Maybe one day my daughter, Heather Hanson, will realize Family Trees – ARE HUGE – and no power on earth can replace these trees. Heather is the cousin of Drew Benton, whose ancestor is Captain John McDowell.
Dubhghall was active in Ireland, and is recorded to have conducted military operations against the English in Connacht. In 1259, the year after his victory over the English Sheriff of Connacht, Dubhghall’s daughter was married to Aodh na nGall Ó Conchobhair, son of the reigning King of Connacht. This woman’s tocher consisted of a host of gallowglass warriors commanded by Dubhghall’s brother, Ailéan. This record appears to be the earliest notice of such soldiers in surviving sources. The epithet borne by Dubhghall’s son-in-law—na nGall—can be taken to mean “of the Hebrideans”, and appears to refer to the Hebridean military support that contributed to his success against the English.
Ephraim McDowell, his sons, John and James, his son-in-law James Greenlee, the accompanying families of those men, and at least one indentured servant had sailed from Ulster in the north of Ireland on the ship “George and Ann.” The voyage across the Atlantic to Philadelphia was an unusually long one, 118 days.
The family did not linger too long in Pennsylvania. Lured by inexpensive land on the Virginia frontier, son James McDowell, soon came to Augusta County and established a farm near Woods Gap (now Jarman’s Gap). Perhaps it was Ephraim’s son James or the McDowell’s kinsman John Lewis that recommended that the entire family migrate south into the Valley of Virginia.
So by September 1737 the family was camped out along Linville Creek in what is now Rockingham County. Their plan was to acquire land in the Beverley tract around what eventually became Staunton. Soon a chance encounter would change the course of their lives. A man named Benjamin Borden entered their camp and asked to spend the night. He was the beneficiary of a 100,000-acre land grant in what is now southern Augusta County and northern Rockbridge, but he needed help surveying his holdings. John McDowell, who was a surveyor, struck a bargain with Borden whereby McDowell would survey the tract in exchange for 1,000 acres of land.
The Tracy Family History
our famous cousins
“I am like a deep ship, I drive best under a strong wind.”
This is the family tree of Jessie Benton Fremont; these are the six generations of Jessie Benton Fremont
Michael Woods, Sr., of Blair Park married Lady Mary Campbell of Argyle, from the mighty Campbell clan. They had a daughter…
Magdalene Woods, the great beauty (sister to my 6th great grandmother Martha Woods) whose second marriage to Benjamin Borden, Jr., would make her one of the wealthiest women in America. They had a son…
James McDowell, Sr., who married Elizabeth Cloyd. They had a son…
Capt. James McDowell, Jr., who married Sarah Preston. They had a daughter…
Elizabeth (You will note that the name Elizabeth carries down through the generations.) McDowell, a “lovely” Southern Belle, who married US Senator Thomas Hart Benton. They had a daughter…
Jessie Hart Benton, a Southern Belle, who married Gen. John Charles Fremont, “the Pathfinder.”
My mother’s definition of a Southern Belle
Young, vivacious, charming, with many suitors. The most popular girl at a ball. From an upper-class family. Note: A “great beauty” is one class above a “Southern Belle.”
Our cousin, Jessie Benton Fremont, was even more than a Southern Belle. She came from a long line of aristocrats with all the cultural traits that comes with that title. From her mother’s side she learned elegance, sophistication. She was idealistic, with great passion and energy. Above all, she was… ambitious.
Her mother was spoiled rotten. Elizabeth McDowell was well bred, delicate with gentile manners. She summered at the White Sulphur Springs Resort and wintered in Richmond. Her relations were the governors, senators, and congressmen. As late as the 1880s the family still counted two senators and six congressmen. These were the uncles, cousins, and brothers. That does not include their other nobles.
She traveled in a custom London-built coach with an interior of scarlet leather, accompanied by a footmen and maid. When traveling by coach in Virginia she could stop almost anywhere and visit relatives at their “great estates.” Trailing behind the carriage would be a mule drawn wagon loaded with baggage.
