Friday, December 23, 2016

Holbrook line: James Mackall, Scottish Immigrant, 1630-1693

This is the stuff of which legends are made.  The question is, is it true?  Was James Mackall a prisoner of war sent to Maryland by the British, or did he come of his own will and volition?  It depends on what you want to believe, I guess, because I'm not finding documentation that says that the James Mackall born in 1630 in Scotland was the same James Mackall who arrived in Calvert County in about 1666.  I'm not finding that his wife was Mary Grahame, although many, many sites list it as such.  But what I am finding is intriguing.

Our James was in Maryland by 1666, and I do believe he was of Scottish origin.  His wife's name was Mary and she may have been Mary Grahame, the daughter of John Grahame and Barbara Stewart.  If this is the same James Mackall, he has quite an interesting line in Scotland which includes some of the great names of Caithness.  The problem is, there was another James MacKall who was born about the same time, who went to New England about the same time and who others have given the parents as James Mackall and Mary Grahame.  This James's life in New England is fairly well documented.  Of course, the two James Mackalls could well have come from the same family, but it is difficult to find proof.

The New England James Mackall was definitely a prisoner of war of the English, sent to New England to work as an ironworker.  Our James Mackall of Maryland may also have been a prisoner of war, but he also may have been a free Scotsman, coming to Maryland because of economic opportunity as well as religious freedom.  He is reported to have received a land grant of 30,000 acres in Calvert County, which is exceptionally large and indicates that he was a person of some prestige when he arrived here. 

Our James was a planter, with a large plantation called "The Clifts" in Calvert County, Maryland. He also purchased another plantation called "The Cage."  It seems to have been a matter of debate as to the number of his children. The most inclusive list I've seen lists eight children, with two named Anne and two named Elizabeth, plus John, James, Benjamin, and Martha.  He  left a will at his death in 1693 which mentioned specifically one slave, Tobe, who was to go to his wife and then his youngest son, Benjamin.  It is likely that with land as vast as his was, there would have been more slaves. Mary died in 1718. 

The confusing part of all this, as far as our family goes, is that what I have found doesn't give Elizabeth Mackall Mauldin as a child in the will.  Of course it is possible that she was given land at the time of her marriage to Frances Mauldin in 1687.  Oftentimes such gifts are noted in the will but there seems to be no mention of it in this instance. 

There are so many mysteries about this man.  What was his background?  Was he really granted 30,000 acres in Calvert County?  Was he a Covenanter, or a Roman Catholic, or was he Anglican?  Did he and Ninian Beall know each other in Scotland?  And was his wife really from the famous Grahame family?  I've presented various theories here, but other than his arrival date, his land, and his will, much of his life is still open for further research.  It would be fascinating to learn the answers!

Our proposed line of descent is:

James Mackall-Mary Grahame
Elizabeth Mackall-Frances Mauldin
Ann Mauldin-William Amos
James Amos-Hannah Clarke
Robert Amos-Martha McComas
Robert Amos-Elizabeth Amos
Martha Amos-Peter Black
Elizabeth Black-Isaac Hetrick
Mary Alice Hetrick-Louis Stanard
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants