A Biography of William McCune (1751-1830)

By Robert E. Francis



Introduction. My interest in the McCune family came about as a part of researching another family, the John Shawhan (1771-1845) and Margaret “Peggy” McCune family of Bourbon County, Kentucky.  At the time (1996), I only had one reference to Margaret’s parents; namely, Isobel Madsen’s “Shawhan, Smith, Chandler, Madsen: 1699-1952,” as follows:


“The Bourbon County Marriage Bonds give John Shawhan to Margaret McCune Oct. 24, 1793, on the consent of William McCune, father of Margaret.


“William McCune was a Revolutionary War soldier, defender of Ruddles Station.  He was taken prisoner by the British to Detroit…He and his wife Elizabeth had six children, the first being Nancy, wife of George Reading, Jr. (1761-1846)…and the fourth child being Margaret, called Peggy.[1]


The reference intrigued me.  He was a Revolutionary War soldier and “defender of Ruddle’s Station.”  Hmm.  What exactly was Ruddle’s Station, I wondered?  At this juncture, I had no other data on William.  I did not know his birth date or place of birth, his parents, or how he came to the wilderness of Kentucky.  I did not know anything about his wife or children (other than Margaret and her sister Nancy).


Over the next several years, I collected bits and pieces of information about William, but nothing substantial.  My first break came from a seemingly unrelated source; i.e., material related to another of my ancestors, John Hinkson.  In this data, I found references to William being John’s half-brother.[2]  By this time, I had gathered substantial data on John Hinkson and through this information was able to pin-point William’s place of birth as Hopewell Township, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, and his approximate birth date as 1751.


My next break came as I made enquiries into the McCunes of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.  A fellow McCune researcher told me about a genealogical reference to a William McCune titled “William McCune, The Pennsylvanian and Kindred Families” by Kathryn Hutcherson Campbell (the genealogy was housed in the D. A. R. library, Washington, D. C.)  I requested a copy of the genealogy and received (for an exorbitant cost of $30) about 15 pages of the document.  The information proved a gold mine!  Campbell provided well-researched data on William’s birth, birthplace, and migration to Kentucky (and subsequently to Missouri), land records, Bible records, children, wills, estate records, etc.  As I researched the above-mentioned “Ruddle’s fort” data, I learned more about William’s journey to Kentucky with his half-brother, John, his role in the defense of Ruddell’s fort, and his three year captivity by the British.


For all this, I still had no definitive link between William and his greater family.  Earlier, while researching the McCunes of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, I came across a will of one John McCune. The will was intriguing in that it mentioned one of the sons as William.  More than this, it listed his as Agnes.  Now, this was interesting!  John Hinkson’s mother’s name was also Agnes!  The circumstantial evidence looked promising but nothing definitive linked them.


My big break came in December 2001 amidst a series of e-mail letters between McCune researcher, Jean Holley Day of Danville, Indiana and myself.  Jean authored a book that included the McCunes of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.   She wrote that my William was indeed a part of that family and that she would gladly share what she had on him.  Jean’s kindness and generosity was unbelievable—she sent the entire McCune section of her book to me (totaling about 300 pages) with the request to simply copy what I needed and return it to her when finished!  Wow, I just love generous researchers!  Her work proved beyond a doubt that William McCune was the son of John and Agnes McCune of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.  Her work also provided exciting new information on the family’s origins in Scotland and Ireland, as well as huge amounts of original and secondary source material on land records, wills, estate inventories, genealogical lines, etc.


It is my hope that this biography helps shed light on this most interesting ancestor.  William McCune was one of those rugged pioneers who helped forge a country out of a wilderness.


Bob Francis

February 2002



Background. John McCune was born ca1705, probably in Ireland. He was an early Scotch-Irish immigrant to Pennsylvania. While living in Ireland, he married twice. By his first marriage had three children, John, Robert, and James. The McCunes migrated to America sometime in the mid-to-late 1730s, probably landing at Newcastle, Delaware and came overland to Cumberland County (made from Lancaster and Chester Counties), Pennsylvania with the Brady family between 1733 and 1738. His wife died sometime after 1740 and John remarried Agnes Hinkson, a widow with two children named John, Jr., and Elizabeth. He was established in Cumberland County by 1751 when he showed on the Tax List.[3]


John McCune, Sr. made his will on the 31 January 1766, and he died before June 23, 1766. His will was proved in June Court of 1766 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, as follows:


Will Book A, Page 146 Cumberland County, Pennsylvania:


In the name of God Amen, the thirty first day of January in the year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty Six.


