Walter F. McClure Family                                                           McClure Family 1923                                              Jeanne McClure Sanders with son                         Robert McClure        Jeanne McClure Sanders & Helen Jackson McClure

Virginia Sanders  Mylius

<gmylius@charter.net>   ·
Birmingham, AL    

Complete notes and sources available upon request.
    Following are quotes from various scholarly and genealogical publications, including "Clan Ewing of Scotland," "The Ewing Clan in America," "Out of Scotland and in Ireland, Some Early Ewing History,"  "John Ewing, Immigrant from Ireland, 1660-1974, and other publications.    You will notice that many of these Ewing's first settled in Maryland, just as John and Rebecca McClure did upon their immigration in the 1790's, although these lines of our Ewing's immigrated to America earlier than John and Rebecca.   As with all ancient history, there are some current disagreements, but I endeavored to include all facts(and fancies)as found.   I hope you enjoy reading it!  Virginia "Ginga" Sanders-Mylius, 2006

"The hearts of the children
shall turn to their fathers"    
     (Malachi 4:6)

"And death hath come upon our fathers; nevertheless we know them -
for a Book of Remembrance we have written among us,
according to the pattern given by the finger of God."
(P. of G. Pr. Moses 6:45-46)

"The founders of our clan were the Britons known as Cymri, or Cymry.  The root of our name is Celtic, our language Gaelic.  The Welsh and the Cornish are today about the only people left who have come down from the old Cymri with the least infusion of Angle or Saxon blood.    Through the centuries our name has been spelled in different ways such as Uwen, Ewen, Ewin, etc.   Uwen is a dialect spelling as a result of phonetics, or sound.   The Welsh forms of the name are: Ywein, Eugein, Eugenius, and Euenin.  A genealogy of the British Kings of Strathclyde gives us two Eugeniuses in the kingly line.   The first reigned about 658 A.D. and the second about 760 A.D.  The Eugeninuses (Latin for Ewing) or Eugenes were Ewings, as Scotch historians agree.    He gives three Ewins in the sovereignty of the Scots, two of them reigning before the date of Julius Caesar.  The third commenced to reign one year before Christ, and his reign lasted seven years.    These early Ewing's early dwelt along the waters of Loch Lomond, and were a race dwelling mainly south of the Clyde and the ancestors of which were found in what is now Scotland by the Romans, and whose race integrity survived Roman domination.  

The name "Ewin" means "well born," and is of clan origin - the clan government having once maintained in both the Lowlands and the Highlands.   It is the prima facie presumption that we are descended, and our name has come to us, from the Brythonic Ewin, Ewin and then Ewing, a name still common in the clan terriroty of the Lowlands, particularly in the Sterling Castle and Lomond region, where our Cymric Ewing ancestors lived and the family existed hundreds of years before the Gaelic clan of the Highlands.   

The name is from the Gaelic 'EOGHAN' (the 'GH' is a 'H' in sound, as in Meagher, sounded Maher; Daugherty sounded Doherty, &c.), spelt phonetically EUEN, EWEN, EWIN, EWAN, YOUEN, &c. The 'g' in Ewing was an addition made in the spelling of the name by those of English speech, if not race. This because in pronouncing the name they give the final 'n' a 'ng' or nasal sound.   Thus did they with Waring from Warin, Huling from Hulin, &c."   It is also among the earliest Saxonized names ending in "g."    Or said, therefore, to be a Celtic name Teutonized.   Ewin, the father; Ewing, the son.    The "g" of the name is an important part of the evidence of its Briton orgin.    Once again, it was the Cymric Briton's, not the Highlanders, who were earliest Anglo-Saxonized.    

