History of the McGregor Family

McGregor Family from Scotland

Perth, Perthshire

Many of those who left Scotland left

because of political conditions.

To New York - Saratoga County

New York - Saratoga County

Saratoga County in the 1800’s

Glen Falls In Saratoga County, New York

Duncan G. McGregor, son of James and Louisa (Cameron) McGregor, b. Saratoga Co., N.Y., 1808, Farmer, Glen's Falls; P.O., Glen's Falls.

Note: The Genealogy Report is located near the end.

Ancestry report link not available

Excerpts from:











THE town of Wilton lies northeast from the centre of the county. It is bounded north by Corinth and Moreau, east by Northumberland, south by Saratoga and Saratoga Springs. The town includes 16,956 acres of improved land, 5045 acres of unimproved, and of this last amount 3495 acres are woodland. The population in 1875 was 1218. The town lies wholly within the Kayadrossera patent.

We add the brief legal description of the town and the definition of its boundaries, as found in the revised statutes of the State:

"The town of Wilton shall contain all that part of said county bounded northerly by the north bounds of Northumberland continued west to the northeast corner of Greenfield, easterly by Northumberland, southerly by a westerly continuation of the south bounds of Northumberland, and westerly by Greenfield."

The region that now constitutes the town of Wilton was known in colonial times as Palmertown. This name, tradition says, was given it by a band of Indians who came there from the east some time after King Philip's war, and settled at the base of the mountains somewhere in the Perry and Stiles neighborhood. As Palmertown it was long known by the early settlers. As Palmertown it became a place of considerable trade and importance, while what is now called Saratoga Springs was known as a "deer lick" in the woods six miles south. During the Revolution two block-houses were built at Palmertown, in which troops were sometimes quartered, and in which the early settler often sought shelter from the British and Canadian Indians. After the Revolution, and early in the present century, Palmertown was regarded as a more eligible place of settlement for business and professional men than Saratoga Springs. It was in Palmertown and in its neighborhood that Dr. John H. Steel, Judge Esek Cowen, and other distinguished professional men first opened their offices and began their practice. With the early merchants of Palmertown the earliest settlers of Saratoga Springs did the most of their trading.

Across Palmertown and through Greenfield, following an old Indian trail, ran the old highway to Johnstown and the west over which thousands of New England emigrants passed on their way to central or western New York in the early years of this century. But when the new town was formed the old name was dropped. But the mountain-range at whose foot the old Indian hamlet nestles still bears aloft the old historic name of PALMERTOWN.


The northwest corner of Wilton is filled with the mountain masses of the Palmertown range of the Adirondack mountains. The Palmertown range is the most easterly of the five great mountain-chains which traverse the great wilderness. The Palmertown range begins on Lake Champlain, near Ticonderoga, and running down on both sides of Lake George, crosses the Hudson above Glen's Falls, and running through the town of Wilton, ends in the high ground of North Broadway, in Saratoga Springs. Mount McGregor, one of the principal peaks of this range, is in this town, and Glen Mitchell lies in one of the mountain gaps in the corner of Greenfield. These mountains afford beautiful and picturesque scenery, with their steep rocky declivities and forest-crowned summits.

The centre and southwest parts of the town are gently undulating or broken by low ridges. The principal streams are Snoek Kill, Bog Meadow brook, and Cold brook. The soil in the east and southeast is a yellow sandy loam resting on clay, and in some places swampy. At the foot of the Palmertown mountains is found some of the best land in the town, a belt of productive gravel and clay loam. The ancient growth of white and yellow pine that covered the plains was very heavy. It has nearly all been cut off.

The town has a mineral spring of acidulous and carbonated water near Emerson's Corners, and there is also a sulphur spring in the southeast part. In the vicinity of Wilton village there are some very fine farms, good soil, and productive. Perry's pond is a small body of water covering perhaps fifteen acres. The Snoek Kill is the outlet of it.

The mineral spring above alluded to is on the farm of Mr. Rood. The water is of excellent quality, very pleasant to the taste, and under favorable circumstances, near a large village, might be quite celebrated.


The first settlement of what is now the town of Wilton, but then and long before known as Palmertown, was begun by two brothers, William and Samuel Brisbin, as early as the year 1764. These two brothers were the sons by his first wife of James Brisbin, who came over from the north of Ireland, and became the first settler of what is now the town of Northumberland, in the year 1765.

The two brothers, William and Samuel Brisbin, made their first attempt at settlement on the south branch of the Snoek Kill, in what afterwards became the Laing neighborhood. One and perhaps both of them had been soldiers under Abercrombie and Amherst in the last French war, and the year after peace was concluded they began the early settlement of the old wilderness they had so often traversed while on the war-path. They made clearings, built a sawmill, and cut roads on to their lands. When the war of the Revolution came on they abandoned their little settlement.

In the year 1770, Rowland Perry, having a family of eight sons, removed from Dutchess county to these northern woods, where there was ample room for the labors of this large family of stalwart boys. The names of this colony brought by Rowland Perry were Samuel, John, Benjamin, Absalom, Roswell, Artemas, Rowland, Joseph. The home selected by Mr. Perry was on the present farm of John Woodard. The valuable spring at that place, flowing from the solid rock two and a half barrels a minute, was a great attraction to decide the question of location. A further argument in favor of this place was suggested by Mr. Perry's experience in Dutchess county, which had proved that very fertile lands were found at the base of the hills. If there was some after-disappointment as to the soil, yet surely tthe beautiful valley, sheltered on the north and west by the mountains, is attractive enough now to justify Mr. Perry's selection. The family reached this place over a road cut by the Jessups, early settlers of Luzerne, from Fort Miller, on the Hudson, by way of what is now Emerson's Corners and Wiltonville, the road then bearing northwesterly through the Perry neighborhood, and over the mountains, and then up the Hudson to Luzerne.

Here this pioneer family began the struggle of frontier life. All the sons remained for a time, but two finally removed to Seneca county, and two to Genesee county. After settling on the rich, fertile lands of western New York, it is not strange if they doubted the wisdom of their father's early choice. Four of the sons settled in Wilton, and the name is a frequent one in various parts of the town. William, a grandson, born in 1797, is still living in sight of the early home, - a specimen of lively, healthy old age rarely seen. To his clear memory and accurate statements we are indebted for many items in the early history of the town.

A year later than the advent of the Perrys, the town received quite an accession of emigrants.

In 1781 or 1782 there had arrived at New York four brothers, James McGregor, William McGregor, John McGregor, and Alexander McGregor. They were sons of John McGregor, of Thorn Hill, Scotland. One of the brothers, John, lived in New York city, and Alexander returned across the ocean, and settled at Liverpool, England.

In the year 1787, James and William, pushing northward, settled in the present town of Wilton. The circumstances that led to their removal here were these. In the same ship with the McGregors, the Camerons clansmen and acquaintances, came over to this country. Induced by Thurman, a Scotchman already here, they settled in Luzerne; and the McGregors following the same general line, came to Wilton. It is stated by Duncan McGregor, of the present Mountain House, that the Camerons were offered, for the same price as they paid in Luzerne, the fertile lands of Johnstown.

James McGregor's pioneer home was the present place of James Henry, a little north of Wiltonville, and the first house stood on the site of the present one. It was a framed building, a story and a half high. It was burned in 1824, and the present house was built immediately after.

William McGregor settled about a mile from his brother, east of Wiltonville. The brothers became prominent citizens of the town, and passed their lives here. The sons of William McGregor were John, William, James, and Alexander, and there were also three daughters, Ann, Charlotte, and Elizabeth. Ann became the wife of Mr. Emerson, Elizabeth the wife of Peter McIntyre; James and Alexander settled in New York, William at Coeymans, John at Black Brook, Essex county.

The sons of James McGregor were John, James, William, Alexander, Peter, Duncan, and Gregor; the daughters, Elizabeth, Margaret, and Mary Ann. Elizabeth married Horatio Buell; Margaret, Lewis Thompson; and Mary Ann, Nicholas Vandewerker.

William went to South America, Alexander to Iowa, Gregor to New York; the others settled in this section. The home of Duncan for many years has been Glen's Falls. For the last two or three years he has been engaged in perfecting his plans, opening roads and erecting buildings for a pleasure resort on McGregor Mountain, a mile and a half from Wiltonville. It was opened to visitors the present season, and is spoken of at length in another place.