I, John McCune of Hopewell Township in the County of Cumberland in the Province of Pennsylvania, farmer, being very sick and weak in body, but of perfect mind and memory. Thanks be given unto God therefore calling unto mind the mortallity of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die. Do make and ordain this my last will and testament, that is to say. Principally and first of all I give and recommend my soul unto the hands of Almighty God that gave it and for my body I recommend to the earth to be buried in a christian like and decent manner at the discretion of my executors hereafter named nothing doubting but at the general resurrection I shall receive the same again by the Almighty Power of God, and as touching such worldly estate wherewith it has pleased God to bless me I give, devise and dispose of the same in the following manner and form.


Imprintus. I give and bequeath unto my dearly beloved son John McCune one dollar -


Item: I give and bequeath unto my dearly beloved son Robert McCune one dollar and the land he now possesseth and the one-half of that third of land I now possess to be by him and his heirs after one year after my decease enjoyed forever.


Item: I give and bequeath to my dearly beloved son James McCune that part of my plantation he is now possessed of and the one-half of that third of my Plantation which I now possess to be by him and his heirs after one year after my decease enjoyed forever and one dollar and one part one fourth of the Pewter and the fourth part of the hog.


Item: I give and bequeath unto my dearly and well beloved wife, Agnes McCune one brown paceing mare called Boney with ratch in her face, her bed and bed clothes, two cows and one pot, all the vessels about the shelf and the one-half of all my grain for her maintenance.


Item: I give and bequeath unto my dearly beloved son William McCune, eighty pounds and a roan mare and a mare called Jewel, two cows and all the sheep and a bed and bed clothes and one gridle and one pot and one sadie and bridle, one trunk, two coulters, one shear plow and tackling, one grubbing and weeding hoe, one falling ax, and all the table linen and the half of the pewter, mawl and wedges, my bible and the one-half of the grain, one gun and all my wearing aparel and the three quarters of the hogs. [Italics mine--REF]


And I likewise constitute and ordain William Lamond, Senr. and Agnes McCune executors of this my last will and testament and I do hereby disallow, revoke and disanull all and every other former testaments, wills, legacies and executors by me in anywise before this time named willed and bequeathed, ratefing and confirming this and no others to be my last will and testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal in the fourth year of our Sovereign Lord George the Third. Signed sealed published and pronounced by me as my last Will and Testament in the presence of


Samuel Wear

George Wear

John X. McCune


Letters of Testamentary issued 23rd day of June 1766 unto William Lamond, Senr. and Agnes McCune, executors named in the last will and testament of John McCune, dec'd of which the within record is a true copy. Inventory to be evaluated? the 22nd day of July next and account of Administration recorded when thereunto legally required.


John Armstrong



The Pennsylvania Years. William McCune was born 1750 probably in Hopewell Township, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.  His mother, Agnes, born about 1710 in Northern Ireland, first married John Hinkson, Sr., and had two children, John, Jr., and Elizabeth.  It is not known when the family migrated to the American Colonies.  John Hinkson, Sr. either died in Ireland or shortly after coming to America, perhaps in the late 1730s or early 1740s.  My guess is that the Hinksons and McCunes were friends who migrated together to the Colonies.  Whatever the case, Agnes found herself in the New World without a husband and John McCune also became a widower some time after 1740.  The couple was married in about 1749 and soon thereafter had their only child, William.


Nothing is known about William’s early years. The first reference to him is in his father’s will (see above).  After his father’s death, William probably lived with his mother until his 18th birthday (probably February 1750) when he petitioned the Court of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, to allow his half-brother, John Hinkson, to become his guardian until he came of age.[4]


It is likely that William remained with John Hinkson and his wife Margaret (McCracken) in the Hopewell Township until about 1769 when (probably in the same year) William met and wed Elizabeth McClintock, a woman 12 years his senior.[5] Soon after their marriage, both families moved to Fairfield Township, Squirrel Hill, Pennsylvania.  We are fortunate to have a most remarkable account of the McCunes by the Rev. David McClure, a Presbyterian missionary.  McClure’s writings gives a snapshot of the remoteness of this frontier outpost:


From the Diary of Rev. David McClure:



[December] "29. Rode in company with Mr. Wm. McCune 13 miles to Squirril Hill.

