Friday, July 10, 2009

Ships' Lists with Clarks and "McSpadins"

Malcom and Hugh Clark?
Click here to see a list of passengers on the Betty Gregg that sailed out of Northern Ireland on October 4, 1767, and arrived in Charlestown by February 2, 1768.

See numbers 64 and 65 in the list. Could these two Clarks be Malcom and Hugh Clark (father and brother of Mary Clark Reed)? I believe it's certainly possible. The date fits in very well with every timeline I've conjectured.

The McSpeddon Family?
Click here to see the ship's list for the Brig Hope that sailed from Ireland to Charlestown in 1791. "Samuel McSpadin & family" are on the list. (Further down the list is "Mary McSpadin." I wonder if Mary was Samuel's mother.)

Jane McSpeddon Reed's tombstone has this inscription:

to the Memory of
wife of Hugh Reed
& Daughter of
Samuel & Elizabeth McSpeddon
All of Ireland
Died Oct 6 1839
in the 48th Year of her Life"

According to Jane's tombstone, she was born in 1791 and would have been a babe in arms on this voyage if this the right family.

What do you think? Please leave a comment if you have any other ideas or suggestions.

While we are looking at this I want to pose a couple of questions.

Doesn't the spelling "McSpeddon" here on Jane's tombstone rule out all the places we have seen her maiden name given as "McFaddin?"

Where do differing birthdates for Jane that I have seen online come from (15 May 1784, 6 Oct 1794)? What sources?


  1. I must agree with you that the spelling of Jane McSpeddon's name on her tombstone should rule out all other spellings. As you are well aware, ship's clerks, census takers, and the families themselves often couldn't spell, however, I would like to think that on their tombstones they made their best effort at how they wanted their names spelled. Not always true, I'm sure, but lacking any legal documents it seems the best choice.
    I also note that some websites list Jane's place of death as the Reed Plantation in Aroostock, Maine. I assume this is in error and probably just a confusion with the Reed home in South Carolina. Is there any reason to think that she would have died in Maine and been buried in South Carolina?

  2. I was just thinking about the McSpeddon/McFadden spelling. There was a prominent McFadden family from Chester County. This family was originally from Northern Ireland also but I couldn't find a direct connection. I scanned through "Descendants of Ulster McFadden, Settlers of Chester County, South Carolina, 1710-2004" and "Captain Bill : the records and writings of Captain William Henry Edwards (and others), Company A, 17th Regiment, South Carolina volunteers, Confederate States of America : a history and genealogy of Chester County, SC".

    I have to dig up my sources for Jane's birth. I can't remember where it gave her maiden name as McFadden.

    It makes more sense that her maiden name was McFadden. But she died 16 years before Hugh Reed who should have known the correct surname. However, the headstone could have been erected later on by the children.


  3. Henry, I know of no reason Jane would have gone to Maine. Anyone else reading this with ideas?

    Jane died in 1839. Wikipedia says Reed Plantation "was first settled in the early 1830s by four families, Clifford, Rollins, Prouty, and Plumber.",_Maine

  4. I was thinking about Sharon's comment regarding the McSpeddon/McFadden spelling dilemna and trying to consider some of the possibilties. In researching surnames, I find that both McFadden and McSpadden are anglicized versions of Scotch/Irish Gaelic names. Thus, the ship list spelling of McSpadin may also be fairly accurate. I was also thinking that if these folks still spoke Gaelic as many did, or with an accent, then McSpadden may have sounded like McSpeddon as they tried to come up with an English spelling.
    It would also be interesting to know how long they spent in Ireland. The Scottish Highland Clearances started in about 1760 and many displaced highland farmers settled briefly in Northern Ireland prior to emigrating to the American colonies. At some point, I might try to check Scottish clan subsets to see if the names McSpadden or McFadden appear.
    At any rate, the name McSpadden might be worth watching for as we continue to research these ancestors.