I wrote this blog entry ten days early and am updating it today. Tomorrow the prompt for 52 Ancestors, Week 22 will be Conflict. I am interpreting this week’s prompt to mean conflicting records, conflicting family trees, etc. In this case it was partly engendered by the family passing the name James onto not only one of his sons but also numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren of my immigrant ancestor James McTeer (Mateer) from Kilkeel, Down, N. Ireland. Also, I must add that hundreds of people repeating and sharing incorrect information in their family trees and elsewhere on the Internet has also contributed to the confusion regarding my direct line. I have endeavored, using various records and DNA, to attempt to resolve the conflicting information and present my conclusions.
After getting the actual prompt this past Tuesday, it’s supposed to be directly related to a conflict as in a military conflict, but it still is applicable for my James McTeer (Mateer) and his sons service during the French and Indian War. I have included information about their military service further down.
But firstly, I wanted to share some biographical information regarding my immigrant ancestor James McTeer (Mateer) to set the foundation for the sharing of the details of my research into identifying and placing correctly his descendants named James, especially my direct line, and the outcome of my labors.
My ancestor James McTeer was born about 1697 in Kilkeel, County Down, Ireland (now N. Ireland).
A bit about Kilkeel:
Kilkeel, Irish Cill Chaoil, it is a fishing port and seaside resort in southeastern Northern Ireland. It lies at the mouth of the River Kilkeel at the foot of the Mourne Mountains. (1) It is the southernmost town in Northern Ireland. Kilkeel town is the main fishing port on the County Down coast, and its harbor is home to the largest fishing fleet in Northern Ireland. It had a population of 6,541 people at the 2011 Census. The town contains the ruins of a 14th-century church and fort, winding streets and terraced shops. (2, 3, 4, & 5)
Sometime about 1730 James McTeer left Northern Ireland with a wife and family. On shipboard his children fell ill and died one by one, then his wife succumbed to illness as well; so, the grief-stricken young man arrived alone in Pennsylvania. This same traditional story has been handed down from generation to generation in both Tennessee and Ohio. Though the story is essentially the same in both branches, the number, sex, and names of the children vary, and no one has presumed to suggest a name or identity for this first wife. (8 & 9)
The first record of James McTeer was his application for a grant of land in 1747 in what was then known as Lancaster County, “West Side, Beyond the River Susquehanna” which eventually became Cumberland County, Pennsylvania in 1750. In 1736, the Penn family had signed a treaty with the Indians to open up the land on the west side of the river. The connection of the McTeers with the founding of the early Presbyterian Congregation of Silver Springs in 1736 indicates that they were residents of this area in the early 1730’s. (6 & 9)
Once settled in British Colonial America, he married second to Margaret Anderson about 1731 in Allen, Cumberland, Pennsylvania. It is believed he married third to Molly Sharon.
At least three generations of McTeers were elders in the Silver Spring Presbyterian Church in Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. The church was founded in 1736. James McTeer was one of a group of forty-two members who, in the early years of the church signed notes to cover past church indebtedness and to guarantee the salary of the pastor.
History of Silver Spring Presbyterian Church:
Scots-Irish settlers who traveled west across the Susquehanna River in search of new beginnings can be credited for establishing the Silver Spring Presbyterian Church, located at 444 Silver Spring Road. Attracted by the region’s fertile soil and natural beauty, they made the decision to put down roots.
According to church records, the settlers, who embraced Presbyterianism, held their first worship meeting in 1732. Two years later, Alexander Craighead was appointed to preach to the people “over the river,” and by 1735, the first “Meiting House” was constructed on the land near the spring. It was described as a “small log building, roughly built, with split-log floors and seats, and few, if any, windows.”
By 1757, the area was officially organized and became known as Silver Spring Township. James Silver’s spring is still accessible from the north side of today’s “Meiting House,” where water is routinely used for baptisms.