"30. Wednesday preached to the small new settlement there. It lies on the River Connemoh, which is foremed by the junction of Stoney Creek & Quamahone, and empties into the Allegany River. There are about 12 families here. Experienced much kindness, particularly from Mrs. McCune and family.

"This place was formerly a settlement of Indians. Here are vestiges of their corn fields, & on the bank and ancient fortification, similar to many that are found through all this country.

"Wednesday, preached the first sermon ever preached in this place, on the rich provision of Gospel salvation."


[April 6] "Tuesday. Received a present of a location of land on Connemoh (about 300 acres) of my good friend Mr. McCune. (This right was however lost to me by the war, & my absence.)

[June 7] "Monday. Mr. McCune of Squirril Hill, sent a horse for me to ride to that settlement, 13 miles, to preach there in the afternoon. Preached to them my last sermon. The settlement is the most easterly of those to whom I have preached, & is not far distant from the western foot of the Appalachian mountains.

"Truly the people here, in this new country, are as sheep scattered upon the Mountains, without a Shepherd. At this time, not a single church has been formed, or Minister of the Gospel settled, west of the Appalachian Mountains, from Pennsylvania to Georgia, through an extent of many hundred miles, of new & sparse settlements. A great proportion of the people manifest a desire for the Gospel, and would gladly make provision, for the support of ministers, according to their ability. We had the satisfaction, if I may so express it, of planting the seeds of some future churches, by forming several settlements into something like ecclesiastical order, during 7 or 8 months of our preaching among them. May the good Lord, raise up & send forth faithful labourers into this part of this vineyard.

"8. June. Wednesday. Mr. Wm. McCune, Benja Sutton & myself, sailed in a boat up the River Connemoh, in one place, saw a solid body of stone coal, jutting from the bank. Same day went to see an Indian Fort, near the River."[6]

William and Elizabeth settled into the area began to raise a family.  They had six children born to them while living at Squirrel Hill, viz.; Nancy, born November 27, 1770; John, born June 15, 1772; Susanna, born June 20, 1774; Margaret “Peggy,” born May 20, 1775; Elizabeth “Betsey,” born October 17, 1776; and Hugh, born June 12, 1778.


While William cleared and farmed the land near the Conemaugh river, his half-brother, John, got into some real trouble with the law and eventually had to leave the area.  In April 1774, Hinkson and another man, James Cooper, killed an old Delaware Indian named Joseph Wipey.  No one knows exactly why they did it; nevertheless, a warrant was issued for their arrest.  A few months later John enlisted as a Lieutenant to fight in Dunmore’s War, thus avoiding the long arm of the law. Upon completion of that short “war,” John returned briefly to the area then, in the spring of 1775, led an expedition of 14 men from Ft. Pitt down the Ohio river and up the Licking river into the wilderness of Kentucky.[7]  The adventurers established a frontier post named “Hinkson’s Fort” on the South fork of the Licking river, on the border of present day Harrison and Bourbon Counties, Kentucky. There they raised corn and built small cabins, which gave them the right to claim land.  The outpost remained active until the summer of 1776 when intense Indian unrest caused the adventurers to pull up stakes and head back to Pennsylvania.


The Kentucky Years. Throughout the remainder of the decade William did not engage in the conflicts besetting the country.  He continued to farm the land and protect his family from Indian attacks as best he could.  However, in the spring of 1780 all of this was about to change.  His brother, John, who had fought fearlessly as a Ranger along the Pennsylvania frontier and who gained a reputation as a courageous Indian fighter, wanted to put aside the ways of a warrior and return to the land.  He convinced many of his comrades-in-arms from Dunmore’s War and the recent conflict that rich and beautiful land awaited them in Kentucky.  John also convinced William that the time had come to pull up stakes and move southwest.  Thus in April 1780, the Hinksons and McCunes—along with a large contingent of families--headed to the Promised Land.  We are fortunate to have a detailed record of this mass migration, as follows:


"The winter proved uncommonly severe and, by suspending the operations of the sawmills in that country, procrastinated their arrangements until the first of April following. By advertisements all the adventurers in that part of the country who were bound to Kentucky were requested to assemble on a large island in the Ohio a few miles below Pittsburgh. It was proposed to remain here until a sufficient force should have assembled to pass with safety amidst the country of savage hostility which lay between them and Kentucky.


