mcwhorter lives and times a family history and genealogy
 McWhorter Lives and Times 

McWhorter - origins of our name

One account of the name "McWhorter" is that it originated in Scotland as "MacChruitter," or "harper" after King David awarded an estate to Patrick for his service. When a number of McWh*rters gathered for a clan reunion in Ayr in 2003, a trip to the castle now on the site revealed a clue as to the truth of the legend.

McWhorters in Colonial Virginia

John McWhorter owned two tracts of land on the Rockfish River in Albemarle County (now in Nelson County). The first was purchased from James McCanne in 1747. In February 1752, it was sold to Alexander Patton. It’s now identified for us by the Rockfish Presbyterian Church, which still occupies the site as it did when McWhorter bought the property. The second tract of land was purchased from Alexander Henderson in July of the same year, and sold in 1758 by Eleanor and James McWhorter to Joseph Smith. Three deeds on record in the Library of Virginia document the facts:

In Search of John McWhorter

This article tells the story of Karen and Mike Wilhelm's 2003 visit to Virginia to find the 18th Century McWhorter homeplaces. More

Settling South Carolina

Eleanor McWhorter, believed to be John McWhorter’s widow, received a land grant in a North Carolina region later to be determined to be in South Carolina.

Service in the Revolutionary War

Both John and George McWhorter participated in the American Revolutionary War. John lived long enough to apply for a pension, describing himself as a Minute Man in his application affidavits.

John McWhorter‘s Pension File

The National Archives holds a Revolutionary War Pension file for John McWhorter., Number W9560. It provides rich detail about the McWhorter family.

Revolutionary War engagements John McWhorter says he participated in

South Carolina records related to the Revolutionary War

The Stub Entries to Indents refer to payments made after the Revolutionary War to those who served in the militia or otherwise provided aid to the rebel cause. It verifies John McWhorter’s claim to have fought in the American Revolution. It also gives us the names of neighbors later found in the 1790 Census in SC, then in records in Kentucky. 

Moving on to Kentucky

The Drovers Road: The Wilderness Road that leads to the land in Kentucky originates in the Holston valley in Virginia, separated from the South Carolina home of the McWhorters by a mountain range. It would be a troublesome detour to travel there to get on the Wilderness Road, but what else could they do? The answer is the Drover's Road.

John and George McWhorter both claimed and were granted land south of the Green River in what would become Casey County, Kentucky, then part of Lincoln County, Virginia.

Descendants sketches

My direct line of descent. This is not meant to be formal genealogy. For that, please use the "McWhorter Family Tree" link in the right-hand column.

John McWhertar (1802-1866)

Married Betsy Hight.
Wagonmaker by trade.

Robert McWhorter (1838-1916)

William Eller McWhorter (1871-1933)

Married Mary Frances Elliott. Moved the family away from its Yosemite home, eventually to Louisville.

John Robert McWhorter (1896-1970)

My grandfather. Served in the U.S. Navy. Married Edythe Marion All, who convinced him in 1952 to move to Los Angeles.

He wrote about his memories of Casey County in the voice of a backwoods character, "Fee Simple."

In 1940, the Courier Journal published another article my grandfather wrote about his experiences in the Navy, which he joined in 1917, when he was 21.

John Robert McWhorter, Jr. (1924-1970)

My father. Served in the U.S. Navy. While in the Navy's radio school in Chicago, met my mother, Rita Hytrek. After being discharged from the Navy in 1946, went back to Purdue University, married Rita, and finished his degree in chemical engineering.

He went to work for the DuPont company, and after a stint in Cleveland, where I was born, he was transferred to Wilmington, Delaware, where much of my family still lives.

Karen McWhorter Wilhelm (1948-)




Last updated 10/15/2006 Copyright© 2003-2006 by Karen McWhorter Wilhelm