The Ancestry of Derek Doran Wood, So Far

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  • ID: I2758
  • Name: John McVickar
  • Given Name: John
  • Surname: McVickar 1
  • Sex: M
  • Birth: 26 May 1759 in Larne, Co. Antrim, Ireland
  • Death: 15 May 1812 in New York, New York
  • Burial: 1812 McVickar Family Vault, Trinity Church/New York, New York
  • Reference Number: 380
  • Immigration: 1786 New York, New York
  • _UID: 7037929F690B4228921587E4373AE23550ED
  • Change Date: 15 Aug 2008 at 16:28
  • Note:
    S.R. Durand:
    "In writing about the lives of John McVickar and Anne (Moore) McVickar I will quote... from the book 'The Old Merchants of New York City' [by Walter Barrett, 1863], and also from a book about their son entitled 'The Enterprising Life, John McVickar 1781-1868' by John Brett Longstaff, published in 1961. There are several other short accounts of John McVickar's life, such as in 'Prominent Families of New York,' and in 'In Old New York,' where it is stated that he did the largest mercantile business in New York in about 1800.
    ...It is likely that our family line of McVickars moved from western Scotland to Northern Ireland after William of Orange defeated James II of Scotland at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, but possibly they had settled there before this. However, large numbers of English and Scottish settlers were encouraged to establish themselves in the six northern counties of Ireland after 1690. These Ulster counties became largely Protestant after that time.
    It is almost impossible to trace ancestry in Ireland because most all church baptismal and marriage records were deposited in the Records Office in the Four Courts Buildings in Dublin prior to 1920. During the Civil War in Ireland, these buildings were burned down in 1922, and all old records destroyed. The only records that can be used now for tracing ancestry are land deeds that were kept in local record offices.
    My grandmother, Maria Elizabeth McVickar, received about $9600 as her share of money paid to clear title before the Woolworth Building was built on Broadway in New York. John McVickar's mansion had been on this property, and the title to the property had to be cleared a hundred years later because an alley to his coach house had never been conveyed in the title deeds. My grandmothers share was 46/525ths. Somewhat later, in 1916, she received another payment from settlement of a suit to clear title to property between 87th and 88th streets and Broadway and Amsterdam avenues in New York City. [He explains that that section had been sold and subsequently inherited by a French family, who had built rows of houses on the land, for which they collected rent. A suit had been brought against them by the 114 heirs of John McVickar in 1914, and they were compelled to make proportional payments to each to clear title, since the old public road through the estate had not been conveyed on the original deed from 1852. Maria E. (Durand) McVickar again received 46/525ths, which amouted to $2172.94. She later received smaller payments for similar title-clearing actions for an areas between 88th and 89th streets and on the former Silver Lake property on Staten Island. [The genealogy of the McVickar family prepared for these lawsuits gives all info that is included in this report on the generations prior to John McVickar, and of his siblings, unless otherwise noted.]
    One record in the family states that John McVickar, son of James, was born May 26, 1759 in Larne, County Antrim, Ireland. This is a seaport town on the coast, about thirty miles northeast of Belfast. The same record also states that his mother's name was Mary Moore.
    There is some question as to the exact year that John McVickar came to New York. One record states that he came at the age of 17, which would have been in 1776. This is likely, for his uncle, Archibald McVickar, died in 1779, and he very probably took over his uncle's exporting business. However, another record states that he did not come to New York until 1780. He married Anne Moore on May 20, 1781. John imbibed her loyalty to the established church of England, and interested himself in the beginnings of Episcopal parishes in New York. In addition to being a vestryman for many years of Trinity Church, he was one of the founders and a pew holder of St. Michael's church in Bloomingdale, where he had his country estate. That country home stood just to the south of the Brockholst Livingston property at 89th Street and the North River (Ref: Annals of St. Michael's by John P. Peters, D.D., 1907). John McVickar also contributed substantially to the founding of other Episcopal parishes in New York City and on Staten Island, where he had large landholdings. He had very large investments in land at the time of his death, one holding being over 3000 acres in northern New York State. He died a few days short of his 53rd birthday.