"So numerous was the concourse of adventurers to this point that in two days after his arrival sixty-three boats were ready to sail in company. A part of these boats were occupied by families; another by young men descending the river to explore the country, and the remaining portion by the cattle belonging to the emigrants.


"The number of fighting men on board probably amounted to nearly a thousand. The descending boats were arranged in an order of defense, not perhaps, entirely according to the technical exactness of a fleet in line of battle. Pilot boats headed the advance. The boats, manned by the young men sustained each wing, having the family, boats in the center and the stock boats immediately in the rear of them, and the rear guard boats floating still behind them. The boats moved with great circumspection, floating onwards, until they were abreast of a place favorable for furnishing range and grazing for the cattle, when they landed and turned them loose for this purpose. While their cattle were thus foraging in the joy of their short emancipation from the close prison of the boats, their owners kept a vigilant watch outside of their range to prevent the savages from assaulting them.


"We arrived without molestation at Limestone, now Maysville. Captain Hinkston, of our company, with three or four other families, concluded to remain here. They immediately commenced the customary preparations for rearing cabins. We tarried with them but half a day, during which time a company from our number turned out to hunt in the wild woods."[8]


The “Hinkston Party,” probably consisting of the families of John Hinkson, William McCune and John Sellars, decided to go overland from Limestone to John’s old fort.  However, things did not go as planned.  John Hinkson, Jr. later told of the party’s difficulties at Limestone and their subsequent travel to the Falls of the Ohio (later Louisville, Kentucky):


“[John Hinkson]…moved to Kentucky in Spring of '80, four or five boats came with him with about half a dozen families, stopped at Limestone about a week, built a block-house, the first erected there, and sent a message to his old station (better known as Ruddell's) to get help to aid in moving the families over, and while waiting at Limestone the Indians stole all the horses belonging to the company - some 20 in all. - At the old station there was not a sufficiency of men to share, and advised a continuation to the Falls of Ohio.


“Went down there in his boats - got horses to transport some of the property leaving the family at the Falls…”[9]


The men left their families at the fort at the Falls of the Ohio and began their trek into the interior. Little did William know at the time that he would not see Elizabeth or the children for a long time. In early June, they camped all night at Cave Spring located on the South fork of the Licking river.[10] The spring was located within a day of Hinkson’s old fort.  There they met an old friend of John’s, Benjamin Harrison.  Benjamin knew John as far back as 1774 and had traveled with him to his old settlement back in ’76. Benjamin accompanied the party over the last leg of their journey.  Upon arriving at the fort on about June 22, they were met by John Haggin, a kinsman of McCune and Hinkson.[11]  Haggin came to the region with Hinkson in 1775 and had remained. 


The fort had changed greatly from the humble group of cabins built four years earlier. In 1778, it had been taken over by Virginians commanded by Captain Isaac Ruddell.  Ruddell was commissioned by the new government to establish a stronghold along the Kentucky frontier.  To this end, Hinkson’s old settlement had been greatly expanded and heavily fortified.  Known variously as “Ruddell’s Fort, Ruddell’s Station or Fort Liberty, it held upwards to three hundred people.


Perhaps in order to help their friends settle into their new environments, Haggin and Harrison promised to travel to Fort Lexington and enter their land claims.  Whatever the case, both men were absent on the fateful day of June 24, 1780.  Spring and early summer had been particularly wet that year and the early morning of June 24 was no exception.  The rain came down so hard that sentries could not see beyond a few yards.  Unbeknownst to them, a force of over one thousand British regulars, Tories, Canadian volunteers and Indians quietly descended upon them.  The expedition, led by Captain Henry Byrd of His Majesty’s 8th Regiment, had traveled from Montreal to wreak havoc upon the Kentucky frontier.  Originally, the objective of the force was to strike a blow against General George Rogers Clarke’s army at the Falls of the Ohio but, due to unrest among the Indians, Byrd settled for taking forts in the interior.  Adding to their great force, the British brought with them the first cannon ever used against log forts of the wilderness.  Known as a “six pounder,” it was an awesome weapon against flintlocks and it ensured that the outcome the battle.


