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McInturff, Christopher
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Meckendorfer, Johannes
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Ancestor of the Month

October 2007

 

Christopher McInturff  

b. c1753   d. 1814

 

 

Christopher McInturff, born about 1753, was a third generation American.  He was the oldest child of John (1730-1759) and Maria Rosina Kern Macanturff (1735-1790).  Christopher‘s father, John Macanturff, had been born in PA, but his parents--Christopher’s grandparents--Johannes and Phronick McInterfeer were from Baden, part of the area known as the Palatine region in southeastern Germany.  Johannes and Phronick were part of the huge migration from Germany to the American colonies during the terrible religious persecution that occurred in the Palatine.  Chistopher’s grandparents had traveled down the Rhine to Rotterdam in 1629 and had booked passage on board the ship Allen from there to the colonies.

 

(For more info on the persecution and on Christopher’s parents and grandparents, see the AOM article on Johannes (Meckendorfer) McInterfeer.  Click the link at the top of this page, and when you reach the Archives page, scroll down the navigation bar on the left side of the page to Johannes McInterfeer)

 

It may be surprising to some to learn that the McInturffs were of German rather than Scottish origin.  The McInturffs started out as Meckendorfers, but by the time various ships’ clerks and colonial officials had had their turns spelling the name phonetically, the name went through many modifications.

 

Christopher’s father John stayed in PA until sometime before 1760 when he moved to VA  (All his children to that point had been born in the Philadelphia area of PA; after 1760 new additions to the family were born in VA).   When he left PA, John moved his family to the Shenandoah Valley region.  His reasons for moving were not recorded, but were probably the same reasons other settlers left the Philadelphia and Germantown area of PA in the mid 1750’s through mid-1760’s

 

Reasons for Leaving Pennsylvania

 

One reason for moving was probably that John was interested in acquiring more land. Land could be procured cheaply or in some cases for free on the southern and western frontiers.  Secondly, there may have been a desire to get away from the English-speaking colonists in PA.  German immigrants had all the hardships of other colonists, but they had the additional problem of language.

 

(Some German families did not learn English for about three generations, and there were stories about German-speaking colonists being cheated in contracts and business deals by their English-speaking neighbors.  In any case, the Germans tended to stay and travel together. Many were also bound together through religion which indeed had been their primary reason for coming to the colonies in the first place.  The McInterfeers (McInturffs) were members of the German Reformed Church.   There is speculation indicating that they may have been members of the Church of the Brethren (or Dunkers) since they sailed from Rotterdam with a group of Brethren, but no specific evidence exists [See AOM article on Johannes McInterfeer for info on language and religion.]) 

 

Finally, and probably most importantly, the French and Indian War (1754-1763) caused hundreds of families to leave PA in fear for their lives.  During this period native tribes who fought on the French side during the war massacred many white settlers in the area.   After the war there were no more mentions of the McInterfeers in PA public records, so this was likely the time they left.

 

The Caravan South

 

When John moved his family south, two of his brothers moved their families to Southwestern PA.   Quite likely all the other McInterfeers (McInturffs)—including the patriarch Johannes—were part of the group who accompanied John and his family to Virginia.  (Both Johannes and his third wife Dorothea died in Shenandoah  [Page Co]., VA—he in 1779; she in 1780.)

 

Life in Virginia

 

The McInturff family settled in Powell’s Fort Valley, located in Western VA and part of the Shenandoah watershed region. We do not know whether the McInturffs knew of this desirable area before leaving PA or just stumbled upon it as they traveled.  The destination turned out to be a wise choice.  The McInturff community was at the southern end of the valley, near Passage Creek.  Family traditions tell of the McInturff men working to widen an old Indian/deer trail that crossed the Massanuttens  (a 5 mile wide group of steep ridges between the two forks of the Shenandoah River) into a narrow road.   That opening from Fort Valley into the broad Shenandoah Valley to the west became known as McInturff’s Gap and was listed on maps as such for over a hundred years.  It is now called Edinburg Gap.