In 1782, the Rev. Samuel Waugh was named the first American-born pastor to be licensed by the Donegal Presbytery. He lived with his wife, Eliza Hoge, daughter of David Hoge, one of Silver Spring Township’s founding trustees, in a small limestone house adjacent to the church property, which is now being used by the church as a retreat center. Waugh, educated at Princeton, served the church for 25 years until he died at the age of 58. (7)
Soon after completing his title to the property with a patent dated 11 Nov.1760, James McTeer built a store house near a large flowing spring, probably at about the point where Lisburn Road crosses Cedar Run. A Cumberland County map of the 1860s shows at that time seven houses on what had been the original McTeer land grant. (8 & 9)
Records of the Pennsylvania Direct Tax of 1798 for Allen Twp., Cumberland County, list James McTeer’s original house then owned and occupied by his son Samuel McTeer, as a stone dwelling, 16 by 22 feet, one story with four windows containing 48 lights (panes of glass); the accompanying kitchen was shown as an outbuilding 16 by 12 feet with two windows containing 12 lights; and the whole property including two acres of land was valued at $600.
When Major Will A. McTeer of Maryville, Tenn., visited the locality a century later this house was still standing and still owned by a McTeer descendant, Mrs. Ellen Saxton. The Major wrote his impressions in a letter from Mechanicsburg, dated 30 July 1898; “We got here last night. A beautiful town of five thousand inhabitants, nestled down in the richest and loveliest little valley I have ever seen. I am just now back from a visit to the old homestead of my great, great grandfather, four miles out. The main part of the old stone house is still standing but very old and dilapidated. The old farm is of the very best. A barn as big as Texas … filled … with oats by the six-horse load. I drank from the old spring that slaked the thirst of my ancestors.”
But only a few weeks after this encounter the old place was torn down; so, a neighboring farmer could use the stones for the foundation of a milk station. In Mrs. Saxton’s words, “It was hard for me to make up my mind to it but thought it best to lay sentiment aside as it was getting unsightly and useless and possibly dangerous.” (8 & 9)
James McTeer was elected a captain (during the French and Indian War) in the Cumberland County, Pennsylvania Associators, 10,000 volunteer militiamen formed into 120 companies throughout Pennsylvania and commissioned by the governor. They were called Associated Regiments and they continued for the next 30 years until the Revolutionary War. His son, John, also raised a company of Associators in the Silver Springs community and was elected captain and served in the Revolutionary War. In fact, five of James Mateer’s sons and three of his son-in-laws served with the Pennsylvania troops at various times during the war. (6)
Out of his 400 acres James McTeer provided a farm for each of his four sons who remained in Allen Township. On 8 Dec 1770 “for love and affection” he deeded 100 acres to his son John; on 21 December 1770 he made a similar conveyance to his son William: and by his will he also gave land to sons James and Samuel. Son Robert moved to Fermanagh Township, Cumberland County, soon after his marriage and had already gone on to Tennessee before his father’s death. Since he received in the will only a token legacy, it is clear that Robert had in some way received his share at an earlier date, but the nature of that inheritance is now past recovery. (8 & 9)
His will was probated March 16, 1785, and Samuel McTeer was the executor. He died in his 89th year making the date of his birth about 1697.
Known children of James McTeer and Margaret Anderson:
- James McTeer (Mateer) born 6 April 1732 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, and died 12 October 1803 in Allen, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. He married Elizabeth Donaldson (also listed as Denelson/Donelson) who was the daughter of Jacob Donaldson.
- Elizabeth McTeer (Mateer) born 9 April 1734 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, and died 18 May 1805. She married William Boyd.
- Capt. John McTeer (Mateer) born 30 April 1736 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, and died 10 April 1790. He married Mary Huston.
- William McTeer (Mateer) born 2 December 1738 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, and died August 1819 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. He married Margaret Carothers.
- Robert Montgomery McTeer (Mateer) born 25 January 1740 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, and died 6 April 1824 in Blount, Tennessee. He married Agnes Ann Martin.