Perhaps the best account of the events of that morning came from Daniel Trabue. Though a lengthy quote, it clearly presents the horrific circumstances of the capture of Ruddell’s fort.  The following is a literal transliteration of the account:


“…he (James Trabue) went to Licking and got Ruddle's Station at night. And when morning [June 24, 1780] came their fort was surrounded by Indians; and Col. Byrd, a british officer from Detroyt, soon arrived with a cannon. He (Byrd) sent in a flag to the fort, demanding them to surrender to him as prisoners of war, etc., to which they refused. The cannon was twise fired. Done no damage except knocked one cabin log so it was moved in about six inches.


“Capt. Ruddle insisted it would be best to cappitulate. Capt. Hinkston and James Trabue insisted to defend the fort. At length Capt. Ruddle got a majority on his side and petitioned Col. Byrd to capitula[te]. The flag was sent back and forward several times before they agreed and the articles was sighned and agreed to. James Trabue was the man that did wright in behalf of Ruddle and the people in the fort. The terms of cappitulation was that Col. Byrd and his white soldiers should protect the people that was in the fort and march thim to Detroyt as prisoners, and that the Indians should have nothing to do with them, that the peoples cloathing and papers should be sicure to themselves with some little exceptions.


“The fort gate was opined. The Indeans came rushing in and plundered the people, and they evin striped their cloaths of[f] them and dividing the prisoners among the indians. In a few minuts the man did not know where his wife or child was, nor the wife know where her husband or either of her children was, no the children where ther parrents or brothers and sisters weare, all contrary to the cappitulation. Nor they had no chance of seeing Col. Byrd, as the Indians kept them to themselves. They went and took Martain's station also.”[12]


As mentioned in Trabue’s narrative, the British and Indians moved on to another fort in the area and captured it as well. All told, they captured over 450 people and forced them to march over 600 miles from the wilderness of Kentucky to Detroit.  Many died or were killed along the way while the Indians carried others into captivity.  Most of those lucky enough to survive the trip to Detroit, managed to either return home or settle in Canada.


John Hinkson and John Sellars managed to escape their captors within a few days.  While little is known about Sellars’ escape, Hinkson’s was the stuff of legend and became a favorite story in Kentucky lore for the next one hundred years.[13]  William McCune was not as lucky.  He spent about two years in captivity and tried on at least one occasion to escape his captors.  According to many captives, McCune was betrayed by none other than Captain Isaac Ruddell.  Ruddell, hearing of the pending escape attempt, forewarned the British.  McCune was subsequently placed in irons.


Upon returning from captivity, McCune met Ruddell one day at Bowman’s Station, Kentucky.  William McBride provides the following account:


"I was at Corn's, when Riddle, (that was taken at Riddle's,) got back. One McCune, who was at Bowman's Station when Riddle got there, went out & got a hoop-pole, of which he had a parcel, & wore it out on Riddle. McCune had been a prisoner with (fellow) Riddle and had been planning to run away, where Riddle went and told the British on him, who put McCune in irons. "Now," says McCune, "tell on me again."[14]


After returning to Bourbon County, Kentucky, William and Elizabeth settled into the life of farming and raising their family and over the course of the next seven years, William made a number of land purchases.[15]  In 1787, he served his country one last time with the Kentucky Militia in a campaign against the Wabash Indians.[16]


His oldest daughter Nancy married George Reading, Jr., May 7, 1789. The Readings were long time friends of the McCunes, having arrived in Bourbon County at about the same time. George Reading, Jr.'s brother, John Mullin, in fact, shared a unique bond with William, having also been captured and taken prisoner by the British at Ruddle's fort. Susanna, William and Elizabeth's third child, married John Patton in 1791. On October 24, 1793, their third daughter Margaret (called "Peggy") married John Shawhan, a young man who lived on a nearby farm. John was engaged in the whiskey distilling business with his brother Joseph. The brothers continued the business begun by their father Daniel who--with his family--had immigrated to Bourbon County in 1789 to get away from the mounting problems concerning the newly formed federal government's desire to tax whiskey. A month later, on November 21, their oldest son John tied the knot with Polly Shannon.


Tragedy struck the McCune family in 1812 when William's wife Elizabeth died.