 

 In addition to building the road, the McInturffs contributed in other ways to their new home. John’s brother David (Christopher’s uncle) continued road service when he was appointed overseer of a road from the Crossroads in Powell’s Fort to Adam Shearman’s farm. Later, in 1819 David was appointed to the school commission.   Either Christopher’s father or brother John served as a private during the Revolution.

 

When Christopher’s family moved south, he was one of four young children, all boys, born in PA.  Within a   few years, however, he had additional brothers and sisters.  The family finally consisted of eight children:  Christopher, Casper (Gasper), John, Frederick, Daniel, David, Margaret, and Mary.  

 

Several sources say that Christopher was the first McInturff to have his name appear on a public document in Virginia.  In 1763 when he was still a young boy, he was listed on a land survey report as a chain carrier. 

 

Christopher’s Marriage and Family

 

As a young man, Christopher met and married Christina Unknown in Frederick Co., VA.  They had ten children

 

1.      Mary  b. 1779-1789 in Shenandoah Co., VA  d. ?  m. James Maddox 1801 in Carter Co., TN

2.      Dorothy b.c1772 in Shenandoah Co., VA d. ?  m. William Wyatt in 1787

3.      Margaret b. c1773 in Shenandoah Co., VA  d. 1814 in Carter Co., TN  m. Unknown or remained unmarried

4.      Amanuel (Manwell) b. 1775-1780 in Shenandoah Co., VA  d. 1840-1850 in TN m. (1) Malinda (Amelia) Luster 1802 in Elizabethton, Carter Co., TN  (2) Nancy Hurt 

5.      Israel b. c1776 in Shenandoah Co., VA  d. 1851  in Unicoi Co., TN   m. (1) Unknown and  (2)  Mary Whitson   (Israel and Unknown are our ancestors.  Israel was a veteran of the War of 1812)

6.      Christina b. ? d. ? m. Samuel Wyatt, Jr. 1797 in Carter Co., TN

7.      John b. 1780-1785   d. 1850-1855  m.  Anna Unknown b. 1780-1790 d. ?

8.      Christopher, Jr., b. 1782 in Shenandoah Co., VA  d. 1796 in Unicoi Co., TN

9.      Rebecca  b. c1784 in Washington Co., TN   d. 1882  m . Robert Cooper 1896 in Carter Co., TN

10. Susannah b. c1786   d. before 1814  m. James Sanders 1806 in Carter Co., TN

.

By 1783 Christopher was included on Shenandoah County tax rolls as a head of household.  In Virginia--or at least in Shenandoah Co--males over 21 years of age were required to pay a “poll tithable tax” as well as a tax on cattle and horses.  Male sons age 16 and over were also taxed.  If the son were 16-21 years old, the father paid the boy’s tax.  When the son reached age 21, he was responsible for paying his own tax.  From 1762-1786 Christopher was listed with only one “tithable” (himself) because his sons were all under sixteen. (It is interesting to note the changes in the number of horses and cows that he owned during this time. For example, in 1786 he owned 5 horses but only 1 cow.  In 1782, however, he had owned 3 horses and 3 cows.)

 

Christopher was apparently active in community affairs.  In September of 1774 the Dunmore Co., VA court appointed him Constable for that county.  Again in 1776 he qualified as Constable for Dunmore County (Shenandoah Co.), but the court minutes state that William Webb was appointed constable that year “in the room of Chris. McEnturff. [Sic].”  I don’t know what “in the room of” means and was not successful in finding an explanation.  I would guess it means in the “stead of”  “absence of,” “vacancy of,” or some other term that would suggest Christopher’s declining of or withdrawal from consideration of the office.

