1. James Milton1 Maginnis.[1] Born, 27 Apr 1798, in Western VA.[2] Died, 16 Mar 1883, in Lincoln Twp, Adams Co WI.[3] Burial in New Chester Twp, Adams Co WI.[4] Occupation: Tailor/ carpenter/ farmer.


The names of James Milton Maginnis’ parents are unknown at this time. The 1880 Federal Census indicates they were born in Pennsylvania. When James Maginnis was very young, between 1812 and 1815, the United States engaged the British in the War of 1812. A marker on his grave in the New Chester Cemetery applied for through the Veterans Office, Adams Co WI, by his grand-daughter, Mrs. F.E. Crane (Rosalia Everhard) commemorates service in the war of 1812, and the metal marker still stands on the grave. Although it has not been proven that our James Maginnis, who would have been in his early teens, served in that war, he may have been the “James McGinis” who was a private in Captain Strong’s Company, Ohio Militia in the War of 1812. Later he did serve his country as a Colonel of the Third regiment, Fourth Brigade and Third Division, in the Ohio State Militia. He signed a document on 21 Feb 1841 commissioning his son, William Randolph, as the Pay Master of the unit.

After their marriage he and his wife, Honor Matilda Barns, lived in Shepherdstown OH located on the county line between Belmont and Harrison Co. The plat for Shepherdstown was put on record by Nathan Shepherd 28 Sep 1816 who gave it his own name. The land was hilly and was used for farming and grazing. A personal visit[5] in 1987 revealed that the area which once was Shepherdstown had become a coal mining operation and all evidence of the village had disappeared.

According to Caldwell’s History of Belmont and Jefferson Counties, Nathan Shepherd was born 1788 and moved to Belmont Co in 1801, with his father, also named Nathan, locating in Wheeling Twp with his family. They were among the first settlers in the township and “the hardships they had to endure were those common to the pioneers of the county.” In 1812, Nathan married Amelia Ann Frush of Wheeling and then in 1825, moved to Kirkwood Twp and settled on Section 32 on the National Pike, 11/2 miles west of Morristown. In 1824 and 1825 the Maginnis’s purchased three lots in Shepherdstown OH from Nathan Shepherd and 13 acres of land from Nathan Barnes and wife Milcah[6] which bordered the Barnes’ land on the north. In the Belmont Co Recorder’s office in St. Clairsville, records indicate that they bought “one Lott of ground containing thirteen akiers be the same more or less bounded on east by lands of Henry Kittinger on the south by George Frush on the west by lands of Wm Willis and Ebenezer Pearce on the north by lands of Nathan Barnes.”  So apparently James and Honor Matilda bought the land from Nathan Shepherd when he and his wife moved away from the area. A letter written by James McGinnis Jr in 1843 mentions a Joshua Shepherd, who was apparently a friend of James. In 1827 the 13 acres were sold to a neighbor, and in 1830 another lot in Shepherdstown was purchased.


Among other neighbors of the Maginnis family were a George McGinnis who was living next to James Maginnis at the time of the 1830 census and both also appear among the 255 voters in the 12 Oct 1830 election in Georgetown, Short Creek Twp. George McGinnis had a son (and possibly a brother) Dorrance. In 1853 and 1854, a Dorrance McGinnis bought property in Portage, Columbia Co WI. James Maginnis and several of his family were also there at that time.


The 1820 and 1830 Federal Census records list two men living with the James Maginnis family who were not their children, one born between 1800 and 1804, the other born approximately 1810 or 1811. These ages fit George McGinnes and his brother Dorrance. It seems likely that George, who was born 21 Mar 1802, according to a family Bible in the possession of Ann Hazzard, a descendent of George, and James were brothers. Further details of the George McGinnis family are given on pages 150 ff.  The 1830 census also lists a female born between 1756 and 1760, probably the mother of James or Honor Matilda, who may have lived with them after she was widowed.

Census and Bible records indicate that the first six children of James and Honor Matilda were born in Belmont Co and the last two were born in Harrison Co. Sometime between 1833 and 1840 the family moved to Mill Twp, Tuscarawas Co OH, where they were living at the time of the 1840 Federal Census. This census shows one female age 10-15 not accounted for in the known facts of this family. On 5 Feb 1841 James Maginnis sold lot 10 in Shepherdstown to Joshua Stevens for $30. The transaction was witnessed by Wm MaGinnis and Henry Barnes.