“Staunton was also a great thoroughfare for travelers going to and returning from the Virginia springs. During the “spring season,” the town was alive with stagecoaches, besides the private carriages in which many wealthy people traveled. Some of the latter and all of the former were drawn by four horses, and occasionally there was a quite a display of “liveried servants.” (The movies never show these magnificent carriages always being trailed behind with an old mule drawn baggage wagon. I never saw this scene in “Gone With the Wind.”)
This was her world. They were our people, also… a long time ago.
Elizabeth and her husband hated slavery. When Elizabeth’s father died she freed the 40 family slaves. This hatred of slavery would carry through the family.
The romance between Elizabeth McDowell and Thomas Hart Benton is a classic study in opposites attracting. Benton was a frontier brawler, burly, pugnacious and boisterous. In their earlier days, he and his brother, Jesse (for whom Jessie was named) got into a brawl with Andrew Jackson and his friends. Everyone emerged alive after Jesse put a bullet into Jackson’s shoulder. Although the fight took place in a bar room, it was in an elegant hotel. One of the bullets went through the wall and into a room with a mother and her baby. It is not recorded how close the bullet came to the baby. However, no mother likes a bullet fired in anger entering her baby’s room.
Benton pursed the Southern Belle for many years. She finally agreed to marry him when she was at the advanced age of 27. He was older. She agreed to the marriage only after he had attained an acceptable social position and was elected US Senator from Missouri.
Elizabeth did not like the idea of giving up five generations of Virginia aristocracy to live on the wild Missouri frontier. She soon learned to love her adopted country. Such was the wealth that Elizabeth brought to the marriage that the family lived between St. Louis, Virginia, and Washington D.C. They would travel with all the servants money could provide. This shows the immense wealth that flowed from Magdelene.
It was into this family, on their plantation in Lexington, Virginia, that Jessie Benton was born in 1824. This was in the middle of our Woods-Wallace country. Jessie grew up among the powerful in Washington D.C. When her father visited with President Jackson at the White House, Jessie would sit by the president’s side. The president would run his hand through her curly hair.
Andrew and Thomas were now good friends and allies in politics. They laughed about the feud they had so many years before. It is said that no one could become a friend of Andrew Jackson unless they first had a fight with him.
To show you how history interconnects, this was the same Andy Jackson, who as a teenager helped to nurse the wounded after the Battle of Waxhaws. This was the battle where Jessie’s kin, Capt. Adam Wallace, was “hacked to pieces.”
Her mother developed poor health. This propelled Jessie, at a very young age, into the social whirl of Washington D.C. Not only did she attend parties but she also acted as the social hostess for the events given for her Senator father.
Highly educated, she spoke both French and Spanish fluently. Her features at the age of 15: Her figure was slender. She had an oval face even described as being classic, dark eyes, knockout red hair. She was a classic Southern Belle.
It was at this tender age, for Jessie now an experienced young woman, that she gave a party to which was invited John C. Fremont. He was 11 years older, handsome, and well known for completing several western expeditions. They fell in love at first sight.
The parents were not pleased with the romance. Fremont had no money or social position, and he was of illegitimate birth. Jessie, as you will see, had a mind of her own. Her actions were considered unacceptable for a young lady of her social standing. Southern girls were expected to know their place and stay in that place. At the age of 17, they eloped and had a secret marriage.
The secret marriage was all anyone talked about in Washington. Her father was furious when he found out about it. Jessie, with great dramatics, left her father’s house on the arm of her new husband.
Cousin Jessie was an ambitious young woman, now married to an ambitious young man, and she had an ambitious father. She had everything going for her: beauty, intelligence, experience, and all of the right social and political connections. They were now the most sought after couple in Washington for parties, balls, social and political gatherings. They were a “handsome pair.”
In the frontier days it seems that all parents objected to their daughter’s choice of husbands, and all the daughters eloped. Then the parents would forgive and forget.
