The McGough Family Page

See the author's 2013 book, The Invisible Hand In American History, at

Picture of John McGough's grave and a description of how it was located was added on 12/22/10. Pictures taken by Howard McGough, a photographer, who was killed while serving in the Confederate army, were added March 9, 2014. Pictues were provided by Dr. Bill McGough. Find A Grave material added 6/15/2014.

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Many sources identify the McGough family as being a Scotch-Irish family from County Down, Northern Ireland. (Scotch-Irish is an American term. In the United Kingdom, Scotch is whiskey. People are Scots.) There, according to an Irishman associated with the American Museum of the American Frontier, their name was probably pronounced so that it rhymed with "cough". 

Today McGoughs pronounce the name in a variety of ways. The author's closest McGough relatives pronounce it Ma-gew-uh, which Hugh McGough thinks may be similar to the original pronunciation. It appears that it was originally spelled "McGeough." Some sources say that it means son of Geough. For more information about the origin of the family's name click here and here.

The McGoughs may have lived in a homes that looked like the one above, which is a home from the period when they left Northern Ireland that has been moved to Virginia. (Photograph taken by Carole E. Scott at the Museum of the American Frontier in Staunton, Virginia.)

Scotland got its name from the fact that the Scots, a Celtic tribe, emigrated from Ireland to the nearby lowlands of Scotland. A much later invasion of  Ireland by the English led to some of their descendants, who typically had inter-married with with Anglo-Saxons, returning to Ireland.

England first became involved with Ireland in the 12th century when  the Earl of Pembroke (Strongbow) intervened in a local dispute in Leinster in 1170 . King Henry II landed in Ireland in 1171. England expanded its foothold in Ireland, and in 1177 Ulster (Northern Ireland) was conquered by an army led by John de Courcy. In the 14th and 15th centuries the English were pushed back until the occupied only the area around Dublin, the "Pale." (This is the origin of the saying "beyond the Pale," that is, everything outside it is savage.) English colonization expanded in the 16th century. This led to several rebellions.

map of the United KingdomThe "Plantation of Ulster," the systematic colonization of Donegal, Tyrone, Derry, Armagh, Cavan, and Fermanagh by settlers from England and Scotland, began in the 17th century. After Parliament won the English Civil War, Oliver Cromwell's troops conquered all of Ireland, thus opening the entire island to colonization. Cromwell's Protestant army crushed both the native Irish peasantry and the Old English Catholic aristocracy that had settled in Ireland. The victory in 1690 of   the army of  Protestant King William of Orange over the army of Catholic King James at the Battle of the Boyne explains why  Protestant Ulstermen are called Orangemen.

By the end of the 17th century Ireland had been heavily settled, mainly by Scotsmen. Reportedly there was little inter-marriage between these Scots and the native Irish. Relations between the Scots and the native Irish and the English were poor. The Irish were hostile because they were Protestants, while they were Catholics, and because, at England's invitation, they had settled in Ireland. The English were hostile because most of them were Presbyterians, rather than members of the Church of England. England pressured the Scots-Irish to convert. (Protestant Scots were better than Catholic Irish, who the English considered to be barbarians, but apparently not by much.)

Hugh McGough believes the McGoughs were an Irish family that converted to the Presbyterian faith. Scottish poor law records in the 1800s, he says, show that some McGoughs who then lived in Scotland originated in Ireland, most often in County Monaghan but also in Armagh, Down and Tyrone. Descendants of some of the McGoughs who moved to Scotland for better economic opportunity may have returned to Ireland. This was not an uncommon pattern. Because," he adds, "of penal laws in Ireland in the 1600s and 1700s, many Irish, especially in Ulster, converted from Catholicism to Presbyterianism--even though the Presbyterians were also subject to discriminatory laws."

The minimum distance between Ulster and Scotland is only 20 miles. After emigrating to Ireland, these Scots Presbyterians maintained a separate identity from the native Irish, who they felt themselves to be superior to. According to Orville A. Park in a 1928 article in The Georgia Historical Quarterly, they were concentrated in Down, Tyrone, Antrim and Donegal counties in Ireland. When James II was banished and took refuge in Ireland, these Scots sided with the Prince of  Orange. They were disappointed when, having fought with the victorious Prince of Orange, they found that the Church of England was no more tolerant of them than was the Catholic Church. Exorbitant rents, the prohibition of the export of their woolens, and their being banned from participating in the government unless they converted led to the heavy emigration of Scots from Ulster to America, where they landed in Philadelphia, Newcastle, Boston, Charleston, and Savannah. More than half the Scots population of Ulster is thought to have emigrated.

Many Ulstermen, Hugh McGough believes, "were attracted to Charleston by grants of free land by South Carolina. Ship advertisements in the early 1760s were full of promises of free land in South Carolina. These land grants ended, however, on December 31, 1767. Many emigrant ships sailed from Newy to Charleston, South Carolina in 1771 and 1773. A few went first to Philadelphia, then on to Charleston." (Many Scots-Irish settled in Pennsylvania. Some of these families later emigrated to the Southeast.)

Scotch-Irish emigration from Ulster to the American colonies became commonplace by the first half of the 18th century. (Native Irish did not immigrate in large numbers until the Potato Famine in the 19th century.) Usually the Scotch-Irish emigrated with other family members and friends, and this was true of  the family of Robert McGough.