Eugenius may be a Latin equivalent of Ewen; but it is, as we have seen, at least a fact that in the Latin list of the Gaelic Kings the spelling Ewen is used.   But the great trouble with the effort to link all Ewings with the Gaelic origin of a name similar to ours, is that about the time of the Gaelic Kings of the Ewen name and long before the name in the Highlands distinguished any family or clan, the name existed in the Lowland Cymric country and was borne by those of the Cymric stock. Borne by those of that Lowland stock, the name existed hundreds of years before the coming of the Danes. Since it was the custom of the invading Teutons, including the Danes, "to adopt the name of the Celtic tribe they displaced," as Shane (Origin of the Anglo-Saxon Race, 302) and other authorities tell us, if the name be common in the European home of the Danes, it is not at all impossible that it was carried there from Scotland.

"We are not of the highland clan of McEwen, but are from the heart of the lowlands."  McEwen's claims are presented here, but there seems to be well founded and general agreement that our Ewing's, as presented here, were no relation.   The paternal McEwen settlement upon the banks of Loch Lomand was something more than one thousand years ago, yet the name we bear is much older, dating back to before the time of Christ.    Our Ewing's religion was Presbyterian.  The reproduction of the coat of arms was recognized by the Hon. Thomas Ewing family as coming from Scottish ancestors.

McEwen, the Scotch genealogist of the McEwens, says:  "The name Ewen (Ewing) is a distinctive, ancient, and not very common name, derived from the Gaelic Eoghan, meaning 'kind natured' (Latin Eugenius)."    In "Clan Ewen, Some Records of Its History," R.S.T. MacEwen states:   "A considerable sept of the clan settled early in Dumbartonshire, on the shores of Loch Lomond, and in the Lennox country, owning allegiance to the Stewart Earls of Lennox, who were descended from Bancho, Thane of Lochaber, the ancestor of the Royal line.  As early as the 10th century, the Scots occupied Strath-Clyde, and Gaelic as the language from Renfrew to Galloway for several centuries.  It has left its impress still strong in personal and place names in that region.  It is not astonishing therefore that Argyleshire Scots should at a later date migrate to the shores of the Clyde and to Galloway.     Gaelic in time disappeared before the inroads of the Teutonic language in the districts bordering on the Highland line as it had done in the southern districts at an earlier period.  The people in a few generations lost touch with the Highlands; they no longer spoke Gaelic, they were incorporated with the southern inhabitants, and in character and sentiment they became a Lowland people, although originally of pure Celtic Descent."

McEwen, unable to explain some facts which appear not to have been fully investigated, qualified somewhat his all too sweeping conclusion, by adding:   "The name is distinctly of Gaelic and clan origin, and except where particular family histories and other evidence point to a different conclusion, persons bearing the name and traceable to the localities known to have been occupied by the early clan, its septs and descendants, are of the same race and probably sprung from the McEwens of Otter. In the Lowland districts the blood has mixed largely with that of the Lowland inhabitants."

McEwen's theory has been generally discounted by Ewing scholars, as person's bearing the Ewing name are traceable to localities known to have been occupied by the early known Ewing's long before the McEwens had a clan existence; and so meansured by McEwen's own rule, we do not get our family name from his Otter clan.   Our Ewing ancestors were numerous in the Lowlands and in the Glasgow Loch Lomond region beofre the first Otter McEwen existed.   Ewin, certainly, was a Lowland name long before 1047.   Ewin, father of Bishop Kentigern, lived nearly 600 years earlier - and it was in 1047 that Aodha Alain died (McEwen authorities claim that Alain was the grandfather of Ewen, the ancesetor of the McEwens of Otter).  

Presley Kittredge Ewing confirmed that "Ewing" is historically stated to be the Anglified form of Ewen or Ewin, derived from Evan or Evghan, which was in Latin Eugenius, and several of the ancient "Kings of Scots" bore the name of Ewen.   Another of the name (Devonaldus filius Ewyn) was witness to a charter granted by Walter, Steward of Scotland, in 1177; and in the middle of the 16th century the Ewings acquired lands in County Dumbarton, which were an ancient possession of the Earls of Lennox, and they also possessed valuable estates in County Argyll.  

