Sunday, June 1, 2014

Jesse McPherson – Preacher, Doctor and Veteran (52 Ancestors #21)

Jesse McPherson > William Alexander McPherson > Elizabeth Rebecca McPherson > Amy Phares > Cecil Lloyd Walters > Charles Lloyd Walters

I haven’t been able to find out much about the origins of Jesse C McPherson. Based on census records, he was born between 1780 and 1790. He married Jennie Atkinson in Roane, Tennessee on August 1, 1808. Jennie probably died before 1822 when Jesse married Barbara (Ely) Dougherty, also in Roane, TN. (Barbara and her first husband, Joseph Dougherty were divorced, a rarity for the day).

The 1830 census lists Jesse in Lee County, Virginia. The household includes 11 children and was probably a combined family which would have included children from the union of Jesse and Barbara as well as from both of their first marriages.

Jesse was a Methodist circuit rider preacher as well as a doctor. He served in the War of 1812 and participated in the Battle of New Orleans.

In 1837, Jesse sold 117 acres of his land in Lee County. It is assumed this was around the time he and his family moved to DeWitt County, Illinois. While in DeWitt, Jesse became the first treasurer of the county, however he only held the position for a short time as there was only $25 in the treasury. Jesse also served as Justice of the Peace for the precinct of Mt. Pleasant (present day Farmer City).

It is believed the family is of Scotch and Irish descent and they left the South because of their opposition to slavery. According to family history, Jesse is buried in the “Old Mills Cemetery” located to the west of Clinton and is possibly the same as the Mills/Cackley-Hickman Cemetery although there doesn’t appear to be an existing marker for Jesse.

Sources: Robert Phares, Patriarch by William Marshall Phares; Ely Family from; Marriage and census records from

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