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The origin of the conflict today in Ulster had was the settlement in Ireland  the of Presbyterians from Scotland. To learn more about Ulster and its history, you can click on the above graphic. You may also want to go to  the Northern Ireland Gen Web.

The Coming of the Robert McGough Family to America

County Down coastJohn McGough was born in County Down, August 21, 1761. (At that time middle names were not used. John's grandchildren were the first in his family to have middle names.) He was the son of  Robert McGough and Mary Carson McGough. The Robert McGough family emigrated to America when John was about 10 years old with about 40 other people, most of whom were relatives. Among these relatives were the Carsons, McDowels, and Pattersons.

County Down sceneThey landed in Charleston, S.C. after a voyage of some three months. From there they made their way overland to Mecklenburg, N.C. (Charlotte is in Mecklenburg, S.C.) There Robert McGough bought a tract of land in 1773 from Patrick Jack, a noted Scotch-Irish  tavern keeper in Charlotte. (James Jack, his son, who served as a captain in the American army during the Revolutionary War, is said to have carried the Mecklenburg Declaration to Philadelphia where it supposedly influenced the writing of the Declaration of Independence. There is a monument to him in Charleston. His cousin, John Jack, who also served in the American army and, like him, settled in Georgia after the War, was the ancestor of the wife of Joseph Gordon McGough. The Jacks, who had originally settled in Pennsylvania, apparently descended from a couple who immigrated from France (Jacques) to Scotland before immigrating to Ireland.

Click here to see some recent pictures of County Down.

In the Eighteenth Century the Scotch-Irish gravitated to the frontier. A great many of the Scotch-Irish who ultimately settled in Georgia, then settled only along the Savannah River from Savannah to Augusta, moved from Pennsylvania or Virginia to the Yadkin Valley, where Mecklenburg County is located. From North Carolina they moved to South Carolinia. Like the McGoughs, those who landed in Charleston, often first settled in the Yadkin Valley and subsequently migrated, first, to South Carolina and, then, to Georgia. Subsequently, some moved to Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

According to "Ulster Emigration to Colonial America: 1718-1775" by R. J. Dickson. (Ulster Historical Foundation, Belfast, 1966) Arthur Dobbs was the most prominent of the organizers of Irish emigration to pre-revolutionary America. Dobbs was a large land owner in County Antrim.  Apparently, he began these efforts in 1730 or earlier.  In 1745, Dobbs purchased a part interest in 400,000 acres in the present counties of Mecklenburg and Cabarrus in North Carolina from the McCulloch estate.  The first tenants sailed for North Carolina in April of 1751.  The number was small. Many were tenants of Dobbs on his land in County Antrim, near Carrickfergus. Dobbs' seat was at Castle Dobbs in Carrickfergus.  Dobbs was appointed governor of North Carolina in January of 1753, but apparently did not visit the area until 1755.  Many Irish from Pennsylvania also settled on his North Carolina lands. (The emigration of some members of families to the Southeast, while others remained in Pennsylvania, led to cousins fighting each other from 1861 to 1864 in the nation's most bloody conflict.)

When the Revolutionary War broke out, only people from England exceeded the Scotch-Irish in number. Bitter about the way England had treated them, the Scotch-Irish eagerly supported the American cause. Thirty-nine of the Continental Army's generals were Scotch-Irish: Stark, Knox. Wayne, Montgomery, Morgan, Campbell, and Georgia's Elijah Clark. Patrick Henry was also a Scotch-Irishman. The first Census, taken in 1790, revealed that a majority of Georgians were Scotch-Irish.

E. M. Sharpe's Account of the McGough Family's Emigration to America

(Sharpe retired as the pastor First Methodist Church of Aberdeen, Mississippi in 1945)

The McGoughs definitely came from County Down, North Ireland [in] 1771. What their histories prior to coming to America is not known. The family had long settled in County Down in villages along the base of the mountains. This information comes from a very old lady by the name of Mrs. Bridgett McCoy with whom I corresponded in 1950. Her home at the time was Dorsey Mullagrass, Culluhany Post Office, County Armagh, Ireland. She had lived for many years in the area of County Down in which the McGoughs had lived. She states: "I know there was an old race of people named McGough and other people who left Ireland near 200 years ago. Some of them worked in England and their home in Ireland was along the mountains close to Newry. There are some of the descendants still there, but I am the nearest friend, none of the young people seem to know anything about these older people.

Our oldest ancestor was Robert McGough, Sr., who with his wife--who is traditionally called Matilda Carson McGough--left County Down in company with 40 others, neighbors and kinsmen by the name of Carson and McDowell. They sailed from the sea port of Newry on their way to Charleston, South Carolina. It was the year of 1771. After a stormy voyage that is said to have lasted three months, they finally landed at Charleston, more dead than alive. Some of this information comes from William Nelson, a grandson of John McGough who had lived with his grandfather and had heard him tell of his experiences many times. John McGough was of Green County, Georgia. In 1895, in William Nelson's old age he wrote a letter to a cousin of his describing what his grandfather had told him. He said in part:

"You asked me to give you information concerning grandfather John McGough. He was born in Ireland and came over to America with his father, mother, brothers, and sisters and other family relations, the Carsons and McDowells, 40 of them came over in the same ship and landed in Charleston, South Carolina close to 4 months voyage. Grandfather was only 10 years old then. They fled from Ireland because of British oppression and settled in South Carolina, I think it was in Abbeville District. I know he came from Abbeville to Georgia."