…….The first town-meeting was held at the house of Lyndes Emerson in said town on the first Tuesday of March, 1819. The town officers elected were as follows: Dudley Emerson, supervisor; Henry Reynolds, town clerk; Benjamin Dimmick, Jason Adams, William Comstock, assessors; William Forbes, Lyndes Emerson, William Ingerson, commissioners of highways; James McGregor, James Bullard, overseers of the poor; George W. Fish, Cornelius I. Fonda, John J. Swartwout, Enoch M. Place, Samuel Hoag, Thomas Sherman, inspectors of schools; Jabez Reed, Selden Emerson, Cornelius I. Swartwout, commissioners of schools. The meeting adjourned to the next day, and completed the organization by electing the remaining officers: William Forbes, collector; Peter Laing, Edward D. Avery, Elijah Woodard, Cornelius I. Boice, constables; James McGregor, George W. Fish, inspectors of weights and measures; William Ingerson, Jabez Reed, James De Long, Jonathan Woodard, John J. Swartwout, Benjamin Dimmick, fence-viewers; Cornelius I. Swartwout, poundmasters; Daniel Weeks, Peter De Long, William Forbes, Solomon Phillips, Sr., Joshua Taylor, Stephen King, Oramel King, Philip Hinckley, John Fitzgerald, Henry Reynolds, John Boyd, Benjamin Dimmick, Zephaniah Lockwood, John Stiles, Peter Sleight, Jonathan Woodard, John McGregor, William Ingerson, Jonathan Pendle, Stafford Carr, Jr., Eli Lyon, overseers of highways.

…….Robert McGregor was an early settler in the town of Wilton. He came from Perthshire, Scotland, in the year 1801, married Mary, daughter of John Brisbin, and located in this town in 1808.

A son, John R. McGregor, born in 1811, who has held several responsible official positions, resides at Saratoga Springs. He is well versed in the early history of Saratoga County, and has furnished many valuable items of information for this work.

……During the Revolutionary war Mount McGregor, a spur of the Palmertown mountains, projecting south and east from the general drift of the range, lies in the three towns of Wilton, Moreau, and Corinth, and as the summit is approached from Wiltonville, and is only distant a mile and a half, a notice of it and of Mr. Duncan McGregor's enterprise is very properly added to the history of the town of Wilton. The mountain has an elevation of fifteen hundred feet above tide-water, and twelve hundred above the plains lying at its base. On a level plateau at the summit Duncan McGregor has erected buildings, and is gradually improving the place and developing a pleasure-resort of great beauty and attractiveness. An easy roadway leads from the village up the slopes, making several graceful curves by which the grade is lessened, and the drive made more beautiful and picturesque. There are not here the frightful chasms and the towering rocky heights that invest wilder and loftier mountain scenery with awe and grandeur, but gentle slopes and wood-crowned summits all unite in those softer lines of beauty that delight and enchant.

From an open space on the east front a wide and pleasing view is obtained. Commencing at the north with Glen's Falls, the panorama embraces Sandy Hill, Fort Edward, Bold mountain, Greenwich, North Argyle, Schuylerville, and Saratoga lake, the White Sulphur Spring Hotel, with many small villages and quiet hamlets. Just below all are the towns of Wilton and Moreau spread out before us; farther on the rolling lands bordering the Hudson valley, and beyond, the distant mountains of Vermont rise with their majestic heights. This spot has also a historic interest, as here the loyalists of the Revolution flashed their signals for the British army at Fort Edward, and farther north to Whitehall.

The McGregor Estate consists of eight hundred acres lying upon the mountain and adjacent slopes. The buildings occupy the crowning summit a short distance above the "lookout." They are surrounded by a second growth of timber, - pine, chestnut, oak, beech, maple, and birch, trimmed and cleared of underbrush. This affords ample room for croquet-grounds, swings, and winding walks outlined with whitened stones, affording a peculiarly striking appearance by moonlight. Upon some portions of the tract the original forest still remains in all the beauty of its wild, lonely solitude. The western bend of the Hudson river beyond the mountain approaches within a mile and a half of the McGregor House. Three-quarters of a mile west there is a deep lake, embosomed in the forest, and nearer by a smaller one, capable of being improved into a very fine addition to the other attractions. Besides, the Moreau pond on the plain below is owned by Mr. McGregor in part, and is reserved for his guests and to supply the table of the hotel. Extensive improvements are yet to be made. A drive of four or five miles in the forest, and for excursionists with saddle-horses; an observatory of easy height, enabling guests to see the sun set over the Adirondacks of the west, and rise from behind the Green mountains of the east; a telegraph to Saratoga Springs, only eight and a half miles distant, and with the co-operation of the people a broad, finely-graded road over that route, equal to that now leading from the springs to Lake Saratoga. These will make the mountain resort a part of the actual attractions of Saratoga itself. A few families have already discovered this charming resort the first year it has been opened, and are boarding steadily with Mr. McGregor. The cuisine of the house is peculiar, and those who have tasted the delicacies of many other places declare that McGregor equals any of them. Such tenderly-cooked fish, just caught in his own ponds, choice milk and butter, mountain berries, delicately crisped potatoes, tea and coffee trimmed with the genuine cream, and not with the "thin, blue fluid," together will make the faintest appetite pulsate with new delight.

Among the other choice things of the mountain retreat we must not forget the beautiful moss parterre, arranged so delicately by the taste and skill of Mrs. Sprott, a relative of the family to whom they were tenderly attached, and whom none knew but to praise and love. This rare collection of the beauties of the forest glens is to visitors a thing of life and beauty; to the family it is a sweet memorial of her whose hands were folded for the rest of the grave before the improvements were complete.

As a host, Mr. McGregor is sure to win friends. To take possession of the little ones, as Mr. McGregor does, and go with them to the kitchen for a drink of rich country milk, or help them swing, is a sure way to steal the hearts of the parents, and is the best proof of his ability to delicately and yet liberally care for the wants of his older guests.


The McGregor Family in McGregor, Iowa

The History of McGregor

by William Potter, Esq.


Source: North Iowa Times, January 9, 1857 transcribed by Sharyl Ferrall for Clayton co. IAGenWeb


It is with some diffidence, and misgivings, that I undertake the task of writing the History of the Town of McGregor. I am well aware that the number of its population will differ widely from the views of many of its citizens. This is easily accounted for, from the fact that many persons came here to settle, but have temporarily left, to return again in the Spring, and if they were added, would swell the number to over Eight Hundred. I am satisfied, the business of the place exceeds the expectations of its most ardent friends, and that the increase of its population for a few past months, will astonish distant readers of this History.

The character of our population shows conclusively that it is made up of active business men, and that our business is far in advance of our population; that the amount of business done at this place at present, justifies a population of at least two thousand. Let my readers think of this production as they may, its author has the satisfaction of knowing that no effort on his part, has been wanting to present to the public the truth, as to the population, its business, and its probable future. I have also presented the position, business, and future prospects, of our Sister Town, Prairie du Chien.

The two places are so intimately connected, that it is hard to separate them. McGregor must remain the Ware House of all the goods shipped from the East and South, destined for Northern Iowa, and a large portion of Southern Minnesota. The arrangements made with the owner of the Steam Ferry Boat at this place, to ship freights to and from the Rail Road Depot at Prairie du Chien, together with the favorable ground over which the road passes, to the interior West, gives us every assurance, that McGregor will not only be, as it now is, the Depot of goods, from the East destined West, but in all future time, is destined to be the granary of a region of country West, for a distance of two hundred miles, comprising nearly [illegible portion] and a considerable portion of Minnesota. This region is unsurpassed in fertility and abounds with numerous Water Power and Stone Coal. Independant of its adaptation to agricultural pursuits, it also offers rare inducements to Manufacturers and Mechanics. The increase of the population of this region of country in the past year, is narly as great in proportion as the Town of McGregor; judging from its past history it would require a Prophet to guess its future destiny. The growth of McGregor will more than double its population during the year just commencing, and that but a few years will elapse before her population will be numbered by thousands instead of hundreds (as now), and she will be ranked among one of the great business Cities on the upper Mississippi.

