Sandra & Bernard Mc Nab – Their Family History

| March 12, 2014 | 5 Comments

We have kindly been sent this information from Bernard Mc Nab. Bernard has sent us the following photos and information of his family.
——————————————————————————————————-
I am Bernard Mc Nab. I live in Saint Charles, Minnesota USA, and I am age 77. My great-great grandfather was Finlay Mc Nab, who was a crofter at Glenrisdel in Kintyre Scotland, near the villages of Claonaig and Whitehouse. In 1848, he and his wife Mary and their five children, Duncan, Hugh, Patrick, Catherine and Margaret emigrated from Scotland, and planned to go to Canada. Aboard ship during their journey, Mary, Hugh, Patrick, Catherine and Margaret all died of small pox, and were buried at sea. Finlay and his eleven year old son Duncan arrived in Canada, and settled near London, Ontario Canada.

As a young man Duncan moved from Canada to Upper Michigan USA to work in a lumber camp. At age 25 he volunteered for the Union Army of the North during the Civil War in the United States. When the war ended in 1865, he returned to Canada, and married Catherine Montgomery in 1868, and then moved to the state of Minnesota USA. Duncan’s family and Catherine’s family knew each other in Scotland, and lived, near each other.

My Grandfather, John Mc Nab was born in 1871, when Duncan and Catherine settled on the prairies of Southwestern Minnesota. They were the first settlers in the area. The closest town or settlement was the village of Jackson, about thirty miles to the east. The land they settled was Native American (American Indian) land until Duncan acquired title from the U.S. Government. As more settlers soon moved into the area, the railroad built a line through the region, and the territory was organized into townships and villages. Since Duncan and Catherine were the first settlers, Duncan was allowed to name the township in which his land was located. He chose the name Alba, an ancient name for Scotland, and that is the name of the township in Jackson County Minnesota to this day. The nearby village has the name of Brewster, Minnesota.

The flat prairie land was only tall grass with roaming Native Americans and wild game when Duncan and Catherine arrived. The closest tree to the place they chose to locate was fourteen miles away on the shores of Heron Lake. Because of the lack of trees, the family lived in their turned over wagon until Duncan could finish building a “sod” house made from the prairie turf. The “sod” house was home until a wood house could be constructed of material brought from Jackson, thirty miles away by team of horses and wagon. The family lived on wild game until the prairie turf was plowed, planted to wheat and garden vegetables and harvested in 1872. Duncan added to his land holdings by planting trees, because the government Homestead Act of the 1860’s allowed ownership of land if trees were planted on the prairie and the land “improved” by plowing, planting and harvesting. Today that is some of the best and richest soil and farm land in the U.S. I am very happy to own some of the farm land acquired by Duncan and Catherine by their “tree claim”.

Duncan and Catherine parented eleven boys and two girls to adulthood, of which my grandfather John was the oldest. I am a fourth generation of the family living in the U.S., and today there are nearly 500 direct blood descendants of Duncan and Catherine living in many parts of the U.S. There are many of the descendants living in the Brewster and Worthington area of Minnesota.

In 1996, my wife Sandy and I traveled to Scotland where we spent twelve days touring. We visited many parts of Scotland including Glenrisdel in Kintyre, Killen, Kinnell House and the Innis Bhuidhe burial grounds. The house where Duncan was born and the church where he was baptized are still existing. A family with the sir name of Wilson now lives in the house, and the church building has been converted to living quarters for a family. It was a most enjoyable visit, and I wish my wife and I could return again for the Killen games in August, but age and health prevent a return for us.

Duncan and Catherine Mc Nab and eleven of their thirteen children.  Duncan is the bearded man seated in the second row, and Catherine is the lady seated in the second row.  My grandfather, John, their oldest child is the bald man sitting second from the left in the first row.  Picture is taken in front of the "wood house" built while living in the "sod" house.  Picture taken about 1894.

Duncan and Catherine Mc Nab and eleven of their thirteen children. Duncan is the bearded man seated in the second row, and Catherine is the lady seated in the second row. My grandfather, John, their oldest child is the bald man sitting second from the left in the first row. Picture is taken in front of the “wood house” built while living in the “sod” house. Picture taken about 1894.