Some of the Carson family do seem to have settled first in Abbeville District, South Carolina. One set of them were in what is now Edgefield County, South Carolina. Another family, that of Thomas Carson, went on to Wilkes County, Georgia where Thomas died in 1790 leaving a will. [Greene and some other counties were later cut out of Wilkes, which is near Augusta, Georgia.] It was the grand daughter of Thomas that became the wife of the above John McGough. The McDowells settled also in Wilkes County as there were McDowells closely related to the Carsons and with whom the McGoughs seem to have had close relations with.

Robert McGough, Sr., however, for some reason now unknown to us, pushed his way up into Mecklenburg County, North Carolina where he purchased a tract of land in the Providence Presbyterian Church community, about 10 miles south of Charlotte. There he purchased land from Patrick Jack on Oct. 24. 1773. The following deed is on record at Charlotte, N.C. [Carole Scott has also seen the record of this deed while researching the Jack family.]

October 24, 1773, Patrick Jack of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, and Robert McGough of the same county and Providence, for 60 pounds Proclamation money, conveys a tract of land on both sides of McCalpanes Creek, joining Robert Elliott and Samuel Jack and being where on Patrick Jack now dwells. Containing 150 acres.

This deed was witnessed by James Tate, Samuel Jack, and Edward Sharp and signed by Patrick Jack.


The Georgia Genealogical Magazine (Vol. 3) includes Mecklenburg County, North Carolina deed records. One reports the following: "Robert McGough of Greene County, Georgia, to William Smith of Mecklenburg Co. Deed dated Dec. 13, 1786, conveying 150 acres on McCoppins Creek, being the part willed to the grantor by his father (unnamed), together with a part deeded grantor by his brother, John McGough. Recorded deed book #13, page 724. So, it is clear that Benjamin Lewis McGough in his history of the McGough family was wrong when he said that John McGough came to America with only one brother.

Robert McGough died in 1778. His son John was the executor of his will. His children in addition to John were: Isabella, Robert (2), William, Sarah, and Mary. According to Benjamin Lewis McGough, in 1782, John married Elizabeth Carson in North Carolina. However, the marriage records of Abbeville, South Carolina record that "M220 McGough, Unknown" married "C625 Elizabeth Carson" there in 1780. Elizabeth was the daughter of William and Margaret Carson.

Like John and Elizabeth McGough, John's in-laws, the Carsons, moved to Abbeville, South Carolina. William Carson's will establishes that Elizabeth was his daughter. Elizabeth was the granddaughter of Thomas and Martha Carson, who, like the William Carsons and his siblings and the John McGoughs, settled in Wilkes County, Georgia. The McGoughs settled in that part of Wilkes that Greene County was created out of..

 Thomas Carson's will is recorded in Greensboro, Georgia. He died in 1790. Many Carsons in Georgia are descended from the Thomas Carsons, whose children were: William, Thomas, John, David, Adam, Joseph, and Elizabeth. Thomas Carson's will is dated September 1, 1789. In it he mentions his son Adam. John S. Carson married Sarah Bates on May 6, 1810 in Baldwin County, Alabama. His will was signed on November 1, 1864 in Brazos County, Texas.

Due to his service in the army, Robert McGough's son John, was given a grant of land in Greene County, Georgia--probably in 1791. His brothers William and Robert were also given grants, and the three brothers moved there. The grants of Robert and John  were near White Plains. Soon after they moved to Georgia, trouble broke out with the Indians, and John moved his family back to South Carolina, remaining there about a year until peace was made. He then moved back to his former home in Georgia. There he reared his family and produced most of  what they needed on his farm.

Robert's son, Robert, moved to Christian County, Kentucky in 1805. In 1817, he moved to Dallas County, Alabama. He died in Alabama in 1827. His wife, Agnes McWhorter McGough, died in Alabama in 1843. Both are buried in the Mt. Pleasant Presbyterian Cemetery near Summerfield. Their daughter Mary and her husband, James Harrison Armstrong, along with a number of relatives, moved to Sabine Parish, Louisiana in the Fall of 1847. Mary died in March 1885 at the age of 91.

The elder Robert's daughter, Isabella, born May 13, 1764 in Ireland, married John Carson (born May 24, 1760 in Ireland). She and her husband lived for a while in Edgefield County, South Carolina, where his family apparently settled, before moving to Crawford County, Georgia where she died in 1823. She and her husband had eight children: Thomas (born May 13, 1785), William (born August 26, 1787), Jane (born September 16, 1789), Phebie (born January 3, 1793), Polly (born July 5, 1796), John (born July 2, 1799), Joseph Jefferson (born August 16, 1802, and Robert (born May 2, 1806).

Carolyn Rowe has discovered that Isabella's sister, Sarah married Adam Carson, who was the son of Thomas Carson, Sr. and Margaret McDowell. Thomas Carson, Sr. was the sheriff and a justice of the peace in Jones County, Georgia. He owned a prosperous plantation called Round Oak and is buried there.