I am indebted to Messrs McGregor, A.E. Wanzer, Bass, Jones, and other old citizens, for valuable information in connecting the facts upon which this production is based; also to Messrs Kingsley & Rhodes for Statistical information in regard to the Shipping business.

There is some difficulty in obtaining a correct history of M'Gregor from the earliest settlement. Prior to the time the U.S. Government had erected a Garrison Fort, at a point on the east Bank of the Mississippi, nearly opposite McGregor, prior to the year 1840, a Ware-house had been built, near the landing at McGregor, by the General Government, to store provisions and other necessaries for the soldiers. This Ware-house still remains as a monument of the early days of McGregor.

About the same time the Gen. Government made a road from this place to Fort Atkinson, and built a Fort at the latter place. The selection of this road by competent Engineers, conclusively proves the route from this place, as the most feasible to the interior country west of it. The State road from this place is laid nearly on the same route.

The country west was then inhabited almost exclusively by Indians; but few white men having prior to that time penetrated this region of country; nature was then presented in her merriest mood, and in all her grandure. The stately Oak Trees creaked to and fro in the storm fearless of becoming the victim of the woodsmans Axe; the tall grass waved luxuriantly over the Prairies, for hundreds of miles West. the Deer, Elk and Bear, roamed at large, conscious of no harm, except from the Indian Hunters; the wigwam was the only house (if such it may be called) that could be seen. But how changed is the aspect of this country; the woodsman's axe has made savage havoc among the trees of the forest. The Prairies are dotted over with comfortable Farm Houses, luxurious growths of wheat and corn now occupy a large portion of the Prairies, and tamed, have taken the place of wild animals. Nature then was as it come from the hand of natures God. Now we have nature presented in all its beauties, improved by the Art of man.

The McGregor Family

in McGregor, Iowa

The First Settlers & Early Improvements

Alexander McGregor, was one among the earliest settlers at the place now known as McGregor. Some time in the year 1840 or '41, a Horse Ferry Boat was procured to run from this place to a point on the East bank of the Mississippi, at Fort Crawford, which has been continued up t this time; prior to which time, Canoes and Skiffs had been used as the only means of crossing the river. In 1845, James McGregor, obtained a conveyance for the tract of land on which McGregor now stands. About this time Alexander McGregor, built a house near the landing at the place near where the Government Ware-House still stands; there were but few improvements worthy of note.

The Bluffs then presented a rugged range of hills, which might almost be classed under the name of mountains, and few that then beheld the site of McGregor, dreamed there could ever be even a respectable Town, and none thought of there ever being a City. but now the place presents a different view to the eye. Business and dwelling houses are now seen in the spot, which was then occupied by a portion of this range of hills, and instead of the wild scenery, we behold a busy throng of human beings, engaged in the business transactions of a commercial Town or City.

H.D. Evans moved to this place in 1848, and opened a store in the basement of Mr. McGregor's dwelling house, and is justly entitled to the honor of being styled the Pioneer Merchant of McGregor; the next we [illegible] Mr. Savage, and Mr. Jones of the firm of Bass & Jones.

From that time up to the year 1855, the population increased but little. In the latter named year the town began to attract public attention, and there were quite a number of families added to the population. In the spring of 1856, the population of the place was 280. Since that time the influx of strangers has swelled it to what it now is. The prospect of the speedy completion of the Milwaukee & Mississippi Rail Road to Prairie du Chien, immediately opposite this place, has given life and energies amongst our citizens, and has resulted in the rapid improvements of the past six months, and these have been to some extent limited by the lack of building materials, our Lumber dealers and Brick Masons being unable to supply all who desired to build. We have two good Lumber Yards, and a Saw Mill, but the drain from this place to supply the Western Counties, has been so great as to make the demand more than equal to the supply. The erection of another Saw Mill, and an increased supply by our Lumber dealers, will give a full supply for next season.

In this statement we may have omitted some of our business men. In the course of the past season, the owner of the Ferry has purchased a splendid Steam Ferry Boat, called the Alexander McGregor. This Boat will vie in neatness and appearance with any Ferry Boat on the river besides being constructed so as to make her a pleasant craft to travel on. She arrived here late in the season, her arrival was greeted with demonstrations of joy by the citizens of McGregor and Prairie du Chien.

The establishment of a Printing Press at this place, has added much to the character of the town. The North Iowa Times, conducted by Hon. A.P. Richardson, late of the Senate of Indiana, first appeared on the 10th of October last. The Times ranks among the most influential Papers in the west. Business men in all sections of the country will find it one of the best mediums for advertising their business, in the Great West.

The future of McGregor is more difficult to write, but the attraction it already has, with the facility which its citizens will shortly possess for communication with the East by Rail Road, must cause thousands to visit, and add to its population. Our Rail Road communication to Milwaukee and other Eastern Cities, will give the people the command of a trade East in addition to a heavy Western and Northern trade by river. The projected road from McGregor in a Westerly direction, the construction of which is almost certain, will give us a Rail Road connection North and South as it will cross the track of several roads running in these directions.

Who then, that looks over the past history of McGregor, who is acquainted with the rich and fertile country with which it is surrounded, who knows the almost innumberable Towns that have sprung up west of it, and with all this knows too, that it is the point from which they get their supplies, and vend their produce at, who that knows all this, doubts her becoming a great business mart? The town site by some is thought so broken as to necessarily limit its extent. Such is not the case; numerous ravines called 'coulées' afford beautiful building ground sufficient in extent for a population of 100,000. Streets can be made so that easy access can be had, to the top of the highest hill.

He who lives to see this place 10 years hence, will find that those hills so forbidding to the sight of many, have been selected as the residence of the most opulent citizens; he will see them dotted over with splendid mansions, from which he can scan the River for miles up and down, from which the lower town of McGregor, Prairie du Chien, the Railroad Depot, will be spread before his gaze, more perfectly and beautifully than any panoramic view. then the resources of this part of Iowa will be developed. Then will Prairie du Chien and McGregor have taken their stand among Cities, the first, the recipient of all the goods shipped from the East; the latter, the Granary and Ware House for the district of country West of the Mississippi. this is no fancy prophecy, based on reason and facts, it will be
found to come true.

The McGregor Estate In Iowa

In the North Iowa Times on June 13, 1860, appeared an account of the arrest of certain prominent citizens of McGregor, Iowa, on a charge of “rioting”. They were carried before Squire Watkins of Farmersburg, and “accused of the forcible ejection of one James Dymond from premises he claimed by virtue of a deed from James McGregor.”

A bit of Mediaevalism in the staid nineteenth century! What could influence men of wealth and dignity, respected for their judgment, to so behave? Why were the “rioters” not haled before a magistrate in their
own community for a hearing? Probably the circumstances were such as to goad them beyond reason, and to convince them that there was small hope for redress through orderly channels. And such was the case!

The community of McGregor was twenty years old or more. It was at the peak of its prosperity, the center of a wholesale and retail trade stretching far to the west and even northwest into Minnesota. The business houses ranged along the river front and through a narrow coulée for more than a mile. The streets were jammed in favorable seasons. And yet scarcely a building stood on land to which its owner had title, and there was no assurance that titles would be cleared with any great promptness.

All this had come of a family quarrel. On the one side was James McGregor, Jr.; on the other his brothers, Alexander and Duncan, and the brothers of Ann Gardner McGregor, wife of Alexander. A series of law suits both in New York and Iowa were the bitter fruits of this dissension.

The McGregor family home was in New York. In 1832 Alexander went west. He stopped for a time at Fort Dearborn, then went on to Prairie du Chien which he thought was more favorably located, and decided to cast his fortunes there. But he did not prosper. Among his enterprises was the operation of a horse ferry across the Mississippi River in partnership with Thomas Burnett. In 1837, when the ferry was installed, there was very little traffic. Settlers were not crossing north of Dubuque, partly because the tide of settlement was coming from the southeast and partly due to the rugged nature of the country in northeastern Iowa.