The "wood house" with some members of the family standing in front of the house.  Also, in the back ground are some of trees that were planted to acquire more land.  Picture taken in 1898.

The “wood house” with some members of the family standing in front of the house. Also, in the back ground are some of trees that were planted to acquire more land. Picture taken in 1898.

My mother, father and my siblings with myself.  Front row is my sister Alice Rose, father James, mother Alice, sister Cecelia.  Back row is my brother Leo, brother Leonard, and myself.  Picture was taken in 1969.  The only ones living today are Cecelia, Leonard and myself.

My mother, father and my siblings with myself. Front row is my sister Alice Rose, father James, mother Alice, sister Cecelia. Back row is my brother Leo, brother Leonard, and myself. Picture was taken in 1969. The only ones living today are Cecelia, Leonard and myself.

My wife and I with our children, in-laws and grandchildren.  Seated in front are my granddaughter Zoya Parsi, grandson Armon Parsi, son Patrick.  Second row is my wife Sandy, son-in-law Fariborz Parsi, and daughter Kathryn Parsi.  Third row is myself and daughter-in-law Soraya.  We also had a daughter Molly who has died. Picture taken in 2009.

My wife and I with our children, in-laws and grandchildren. Seated in front are my granddaughter Zoya Parsi, grandson Armon Parsi, son Patrick. Second row is my wife Sandy, son-in-law Fariborz Parsi, and daughter Kathryn Parsi. Third row is myself and daughter-in-law Soraya. We also had a daughter Molly who has died. Picture taken in 2009.

My wife and I taken in 2011.

My wife and I taken in 2011.

Yours Aye,
Bernard Mc Nab

Thank you Bernard for this wonderful insight into your family history.

Tags:

Category: Clansmen and Clanswomen Around the World

About the Author ()

Comments (5)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Peter McNabb says:

    Dear Bernard
    I really enjoyed reading your family story. I am intrigued about your great-great grandfather Finlay. What ship did he and his family travel on in their journey to Canada in 1848? At which port did they land? Where exactly did he and Duncan settle near London in south-western Ontario? My great grandfather Archibald and his eight siblings also come from Scotland to south-western Ontario in 1848 and 1849. (My story is outlined in the post of 11 Feb 2015 on the Clan website entitled “In Search of Mungo”. They settled in Dunwich and Southwold Townships in Elgin County west of St Thomas. Did Finlay settle anywhere near there? Look forward to hearing from you. Regards
    Peter McNabb

    • Barbara McNab says:

      Peter McNabb, I realize this is an old post, but I hope that this note finds you. Please contact me in regards to Archibald, who I believe is my grandfather’s brother. “Archie”… My dad was born and raised in Brewster MN, his parents were Godfry and Jessie (Woods) McNab. The writer of this article, Bernard, is my dad’s cousin. Also, my youngest brother’s name is also, Peter. I hope to hear from you.
      Sincerely, Barbara

  2. Connie MCNab Christensen says:

    Hi my great grandfather was Duncan McNab, Grandaughter of William McNab and daughter of Alan McNab.
    I grew up on a farm outside of Brewster,Mn. Really enjoyed your/my family story.
    Do you know if there is a connection between our family and a Patrick McNabb? I don’t have much more info except his family was also from Minnesota. Do you know why there are different spellings of the name McNab?
    Thank you,
    Sincerely, Connie McNab Christensen

  3. Thought you would like to know that Roatan , Bay Islands, Honduras., has a quite a number of McNabs. They were among the first settlers of this beautiful island, which used to belong to Great Britain. Oldest history that we have is of Robert Orobia MacNab born in Killin Perth Scotland in 1819.
    Would like to know how he emigrated to the British West Indies. Help needed via my email…chmassicot@yahoo.com

    • Loraine Smith says:

      Hi Corine
      I’m very interested in the story of McNabs in Honduras. The name Orobia is very unique – have you been able to find a birth record for Robert in Scotland? I’m afraid I don’t have any information to give you about how he might have emigrated to Honduras, but I’m quite intrigued by the story. Do you have information on the story of the family in Honduras?
      You can email me at macnabhistory@gmail.com if you’d like to share information, and I’d be happy to see if I can do anything to further your research.
      Loraine Smith
      Sheanachie to the Chief of Clan Macnab

Leave a Reply