By Richard Gwynallen
(circa 1733 – 1828)
Relationship to Fawn: 6th and 7th great grandfather
In The Sloan Journey to America, we met Mary Sloan and read about the interesting fact that she was Fawn’s 6th and 7th great grandmother. Here, we see the same as James Millegan married Mary Sloan in Ulster, probably County Antrim, Ireland around 1762.
We are descended from two daughters of Mary and James, Hannah and Mary Margaret. Hannah married Moses Boyd in North Carolina about 1790. They were the grandparents of Nancy Angeline Boyd, who married John Murdock in 1867. John was introduced in the story, “John Franklin Murdock – Another mid-19th Century North Carolina Life”. In that line, James Millegan is Fawn’s 6th great grandfather.
Mary Margaret married William Witherspoon about 1785 in North Carolina. They were the grandparents of John Murdock who married Nancy Angeline Boyd in 1867. In that line, James Millegan is Fawn’s 7th great grandfather.
The Milligan Journey to America
James Millegan was born in Ulster in 1732 or1733, but the family must have just relocated to Ulster because his parents, Andrew Milligan and Janet McHaffie, were married on 20 April 1732 in Penninghame, Wigtown, Scotland.
James, considered the progenitor of the Milligan clan in the American colonies, probably arrived in Pennsylvania, then moved to present Iredell County about 1765, settling on the South Yadkin River. The basis for this date is that in a newspaper article in the Statesville Landmark (North Carolina) in 1880, McCammie Milligan stated that an apple tree was still living on the old hold place after 115 years and it was planted by his great-grandfather, Andrew Milligan. As I said in The Sloan Journey to America, with such firm proof, how could one doubt the date? However, there is some difference of opinion as an index of an immigration record has a James Millegan arriving in Pennsylvania in 1773. Those who maintain the Millegan-Sloan arrival as 1765, maintain that this 1773 arrival could have been a different James Millegan.
In any case, his property appears on the William Sharpe map of 1773. James Milligan then had a North Carolina land grant for 600 acres in 1778 on the South Yadkin River near present Stony Point. They seem to have become yeoman farmers as we have seen with other branches of our family that settled in the North Carolina Piedmont. I briefly describe the life of yeoman farmers in the story about the Allen-Thompson family in From the Farm to the City.
Before that 600 acre land grant, James fought in the Revolutionary War. We do not know when he enlisted, but James appears in a register of officers of the North Carolina Troops in the Continental Line as a Lieutenant in the First Regiment on 29 August 1777.
James’ parents emigrated with James and his family. His mother, Janet McHaffie, is thought to have died aboard ship enroute, but his father, Andrew, arrived in the American colonies and continued to live with James and his family.
After Mary Sloan’s death in 1774, James married Eleanor Allen, and after her death, Ruth Templeton. James and Ruth left Iredell County, North Carolina with their family and moved to Wilson County, Tennessee sometime between 1803 and 1810. James died in 1828, in Wilson County, Tennessee. We know that Ruth was still alive at the time because she appears as a purchaser in the records of the sale of his property following his death.
No one seems to know where Mary Sloan or Andrew Milligan were buried, but there is speculation that it could have been in the old Morrison Cemetery.
A posting in the Statesville, Iredell Co., NC, history room describes the cemetery: “The Morrison graveyard is situated on an elevated plateau, between two branches about one-half mile northwest from the old mill, and a mile or so southwest from Loray. It is walled in with stone and about sixty yards square in area. In 1820, there was some rivalry between it and Concord graveyard, that resulted in both being enclosed with stone.” The cemetery is on New Sterling Church Road near Buffalo Shoals Creek in Iredell County, North Carolina.
Iredell County was home to many Scots and Ulster Scots families, and there was at least one Sloan-Morrison marriage, so the graveyard is a reasonable candidate for the burial of Mary Sloan and possibly Andrew Millegan.
Origins of the name Milligan
Milligan is an anglicized form of the pre-10th century Irish Gaelic Ó Maolagáin, although also widely recorded in Scotland. The name translates as the “descendant of Maolagán “, a personal name from a double diminutive of “mael” and meaning “bald”. As such it is probably an affectionate nickname for a monk or disciple, somebody who shaved their head as a sign of devotion.
In the process of Anglicization, we find the name written as O’Milligan, Miligan, Milliken, Milikin, Mulligan, Mullikin, Millican and possibly other forms. Some consider it to be a variant of Mollohan
In the 20th century the surname is found mainly in Ulster, and to some extent in County Sligo.