Information on John McMahans

I have been looking for a particular John McMahan, the one who married Jennie Craig in Pennsylvania around 1740 and later moved to North Carolina, for a great number of years, and I have run across a lot of other McMahans in the process. I am putting up a collection of information on John McMahans I have found. I hope some of this information will be helpful.
Gary McMahan
South Carolina


(Based on narratives passed down through my family.)

John McMahan was born in Scotland in 1720. In 1740 he married Jennie Craig in Scotland and sailed from Glasgow to Pennsylvania. One account has him marrying in Ireland, another in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Sometime after 1757 he moved from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to North Carolina.

Sources have the following as destinations:

Hillsborough, in Orange County
The Hawfields, west of Hillsboro in Orange County, now Alamance County
One source says both John and Jenny died in Orange County.

Archibald mentions in his pension application that he volunteered for militia duty while he was too young to be drafted (around Hillsborough, N.C.), and that he went off to quell Indians. If he were born in 1760, he would have been 16 in 1776, and there are records of N.C. troops being sent in 1776 to the frontier to guard against Indians. John McMahan's family, at least, must have been in Hillsborough by 1775, and if he was still alive he would have been 55 years old.

The McMahans were members of the old Hawfield Presbyterian Church. This church was where the Orange Presbytery was organized in 1770. Hawfields in the 1990s is located in eastern Alamance County, N. C.

Immediately south of Hillsboro there was a community called New Hope, but this area was settled after the Hawfields, around 1756. There is a note in one source that John Craig and Richard Coswell were leaders in a church in the New Hope community. This John Craig could have been Jennie Craig's brother or cousin who moved with them from Pennsylvania. He may have been a relative that preceded them to N.C. Also, the DAR records have a John Craig (1731 - 1816) who was born in Scotland, served as a private in the N.C. Militia, and died in Orange County, N.C. His wife was Mary Blackwood and he had a daughter, Elizabeth. (DAR Lineage Book #53, 1905, p. 350.) Since John Craig was from Scotland, that would make it more likely that John McMahan and Jenny Craig were married in Glasgow, if this John Craig was Jenny's brother.

John and Jenny had the following children:

John, who served in the Revolution and later moved to Tennessee
William, who remained in Pennsylvania
James, who was killed in the Revolution
Archibald, who fought in the Revolution
Jennie, who married James, Payne, cousin of Anne Payne, and moved to Jackson County, Georgia
Alec, married a Higgins who had formerly lived in Grove Creek, Greenville County, S.C., and then went to Indiana
Assuming that John and Jenny left Pennsylvania after William was old enough to make his own way, and relying on accounts that they were married in 1740, it can be suggested that they left Lancaster, Pennsylvania, for points south sometime after 1757. Archibald's statement in his pension application that he was told he was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is used to set Lancaster as at least one of the places in Pennsylvania where the family lived.

Details on their children:

Jennie McMahan (probably named after her mother) married James Payne, Anne Payne's cousin (Anne Payne married Archibald), probably in Orange County, N.C., or in Greenville County, S.C. From there they moved to Georgia.
Alex, who was apparently the youngest, apparently preceded, moved with or followed Archibald to Grove Creek, S.C., probably between 1787 and 1790. That was where he met and married a Higgins who lived in Grove Creek. From here Alec went to Indiana.
Other speculations about John McMahan.
John McMahan, his wife Jenny, and possibly other Craigs, may have traveled from Pennsylvania to North Carolina on the Philadelphia Wagon Road. The Philadelphia Wagon Road in 1760 passed through present day Winston-Salem, Salem at that time, down through Salisbury, directly through Waxhaw. At it closest point, when it passed through Salem, it was 63 miles west of Hillsborough.

Once in the Hillsborough area, Archibald's wife reported in her pension application that during the Revolution, Archibald's mother paid other people to serve one of Archibald's three-month tours, and at another reference that she was trying to purchase her son's release from a prison ship in Charleston. It is interesting that Archibald's father was not mentioned in the request and that his mother was doing purchasing and negotiating. This may mean that by the late 1770's John McMahan had died.

There are no records, so far, of a John McMahan in or around Hillsborough. He may have died before he got there, or the records may still be out there to be found. There is no indication of where he or Jenny were buried, only that they were members of the Hawfields Presbyterian church

Other John McMahans found along the way

John McMahon, Case One:
A John McMahon died in Rowan County in 1777, and his will left his estate to James, William and Samuel McMahan. Mentioned in Rowan County Wills we have 1777, John McMahon, James, Samuel, William. [p. 277, An Abstract of North Carolina Wills From About 1760-1800 Supplementing Grimes Abstract of North Carolina Wills from 1663-1760. Fred A. Olds. Baltimore Southern Book Company, 1954.]

