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McCool Name Study - McCool Quakers

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Surname/tag: McCoole, McCool
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This is one of several research areas of the McCool Name Study.

Many McCools, from the mid-1600s to the 1900s (and perhaps beyond) were Quakers. Quaker records often provide extra records not otherwise available. The Toberhead McCool Line line in particular had strong early ties to the Friends.

"Quakerism had its origins in the northwest of England in the mid seventeenth century. William Edmunson established a meeting in Lurgan as early as 1654. Quaker meeting houses in the Bann Valley area that were formed in the mid to late seventeenth century and included Toberhead, Dunglady and Coleraine in county Derry and in Co Antrim - Ballynacree (on the Vow road near Ballymoney), Lower Grange near Portglenone and Antrim town. Ideally weekly meetings were to be held in each of these regional locations (often in a local home) and then representatives were to be sent to the monthly meeting held in Antrim, which was the regional hub for Quakerism in the area."[1]

"Today there are no Quaker Meeting Houses in the North Antrim area for the following reasons:

  • In 1704 a Test Act was passed which required office holders to take all three Sacraments of the Church of Ireland (Anglican or "state" church).
  • Presbyterians, Roman Catholic, and other minor religions such as Quakers could not join the army, the militia, educate their children or pass on land, worship within five miles of a town or own a horse over £5 if they did not obey the three sacraments of the state church: baptism, marriage, and burial.
  • A drought in the "teen" years of the 1700's was the "last straw" for these yeoman farmers. Ruined crops included flax, which meant that farmers, weavers and townspeople had their lifestyle ruined.
  • In 1716 sheep were affected with "sheep rot," a disease of the feet, and flocks were wiped out.
  • Absentee landlords, who lived in England and did not know or care what was happening, kept increasing rents.

By 1717, what had began as a trickle in 1702 became a great migration of Ulster people to America. The bulk of immigrants were Presbyterians; Quakers had started to immigrate at the beginning of the 17th century mainly because of persecution."[2]


Early McCool Quakers

The Toberhead McCools became some of the first Quakers in Ireland. Unfortunately the family followed several common practices that make accurate genealogical research difficult:

  • The eldest son was always named for his grandfather (but what if there were an exception?)
  • The eldest son always inherited the family homestead, while his younger siblings had to fend for themselves (and usually emigrated to America) - no known exceptions

This has positive and negative effects:

  • We can make assumptions about the relationship between two McCool men based on their given names and their land inheritance.
  • We end up with a lot of fathers, nephews, and cousins with identical names - possibly causing researchers to consider different McCools to be the same person.

Ancestry Quaker Catalog

Ancestry subscribers are able to access multiple databases of Quaker records. On 13 Aug 2021, there were 57 record collections that included Quaker in the title[3] and 76 record collections that included quaker as a keyword (many of which overlap).[4] In those collections, hundreds of McCool records are available (presumably, large numbers overlap). There are also spelling variations (McCool and McCoole) which are important - and other variations (McColl) which may or may not be related to McCool lines.

One of the significant collections is "U.S., Quaker Meeting Records, 1681-1935"[5]. That collection includes:

  • McCool - 265 records
  • McCoole - 111 records

Meeting Houses

Some of the Friends Meeting Houses with the most McCool/McCooles are listed here.

Hopewell MM - VA

Mill Creek MM

Back Creek MM - NC

  • 1876, 7, 8 Thomas M McCool & wife July Ann rocf Le Grand MM, IA, dated 1876, 6, 10.
  • 1877, 9, 8 Thomas & wife Julia Ann rqct West Branch MM, Miami Co OH

New Garden MM - NC

1812,12,26 John McCool gct West Branch MM, OH

Union MM

Bush River MM - SC

Page 2 - James McCool, the elder, d 2-9-1751, aged 42 yrs[6]

Page 36 - James McCool and Ann are listed with children:[6]

  • Mary b. 11-27-1743
  • John b. 8-10-1745
  • James b. 12-12-1747
  • Martha b. 10-31-1749
  • Gabril [Gabriel] b. 8-17-1851

Page 44 - Gabriel McCool and "Alisabeth" are listed with the following children:[6]

  • Rachel b. 27-11-1774
  • Ann b. 11-11-1776
  • James b. 10-13-1777
  • John b. 11-10-1780
  • Thomas b. 3-3-1782
  • Gabriel b. 1-12-1784

Miami MM

West Branch MM - Miami Co OH

The West Branch Monthly Meeting of Friends was established on 1st Month 7th, 1807 in West Milton, Miami Co, OH. Some of the very earliest members were McCoole families.

  • 1819, 7, 17 - James & w, Charity & ch, Eliza Ann & Rachel, rocf Hopewell MM, VA, dtd 1819, 2, 4, endorsed by Mill Creek MM, 1819, 6, 26[7]

Western Plain MM - IA

Le Grand MM - IA

Research Notes

The River Bann flows through Ulster (in now-Northern Ireland), separating eastern Co Londonderry from western Co Antrim. It drains Lough Neagh to the north, meeting the sea at Coleraine near the Giant's causeway. The Toberhead McCool line lived and worshipped in the Bann Valley starting in the early to mid 1600s. See valley map [8] and Quaker Meeting map[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Quaker meeting houses connected to Antrim: http://www.ulstergenealogyandlocalhistoryblog.com/2017/11/quaker-meeting-houses-connected-to.html
  2. Comments by Joan L. Petticrew (a professional researcher commissioned by Thomas E. McCool) in Co. Antrim
  3. https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/catalog/?title=quaker
  4. https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/catalog/?keyword=quaker
  5. https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/2189/
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/228116:3753?_phsrc=xAJ23332&_phstart=successSource&gsln=McCool&ml_rpos=4&queryId=0fd55d37d9b23d8edfdce677732014ec
  7. U.S., Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, Vol I–VI, 1607-1943 for James McCoole, Vol 5 - https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/3753/images/quakergenvolv-005312?pId=76028
  8. http://genealogy.torrens.org/BannValley/

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