McArthur, Hugh

Birth Name McArthur, Hugh
Gender male
Age at Death less than about 101 years


Work on the McArthur family is incomplete. I started with the information collected by Donna Phillips and others on the descendants of Hugh McArthur, from the Island Register, as a guide, as well as related trees, such as the Ramsay and Ellis families, also on the Island Register. I have started to look at wills, land records, and other records.

I have looked at the following sources that cover early Island families:
* no McArthur wills in the book Early PEI Probate Records, 1786-1850 (a few McArthurs were owed or owed money in some estate files). First will found was for Alexander in Lot 14, signed in 1839, but not filed until 1870, and for Archibald in Lot 14.
* no marriage licenses in the License Cash Book 1787-1805, and a couple of marriages in a later license cash book starting in the 1820s. There were some church records - the Church of England in Charlottetown (about 1790 - ) and St. Eleanors (from 1821), and Presbyterian parish records from 1821.
* no McArthurs in a miscellaneous collection of marriage licenses at the Archives from about 1814-1819.
* there were only a handful of brief baptismal records before 1830.
* there were two Prince County McArthurs in the 1798 census, and two in the incomplete 1841 census.
* there are a few land transactions in the Land Conveyance records to 1872
* a few Prince County McArthurs show up in the "Century of Immigration Marriage and Death Records from Prince Edward Island Newspapers 1780-1900" by Leland Currie. Other newspaper sources searched were Daniel Johnson's New Brunswick Newspaper Vital Statistics, and Nova Scotia's Presbyterian Witness, and Evangelical Advocate Vital Statistics, 1848-1887.
* PEI Archives Master Name Index - small number of McArthur entries

I have also looked at secondary sources, like local histories. Generally by the third generation there are more primary sources of information for the McArthurs.

I'm not sure if I've attached the right sons, or all of the grandsons of Hugh to the right fathers, so be very careful in using this information. There might even be a missing generation! I haven't been able to verify much of this information, which was probably only held in family bibles, and the memories of old-timers interviewed several years ago. McArthur was not a common name in Prince County; based on the number of male McArthurs in the 1798 Census and in Prince County by the 1881 census, it is possible that most of these McArthurs descended from Hugh.

Hugh McArthur was said to have arrived on PEI on the Annabella in 1770, but as there are no contemporary passenger lists, he and his family could have been on one of the other vessels carrying Scottish settlers to the Island around that time. The Annabella left from Campbeltown or Kintyre in Argyll and Bute. A Cairn - installed at a much later date - has the name McArthur as being on the Annabella.

I've given an estimate for Hugh's date of birth based on his entry in the 1798 Census. There was only one Hugh, baptized in Killadoon, Argyl, in 1735, the son of Gilbert. in Scotland Births and Baptisms - however, not every parish record has survived, and not all children were baptized. No likely marriage record was found for Hugh, either, although undocumented family trees give a few possible names. Hugh may have had more than one wife, and was probably married before he left Scotland - son Alexander was supposed to have been born in Scotland, but nothing near these names was found in old parish records on the Scotland's People website.

Hugh was definitely on the Island by 1775, the date of a land conveyance record in Princetown for a Hugh Mcarthur from Phillips Callbeck on 19 September 1775. He had to have been at least 21 to sign such a document, and might have been 10-15 years older than that.

On January 20 1789, Hugh McCarther, Yeoman, signed a lease with the landlord Stephen Sullivan for 100 acres in Lot 16 near the western banks of Richmond Bay. Hugh signed with an X. This could have been the first Hugh, or even one of his sons (but only if the son had been born before 1770 in Scotland). I can't find a McArthur in Lot 16 on Richmond Bay, on an older map dated around 1851.

It is assumed that he is the Hugh McCarter in the 1798 census of PEI in Lot 16, with 2 boys under 16, and 5 males between 16-60, and two women between 16-60, so Hugh was born after 1738. The only other McArthur/McCarter in Prince County was Alex, in nearby Lot 14 who was probably his son. Alex's household consisted of 3 boys under 16, one male between 16-60, 1 girl under 16 and one woman between 16-60.

With such a census, it is hard to know for certain if this was one family in Lot 16, or if Hugh was living with a married son, or even if he was married or a widower.

Local histories and family trees will sometimes have the name of Hugh's wife, but these are guesses with no records to back them up (a Flora Gillis, born 1740 on Prince Edward Island seems problematic). However, there seems to be agreement that Hugh's sons were Alexander (1765), Hugh (1779), William John (? 1780), James (1781), Malcolm (1783), Neil (1785), and Gilbert (1788). William John is the only child who left no records. The gap between Alexander and Hugh might mean that some of the estimated dates are wrong, or there were additional children, or that Hugh had a second wife by 1779.