John McGough and His Family

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John McGough, like many of the Scotch-Irishmen,  volunteered when the Revolutionary War broke out. According to a family history provided Lee Nelson by his Great Aunt, he first served under the command of General Horatio Gates. Later he served under General Nathaniel Greene. He served through the famous campaign of  General Green in the Carolinas (See map.) at the battles of Fishing Creek, Eutaw Springs, and Guilford Courthouse. He was a member of the cavalry of General Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee, father of General Robert E. Lee. He was wounded at Guilford Court House by two sabre cuts, one of the side of his head near the crown and the other on the shoulder near the shoulder blade. He was present, too, at the Battle of Saratoga, New York., when General Burgoyne surrendered. He also was present at the Battle of Brandywine Creek near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In a history of the McGough family written by Benjamin Lewis McGough (great-grandson of John, grandson of  Thomas)  in 1921 the following description is given of  John's wounding:

On one occasion he was chosen by his General to carry a message or an order to an Officer of the Army on horse back, carrying only a saber to defend himself. On his way he was met and attacked by a band of Tories as they were called, a class that was unfriendly to the American cause. He fought his way through them and with a stab wound in his side carried the message. He was also a hero of the Battles of Brandwine and Saratoga, receiving a scalp wound on the head from a sword carried by a British soldier. He was present at the surrender of  the British General to George Washington's Army at Saratoga which practically ended the Revolutionary War.

The following is Dr. Bill McGough's ([email protected]) account of locating John McGough's grave:

I found the McGough holy grail,GGGgf John McGough's grave near White Plains,Ga.

What an adventure!

We first went to the Greene Co. county seat Greensboro Ga.chamber of commerce. We were refered across the street to the florist, Joel McRay who is the county historian.he got excited about the quest and started pulling out reference books and found confirmation in a DAR book that JMc., Rev . War vet was buried near White Plains.I told him that it was last seen in 1995 in a peanut field owned by Jimmy Thompson who is deceased.Joel proclaimed that his "Sustah" was married to Mr. Eley who owned all the land around there and had grown up on the farm and would know where the site is.And just then Sustah walked in the florist shop.She got excited too and insisted on guiding us. We followed her about ten miles and she deposited us in a field behind an abandoned house while she went to get her husband. He came and walked in a large field of chest high rye but couldn't find it. We then went down the road a couple of miles to Mr. Richard Stuart's dairy farm.He owned the pasture and drew us a map.We went back to the pasture and found the marker which according to Joel was placed there in the 1940's by the D.A.R.there were 3 other unmaked stones lined up with the marker. I assume these were wife and children who died young.


From Find A Grave added 6/15/2014: James Robert McGough, a farmer and grandson of a Scotch-Irish immigrant Revolutionary war soldier, was born in Georgia on Sept. 26. 1837. He enlisted as a private on July 12, 1861, in the Jeff Davis Riflemen, the second Confederate Army company organized in Butts, Co., Ga. Formed in Jackson, the county seat, it was sent to Richmond, Va., in May 1861, where it became part of the 14th Ga, Inf. Regt. The 14th eventually served in General Edward Thomas' Brigade, which was a part of Major General A.P. Hill's Division, Lieutinant General "Stonewall" Jackson's Second Corps.

A member of Co. I, he was honorably discharged on March 3, 1863, after contracting typhoid fever. In July 1864, he enlisted as a private in Company G, 6th Regt., Georgia Militia, and was sent to Savannah. This regiment was disbanded in South Carlina across the river from Augusta, Ga. He lived the rest of his life in Butts County near Indian Springs. He died on december 4, 1913.

The county's history recounts that when his crippled father-in-law. William R. Bankston, who was clerk of the court, stepped outside the courthouse in Jackson to watch Sherman's men march through the city, one of them shot him. The wound was not fatal.

James brother, William Marion McGough, a merchant born on August 22, 1842, enlisted with him as a private in Company I, 14th Georgia, on July 12, 1861. Wounded at Fredericksburg on Dec. 13, 1862, William urrendered at Appomattox on April 9, 1865. He later moved to Morton, Miss., and died January 14, 1915.

James Robert's oldest brother, John Thomas McGough who was born on Dec., 22, 1832 was a private in the 10th Texas Cavalry. He died on May 12, 1872 and was buried in Butts County.

Another brother, Joseph Howard McGough, was born March 29, 1840, and worked as a photographer before the war. He enlisted in Byars Volunteers from Butts Co., which became Company I, 45th Regiment, Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Joseph was wounded in the shoulder and chest at Fredericksburg on December 13, 1862. He died in General Hospital No. 12 in Richmond as a result of the amputation of his shoulder joint on June 3, 1863.

James youngest brother, Benjamin Lewis McGough, born January 3, 1849, joined a boys company in 1863 that was subsequently mustered into service as Company G, 3rd Georgia Infantry Regiment, Reserves. This regiment was sent to guard Union prisoners at Andersonville, Ga. There he became brigade drummer, and every morning he beat the roll call and guard mount in front of the headquarters of Captain Henry Wirz, the camps commander.

In the 1920's, Benjamin McGough wrote an account of his wartime service in which he explained why the hanging of Wirz by the Federal government was unjustified. After the war he ran a store in Atlanta and served as the postmaster of Fayetteville, Ga. In addition, he was named deputy collector of Internal Revenue for the District of Georgia and also served as a notary public and justice of the peace. End: Find A Grave


In the first row below are two of the pictures taken by Joseph Howard McGough, a photographer, before as a Confederate soldier he was killed. Below each picture is a copy of it after it was improved by the author. using a graphics program. Their source is a descendant of Howard McGough's daughter.