Five years later in 1846, Honor Matilda, the wife of James, died at the age of 51.


About 1848, James was living in Dover, Tuscarawas Co OH with his oldest son, William Randolph and probably Mary Minerva and Ermina, where William was in charge of a tavern (an inn for travelers). In a letter dated 28 July 1848, written by William Randolph to his brother James Jr. in Morefield, Harrison Co OH, William Randolph wrote of their father’s health.


Father is again laying very sick. He had got tolerably well of his long spell of last winter till a few days ago (some three or four days ago) he was taken with the chill fever and has since been very poorly. He seems a little better one day, and then worse the next, so I do not know whether he is likely to get better or not but I still hope for the better. I know that you have no way of coming, and that you live a good distance from this, or I would request you to come and see him but I know that this would be very inconvenient for you. But if he continues to get worse I will write to you again soon.


James Sr recovered from his illness and, in 1849, moved to Wisconsin with his sons William Randolph and Joshua, and his daughters Mary Minerva and Ermina.. In a letter written from Johnstown and dated 15 July 1849, as James Sr, William Randolph, Mary Minerva and Ermina were en route to their destination, near Portage WI, with Joshua apparently close behind, James encouraged his other children, James Jr..;.; and Joseph to follow:


Randolph has just returnd from the Fox River about one hundrad miles from here  Where we are going as soon as the Boys come  try to bee in Wisconson against the first of September and sooner if convenant  Bring all the money you posibly can   Bring the hors Bugy and harnes with you unless you can get the cash for them at a fair price  there is several things Left on the Boat   I wish you would Bring as meney of them along as you can  if you come By water you can Bring them all  if you trade the boat and get a two hors wagon & hitch the Bugy Behind you can Bring all   if you come in the bugy Bring all you can  i will mention the articles  sadle and bridle  2 bags, 1 flat iron 1 globe Lamp  1 Brass candle stick  paint brushes  1 hatchet 1 towline for well Rope  2 glass Lamps 1 stue pot we have the Lid 2 hand hooks for Lifting the pots 1 press basket towls & table cloths & sheets & pilow cases  tin tea canesters sugar bols 1 salt set 2 decanters Stone jugs & jars & crocks 1 glass crock & some glas jars Bred & buter Bols and aney other article you may think of if you make aney trade get a good ax & hatchet & inch auger 2 fur caps & 1 pair of cowis boots for fit Randolph But dont pay out aney money for aney thing you can help  if you sell the Boat & get 1 hors & wagon & the Balance in good notes & Security due in 12 or 18 months sell

if you come to Van Wert You had Beter come on by Land & 1 trip will Do all  when you are at Van Wert it is 30 miles to fourt wain & thence to Goshen 53 miles thence to Michagan City 60 miles thence to Chickago 60 miles thence to johnstown Rock County 90 miles  if you come by water from Cleveland to millwakey caben pasage 6.00 for hors 6.00 to feed & tend them your self for wagon or bugy from 3 to 5 dollars frait just doo the Best you can with the hole mater.

there is a note on Esqr Shane he is Securety on the docket at Willhelmeys on the case of inglesh against me cost & all about 30  if you cant get the money for the Balance of his note get him to give you goods.


After giving them further instructions as to how to collect other debts owed to him he went on to tell them of the wonders of the development of the new state where they were settling. Wisconsin had been a state only since the year before and many settlers had been arriving each day.


there is grate advantages here for a poor man in this wilderness  I wish I had come here 10 years ago  14 years a go there was 1 small log house in Janesville to move there is 14 thousand inhabitance there is white water comenced 10 years ago now over 20 thousand inhabitance & last year there was 440 houses put up & there is millwakey laid out 15 years ago now larger than wheeling  Land entered in this county 14 yrs ago sold this sumer for 40 do[llars] pr acre our Best Respects to you also Minerva and Mina sends there Best Respects to you all and is very sorey you cant live in such a wilderness as this  all that is wanton is time and this conterey will go a head of Ohio as far in comparison as the son is ahead of the mon in Briteness  But as wee are going in to a new setlement it may Be as well for you James & famely to stay a while & see how we get along. Nothing more at present But Remain your affectionate father.

James MaGinnis

NB Joseph write & tell us how you will come By water or Land & when you will start.