 

Moving Again:  On to North Carolina

 

Sometime after his parents’ deaths, Christopher and two of his brothers moved their families to Washington County, NC.  At that time, Washington County’s boundaries extended westward to the Mississippi River and would eventually become part of TN.  By 1790 Christopher owned 482 acres in Washington Co., and on 17 Nov 1792 he received a patent from NC for 550 more acres.  (A patent was an official document conveying ownership of public lands to an individual).  The land patent was for acreage on Buffalo Creek at the foot of Buffalo Mountain in Washington Co.   (This land is now in Unicoi Co., TN)  Before obtaining the land patent, Christopher sold 150 acres on Sinking Creek to a man named Charles Renno.  During the same year—1792—Carter Co, TN records showed Christopher owning 232 acres there.  Christopher continued to buy and sell land and directed in his will (written 30 Mar 1814) that his lands be sold after his death in order to carry out the terms of his will. 

 

(Christopher and Christina did not do as much moving around as it at first appears.  County boundary lines in NC and TN changed frequently.  Although the McInturff family is recorded as living in Washington Co., NC and in Washington, Unicoi, Carter and possibly other counties in TN, all these place names may have involved only one general home place.  If you have time, check out the “Tennessee County Formation Maps” http://www.tngenweb.org/maps/county-ani/tn-maps/tn-cf.html listed in the sources below.  Watching the county boundary lines change before your eyes as time flows by is fun)

.

Christopher may have been somewhat strong willed or maybe he simply stood up for himself, for he was involved in three civil suits in the late 1700’s and early 1800;s.  One case was against a man named John Cooper in 1796.    Another was against Jesse Wyatt in 1813.  (I was unable to determine what the cases concerned or how they turned out.  Christopher’s name--along with those of Emanuel [sic], Israel, and John--appear on several court documents (such as summonses) around this period.  A George McInturff (connection unknown) was also listed in the court documents

 

Family Secrets

 

Christopher and Christina appear to have had a good life.  They and their children prospered.  Two of their children, however, may have added a gray hair or two to their parents’ heads because later in life some “scandalous” things happened to these children.

 

WARNING:  The following stories may be total poppycock.  They may be about other people with similar names.  They may be just flat wrong.  However, they are interesting and if there had been a National Enquirer during the 1700 and 1800’s, these stories might have made first page “news.”  

 

Amanuel’s Marital Difficulties 

 

First was Manwell.   Manwell (or Amanuel) married Malinda Luster (1786-1845).  (Some documents give Malinda’s name as Amelia).  The couple had one son whom they named Wilson   Wilson grew up to do great things. The problem was not with him; it was with his parents’ marriage. 

 

 Legend has it that Malinda divorced Manwell—something that was just not done in the early 1800’s. Divorces were granted by the state legislature in those days, not by the county courts.  No record of divorce has been found, but the story persists.  After leaving Amanuel, Malinda married William Loving Hickerson   Some say that Malinda was a widow when she married Hickerson, but Manwell lived until the 1840’s or 1850’s and married Nancy Hurt after his breakup with Malinda. (Now, some say this whole story is untrue and that Manwell was not Wilson’s father.  In fact, there is no definite proof of Wilson’s father’s name.  It is “strongly believed” that Wilson is the grandson of John McInturff, Christopher’s father, and that one of Christopher’s sons or nephews was Wilson’s father. Which one?  Christopher, Jr., died at age 14; Israel married twice--an unknown woman and Mary Whitson; John married Anna Unknown.  No one seems to be left except Manwell.  Running down all the nephews proved a little unwieldy.  Please feel free to do so if you’d like. 

 

Wilson lived with his mother and his stepfather and moved with them to Illinois.  He grew up to marry Mahala Hickerson, daughter of William Loving Hickerson by his first marriage.  Thus, Wilson married his stepsister. (And, if we want to get technical, his stepfather was also his father-in-law!) Nevertheless, Wilson became a fine, upstanding citizen of Illinois who contributed much to his community and state.

 

Margaret’s Indiscretions    

.