Some list him as marrying third to Molly Sharon. There were Sharon families in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania that were also from Ulster, Ireland (now N. Ireland). The following children are variously listed as children with his second wife and also sometimes as with his third wife:
- Alice (Elsie) McTeer (Mateer) born 17 March 1746 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, and died in 1804. She married John Carruthers/Carothers.
- Sarah McTeer born 19 April 1749 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, and died before 1810 in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania. She married John Pauley.
- Samuel Mateer (McTeer) born 12 April 1752 in Allen Township, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, and died September 1800 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. He married Rosannah Quigley.
The next generation or two down, there is great confusion online regarding my James Mateer (McTeer) who married Elizabeth Nelson, and his parentage. Hundreds of people have copied incorrect information and parentage for him. Below I discuss the sons of James McTeer (Mateer) and his grandchildren named James and how my ancestor fits and doesn’t fit with each.
My James Mateer (McTeer) was not the son of William Mateer (McTeer). Many list him as the son of Willliam Mateer and Dorcas McClure. There was a Dorcas McClure McTeer (Minteer) that is in probate records, witnessing wills in Harrison County, Kentucky, and would be attached to the McTeer lines that migrated to Kentucky. This is not the same Dorcas Mateer that is listed as a witness in some wills in Pennsylvania. Some list William Mateer as marrying both Margaret Carruthers and Dorcas McClure. There is a Dorcas McClure McTeer found in probate records in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, but they don’t match the death date for the William McTeer that married Margaret Carruthers. There were McClure families in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, and this same Dorcas is listed in the will of a Joseph McClure. I have not attempted to work out the relationship of these two women named Dorcas McClure who married into the same McTeer (Mateer) family. There appears to also be a Dorcas Mateer (McTeer) who never married that is found in the Pennsylvania records and is sometimes confused with the women named Dorcas McClure Mateer (McTeer).
I have zero direct DNA connections to this McClure family of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. I have three DNA matches that are descendants of the McClure family of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, one is a confirmed maternal Palmer related match, the second is related to me on my paternal Doughty or related lines, the third only matches to me and our connection is unknown. My sister has two DNA matches to descendants of this McClure family of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, she shares the same Palmer related match with me, and the second one is only a match to her but appears to have a maternal Prindle/Greatsinger connection and as a side note, my sister’s second match is my distant paternal Doty/Doughty cousin! My niece has zero DNA matches to descendants of this same McClure family. My Kennedy 2nd cousin has two DNA matches to this McClure family and both are non-related Johnson connection matches.
I do have some distant DNA connections to the Carothers family, but there were a few intermarriages with the same McTeer and Carothers families.
William McTeer and Margaret Carothers did have a son named James Mateer (McTeer) who was born 1 November 1765 in Pennsylvania, and died 23 May 1832 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. This James McTeer (Mateer) married Elizabeth Ross, the daughter of William Ross and Jean Nisbet. I do have distant DNA connections to the children of James Mateer (McTeer) and Elizabeth Ross.
My James Mateer (McTeer) also was not the son of Capt. John McTeer (Mateer) who married Mary Huston. This couple also did have a son named James! This James McTeer was called James “of Liburn” McTeer and was born about 1760 in Pennsylvania, and died 3 November 1817 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. I have found no marriage records for him. I do have some distant DNA matches to the descendants of the other children of John McTeer and Mary Huston.
My James Mateer (McTeer) also was not the son of Robert Montgomery McTeer who married Agnes Ann Martin and migrated to Blount, Tennessee. But of course, this couple also had a son named James! This James McTeer was born about 1763 in Pennsylvania, and died 26 September 1825 in Blount County, Tennessee, he married Martha Ferguson. I do have distant DNA matches to the descendants of Robert Montgomery McTeer and Agnes Ann Martin.