John McMahon, Case Two:
John McMahon was mentioned (January, 1764) in a land transaction in South Carolina's Craven County in St Mark's Parish on a body of water or community called Turkey Creek. There are several Turkey Creeks in South Carolna. One is north of the Broad River and west-southwest of the present town of York, S.C. Turkey Creek itself runs generally northeast from its intersection with the Broad River into the present town of York. It is approximately 35 miles from Turkey Creek to Waxhaw. Another Turkey Creek is found above Charleston in Williamsburg County. Based on other references it is likely that this Turkey Creek is one near Charleston. [Alexander Swinton, planter, & Elizabeth his wife to George Burrows, planter, both of Craven Co., for L 310 currency, 300 a. on a place called Turkey Creek, surveyed for Swinton's father but never granted; bounded SE on Joseph McCree; NW on Joseph McCree and John McMahon; other sides on vacant land; as by plat. Witnesses; John Scott, Jr., John Burrows. Proved by Burrows 16 January 1764 before John Troup, J.P. Recorded 18 January. 1764 by William Hopton, Register.]

John McMahan, Case Three:
Citation granted Jane McMahan and Henry Menely of Williamsburgh Township to administer the estate and effects of John McMahan late of the same place. Certified 21 May, 1776. [Journal of the Court of Ordinary, 1764-1771 Volume 3. South Carolina Deed Abstract 1719 - 1772, Vol II, p. 210. Actual source book A-3, p. 487 18 & 19 July 1763.] This may be the same John as in Case Two.

John McMahan, Case Four:
The following appears in the Probate Records of S.C, Volume I, Index to Inventories, 1746-1785: John McMahan 1766, St Davids Parish (Vol W, 297-298)

John McMahon, Case Five:
Christened on October 25, 1718, at St John Limerick, Limerick, Ireland. His father was Bryan McMahon. [International Genealogical Index (R) 1994 Edition, Version 3.06: British Isles.]

John McMahon, Case Six:
Christened on August 6, 1721, at St. John Limerick, Limerick, Ireland. His father was Terrence McMahon. [International Genealogical Index (R) 1994 Edition, Version 3.06: British Isles.]

John McMahan, Case Seven:
John McMahan was granted 200 acres of land on July 2, 1787, as a Revolutionary War Bounty Land Grant. The property was located in Ninety-Six District on the N.E. boundary of 23-Mile Creek on the waters of the Savannah River. [Volume 4, p 458, Revolutionary War Bounty Land Grants, Page 34.]

John McMahan, Case Eight:
Born 1750, died December 23, 1823. Married Mary Oliver. Enlisted in Pendleton District under John Caldwell's Continental Troops, commanded by Colonel Thompson, in Captain Liddill's company. He was discharged by James Marion in Charles Town, returned to Pendleton District and was married in June or July of 1784. They left for Kentucky in 1803 or 1804. His widow made application for her widow's pension in 1844, from Illinois. When she applied for her pension, William and Peter McMahan signed a deposition that they knew John. [Pension #WA23938]

John McMahan, Case Nine:
Born 1740. Enlisted in 1779 in Pennsylvania. At age 78 (1813) he applied for his pension. He moved to Ohio in 1821. [Pension #S41842]

John McMahan, Case Ten:
Born 1756 in Prince Edward County, VA. Served in 1775 in Prince Edward and was discharged in 1780. He was living in Laurens District, S.C., in 1832 when he applied for his pension at age 77.

John McMahan, Case Eleven:
Born 1728, died about 1800. Served in N.C. Married Isabella Barnes. [DAR Patriot Index]

John McMahan, Case Twelve:
Born about 1734, died 23 January 1784. Served in Virginia with the rank of lieutenant. Married Debora Stockton. [DAR Patriot Index]

John McMahan, Case Thirteen:
In the Revolution from Pennsylvania. [Pension #S41842]

John McMahan, Case Fourteen:
In the Revolution from Virginia. [Pension #S2808]

John McMahan, Case Fifteen:
In the Revolution from Virginia. [Pension #S18110]

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4 March 1998/Joanna Ashmun