Birth1759, Augusta County, Virginia836,1058, p. 190.
DeathJan 1842, Franklin County, Kentucky1058, p. 190.,1061, p. 17. Age: 83
OccupationAuthor1063, p. ix-x.
MilitaryRevolutionary War, Virginia Militia; Received Pension While Living In Kentucky.1061, p. 4-5.,1506, p. 494.
FatherJohn MAGILL (~1725-1816)
MotherMary PATTERSON (-<1813)
Marriage6 Oct 1785, Augusta County, Virginia559, v. 2, p. 283 (Augusta County Marriage Bonds),1061, p. 5.
Notes for John MAGILL

Related Web Site: John Magill (person 28), by Cheryl Rotton.

Family Remembrance:1058, p. 156-157. "William’s grandson, John Magill of Franklin County, Kentucky, son of John Magill of Lincoln County, Kentucky, wrote the following letter to his nephew Caleb in 1838 which outlines the early history of the family in Virginia.

In the letter, John Magill states that "I have one son living in Clinton County, Indiana named Matthew E. Magill, one other in the same county named Cyrus Magill. One in Park County named Samuel P. Magill. One living with me named John Allen Magill who is practicing physic on the Thompsonian plan and is very successful. One daughter Margaret S. Magill and one named Tennyann. My grandfather, William Magill, migrated from Ireland in the year of 1727 with three sons named James, William and John, who was my father, and five daughters, to wit: Jane who married William Dickson, he died and she married a McKee; Sarah married William Berry; Betty married James Berry, later John Jones; Esther who married Hugh Campbell; Ann who married Robert Fowler. My uncle James had three sons: William, Alexander and James. My uncle William had seven sons, to wit: Samuel, William, James, Robert, John, Hugh, and Charles, three last named by a second wife. My father had six sons, James, Samuel, John, David, and Hugh. [Note: William apparently omitted or not transcribed.] . . . My sister, Elizabeth Frame, living in Ohio State, Preble County. She is 83 years old last March. The only sister I have living. All my brothers are dead "

The Magill property in Augusta County, later Rockingham county, was located on Magill Ford, between forks of the Dry and North Rivers on the Raleigh and Warm Springs Turnpikes where the bridge crosses the North River."

Biographical Sketch (1942):1063, p. ix-x. "The author, John Magill, was born in 1759 in Augusta County, Virginia. He saw active service in the Virginia Militia in which he served under the commands of General Gates and Morgan. When the Revolutionary War was ended young Magill followed in the footsteps of his neighbors and came out to Kentucky to lay claim to western lands. He arrived on the Kentucky frontier in 1782, just in time to go through the latter part of the struggle of the white man to claim the region from both nature and the Indians. His experiences in the West were typical of those of hundreds of Virginians who moved beyond the mountains to take up land claims. He first settled in Lincoln County near the town of Stanford. Magill, like all good frontiersmen, showed a definite interest in land, and throughout his long detailed personal record there is much mention of land grants in several of the central Kentucky counties. In 1794 Magill fell a victim to the dread frontier disease of smallpox and for many years the old soldier was in a poor state of health. His health, in fact, became so poor that his mind was affected and in 1810 the legislature passed an act absolving him from the responsibility of paying a headright tax because of his mental incapacity. Within three years from the date of this legislative act he had regained his normal mental state and was appearing in Franklin County court as a deponent in a lawsuit indicating that he was again being respected as a normal citizen capable of managing his own affairs with intelligence. For forty-seven years, 1795-1842, John Magill lived on his Benson Creek farm in Franklin County. He had lived in Lincoln, Fayette, and Bourbon counties in Kentucky, and at his death he left behind him property valued by his son-in-law at $2,940.00. At the time of his death there were seven children living, some of whom had gone west of Indiana and Iowa."

Biographical Sketch (1996):1058, p. 190. "Author of The Pioneer to the Kentucky Emigrant, Frankfort, Kentucky, 1832; subject of Willard Rouse Jillson’s Chronology of John Magill, Standard Printing Company, Louisville, 1938. Although Kentucky emigration had been underway for some 50 years, John Magill’s book is the first adequate guidebook to the state, giving details about topography, climate, crops, etc., for most areas and counties of the state. Professor Jillson traced John Magill back to his birth in Augusta County, Virginia and gives a year by year account of his legal education, marriage, siblings, and family, ending with his death in 1842 in Franklin County, Kentucky. His letter to his nephew Caleb Magill in 1838 gives the early history of our branch of the Magill family."

1777 Military Service:1061, p. 3. "John Magill enlisted as a volunteer September 23, 1777, in the Virginia militia at Staunton in Captain Moffitt’s company of John Dechman’s regiment and marched on a three month’s campaign against the Wyandotte Indians to the mouth of the great Kanawha River."

1778/79 Education:1061, p. 3. "Completed his education in Augusta County, Virginia, probably at Augusta Seminary or Liberty Hall, the schools which were the foundation stones of the present Washington and Lee University at Winchester, Virginia. A study of John Magill’s Pioneer to the Kentucky Emigrant indicates he was possessed of a good classical education. During the early part of his residence in Kentucky he was a school teacher."

1780 Military Service:1061, p. 4-5. "Drafted October 2, 1780, at Staunton into the Virginia militia and marched on a four months campaign in Captain James Tate’s company, Major Triplett’s battalion to the relief of General Gates at Hillsborough, North Carolina. Later he joined General Morgan’s forces near Camden, South Carolina."

1782 Immigration to Lincoln County, Kentucky:1061, p. 4. "Emigrated from Augusta County over the Wilderness Trail to Lincoln County, Kentucky. Settled near Stanford, Kentucky."