By 1850 James and his children, William Randolph, Joshua, Mary Minerva and Ermina were living in Buffalo Twp, Marquette Co WI, not far from Portage City. Reuben Everhard was living with them and working for them on the farm.

This area had long been known as the Fox-Wisconsin Portage. The headwaters of the Fox River and the Wisconsin River were only 11/2 miles apart at this point and had been used by the Indians as a portage. The French fur traders had used it as their route to the West. In 1828 Ft. Winnebago was built at the Fox River end of the portage and was maintained by the Army until about 1845, after which the land was sold to settlers. Henry Carpenter came to the area about 1837 and built the United States Hotel at the Wisconsin River end of the portage, and more settlers came. By 1850 when the Maginnis family arrived there was a third settlement up on the bluff where the main business section of Portage is now located. The need for a canal along the portage route was seen about 1838 and was started but dropped until about 1849. It was completed in May 1851 but flood waters damaged it in Sept of that year and it was not completed again until 1876. It was used extensively until about 1908 and now only the Wisconsin River Lock remains as an important historical site.

It was not to be that Joseph would join the family in this venture as on 27 Apr 1851 James, the father, wrote to his son James Jr. in Ohio of the death of Joseph in St. Louis. “With sickening hart I remind you of your mutch Lamented Brother Joseph who was in St. Louis February the 12th 1850. . . With the loss of this son my Earthly joys have fled.”


He continued the letter with news of the marriage of his daughter Mary Minerva to Reuben Everhard and his son William Randolph to Olive Jerome, news which needed to be recorded in the family Bible, and went on to express his impressions of the new life in the wilderness, and still urged them to come and share this new life with the rest of them in Wisconsin.


We have had our helth well since we came to this state and think this will Bee equil to any part of the state  The canal at the fort is finished from fox River to the Wisconsin  There is 24 hundred Lots Laid out & about 100 houses Built. Last summer & become the county seat for Columbia Co  the Dredge past up fox river last fall clearing the river for boats & got up with in 6 miles of the fort  will bee thru Before harvest Boats have Been up to packwakie this spring & will Run Every week from Green Bay here & anyone coming here from Cleveland to Green Bay would be about 50 cents per hundred & from Green Bay to packwaukee is 70 cents pr hundred & By Boarding yourself the charge of each passenger would not cost more than 3 dolars. if any of you should come this summer I will provide your (fare?) from Green Bay here at the above rates. this country is improving most rapidly. there is 25 yokes of cattle in less than 4 1/2 miles of Everharts & 60 in less than 3 miles grass grows in abundance & wheat looks well. produces corn well, potatoes pumpkins & melons far exceed Ohio. at present flour 2 dolars per hundered, meat 10 cents per pound fouls 25 cnts Each, Eggs 14 1/2, Buter 12 1/2 potatoes 37 store goods plenty & cheap as in Dover Ohio.

there is more than 30 families now living within 3 miles around Everharts. We have people here from allmost Every State & Contary but the Magerity is from Ohio, New York & Pa & about 1 fourth of this neighbourhood is Methodist. There is Methodist preaching Every other Wensday 1 1/2 miles from Randolphs. Prayer meeting Every Sunday & Every Thursday nite thru the winter.

my clame is in this neighborhood But I have no money to Enter it there is 40 acres fenced 12 Broke plenty of good water timber & marsh there is an order for a survey this summer & next spring the Land will be in the market & Every one who can not pay for there clame Befour the day of sale there clames is ofered to the hiest Bider. if you could save Enough to Enter 1 Eighty you would find your self in a More flourishing place than you Ever Lived in. it would Be a home 3 miles from town & navagation there will bee a grate many chances like mine befour the Day of sale. But I shall try to save 1 Eighty of mine if posable & if you could get another you would Be in 1 mile of Randolphs & 2 of Everharts. Try in 3 years from this land will not bee Bought for ten Dollars pr acre.

I forgot to tel you of the telagraph & railroad the former is to the fort & the Later on the way from Millwakey. But I must close for the present with due respect for you & famaly. I Remain your humble and afectionate father.

