ORIGIN OF THE McLENDON-McCLENDON FAMILY
THE MYTH AND THE REALITY


The generally accepted story of the origin of the McLendon-McClendon family as stated by various authors, is that Dennis Macklendon, the immigrant, came to the Colony of North Carolina, some time prior to the second Monday in January, 1696/7, where he proved eleven rights for which he received 550 acres of land. Dennis was suppossed to have been born in Scotland, the son of a John MacLennan. There, he married an Elizabeth and sired four sons, Francis, Dennis, Bryan and Thomas. The family came directly from Scotland arriving shortly before Dennis proved the rights. The authors recording this story provide no documentation to support it.

Roderick A. McLendon of Valencia, California, a descendant researcher believes that Dennis Macklendon came to North America earlier than the date he first appeared on the record in North Carolina, and he proposes an alternative theory of the family's origin:

His origin was not Scotland but the Island of Barbados. Dennis first went to the Colony of Virginia, possibly Nansemond County, which is located on the North Carolina border not far from Perquimans Precinct. His date of arrival in Virginia is not known and only one possible reference to him there has been located. In a land transaction in Nansemond County, dated 29 October 1696, one of the boundary properties was identified as "Maccladland's". (1)

Dennis left Barbados prior to the publishing of his father's will 29 December 1687 (a), which placed him in Virginia at least ten years, or more, prior to his appearance in North Carolina. This ten years would have provided him ample time to marry and have children. Dennis was a farmer as evidenced by his title, "Planter", in the 1690 deed of sale in Barbados. (b)

The first record of Dennis Macklendon in North Carolina was his appearance in Perquimans Precinct Court, 11 January 1696/7. Dennis proved eleven rights which identified his family as himself, Elizabeth, Francis, Dennis, Bryan and Thomas Macklendon. (2) Interestingly, Dennis returned to Perquimans Court 30 October 1700, and proved thirteen rights, again naming his family as above but identifing the two Dennises as "junior" and "senior". (3) The paternal-sibling relationship is enhanced by a deed and a will. The deed was made 23 July 1717, by and between Francis Macklendon, eldest son of Dennis Macklendon late of Albemarle Co., deceased, ... [and] Dennis Macklendon, second son of aforesaid Dennis, deceased,... (4) The will, dated 19 January 1725/6, wherein Dennis Macklendon, Jr., named as two of his Executors, brothers Francis and Thomas Macklendon. (5)

The relationships of Elizabeth Macklendon and Bryan Macklendon to Dennis are not clear. Elizabeth was not identified as Dennis' wife in the initial entry; she may have been. No other records for Elizabeth are evident. If she was Dennis' wife, she died after October 1700 as Dennis Macklendon married Deborah Whedbee, a widow, in 1702. (6) Bryan was probably a son of Dennis and brother to Francis, Dennis and Thomas Macklendon; probably being named after his grandfather, Bryan, of Barbados. A Bryan Macklendon does appear in the record beginning in 1739 in Newburn County, North Carolina. (7)

Beginning in April 1704, the quarterly sessions of the Perquimans Court were held at the house of Dennis Macklendon. On 10 April 1705, Dennis Macklendon became one of the Justices of the Court. The 6 January 1705/6 session was the last when Dennis Macklendon served as a Justice. There was no court session in April 1706. The 9 July 1706 session was held at the house of Mrs. Deborah Macklendon. Dennis Macklendon appeared in the record as deceased.(8)

On 28 August 1706, at General Court, the will of Dennis Macklendon was presented by John Bird, one of the Executors. Appraisers were appointed to inventory the estates in Chowan and Perquimans Precincts. The contents of the will were not recorded and there was no evidence of a return. (9)

A more probable version of the origin of the McLendons/McClendons is that Dennis Macklendon was born on the Island of Barbados, probably in the 1660s. He was the son of Bryan Maclandins, of Barbados, Planter, and his wife Margery Hunt, daughter of Henry Hunt, of Barbados.(c,d,& e) Bryan Maclandins probably arrived in Barbados as an indentured servant sometime prior to 1660. Economic opportunity was poor on the island and Dennis left sometime prior to 29 December 1687, going to the Colony of Virginia, where he probably married and started a family. Bryan Maclandins died in February 1688 and was buried in St. Philip Parish, Barbados. In 1690, Dennis returned to Barbados and disposed of his inheritance. By January 1696/7, Dennis moved his family and a small group of friends into Perquimans Precinct, Albermarle County, North Carolina.

The story of Dennis Macklendon is not complete. The Barbadian records are over three hundred years old. The tropical climate has deteriorated the documents to the point that some are now non-existant and others are so fragile that they may not be used. Virginia records, if they exist, which would add to the story of Dennis Macklendon, have not been located.


