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The Ole Warhorse

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Date: [unknown]
Location: Floridamap
Surname/tag: McGahagin
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The Ole Warhorse is a privately published book by Lillian Adaline Rosenberger and Nancy McGahagin Perry, giving an informal biography, mostly based on family stories, of their common grandfather, Joshua Lucas McGahagin. It concludes with a genealogy of the descendents of J. L. McGahagin, gathered through correspondence with family members. The book is not dated, but through internal evidence it was published about 1962, with no copyright. The transcription is done by Richard Rosenberger from a private copy.

(partial) Transcription

[page 1]



In Scotland's highlands three young brothers grew to manhood. All three has longed for adventure and absorbed the tales told by sea captains and others who has made the long perilous voyage of the far away land of America. The words of Horace Greeley, "Go West, young man," uttered later, had become a driving urge to them. This was in the mid seventeen hundreds.

Each brother sailed to a different part of the American Atlantic sea coast, one to Connecticut the second to Delaware Bay, thence to what is now West Virginia, the third to Savannah, Georgia and married a Georgia girl, Margaret Lucas. Four children were born to them; two sons, William and Joshua Lucas, and two older Daughters, Margaret, who married William McCardell, and Sallie, who died at sixteen.

We know nothing of the other two brothers, although we have heard of the name in Northern States. Dr. Lincoln Hulley, once president of Stetson University, told of having a college pal named McGahagin in the north and others have ,mentioned the name in West Virginia.

[page 2]

Grandfather's parents, William and Margaret McGahagin, did not live very long. The surviving daughter had married and moved away, the two boys were about eleven and thirteen when the become orphans. One Lucas uncle took one boy into his home. Another took the other. The uncle who took Grandfather soon died also, but his widow continued to keep the boy.It became necessary for Grandfather, aged twelve or thirteen, to help provide for himself and the aunt. He said he plowed all day, clad in an extra long shirt as his only outer garment. Somehow both boys acquired good education.

When he was eighteen, Grandfather mounted his horse, already laden with his few clothes, broke off a switch from a mulberry tree in the yard and set out for Marion County, Florida, where his older brother, William, had already become established. When he arrived at his brother's, he selected a home plot near a spring about a mile away. There he stuck his mulberry switch into the ground. It grew into a large tree and bore fruit for many years.

He built a log house, probably a "double pen,: to large rooms with a large hall between them, possibly with a porch in front and two "shed" rooms in back. He cleared land and established a plantation, homesteading a patent in 1835, in the Eastern District of Florida and the second District of Marion County. According to the 1840 Census, he owned seventeen male slaved and twenty female slaves.

[page 3]

[page 53]

Joshua Lucas McGahagin and Sarah Adeline Eubank were married September 16, 1846. She was about seventeen, he was about twenty-seven. He brought her to his first home and there were six children born to them; William Emmet, Elizabeth, Alelia Tallulah, and Sarah Adeline. Two sons, Stephen Eubank and Jessup Eubank died when small. Grandfather always managed to get a doctor attend his first wife in childbirth. However, when the youngest, Sarah Adeline, was born, the attending physician did not fully perform his duties and four days later the young mother died of "childbed fever." She was about twenty-eight.

Grandfather superintended the care of his four children for two years, then married again. This bride was Margaret Leitner, a daughter of Colonel George Leitner, a well-to-do planter in Micanopy. He was nearly forty, she was twenty, not very tall, and had black hair and grey eyes.

Their family consisted of three girls and six sons. Cora was born in 1859, Margaret Jane (Maggie) in 1861, Benjamin Franklin in 1863, Joshua Lucas, Jr., in 1865, in 1867 Wilber was born and died in infancy, James E. (Jim) in 1970 [sic, 1870], George in 1875, Eunice in 1877, The last child, Howard, only lived about two weeks.

Grandfather reared a total of eleven children, six daughters and five sons reached maturity, and all were married. Four sons had died in infancy.

— — —

[page 56]



Margaret Leitner was the daughter of Colonel George Leitner. He had moved to Florida after Indian troubles were over, coming with his wife and younger children from South Carolina. One or more children remained there.

Colonel Leitner bought a large tract of land near Micanopy. He built his home near “George’s Pond” (named for him). It overlooked beautiful Lake Wauberg, now a University of Florida Recreation area. The acres he owned are still known as the Leitner tract. One of the writers owns a small part of it.