What are the odd that I would find the name Rosamond in the genealogy of Robert Dew who is the father of my unborn granddaughter that I wanted to be named after My mother, Rosemary Rosamond, and aunt, Lillian Rosamond. This is pure prophecy! What more could a father-writer ask for! I m positive the Dews did not know they were kin to royalty.
|Dew-Hatfield Benham-O’Sullivan Tree|
Public Member Tree
5 attached records, 5 sources
|Rosamond Clifford Tomkyns Dew|
Birth: dd mm 1887 – city, London, England
Death: date – Shropshire, EnglandF:Tomkyns DewM:Ada Isab
Children of Tomkyns Dew and Margaret Beatrice Napleton
Child of Tomkyns Dew
Jessie and John Fremont appear to have named their son, Frank Preston Fremont after Francis “Frank” Preston Blair whose daughter, Elizabeth Blair, was very close to Mary Todd. Elizabeth married a cousin of General Lee. The Todd family were prominent in Kentucky where the Preston family reigned. Mary Todd was a Scarlet. Mary and Sarah McDowell, the mother of Jessie Benton, have grandfathers named Samuel McDowell. Whether they are related, needs to investigated, because Jessie and Mary are mirror images of each other, and were Flowers of the South. How they came to wed two abolitionist candidates for the Republican Party – connected to the Blair family – needs to scrutinized, because the Fremonts had a falling out with the Blair family that led to their ruin.
I suspect Mary Todd saw the Fremonts as usurpers, and when Jessie made her anti-Slavery views public record, the Southern Bells who are close kin, turned their back on her. Did they do the same to Mary Todd? I suspect not because Abe was for a slow ending of slavery and the deportation of blacks to their own country he would help found. Lincoln was into nation building for blacks. Were all those Kentucky Colonels behind Lincoln’s secret plan, thanks to Mary’s kindred?
When Fremont emancipated the slaves of Missouri I am sure the Preston family went ballistic and came to Mary Todd for solace. The idea these Belles would be surrounded by freed blacks, must have been revolting. Surely they talked amongst themselves. Surely Abe overheard their conversations, and shuttered. Jessie and her husband were drummed out of the South – and the North. Their power in the West was stripped from them. But Lincoln;s hand was forced. The Radical Republicans, and the foreign Forty-Eighters, could muster votes.
My kindred erected a monument to James McDowell whose family fled Ireland to America. The McDowell family are of the Clan McDougal. They appear to be Peckerwoods, redheads, Irish-Scotts. The captain of the ship they were on tried to starve the McDowells to death in order to get their money. Like the Rosamond family, the McDowells fought at the battle of Boyne. They backed William of Orange.
I think I will wear the McDowell Clan Tartan at the coming Scottish games. I am a tireless supporter of the Fremonts and their lost history.
Above are the ruins of Garthland, ancestral home of the McDowells. There is a O’Hara clan that mentions Scarlet O’Hara in the fiction ‘Gone With The Wind’. Jessie and her mother were the real Scarlet. Was Garth Benton named after Garthland. I will try to get a fund going to save Garthland.
Above is a portrait of Elizabeth Graham of Airth, Wife of William MacDowall of Castle Semple and Garthland by William Mosman.
is erected to their grandparents, James and Sarah McDowell, by the surviving children of Susan P. Taylor, Elizabeth Benton, and James McDowell, in the year 1855.
Ephriam McDowell was descended from Somerled (or Somervil), Lord of the Isles, then from his son Dougall who founded the Clan of Dougall or MacDougal, one of the eldest of the fifty-two Highland Clans proper. In the coat of arms of the McDougals or McDowells ins quartered the lymphiad or ancient four-eared galley found in the armorial bearings of the clans of the western part of Scotland.
Ephriam’s family fled from Scotland to Ireland and settled near Londonberry. Ephriam was born in 1672 in Londonberry County. He was only sixteen years of age when on December 9, 1688, McDonell of Antrim approached the walls of Londonberry. Ephriam went to the defense of the heroic town and assisted in closing the gates against the intruders. He also fought against the forces of James II at Boyne River.
Ephraim’s father (Abraham McDowal ) left Scotland with his father, Joseph “the Calvinist” and with his family during the period of the English Civil Wars (abt. 1650). The name Mc Dowell is a modification of the Gaelic: Mac Dhu ghall, or MacDougal, meaning son or descendant of the dark stranger or Dane. The name was given over ten centuries ago to Norse settlers in Galloway, Scotland and the descendants of a son of Prince Fergus and Princess Elizabeth de Galloway, daughter of King Henry I of England.