    From 'Old Merchants of New York City,' Second Series, Chapter XXVIII, pages 281-290, as quoted by S.R. Durand:

    "Among the olden time merchants is one to whom I have often alluded, and who is the founder of a family whose name is interwoven with the prosperity of the city - John McVickar. He was a merchant of the last as well as present century. The manner in which he came to this country is as curious as his subsequent mercantile career. He was Irish born. John and Nathan were sons of an Irish gentleman of moderate estate, and he lost his first wife - their mother. He afterwards married a second time, to give a mother to his boys. She was not different from the general run of stepmothers, and the home ceased to be a home to them. Under these painful circumstances, John, the eldest brother, determined to abandon it and try his fortune in the Western Hemisphere. He told his younger brother that if he succeeded in New York, wither he was bound, he would send for him.
    He came to New York at the age of seventeen years. He had an uncle already established in this city, and he was under special guardianship of Daniel McCormick, of whom I have written so much. The familiar address to him of 'John,' in after life by the old merchant, often awakened the surprise of strangers. John was fortunate. He did succeed, and he sent for Nathan, who came out, and they established themselves in the city. I have already alluded to him as being among the founders of the St. Patrick's Society, when such men as William Edgar, Hugh Gaines, and Daniel McCormick belonged to it in 1792. At that time Mr. McVickar was established and doing a leading business under his own name at 27 Queen Street (now Pearl Street). He commenced in this city in Maiden Lane, No. 39, before 1786[?]. In 1793, he was elected a director in the Bank of New York, and continued to be re-elected annually until 1810. In 1795 he was made a director in the United Insurance Company, of which his friend Nic. Low was president, and so was until 1809. At that time he lived at 228 Pearl Street, his old place, and kept his place of business at 2 Burling Slip. In 1798, Nathan got here, and the firm was John & Nathan McVickar. In 1801, the style was changed to John McVickar & Co. John moved from 228 Pearl Street to 231 Broadway, and Nathan went to housekeeping in the house John left. In all this time John had continued a director in the Bank of New York. In that year (1801), he was elected a vestryman of Trinity Church and held [that office] until he died.
    McVickar and Co., in 1803, and for some years afterwards, had among their clerks, Hubert von Wagenan, Jr. who afterwards became very celebrated in this city...
    Eliza, Edward[sic], John and Benjamin are the children living [1863] of the elder John McVickar. His grandchildren are very numerous and are intermarried with the first families in the United States.
    In 1798 to 1802 John was the governor of the New York Hospital... in 1805, [he] became one of the directors of the Western and Northern Coal Company... In 1809, John took into partnership his son James and Mr. Stewart, and the firm was 'John McVickar, Son and Stewart,' at the old stand, No. 2 Burling Slip. But both son and John, the father, lived at 20 Dey Street. In 1810, Mr. John McVickar moved to No. 6 Vesey Street. I think he gave up business in 1811, to his brother Nathan, and the firm was 'McVickar and Stewart' until 1812. In that year John McVickar died. His widow removed from No. 6 Vesey Street back to the old No. 231 Broadway. The firm dissolved, and Nathan resided at 24 White Street.
    Among the leading traits of character of John McVickar may be noted that nice sense of commercial honor which gives to the merchant his highest dignity and leads to the noblest use of wealth. He was marked accordingly by generous aid to deserving young merchants in trouble, so much so that it became a common speech on change in disastrous times, 'Well! Who is McVickar going to help today?' In building churches and aiding the clergy, he was always prominent - on the 'Dongan Domain,' Staten Island, he both gave the land and built the church.
    On this large domain coming down from Dongan, the first Governor of the Province, one legal claim still remains to the heirs of McVickar, viz. the original reservation to the lord of the manor, of 'all Ponds, water courses, and mines.' Such reservation being expressly named and provided for in all early deeds.
    At his late seat at Bloomingdale, he was one of the original founders of St. Michael's Church, and during the occurrence of the yellow fever in the city, he provided for the family of Rev. Dr. Hobart, his clergyman, a safe country retreat. As a merchant he was marked by sound judgment and large views. In addition to his regular business of importation, he was a large ship owner, and one of the earliest in the direct trade with China from the port of New York. His favorite ship "Betsy," Captain Carberry, was familiarly known.
    Though himself without classical education, he highly valued it for his sons, and prized and patronized the best schools. Columbia College received the next son. One, Archibald, enjoyed the farther advantage of an English University training, and all in turn had the benefit of a European visit for health and pleasure. In 1804, he revisited for the second and last time his native land, accompanied by his son John, born in America - a circumstance which in these days of alien laws, in England led to a singular controversy with government - the office refusing to regard the father as alien, and Mr. McVickar insisting that as an American citizen he was an alien, and demanding that he should be included in all the penalties and restrictions that rested on such, - a proof of patriotism, we may add more unquestionable than many that now pass for such. In his visit to Ireland, so familiar was his name and reputation in commercial circles, that it was jokingly proposed that the Lord Lieutenant should confer on him the dignity of Knighthood, as a benefactor to of Ireland...
    Old John McVickar had a country seat out at Bloomingdale, where he used to spend a great deal of his time in summer, after he retired from business, and while he lived at No. 6 Vesey Street. That was a large mansion. The old merchant John was one of the most sterling men in the city. His firm did a general commission business - receiving vessels and cargoes from all parts of the West Indies as well as from Europe. In addition, his house dealt heavily in Irish goods. John McVickar & Co. were the heaviest importers of Irish linens into the New York market. Every vessel from Belfast brought them heavy invoices. They never sold less than a case of their linens. The store of old John, where he did business so many years, was on the right side of Burling Slip as you go from Pearl to Water. It was about in the rear where a bank is now located. In these times, we can form no idea of the vastness of the Irish linen trade sixty years ago. It was all old-fashioned made, spun and wove by hand in Ireland, and of course, there was no machinery as now. It was the great article of trade. Here we had no such goods. The highest of our manufacture then was old 'tow cloth.' We had no cotton or woolen goods made here. No sattinettes, and the numerous fabrics of American manufacture were made in a thousand factories. So far this small village [75,000 in 1805] in the olden times, Irish linen was a great article of trade.
    All the buyers used to go down to Old John himself, or if not in, to the brother Nathan. Clerks were not deemed the right persons to buy of. The buyer thought, of course, he could get better bargains of the principals; and their say, too, as to prices was final, while with the clerks it was not. Old John was not above his business. Sometimes, he would take out his watch and look at it. 'I am to meet the board of directors at the bank; won't brother Nathan do?' If brother Nathan would not do, although such an answer was rare, then brother John would do the selling until the customer was satisfied, for he regarded good sales as one great element of success in the career of a leading merchant, and he was always the salesman when at home. He was rather tall, somewhat sharp-featured, and looked like a foreigner. An early portrait of him supposed to be by Copley, gives the impression of a fine and resolute will, yet gentle heart. In those days, the great merchants like John McVickar & Co. always sent the goods home to the store of their customers, free of expense. Only goods bought at 'vendure,' were carted home at the expense of the buyer.
    Nathan, as I have stated, kept up the firm of McVickar & Stewart at the old store, No. 5 Burling Slip, until 1813, when the house was dissolved."