James MaGinnis

NB Direct your Letter to Fourt Winnebago, Columbia Co Wisconsin as I will be there at work with Joshua. as soon as conference is over & you get located write & tell us where to write us as I have not tole you half I wanted to wright


By 1851, at the time this letter was written, James’ son William Randolph had married and moved to Marcellon in Columbia Co. Mary Minerva and Reuben had married and “moved in his house between Christmas and New Years” on his claim which was near William Randolph’s. James and his daughter, Ermina were living with them. Joshua was working in Portage City nearby, and it was there that James was “going to the fort to work with Joshua & Mina stays with Minerva.” Joshua married in Nov 1851.


Ermina probably lived with Mary Minerva between 1851 and 1857 during which time the Everhards moved to Adams County, while James stayed in Portage City and worked with Joshua, perhaps until Joshua moved on to New Lisbon, Juneau Co. Joshua’s land records in Portage and Ft. Winnebago show that in 1852 James and his son Joshua bought farm land in Columbia Co and property in the Village of Fort Winnebago. In 1854 James bought the property from his son Joshua and sold it in 1856.


James Jr had chosen to remain in Ohio in spite of his father’s descriptions of the life in Wisconsin. In a letter dated 17 Feb 1857 his father again wrote to his son, James Jr of his plans for the future . However, James Jr, too, would not be joining them since it was only two months after this letter was written that James Jr died.


My Dearly Beloved Son, I received yours of January the 1st and was mutch pleased to hear from you But fild with sorow to hear of your sickness and trubel. I wood have Writen to you sooner But was waiting to hear from the rest of our friends. I am in tolerable good health at present. I took a severe cold on Christmas Day whil at work to finish a job I had undertaken. I have done but little since. Mina is well. Randolphs Widow was here last week with his two boys all well.

Joshua came in yesterday in companey with another man. Joshua was so drunk he could scarcely walk. He said he had been at work on the railroad and had got into a fight and was stabed three times in the right arm above the elbo. He was blood from his rist to his neck and down to his waist. Mina washed his arm and put a clean shirt on him. Soon he went out saying he wood return to the rail road. I advised him to stay But go he wood. wee have heard nothing of him since. his family is at lisben, juno county and well. if you wright to him direct to portage city in my care and I will send it to him. I have written twist to Everhart But have no answer. I have seen some of his neighbors who say they are well. His post ofice is New Chester Poste Adams County Wisconsin.

We have had a very sevear winter. The coldest I ever felt set in the first week december and the ground has been covered with snow ever since from one to two feet and one hundred miles north to the depth of 4 feet. On the levee quite a number has frosen to death and maney had there feet hands and ears frozen. The cars from Milwakey came into portage on Saturday and first time and none run daley.

Pork in the hog has veried from 5 to 10 and beef about the same at present, from 20 to 25 pr barrel, eggs 25 for dozen. Butter 25 pr pound, flour 250 pr hundred, corn meal 150 pr hundred, dried apples 12 1/2 cents per pound  sugar 12 to 15 per pound, Cofy 15 to 18, tea 31 to 75, candles 15 pr, chickens (????) 12 to 16 cntes per boarding 300 to 400 pr week, wood 300 pr cord.

Wright soon as I am anxious to hear from you befour I make up my mind where I shall go or what I shall doo.

Yours with respect.

James MaGinnis


His decision, probably after his son’s death, was that he and his youngest daughter Ermina would join his daughter Mary and her husband Reuben Everhard. They were living together in 1857 in Adams Co.



In the 1860 Federal Census for Wisconsin, “James McGenis” and his youngest daughter, Ermina are found living in Grand Marsh, Adams Co with “Reuben” and “Marey Ebberhard” and their three children, Franzula, James and Charles. By that time, Joshua was living in Beatrice, Gage Co NE. In December 1870, James purchased 320 acres of land in Gage Co NE. It is not known if he ever went there.


The 1870 Federal Census found James still living with the Everhards in Adams Co. He remained with them until the time of his death, even after the death of his daughter Mary Minerva. In the 1880 Census he was living there with Reuben Everhard and his second wife, Lucy, and their family. By this time, most of James’ own children had died, Gustavus in 1828, John W. in 1849, Joseph in 1850, William Randolph in 1856, James Jr in 1857, Ermina in 1870, and Mary Minerva in 1875.


When James died in 1883 the following obituary appeared in the Adams County Press on 24 Mar 1883:


Died - MAGINNIS - On the 16th of March 1883 in the town of Lincoln, Adams County Wisconsin Mr. James Maginnis, aged nearly 95 years, having been born on the 21st of April 1788 (sic). Mr. Maginnis was a soldier in the War of 1812, but above all he gloried in being a soldier of the Cross of Christ.