Our Ewing's are "traceable to the localities known to have been occupied by the early clan" known as Ewing long before the Otter McEwens had a clan existence; and so measured by McEwen's own rule, we do not get our family name from the Otter clan. Hence as to us "other evidence" points a conclusion different from his. For the same reason, among others, nothing warrants that too broad assertion that the widely scattered and long numerous Ewings of "the Lowland districts" are explained by the Otter blood mixing "largely with that of the Lowland inhabitants." As I have shown, our Ewing ancestors were numerous in the Lowlands and in the Glasgow Loch Lomond region before the first Otter McEwen existed. Ewing, certainly, was a Lowland name long before 1047. Ewin, father of Bishop Kentigern, lived nearly 600 years earlier-and it was in 1047 that Aodha Alain died; and Barrister McEwen, his expounder and the authorities upon which they rely say that Alain was the grandfather of Ewen, the ancestor of the McEwens of Otter.

Eoghan of the Highlands became McEwen. Eoghan, Ewen, the father; McEwen, the son. Eoghan, Ewen, McEwen, Gaelic, (Macbain's note to p. 251 of Skene's Highlanders); Engenius, Urien, Owen, Ewene, Euin, Ewin, meaning "well born" quite as much in the Cymric, Celtic Briton, and have the same meaning in the Cymric tongue as Eogan (or Eoghan) in the Gaelic. (Id.) So as a result of the contact by the Saxons and Angles with the Celts of the Lowlands, a sketch of which has been given that we may better appreciate this fact, we have the present form of our surname-the Highlands having escaped almost to this day that Saxon-Angle influence.

Surprisingly, other scholars claim the name has also been related to Hewingson and perhaps also to Young, and it has been found associated as a tribal surname with the Colquhouns, usually written Calhoun, in the United States.   Many discount the theory that it may be Danish rather than Saxon in origin.

The Name Ewing in 16th and 17th Century Stirling:  After the mid 17th century the urban Stirling Ewings were reduced to a single line, descendants of Maurice. Whichever branch our "William Ewing" originated in, it is clear that he was no longer in Stirling by the late 17th century.

The Celts who arrived in Ulster came along the same way as the original settlers, through Scotland and across. The Celts who entered the other parts of Ireland arrived later and were different - there was no Celtic identity as such, just individual warrior groups. Therefore when these small bands of warriors intermarried with the natives, the two mixtures, north and south of the border were different. I mention the border here, because the first man-made (as distinct from natural) border was built in the last few centuries BC by the northern Celt-native people to keep out the southerners. Although the society became Celtic in language and tradition, the genetic strength of the earlier people still predominated. When the border of this period was destroyed by the southern Celts, the northern refugees moved in quite large numbers to Scotland. So, as you can see, whichever part of Scotland the settlers came from, it is true that their ancestors had come from Ulster and that previous to that, the original Ulster people had arrived from Scotland. Confusing, isn’t it! Even more so, when we consider that the people who moved to and fro across the sea with Scotland, were referred to as Scots, because Ulster in that period was the land of the Scots - Scotland only became the land of the Scots after the large Celtic-native movement of refugees. Furthermore, when Americans talk of Ulster Scots this the correct name, not Scots Irish. The Presbyterian emigrants to America in the 18th century did not think of themselves as “Irish”, but they should not be thought of as Scottish either, as they had been born and bred in Ulster, as had their parents, at least. In fact, there was and is, no “Irish” people, so Ulster Scot comes closest to the truth.

One of the first "modern" records of this family was gathered and edited from the best available "old" manuscripts  by Bishop Alex P. Forbes,D.C.L. The lives of Saint Minian and Saint Kentigern published in volume five of The Historians of Scotland in 1874. Saint Kentigern was the first Bishop (sixth or seventh century) and then patron saint of Glasgow, Scotland. It was said that Glasgow Cathedral was built close to the place where he had been interred. Saint Kentigern's mother was Thaney, daughter of King Leudonus and his father was the son of King Ulien (or Eugenius or Ewen or Ewing, all of which have been used interchangeable) of the Strathclyde kingdom.

