Volume 7, Number 8 - Summer 1981

The Knox and Brandon Families
Ancestors of John H. McClary
by Christa Chaney Barton

John Hannibal McClary was born in Piqua, Ohio on November 13, 1832 and died in Taney County, Missouri on July 6, 1906. John’s mother, Eliza Brandon, was born of parents whose families were early settlers in Rowan County, North Carolina. The Knoxes and Brandons immigrated to this country in the early 1700’s.

John Knox, immigrant, was born in Scotland about 1708, possibly in Renfrewshire. He went from Scotland to Coleraine, Ireland where he married Jean Gracy, an Irish Presbyterian. Jean Gracy’s mother was Jean Sinclair, a relative of the mother of John Knox, the Reformer. About 1740, John Knox, his wife Jean, brother-in-law Patrick Gracy and others emigrated to America. The crossing took three months because of unfavorable winds and they ran short of water and provisions. The Knoxes may have first settled in Pennsylvania before going to Rowan County, North Carolina. John Knox bought 600 acres on the south side of Third Creek for 37.10.

John and Jean Knox had seven sons and one daughter. They were William, Samuel, James, Absalom, John, Joseph, Benjamin and Mary. All of the sons took part in the revolution and one son, James, was the grandfather of President James K. Polk. John Knox died October 12, 1758, when he was 50 years old and Jean Gracy Knox died September 18, 1772, at age 64.

John Knox Jr. married Hannah Reid and raised eight children. Their names were Mary, Jane, George, Francis, Margaret, Robert, Ann and John. John Knox Jr. served in the Revolutionary War. A family story tells of a time when he was in charge of a commissary wagon. While he was fleeing from the British, he lost a clevis pin from his wagon. Quickly, he snatched a bridle from one of the rear horses and tied it in place. John Knox Jr. died in 1802 and his wife Hannah died in 1793.

Mary Knox was born in the early 1760’s in Rowan County, North Carolina. She married Benjamin Brandon, a Revolutionary War veteran, on February 6, 1790. Their children were Jesse, Benjamin K., Eliza, Fannie, Gideon, Jane, Levi G. and John. Benjamin and Mary (or Polly) left Rowan County, North Carolina for Tennessee in 1804. They left Tennessee in 1808 for Miami County, Ohio, where both died. Benjamin died on May 5, 1837, and Mary followed him about 1850.

A descendant of Mary Knox Brandon said of her: "She was a most excellent woman, and one whose memory is still bright with us. She raised my grandfather Brandon (Armstrong Brandon, brother-in-law of Mary) who was deprived of both of his parents at an early age, and to him she was indeed a mother." Mary was a pensioner after Benjamin’s death because of his service in the Revolution.

The Brandon family immigrated from England, probably in the early 1700’s. James Brandon, father of Benjamin Brandon, actively supported the Revolution. His son Abel said, "his father, James Brandon, always encouraged and recommended his brothers to serve their country against the enemy." James Brandon, in the year 1775 was a member of and at one time clerk of the Safety Committee of Rowan County. It also appears from said Colonial records that James Brandon was, in August, 1775, appointed second major of Rowan Minute Men by the Provincial Congress at Hillsborough, N.C. James Brandon was a miller by trade. During the 1750’s he held two land grants located on Fourth Creek, a branch of the Yadkin River in Rowan County, North Carolina. James Brandon’s will dated June 17, 1790 left property and personal possessions to his widow Rebecah (her maiden name may have been Armstrong) and to children William, Benjamin, John, Jane Willson, Abel and Armstrong. He also had a son James who may have died during the war. A family story says "that one of the sons of James Brandon was killed in battle in the Revolutionary War, and that his horse came home a distance of seventeen miles without his rider, and that his friends went to the field of battle and found his corpse.

Benjamin Brandon served at least eight tours of duty during the Revolutionary War from 1777, when he enlisted at age 18, to 1782. He was in the battles of Ramsur’s Mills, Cowpens, Cowen’s Ford and Torrence’s Cross Roads. A descendent heard Benjamin’s wife Mary tell of a time that Benjamin was wounded in the knee and hid in bushes to let the Tories and British pass him by unnoticed. Another


time, Benjamin was part of a party that captured and hung a group of Tories who were enticing Indians to attack settlers sympathetic to the Revolution. Benjamin applied for a pension on October 29, 1832 when he was 72 years old.

