, 1861, then moved to Harper's Ferry to seize the armory. The unit was accepted into Confederate service in July of 1861, so Magaha was a Confederate soldier. Its companies were from the counties of Clarke, Frederick, Floyd, Jefferson, and Berkeley. It became part of the Stonewall Brigade and served under Generals T.J. Jackson, R.B. Garnett, Winder, Paxton, J.A. Walker, and W. Terry. The 2nd fought at First Manassas, First Kernstown, and in Jackson's Valley Campaign. It went on to fight with the Army of Northern Virginia from the Seven Days' Battles to Cold Harbor except during the Maryland Campaign when it was detached to Martinsburg as provost guards. Later the unit was involved in Early's operations in the Shenandoah Valley and the Appomattox operations. It is not known to me when Magaha left the service.

Military Service of John W Magaha
Magaha Loudoun County VA marriages


John Wesley McGaha, Jr. was born on October 3, 1848 in Loudon County, VA. He died in Bethesda, Montgomery County, MD on November 18 1920 at the age of 70. When he was born, his father was 26 (John Sr.) and his mother (Savilla) was 21.

In 1875, John married Maria H. Veirs who was born in 1846 on October 13 in Poolesville, Montgomery County, MD. She died there on December 13, 1881. They had two sons and two daughters together between 1876 and 1879.


Walter V. McGaha was born in 1876 and died in 1912.
For Benjamin Wesley, see the next generation.
Nannie Estella McGaha was born in 1878 and died in 1959.
Emma Savilla McGaha was born in October 15, 1879 in Medleys, Maryland; married her husband Marion Edward Moxley on January 10 in 1901 in DC; and died in August 10, 1901 at the age of 21 in Maryland, likely from or during childbirth.

In the 1920 census for John when he was 72 and living with his daughter Nannie McGaha Moxley. At various times he and his wife and children had lived in Medleys and Poolesville, MD. His grandchildren in this home were all girls! Etta, Katherine, Helen, Viola, Linnie.

1881 Grave of Maria H Veirs Magaha

Grave of Maria Veirs Magaha in Monocacy Cemetery Montgomery Co. MD

In 1883 John married Manzella E. Smith and they had seven children together. He died on November 18, 1920, in Bethesda, Maryland, at the age of 72, and was buried in Beallsville, Maryland in Monocacy Cemetery.

Tree of John W Magaha and wives and children


Note: CLARA BELL PEARRE (Stepdaughter of LLOYD NICHOLSON) married BENJAMIN W. McGAHA and became the mother of KATHERINE B. McGAHA. Sometimes Clara went by the name of Nicholson.

BENJAMIN WESLEY McGAHA was born Dec 12, 1876 in MD. He married CLARA BELL PEARRE who was born Aug. 9, 1868 in MD. Clara Bell McGaha was born before husband Benjamin, by several years. Their daughter, KATHERINE B. McGAHA was born on August 17th, 1908 in DC. She lived till age 85, d. March 13th 1994 at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville, Maryland and is buried at Potomac Methodist Cemetery in MD.

Benjamin Wesley McGaha died suddenly on New Year's Eve in 1952. Benjamin and Clara are also buried at Potomac Cemetery in Montgomery County, MD. Clara Bell McGaha was born August 9, 1868 (before husband Benjamin) and died Oct 1, 1951.

Grave and Obit

WWI Registration Card for Benjamin Wesley McGaha shows that he lived at 1413 36th St., NW in DC. He was born on December 31, 1877 (and died on same day years later!) Benjamin McGaha worked as a street car conductor for Capital Traction Co on 36th and M. Streets NW. His wife is listed as Clara B. McGaha, same address. This form shows his signature. Benjamin is listed also as having blue eyes and light born hair, medium build and height, and no scars.

1910 Washington DC Census on Katherine and her parents, Benjamin W. McGaha and Catherine Bell McGaha: Catherine (Katherine) was born in 1908 in DC. Her parents were born in Maryland, to Maryland-born parents. Her father, Benjamin W. McGaha was 31 and had been married 4 years (about 1906) and he and Clara had one child (Catherine). Benjamin McGaha worked as a Streetcar Conductor.