    Father: James McVickar b: in Ireland
    Mother: Mary Moore b: in Ireland

    Marriage 1 Ann Moore b: 11 Mar 1761 in Newtown, Long Island, New York
    • Married: 20 May 1781 in Newtown, Long Island, New York 2
    • Change Date: 15 Aug 2008
    1. Has Children James McVickar b: 28 Feb 1784
    2. Has No Children Archibald McVickar b: 14 Dec 1785
    3. Has Children John McVickar b: 10 Aug 1787
    4. Has No Children Mary Elizabeth McVickar b: 23 Feb 1789
    5. Has No Children Hannah Augusta McVickar b: 11 Nov 1790
    6. Has No Children Henry McVickar b: 16 Mar 1792
    7. Has No Children Edmund McVickar b: 11 Feb 1795
    8. Has No Children Nathan McVickar b: 10 Oct 1797 in New York, New York
    9. Has Children Benjamin Moore McVickar b: 12 Nov 1799 in New York, New York

    1. Media: Manuscript
      Abbrev: S.R. Durand Ancestry
      Title: Ancestry of Samuel Relf Durand
      Author: Durand, Samuel Relf (1904-1996)
      Publication: Palo Alto, CA: Handwritten, circa 1991
        Name: Derek Doran Wood
        Apt 412
        Los Angeles, CA 90068 USA

      Page: 105-118
      Quality: 3
    2. Media: Manuscript
      Abbrev: S.R. Durand Ancestry
      Title: Ancestry of Samuel Relf Durand
      Author: Durand, Samuel Relf (1904-1996)
      Publication: Palo Alto, CA: Handwritten, circa 1991
        Name: Derek Doran Wood
        Apt 412
        Los Angeles, CA 90068 USA

      Page: 105
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