The second problem child was Margaret.  There is controversy over whether or not Margaret ever married.  Some sources say she married “UNKNOWN.”  Some say she remained single.  Married or not, she did have two sons:  Thomas McInturff (29 Aug 1792-2 Mar 1881), born when she was 19, and John “Crowner” McInturff (5 Dec 1799-5 Feb 1884), born when she was 26.  It is unknown whether these two sons were full brothers or half brothers.  Since both sons use their mother’s maiden name, it is likely that she was unwed.  She was evidently unmarried when her father wrote his will, because he did not list her with a married name; he called her “my beloved daughter, Margaret McInturff.”  Christopher’s will makes a couple of things apparent:  (1) he obviously loved Margaret and (2) he had not disowned her or “kicked her out” if she was indeed an unwed mother. Unfortunately, Margaret died before her father, so she did not receive the “one hundred dollars out of the sale of my land after my wife’s decease” that he had left to his “beloved daughter Margaret McInturff.” 

 

His will was written 20 Mar 1814, and Margaret died sometime before 15 Jul 1814.  She was evidently still alive when her father wrote his will because he would probably have provided for her heirs if she had been already dead.  (He made provisions for his deceased daughter Susannah’s children in his will)  Sadly, Margaret’s son Thomas and Christopher’s wife Christina filed inventories of their loved ones’ estates on the same day.

 

Back to the Basics

,

We don’t know the exact date of either Christopher or Christina’s deaths.  He died sometime in 1814; she died sometime between 1820-1825 because at that time her family began selling off the property Christopher had left.  He had directed in his will that the property be sold after his wife’s death.  The two died in Carter Co., TN and are buried in People’s Cemetery there.

 

The family kept growing, as families tend to do, and spread to other parts of TN.  Christopher’s son Israel (our ancestor) was to help the family branch out from farming and land acquisition to manufacturing. 

 

Christopher McInturff was MaMaw McCarter’s great, great, great grandfather.  If you are Mary Elizabeth Hatcher’s great great grandchild, Christopher McInturff is your 7 great grandfather.

 

Line of descent from Christopher McInturff to Mary Elizabeth Hatcher

 

Christopher McInturff (c1753-1814) + Christina Unknown (1753-1820/1825)

Israel McInturff (c1776-1851) + UNKNOWN (?-?)

Israel McInturff, Jr. (1805-1845) + Elizabeth Webb (1808-1881)

Mary McInturff  ((1837-1915) + James H. (Pete) Hatcher (1839-1911)

Israel Alexander Hatcher (1860-1950)  + Susan Sutton (1866-1903)

Mary Elizabeth Hatcher (1889-1969) + Rev. Eli McCarter (1886-1955)

 

 

Sources

 

BenCamp.com

http://swainhome.com/BENNETT%20PAGES/mcinturff.html#John%20McInturff

 

BRUMMETTELArchivesRootsweb  http://archiver.rootsweb.com/th/read/BRUMMETTE/1998-06/0897239026

 

“Fayette Facts Part III”

http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~us4allen/common/ch.ab.srcs/fayettbk3.html

 

McCarter/McInturff charts/notes

 

“McInturff and Some Allied Families” http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~mcinturff/web/mcinturff/pafn01.htm

 

McInturff Family Genforum 

http://genforum.genealogy.com/mcinturff/

 

Rootsweb world connect project 

http://worldconnect.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=jlema&id=I19520

 

 “Shenandoah Valley”

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition Copyright 2003, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press.. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/  

 

“Tennessee County Formation Maps”

http://www.tngenweb.org/maps/county-ani/tn-maps/tn-cf.html

 

Watauga Historical Association Collection:  1796 – 1891 (Predominantly 1796 - 1835) East Tennessee State University  Archives of Appalachia  Box 70295 Johnson City, TN 37614-0138

http://www.etsu.edu/cass/Archives/Collections/afindaid/a88.html

 

“Wyatt L Archives”  http://archiver.rootsweb.com/th/read/WYATT/1998-09/0906910868

 

“Wyatt L- Archives”  http://archiver.rootsweb.com/th/read/WYATT/1999-10/0939798293

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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