DNA testing has brought into question the statements that we are purely of "lowland stock," but it is certain that we trace our descent back to Glasgow and to the Highland/Lowland border region east and west of Loch Lomond, including Stirlingshire and Dunbartonshire. John, James, Thomas, William, all our family names, coming down from hundreds of years ago, are the Christian names of the Lowlands borne by Ewings; while at the same periods others bearing similar              
names were in the border Highlands. Hence, the tradition of our Lowland origin is historically sustained.

Another important fact of history that we may consider in this connection is that the Ewings of Scotland were of the Covenanter faith. From that source our family during its earlier days in America got its Presbyterian proclivities. It is quite probable that most Ewings of our branches are Presbyterians yet; though many in later years very devoutly have become identified with other churches. As far as I have been able to discover, from the very earliest days of the "Solemn League and Covenant for the Defense and Reform of Religion" against popery and prelacy, in the midst of its great fight from 1638 to 1643, our people gave it support without stint, and now and then at the price of life. Earlier they were what would now be called Protestants; and, true to the family traditions, those near Londonderry at the time of its heroic and epochal defense, joined the fighting Protestant ranks or otherwise supported the Protestant movement. Some recent English writers say:

"It is a significant fact that this Strathclyde region was the stronghold, or, as it might be otherwise put, the hotbed, of the Covenantry movement. This Strathclyde region is even now (1907) the greatest stronghold of dissent (against the established and the Roman Catholic Churches). Proportionately to its inhabitants dissent is a good deal more powerfully represented in Glasgow than in the eastern capital" (Edinburgh)."

It is true that some of the Ewings adhered, with disastrous results, to the cause of Prince Charles Edward Stuart which terminated at fatal Culloden April 27, 1746. That Charles, we know, was a Catholic; but he was a Scotchman and, from the Scotch standpoint, the rightful heir to the throne. The comparatively few Ewings who did join his standard, like heroic Flora McDonald, who aided him to escape, finally landing her in London Tower, and thence by happy fate an exile to America, were actuated rather by motives of patriotism than by sentiments of religion. But our direct ancestors, as we have said, then had long been out of Scotland.

For one or more generations these branches of our forefathers sojourned in the Province of Ulster, which comprises the northern part and about one-third of Ireland. Most of the ancestors of the Virginia and Maryland families were born in or near Londonderry, the capital of County Londonderry, Ulster, Ireland. Others were born in Coleraine, or near there, the important seaport of Londonderry County; and yet others were born elsewhere in Ulster. Perhaps a few of our family ancestors were born in Scotland and came to America by way of Ireland. As are other Scotch whose ancestral footprints lead through Ireland, those of our ancestors who descended from the Ireland sojourners are known as Scotch-Irish, though as a rule there was none of the old Irish stock in their veins.

The story of the Scots settlement in Ulster is interesting and indispensable to an understanding of the history of those days, but the story is too long for these pages. We here but can observe that the conflict in Ireland for both civil and religious supremacy plunged from one phase to another until the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603. To no phase of the struggle is more to be attributed than to the galling grapple between Protestantism and Romanism. That year James I, already king of Scotland and James VI, ascended the English throne as the common ruler of the two countries. As James was Catholic in sympathy, the Irish Catholics took heart and defied the laws forbidding worship after their customs. But Parliament in 1605 renewed a law known as the act of supremacy, and also the law requiring attendance on the Protestant church. Naturally the troubles increased. Intrigue and disloyalty to the king and to the English government spread. In 1605 two earls of Ulster, who claimed title to the lands under the English law, were detected in plots which James regarded as seditious. They escaped to France. James at once took advantage of this to declare the Ulster lands escheated to the crown. The people by thousands were ejected from these lands and in most cases forced to flee to the mountains. Many wandered "gypsie-fashion" among the inhospitable hills; and such as could fled the island.

Fire, sword, starvation, "with a ferocity which surpassed that of Alva in the Netherlands, and has seldom been exceeded in the pages of history," were all used to exterminate the Irish. "Not only the men," adds Lecky, "but even the women and children who fell into the hands of the English, were deliberately and systematically butchered." (1 History of Ireland, 5; 1 Hanna, The Scotch-Irish, 485; and other standard authorities. Read the full story as Lecky gives it.)

