Scots and McMichaels by grace and guidance, some oral history

John the Distiller of Mechlenburg NC

John Jr, son of John the First of Bucks county PA, no doubt found his way down the famous Wagon Train Trail to settle between the Sugar and McMichael Creeks in Mechlenburg county North Carolina.  It was by guidance that he would befriend an Indian school teacher friend-neighbor, Frazier, and buy his land as the court records show when the Catawba Indians were moved.  {You may recall that John the First of Bucks Co PA attempted mission work at a Moravian mission with the Indians, like his brother Charles in Chesterfield Co was an Indian Trader, and often had Indian visitors in his home; then skipping over John the First and John of Mechlenburg, hopefully you have read the short story, or will, of John Madison who at the invitation of the Creek Indian chief William McIntosh came across the river from Jasper Co Georgia to Butts County and Indian Springs, later Jackson GA.

If there was a John McMichael of this strain of Scot-Irish, like John of Mechlenburg or John the First Indian agent like his brother Charles, both sons of Randolf McMichael of Ulster Ireland {how the Scots came to Ulster is another short story}, then there was a Mill and they in early colonial history were called “millers” by trade, sort of like the trade of mill wright that developed later.  The arrival of John the First can be traced with the famous “5 ships in Boston harbor” where a rep of the famoyus preacher John Cotton attempted to hire John the First cheap as a miller.

Available online are perhaps more free legal documents on the land and other dealings on John of Mechlenburg than of most, and later the McMichaels that remained in NC and SC became notorious as they sued against SC taxation when the border between the states was moved.  That is a very interesting fact of colonial history that John the distiller of Mechlenburg’s residence changed between Virginia to NC to SC, likewise the counties changed often, and his plantation remained the same location.

Looking at the Mechlenburg Co map from Google earth, you can see the little awkward corner in the southwest of the map.  Well there approximately under Lake Wylie was the original plantation of John, the unusual shape coming when SC took in more land after a resurvey  of the states border.  Most specifically along the Catawba River the home location in now more at Fort Mill SC.  On all close up maps, the Sugar Creek and names after it, are prominent.  It is unfortunate that today the McMichael Creek, the intersection of which was at that at Sugar Creek, has a name change or it is under Lake Wylie.  Later, the exact plantation location will be shown with an early SC map of Orangeburg District South Carolina.  Below is a Creek and River map, recall that waterways were the chief routes of travel in colonial days, of North Carolina and along the rivers are listed the names of plantation owners.  It would require a blow up of along the Catawba river to see the McMichael plantation, and that will be done in a second installment of John of Mechlenburg.creek and river map NC


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