Sunday, May 2, 2010


Robert McFarland: born ca. 1675 in Ireland (County Tyrone). Married in 1705 to Janet (Jennet) and came to America around 1718.

John McFarland (1): born ca. 1706/08 in Ireland-married Mary Montgomery.
James: 1710 in Ireland-married Margaret Greer in 1730. Died 1752 without children.
Rachel: 1713 in Ireland-married 1. John Wilkins (1734), 2. John Ramsey (1742), 3. Gordon Howard (1751). Died in Pittsburg, Allegheny Co. after 1754.
Joseph: 1715 in Ireland-?
Robert: 1717 in Ireland-?-married Esther Dunn in 1748-moves to VA. in 1756.
Rebecca: 1720 in America-was baptized in the First Presbyterian church in Philadelphia, Philadelphia Co. Pennsylvania, birth date of April 14-married 1. Andrew Mayes 1735 and 2. Samuel McElhenny in 1755

The McFarland family settled about 70 miles west of Philadelphia in Chester County, Pennsylvania near Conestoga township and the Susquehanna River. Pennsylvania had been established first by the Dutch in 1609 when Henry Hudson landed in Delaware Bay. The British won it from the Dutch in 1664 and in 1681 King Charles II granted it to William Penn to pay a debt owed his father Admiral Sir William Penn. The colony became a refuge for Quakers and other non-Conformists, which certainly would have included Scots-Irish Presbyterians like our McFarlands.
In 1718 a Robert McFarland is listed on the Chester County tax rolls as an Indian trader. It is possible that our Robert came to America with father Robert and brother James, who might possibly be the James McFarland who settles in Cumberland Co., Pennsylvania. In 1718, our Robert (born 1675) would be around 43 years old, and if his father traveled with him, he would be at least 60. It is unclear if the records showing Robert and sons, Robert and James are referring to Robert born in 1675 and his sons, or his father.
Donegal was created as a new township in 1722 from the Conestoga township and Robert, with sons Robert and James are listed there. The Robert that we begin our tree with, however, has sons John (age 14) and Joseph (age 7) as well, who are not mentioned in this 1722 list. Robert appears on the tax lists in 1724, 25, and 26. The section of Chester County they lived in became Lancaster Co. in 1729, after Robert and his neighbors petitioned for its creation. Having a new county created meant more representation in the colonial government. The Charter of Privileges, drawn up by William Penn in 1701, allowed each county to elect 4 members annually to the colonial legislative body. Robert McFarland acquired 268 acres along the Schickaselungo Creek in 1739, which he passed on to his children when he died in 1751. (To find this area, look for the city of Lancaster, go southwest down Hwy. 501 toward the Susquehanna River. Conestoga, of course, is the town famous for its wagons first built in 1725. I wonder if our ancestors used one of these when they pulled out of Pennsylvania in the 1740s.)
Robert Sr. died June 17, 1751 and his will was probated March 25, 1752 in the Rapho township. (Like Donegal, the name Rapho also derives from their Irish homeland.)

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