He established a large plantation and raised much cotton. He, some of his family and slaves belonged to the old Micanopy Baptist Church. Records still in existence which date from 1832 bear their names.

After the Civil War he was completely ruined. He had mortgaged his land to develop it and could not pay it off, so he lost everything and his home burned. stones from it are still there. They had spend many summers in Orange Springs, where they met Grandfather while he was there on business.

Margaret Leitner McGahagin was a good mother to her large brood. She was a good seamstress and kept busy sewing clothes for them. She never saw her parents again after they moved to Brazil; they died there. Several of their younger children developed tuberculosis there and died. One of the brothers, Howard Leitner, came to Grandfather’s home shortly before he was killed and died there of that disease. He probably thought he might recover if he returned to Florida from Brazil.

[page 57] Margaret Leitner McGahagin is buried by Grandfather.

After Grandfather’s death, his widow and four younger children stayed on at the home for a few years.


— — —

[page 69]



William Emmitt McGahagin was the first child born to Joshua L. and Sara Adeline McGahagin. He was born June18, 1847 at their plantation home at Long Swamp, Florida, near what is now Belleview. He grew very rapidly. He was 5feet 10 inches high when grown. His hair was very black, eyes blue, ruddy clear complexion, broad shoulders, was very erect all of his like.

At the age of 16, when he entered the Confederate Army, he seemed a grown man.

He received his early education in his home by a governess. When ten years of age his mother died, his father sent him to Orange Springsto school, about forty miles North of their home. Here he boarded for two years until his father married again. The Methodist Church was the school house, which is still standing. Here he played with children, the Pearson boys, which afterward were comrades in the battles fought in that area.

Later he attended East Florida Seminary in Ocala, the first State College of Florida, which was established eight years previous to the War for Southern Independence, and when this crisis came in 1861, he was too young to go into service then, but enlisted when sixteen and saw action in the Confederate Army with his father at Horse Landing on the St. John’s River, Olistee and Gainesville.

After his bout with measles, a Negro boy, named Lewis, helped him into a box car as the train pulled out of Waldo. He his there until the train stopped in

[page 70]

Ocala, from there he made his way home. With rest and care he regained fairly good health and lived until he was nearly 90. He died November, 1936 and is buried in the Lake Weir Cemetery.

Aged 21, he married Emma Gartrell December 15, 1868, Atlanta Georgia, a Methodist Minister’s daughter. She and her mother came to Ocala as teachers, She was small and delicate and died of tuberculosis which was possibly contracted from a cousin, Willie McGahagin, who had died in their home of the disease.

When Billy married, his father gave him a horse, a plow, a cook stove and a bed to start his new home, which was in Ocklawaha on the North side of Lake Weir. He homesteader the property. The house was built with the front facing the lake. There were three bedrooms, a living room and a large room connected by a covered breezeway to the house. This served as a kitchen and dining room.

His sisters, Lizzie and Addie, often stayed with them to help with the babies.

Emma bore several children. Three, Eddie, Ernest and Tallulah, survived her. Eddie died at age 16, Lula, aged 17. Earnest lived to be 77. After the death of Emma, March 16, 1880, he married Sarah Barbara Redding Morrison, March 26, 1881, a widow with two sons.

Five children were born to this union. Sarah, Elizabeth, Nannie, Emily and Thomas Jefferson. The.y moved to Lecanto in 1894 because of his health and were there during the freeze of 1894-95. A few years later they moved back to Oklawaha where Barbara died July 1, 1918. Billy sold the home and moved to Ocala, where he lived the rest of his life.

1. William Ernest McGahagin, born November 24, 1872. Married Mary Burnett in 1899 at Ocala, where he was engaged in the mercantile business. Later they

[page 71]

moved to Tampa where he was in the wholesale grocery business. He died there, April 5, 1949. He attended business college in Atlanta, Georgia.

One child was born to them, Alma. She married John H. Moore of Knoxville, Tennessee. ...

... . 2. Sarah (Sallie) McGahagin, born August 9, 1882 — attended school her first year at Hoods Academy at North Lake Weir. Her other schooling was elementary school at Lecanto. Normal training at Crystal River. She taught one year old school. She married Joel Moon of Dunnellon April, 1901. She died June 21, 1949. She was the mother of five children.