THE WILL OF BRYAN MACLANDINS OF BARBADOS

Entered the 20th day of February 1688 [RB6/41, p.118]
BARBADOS

In the Name of God, Amen I, Bryan Maclandins in the Parish of st Philip and island aforesaid, Planter, being very sick and weak but of sound and perfect memory (praise be God for the same) Do make, order and appoint this to be my last will and testament Revoking and hereby making Void all former Will or wills whatsoever heretofore by me made.

IMPRIMIS. I give and bequeath my soul into the hands of Almighty God that gave it me Hoping only through the merits of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to receive full pardon for my sins and Salvation and my body to the Earth to be decently Buried at the direction of my Executors hereafter named and for my worldly Estate My just debts funeral Expenses and legacies being first paid and satisfied I dispose of the same as followith.

SECONDLY. I give & bequeath unto my loving son, Dennis Mclandens and his heirs of his body for Ever all my Estate both Real and Personall whatsoever provided he be heard of or any way make demands of the same within two years after my decease. But if he be not heard of within the time aforesaid, then that part of my Estate hereby given to him I give to my Executor hereafter named.

THIRDLY. I give unto my loving kinsman Mr. Dennis McMarro & his wife the just sum of 20 pounds sterling to be paid to him at two equal payments within three years after my decease.

FOURTHLY. I give unto my friends Mr. Thomas Wakely my red young heifer which is now in my possession as a token of my love for him & his wife's kindness to me.

LASTLY. I do hereby make & appoint my worthy & trusty good friend Mr. Thomas Dubois, Merchant, to be sole Executor of this my will not doubting but out of the Kindness he hath shown me that he will forebear for some time from [liquidating] my estate for what I am indebted to him for the benefit of my son's Interest and the payment of my legacies. In witness hereof I have here unto set my hand & seal this twenty ninth day of December & in the fourth year of our Sovereigh Lord King James the second's reign. [1687]

Bryan [his mark] McLandins

Published & signed before us to be his last
will & testament Geo. Bushell; James Fauntleroy; Susanna Gillett St.Philip
Parish Burial Register, p.19:
[1st name not entered] MaceLandon; 11 Feb [1688]

BARBADOS

By the Rt Honable, the Lt. Governor
The Honorable Geo. Bushell, Esq., one of the witnesses to this will personally appeared before me & made oath on the Holy Evanglist of Almighty God that he did see Bryan McLandin herein mentioned & now deceased to seal, publish & declare the same to be his last will & testament & that he was at the doing thereof, of a sound & disposing mind & memory to the best of his knowledge. Given under my hand the 20th day of Feb. 1688.
Edwyn Stede


The issue of Bryan Maclandins' country of origin is further clouded by the fact that the given name "Dennis" is distinctly Irish rather than Scottish, and a rather large community of Mackalindens living in county Armaugh, Ulster (Northern Ireland) in the present time, may suggest that place as Bryan's area of birth and origin.

Melba Goff Allen in her book "The McLendons of America" states regarding Dennis becoming a Justice of the county court, "to be appointed one of the King's Justices in North Carolina, he had to be closely connected to the English, when most Scotchmen were distrusted by England." Perhaps he was able to be appointed to the office because he was Irish rather than Scotch, and therefore more closely aligned with the British ruling powers. (10)

REFERENCES:
Barbadian records, which support this version of the origin of Dennis McLendon, are located at the Department of Archives, Black Rock, St. Michael, Barbados. There are ten references; five are cited. RB#/ refers to series and volume numbers of ledgers.

(a) RB6/41, p.118, Will of Bryan MacLandins.
(b) RB3/4, p.s 592-4, Deed of Sale, Dennis Maclandon to Thomas Duboys.
(c) RB3/7, P. 71, Deed of Sale, Nicholas Rice to Bryan [McLendon] & wife Margery.
(d) RB3/7, p. 79, Deed of Sale, Bryan [McLendon] & wife Margery to Nicholas Rice.
(e) RB6/13, p. 253, Will of Henry Hunt.

Virginia and North Carolina references:

(1) Cavaliers & Pioneers, Abs. of VA Land Patents & Grants, V.3, p.10.
(2) Colonial Records of N. Carolina, 1st Ser., V.1, p.479.
(3) Colonial Records of N. Carolina, 2nd Ser., V.3, p.405.
(4) Deed Book B#l, Chowan Co., N.C., #1058, p.524.
(5) Abs. of No. Carolina Wills, Grimes, Sec. of State, p.228.
(6) From loose papers among the Records of Albemarle Co., Edenton, N.C.
(7) Colonial Records of N. Carolina, 1st Ser., V.4.
(8) Colonial Records of N. Carolina, 1st Ser., V.1, p.652.
(9) Colonial Records of N. Carolina, 2nd Ser., V.4, p.242.
(10) The McLendons of America, p.2, Melba Goff Allen, Metairie, La., 1983.