At the same time McGregor bought an interest in the ferry, he also acquired a half interest in Burnett’s share of the Giard tract. Thus two-thirds of the original Spanish grant was owned by James H. Lockwood, one-sixth by Burnett, and one-sixth by McGregor. In 1841, McGregor and Burnett sold all but 160 acres of their interests in the land to Peter Powell of St. Louis, who also bought Lockwood’s interest in the tract which he shared with Burnett. In this Powell became the owner of approximately two-thirds of the tract, while Lockwood apparently retained the one-third he had owned independently.

The quarter section reserved for a ferry landing on the west bank of the river where the town of McGregor is now located, became known as the “Ferry Property”. From a few squatters who had preempted claims adjacent to the Giard tract, additional land was purchased until the Ferry Property included about three hundred acres.

It appears that Alexander McGregor was not only unfortunate in some of his business ventures, particularly the ferry, but
was improvident as well. His family, moved by Scotch clannishness or sympathy for Alexander’s wife and children, sent his brother James out west in 1842 and again in 1845 to relieve his financial embarrassments. With this aid he purchased Burnett’s share of the ferry and real estate for $1500 and bought a preemption claim of forty acres from Samuel Olmstead. In both deals James McGregor advanced the money. While these transactions were conducted in Alexander’s name, he did not claim title to the property, probably because his affairs were so involved that he feared losing everything he held in his own name.

Meanwhile James McGregor seems to have become interested in acquiring Iowa property. Certificates for most of his brother’s holdings had been assigned to him. Moreover, when Olmstead purchased ninety-nine acres for James and Alexander, the transaction was in James’ name. James also bought a tract from Solomon Wadsworth and another early settler named King which was thereafter included in the Ferry Property.

Evidently the seeds of trouble were sown early. In 1845 Samuel Murdock introduced a bill in the Iowa House of Representatives, authorizing Duncan McGregor to operate “a ferry across the Mississippi in the County of Clayton”. In the next session Murdock introduced another bill to authorize James McGregor to “keep a ferry across the Mississippi in the County of Clayton”. Neither of theses bills was passed.

There is nothing in the information to be gleaned from court decisions, newspapers, and such sources to explain whether the claims made later by James were the result of his own avarice or whether his acts were in retaliation for some grievance. But the facts are that, when the town of McGregor began to grow on the Ferry Property and the business of Alexander began to prosper, James laid claim to the entire holding, not only the land obtained from the Giard estate but tracts of the preemptors as well. His claim was contested by other members of the family, however, and long and fierce was the struggle over right
and title to the Ferry Property.

In 1845 a fourth brother, Gregor McGregor died in his New York home, He bequeathed $2000 to be held in trust for Ann, wife of Alexander, “for her sole and separate use, and free from the debts, control or interference of her husband”. James and Duncan McGregor, brothers of Alexander, were named as trustees. If children survived both Ann and her husband the principal was to be paid to them; if not, to the “next of kin”. The intention of the donor seems obvious; but the trustees did not so dispose. They planned to invest the money in New York. James claimed that they did; the other members of the family declared that it was all turned over to Alexander McGregor - $500 to build a tavern and $1500 to pay for Burnett’s share of the Ferry Property. When James McGregor came to Iowa the following year, no mention as to the source of this loan was made. Some years later, during a visit in New York, Duncan told Alexander and his wife that the money was the “trust fund”, and they agreed to the arrangement., Later James denied that the trust fund had been so used; but whatever the disposition of the money, according to later testimony, Ann had not other benefit from its income.

Meanwhile the property steadily increased in value. A brisk town of six hundred persons, names for its founder, McGregor, was located on the property, with a business far beyond the scope of a town of its size today. It boasted a newspaper, and a wholesale business in grain and commodities engaged the interests and resources of several firms. Alexander began to make sales to these business men for sites of stores and residences.

With this change in the affairs of his brothers, James McGregor appears to have been dissatisfied. He seemed to regret that Ann was profiting so much from the trust fund and wished to share in the returns from the investments he had helped to negotiate. In 1851 he again came to Iowa and threatened to dispossess Alexander and his family. Finally, Ann agreed to purchase all his interests in the Iowa property for $6500; James credited her with the $2000 trust and took her note for $4500. But this arrangement the family was determined should not stand; so Ann brought suit in the name of herself and minor children, Gregor and Gardner, both in Iowa courts and in New York, to restrain collection of the $4500 note and to void the agreement of 1851 on the grounds that she and her husband were sole owners of the property at the time. The New York Supreme Court decided against her, inasmuch as the “trust fund” could not legally be invested in real estate or be paid to herself or her husband. The District Court of Dubuque had decided in her favor; but after the New York decision the Iowa Supreme Court reversed the Dubuque decision, and the case was retired. On the assumption that the $2000 had not been invested in the Ferry Property, a special master in chancery attempted to adjust the financial phases of the controversy. The sum of $1700 was awarded to James as still due to him on the various transactions with Alexander, but this settlement again, however, Alexander McGregor died, in 1858. His will provided that the case be defended with vigor; his wife, her brother George D. Gardner, and other executors took up the fight. A final award of $3263 to Alexander’s heirs for improvements was made. With the court’s approval the lands were divided; lots were drawn by ballot, and the adjustment filed for record in Clayton County.

It is almost impossible to follow the currents and counter currents of litigation in this controversy. Alexander, acting under power of attorney, bought much property for James in Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin. On December 7, 1852, he conveyed by this power of attorney all of the Iowa real estate held in the name of James to his brothers-in-law Egbert and George D. Gardner. The consideration for the land in and about the town of McGregor was $2000. A year later James brought suit to set aside the deeds as fraudulent. Although the State Supreme Court denied any intentional fraud on the part of Alexander, the deeds were set aside, and after a second appeal, in 1867, a rehearing was denied.

In 1853 James McGregor, Sr., died in New York. Two wills were produced, the later will showing distinct preference for his son, James, Jr., and a grandson, James Buell. This will was rejected by the courts of New York, and a will written before the death of his son Gregor was admitted to probate. This will names three sons, James, Gregor, and Duncan as executors. Gregor had died; James was then living in Iowa; only Duncan was left in New York. When James appealed to the surrogate of Saratoga County, New York, in 1861 for letters testamentary, Duncan resisted on the grounds that James had forfeited his rights when he contested the will, that he was not a resident of New York, and that he was not a resident of New York, and that he was “subject to mental aberration”. The court decided that James, although “of a high and rash temper” was not insane, that he was not an alien in the sense of the law, and might properly act as executor of his father’s estate.

Of all the ramifications of the bitter feud, the suit brought to test the title to the Giard tract was the most amazing. Although Alexander McGregor and James Lockwood had sold a large portion of the Giard tract (excepting the Ferry Property) in 1841 to Peter Powell of St. Louis, in some manner Alexander McGregor acquired this land again. Powell and Burnett had both died in 1846. In his will Alexander McGregor provided that a mortgage of $12,000, secured by the Giard tract, be speedily paid to John Powell. No doubt this indebtedness was concerned in his reacquisition of the tract.

In 1854, James McGregor, Jr., in an effort to secure this property for himself, induced the heirs of Giard to re-sell their inheritance to him in order to test the validity of the transactions which took place prior to the award of government patent on July 2, 1844. The case went to the Iowa Supreme Court; in rendering decision the court sharply rebuked James McGregor. “To our minds it would be a reproach upon the principles of the law – a premium paid for cunning and duplicity – a reward offered to those who would stir up and maintain litigation to permit him to take advantage of any defects in this deed.” The alleged sale of the land to James McGregor in 1854 had been for a very small consideration, a few dollars, gift of a “patent coffee pot” to each heir and interest in a company to manufacture them. Unpleasant notoriety developed over the “coffee-pot patent” during the course of the suit.

The cases of McGregor v. McGregor and McGregor v. Gardner were appealed and reappealed. Suit was brought in the United States Circuit Court. Every phase of the dispute was tested: the disposition of the “trust fund”, the intent
of James as to the disposal of the Ferry Property when he received the patent for it, the value of improvements, and the rights of Alexander under his “power of attorney”. Final division of the property by the court allotted to James a considerable share, but not until his death 1867 did the heirs of Alexander cease their persistent efforts to dispossess him.