The author has deposited a copy of  Benjamin Lewis McGough's account and copies of various family papers in the Georgia State Archives in Atlanta.

From the Revolutionary War forward, there is very strong agreement between the accounts passed down through the Nelson family descended from John's daughter, Martha, and the account passed through the McGough family descended from John's son, Thomas.

After the War, the support of the Scotch-Irish  helped Thomas Jefferson overcome the Federalists. The first Scotch-Irishman to gain the Presidency was Andrew Jackson, who was born near the North Carolina/South Carolina border. (When he was elected President, he lived in Tennessee.) After the War, a great many of the Scotch-Irish were converted by Methodist Circuit riders and Baptist preachers.  The John McGough family became Baptists.

At the 1892 convention of the Scotch-Irish Society of America  in Atlanta, Georgia lawyer Patrick Calhoun, grandson of  Scotch-Irish-descended John C. Calhoun had the following to say about the Scotch-Irish in Georgia:

The Scotch-Irish have stamped an imperishable impression upon Georgia. For those homely virtues of thrift, industry and economy which have caused the people of this State to be termed the Yankees of the South; for that dauntless and invincible courage which has immortalized the conduct of her soldiers upon the field of battle; for all those splendid qualities which enabled her people to erect the fabric of pure and honest government out of the corrupting chaos of Reconstruction, and to move forward so rapidly and successfully in the march of progress as to justly win for her the proud rank of the "Empire State of the South," Georgia is deeply indebted to that noble race in whose history, traced through their career here and their earlier settlements in the Carolinas, Virginia, and Pennsylvania back to old Ulster, and further still to the lowlands and craggy highlands of Scotland, the electric search light of the nineteenth century discloses not a single page blurred by servile submission to native wrong or foreigh yoke. (Quoted in: "The Georgia Scotch-Irish," Orville A. Park, The Georgia Historical Quarterly, June 1928, pp. 115-135)

John, it is said, ate supper every evening at sunset and his breakfast at or before sunrise. He sheared his own sheep and wore clothes made from their wool. He raised tobacco for himself to chew and his wife to smoke. Obviously, he did relatively well, as he owned several slaves. Most Georgians owned none. He died at his home near White Plains on October 17, 1847, aged 86 years, 1 month, and 18 days. He was buried in the McGough family cemetery on his farm. His grave is marked by a marble slab that cites his service during the Revolutionary War. His wife's grave is marked by a crude stone marker. Elizabeth Carson was born in Newry, County Down, on June 25, 1764. She died on April 23, 1847, aged 82 years, 9 months, and 28 days.

Children of John and Elizabeth McGough

Name Birth Marriage War Date of Death and Where Buried
Sarah 7/15/1783 single   7/22/1823, Green Co., Ga.
Robert 3/28/1785 Sandel Cabanis

m. 10/10/1811

 in Jones Co., Ga

1812 3/10/1881, Monroe Co., Ga.

Paron Church

Margaret 4/11/1787 single   1880, Monroe Co., Ga.

Paron Church

William 4/12/1789 single   12/12/1820
Martha  3/18/1791 Perry Nelson

12/14/1793 - 7/10/70

m. 11/07/21 

in Green Co., Ga.

  11/4/1870 , in Green Co., Ga.
John 4/15/93 single   10/22/1819, Green Co.
Thomas 4/7/1795 Nancy McClure

 2/14/1804 - 1/13/89

 m. 12/27/25

 in Putnam Co., Ga.

1812 1/23/1876, Butts Co., Ga.

County Line Baptist Church

Elizabeth 4/40/1797 single   6/8/1817, Green Co., Ga.
Matilda 7/17/1799 Marshall C. Sharpe

1798 - 1845

m. 11/30/1819 in 

Green Co., Ga.

  11/16/1881, Scott Co., Miss.
Joseph 8/14/1801 single   9/1/1812, Green Co., Ga.
James 11/23/1803 m. in Green Co., Ga.   Died in Ala. about 1883
David 8/13/1806 Aplis S. Foster Sanderson   7/26/1836, Butts Co, Ga.

Bethel Church

As the majority of Georgia's settlers during this period came from Virginia and the Carolinas, the McGoughs were typical. Also typical of a healthy couple, was the birth of a child every other year.

Robert McGough served in the army during the War of 1812. On October 10, 1811, he married Sandel Cabanis or Cabaniss of  Jones County, Ga., where they lived for awhile before moving to Monroe Co., Ga. They raised a family of six boys and four girls. When he died his obituary said he might be the last survivor of the War of 1812. A Monroe County history reports that he came to that county from Jones, and that he was with the "first band of immigrants and blazed a trail through the forest to a place on Tobesofkee Creek, where he built a home." (Among the early settlers of Monroe were members of the Cabaniss family.) Two of his sons lost their lives "for the cause of  the South." Two of his sons were merchants in Columbus, Ga. Two sons and a daughter resided in Monroe Co. Another lived in Alabama. His wife survived him. When he died they  had been married 69 years. In "Memoirs of Georgia" in a sketch of their son R.C. it is reported that Robert and Sandal had ten children: John, a Columbus merchant; Matthew O.; Sarah B. (married Jacob A. Clements); Matilda; Elizabeth (married Ezekiel Hollis); William T. (killed at the battle at New Hope, Georgia), George L., a Columbus merchant: Mary A. (married to Robert Minten); Robert C., a farmer; and C. C. (killed at Gettysburg). Hugh McGough reports children named Matilda, John, Matthew, William, Robert, and Lafayette. He believes they had two other children. John, he reports, married Mary Elizabeth Dawson. In 1868 they moved to Glennville, Alabama in Russell County.  Lafayette moved to Columbus and never married. Some of John's descendants moved to Seattle, Washington.

