genealogy of the smith/park and williams/pace families
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James McDowell

Male 1793 - 1849  (~ 56 years)

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  • Name James McDowell 
    Born around 1793  Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 4 Jun 1849  Pennfield Ridge, Charlotte County, New Brunswick, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • James McDowell was born around 1793 (based on his grave marker) probably in Scotland or Ireland. There are many presumed birth records, but I know of none that can be verified.

      He is the father of my ancestor Mary McDowell born 14 December 1811 in Killinchy, Down, Ireland. There is no known birth record; the birth date is derived from later records.

      James married Elizabeth Glover (often mis-transcribed as Groves) 23 Feb 1813 in Killinchy, County Down, Ireland ( This marriage was 14 months after Mary's birth. It is unknown if Elizabeth is Mary's mother.

      James had several other children with records in Killinchy (
      - James (05 May 1813 - 2 months after the marriage)
      - Margaret (18 Jul 1815)
      - Elizabeth (01 Sep 1818)
      - John (06 Dec 1822)

      It is unknown if Elizabeth is the mother of all of these children. The family, excluding Mary, immigrated to Pennfield, New Brunswick, Canada sometime before 1831. Son James indicated on one census that he immigrated in 1819 (he would have been age 6). One can only speculate why Mary did not go with the rest of the family - perhaps she stayed with her mother.

      James married Ann Reid sometime before 1831. Most genealogies indicate this marriage in New Brunswick in November 1822, though this is unlikely if the birth record in Ireland for John is correct. I do not know if Ann is the mother of John or not, though most ascribe him to her. James and Ann had several more children in New Brunswick - William McDowell and Duncan McDowell.

      Ann McDowell died in November 1842 at age 45. James died 4 June 1849 at 57 years of age.
    • In 2010, while researching Walter Wark, I happened upon an online entry written by Greg McDowell that inquired about Walter and Mary Warks of Scotland as mentioned in James McDowell's will - I tried to contact Greg at that time without success.

      Two years later, my father and I received a letter from Greg, a direct descendant of James McDowell. He had found this site and wanted to collaboratively research a possible connection between my Mary McDowell and his James McDowell.

      Beyond the will, we really had very little to go on. Mary McDowell had indicated that she was born in Killinchy, Down, Ireland in 1811, but I had no other substantive information that could link the two. Through the modern miracle of DNA testing (we have both tested at Family Tree DNA), we can now confirm that Greg and I are indeed related (4th cousins once removed) and share a common ancestor in James McDowell. This verifies James as Mary's father and also places James at Killinchy, Down, Ireland, thus bringing us to additional records for James' marriage to Elizabeth Groves and his children.

      I owe a great deal to my distant cousin Greg for his information, recommendations, and persistence over several years as we've researched and collaborated to establish this valuable connection.
    • The parents of James McDowell are unknown. Most records indicate that James was born 27 Feb 1788 in Kirkmaiden, Galloway, Scotland to Alexander McDowall and Janet McClery (or Janet McChlery). See

      Beyond the birth record for this James, I've found no other documentation that suggests that this is correct. The location, names, dates, etc. just don't match up at all with what we do know

      James' will (transcribed on this page) indicates that he had sisters Margaret Geddis and Mary Cleland both in Ireland (I've been unable to find any additional information about either of these women). There are no known records for a Margaret or Mary born to the couple above. Additionally, the birth year of 1788 doesn't match the 1792 or 1793 birth date derived from James' grave marker.

      On the other hand, there is some evidence that indicates that James was born 8 June 1793 to Andrew McDowall and Janet Ross in Stranraer, Wigtown, Scotland (see The birth year matches James' grave marker. Andrew and Janet had a daughter named Margaret on Feb. 13, 1795. Other given names match better than with Alexander. So, this is better evidence, but far from conclusive. There were several James McDowalls born in Stranraer around this time.