But troubles were not over for the citizens of McGregor. In 1845, $1500 was considered a fair price for half interest in the Ferry Property. When Alexander McGregor attempted to transfer the property to his brothers-in-law in 1852 the price was set at $2000, while James McGregor had contracted to sell the property to Ann McGregor for $6500 in 1851. But meanwhile, the “City of McGregor”, so called in the special charter under which it was governed, had prospered. Every bit of land where a house could perch along the rugged hillside was occupied. North and south along the river stretched an imposing line of warehouses and grain elevators; the “Main Street” was crowded with traffic, for McGregor had become a center for wholesale trade; the town lots were valuable.

What is more, pubic opinion was sharply partisan; Alexander and his family had fostered the town and the great majority of his neighbors wished him to succeed. They firmly believed he had been defrauded by his brother. By his will Alexander bequeathed $5000 to build a road through the Giard tract to Monona, and he had previously donated a plot for a cemetery. James, who had transferred his residence to McGregor, must have often met coldness if not actual antagonism on the part of his neighbors in his new home.

After the favorable Iowa Supreme Court decision in 1860, James began to exert pressure to force the townsmen to buy the property upon which their buildings stood. But the heirs of Alexander McGregor were in court again, and the citizens refused. Then came the determination to offer the lots for sale to whomsoever would buy, without consideration for the occupants. A “riot” was the consequence. A citizens’ committee was formed to protect the interests of claimants. Every member of the committee had more than local fame for ability and fairness; they did what they could to prevent open rupture between the citizens and James McGregor.

Late in 1861 the proposal was made that five hundred lots be sold to the citizens for the lump sum of $190,000, and a committee of appraisal was appointed to assess the lots. But their findings were not satisfactory to Mr. McGregor, who changed the appraisals to suit himself. Again the citizens held a mass-meeting, the third in a fortnight, and resolved not to purchase any property of James McGregor or of heirs of Alexander McGregor until the true ownership was finally adjusted. They arranged for funds to resist sales to third parties and appointed able counsel of the town to protect their interests.

Court records of Clayton County abound with cases relating to titles to town lots in McGregor – foreclosures, damage suits, and efforts to recover under title bonds. Many residents asserted their squatters’ rights under the “Occupying Claimant Law”. In some few instances clouds upon title were cleared by allowing the lots to be sold for taxes and repurchasing from the holders of tax titles. The Iowa law was soon changed, however, to prevent fraud in tax sales, so this legitimate use of the scheme was no longer possible. Many titles remain clouded to this day, but if traceable to transactions with the McGregor family they do not often defeat sales. And the claim that title is still vested in the Giard heirs is a pure myth.

Alexander McGregor and one of his family were buried in the tract proposed for a cemetery, on a beautiful knoll now included in the property of the McGregor Heights Association. When this portion was awarded to the heirs of James McGregor, the bodies were removed to the cemetery in Prairie du Chien. James McGregor died in New York, but was buried in McGregor in the exact center of a beautiful formal park a block square, under an imposing shaft of granite.

What long litigation had left of the fortune of Alexander was gradually dissipated by his heirs. The affairs of James Buell, however, nephew of James McGregor, prospered mightily and as a result most of the beautiful bluff lands about McGregor remained in the family. These have been recently presented to the government of the United States to be included in the “Wild Life Refuge”. What more lasting monument could be conceived to perpetuate the name and fame of the family that was so closely associated with early fortunes of the community!

-source: The Palimpsest, edited by John Ely Briggs, Vol.XII Issued in January 1931 No.1 Copyright 1931 by the State Historical Society of Iowa; pg 7-19 -transcribed by Lisa Hanson-Braun, January 2005

source: North Iowa Times, January 9, 1857 transcribed by Sharyl Ferrall for Clayton co. IAGenWeb



The population of McGregor has now fully reached 662. Had the census been taken two months since, the population would have reached Eight hundred and upwards, for the reasons stated elsewhere in this communication.

Being aware that a large portion of our community was made up of enterprising young men seeking fortune in the west I took the pains to ascertain their number, which my readers will find very large in proportion to the residue of our population.

I trust that my lady readers (to those already here the advice is unnecessary) at a distance will not suppose from the fact that we have so many gentlemen in a "state of single blessedness" that they are indifferent to female charms, nor yet that want of comely persons or gallantry, keep them without the pale of Matrimony. Their constant endeavors to please the fairer portion of God's creation, and their gallantry exhibited in their intercourse with them, and their blooming youthful cheeks and handsome vistages for bid such a conclusion. Their free and graceful manner of deportment, their manifest love of female society is a sure guaranty to all Ladies who may visit this place, that they will receive a cordial welcome, and before they leave may cure many a love-sick swain by consenting to become his partner for life. That many abroad could find suitable and worthy companions, I have no doubt, and add to life's enjoyments there-after.

The following is the population at this time: Married persons - Males, 143; Females, 143
Number of children under 10 years, 153, Number of children over 10 years and under 21, 71
The number of unmarried Male persons is 151. The number of Females unmarried fall below this number, being as near as ascertained 24; and their charms are such as to give them a promise of a short life of single blessedness.

The residents here, who have attained the age of 21 years, are mostly from other States, and I give the places of birth as near as the same could be ascertained, together with the name of the State in which they last resided before their removal here:

Birth Place:
New York 46, Illinois 3, Massachusetts 1, Rhode Island 5, Vermont 9,
Connecticut 2, Virginia 4, Ohio 20, Pennsylvania 29, Kentucky 8,
Georgia 1, Missouri 3, New Hampshire 10, New Jersey 1, Indiana 1,
Arkansas 2, Wisconsin 2, Michigan 2, Maryland 4, Tennessee 1,
Main 3, Iowa 3, Germany 22, Ireland 35, Switzerland 3,
Norway 4, Scotland 7, England 3,

Last Residence of males over 21 years:
New York 69, Illinois 26, R. Island 45, Wisconsin, 37 Ohio, 31
Missouri, 8 Pennsylvania, 10 Kentucky, 3 Vermont, 3 Indiana, 12
Mississippi, 2 N. Hampshire, 8 Arkansas, 1 Massachusetts, 7 Ireland, 12
Norway, 2 Canada, 4 Germany, 1 Scotland, 1 England, 1
Minnesota, 3 Main, 2 Michigan, 10 Iowa, 2 Vermont, 1
Maryland, 2 Missouri, 7

Some persons residence not known. The entire population is will be seen, amounts to 662. Of this number 224 are under 21 years of age. The number of the voters in the town is 295. On the first of May last, the entire population was 280, which shows an increase of 382 in a period of about eight months. Who can doubt from these facts and figures but McGregor in one year hence will boast of a population little short of 2000 inhabitants.


The improvements for the past year, far exceeded the expectation of any of the inhabitants. Without attempting to give a correct history of all the buildings that have been erected during that period, I content myself with writing the most important.

Of the larger class of business Houses, I note the Three Story Store rooms of our enterprising townsmen
H.D. Evans & H.H. Wilkerson as being the most prominent. Messrs. Drummond & St. Clair, two of our most enterprising Mechanics, have erected a large frame Hotel, in course of completion, and now known as the California House, kept by E. Layton, which was much needed to accommodate the traveling public.

Messrs. McMorrine & Co., Allen, Baker, Flanders, Harrison, E. Stow, Weston and Williams & Harvey, have erected business Houses, all of which are occupied.

In addition to these improvements our worthy Townsmen Jones & Bass have added two stories to their Brick building, making a fine four story house and completing the block partly built by Mr. Evans, this is now the most extensive brick block in the place, but judging from preparations for building I opine ere long it will be numbered in the second class.

Our enterprising landlord Mr. Hardin of the American, has made extensive additions to his large Hotel and now has as commodious a public house as can be found in Northern Iowa, and is excelled by few in the west. Among other improvements he has added a spacious Hall for the accommodation of social parties. Dr. King and others are erecting a new Saw Mill which will soon be completed.

Among other improvements I name as of importance the Steam Plaining mill, and Door and Sash Factory, just put in operation by Mr. Watts. Other improvements have been made, but space will not permit me to speak of them.