(1994) PLEASE CREDIT RODERICK A. McLENDON, 27527 Cunningham Dr., Valencia, CA 91354-1912.


The following reprinted from the McLendon/McClendon List at McLENDON/McCLENDON-L@Rootsweb.com:

I'm replying to the post about the hunchback question. I believe this information has been confused with an account found in Lois Clouse McLendon's book "The McLendon's of Carroll County, Georgia and Related Families". This is found on pp. 1 & 2 and attributed to "McClendon Family Newsletters, History of MacLennan, and Clans and Tartans of Scotland":

"The Clan MacLennan is an ancient Celtic clan and descended from the royal family of Ireland. The chiefs were anciently titled Lords of Loch Erne. St. Colman Mac-Lenen was the chief poet of Ireland (524-602). They were assigned land in Lorne, Mull, Tiree and Iona; and, after a defeat at Inverness, Scotland, retired to Glenshiel where they remained for centuries.

The name MacLennan is translated in Ireland as "son of the servant of St. Finnan" and in Scotland, "Giolla Ad-ham-Huain, servant of Adaman".

"A tradition carries the origin back to a certain Gilligorm, chief of the Logans of Druimdeurfait in Ross-shire at the end of the thirteenth century. After a bloody battle with the Frasers near Kessock, in which Gilliegorm fell, his widow was carried off by the victors, and soon afterward gave birth to a Gillegorm’s son. The story relates that the boy was deliberately deformed in order to prevent his ever attempting to avenge his father’s death. He was educated at a monastery and known as Crotach (Hump-backed) Mac-Gilliegorm. He became a priest and travelled up and down the west coast of Scotland establishing churches. He married and had several children. One son was named Gillie Fhinan after the famous St. Finan. That son's son was, of course, called MacGillinan, which was in time shortened to MacLennan.

"The MacLennan Clan fought battles under the flag of the MacKenzie Clan along side the MacRaes. They fought at the battle of Auldearn in 1645 and a large number of the MacLennans were killed. This dispersed the clan. They were without a chief for three hundred years until recently after much research, Ronald George MacLennan was declared chief, 25th August 1975. Chief Ronald has written a book on the history of the Clan. He has brought the Clan together and has had gatherings in Scotland celebrating the return.

"These are the related names in the clan; Logan, McClendon, McLennan and others. The name McClendon is not found in Scotland, but in America where the English spelled the name MacLennan like they thought it sounded.

"This inscription is on a McClendon headstone in Mount Zion Cemetery at Calhoun, Louisiana: ‘A people as sturdy as the oak, Stalwart as the pine, Gentle as the brook and as enduring as the hills.’"

"The following paragraph is a clan legend:
A great castle built in AD 901 by Cormac MacCullenan, Bishop of Cashel and King of Munster, called ‘Rock of Cashel’ is in Tipperary County, Ireland, and said to be the origin of the name McClendon. It was burned by the Earl of Kildare during the reign of Henry VII of England, and now stands roofless, except for the magnificent, barrel-vaulted chapel, built by Cormac in the twelfth century, and the pointed round town. These ecclesiastical ruins are a tourist attraction."

Other ancient history is found in T.A. McClendon's book "The McClendon's." The following is taken from that book, page 380:
"Tradition relates that the Logans of the north, ‘Siol Ghillinnein’ (MacLennans), are descended from the Logans of Druimdeurfait, in Easter Ross. In the 15th century a feud between the Logans and the Frasers ended in a sanguinary battle at Kessock, in which Gilligorm, the chief of the Logans, was killed, and his widow carried off by the victors. The widow gave birth to a posthumous son of Gilligorm, who from his deformity was known as Crotair MacGilligorm.

He was educated by the monks at Beauly and on reaching manhood took Holy Orders at Kilmor in Sleat and in Kilchrinin, Glenelg. Like many others of the Highland clergy at that period he did not remain celibate and his descendants came to be known as Siol Fhinnein or MacLennans. They were numerous in Kintail, and at the Battle of Auldearn in 1645, where they acted as standard bearers to Lord Seaforth, many of them were killed in their gallant defence of the Standard. The name MacLennan is still common in Ross-shire."

Contributed by:
Donna McClendon McGuyer

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