The tombstone over his grave in the New Chester Congregational Cemetery reads:


Jas Maginnis born April 27 1798 Died Mar 16 1883.

Earthly home adieu adieu

Earthly friends farewell to you

I softly breathe my last good bye

Jesus calls me let me die


James married Honor Matilda Barns (see Maginnis, Honor Matilda Barns), 17 Aug 1818, in Shepherdstown, Belmont Co OH[7] or 20 Aug 1818.[8] Born, 14 Jul 1795, in “Coltamore County Meraland” (?Baltimore Co MD).[9] Died, 9 May 1846, in Tuscarawas Co OH.[10] The parents of Honor Matilda Barns are unknown at this time, but in the family Bible, James lists her birthdate and birthplace as Coltamore (probably Baltimore) County MD. Her youngest son, Joshua, also listed her birthplace as MD in subsequent census records.


The minister performing the marriage ceremony was Archibald McElroy. Reverend McElroy was referred to in Hanna, C.A., Historical Collections, Harrison County OH (New York:1900):


Archibald McElroy (was) a vigorous local preacher, and afterwards a regular itinerant for years. The early history of the church scarcely furnishes a more singular character than that of McElroy. He was without advantages in his youth, and of very limited education. But endowed with good sense, great natural and moral courage, and withal an honest man, he enjoyed the confidence of all who knew him. Possessed of stout frame, manly bearing, an open and frank countenance, and being absolutely fearless in pursuit of the right, he won the respect of all even those of the baser sort. At a time when the traffic in intoxicating liquors was some part of almost every man’s business, and when scarcely a man was to be found, either in the pulpit or out of it, to open his mouth upon the subject, McElroy came forward with lance and trumpet with no uncertain sound — and made war with the beast. He delivered hundreds of temperance lectures, the most electrifying ever heard in the state of Ohio without any temperence organizations, or newspapers to support him, with many of the clergy opposed to him, and very few to encourage him, alone in those pioneer times, he lifted up his standard. As a preacher he was earnest, enthusiastic, and successful. It is said that at one of his quarterly meetings the church could not hold the congregation, and they resorted to a grove in the neighborhood. The master of a dancing school in the place and some of his pupils went to the church late, and finding it vacated, danced awhile, when the master said: “Now let us go to the church and get converted.” When they reached the ground the preacher, Reverend Swayze, was closing his sermon with a thrilling exhortation. The master listened for a few minutes, and fell to the ground crying for mercy. McElroy was on hand, and when he saw the dancing master down, he improvised an altar and cried: “All hands to, here’s a bull in the net, here’s a man who taught the people to serve the devil by rule, and I pray God to break his fiddle, convert his soul, and turn his heart to sing his praise.”


The marriage certificate of James and Honor Matilda Maginnis gave the date as 17 Aug 1818 and also noted the marriage was “by consent of parents both present.” In the family Bible, James wrote “James MaGinnis maried to honor Matilda barns August the 20th 1818 Thursday.” It is not known which date is accurate, although August 20, 1818, was on a Thursday, and the August 20th date is also confirmed in a 2nd Bible owned by Irma Born.




+      2.      i.     William Randolph2 Maginnis.

+      3.      ii.     James Milton McGinnis Jr.

         4.     iii.     John W. Maginnis.[11] Born, 14 Sep 1822, in Shepherdstown, Belmont Co OH. Died, 19 May 1849, in Tuscarawas Co OH.


John is mentioned in two letters written to his older brother James McGinnis Jr.[12] The first letter, dated July 8, in 1841 from H.P. .P.;.P.;Johnson, possibly a cousin of the Maginnis/McGinnis family, says, “Give my warmest expressions of respect to John and Randolph [William Randolph, John’s older brother, is often referred to as Randolph by the family – ed.]. Tell John that he has engaged in the pursuit of knowledge and has youth in his favour, that the way is open to honor and distinction to him. The prize is straight before him and I would insist upon him to reach forth and grasp the prize.”

The second letter was written from Dover OH by John’s brother, William Randolph to their brother James Jr dated July 28, 1848, “. . . I heard from the boys about a month ago; and John was in Cass County Indiana and states that he is well, and doing well, and making money fast, and well pleased with the country…”


John died the following year in Ohio at the age of 26. As there was no mention of any marriage in any Bible record it is assumed that he died unmarried.