Business and Business Men

The statistical information necessary to a correct statement of the amount of business transacted, could not be collected in time for this publication. It is to be hoped that at the end of the present year, our merchants may furnish the facts necessary to give them in detail. I will content myself with giving the number of Steam Boat arrivals and departures, from the opening of navigation to its close, and the amount of Tonnage; which will necessarily be less than the true amount, as passengers take charge of their own goods in many instances. The number of Steam Boat arrivals bound up and discharging freight at McGregor are as follows:

April, 47, May, 116, June, 105, July, 89, August, 65, September, 63, October, 78, November, 83, December, 5

The amount of Tonnage from the 1st Oct to Dec 5, was reported in the North Iowa Times weekly, was three million, two thousand four hundred and fifty one pounds, making an average for the season of '56, of 1,5000,000 pounds per month. The first Steam Boat up last Spring, was the Alhambra, which arrived on the 7th of April last. The last Boat up was the Envoy, and the last down the Resolute.

The following statement shows the division of trade here, as near as can be ascertained:
There are 6 Wholesale and Retail Dry Goods & Grocery Stores, 3 Wholesale & Retail Stove and Tinware Stores, 6 Eating and Oyster Saloons, one Meat Market, one Drug Store, one Bakery, one
Wholesale & Retail Hardware Store, 7 Taverns, one Saddle & Harness Shop, 2 Saw Mills, one Window Blinds & Door Factory, 3 Blacksmith Shops, one Cabinet Shop, one dealer in Sash, Doors & Blinds, one Wholesale dealer in Furniture, one Printing Office, 5 Contracting Plasterers, 2 Shoe Shops, one Jeweler and Watch Maker, 5 Carpenter Shops, one Livery Stable, one Bank, one Rail Road Office, 4 Physicians & Surgeons.

The Giard Tract

Some years ago two young men from western Iowa found a farm crowing the Mississippi bluffs in Clayton County that seemed to them a desirable possession. They negotiated for its purchase; an abstract of title was furnished, the transfer was made, and the deed duly recorded. When the transaction was later reviewed by a lawyer, he questioned the validity of the title and suit was brought to test it. The judge, who was familiar with the findings in previous legal transactions of it kind, made the necessary explanations and dismissed the case.

The farm was a part of the old “Giard grant”, one of the tracts lying within the boundaries of Iowa which were granted by the government of Spain to Frenchmen resident thereon. This grant was eventually recognized by the United States government as a legal transfer. Any freeholder who can trace a land title to Basil Giard is secure in the possession of his property.

Located on the west bank of the Mississippi River nearly opposite the original settlement at Prairie du Chien, the Giard grant contained 6808 ½ arpents by the French unit of measure, or approximately 5760 acres. Beginning at a red cedar tree on the west bank of the river opposite Prairie du Chien, the northern boundary of the tract ran due west six miles to a white ash tree, thence the line ran south a mile and a half to a white oak tree, and from there due east to another white oak on the west bank of the Mississippi.

Besides an extensive farming community, the town of Marquette and part of McGregor are now included in this area.

Probably as early as 1779, Basil Giard was trading with the Indians and trappers at Prairie du Chien. In the course of time, perhaps in 1785, he began cultivating a few acres across the river, enclosed his crops with a brush fence, and eventually built a cabin. By 1796 his plantation “on a bayou, nearly opposite to Prairie du Chien,” was occupied by a farmer who raised some corn and had some stock on the place. Four years later as much as fifty acres was said to be under cultivation. During all these years, Giard had not been disturbed in the possession of his “plantation” either by white men or Indians. According to local opinion, the land belonged to him by right of occupation and cultivation.

Nevertheless Giard had no legal title to his claim. To remedy that deficiency he petitioned the government of Upper Louisiana on October 15, 1800, for a land grant. “Bazil Giard, subject of his Catholic Majesty, his since fifteen years, occupied a tract of land, situated about half a league from the river Mississippi, and has constructed buildings thereon, and made considerable expenses to improve the said land”, he declared. “The petitioner, who has a wife and three children, humbly asks for the said land, according to the privileges granted to the faithful subjects of his Catholic Majesty; and your petitioner, respectfully requests that you will inform yourself from the Citizens of St. Louis as to his Conduct and Character, since he became a subject of the King of Spain; and he hopes that said information will be such as to justify you in Granting his demand”.

A month later, Don Charles Dehault Delassus, “Lieutenant Colonel of the armies of H.C.M. and Lieutenant Governor of the Western part of Illinois and dependencies”, having received satisfactory reports as to the good conduct of Giard and his fidelity to the Spanish government, issued a concession of the claim “in order that he may peacefully enjoy his property, as well as himself as his heirs, until he applies for the concession to my lord the Intendent by handing to us his petition, wherein he shall specify the number of arpents of land, he is settled upon, in order that a regular title may be furnished him, similar to all those which are granted in the name of H.C.M. to his faithful subjects.”

Furthermore the Lieutenant Governor recommended that Giard “help will all means in his power, the travelers who should pass at his house, as he has done hitherto – and to preserve a good understanding between the Indian nations and our government, as well as to inform us with the greatest care of all the news which he shall gather, and which could affect the peace and property of our settlement.”

In compliance with the governor’s recommendation, Giard apparently entered his claim to about four and a half sections of land, including the site of his farm, for the grant specified an area of 6808 ½ arpents. The exact location and shape of the tract seems to have been uncertain for a number of years. Not until May, 1807, was the grant surveyed and the plat recorded. Meanwhile Giard and his family continued to occupy the land.

Even before the grant was consummated, Spain had retroceded Louisiana to France, but the treaty expressly provided that all titles to land legally held under Spanish grants were to be recognized by France. Three years later France sold Louisiana to the United States, and again the same covenant respecting the legality of Spanish land grants was made.

Shortly after the purchase of Louisiana, President Jefferson sent Lieutenant Zebulon M. Pike up the Mississippi River to explore the territory. In his journal, Pike mentions a little group of three houses on the western bank opposite Prairie du Chien. They were then occupied, probably by the Giard family. In 1808, however, the settlement was abandoned; Giard’s application confirmation of his title had been denied by the Recorder of Land Titles in 1807. Moreover, Giard wished to establish his claim to certain town lots in Prairie du Chien. So he moved to the French town and soon after blandly swore that it had been his legal residence for many years.

At his death, Basil Giard left three heirs, his daughters Lizette and Mary, and a grandchild, Felicite Giard, daughter of Angelie Giard. In 1816 the Recorder of Land Titles at St Louis recognized the validity of Giard’s claim to his Spanish grant, and title was confirmed by an Act of Congress relating to Spanish grants in this territory. Meanwhile the family had scattered. Mary Giard married Tunis Bell, Lizette married Francis Chenevert, and Felicite married Paul Dussaume. In 1832 the Bells deeded an undivided one-half of the tract to James H. Lockwood, a prominent citizen of Prairie du Chien. When they realized later that Felicite was also an heir, this was changed to an undivided one-third. In 1836, the other two heirs deeded their shares to Lockwood and Thomas B. Burnett, in partnership. The deeds were all duly recorded. By that transaction the Spanish grant went out of possession of the Giard family.

-source: The Palimpsest, edited by John Ely Briggs, Vol.XII Issued in January 1931 No.1 Copyright 1931 by the State Historical Society of Iowa; pg 1-6; -transcribed by Lisa Hanson-Braun, November 2004

The Boardman Journey

Excepts from:

source: History of Clayton County, Iowa, Chicago: Inter-State Publishing Co., 1882. Reproduced by the sponsorship of the Monona Historical Society, Monona, Iowa, reproduction Evansville, Indiana: Unigraphics, Inc., 1975

"Another landing was made where Elkader now stands, and Elisha Boardman marked out a claim extending on both sides the river. They continued their journey day and night, sometimes getting into the water to work their raft over shallow places, with occasional stoppage to gather gooseberries, which, aside from one duck and the [rac]coons, were the only food, until at the end of four days they reached the Lander place, about three hours after Grant and Bronson had arrived.