Eliza Brandon, daughter of Benjamin Brandon and Mary Knox Brandon, was born in February, 1793 in Rowan Co., N.C. She married John Hamilton McClary February 16, 1815 in Miami County, Ohio. They had seven children. Among them was John Hannibal McClary who was later to come to Taney County.

Sources of Information

The Knox Family by Hattie S. Goodman
Whittet and Shepperson; Richmond, Va. 1905

Marie Hassell
Rt. 2 Box 680
Locust Grove, Okla. 74352
Compiler:McClary Family

Revolutionary War Records of Benjamin Brandon
File W4901
National Archives
Washington, D.C.

Will of James Brandon
North Carolina State Archives

Carolina Cradle - Settlement of the Northwest Carolina Frontier 1747-1762

by Robert W. Ramsey

The University of North Carolina Press;
Chapel Hill 1964
Will of Jeane Knox

Nov. Co. 1772

In the name of God, Amen. The thirteenth of September, one thousand seven hundred & seventy-two, I, Jeane Knox in the parish of St. Luck, in the County of Rowan, in North Carolina, being through the aboundant mercy & goodness of God, though weak in body, yet of sound understanding & memory, blessed be God for the same, Do ordain & appoint this my last Will & Testament, and order and desire that it may be resaved by all whom it may concern as such.

Imprimis, I most humbly bequeath my soul to God my maker and Redeemer, and satifier beseeching his most gracious acceptance of it, through the merits of my compassinat Saviour, Jesus Christ, who gave himself an atonement for my sins & is abel to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make Intercession for them, in whom I trust he will not reject me a returning penitent when I come to him for mercy. In this hope and confidence I render up my soul with comfort, humbly beseaching the most glorious Trinity, one eternal God, to prepare me for the time of my dissolution, & that he take me to himself into that peace & rest which he hath prepared for all those that love & fear his holy name. Amen.

Witnesseth. Imprimis, I Give my body to the earth from when it was taken, in full assurance of its Resurrection from thence at the laste Day; & for my burial I desire it may be desent, without form, at the discretion of my executors, herein - after mentioned, who I do not doubt will manage it with prudence & gravity.


And as to my worldly Estate wherewith it has pleased God to bus me, I will positively order the same in the following maner & Form: after payment of all my Detets & funeral Expence, Item, I absolutely give & bequeth, devis & demis unto my well beloved youngest son, Benjamin Knox, one negro man child named Jacob, & the yong black Hors, sadil & Bridel, as also my own Bed that I now ly on, with all the sheets, bolsters, & blanikits that belongs to it, & two cows and calfes, to wit, Brindel & TWm. Also one plow, with the Irons and all Tackling belonging to it, & the big pot and littel pot, & the dust & dogh chest, cheeck Real & Gridel, & ax. and I allow my negro wench to be his for four years after my Deseas, & then to be sold by my executors, to the purpose hereinafter directed. I alow the Quit Rent of this place to be paid to this present Deat, all the above as it stands stated to him & his heirs forever.

Item. I give, devise, and demis unto my will beloved son Joseph one pot & puter bason to him & his heirs forever. Item, I give, devis, & demis & bequeth unto my well beloved daughter, Mary Rosbrough, all my own clothing, of every kind, to her and her heirs forever.

As for my corn & foder & wheat, and beef stear and hogs, I alow for the use of my four sons whet they keep in this hous to be for the use of them all; & I do alow, after all my debts & funeral charges is paid, the money arising from the different sales of goods & the sale of the wench above mentioned, when she is to be sold, to be equally divided between my sons Samuel, James, Joseph and Benjamin and to them and their heirs forever; & I do heareby constute & apoint my well beloved sons, Samuel Knox & Benjamin Knox, Executors of this my last Will and Testament; and I do utterly revock, disanull and every way forbid, gainsay & disalow, all former & other Wills or Codicils to wills by me heretofore maid; and I do now ratify, declare & confirm, this my last Will & Testament. In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my Hand & affixed my seal the day, month and years first within writen.