My James Mateer (McTeer) was also not a son of Samuel Mateer (McTeer) and Rosannah Quigley. Firstly, Samuel Mateer (McTeer) was only a few years younger than my James Mateer (McTeer). Of course, once again this couple did have a son named James! This James Mateer was born about 1780 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, and died 25 October 1856 near Georgetown, Fairfax, Virginia. He married Eliza Ann Tynan. I do have distant DNA matches to the descendants of Samuel Mateer (McTeer) and Rosannah Quigley.
The only son left is James McTeer. Once again there is great confusion as to the name of the spouse of this James McTeer who was the son of James McTeer (Mateer) and Margaret Anderson. He did marry a woman named Elizabeth, that is not contested, they share a cemetery headstone. Her name is listed as Elizabeth D. Mateer, the D. stood for her maiden name which was Donaldson (also listed as Denelson/Donelson). This is confirmed by research done by many prior to the invention of the Internet. But this fact has been largely ignored. Instead, people try to marry him to his future daughter-in-law Elizabeth Nelson! Some changing it to DeNelson (with no documentation to back up a DeNelson surname, just an attempt to explain the “D.” on her headstone).
Although hundreds of family trees on Ancestry.com, also the information on FindAGrave.com (and elsewhere all over the web) try to list Elizabeth Donaldson (Denelson/Donelson) Mateer as Elizabeth D. Nelson Mateer. It is very much a case of them trying to fit a square peg into a circle! Elizabeth Nelson and James Meteer/Mateer married 17 Feb 1780 in East Pennsboro, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. I have seen some change the year of their marriage to 1760 to try to force it all to fit incorrectly!
Elizabeth Donaldson was the daughter of Jacob Donaldson. My sister, my niece, my Kennedy 2nd Cousin, and I, all share DNA matches to descendants of Jacob Donaldson who was born in Ireland (now N. Ireland) and died in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.
There is a group of Pennsylvania Donaldson lines that appear to be connected and thought to be siblings (I do have DNA matches to the descendants of some of these lines).
- Jacob Donaldson of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, who married Janet (name also listed as Jennet). (My ancestors).
- Andrew Donaldson of Bedford County, Pennsylvania.
- James Donaldson of Pennsylvania.
- David Donaldson of Hopewell, Pennsylvania.
James McTeer, the son of James McTeer (Mateer) and Margaret Anderson, who married Elizabeth Donaldson and died 12 October 1803 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, did leave a will and in it is listed his son James McTeer (Mateer) – my ancestor.
My ancestor James McTeer (Mateer), the son of James McTeer and Elizabeth Donaldson, was born about 1757 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, and died in 1822 in Union Township, Mifflin County, Pennsylvania. As noted above, he married 17 February 1780 in East Pennsboro, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania to Elizabeth Nelson, the daughter of Robert Nelson.
The surname is found various ways in addition to McTeer, Meteer and Mateer, including Matier, Minteer, Matteer, Mintre, Minater, Mintier.
Below are the known proven children of James McTeer (Mateer) and Elizabeth Nelson:
- Robert Meteer (Mateer) born 25 Oct 1781 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. He died 6 Dec 1849 in Monday Creek, Perry County, Ohio. He married Esther Chambers on 11 Dec 1817 in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania. She was born 25 July 1790 in Centre County, Pennsylvania and died 16 July 1876 in Monday Creek, Perry County, Ohio. She was the daughter of Pvt. Elijah Chambers and Mary Linaberry (Lindaberry). They are my direct ancestors.
- William Mateer born about 1783 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, and died before 1870 in Clarion, Clarion, Pennsylvania. He married Eliza Eskill, and Martha Donnelly.
- Isabelle (Isabella) Meteer born 12 June 1784 in Pennsylvania, and died 25 October 1860 in Fairfield County, Ohio. She married Robert Work.
- Dorcas Mateer born about 1785 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, and died 1825 in Huntington County, Pennsylvania. It appears she never married.
- Jennet (Jennette) Mateer/Meteer born 1786 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania and died 1 January 1861 in Mahoning County, Ohio. She married William Steele. (She passed on the maiden name of her mother Nelson as a first name of her son).