R. C. McGough, who "Memoirs of Georgia" reports was the son of Bob G. and Sandal (Cabaniss) McGough and was born September 24, 1831. R. C., it reports, "is a rationalist, believing that faith should be subordinate to reason. He is a true democrat, who thinks as long as reason is unfettered, humanity will advance; that all repressive laws that cannot be enforced are mischievous, the parent of crime, and the greatest government is the greatest individual liberty consistent with the rights of all others." 

According to the account in this book his was a Scotch-Irish family who were colonized in Northern Ireland during the protectorate of Oliver Cromwell. Clearly incorrectly, it reports that about 1760, Matilda Carson McGough, a widow with five or six children, in company with other emigrants, relatives, and neighbors, settled in North Carolina. R. C.'s grandfather John, it reports, fought under Col. William Washington and participated in the battles of Brandywine, Eutaw Springs, and Saratoga, where he saw Burgoyne surrender to General Gates. It reports, too, that he was wounded by a sword in the hands of a British officer and was shot. After the Revolution this source, also clearly in error, said he married Margaret Mill and settled in Edgefield District, South Carolina. It correctly reports that John settled in White Plains, Georgia. 

R.C.'s maternal grandfather is said to have been George Cabaniss, a member of a French Huguenot family that had settled in either Maryland or Virginia. R. C., it reports, briefly taught school and was admitted to the bar in 1860. He served during the war as a soldier, enrolling officer, and tax assessor. He married Maggie Hollis on January 10, 1860. He was a postmaster during the Cleveland administration and represented Monroe County in the Georgia General Assembly from 1894 to 1895. He and Maggie had five children: Thomas H. (merchant in Leavenworth, Washington); Maud; Nelly; Robert; and May (married Dr. F. L. Cato). (Maud, Nelly, and Robert were still living at home when this sketch was written). 

Margaret McGough never married. She lived with her father in Green Co. until he died. She then moved to Butts Co. to live with her brother Thomas. She owned a slave family that were related to some her brother "drew in the division." After they were freed, she moved to her brother's home in Monroe County, living there until she died.

Martha McGough married Perry Nelson of Green Co., where they remained for the rest of their lives. Lee Nelson reports that they had six children, three boys and three girls. 

Thomas McGough served in the War of 1812 in Savannah. He was discharged March 15, 1815. For several years before his death he drew a pension based on his service. He married Nancy McClure of Putnam Co., Ga. Nancy McClure's parents were born in Ireland and were married there. They raised a family of seven children, five boys and two girls. In 1823 Thomas left his father's home and went West to Butts Co., Ga. Because this area had just been obtained from the Creek Indians at the Treaty of  Indian Springs, this county had not then been laid out. He took up land on the McIntosh Trail that later became the Strickland Road. 

One day, it is said, he washed and ironed  his Sunday shirt, burning his hand in the process. Then he saddled his horse and, leading another horse, went to Putnam Co., where on December 27, 1825 he married Nancy McClure. The next day they set out on the two horses with her clothes and household goods. All their children were born on the land where he originally settled. 

Matilda McGough married John Sharp of Green Co. They moved to Scott Co., Mississippi in 1840. They remained there the rest of their lives. They had several children.

James McGough married, but Benjamin Lewis McGough did not know her name. He said that they moved to Alabama and had several children. Carolyn McGough Rowe reports that James married a woman named Sarah and moved to Lowndes County, Alabama. He had nine children and five step children. He died about 1883.

David McGough, reports Carolyn Rowe, married Mrs. Aplis S. Foster Sanderson on November 13, 1827 in Monroe County, Georgia. Before he died they had a son and a daughter. Aplis then married John W. Sims in Upson County, Georgia. They had one son. She moved to Texas where she married James Russell. They had seven children.

Thomas McGough

According to one McGough cousin: Thomas McGough moved to Butts County, Georgia from his father's home in 1823. This was territory that had just been obtained from the Creek Indians via the Treaty of Warm Springs. (Creek Indians angered by this treaty murdered the half Scotch-Irish Creek Chief William McIntosh at his home in Carroll County, Georgia.) Thomas' land was in the Northeastern part of Butts (Strickland Road: the Old McIntosh Trail). He took with him a black boy 12 years old whose name was Fill, two horses, his tools, and household goods. (Joseph Gordon McGough once commented that his great grandfather John McGough, Thomas' father, had only one horse when he moved to Georgia.) Thomas built a log cabin and cleared a crop of corn for the year 1824. For meat he killed deer, turkeys, and many other animals that roamed the woods. An "X" on a legal document suggests that he did not know how to write. Go to an account of the experiences of  Benjamin Lewis McGough and John Oliver Andrews in the Confederate Army for some information about Thomas' home in Butts County.