Put against the 1798 census, and based on other records and family trees, Hugh, James , Malcolm, and Neil could be the 4 sons between 16-60, leaving Gilbert and the mysterious William John in the under 16 category. The two women in the household could have been Hugh's wife and a daughter, or daughter-in-law.

The McArthurs were not on a sketch of Lot 13 made in 1793, but a map dated 1808 has Neil and Hugh McArthur in Lot 13. A undated rent roll for Lot 13 has Malcolm McArthur (settled 1811), Neil (settled 1805), Hugh (settled 1813) and Dugald McArthur (settled 1800). A later rent roll, dated about 1824, has the following McArthurs: Nil (Neil) (1822), Malcolm (182?), Gilbert (182?), and Neil (1824); there was a note that Gilbert planned to leave the Lot in 1824, and that Malcolm would be evicted. Neil McArthur , the agent noted, wanted his second property for his son. In 1840, Seymour, the landlord of Lot 13, visited the Island, and mentioned an older tenant, and two of his sons, a teacher and John McArthur. Since Malcolm and Gilbert had left Lot 13, and there was no further mention of Dugald, this must have been Neil. An 1846 list has Widow of Hugh (70 acres), Widow McArthur (42 acres), Robert McArthur (42), and Hugh McArthur (68).

Alexander McArthur signed a lease in 1805 in Lot 14, and Hugh McArthur and Dougald were engaged in land transactions in Lot 14 in 1815. Archibald McArthur was on a map of Lot 14 dated 1851.

A map of the Sullivan estate, Lot 16, show two properties under the name Hugh McArthur, and one under Gilbert. In the mid 1820s, Gilbert McArthur (1824-1828), Hugh McArthur (1823-1828) and James McArthur were paid for work, on the estate of Daniel Campbell, Lot 16.

There were only two McArthurs, James and Malcolm, in Lot 12 Prince County, in the incomplete 1841 PEI census. The only lots covered by this census in this area were Lots 7-10, 12, 19, 21-23. The 1848 census is also not available for Prince County.

There were entries in the 1861 census for some of these McArthurs, with the exception of Malcolm. There might have been an entry for a Mrs. McArthur, and what looks like "Mrs. M. McArthur" on the Lakes map of 1862/63, but it would be difficult to say for sure if this was Malcolm's widow and family, or possibly a Wm. McArthur.

With at least 7, and possibly 8, boys in Hugh's family,and the boys in Alex's family in 1798, it seems likely that almost all of the mainly Protestant McArthurs in the Prince County 1861 census were related. Certainly, there are many similarities in the names they gave to their children.

The son that I have the most issues with is "William John" - he left no trace, at all - except that some of the McArthur descendants named a son William or John, but not Hugh. For some reason, the names Hugh and Malcolm became less common in this family.

Based on Scottish naming patterns, Hugh Jr. should be the 3rd son, and Hugh Sr.'s father might have been Alexander.

Note that only one McArthur is mentioned in the book Lot 16 United Church and its People, which covered many of the Presbyterian families that settled in that Lot. This makes me wonder if most of the McArthurs didn't stay in Lot 16.


Name: McArthur - family name on the Annabella
Arrival Year: 1770
Arrival Place: Prince Edward Island
Annotation: Taken from "The Commissioners' Reports, Boston Records, vol. 29, Doc. 100, in the Massachusetts Historical Association, Boston, Mass., U.S.A." Contains short lists from eight voyages. Page 15 records some names of passengers, 1770-1774, to Island of St. J
Source Bibliography: "VARIOUS SAILINGS FROM SCOTLAND to Boston between 1716 and 1766." In The Scottish Genealogist, vol. 7:4 (Oct. 1960), pp. 14-15.
Page: 15









Event Date Place Description Sources
Birth about 1740 Scotland 1798 census; under 60, but with sons in the over 16 category  
Death before 1841 Lot 16, Prince County, Prince Edward Island, Canada based on age; not in the 1841 census; assume he died in Lot 16  


Family of McArthur, Hugh and Unknown

Married Wife Unknown ( * + ... )
Name Birth Date Death Date
McArthur, William John
McArthur, Dugald
McArthur, Alexander - Lot 14about 1765before 1851
McArthur, Malcolm - Lot 12about 1772before 1861
McArthur, Hugh - Lot 16about 1774before 1861
McArthur, Neil - Lot 13about 1776before 1846
McArthur, Gilbert - Lot 13about 1788before 1861