The bodies of the dead people "lay all over the country unburied," elucidates Woodburn (The Ulster Scot, 487), following the original authorities. The awful story, surpassed only by that written in blood by the Germans in the great war which William kindled in 1914, is not only history, but it serves to make us prouder of our Cymric Scotch.

Scotch and English Protestants were induced to accept the escheated lands. Large numbers came. Those of them who could bring others as tenants and make extensive improvements were known as "undertakers," because they undertook specific duties. A few of the Irish remained as tenants, but from that event, known as the "Ulster Plantation," Ulster became and remains largely Protestant. The Scotch "undertakers" and their tenants from Scotland greatly outnumbered the English. Hannah says that from 1606 to 1618 between thirty thousand and forty thousand emigrants went from Scotland to Ulster. (1 The Scotch Irish, 504). Those Scotch emigrants were of the best blood, descendants of the original Celtic Lowlanders and border Highlanders,--generally Celt interbred with Saxon. They are sometimes maligned by early writers; but the available evidence establishes the fact that they were the best people of that day, alert, virile, brave, aggressive, industrious, shrewd, intellectual, and generally of the Covenanter Presbyterian faith; and measured by the standards of that day, sanely and cleanly religious. Those colonists did "not leave Scotland until after two of its famous covenants [for the perpetuation of Protestant religion] had been signed" (C. S. Lobinger, The People's Law, 62). If not in all cases signers of those covenants or oaths to aid in perpetuating the Protestant faith as they held it, they were in full sympathy with the purposes of those obligations, and supported the doctrines they embodied. Macaulay, in his History of England, says those colonists, soon augmented many times, "were proud of their Saxon blood and of their Protestant faith." Among the first of those emigrants were many whose names their descendants made famous later in America.

Some Ewings, claiming descent from our Scotch clan, were there before the plantation movement began. Papers in the court house in Lifford, the assize town of Donegal County, show that in 1603 a license was issued to David Ewing of Cavan, authorizing him to plant trees, as elsewhere is seen. Aside from its interest genealogically, this suggests a curious condition of governmental supervision.

The new comers built towns, one of the earliest being Londonderry, destined to become famous, and another Coleraine, fostered industries, one of the most profitable of which was the growth of flax; and prosperity rapidly rewarded their labors.

Neither those Scotch nor their immediate descendants intermarried with the old Irish. However, upon what I regard as not satisfactory evidence, except as showing negligible instances, it is said that after a time the Scots "intermarried to some extent with the native Irish, who became Protestants" (Woodburn, The Ulster Scot, 26). As Woodburn points out, Geo. Chalmers (1 Caledonia, 358) followed by some others, insists that many of the Scotch who settled in Ireland during any of the plantation period were the descendants of the Scots who had emigrated to Argyllshire in the seventeen century. "But this cannot be proved," Woodburn correctly says; and the best evidence indicates that the Ulster Scotch blood was mainly Anglo-Briton from the northern regions of old Strathclyde, as were the Ulster Ewings from whom we descend. In a somewhat compromise spirit Woodburn says that the conclusion is a safe one that the Ulster Scotch "must have had at least as much Celtic blood as Teutonic" (The Ulster Scot, 25); but, whatever the degree, the Celt in the Ulster Scot was of the Briton Lowlands and not the Scots or Gaelic of the Highlands. Religious beliefs, racial traits, and, above all, the fact that the Irish had been evicted from their lands (unjustly as measured by the higher standards of our day) kept the tow races apart. Very soon, to distinguish them from other Scotch in Scotland, they were called Scotch-Irish, there in Ireland, meaning a Scotchman living in Ireland. The designation to this day follows their descendants, and now generally means those who are descendants of those early Lowland Scotch who settled in Ulster along with the other Protestants who were turned toward Ireland by King James' "plantation" offer. As suggested by the late Whitelaw Reid, the term Ulster Scot would be less misleading and more descriptive. However, "They are 'Scotch-Irish,' i.e., Scotch people living upon or born upon Irish soil, but not mixed with the native people. Their ancestors, many of who came to Ireland nearly two hundred and fifty years ago, were Scotch. They came in a body, they kept in a body, and they remain in a body, or a class by themselves, largely, to this day. . . . They stuck together and kept aloof from the native Celtic Irish. They were surrounded by the sharp dividing lines of religious faith and by keen differences of race" (L. A. Morrison, A. M., Among the Scotch-Irish, 38).