      5.    iv.     Joseph Maginnis.[13] Born, 16 Nov 1824, in Shepherdstown, Belmont Co OH. Died, 12 Feb 1850, in St Louis, St Louis Co MO.


William Randolph, Joseph’s older brother, mentioned Joseph in a letter from Dover OH to their brother James Jr dated July 28, 1848. “. . . Joseph is still on the lower trade, and is well, and I understand well liked by his employees and doing as well as could be expected . . .” The “lower trade” mentioned in the letter referred to river trade on the Ohio River below the falls at Louisville KY. Lloyd’s Steamboat Directory  states,


Louisville may be said to owe its existence, in a measure, to the falls, which interrupt the navigation of the river at this point. In 1833, a canal, two and a half miles long was opened around these rapids: it was cut through the solid limestone rock, at a cost of nearly one million dollars. Boats exceeding one hundred and eighty-five feet in length cannot pass through the locks of this canal, a circumstance which greatly impedes navigation, and is likewise a serious disadvantage to Louisville, as all the freights for the large New Orleans and St. Louis steamers must be conveyed on drays to Portland, which is three miles below Louisville. [14]


The article goes on to explain that the canal had originally been built jointly by the United States and individual stockholders. These stockholders became very rich by charging exorbitant tolls for vessels passing through the canal. In 1854 the United States bought out the interest of the private stockholders and began charging rates of tonnage no higher than was required to keep the canal in repair. Joseph may have passed through this canal on his way to the lower trade.


From his will as reported in a letter from his father, James, to his sons in 1851 it can be determined that Joseph owned property in Van Wert Co OH.[15] Land records in Ohio confirmed that Joseph bought land in Ridge Twp from James McGinnis on 17 Apr 1849.[16] The property had been purchased by James 23 Dec 1848. Samuel Z. McGinnis purchased 240 acres of land in Tully Twp (sec. 27) Van Wert Co in 1838. It is not known if he was related to James Maginnis. It has also not been determined why the James Maginnis family was in Van Wert Co although the land records list James et ux [and wife – ed.], William R., and Joshua as well as Reuben Everhard et ux between 1848 and 1852. Perhaps some of the family was there when a navigation canal was dug from Toledo to Cincinnati through Van Wert Co from 14 March 1837 to 29 Apr 1845.[17] Laborers earned $1/day for 12 hours of backbreaking labor. Family tradition recalled that the Maginnis family helped build the Erie Canal. More likely, the Maginnis family helped build the many canals that crisscrossed Ohio, and during this time Joseph may have also become lured to the occupation of the river trade. Or perhaps the reason the Maginnis family owned land in Van Wert was that they speculated that land near the canal would be valuable. The Miami and Erie Canal was in the eastern part of Washington Twp. Ridge Twp is west of Washington Twp. The canal was a great boon to Washington Township. It encouraged settlers to move in and also was an outlet for produce within ten to thirty miles on either side of the canal.


The Ohio river valley population “depended almost wholly on the river for both freight and travel business.” Sections of the Ohio River between towns were “cut up into ‘trades.’ ”[18] So Joseph’s trade was below the falls at Louisville. Hulbert in a 1911 article on the Ohio River states:


The flatboat was the all-important craft which made the Ohio a power in the world. It cannot be described, except by saying that anything that would float came under the classification. Steered by an oar, either in front or in the rear, propelled by pole, oar, sail, or current, the flat boat can be divided roughly into two classes: those strongly constructed were usually destined for a longer journey — to the Mississippi or its tributaries — while those more loosely built were for the lower Ohio. The trading boats, wherever they were to ply, were, of course, strongly built. These were driven upstream by pole, oar, sail or rope attached to the shore and “cordelled” upward at great expenditure of strength — and stimulants! [19]


Joseph’s river boating, whether by flatboat, barge or steamboat (which began river trade about 1820), employed other workers to help him. Workers on the river are described as a motley, often rough group who liked to share stories about an Ohio River legend, Mike Fink.