"After stopping a few days to recruit, Elisha Boardman and Mr. Bronson started back to Green Bay with but one horse, leaving the other with Captain Grant to plow out his corn. About the first of October they purchased a large bark canoe of three tons capacity, and started for their new home on Turkey River. Mr. Boardman with his goods, Mr. Bronson with his goods and family, and five others who were coming to see the country, made a pretty large canoe load. At the portage the canoe and cargo were carried over and launched in the Wisconsin River, whence they descended to Prairie du Chien. There they purchased a team and provisions. They was no ferry across the Mississippi at that place, and it was with much difficulty that they succeeded in obtaining an old flat-boat, belonging to the Government, and repairing it so as to get over with their loads. Alexander McGregor, who had recently come to Prairie du Chien, rendered them material assistance in caulking and launching the boat, crossed with them and returned the boat. They were four days in traveling with their team from the Mississippi to Elkader, where they arrived on the 10th of October. At that time there were at McGregor, then called Conlee de Sioux, two unoccupied cabins, built by Thomas S. Burnett.

Alexander McGregor's Land Grants

Signed by President Martin Van Buren

Note: 2nd column traded “poor real estate investment” now the “Loop” in Chicago


Ancestors of

James Joseph McGregor

Compiled by James and Judith McGregor 2006

Generation No. 1

1. James Joseph McGregor, born Nov 20, 1935 in Chicago, IL. He was the son of Alexander John McGregor and Irene Barbara Durkowski. He married (1st) Norma Andrews May 11, 1957 in Des Plaines, IL. He married (2nd) Judith Lee Painter Sept 19, 1986 in Racine, Wisconsin.

Generation No. 2

2. Alexander John McGregor, born Jul 06, 1909 in Chicago, IL; died Jul 1976 in Cook Co, IL. He was the son

of James Joseph McGregor and Anna F (Unknown) Lange. He married Irene Barbara Durkowski Abt. 1932 in Chicago, IL.

3. Irene Barbara Durkowski, born Feb 29, 1912 in Chicago, IL; died Jul 19, 2000 in Clearwater, FL. She was the daughter of Ignasius Derkowski and Angeline (Unknown) Derkowski.

Children of Alexander McGregor and Irene Durkowski are:

  1. James Joseph McGregor, born Nov 20, 1935 in Chicago, IL

  2. Dennis McGregor, born Dec 26, 1940 in Chicago, IL; died Jun 2005 in Clearwater, FL.

  3. Brian McGregor, born Dec 30, 1941 in Chicago, IL.

  4. Ronald McGregor, born Jun 1, 1948 in Benton Harbor, MI.

Generation No. 3

4. James Joseph McGregor, born Oct 03, 1878 in IL; died Jul 23, 1945 in Ingleside, Lake Co, IL. He was the son of Horace J McGregor and Margaret (Unknown) McGregor. He married Anna F Lange.

5. Anna F Lange, born May 1885 in IL; died in IL. She was the daughter of G Grandfather Lange and Elsie M (Unknown) Lange.

Children of James McGregor and Anna Lange are:

Grace McGregor, born Abt. 1904 in IL.

  1. Margaret McGregor, born Abt. 1905 in IL.

  2. Alexander John McGregor, born Jul 06, 1909 in Chicago, IL; died Jul 1976 in Cook Co, IL;

married Irene Barbara Durkowski Abt. 1932 in Chicago, IL.

  1. Elsie McGregor, born Abt. 1911 in IL.

  2. Maybelle McGregor, born Abt. 1916 in IL.

  3. Tiny Denise McGregor, born Dec 1919 in IL; died Apr 13, 1945 in Lake Co, IL.

6. Ignasius Derkowski, born Jun 1865 in Germany/Poland; died Abt. 1937 in Chicago, Cook, IL. He married Angeline (Unknown) Derkowski Abt. 1890 in Germany/Poland.

7. Angeline (Unknown) Derkowski, born May 1870 in Germany/Poland; died in Chicago, Cook, IL.

Notes for Ignasius Derkowski:

Alternate spellings: Durkowski, Dirkowski, Dorkowski, Derkowski, ?Drzewiecki

Ship's Register Ignatz Dirkowski

Children of Ignasius Derkowski and Angeline Derkowski are:

  1. Helen Derkowski, born Feb 1891 in Poland/Germany;

Married Stanley Sielski Nov 26, 1912 in Chicago, Cook, IL.

Notes for Helen Derkowski: IGI Germany record shows birth: 1892 , , Preussen death before 1971

  1. Stanislaus Derkowski, born Aug 1892 in IL; married Rose (Unknown) Durkowski 1914; born 1892 in IL.

  2. Mary Derkowski, born Jan 1893 in IL.

  3. Leon Derkowski, born Jul 1896 in IL.

  4. Wiktoria Derkowski, born Sept 1898 in IL.

  5. John Derkowski, born 1902 in IL; married Florence (Unknown) Derkowski; born Abt. 1908.

Notes for John Derkowski: 1/03/1920 in Chicago census, 1/21/1920 in Hawaii census as soldier

  1. Frank Derkowski, born Abt. 1906 in IL.

  2. Sophie Derkowski, born Abt. 1909 in IL; died in IL.

  3. Irene Barbara Durkowski, born Feb 29, 1912 in Chicago, IL; died Jul 19, 2000 in Clearwater, FL;

Married (1st) Alexander John McGregor Abt. 1932 in Chicago, IL; married (2nd) George Lang 1956 in Chicago, IL.

Generation No. 4

8. Horace J McGregor, born 1851 in IA; died Aft. 1888. He was the son of James McGregor, Jr and Sarah A (Unknown) McGregor. He married Margaret (Unknown) McGregor.

9. Margaret (Unknown) McGregor, born Abt. 1853 in NY.

Notes for Horace J McGregor:

1880 Census Rock Island, IL occupation: Carpenter age 29 born in IA

Wife Margaret age 24 born in NY, both parents born in Ireland

Children: Alexander age 8 born in IA, James age 2 born in IL

Rock Island and Moline Directory: listed @ 608 Tenth St, Rock Island, IL as a carpenter in 1882, 1883, 1884, & 1885

Rock Island and Moline Directory: listed @ 604 Fifteen St, Rock Island, IL as a carpenter in 1885, 1886, 1887 & 1888

Children of Horace McGregor and Margaret McGregor are:

  1. Alexander J McGregor, born Abt. 1872 in IA; died Aft. 1930 in IL; married Clara Randall Abt. 1895; born Jun 07, 1878 in IL; died Jun 02, 1963. Notes for Clara Randall: Unproven last name, Both parents born in Norway Marriage Notes for Alexander McGregor and Clara Randall: 1920 Census Chicago, Cook, IL shows age of marriage for Alexander as 23 and as 16 for Clara

  2. James Joseph McGregor, born Oct 03, 1878 in IL; died Jul 23, 1945 in Ingleside, Lake Co, IL;

Married Anna F Lange.

10. G Grandfather Lange, born Abt. 1840 in Denmark; died Bef. 1900 in IL. He married 11. Elsie M Lange in Denmark.

11. Elsie M Lange, born Apr 1843 in Denmark; died in Chicago, IL.

Notes for G Grandfather Lange: Elsie listed as a widow in 1900 census

Notes for Elsie M Lange:

1920 Census Chicago living with James J McGregor listed as grandmother

Elsie M Lange living with Charles Labbe in 1910 Chicago census as mother-in-law

Charles's wife name is Sena

In 1900 Chicago census she is head of household with son Peter Jensen born July 1873 in Denmark.

Children of G Grandfather Lange and Elsie Lange are:

  1. Peter Jensen, born Jul 1873 in Denmark. (unsure of relationship to father)

  2. Sena S Lange, born May 1879 in Denmark; married Charles Labbe; born Abt. 1873 in IL.

  3. Anna F Lange, born May 1885 in IL; died in IL; married James Joseph McGregor.

Generation No. 5

16. James McGregor, Jr, born 1810 in Wilton Junction, Saratoga, NY; died 1867 in Wilton Junction, Saratoga, NY. He was the son of James McGregor, Sr and Elizabeth Louisa Cameron. He married Sarah A (Unknown) McGregor. (Unproven)

Notes for James McGregor, Jr:

James sent to Iowa in 1842, 1845, 1846, 1851 living there in 1853

17. Sarah A (Unknown) McGregor, born 1814 in Ky?; died Aft. 1870 in IA.

Notes for Sarah A (Unknown) McGregor:

1856 Scott Co Iowa census, pg 326 twp DT (Davenport) household 132, head of household:

McGregor, Sarah A age 43, female, married, yrs in Iowa: 20 birth state KY

Children of James McGregor and Sarah McGregor are:

  1. A U McGregor, born 1835 in KY.

Notes for A U McGregor: 1860 Census Davenport, Scott, IA Sarah as head of household

A. U. interpreted as A. W. by transcriber but check out the W in William and Wisc. The census taker's W's are entirely different.

