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Carroll County Biographies

William Mackay

From the Goodly Heritage

James and Ann MacDonald Mackay farmed in Sutherlandshire, Scotland and in 1830 they decided to come to America. They brought their family of three sons, William, John and Duncan, and settled in Nova Scotia where they lived for 13 years before coming to Salem township. The father died in 1844 and the mother in 1864.

William, born July 13, 1802, went from Nova Scotia to Calais, Maine and manufactured wagons and carriages. His younger brother, Duncan, joined him in partnership until the financial crash of 1836. William left Duncan to settle up the business and headed west. Green Bay, Wis. was his first stop. He began making wagons and carriages, but dissatisfied with the location came to Salem township in 1837. Mt. Carroll then was described as an Indian village with two rows of huts. William was welcomed to the chief's house and the Indians reportedly made quite a to-do over him.

William ran the Christian sawmill west of Mt. Carroll and with a partner, John George, they were in the lumber business. He took up land and started a homestead in Salem where he built a substantial brick house. On May 12, 1886 a cyclone blew the house and several barns away.

William had married Isabella Murray, (08 January 1856 - Stephenson Co IL) also a Scot who had come to America with two aunts, Mrs. Richard Libberton and Mrs. Frank Craig to visit her uncle, James Mark at Cherry Grove. Isabella Murray, born Jan. 22, 1832, daughter of John Murray in Melrose, Roxborough county, Scotland, spoke the Gaelic language. She lived in Cherry Grove until she married William Mackay.

On the Salem farm, wheat and corn were raised and hauled by wagon to Chicago. There were no bridges or regular roads, only Indian trails, and the pioneer grain hauler would camp wherever night overtook him. Rails were split for fences and an orchard was set out on the half section of land the William Mackays improved.

More people were coming to Salem so a school was built of logs. A better one of brick was built in 1856 and later a still larger brick schoolhouse was built which stands as a historic relic, the pride and joy of the neighborhood. Religious services began; William Mackay, became a school director, taught a Sunday school class and encouraged projects to help the community. His four children, Margaret, Jean I., Effie, and William, Jr. attended the Oakville school.

Jean I. Mackay became a woman physician. She attended the public schools, Hahnemann Medical College, Chicago, and the Homeopathic Hospital in London, England in 1897 after practicing at Butte, Mont. She also studied in France. At Telluride, Cob., she was the first woman county health officer. She married Rev. DePutron Gliddon, a native of the Isle of Guernsey in the English Channel. After practicing medicine in the western states and attending to mining interests there, she returned to Mt. Carroll to care for her aged mother and set up practice in Mt. Carroll. Her husband remained in California and kept in touch with her. Before she could return to the west following the death of her mother, she met with an accident in her home at Mt. Carroll and was badly burned. She lingered from spring until October 14, 1912, and died at the age of 53.

Following the 1886 cyclone the William Mackay family moved to Mt. Carroll where Mr. Mackay had bought the brick house on College street near Shimer Seminary. Margaret never recovered from the fright and exposure of the cyclone and died of a lung ailment March 21, 1887. Her sister Effie, also suffered from consumption and passed away on March 28, 1889.

DePutron Glidden was a minister when he married Jean I. Mackay; he preached to large congregations, often the churches were more than filled. William, Jr. took up farming when his father died on Sept. 1, 1888.

William, Jr. studied at Lake Forest Academy, Mt. Morris Seminary and Dixon Academy. He continued with livestock and grain farming all his life and passed on Feb. 28, 1947, at the age of 85. He had married Cora Coleman Van Buskirk of Mt. Carroll on Aug. 23, 1900, daughter of John and Mary Dresbach Coleman. Their five children were Isabel (Mrs. M. G. Creath, Mabelvale, Ark., William III of Springfield; Helen of Mt. Carroll; John and Donald on the farm. Mrs. Mackay, 98, passed away in Mt. Carroll Jan 6, 1965.