By 1850 Joseph was in St. Louis MO. Joseph’s trip to St. Louis where he died was probably not with the intent of settling there, although there were many other Maginnis and McGinnis families in St. Louis at the time Joseph was there. He may have gone there to spend the winter. The Ohio River usually froze for 6 to 8 weeks, reopening again in mid-Feb. Remaining in the frozen river would have damaged Joseph’s boat, so perhaps he was wintering in St. Louis. Or he may have been on his way up the Mississippi to join his father. In a letter dated 15 Jul 1849 written by his father who was resettling in Wisconsin it appears that Joseph may have intended to move to Wisconsin. The letter reads, “Joseph write and tell us how you will come By water or Land and when you will start.” Joseph Maginnis died in St Louis on 12 Feb 1850 at the age of 25. The 1850 Mortality Census for Ward 2, St. Louis, lists Joseph McGinnis age 21 (sic) a laborer died of cholera after an illness of 6 days. No newspaper account could be found of his death. The librarian at the St. Louis Historical Society said that there were many deaths from cholera at this time, and many of the victims were buried in mass graves. Joseph’s grieving father told of his son’s death in a letter dated 27 Apr 1851 to another son, James Jr..;.; in Ohio:


With sickning hart I remind you of your mutch lamented Brother Joseph who died in St. Louis February the 1st (sic) 1850. Hers his Letter. St. Louis February the 1st 1850. I am here sick in the hospital & no hope of recovery. I Bequeth to Wm R. Maginnis my land in Ohio Vanwert Co. My Respects to brother Joshua, Sister Menerva & mina & Brother James & wife in Ohio. adue. Joseph MaGinnis. With the loss of this son my Earthly joys have fled...[20]


Since Joseph willed his property to his brother and mentions only his father and brothers and sisters, he undoubtedly never married or had children.


From the land records office in Van Wert Co, some information about this property willed from Joseph to William can be determined. The land was in the southwest quarter section 31, township 2, south of range 3, described as W 1/2 SW 1/4. The land was first purchased by James McGinnis of Tuscarawas Co, OH. On 23 Dec 1848 James paid $600 to George B. and Mary Jane Black also of Tuscarawas Co. On 17 Apr 1849 James McGinnis of Stark Co [Why the deed says Stark Co is unknown — ed.] sold the land to Joseph McGinnis for $375. Then Joseph died and his will gave the land to William. As may have been Joseph’s intent, William shared the money from the sale of this land with his brothers and sisters. Joshua McGinnis who was living in Columbia Co WI was given “the sum of one hundred dollars in hand paid by William R. McGinnis” on 23 Apr 1851. Reuben and Minerva Everhard and Ermina McGinnis who were living in Columbia Co WI received “two hundred dollars in hand paid by William R. McGinnis“ on 15 Oct 1851. Finally William R. McGinnis and his wife Olive and James McGinnis Jr and his wife Rachel sold the land to Daniel W. Burt of Van Wert Co OH for $320. If the amounts listed in the deeds are accurate, William and James Jr probably received next to nothing from the sale of the land, since William had already given Joshua, Ermina and the Everhards $300.[21]


         6 .    v.     Gustavus Maginnis.[22] Born, 5 Jul 1827, in Shepherdstown, Belmont Co OH. Died, 18 May 1828, in Shepherdstown, Belmont Co OH.

+      7.   vi.     Joshua Frederick MaGinnis.

+      8.  vii.     Mary Minerva Maginnis.

+      9. viii.     Ermina Maginnis.

.i),Maginnis:James Milton;



[1] US Census 1820, Wheeling, Belmont Co OH, 51Ma; US Census 1830, Short Creek, Harrison OH, 52Ma; US Census 1840, Mill Twp, Tuscarawas Co OH,  82Ma; US Census 1850, Buffalo, Marquette Co WI, 53Ma; US Census 1860,  Grand Marsh, Adams Co WI, 57Ma; US Census 1870, Lincoln, Adams Co WI,  58Ma; US Census 1880, Lincoln, Adams Co WI, 59Ma; Nat'l Arch.  Paymaster Document 21 Feb 1841 Tuscarawas Co OH 189Ma.  Poll Book, 12 Oct 1830, Georgetown, Harrison Co OH, Harrison Co Hist  Soc, Cadiz OH, 91Ma.

 Deed vK p283, 284, 285, 17 Apr 1824, 93Ma; vK 286, 28 Apr 1825,  94Ma.  vL p308, 18 Jul 1827;  vO p99, 03 Dec 1830; v26 p308, 04 Oct 1842, 95Ma, Shepherdstown Belmont Co OH, Recorder. Deed v7 p479, 24 Jan 1854, v9 p310, v19 p18 21 Jul 1856, 32, 33 & 34Ma, Portage Columbia Co WI, Reg of Deeds. Deed vG p257 13 Dec 1870,  11Ma, Beatrice Gage Co NE, Reg of Deeds.