  1. Helen McGregor, born 1843 in IA;

Married N. N. Holmes Dec 07, 1870 in Scott Co, IA.

Marriage Notes for Helen McGregor and N. Holmes: Scott Co, Iowa, 814 Holmes, N. N. --McGregor, Helen --5 Dec 1870 by W. Frank Paxton Witness: Horace McGregor m. 7 Dec 1870

  1. Lawes McGregor, born 1846 in IA.

Notes for Lawes McGregor: American Civil War Soldiers Record about Lawes McGregor

Name: Lawes McGregor , Residence: Davenport, Iowa

Enlistment Date: 18 May 1864 Distinguished Service: DISTINGUISHED SERVICE

Side Served: Union State Served: Iowa Unit Numbers: 220 220

Service Record: Enlisted as a Private on 18 May 1864 at the age of 18

Enlisted in Company I, 44th Infantry Regiment Iowa on 01 June 1864.

Mustered out Company I, 44th Infantry Regiment Iowa on 15 September 1864 in Davenport, IA


Of 867 Officers and men, 1 was killed and 18 died.

Mustered in at Davenport, June 1, 1864. Mustered out at Davenport, Sept. 15, 1864.

The regiment did garrison duty at Memphis and La Grange, Tenn.

Source: https://sites.rootsweb.com/~iascott/44thinf.htm

  1. Horace J McGregor, born 1851 in IA; died Aft. 1888; married Margaret (Unknown) McGregor.

  2. Arthur McGregor, born 1854 in IA.

Generation No. 6

32. James McGregor, Sr, born Abt. 1765 in Perth, Scotland ref 2; died Aft. 1850 in Wilton Junction, Saratoga Co, NY. He was the son of John MacGregor and Anne (Agnes) Wood. He married Elizabeth Louisa Cameron Feb 06, 1794 in the Saratoga Reformed Dutch Protestant Church ref 3.

Notes for James McGregor, Sr:

The brothers came to Wilton in 1787 and opened a Grismill

1850 Saratoga Census Age: 85, farmer, born in Scotland

33. Elizabeth Louisa Cameron, born Abt. 1774 in Scotland; died in Wilton Junction, Saratoga Co, NY.

Children of James McGregor and Elizabeth Cameron are:

  1. John McGregor, born Aft. 1794.

  2. Margaret McGregor, born Aft. 1794; married Lewis Thompson.

  3. Mary Ann McGregor, born Aft. 1794; married Nicholas Vandewerker.

  4. Peter McGregor, born Aft. 1794.

  5. William McGregor, born Aft. 1794.

  6. Elizabeth McGregor, born 1801 in NY; married Horatio Buell; born Abt. 1800 in NY.

Notes for Elizabeth McGregor: 1850 Census shows Elizabeth (49) as head of household with son David (13) and James A (19)

  1. Alexander McGregor, born May 23, 1804 in Wilton Junction, Saratoga, NY;

died 1858 in McGregor, Clayton, Iowa;

Married Ann Gardner Apr 23, 1843 in Glen Falls, Warren, NY; born May 02, 1810 in Beekman Twp, Dutchess, NY; died Apr 27, 1890.

Notes for Alexander McGregor:

Husband Alexander MacGregor Birth: 23 MAY 1804 Wilton Junction, Saratoga, New York

Marriage: 23 APR 1843 Glens Falls, Warren, New York Death: 1858

Father: James MacGregor Mother: Elizabeth Cameron

Wife Ann Gardner Birth: 1810 Beekman Twp, Dutchess, New York

Marriage: 23 APR 1843 Glens Falls, Warren, New York Death: 1890


Chester MacGregor Male Birth: 1843 Prairie Du Chein, Crawford, Wisconsin Death: 1843

Gregor MacGregor Male Birth: OCT 1845 Prairie Du Chein, Crawford, Wisconsin Death: 20 NOV 1894

Gardner MacGregor Male Birth: 14 MAR 1848 Mcgregor, Clayton, Iowa Death: 14 MAR 1898

MacGregor Male Birth: 1850 Mcgregor, Clayton, Iowa Death: 1850

Notes for Ann Gardner: 2 other children listed:

Chester McGregor: born and died in 1843 in Praire Du Chein, Wisc.

Unnamed McGregor: born and died in 1850 in McGregor, Clayton, Iowa

  1. Gregor McGregor, born Abt. 1807 in Wilton Junction, Saratoga, NY; died 1845 in NY.

  2. Duncan McGregor, born 1808 in Wilton Junction, Saratoga, NY; died Aft. 1880; married Harriet G. Cornell; born Abt. 1813 in Washington Co, NY; died Bef. 1880.

Notes for Duncan McGregor:

1850 Census they have a son John age 7. He is not listed in the 1860 census

1880 Census Moreau, Saratoga, NY:

Birth yr: 1809; place; NY; Occupation: Hotel Keeper; Widowed, Head of hshld: Duncan McGregor; Father's birthplace: Scotland; Mother's birthplace: Scotland

Farmer, Glen Falls, P.O. Glen Falls

Builder of the resort hotel on Mt McGregor

  1. James McGregor, Jr, born 1810 in Wilton Junction, Saratoga, NY; died 1867 in Wilton Junction, Saratoga, NY; married Sarah A (Unknown) McGregor.

Generation No. 7

64. John MacGregor, born Mar 19, 1730/31 in Thorn Hill, Scotland ref 4. He married Anne (Agnes) Wood 1750 in Scotland.

65. Anne (Agnes) Wood, born Abt. 1734 in Port of Menteith, Perth, Scotland.

Children of John MacGregor and Anne Wood are:

  1. William MacGregor, born Abt. 1751 in Perth, Scotland; died in Wilton Junction, Saratoga, NY;

Married Charlotte Cameron Feb 19, 1793 in Glen Falls, Warren, NY; born in Scotland.

Notes for Charlotte Cameron:

In the same ship with the McGregors the Camerons, clansmen and acquaintances, came over to this country. Source: History of Saratoga County, Sylvester 1878

  1. James McGregor, Sr, born Abt. 1765 in Perth, Scotland; died Aft. 1850 in Wilton Junction, Saratoga Co, NY;

Married Elizabeth Louisa Cameron Feb 06, 1794 in Saratoga Reformed Dutch Protestant Church.

  1. John McGregor, born Abt. 1766 in Scotland; died in New York, NY.

  2. Alexander McGregor, born Abt. 1772 in Scotland; died in Liverpool, England.

  3. Robert McGregor, born Abt. 1780 in Perth, Scotland; died Bet. 1820 - 1830 in Wilton Junction, Saratoga Co, NY;

Married Mary Brisbin Abt. 1810 in Northumberland, NY; born 1775 in Northern Ireland.

Notes for Robert McGregor:

1820 Census Wilton, NY: Page 201 County: Saratoga

James Mc Gregore; Robert Mc Gregore; William Mc Gregore

1830 Census Wilton, NY (misspelled Hilton): pages 256 & 258 County: Saratoga

Mc Gregor, James; Mc Gregor, Mary (wife of Robt); Mc Gregor, William

Source Endnotes

  1. Birth Certificate

  2. 1850 US Federal Census.

  3. https://sites.rootsweb.com/~nysarato/srdcmars.htm.

  4. History of Saratoga County, New York 1878 by Nathaniel Sylvester.

Ship's Register

1930 Census Chicago, Cook, IL

Line 44: Derkowski, Ignasius, age 64, Angeline age 58, Sophie age 22, Irene age 18, Frank age 24.

This information is for private use only. As in most genealogy, not all of this information has been proven and may contain mistakes. We will gladly accept corrections, comments or new information.

You may contact us at: JimMcG1120 @ aol.com