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McDowell from Raloo, Co. Antrim to South Carolina USA

I'm looking for information on my 3rd ggparents Hugh McDowell (b. abt 1787, Raloo, Antrim; d 1829 Chester Co., South Carolina); married Jane ? around 1805 (first known child b. 1806).

Hugh came to Charleston, South Carolina from Belfast on the ship Prince Leopold, arriving Nov 1820, with sons John (age 14), Thomas (age 7) and daughters Mary (age 5) and Ann (age 3). It appears wife Jane did not travel with the family, possibly because she was about to have, or had just had, another son, William. 

When Hugh made a request in 1828 in South Carolina for citizenship "for himself and his family" he listed Elizabeth McDowell, age 44, my son Thomas, 16, Mary 14, and Ann 11. (Son John was of age, so he had to request for himself.)

Elizabeth McDowell in Hugh's citizenship application may have been the Elizabeth Brown whose name was on the Prince Leopold manifest immediately following the names of Hugh and his children, or it may have been that Jane's full name was Elizabeth Jane. 

Hugh McDowell died about September 1829, as did his eldest son John. Their estates were probated together. Hugh was a shoemaker, almost certainly Presbyterian, and educated to read, write, & cipher enough to keep his accounts. The administrator of Hugh's estate paid -- on the authority of daughters Ann and Mary -- expenses to bring "their mother and brother" from Ireland.

My questions are many: (1) What was Jane's maiden name? (2) Who were Hugh & Jane's parents? (3) Where were Jane & son Wiliam living between the family's departure in 1820 & her arrival in South Carolina about 1836? Would they have remained with other family? Would they have stayed on where they were living in 1820? 

Any help, insights, and/or information greatly appreciated.


Seeking McDowell

Tuesday 10th September 2019, 09:48PM

Message Board Replies

  • You may struggle to find any documentary records for this family. Raloo Presbyterian church has no records before 1842 and the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian church has none before 1859. If the family was Church of Ireland then their early records were lost in the 1922 fire in Dublin.

    Griffiths Valuation for Raloo, compiled in 1861 has about 35 McDowell households listed in Raloo.

    In the tithe applotment records for 1830 there were 19 McDowell farms. The name is spelled Medole there, which reflects the local pronunciation of the name in Ireland. (It is still pronounced that way here today).

    The tithes only listed folk with land ie mainly farmers. Labourers, shoemakers and others without land would not normally be listed there. All the tithes really do is tell you where there were farmers of that name in Raloo in 1830.


    Wednesday 11th September 2019, 05:27AM
  • Thank you, Elwyn. I'm not surprised by the lack of records. I traveled to the area a couple of times, visited PRONI, the Old Kilwaughter Graveyard (where I found possible ancestors - another Hugh McDowell b. 1690; d 1786 & his wife Janet 1698-1778) & learned the proper pronunciation by asking about McDowell and in return being asked "How do you spell it?" ... "Oh, you mean Madole!"  ;-D

    I'll check the tithe applotments again to see if anything rings a bell. 

    Thanks for your reply.




    Seeking McDowell

    Wednesday 11th September 2019, 04:11PM


    Re the pronounciation, in Scotland (where your ancestors almost certainly originated) the name is pronounced Mac-Dow-ell today, but here in Ireland it's Medole/Madole (and sometimes spelled like that too).  There are plenty of other Scottish names where that has happened, so it wasn't unusual. The name McKenzie in Scotland is McKinney here. However apparently McKinney is the closest to how it was originally pronounced. Different spelling systems in Scotland has led to the pronounciation changing there, but not here. (There's no Y in gaelic and scholars used Z instead.It was supposed to be pronounced as Y but obviously that didn't happen).



    Wednesday 11th September 2019, 05:26PM