Category Archives: McWhirter

McWhirter Family Timeline in America

Agnes McWhirter (1827-1898) was my 3x great-grandmother.  She was born in County Tyrone, Ireland and came to the US sometime in the 1840’s with her entire family.  She married my 3x great-grandfather Robert Clifford (also from Ireland) in Winooski, Vermont on 15 Sept 1847.

This is a chronological timeline for the core immigrant McWhirter family in America after arriving from Ireland.   This has been on my tree for years, but thought it should probably go up here also.  It’s helpful to know which family members were where and when.  I will add more to this, but it’s a good place to start.

Arrival in US per Eliza Jane McWhirter

Agnes in Colchester, Chittenden, Vermont

Arrival in US per Margaret McWhirter

Agnes in Burlington, Chittenden, Vermont
Margaret in Burlington, Chittenden, Vermont
Thomas in Ferrisburg, Addison, Vermont
Eliza Jane Baite (as “Sarah”) in Ferrisburg, Addison, Vermont
Thomas Jr. in Ferrisburg, Addison, Vermont
Samuel in Ferrisburg, Addison, Vermont
James in Ferrisburg, Addison, Vermont
Eliza Jane in Ferrisburg, Addison, Vermont
Margaret (as “Mary A.”) in Ferrisburg, Addison, Vermont
George in Ferrisburg, Addison, Vermont

Agnes in Rouses Point, Clinton, New York, per birth certificate of daughter Anna.

Agnes in Cornwall, Addison, Vermont

Samuel in Manchester, Hillsborough, New Hampshire

Agnes in Alburg, Grand Isle, Vermont
Thomas Sr. in Middlebury, Addison, Vermont
Eliza Jane Baite (as “Sarah”) in Middlebury, Addison, Vermont
James in Middlebury, Addison, Vermont
George in Middlebury, Addison, Vermont
Samuel in Middlebury, Addison, Vermont
Margaret (as “McCarter”) in Middlebury, Addison, Vermont

Samuel in Middlebury, Addison, Vermont
James in Middlebury, Addison, Vermont

Samuel in Brattleboro, Windham, Vermont
James in Brattleboro, Windham, Vermont

Thomas Jr. in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts

Margaret in Middlebury, Addison, Vermont

Thomas Sr. dies in Middlebury, Addison, Vermont
Samuel in Colchester, Chittenden, Vermont

Agnes in Alberg, Grand Isle, Vermont
James in Middlebury, Addison, Vermont
Thomas in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts

George in Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts

Agnes in Alburg, Grand Isle, Vermont
Samuel in Holland, Orleans, Vermont
Eliza Jane McWhirter in Middlebury, Addison, Vermont
Eliza Jane Baite (as “Sarah”) in Middlebury, Addison, Vermont

Samuel dies in Fitchburg, Worcester, Massachusetts
Thomas in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts

Thomas in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts

George in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts
Thomas dies in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts

Agnes in Colchester, Chittendon, Vermont
Eliza Jane McWhirter (as “Sarah”) in Salisbury, Addison, Vermont
Margaret in Winfield, Cowley, Kansas
George in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts

George dies in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts

Agnes in Winooski, Chittenden, Vermont

Eliza Jane in Salisbury, Addison, Vermont
Agnes dies in Winooski
Margaret in Rutland, Rutland, Vermont

Margaret in Rutland, Rutland, Vermont
Eliza Jane dies in Salisbury, Addison, Vermont

Margaret in Rutland, Rutland, Vermont

Margaret dies in Rutland, Rutland, Vermont

Clifford Family in Winooski, Vermont

I just noticed this today:

In 1900 Sarah Clifford and her sisters Margaret and Elizabeth all lived together in a house on River Street in Winooski/Colchester, Chittenden County, Vermont.  All three are working as weavers in the wool mills.

In 1910 Elizabeth and Sarah are still living there together at 93 River Street.  Sarah doesn’t seem to be working, but Elizabeth is listed as working in the wool mills as a weaver.  Margaret is living separately in Bridgewater, Windsor, VT and working as a weaver also.

In 1920 all three are living together again back at 93 River Street.  Sarah isn’t working, but Elizabeth and Margaret are still weavers.

Elizabeth died 6 February 1929 from a heart condition.

In 1930 Sarah and Margaret are living at 93 Water Street together.

Sarah died 18 March 1935 from a fractured femur.

Margaret is still living there in the 1940 Census, so she must have died sometime after that.  She was 74 in 1940.  Haven’t found a death cert yet.

As far as I know none of the three ever married or had any children.

Today I just noticed that the house they lived in is on the corner of River Street and Clifford Street.  It was called Clifford Street even in 1900, so I suspect it was the family home where they lived with their parents Robert Clifford and Agnes McWhirter.  The family moved there from Alburg, VT sometime around 1872.

93 River Street, Winooski, VT

I might just write to the current residents and request a photo.

Robert Clifford and Agnes McWhirter – Church Records

I’ve been trying to get my hands on church records for Agnes McWhirter and Robert Clifford. I started with Rev. Craig Smith from a church in Winooski I basically selected at random. He referred me to Anne Brown, the communication minister for the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont. I had written to her:

I’m researching my family history. My great-great-great-grandmother, Agnes (McWhirter) Clifford was a member of Trinity Church in Winooski. She lived in Winooski, Burlington and Colchester. Her obituary says “Mrs. Clifford was a member of Holy Trinity Church, being one of the organizers of the society”. Her funeral took place there about July 26, 1898 after her death in her home on Clifford Street in Winooski.