[page 72] ... 3. Elizabeth (Lizzie), the second child of William and Barbara McGahagin, was born May 15, 1884. She married Robert Blair at Ocklawaha ... [page 73] ... 4. Nannie McGahagin was born September 25, 1886. She attended Normal Schools in Crystal River, Umatilla and Madison, Stetson University a short time. Graduate of University of Florida. Taught the public schools of Florida forty years. Now retired.

She married Jared Reade Wimberly of Orange Springs, who died from a rattlesnake bite at age 31 when their only son, William Reade (Billy) was 2 1/2 years old. Billy was born December 31, 1915. After seven years, Nannie married Walter Austin Perry, then at Leesburg. Upon his retirement, they moved to Orange Springs, where he died a few years later. She is one of the writers of this Volume ...

[page 74] ... 5. Emily was born December 8, 1888 at Lake Weir. She attended Normal School at Umarilla, Florida, also Stetson University in Deland. Taught school in elementary grades, also kindergarten, for several years. Was post master at Oklawaha for many years. She married Van Perry of Summerfield. ...

6. Thomas Jefferson McGahagin was born November 4, 1890 at Lake Weir, Florida. He served one year and five months in World War I. He married Claudia Nichols of Leesburg, Florida, June 21, 1921. He retired as telegraph operator, an employee of the Atlantic Coast Line Railway in 191, in Ocala, Florida. They have Three children.

[page 75] ... Warren Ernest McGahagin, born December 31, 1924, Chandler, Florida. A graduate of the university of Florida with a B.S. degree in mathematics and chemical engineering. Served in the U. S. Army Signal Corps for four years in World War II and rose to the rank of 1st Lieutenant. He is now senior electronics engineer in the employ of Martin Marietta Company of Orlando. He married Barbara Mayfield of Knoxville, Tennessee, a school teacher. There are no children.

Murray Gorden McGahagin born December 28, 1926. Educated in St.Petersburg schools. He served with the U.S. Army in Germany. After his separation from the Army, he is doing Civil Service work for the U.S. in France.

Elizabeth [was] the oldest daughter of Joshua and Sarah Adeline McGahagin, ... She taught school for a while and at 24, she eloped with Burton White of South Carolina. The moved [page 76] to Mellonville, now Sanford, where Burton Had a sawmill and cleared land for a home.

Three children were born to them. One boy died while small, a girl Talullah, and a boy, Alfred, survived. Burton White’s health soon failed, so they moved back to South Carolina, where he died. She brought the two children back to Florida. Before long, She died of malaria fever at he home of her Brother, Billy. He kept the two children for some time, then their father’s brother from South Carolina came for them and took them to his home. The girl, Lula, grew up and married there.

We seem to have heard her husband’s name was Cannon and that there were children. She died at an early age.

Elizabeth’s son, Alfred, came back to Florida when he grew up and became a Coast Line Railway Engineer. He married Evvie Sanders of Micanopy. They moved to St. Petersburg. For many years he was passenger engineer on the Jacksonville-St. Petersburg run. There were several children. Alfred died a few years ago.

(Unable to find any trace of the children)

Two boys, Stephen Eubank and Jesse Eubank born in 1850, died in infancy.

Alelia Talulah McGahagin, the fifth child of Joshua and Sarah Adeline McGahagin, December 25, 1852. Lula, as she was called, was of a very intelligent disposition. Scholarly, timid. A blond, with light brown hair and blue eyes. Her sister, Elizabeth, six years her senior, was her constant companion and looked after her welfare. She was educated in the home by tutors.

[page 77] When her Father left for Brazil, July 16, 1868, he took her with him. After a stop in Rio de Janerio, they went by boat to Rio Padro where the landed August 26, 1868.From there they went overland to the hills to villa Americana which was a colony of people from the Southern States of America. There Lula strayed with her father's father-in-law, George Leitner, and family while her father was in search of land for a new home. He purchased cacoa and coffee plantations. Lula soon began teaching the children of the colony. On June 9, 1873, she married Lucius Alphonso White of Texas, who had moved to the province, Bahia Empire of Brazil. He was employed by a diamond mine com[pany. They lived there fourteen years.

Four sons were born to them. James Kirby White died when two days old. Thomas Bannister White lived for two years. William Alphonso White born August 15, 1876. Lucius Alphonso, March 1881.

Sometime, about the year 1883, they embarked on. boat trip back to New York and from there to Florida where she visited with her sisters, Addie and Lizzie and brother, Billy, at his home at Lake Weir, which was a very familiar spot to her, near her old home. Then visited other members of the family.