Later that year, the 61 year old William fell in love with and married the much younger widow Elizabeth Patton (formerly Mrs. Maxwell). Elizabeth was the daughter of William Patton (1730-1795) and the sister of John Patton, the husband of William's daughter Susanna. To make the family relationship even more complicated, Elizabeth Patton's sister, Martha, married William Holliday (1755-1811). William and Martha Patton Holliday's son, Joseph Holliday, married William McCune's granddaughter Nancy (the daughter of John McCune and Polly Shannon). Is the reader confused yet? Let's add one more intermarriage to this mix: Joseph Holliday's eldest brother, William Patton Holliday, married Rebecca Reading, the daughter of George Reading, Jr., and Nancy McCune. Also, Elizabeth (Maxwell) Patton McCune's daughter from her previous marriage, Sarah Maxwell, married John Reading, son of George reading, Jr., and Nancy McCune. Enough, already!


Four children were born to Elizabeth Patton and William McCune: William Patton, born circa 1813, Joseph P., born circa 1815, Polly Lucy, born circa 1816, and Susanna, born circa 1820.


The Missouri Years. Sometime in 1817, William and family, including several other families, moved from Kentucky to Pike County, Missouri. The following account documents the route taken by the families:


"I married Nancy McCune, dau of John McCune on Mar 26 - 1816, she d Jan 9 1834. Our eldest son Wm was b in Ky


"My Wife's gr father Wm McCune was a prisoner of the Indians 3 yrs during the Rev War. He saw sights, my dear, He was ironed frequently, and handcuffed. His wife never heard from him during the time, her father used to "quiz" her about "setting out".


"The McCunes and Hollidays moved from nr Carlisle, Cumberland Co, Pa to Kentucky and in 1817 they moved to the Territory of Mo and settled on Ramsey Creek, now Pike Co, Mo. Shortly after Mar 1816 this Company moved from Ky to St Charles Co, Mo, now Pike Co, Mo, by way of Louisville Ky then crossed the Ohio River, then to Smelsers Ferry about 2 mi above Alton, Ill, where we crossed the Mississippi River, thence to St Charles Mo, hence up to Ramsey Creek.


"The families composed the Company were: My wife's Grandfather Wm McCune and family; Benjamin Gray and family; he M a dau of Wm McCune, my wf's gr father; Wm Holliday, my eldest bro and his family, his wf was Rebecca Reading; Wm Biggs and family, he m. "Betsy" Elizabeth McCune my wife's eldest Sister; John McCune, my wife's father and his family, His wf was Polly Shannon, dau of John Shannon; Myself and family (Joseph Holliday) and wf Nancy McCune. Six families in all."[17]


The families settled on Ramsey Creek, Pike County, Missouri, and continued their lives as farmers. William and Elizabeth's last child, Susanna, was born in Pike County, Missouri, circa 1819. William died on December 6, 1830. His wife Elizabeth died before November 9, 1835. William's will, originally drafted in November 1819, reads as follows:[18]


I, Wm McCune, being advanced in life and knowing that I must shortly die think it proper as I am now in helth and injoy the right use of my reason to set my house in order and dispose of that earthly substance which God in his graft kindness hath bestowed upon me in the following manner:


1st - after by boddy is decently buried and all my debts paid it is my will and I do hereby bequeath to Nancy Reading, my eldest daughter four dollars.


2nd - It is my will and I do hereby bequeath to my eldest son John McCune four dollars.


3rd - It is my will and I do hereby bequeath unto the children of my decesed daughter Susanna Patten,, wife of John Patten four dollars to be equally divided among them.


4th - It is my will and I do hereby bequeath to my daughter Margarit Shawhen four dollars.


5th - It is my will and I do hereby bequeath to Betsy Gray four dollars.


6th - It is also my will and I do hereby bequeath to my beloved wife - Elizabeth McCune the third part of all my estate, real and moveable.


7th - I will and bequeath all the ballence of my estate to be equally, divided between my four youngest children; Wm P McCune, Polly Lacy McCune, Joseph P. McCune, and Susanna McCune, on conditon there should be no more heirs, but in case there should, they are to have an equal divide with, Wm, Joseph, Polly Lacy and Susan.


It is my will that my wife Elizabeth McCune and my son John McCune be and they are hereby appointed Executrix and Executor of this my last will and testament signed and sealed present of this 9th of November, 1819.