Ephraim McDowell was one of the apprentice boys who shut the gates to Londonderry at the siege of Londonderry at the age of 16, and later fought at the Battle of Boyne River, in 1690. His brother, John, supposedly died during the Siege, but may have been confused with brother Charles, of which little is known, other than the fact that the three brothers were present at the Siege of Londonderry in 1689
Sadly the historic house is now but a shell of its former self. Today it lies derelict, abandoned and boarded-up in woodlands now overgrown and neglected. Yet still the old mansion clings tenaciously to its proud history. Even in the midst of its devastation it is not difficult to imagine Garthland in all its architectural and horticultural glory.
Known originally as Garpel House then Barr House before becoming Garthland House, the regal residence was acquired by the Macdowall family who came initially from Garthland in Wigtownshire and were descended from the Lords of Galloway. During the mid-1930s, Henry Macdowall sold it to the Mill Hill Foreign Missionary Society that was founded. Garthland House was renamed St Jospeh’s College by the Society and, during its heyday, around 30 young men were students there.
Elizabeth Graham of Airth, Wife of William MacDowall of Castle Semple and Garthland
by William Mosman
|Elizabeth Lee (Blair)|
|Birthdate:||June 30, 1818|
|Birthplace:||Lexington, Franklin, Kentucky|
|Death:||September 13, 1906 (88)|
Silver Spring, MD, United States
|Place of Burial:||Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA|
|Immediate Family:||Daughter of Francis Preston Blair and Elizabeth Violet Howard Blair|
Wife of Rear Admiral Samuel Phillips Lee
Mother of Sen. Francis Preston Blair Lee, Sr.
Sister of Montgomery Blair, U.S. Postmaster General; Juliet Blair; James Blair and Sen. Maj. Gen. Francis Preston Blair, (D-MO)
|Managed by:||Tina Marie Brown|
|Last Updated:||August 7, 2020|
Historical records matching Elizabeth Lee
- Rear Admiral Samuel Phillips Leehusband
- Sen. Francis Preston Blair Lee, Sr.son
- Elizabeth Violet Howard Blairmother
- Francis Preston Blairfather
- Montgomery Blair, U.S. Postmaste…brother
- Juliet Blairsister
- James Blairbrother
- Sen. Maj. Gen. Francis Preston B…brother
About Elizabeth Lee
Elizabeth Blair Lee (born June 20, 1818, Kentucky; died September 13, 1906) was an American woman who lived through the American Civil War, and wrote hundreds of letters describing the events of the times to her husband, Samuel Philips Lee.
She was born in Kentucky to Francis Preston Blair and Eliza Violet Gist Blair. She was the sister of Montgomery Blair, Jessup Blair, and Francis Preston Blair, Jr. When the family moved to “Blair House” across the street from the White House, the President, Vice-President and Cabinet members were frequent guests. Elizabeth’s best friend was President Jackson’s young niece who was serving as First Lady for her uncle, whose wife had died. Elizabeth lived in the White House one winter because of her health problems from dampness at Blair House.
According to one version of the story, Elizabeth was present with her father when they chanced upon the silver-flecked spring which would inspire the name of the family’s summer home in what would eventually become Silver Spring, Maryland. The spring site is memorialized at Silver Spring’s Acorn Park though the water source was disrupted in the 1950’s.
She married Rear Adm. Samuel Phillips Lee, a US Navy commander in the Union Army during the Civil War. Her letters to her husband, who was away for long periods as commander of the USS Philadelphia, describe wartime life in her homes of Washington, D.C. and Silver Spring, Maryland, during the war. Elizabeth was the mother of Blair Lee, a US senator from Maryland.
Held DAR membership # 171
“Descendant of Gen Nathaniel Gist, of Maryland.”
Info added per DARs “Lineage Book of the Charter Members” by Mary S Lockwood and published 1895 stating:
“Nathaniel Gist was a colonel and brigdier of the Virginia Line.”
“Also descendant of Ann, mother of Archibald Cary, of Virginia, who was a member of the Committee of Correspondence in Virginia and of the Convention of 1776”