King James of England was anxious for large settlements of English and Scots in Ireland.  The latter came to Ulster for new land, but also for religious liberty, attracted by the tolerant attitude maintained there by the bishops.   The easy cooperation of the bishops in Ulster changed after 1625, and the ministers preached under increasing restrictions.   Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, was appointed to the Irish vice-royalty and arrived in Dublin in 1633.  He and his government began a reign of terror for Roman Catholics and Presbyterians alike.     The crowning blow to Ulster came in 1639 when the "Black Oath" was imposed, were people were forced to swear on their knees to obey the King's commands to renounce the Covenant.  Great numbers who could re-establish themselves in Scotland returned there.   This persecution and departure of many Scots from Ulster saved hundreds of lives during the rebellion which broke out in 1641.    Following the rebellion, after 1652, the Presbyterians came from Scotland to Ulster in great numbers, owing to the unsettled conditions while Cromwell was attacking the Scottish Royalist.  

A portion of the clan emigrated to Northern Ireland in the vicinity of Londonderry and there were in service to William of Orange, Prince of Holland, and then King of England against the former King James II of England. Then after withstanding the siege of Londonderry, in March of 1689 by the armed forces of the deposed King James II, one Ewing was knighted and another was presented with a silver hafted sword by King William III. The sword was brought to America by a Ewing grandson and was worn during the American Revolution. After this the sword was stolen and never recovered.

During the mid-1600's, there was great religious persecution of the Protestants in Scotland. According to the tradition of the Ewing clan, the Ewings of America trace their origin to six stalwart brothers* of a Highland clan, who, with their chieftain, engaged in insurrection in 1685, in which they were defeated, their chieftain captured and executed and themselves outlawed.  It is told that our Ewing ancestors first went from their seat on the River Forth to the Isle of Bute, in Scotland and then settled at or near Coleraine, County Londonderry, of Ulster, in Northern Ireland. On July 12, 1690, members of the Ewing Clan took part in the Battle of the Boyne, fought on the river of that name in Eastern Ireland. In this battle, King James II was opposed by William of Orange who was fighting for the Irish Protestants. The result of this battle was the complete overthrow of James, thus forcing his abdication of the throne and establishing the rule of William and Mary. The anniversary of this battle is still celebrated by the Orangemen, or Irish Portestants.  We will learn more about the "six stalwart brothers," later.  

The Ewing Family


"We are descendant from an old and most honorable, and once powerful, Scottish clan.  Our forefathers were originally from Scotland, their seat in that country being on the River Forth, not far from Stirling Castle, in Dumbartonshire, near Glasgow."    I wish to thank Clan Ewing of America for assisting me in compiling this information!  

Introduction:   This attempts to explain the ancestors and relatives of our ELEANOR EWING PURDOM, wife of WILLIAM E. McCLURE.  Eleanor's parents were Margaret Purdonia EWING and Alexander E. PURDOM.   Margaret's parents were George EWING and Eleanor CALDWELL.      

However, we have two Ewing connections:    William McClure was the son of John McClure and Rebecca Ewing.    John & Rebecca Ewing McClure were Scots-Irish, as well, of course.     I have been unable, so far, to identify the parents of Rebecca Ewing.   However, you will find that the Ewing's intermarried frequently - cousins - of one degree or another - married cousins.  So while we cannot yet identify the parents of Rebecca Ewing McClure, it is my belief that Rebecca Ewing and Eleanor Ewing Purdom were probably related.   The Ewing's all traveled the same path... from Scotland, to Ulster-Ireland, to the United States.  Hopefully one day we will find Rebecca's parents, and be able to tie her story with the rest of the stories of our Ewing ancestors represented here.