Wm McCune (Seal) Pike Co. Mesura Territory. Jacob Matthews; James Stark; Henry Matthews; John Patterson (supplement or codicil )


As a suplement to the within will, I Wm McCune have thought proper to leave the home place where I now live on containing 300 ackers to my son Wm P. McCune and my son Joseph P. McCune, providing they should think proper to keep it at its apraes value of their Guardens for them it is clearly to be understood that this suplement is to have no other change or careing on the within will except giving William and Joseph the right to keep the homeplace at its apraised value given under my hand this 8th day of August 1827.


Witness present

Signed: Raue La Force John P Patterson John McCune Wm McCune (Seal)


Elizabeth's will, dated November 10, 1835, reads as follows:[19]


Last will and testament of Elizabeth McCune.


In the name of God Amen, I, Elizabeth McCune of the County of Pike State of Missouri being weak in body but sound in mine and disposing memory and perfectly aware that ere long my body must return to its Mother earth, do ordain and publish this my last will and testament.


First, my desire is that my body may be decently buried in a plain coffin to be provided for that purpose.


Second, it is my desire that my just debts be paid if at this time of my death, I shall owe any and,


Thirdly, it is my will and desire that the balance of my property which I derived title to, by virtue of the last will and testament of my late husband, William McCune should be equally divided among my four children to wit; William P. McCune, Polly L. McCune, Susannah McCune and Joseph P. McCune except that my executor herein appointed is directed to pay out of my property to my other two children viz: Jane Paterson and Sally Reading the sum of one dollar each and no more they having been sufficiently provided for and lastly I do nominated and appoint John McCune executor of this my last will and testament to acct according to law, In witneas whereof I have hereto set my hand and seal this 16th day Nov, in the year of our Lord 1830.



Elizabeth X McCune



Witness: L Rogers; Jeremiah Stark; Daniel F Stark; Susannah Stark


State of Missouri, County of Pike. Attest M.J. Noyes, Clerk. Recorded 9th Nov., A.D. 1835 Bondsmen: Wm P. McCune Administrator. Wm L. McCune Fountain D. Edwards.


William P. McCune being duly sworn upon his oath saith that he the said William P. McCune, Polly L Edwards, late Polly L. McCune, Susannah McCune and Joseph P. McCune are the only heirs and legal representatives of Elizabeth McCune late of said County deceased, all of whom reside in the said County of Pike. William P. McCune sworn to before me and oath of office taken this 10th day of Nov., A.D. 1835.


M. J. Noyes, Clerk. Recorded Nov 10th 1835.



Epilogue. This concludes my brief essay on the life of William McCune. In closing, I thought I should add that McCunes continue to live in Pike County, Missouri, to the present day. In the northwestern part of Cuivre township, Pike County, Missouri, about seven miles from Bowling Green, lies McCune Station. The spelling of the town's name has varied slightly over the years with the 1899 Pike County atlas listing it as "McCune’s Station", the map of 1893 calling it "McCune's Station" and an 1886 map calling it simply "McCunes." The town was named for John and William McCune from Kentucky, who settled on Ramsey Creek in 1817. There was for a time a small settlement there with a railroad station and a post office, which operated from 1886 until 1918. In the 1930's, McCunes Station had a population of approximately 50 people. The population is less than that in 1980.

[1] Madsen, p. 13-14.

[2] Draper MSS 2S334-338--Interview with John Hinkson, son of COL John Hinkson: “Went and settled at Mann's Lick and stayed there till '81; then moved to Haggin's Station, near Danville and about '83, re-occupied his old settlement on Hinkson's Fork.  William McCune, a half brother of Hinkson's, moved with Hinkson to Kentucky in '80, and was captured with him; and was kept nearly two years.”

[3] McCune-Earling Genealogy by Jean Holley Day. Also on the 1751 Tax List his son John McCune, Jr. is grown and also shows on the Tax List. The Tax Lists for Lancaster prior to 1750 do not exist. Likewise, several pages are missing from the old patent book of Lancaster County, so we are unable to fix the exact year that John McCune settled in Cumberland County. In 1751 and 1752 the tax records show John McCune, Sr. and John McCune, Jr. In 1753 along with them Robert McCune shows on the tax lists. In 1768 James McCune appears on the tax list, along with his brothers.

