16 December 2008

Probate Saga of General Duncan McArthur

Abstract of Will Books A, B, C, D, Ross Co., OH, Fayette Co., H S & DAR

The innocent looking little will abstract below blew up into a major court case before the U.S. Supreme Court. The will was dated 30 October 1833; Duncan McArthur died 12 May 1839 and the case regarding the probate of the McArthur will was argued (& reargued) in 1884 and decided in 1885. Mrs. Nancy McArthur predeceased her husband, dying on October 23, 1836.


p. 440

Duncan McArthur of Ross Co., OH…

Wife Nancy, home farm “Fruit Hill”

To…John Allen Kercheval $60 per year during minority and at 21 $1000

Daughter Margaret Campbell Kercheval, deceased

When I copied the above abstracted will, it was the "Kercheval" name that intrigued me, not McArthur, because of Kercheval Street in Detroit (an earlier blog featured Benjamin Kercheval).

I was amazed that Duncan McArthur was a Brigadier General in the War of 1812 and was an instrumental figure in the war's Detroit theatre.

McArthur was Governor of Ohio 1830-1832; other details of his political life can be found here; other biographical information is here.

In 1793 General Nathaniel Massie led a team to survey the Scioto River area of Ohio; Duncan McArthur "accompanied this party as a chain bearer." See the book about Generals Massie and McArthur written in 1838 here.

General Duncan McArthur's children were Allen, James, Effie (married Elijah Coons & 2nd Governor William Allen*), Eliza Ann (married William Marshall Anderson), Mary (Married Cary A. Trimble, son of Gov. Trimble), Mary Campbell (married Robert Kercheval) and Helen Mar (married Alexander Bourne).

*Named as a model for author Herman Melville's character Alanno of Hio Hio in Mardi.

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