According to the "History of Butts County, Georgia in its description of Stark, an unincorporated village five miles Northeast of Jackson: "Around this place were several early settlers. One of these was William Thomas McGough who left his father's home in Greene County and came to this area just before it became Butts County. [It was originally part of Henry County.] He bought with him a 12-year old Negro boy, two horses, his tools, and household goods. He bought land on what became Strickland Road where Stark is today, built himself a log cabin, and cleared the land for a crop. Two years later he built a better cabin in which to live and used the first one as a kitchen.

After completing the second cabin, he went to Putnam County [South of Butts and North of Macon] to marry Miss Nancy McClure on December 27, 1825. For 25 years they lived here where their five sons and two daughters were born. They had as a neibhbor Robert Grier, founder of the Almanac. Mr. McGough sold the land in this area, bought a home in west Butts, and moved his family there.

Stark was established at the cross road on part of the land which had been owned by Mr. McGough on Strickland Road. At the cross road was a store operated by John W. Williams. Somewhere in the area a Mr. McClure had a shop, according to a court record.

Thomas McGough's Will

Shown below is a part of Thomas' will. To see a graphic showing more of it and its text, click here.

Thomas' will was signed by the Clerk of the Court, William R. Bankston, his son James Robert McGough's father-in-law. In his declining years he would reside with the James Robert McGoughs.

The Family of Thomas and Nancy McGough

Name Born Marriage War Date of Death and Where Buried
Martha Ann 1/8/1828 William Newton Nelson

m. 10/31/1847

  3/7/1907, McDonough, Ga.
Margaret Jane 1/8/1831 m. F. N. Kimball   1/7/1887, Butts Co.

County Line Baptist Church

John Thomas 12/23/1832 Sarah Evans

m. 1871



5/12/1872, Butts Co.,

County Line Baptist Church

James Robert


9/26/1836 Elizabeth Bankston

m. 12/18/1866



12/4/1913, Butts Co.,

County Line Baptist Church

Joseph Howard


3/29/1840 Sarah Finney

m. 8/8/1860



5/10/1862, Killed in Va.

County Line Baptist Church

William Marion


8/22/1842 Eliza Jane Moore

12/04 - 4/08/1925

m. 1872



1/14/1915, Morton, Miss.
Benjamin Lewis

farmer and


1/3/1849 Sarah JaneLewis Moore





Fayetteville, Ga. Cemetery


Georgia State flag All of Thomas and Nancy McGough's sons served in the Confederate Army in various Georgia infantry regiments. Joseph Howard was killed at Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Martha Ann McGough and her husband W. N. Nelson had six girls and one boy.

Margaret Jane McGough and F. W. Kimball had no children.

John Thomas McGough  and Sarah Evans had only one child. It died when it was about two years old. 

William Marion and Eliza Moore of Morton, Miss. had eight boys and two girls, nine of whom lived to adulthood. William Marion is pictured below at an unknown date that looks to have been taken late in his life. 

William Marion McGough (NEW, 12/2010)


James Robert McGough James Robert McGough (pictured at left) and his wife Elizabeth Bankston had five girls, Emma Estelle, Minnie May, Birdie Ola, Margaret Louisa, and Martha Jane and two boys, William Thomas and Joseph Gordon. 

James Robert enlisted in the "Jeff Davis Rifflemen," the second company formed in Butts County, Georgia. Formed in Jackson, Georgia, they went to Richmond, Virginia in May 1861, where they were placed in the 14th Georgia, Thomas' (Gen. Edward) Brigade. This Brigade was part of Gen. A. P. Hill's Corps. This Corps was part of Gen. Stonewall Jackson Division of General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.

He was honorably discharged after contracting typhoid fever on March 3, 1863. After he returned home he joined the State Guard and was sent to Savannah..

elizbkn.gif (27630 bytes) Elizabeth Jane Bankston McGough

Elizabeth's father, William R. Bankston, was Clerk of  the Court and Postmaster in Butts Co. While watching Sherman's troops march through Jackson, he was shot by one of them. He survived. Her Mother was Mahala Collins, daughter of Samuel (born in Delaware) and Louisa Collins. The Bankston's were married on 10/5/1837 in Butts Co., Ga.. She was burned to death at an early age while sleeping near a fireplace, and he later remarried. The Bankston's first American ancestor's anglicized name was Andrew Bankston. He was born in Sweden as either Andry, Andreas, or Andy Banckson, Bancson, Benkestok, or Bengtsson in 1640. He died in 1706. He married Gertrude Rambo on 11/22/1668 in Philadelphia. 


Joseph Howard McGough and his wife Sarah Finey had one child, a girl named Ella Captolia. He served as a private  in Co. I, 45th Regiment, Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Butts Co., Byars Volunteers. He was wounded in the shoulder and chest at Fredericksburg, Va., December 13, 1862. He died of wounds in General Hospital #12 in Richmond, Va. as a result of the amputation of his shoulder joint on June 3, 1863. (Roster of Confederate Soldiers of Georgia, 1861-1865, Vol 4, p. 913)

Blmcg.gif (24484 bytes) Benjamin Lewis McGough married Sarah J. Lewis Moore, a widow with children. Benjamin Lewis wrote a family history that provided much of the material on this page. Benjamin farmed, ran a store, served as postmaster in Fayetteville, Georgia and was Deputy Collector of Internal Revenue for the District of Georgia. He also served as a Notary Public and Justice of the Peace. His children were Hester Blalock (m. A. P. Sams), Thomas Marion (m. Lizzie Walker), John Claud (m. Lillie Stephenson), Glenn Stephens, Lizzie Blanche (m. M. V. McConnell), Gladys Geraldine (m. W. E. Edwards), William Earnest, Daisey, and an unnamed child who, like William and Daisey, died as infants.