Signed, sealed, published and declared by the sd Jean Knox to be her last Will & Testament, in the presence of us the subscribers.

Henry Chambers.


John Graham

Jean (X) Knox(Seal)

John Kerr.


Will of James Brandon

June 17, 1790

In the name of God Amen. I, James Brandon, of Rowan county, in the State of North Carolina, being very sick and weak of Body, but of perfect mind and memory, thanks be given unto God and calling to mind the mortality of my Body, and that it is appointed for men to die, Do make this my last will and testament and principally and first of all I give and Recommend my soul into the hands of God that gave it, hoping through the Death, merits and Entersesion of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to have a full and free pardon and forgiveness of all my sins and to Inherit everlasting life, and my Body I commit to the earth to be buried in a decent Christian burial at the discretion of my Executors hereafter named, nothing doubting but to Receive the same again at the General Resurrection by the mighty power of God. And as touching such worldly Estate wherewith it has pleased God to bless me with in this life, I give Demise, Bequeath and Dispose of in the following manner and form (Viz.). It is my will and pleasure that all those just debts and Duties as I do owe to any manner of person or persons whomsoever either in Law or Equity be first paid in some Convenient time after my decease by my Executors hereafter named.

Itim. I give, demise and Bequeath unto my Beloved son William Brandon that tract of land whereon he now lives, Beginning at the mouth of the spring branch on the North Side of Fourth Creek, and running up said branch to the head thereof thence a west course to the boundary line of said Tract, thence the course is of the original Deed to the Mill Dam, thence down the course is of the dam and Creek to the Beginning. Including the grist mill with one third part of the saw mill only, and my Negroe Wench Florah and her child called Yank, and to his heirs and assigns forever.

Itim. I give, demise and bequeath unto my Loving son Benjamin Brandon Two Hundred & fifty Acres of my Land on the north side of fourth Creek, Including the Improvements where he now lives, Beginning at the Original Beginning corner on the North Bank of fourth Creek, and so round according to the course is for compliment and my Negroe fellow called Paul and one-third part of the Saw Mill to his heirs and assigns forever.


Itim. I give, demise and Bequeath unto my Loving son John Brandon all the Remainder of my Land on the north side of fourth Greek Lying betwixt Willian’s & Benjamin’s parts aforesaid, and my Negroe fellow Harry, and to his heirs and assigns forever, and one third part of the Saw Mill.

Itim. I give and bequeath unto my Daughter Jane Wilson my Negroe wench Hannah and all and singular her sisters apparel and bed and bed clothes and the Sheep called Mary’s, and to her assigns and heirs forever.

Itim. I give and bequeath and Demise unto my Loving son Abel Brandon one half of the plantation I live on on the south side of fourth Greek, both in Quality and Quantity, and my Negroe Wench called Kate and my Dun colt, and to his heirs and assigns forever.

Itim. I give, Bequeath and demise unto my loving son Armstrong Brandon the Remainder of my plantation whereon I now live on the south side of fourth Greek, and my Negroe wench Dinah the half of my Sheep and my Dun filly, and to his heirs and assigns forever.

Itim. I give and bequeath to my well beloved wife Rebeccha her dower of and in all my land on the south side of fourth Creek demised as aforesaid to my two sons Abel and Armstrong, together with all and singular my household furniture and use of my mention house, my sorrel mare, five milk cows, the one-half of the sheep and my roand Coult, and to her heirs and assigns forever.

Lastly, the remainder and Residue of my Estate, both real and personal, I Give and Bequeath to my two youngest sons (viz.) Abel and Armstrong, share and share alike to them and their heirs and assigns forever.

Lastly, I name, ordain, Constitute and appoint Abel Armstrong and my son Benjamin Brandon Executors of this my last Will and testament, hereby revoking and disannuling all former and other wills, Testaments, Bequests, demise and Executors by me in any manner of ways before this time Named, Willed, Bequeathed, Demised or appointed, Ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my last will and Testament.

Signed, sealed, published, pronounced and declared by the said James Brandon as his last Will and Testament, in presence of us the subscribing Witnesses,

Isaac Hughey
Henry Hughey
Samuel Young

James Brandon (seal)


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