      Without further evidence, the parents of James will remain unknown.
    Person ID I279  Smith/Park
    Last Modified 17 Oct 2013 

     1. Mary McDowell,   b. 14 Dec 1811, Killinchy, Down, Ireland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Around 1890, Utah Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 78 years)
    Last Modified 14 Oct 2013 
    Family ID F132  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

     1. Mary McDowell,   b. 14 Dec 1811, Killinchy, Down, Ireland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Around 1890, Utah Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 78 years)
    Last Modified 13 Oct 2013 
    Family ID F140  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - around 1793 - Scotland Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 4 Jun 1849 - Pennfield Ridge, Charlotte County, New Brunswick, Canada Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Documents
    James McDowell will
    James McDowell will
    From provided and transribed by Gregory E. McDowell

    It is this document (particularly the reference to Mary and Walter Warks) that has helped solidify much of the McDowell family history, including my families connection to James McDowell and his descendants.

    Notes provided by Greg:
    1 - Letter most probably was recorded my James McDowell's lawyer George Crickett and then signed by James McDowell.
    2. James McDowell signed his name with two L's in McDowell.
    3. Lawyer wrote the letter with only one L in the McDowell name.
    4. Lawyers of that time period often wrote making an "f" or "p" or "ss" look very similar.

    In the name of God. Amen.
    I James McDowel of the parish of Pennfield in the county of Charlotte and Province of New Brunswick, farmer, being weak in body but sound in mind, do publish and declare this my last will and testament in manner following - First - I give, bequeath and devise to my son-in-law, John Kernaghnan, and his wife Elizabeth and the surviver of them during their natural life; and after their decease to their daughter Margaret Kernaghnan, and her heirs forever twenty-five acres of land, to be taken off the western side of my Grant, in said parish, where they now reside; commencing on its eastern side at a pop [on up] the road and following a cut near my barn and running down north until it reaches the head of the swamp, about ten rods from the road, and from that being twenty perches wide and running so far back as to make the said twenty-five acres.

    Secondly - I give and devise my half of a pew in the church, in said parish, to my daughter-in-law, Jane McDowel, and her heirs forever.

    Thirdly - I will authorize and desire my Executor herein after named and appointed within twelve months after my decease, to sell all the remaining property which I may own at the time of my death, both real and personal and out of the proceeds thereof to purchase and erect at my grave, a decent head stone with a suitable inscription - Of the remainder I give and bequeath to my sons James McDowell, John McDowell, William McDowell, and Duncan McDowell five shillings each, to my daughter Margaret Chambers five shillings - to her son Stephen Chambers five pounds, to my grand children, Thomas McDowel, Ann McDowel, Elizabeth McDowel and Mary Jane McDowel, thirty shillings each; and the residue, if any there be, to be divided equally between my daughter Mary Warks, wife of Walter Warks, who now resides in Scotland, and my two sisters Margaret Geddis, near Newtownards, and Mary Cleland near Downpatricks, Ireland. I wish the five pounds which I have willed to Stephen Chambers to be put out in interests until he arrives at the age of twenty one years and, then, to be paid to him with whatever interests may accrue on the same -

    Lastly I nominate and appoint George Crickett *Executor* of this my last will and testament, hereby invoking all other will or wills heretofore made by me -

    In [witness whereof], I have hereunto set my hand and seal, this twenty third day of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty eight.

    James McDowell

    Signed, sealed, published be declared by the above named James McDowel, as his last will and testament in presence of us, who have hereunto subscribed our names, as [witnesses] thereto in the presence of the said Testators and in presence of each other. The word "Executor" being first interlined in this second page

    Sam Thomson
    Alex McKay
    Eliza Tatton

    James McDowell headstone
    James McDowell headstone
    James McDowell/ Died/ June 4, 1849/ Aged 57 years/ Ann, his wife/ died Nov. 1842/ Aged 45 years./ Also Thos. McDowell/ died Oct. 19, 1838/ aged 29 years.

    Located in Christ Church (Anglican) Cemetery, Pennfield, New Brunswick, Canada. Block A, Row #4, plot #10. Details at

    The Thomas McDowell buried with them is unknown.