- Joseph M. Mateer born 1789 in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, and died 11 January 1849 in Martinsburg, Blair, Pennsylvania. He married Mary Kline.
- James Nelson “J.N.” Meteer (Mateer) born 1791 in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, and died 14 September 1848 in Franklin County, Ohio, and married Parthena McMurtry Everett, the daughter of Abel Johnson Everitt and Bridget McMurty. They are actress Carole Lombard’s direct ancestors.
My sister, my niece, my Kennedy 2nd cousin, and I all have numerous DNA matches to the descendants of all the siblings listed above except Joseph M. Mateer. There is a strong kinship, not just because of DNA, but also other family connections, like Isabella Meteer, her husband Robert Work, and their children all came to Perry County, Ohio then migrated to neighboring Fairfield County, Ohio. They came to Ohio first, but her brother Robert Meteer and wife Esther Chambers and their children followed them to Perry County, Ohio. Also, her niece, a daughter of Robert Meteer and Esther Chambers, Dorcas Meteer, married James M. Work, the son of Aaron Work and Millicent Everett. James M. Work was a nephew to Robert Work who married Isabella Meteer. Dorcas Meteer Work lived near her Aunt Isabella Meteer Work in Fairfield County, Ohio.
The next generation down. Children of my direct ancestors Robert Meteer and Esther Chambers:
- Mary A. Meteer (Mateer) born 22 September 1819 in Pennsylvania, and died 4 April 1905 in Columbus, Franklin, Ohio. She married on 30 June 1840 in Perry County, Ohio to John Baird, as his second wife.
- Chambers Meteer born 26 November 1820 Centre County, Pennsylvania, and died 12 August 1823 in Centre County, Pennsylvania.
- Julia Ann Meteer (Mateer) born 25 September 1822 in Centre County, Pennsylvania, and died 4 March 1896 in Maxville, Perry County, Ohio of Paralysis. She married on 29 October 1840 in Perry County, Ohio to James Price, the son of John Price and Nancy Albert. (My great-great grandparent).
- Elizabeth Meteer born 24 December 1824 in Centre County, Pennsylvania, and died 3 October 1893 in Bremen, Fairfield County, Ohio. She never married.
- Jane Meteer born 10 February 1827 in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, and died 28 October 1890 in Bremen, Fairfield County, Ohio. She never married.
- Dorcas Meteer born 11 July 1833 in Monday Creek, Perry County, Ohio, and died 11 June 1895 in Fairfield County, Ohio. She married 26 October 1865 in either Perry or Fairfield Counties Ohio to James M. Work, as his second wife.
Actress Carole Lombard (born Jane Alice Peters) is a descendant of James Mateer and Elizabeth Nelson via their son James Nelson Meteer. My grandmother and Carole Lombard’s mother were direct 3rd Cousins. Please see my blog post: My Cousin Carole Lombard. Our shared Mateer/Meteer Ancestors for more information about her and her direct Meteer/Mateer family lines.
Is this my final word on my McTeer/Mateer lines? No, probably not! But it is the best hypothesis based on currently available records and DNA matches.
- Kilkeel, Down, Northern Ireland. Britannica.com
- “Kilkeel”. IreAtlas Townlands Database
- Kilkeel Harbour”. eOceanic.com
- “Census 2011 Population Statistics for Kilkeel Settlement”. Northern Ireland
- Kilkeel – Wikipedia.com
- James McTeer. Findagrave.com
- Silver Spring Presbyterian Church a new start for early settlers By Stephanie Kalina-Metzger, For The Sentinel. Nov 3, 2014 via Wayback Machine.
- James McTeer. smokykin.com
- McTeer – Mateer Families of Cumberland County Pennsylvania, Frances Davis McTeer, 1975, p. 7, 23-26.
If you use any information from my blog posts as a reference or source, please give credit and provide a link back to my work that you are referencing. Unless otherwise noted, my work is © Anna A. Kasper 2011-2022. All rights reserved. Thank you.