Duncan Mackay, after settling up the business of the wagon and carriage maciufacturing partnership in Maine, came west. He had married Jessie Mackay on June 9, 1840 at Earitown, Nova Scotia. Jessie, born in Scotland in 1820, and Duncan came by boat to Chicago and overland to Carroll county walking some of the way. They lived with Duncan's older brother, William, for a time, and boarded with the Christian family in Preston Prairie. Duncan and William farmed together until 1856 when they divided their land. He built a nice home which was destroyed by fire in 1882. Duncan joined the National Grange and was sent to the State Grangers' Convention in May 1873 as a delegate. The same year, he was appointed by Gov. Beveridge commissioner to an international farm convention in Vienna, Austria. When he returned he did extensive traveling in America. While abroad he brought home several prize Percheron horses.

In 1862 he helped organize the First National Bank of Mt. Carroll and became president, remaining in that office until he died Sept. 4, 1880. When fire destroyed the home in Salem, Duncan moved to Morrison and persuaded his son, Duncan, Jr. to take over the farm even though young Duncan was making plans to go to Montana to seek his fortune.

Twelve children were born to Duncan and Jessie Mackay; at the time the first history was recorded there were seven living, Duncan, Jr., Anna (Mrs. Robert Moore), Barbara (Mrs. Gilmore), Jennie (wife of Dr. Andrew L. Van Patten), Lena (Mrs. Robert Jack), Nellie M. (Mrs. Hawse), Nettie (Mrs. Sharpe). Duncan, Jr. 11th of the 12 children, was born June 23, 1858. He attended Mt. Carroll high school, Lake Forest Academy, and Davenport business college.

The house that had been destroyed by fire was rebuilt using the stone foundation and walls of the old house which now stands at the Oakville golf course.

The Percheron horses were doing well so that a herd of 75 fullbloods were on hand when Duncan, Jr. began farming. His father, Duncan, Sr., though poor when he came to Salem had prospered; he held 780 acres at the time of his death. Duncan, Jr. traveled extensively in the west in 1883 before the Northern Pacific Railroad was completed, visiting the Yellowstone National Park on horseback. He contributed to agricultural papers and magazines, later went to live in San Antonio, Tex. while his sister, Mrs. Robert Jack and her husband and family cared for the farm.

John Mackay, born in 1820 and brother of William and Duncan was nine years old when his parents came to America. He came to Carroll county with his parents after being in Nova Scotia for 13 years, and in Freeport married Catherine Rupple who was born in Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, Nov. 28, 1828. When John's father died he took over the farming of 198 acres.

John Mackay, vice president of the Savanna Bank for nearly 40 years was treasurer for the Salem school. He was Salem township supervisor for a time.

Ten children were born to the couple, William A.; Daniel S.; Vena G.; Henry; Helen H.; Jennie B.; Katie A.; John L.; Duncan F.; and Mary E. William A. became vice-president of the First National Bank in Madison, S.D. and Duncan F. became associated with him later; Vena G. married Charles Beede of Salem township; Henry was a Mt. Carroll attorney and married Susan Hostetter; Helen H. married Charles Weston and lived at Hay Springs, Neb.; Daniel S. and Mary E. carried on the farming after the death of their parents. The three eldest daughters were graduates of the Mt. Carroll seminary; and seven of the children taught school.

John and Mary Mackay took into their home three orphan children of relatives and raised them as their own. Since their deaths the home has been owned by Donald and Mamie (Sleeter) Mackay who have developed the properties to their present use. They have three children, David a resident of Honolulu, Caroline, married to David Spanogle of this area, and Camilla, wife of Gregory Stengel. Both are students.

Davina Mackay was married to William Graham in 1828. He was born in the parish of Lairg Sutherlandshire, North of Scotland in 1802 and landed in Nova Scotia fourteen years later. They settled in Salem in Section 28 and had seven children, James, Jennie, William, Ellen, Daniel, Annie and Robert.

Anna Graham married Chris Handel. The present cottage of William G. Handel is on their land; their lovely home "Oakland Place" burned a few years ago.

There is more to this Biography of the Mackay family but unfortunately I didn't get the rest of it.. Sorry..

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