[4] Orphans Court, Vol. 2, Page 88 Cumberland County, Pennsylvania 16 February 1768. “Come unto court William McCune a minor son of John McCune, late of Cumberland County, deceased, of the age of eighteen years and chose John Hinkson Guardian over his person and estate during his minority. The court thereupon consider and appoint the said John Hinkson, Guardian over the person and estate of the said William McCune during his minority. Clerk & Court pd. By the Court copy to & Alexander Laughlin”

[5] The marriage date is based upon the birth of their first child, Nancy, who was born November 25, 1770.  Refer to William McCune Family Bible owned by Miss May Shannon, Vandalia, Missouri.  Reference:  Campbell, Kathryn Hutcherson.  “William McCune The Pennsylvanian and Kindred Families,” p. 16.

[6] McClure, David. Ohio Country Missionary: The Diary of David McClure 1748-1820, Including His Travels in Western Pennsylvania and Ohio with Descriptions of the Indian and White Inhabitants. Retigs Frontier Ohio, 1996 Reprint. Originally printed in 1899. p. 107.

[7] Refer to the appendix for a brief overview of the expedition.

[8] “Personal Narrative of William Lytle: 1770-1832,” Cincinnati Historical Society Bulletin, Vol 1, 1906.

[9] Draper MSS 2S334-338

[10] Harrison County Court Order Book A, pg 356, June 8, 1804.

[11] John Haggin married Nancy Gibbs, John and William’s niece.

[12] "Westward into Kentucky," From Daniel Trabue’s narrative found in the Draper Manuscript collection, 57J:51-63.

[13] For a detailed account of Hinkson’s escape, I refer the reader to my biography of John Hinkson, titled “COL John Hinkson (1729-1789): Pennsylvania and Kentucky Frontiersman.”

[14] Draper MSS 11CC35 - Lyman Draper's interview with William McBride.

[15] William McCune: 400 acres, Bk & p 1-26, date surveyed 12/1782, Milcreek; 400 acres, Bk & p 1-26, 12/18/1782, Milcreek (withdrawn); 400 acres, Bk & p 1-26, 12/18/1782, Surveyed Licking and Elkhorn; 400 acres, Bk & p 1-26, 12/3/1782, Surveyed; 400 acres, Bk & p 1-26, 12/3/1782, Surveyed; 900 acres, Bk & p 1-57, 12/5/1785 ( Kentucky Land Grants, Fayette County, Kentucky, microfilm, from the LDS Library, Salt Lake City, Utah); Wm McCune, 900 acres, Bk & p 2-259, 1/21/1783, Hinkstone Cr., Bourbon County, Ky. (Ibid., p. 215, Microfilm); Wm McCune, 400 acres, Bk & p 11-550, 4/25/1789, Greap Run Cr. (Ibid., p. 96, Microfilm).

[16] Wm McCune Dec 9- 1800 from Baker Ewings to Wm McCune (Wabash Indians) Aug 10 - 1787. Certificate #160 am't 1£, 5 shillings. Commanding Officer: Geo R. Clarke. $4.16. (Index of Military Certificate 1787 by Jovett Taylor Cannon, Ky Historical Library, Frankfort, Ky, p 41.)

[17] Excerpts from "Memo" by Joseph Holliday (1861). Certified copy in K.H.C. files. This note from Katheryn Campbell follows the account: "A complete copy of the "Memorandum" as written by Joseph Holliday is in my possession (K.H.C.). This copy was made and certified Dec 1910 at which time the original belonged to Joseph Glasby Holliday, St Louis, Mo and was given to Miss Mae Shannon, Vandalia, Mo, who gave it to me. (KHC)" (NOTE: Unfortunately, this memorandum may be lost forever. I recently (1998) tried to contact Kathryn Hutcherson Campbell and found out that she had died some years ago. All of the papers that she had collected over the years were destroyed. REF) Refer also to The History of Pike Co, Mo (1883) p. 752.

[18] NOTE: Daniel Boone, Matthew Givens and Uriel Griffith appraised the Estate of Wm McCune deceased Dec 3, 1830. Bk 1 - p 156. John McCune was appointed Guardian for Wm P. McCune and Joseph P. McCune sons and heirs of Wm McCune dec'd. Will bk D - p 61 - Record of Recorder. Abstract of Will of Wm McCune, Bowling Green Mo. - Bk I p 123 - proved Dec 6, 1830. Will of Wm McCune Nov 9, 1 & 9

[19] Her will, written Nov 16, 1830, proven Nov 9, 1835. Bowling Green, Plke Co, Mo, Will Bk 2, p 71. The will was transcribed by Kathryn Hutcherson Campbell, Oct 24, 1960.