 William Randolph Maginnis, Dover OH, to James McGinnis Jr Moorfield, Harrison Co OH, 28 Jul 1848 75Ma; James Maginnis, Johnstown, Rock Co WI, to  sons James Jr and Joseph in OH, 15 Jul 1849 150Ma; James Maginnis, Portage  City WI, to son James Jr New Cumberland, Tuscarawas Co OH, 27 Apr 1851  151Ma; James Maginnis, Portage City WI, to James McGinnis Jr, 17 Feb 1857  who died two months after this letter was written 75Ma; orig in poss  Robert McGinnis, San Diego, son of Earl Peragoy McGinnis.

 Ina Curtis, Early Days at the Fox-Wisconsin Portage, (Pardeeville  WI:Times Pub Co, 1974). Caldwell, History of Belmont and Jefferson  Counties, (Wheeling WV:Hist. Pub. Co., 1880).

[2] Bible of Joseph & Nettie Maginnis, (Nat'l Pub Co, Ziegler&McCurdy, 1870),  in poss, Inez Buzzell, Rio WI 76Ma.

[3] Ibid. 76Ma. Obit Adams Co Press 24 Mar 1883.

[4] New Chester Cemetery, 3 mi N of Brooks, Cong. Ch grounds, Adams Co WI  61Ma.

[5] by BMS.

[6] Were Nathan and Milcah Barnes, from whom this land was purchased, related to James’ wife, Honor Matilda? There was a Nathan Barns in the 1790 Federal Census for Ann-Arundel Co, just south of Baltimore Co MD. He is listed with 4 males under age 16 and 4 females. Could this be Honor Matilda’s father who moved to Ohio where she and James later met and married?


[7] M/C BkB p134 Belmont Co OH 92Ma. Last name listed as Barnett.

[8] Bible of Joseph Maginnis 76Ma; Bible of Joshua Maginnis family, (New York,  NY: Amer Bible Soc, 1864), In poss, Irma McGinnis Born, Tigard OR 46Ma.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Bible of Joseph Maginnis 76Ma; Bible of Joshua Maginnis family, (New York,  NY: Amer Bible Soc, 1864), In poss, Irma McGinnis Born, Tigard OR 46Ma.

William Randolph Maginnis, Dover OH, to James McGinnis Jr, Moorfield,  Harrison Co OH, 28 Jul 1848 75Ma. H.P.Johnson, to James McGinnis Jr,  8 Jul 1841.

[12] Letters in possession of Robert and Jane McGinnis, San Diego.

[13] Bible of Joseph Maginnis 76Ma; Bible of Joshua Maginnis 46Ma.

William Randolph Maginnis, Dover OH, to James Maginnis Jr,  Moorfield, Harrison Co OH, 28 Jul 1848 75Ma

[14]  James T. Lloyd's Steamboat Directory (Cincinnati OH: James t. Lloyd  and Co., 1856) p133

[15]  James McGinnis Sr, Portage City WI, to son James Jr, New Cumberland, Tuscarawas Co OH, 27 Apr 1851 151Ma

[16]  Deeds VanWert Co OH VolE p493, 494, VolG p521, 522, 523, 603.

[17]  O'Daffer, Floyd History of Van Wert Co OH Fairway Press OH 1990,  p346

[18] Sibley, W.E.,"Memories of upper Ohio River Activities between 1860  and 1890," Ohio Archaeological and Historical Quarterly XLI (Jan 1832)  p89, 91.

[19]  Hulbert, A.B., "The Ohio River" Ohio Archaeological and Historical  Quarterly XX (Apr-July 1911)

[20] James McGinnis Sr, Portage City WI, to son James Jr, New Cumberland, Tuscarawas Co OH, 27 Apr 1851 151Ma

[21] Deeds VanWert Co OH VolE p493, 494, VolG p521, 522, 523, 603.

[22] Bible of Joseph Maginnis 76Ma; Bible of Joshua Maginnis family, (New York,  NY: Amer Bible Soc, 1864), In poss, Irma McGinnis Born, Tigard OR 46Ma.