It we at the first and last reunion of the four older McGahagin. Her husband's father had died and was buried in South America. When they left Florida, they went to his old home place In Texas. First to the Plains, then to La Porte, finally settled near Houston.

Four more children were born to them. Ernest Alphonso, May 8, 1884. Emmit Alphonso, October 22, 1887. Robert and Elizabeth, twins, October 16, 1890.

[page 78] Lula died May 5, 1892, leaving six children.

1. William Alphonso, a school teacher, and later postmaster at Cleveland, Texas, married Kate Smith. He died August 20, 1949. They had eight children, William A., Jr., Lucius Jefferson, Robert Ernest, Douglas Emmitt, Walton, Katherine, Elizabeth and Neal Ellis.

2. Lucius A. White, Jr. married Laura Mackey. Do not know date of his death. There were five children, Beatrice Alelia, born July 23, 1908, died August 8, 1921, Zubie Elizabeth, January 30, 1913, died January 27, 1914, Thomas Lucius, February 5, 1915, became a major in the Air Force. Was killed March 22, 194.

Ernest Edward, May 3, 1910, a printer for the Chronicle in San Fransisco.

Samuel David, July 13, 1918, a teacher at Lory Filed, Denver, Colorado.

3. Ernest Alphonso White married Hollis Crew ...

4. Emmitt Alphonso White, married Deanie Maddox. They live in Port Arthur, Texas. Three children were north to them, Emmitt Alphonso, Morris, and Dean.

5. Robert Alphonso White married Katie. ...

6.Elixabeth (Lizzie) White married Claude Otto. They live in Hungerford, Texas. ...

[page 79] — — —

[page 86] ... James E (Jim) McGahagin, the sixth child of Joshua L. and Margaret McGahagin was born at the family home on December 12, 1871. After his father’s return from Brazil, he attended public schools. He was a tall, black-haired, dark-eyed, energetic boy. He left home rather young. He was a mechanical engineer. On August 20, 1893, he married Emma Phillips in Burton, Alabama. She was born there on October 12, 1872. James E died February 12, 1951, she on April 19, 1951. They reared seven Children.

I William Emmett, born 13 July 1894, in Mobile, Alabama.He served in the Army in World War I and received a citation for bravery. He attended Baptist Bible Institute, New Orleans, Louisiana, Southwestern Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas and Central Baptist Seminary, Kansas City, Kansas. He married Beulah Myrtle Jackson in Little Rock,Arkansas, April 16, 1921. She was born April11, 1898 at Newport, Arkansas. William Emmit was six feet two inches tall, black-haired, weighed around 200 pounds and was handsome. He was eloquent, versatile and had traveled in every state. He was a Baptist minister and evangelist. For a while he lived in Pensacola and held revival meetings in several Florida cities. He moved to Texas and continued his work there for a time. They had one son, William Emmit, Jr., who only lived three weeks. He wrote many sermons and tracts. He died in Cuero, Texas on October 9, 1962 and was buried with a military funeral in The National Cemetery in Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas.

[page 87] Ii Joshua Leitner, Sr., was born at Stanton, Alabama December 1, 1899. ...

III Flossie Margaret, her married name is Wilson. They live in Gonzalez, near Pensacola.

IV H. W. (Guy) died in January 1962 of lung cancer. He was marked and lived in Pritchard, Alabama, A suburb of Mobile.

V Barney Kermet was born June 2, 1909 at Pelatralcie, Mississippi. ...

[page 88] ... VI O Stanley McGahagin, born June 22, 1912 in Laurel, Mississippi married Mary Carl, born August 24, 1924 in Coffeeville, Alabama. Married in Mobile Alabama, May 22, 1942. Live in Saraland, a suburb of Mobile. He is a contractor. Mary works in the office of a hospital in Mobile, Alabama. They have three children, Charles, born March 26, 1943 in Mobile, Alabama. He is a graduate of a submarine school in New London, Connecticut in 1962. Now serving on the nuclear powered submarine U.S.N. Scorpion. ...


VII Emma Nell Born June 14, 1916 in Townsend, Mississippi. She married Jesse Reed Harden in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Their Children are Frederick Phillip Harden, SP/4 U. S. Army was born August 25, 1936 in Uniform, Alabama. He has served in the Army for nine years, of that time he spent sixteen months ln Korea and three years in Germany. ...

[page 89]


The ninth and last child of the Joshua McGahagin was named Howard. He only lived for two weeks.


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