I’m really hoping that some church records might be available to tell me more about her and her husband Robert Clifford. They both immigrated here from Ireland, and without definite birth dates, or places, or names of parents it can be almost impossible to track their families across the ocean. Sometimes churches have little biographies or other information on members, especially founding members. I’m wondering if such a thing exists.

Ann wrote back to me to apologize for the delay in responding, then said:

I am not sure what church that might have been — there is no Holy Trinity now in Winooski. The only one we have is in Swanton, quite a ways north. I have forwarded your note to our diocesan historiographer, who may be of more help. Her name is Elizabeth Allison, email: She is in the office a couple of days a week, so you may not hear from her right away. Feel free to write back to me if you don’t hear anything from her in a week or so.

Elizabeth wrote back:

There was a mission in Winooski – Trinity, not Holy Trinity. The only Holy Trinity is Swanton. Off the top of my head, I don’t know what we have on Winooski but will check and try to provide an answer to the query.

Anne assures me that the records should be there in Elizabeth’s collection. We shall see!

Update: 29 Mar 2012

Heard back from Elizabeth. No good news:

Dear Charles,

Your request followed a circuitous route in getting to me as Historiographer of the Diocese.

Unfortunately, while Trinity Mission, Winooski was established in 1876, the pre 1899 records are limited to subscription lists for the building. I checked the 4 lists for 1875-1876 and found no references to McWhirter or Clifford families. I did scan the post 1899 records but found no references to either family there. The single history of the Mission published in the 1890 Convention Journal contains no mention of either family.

I am certain all of this is very disappointing to you and unfortunately, I have no idea where to direct you in your research to find any other records.


Elizabeth E. Allison, Registrar and Historiographer, Episcopal Diocese of Vermont

McWhirter Records

Jeannie Halversen has very generously shared with me several items from the McWhirter family including some Civil War records for brothers Samuel and James McWhirter (which include physical descriptions!), an obit for Agnes McCurn Spillings, an obit and some “realia” for Harry McWhirter Barrett (including some entertaining materials from his teaching days, and a newspaper article on his career as a leading educator).

All of this will be going up on the tree, or is already there.

McWhirter Gravestones

Jeannie Halversen sent along a few new McWhirter gravestones that she photographed in Mead Hill Cemetery, Holland, Orleans, Vermont.  I’ll be putting those on the tree tomorrow, most likely.

Samuel McWhirter (1836-1874)

his wife Almira Blake (1827-1871)

and David McWhirter, whose grave is located in Middlebury Cemetery, Middlebury, Addison, Vermont.

McWhirter Family – Margaret and Mary?

A response from Laurie Winter about whether or not Margaret and Mary McWhirter were two people or two names for one person (Feb 13, 2012):

“I’m looking at the 1850 census for Burlington where Margaret McWhirter (8 years old) is living with her sister Agnes in Burlington. Then there’s the 1850 census you found for Ferrisburg where “Mary A” (10 years old) is living with the rest of the family.  The Burlington census was 29 August.  The Ferrisburg census was 15 September.  The question is… are Mary and Margaret two sisters living separately?  Or are Mary and Margaret the same person and she moved back in with her folks after staying for a bit with her sister and got caught in two census reports?”
Yeah, I thought about this too.  There were a few things that made me think that they’re 2 separate people though. First Margaret goes by “Margaret” in each and every census I’ve pulled (including the Kansas state censes).  If she’d gone by Maggie, Margaret Mary, Margaret M, or Mary in any of the others I’d be more apt to believe they were the same individual.  Second, while these days the 15 miles between Ferrisburg and Burlington is a quick trip, it was anything but at that time unless you traveled by horse or horse & carriage.  It’s possible that Margaret was back with the family in Ferrisburg a mere 15 days after her headcount in the Burlington census, but it’s difficult to tell. The third has to do with naming patterns. Remember what I related about how the Irish name their children.  Well there are several Margaret and Mary J’s in the next generation, making me think that both existed as ‘aunts’ to their namesakes in the subsequent generation. What we really need is to find the parish that the family originated from in Tyrone IRE, find an immigration record for the family, or find an obit/probate record which lists all the siblings in the McWhirter family in order to clarify the question.

McWhirter Family – Irish Genealogy Website for County Tyrone

Message from James McKane of website:

Hi Charles -= maybe you could write up a history with details for a page in the Surnames section; then, maybe a series of obituary-style paragraphs for inclusion in the Born Co Tyrone – buried elsewhere pages.  Please take a look at those sections for ideas…………. or any other sections you think applicable.

We will welcome your input,
Jim McKane – – –

McWhirter Family – Margaret McWhirter and Archibald Stewart

Jeannie Halversen has sent me some information in a file format I can read into Family Tree Maker.

I’ve found more information on Margaret McWhirter and Archibald Stewart’s daughter Mary Jane and her descendants since I sent that. I’ll send that information to you when I get home.

I have yet to incorporate this into the main tree.

She also sent me several gravestones which she found in the Evergreen Cemetery in Rutland, Vermont:

  • Archibald Stewart
  • Gertrude Stewart
  • Lillian Stewart Pierce
  • Margaret Stewart Start