Pedigree of:
James Pettigrew

= ___?
Unlikely-See James II
Dame Geiles

= James

= James



Notes and Links

James Pettigrew 3rd*, b. Apr 18, 1713, at Crilly House, County Tyrone, Ireland; d. Sep 24, 1784, Abbeville District SC.

Brief Biography:

James Pettigrew (1713-1786) was born in County Tyrone, Ireland, and died in the Abbeville District of SC. He is the immigrant ancestor of the Pettigrew family in America. The following account of his life was written and prepared by Penelope Johnson Allen, the State Chairman of Genealogical Records, Tennessee Society DAR.

"Among the children of James and Martha (Moore) Pettigrew was a son, James Pettigrew, who was born April, 1713 at Crilly House, County Tyrone, Ireland, and he was the first American ancestor of the family here traced.

James Pettigrew is said to have been wild in his youth and of a forward and daring disposition. While preparing for Trinity College at Dublin he eloped in 1731 with Mary, the daughter of Captain George and Rachel (Higgenbotham) Cochran, of The Grange, a beautiful Irish estate. Mary was a famous beauty of her time and was the same age as her young husband. The couple had 13 children, eleven of whom - 6 boys and 5 girls reached the age of maturity.

After a few years James Pettigrew made up his mind to seek his fortune in the new world and leaving the oldest of his four children with her grandmother in Ireland, set sail for America, with his wife, a daughter, and two sons. They landed at New Castle in Delaware, in 1740, and pushed westward into Pennsylvania, where he secured 300 acres of land on Marsh Creek near the present location of Chambersburg. In Philadelphia, he knew the prominent men of his day, and no less a personage than Dr. Benjamin Franklin, advised him to study medicine, but James Pettigrew was born to adventure and followed the star of his fortune south, through Virginia and North Carolina, and settled at last in North Carolina, where he spent the closing years of his life. And it is related that about this time James Pettigrew became very religious. So strict was he in his observance of the Sabbath that no cooking was allowed in his house on Sunday, and to this circumstance he and his family owed their lives, for one Sunday hostile Indians visited his premises, but seeing no smoke, passed on, as they supposed the house to be unoccupied. In recognition of this providential deliverance from the hands of the redmen, he after named one of his sons, Ebenezer.

After the Pettigrew family was settled in Pennsylvania, James sent to Ireland for his oldest daughter, who set out to join them, but she died during the voyage to America. About this time the French and Indian war broke out and life on the Pennsylvania frontier became a perilous business.

After Braddock's defeat in 1755, James Pettigrew sold his land in Pennsylvania for 80 pounds and moved to Lunenburg County, Virginia where he rented a farm and remained about three years. Here his thirteenth child, a son, William was born, Jan 26, 1758. He then moved to Granville County, North Carolina, where he remained ten years, and while residing there gave the land for the establishment of a Presbyterian Church. In 1768, hearing favorable reports from Scots-Irish settlers in South Carolina of the land in that section James Pettugrew sold his property in Granville County, North Carolina, and after three weeks traveling around reached the "Long Cane Settlement", about seven miles above Abbeville Courthouse. He stayed in this locality for about four years. In 1773 he bought a farm in what is now known as the "flat section" of Abbeville District, situated on Little River. The land here was fertile, his crops were abundant and his cattle increased. On the whole, he continued to prosper until the outbreak among the Cherokee Indians in 1776 sent a thrill of horror across the frontier. Those who escaped massacre were forced to abandon their plantations and seek safety in the Huguenot fort of James Noble, which was commanded by Patrick Calhoun, father of James C. Calhoun. In a short time the settlers returned home and enjoyed tranquillity until the tide of the revolution swept to this locality in 1779.

James Pettigrew was a strong Whig, and with several of his sons, son-in-law, and grandsons served with the colonial troops in the Revolutionary army.

He was somewhat skilled in medicine and, there being few practitioners in the country, he was often called upon to give medical aid, which he did impartially to Whig and Tory alike - and for this reason, in the turbulent days that followed the fall of Charleston, when the life of no man was safe in the country, which was infested with bushwhacking of both parties, James Pettigrew's family was a little disturbed.

Not long after the close of the war, one December day, he went to a sacramental occasion at "Pickens" House where Abbeville Courthouse now stands and there remained all night. The weather was very cold and he contracted a violent cold. After the close of the meeting, On Sunday night he rode twelve miles in bitter weather and pneumonia developed, which resulted in his death on Dec. 24, 1784, at the age of 71 years. His wife survived him two years and died Oct. 7, 1786, aged 73 years."

Several of the assertions and speculations by P. J. Allen in the above quote have since been questioned and/or disputed. The date of the Pettigrew family arrival in New Castle is stated in the letter by William Pettigrew, as Nov. 1741. They were probably brought from Belfast on the ship "Eagle Wing". The exact location of the Pettigrew's settlement in Pennsylvania is still uncertain. The reason that the indians spared their cabin from looting and burning is highly speculative. More probably, it was spared because James Pettigrew may have befriended certain indians with his medical knowledge. Their move to Virginia may have been a part of the Caldwell Settlement, and no records have been found to support the claims that he attended Trinity College in Dublin; that his birth date was 1713; or that he sold his land in PA for 80 pounds.


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