1785 Marriage:1061, p. 5. "John Magill, the author, returned to Augusta County and married Jane Edmonson, October 6, 1785. Journeyed back again to Lincoln County, Kentucky with his bride."

1787 Relocation to Fayette County, Kentucky:1061, p. 5-6. "Removed with his family to Fayette County, locating near Lexington, Kentucky. Associated with John Bradford who was in the printing business. Bradford’s first publication was The Kentucke Gazettte, the first number of which was issued on August 11, 1787. It was the first newspaper west of Pittsburgh and the Allegheny Mountains."

1789 Relocation to Bourbon County, Kentucky:1061, p. 6. "Removed from Fayette to Bourbon County, Kentucky. Became a tobacco planter and farmer."

1790 Tax List, Fayette County, Kentucky:1066, p. 63. John McGill listed in Fayette County, Kentucky tax list taken 11 January 1790.

1791 Tax List, Bourbon County, Kentucky:1066, p. 65. John Magill listed in Bourbon County, Kentucky tax list taken March 1791.

1794 Illness:1061, p. 8. "A time of sickness: John Magill had the smallpox. The devastating disease, then ravaging Kentucky in a particularly virulent form, left John Magill somewhat unbalanced mentally. His particular disorder manifested itself principally in forgetfulness."

1795 Relocation to Franklin County, Kentucky — Illness:1061, p. 9. "Suffered a nervous breakdown in 1795. Removed from Bourbon County to his 291-acre farm on South Benson Creek in Franklin County, about seven miles southwest of Frankfort, Kentucky. Here he continued to live to the day of his death in 1842."

1804 Tax List, Franklin County, Kentucky:1061, p. 11. "He offered for assessment for taxes this year 291 acres in Franklin County on South Benson Creek, and 100 acres in Garrard County on Paint Lick Creek. He had also three slaves and five horses. This tax list is signed by John Madison."

1808 Tax List, Franklin County, Kentucky:1061, p. 12. "Assessed on 521 acres of land in Franklin and 200 acres of land in Cumberland County. The tax list of 1808 shows further that he had three slaves, two horses, and other personal property."

1810 Notice in The Kentucky Gazette:1608, p. 136 (Kentucky Gazette, v. XXIII, no. 1267, 6 February 1810) 6 February 1810, "A list of laws passed by the Kentucky Legislature mentions . . . John M’Gill."

1819 Land Owner:1061, p. 13. "Owned 360 acres of land in Franklin County and 200 acres in Cumberland County. Also three ‘blacks’ (slaves) worth $1,000.00 and other personal property."

1832 Publication:1061, p. 14. "His history of Kentucky entitled The Pioneer to the Kentucky Emigrant, was published by James B. Marshall, grandson of Humphrey Marshall, in Frankfort, Kentucky, in 1832. Proved by John McKetterick, Richard Holman, James Russell, William Hickman, Jr., and James Taylor, September 17 and 20, 1832, that John Magill was a Revolutionary Soldier and entitled to a pension under the Acts of Congress of 1832. Magill at this time was 73 years old. His pension was $23.33."

1832 Publication:1063, p. ix. "John Magill’s book, The Pioneer to the Kentucky Emigrant, is one of the rarest pieces of Kentuckiana. So far as is known there are only three copies of this book in existence. There are copies in the Filson Club, New York Historical Society, and the University of Pittsburgh libraries. The book was published in 1832 at the newspaper office of James. B. Marshall of Frankfort, Kentucky. There were eighty-four pages in the original text, and the volume was bound in paper."

1842 Death:1061, p. 17. "Died in January, at the advanced age of 83 years, on his homestead of 220 acres on South Benson Creek on the old Mourning Road in Franklin County, Kentucky."

1842 Estate:1061, p. 17-18. "Matthew Davidson, executor, gave the value of John Magill’s estate during the spring of 1842 at $2,940.00, this including two slaves at $300.00."

John Magill’s preface to his book, The Pioneer to The Kentucky Emigrant:1063, p. vii-viii. "This volume will give a topographical and historical description of Kentucky, interspersed with interesting adventures of the heroic backwoodsmen – It will contain a condensed account of the campaigns against the Indians from Virginia and Kentucky, since the year 1774 — Also a short sketch of the principal incidents, in the lives of the distinguished individuals, for whom the different counties have been called; a brief outline of those counties; the water courses on which they lie; their courses and distances from Frankfort, the seat of government; compiled from actual observation, and collected from the most authentic sources."

In this book-making age, when man’s invention is tortured to portray, under the east and delightful garb of Fiction, the feelings and emotions which dwell in the human breast, and which form the general composition of character, it may not seem entirely irrelevant in an old pioneer, to ‘cast upon the water’ his ‘little book,’ in which are marked down the observations of a long life, spent in continued action. In writing out the following notices of his recollections, but little regard has been paid to euphony, (as Sir Pierce Shafton hath it), which the light publications, that flood the country, and with which the press is now teeming, have indelibly stamped on modern literature. It has been his constant effort to adhere to truth, and never, in a single instance, has he deviated from the rule he prescribed to pursue. In the narrative with which he has interspersed his work, miraculous adventures may be cited; but let it be remembered that the times were by no means ordinary, and although, it is not the province of history to indulge in the wonderful; yet, it is not departing from its character, to throw light upon the singular prowess and deeds of daring accomplished by the extraordinary and heroic men who constituted ‘the Pioneers of the West.’ It may be, that he is mistaken in the general utility of his book. He hopes it will prove interesting and instructive. For the inaptitude of the diction or of his powers for the task, he throws himself on a generous public. — The Author."
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