John Thomas McGough Letter From

Camp McNight, Red River County, Texas

February 10, 1862

Dear Brothers,

I received your letter some time ago and was more than hapy to here that your health was improving and to here that Marian was in good health and the family at home Robert I don't know that I have anything of interest to write you I am at this time in camp I got here a fiew days ago I was out nearly a month over my time on account of bad health but my health is improving I think if I have no back set I will be stout as ever soon. everything is in an uproar we have marching orders we will leave this place the 12inst. for little rock Arkansas where we will draw our pay and march from thare to Pocahutus we are destined for Misoury we will be under general B McCullock. our company is about 114 strong and the Ridgment about 1200 strong and the health tolerable good we have more mesles than any thing else and a few deths 2 young men died last knight but neither of them belong to our Company the boys are all ancious to get to Misoury and if it ever gets a chance ????? I think you will here of some good fighting, but that is an after consideration. Direct your letter to little Rock Arkansas, tenth Redgment Cavalry, Company C, care of Capt J H Rucker write soon for I ancious to here from home excuse this short letter for you know what chance I have to write under the circumstances nothing more at presan but remain now as every your truly

J. T. McGough

tell Pa that I left all my papers with Mr Buttrill which was about five hundred dollars if I should not get back that he can get.

"J. T. McGough" was a member of the 10th Texas Cavalry. It is unknown how he came to enlist in a Texas unit.



Children of James Robert and Elizabeth (Betty) Bankston McGough




Died and Buried

Emma Estelle 10/10/1867 William H. Andrews  
William Thomas 2/18/70 Addie Mae Goolsby  
Minnie Mae 5/10/72 Charles Bearden 6/3/96

County Line Baptist

Birdie Ola 8/27/75 Lee Collins Butts Co.
Margaret Louisa 6/1/78 single 3/30/27

County Line Baptist

Martha Jane 7/10/81 William T. Mears 10/6/11

County Line Baptist

Joseph Gordon 10/1/1886 Ethel Lucile Wiley 1/15/1971

County Line Baptist

Click here to contact the Webmaster

Go to the McClure Family page. It includes pictures of some McGoughs and information about some Bankstons, Collins, and Andrews as well as McClures.

Go to a page that includes graphics of various McGough family documents and the text of Thomas McGough's will.

Go to a list of McGoughs serving in the Confederate Army (all states) and McGoughs living in Georgia in 1830, 1867, and 1870 (both races).

Go to a page of links to the URLs of a large number of genealogy pages on the Web.

Conflicting information that appears on this page is due to the fact that the author is not confident as to which is correct.


Thanks for the County Down pictures are owed to the Official Site of Northern Ireland Tourist Board.

McGough Cousins:

Thanks go to Hugh McGough  for providing some of this information and confirming other information. You can see much more about the family by going to his Web pages about the family. Click here to visit them. 

Thanks go to Edward McGough for providing the McGough coat of arms. He, too, has a site on the Web about the family. Click here to visit them.

Thanks go to Carolyn McGough Rowe, who has written a book about the family, for information about Sarah and David Carson McGough. 

Thanks go to Lee Nelson for pre-Revolutionary War information about John McGough. Lee, who is descended from Martha McGough and her husband Perry Nelson, also provided information about the Nelsons.

Thanks go to Claudette McGough Gatewood (Struck) for pictures of Benjamin Lewis McGough, her great-great grandfather, and his family.

Thanks go to Robert E. Parrott , the great-great-grandson of Robert (2) McGough's daughter Mary McGough Armstrong (1793-1885), for information about Robert (2), Robert's and John's brother William and  the elder Robert's daughters Isabella and Sarah.

Thanks go to Ann Harney for letting me know about her McGough pages so that I could link to them.

Thanks go to Janis Taylor, a descendent of Tally McGough's son James Edward McGough. The identity of Tally's father is not known. She suspects that he was the son of James C. McGough, the son of William McGough, the immigrant Robert's son. 

Thanks go to Rich Taylor [email protected], who has a great deal of additional information not shown here about the family of Martha Anne Custis McGough and William Newton Nelson and the family of William Marion McGough and Eliza Jane Moore. 

Thanks go to James D. Bankston for information about the Bankston family. (James Robert McGough's wife was a Bankston.)

Thanks go to Patricia McDonald for mailing me some McGough information.

Thanks for William Marion McGough's picture go to W. M. McGough, Jr., a great grandson.

Charles Michael Duke provided the following information about his family.


Maude Mae McGough

Maude Mae McGough Carlton

The background music on this page is "Scotland the Brave," sequenced by Lesley Nelson.

Go to the genealogy of a branch of the McGough family that settled in Texas.

State of Georgia flag (1956-2001) is from