In the 1920 Census for Washington DC Clara Bell and her husband Benjamin McGaha live at 1408 36th Street in DC. Living with Benjamin and Clara are their daughter Catherine who is now 11, and their "cousins", Morris and Marian (Female) Nicholson, ages 18 and 16 respectively. Benjamin is still a Conductor for the street cars railway; and Morris is a Clerk for a Cigar Store and his wife Marion is a cashier. It is interesting to note that with their own 11 year old daughter, Catherine, they are now a "family" of 5 now living at 1408 36th Street. Catherine is typically spelled Katherine.


KATHERINE B. McGAHA married JOHN ERNEST CATOR when she was 15 and he was 32! When widowed, she married JESSE HIGGINS. While married to Jesse, she worked as a fountain clerk at People's Drug Store in Gaithersburg, MD, and then retired. Here is the Cator McGaha marriage certificate and application for marriage:

Marriage Certificate of John E and Catherine McGaha Cator

KATHERINE B. McGAHA's husband, JOHN ERNEST CATOR was born May 8, 1890 in Manassas, Virginia. Per the 1930 Census, he was a carpenter. John died 22 Jun 1959, before his son BENJAMIN WESLEY CATOR died in 1969. John Ernest Cator is buried at Potomac United Methodist Church Cemetery in Montgomery County MD.

Their son Benjamin, was called "Benny" at the time of the 1940 census, when Benjamin was 15 years old.

In 1940, John was 45 and his wife Katherine was 31. Benny was 15; John Jr. was 12; Catherine was 9; Barbara was 2 and single. John (Dad) was born in Virginia; the rest of the family reigned from the District of Columbia. Son Norman would not be born until the last day of 1940.

Children of KATHERINE McGAHA and JOHN ERNEST CATOR, who are no longer living

Benjamin W Cator.
Son, BENJAMIN WESLEY CATOR was born March 15, 1925 in Washington DC. He married PHYLLIS MAE QUINLAN and worked as a Carpenter for Carpenter's Local #132. In 1969 he and his wife were living at 4700 Holly Ridge Road in Rockville, Maryland. This is the year that Benjamin died before his parents, when he passed away on November 19th 1969 at Holy Cross Hospital; interred at Rockville Cemetery. Obit.Wash.Post 11/21/1969:
Ben's Obit.
Grave of Benjamin W Cator
Grave of Benjamin W Cator, Father

Son NORMAN A. CATOR, a plumber who loved fishing and hunting, was born on Dec 31, 1940 and died in 2009. He lived his whole life evidently in Washington Grove, Montgomery County, MD. It is unknown if he ever married.

Son JOHN ERNEST CATOR, JR., was born 12 Jun 1927 in Washington DC. He was still living when his mom died. He married a Shirley L. LNU, who was born on 13 Dec 1926. They were married 62 years. John was a US Army WWII veteran and a retired sheet metal master craftsman per his obit. John Ernest Cator Jr., 79 of Rockville, died May 4, 2007, at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring from injuries sustained in an auto collision on Dec. 19, 2006. He is interred at the Columbarium at Arlington National Cemetery (with military honors). His children are Carol, Shirley and John III.

Obituary of John Ernest Cator, Jr. May 2007:

Obit of John E Cator 1927 2007
NEW: The Cator name was originally DeCator of Virginia, but some dropped the De and became simply Cator prior to the placement of the family within Washington DC. John Ernest Cator's brother Milton DeCator remained in VA and kept the De portion of the name, as an example.

OBITUARY OF Grandmother KATHERINE B. Magaha/CATOR/Higgins, wife of John Ernest Cator; mother of Benjamin Wesley Cator. Note: Her second husband was Jesse E. Higgins. While married to Jesse, she worked as a fountain clerk at People's Drug Store in Gaithersburg, MD, and then retired. The Frederick Post in MD March 14, 1994

Here's an image.

WWII Registration Card for John Ernest Cator in 1942: John was living in Washington Grove, Montgomery County, DC in 1942 when this card was completed. He was 51 years old, born on 5/8/1890 in Manassas, VA. He was employed by Butler Contractors in DC.


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