THE McARTHUR FAMILY EXTENDS BACK TO SCOTLAND
By Lucille Johnson for the Fayetteville Observer-Times, February 5, 1989 Sunday edition
Contributed September 07, 2011 by Steve Edgerton
Contact: Myrtle Bridges
The house called "Murray Hill," located on Cliffdale Road, was built in 1913 by Neil Lacy Colton McArthur for his bride,
Grace Beatty Jennings. Today it is the home of their son, Joseph Allan McArthur, and his wife, Doris Dawson McArthur.
The two-story frame dwelling is surrounded by large oak, hickory and pine trees on the highest part of the rolling hills that
comprised the plantation known as Murray Hill.
In recent years some changes have been made to the house. A front porch was removed and a brick wing was added to the east side.
An interesting story surrounds the mellowed pine used in the renovation. During the War Between the States, Gen. Sherman burned
a number of houses and buildings in Fayetteville, among them the Rockfish manufacturing plant. One of the men in Sherman's army
taking part in the destruction was Thomas Campbell Oakman. In 1872 he returned to Fayetteville and rebuilt the mill on the same
site. He operated it for several years before selling it to William A. Houston Jr. of Philadelphia, who operated it successfully
for many years under the name of Hope Mills Manufacturing Co. Several years ago the building was dismantled and the materials
were made available to the public. Some of the pine is now used in the McArthur house.
The early history of Fayetteville is often colored with Scottish culture, and in tracing genealogy of the city's pioneer families
there is often romance too.
Daniel McArthur, the first of the clan to come to America, was born in 1741 in Islay, Scotland. James L. Latchum, husband of Joseph
McArthur's sister, Elizabeth Murray McArthur Latchum, has researched the genealogy of the family and hopes to someday combine his
material in book form. A federal judge in Delaware, he founding his research that "after John, chief of the McArthur clan, was
beheaded by King James in 1427, the McArthurs dispersed and some moved to Islay where they were armourers to the McDonalds."
In 1774 Daniel McArthur of Islay was married to Jennette McArthur (no relation) in Scotland, and they came to America the same year.
They established their home in Robeson County in the area of Parkton and named it "Buckhorn." Here they reared a large family. One of
their sons was Neil McArthur, and it is his line traced in this article.
Neil McArthur married Mary McNair, called Polly, the daughter of Duncan and Catherine McCallum McNair. Their home was in Robeson County,
but they attended Big Rockfish Presbyterian Church. Neil became an elder in the church. Their son, Joseph Allan, was born in 1829, and
when he reached manhood he removed to Cumberland County. On June 24, 1861, he married Elizabeth Murray McPherson, daughter of Alexander
McPherson II and Katherine Buie McPherson. After their marriage their home was known as "Cottonade." It was located on the southern side
of the western plank road on land that is today part of the Fort Bragg military reservation.
Elizabeth's early life had been spent in private schools in Fayetteville. She attended the Fayetteville Seminary for girls in 1859,
where she studied art, and some of her work has been preserved.
Joseph Allan McArthur enlisted in the 51st Regiment of North Carolina and served in the War Between the States, receiving the rank of
captain. His war record shows that he was wounded in a battle in Virginia, captured and imprisoned at Fortress Monroe. Upon his return
home he found that Sherman's army had burned his home at Cottonade.
Elizabeth, who had spent much of this period at Buena Vista with the wife or her brother, Col. John McPherson, had received a great
indignity from Gen. George Atkins, who was encamped on the property. He took possession of the china that had been given to her as a
wedding gift, using the teapot to serve his spirited drinks. As he marched away from Fayetteville he took all of the china except the
teapot, which remains in the family today.
Cottonade was rebuilt and here most of their 10 children were born to Joseph and Elizabeth. In 1882 the family moved to "Colinwood,"
the home built by a relative, a bachelor remembered as Colin McPherson. Colin has received a tract of land in 1789 from his grandfather,
John McPherson, who at that time was living in Robeson County [on north edge of Raft Swamp east of Shannon community]. Of interest is
a note on the deed which read, "with love and affection I have for my grandson Colin McPherson."
To this Colin added much more land in his lifetime. To the church organized in the area he gave the land, and today MacPherson
Presbyterian Church stands there. In the church cemetery are found stones to the pioneer settlers who helped found the church.
The family of Elizabeth Murray McPherson McArthur and Joseph Allan McArthur contributed greatly to the religious and educational
life of Cumberland County. The children were the following:
Katie Lee McArthur, who married Duncan Black Currie of Moore County; Elizabeth Murray McArthur, who married Horace Guy Crockett of
New Jersey; Neil Lacy Colton McArthur, who married Grace Beatty Jennings of Fayetteville; Joseph Alexander McArthur, unmarried and
a professor; Mary McArthur, unmarried and a teacher (a school in Cumberland County was named for her); Nathaniel "Nat" Sherwood McArthur,
who served on the county board of education for many years; Jeanette Graham; Marian; Stuart and Allan.
Other members of the McArthur family who are residents of Fayetteville include Mary Jennings McArthur Pope, Joe McArthur's sister;
and Jean Barnes Tornow, great granddaughter of Katie Lee McArthur Currie. The gold-banded teapot of Civil War days is in her possession.
The house called "Colinwood," built in 1790, still stands on the original site.
Mrs. Johnson is a local historian. Her stories about interesting people and places of the past appear monthly in the Observer-Times.
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