13. Larkin McGinnis

Larkin McGinnis, father of James, was born in July of 1804, a son of Isaac McGinnis. One of the first pieces of documented evidence that we have of Larkin is his “old” Lincoln County marriage license, dated 6 March 1828, identifying his new wife as Peggy Anthoney (real name Margaret Elizabeth). We then find Larkin listed in the 1830 Rutherford County census; Larkin by name, the rest of the family listed only by gender and age. This census shows: 1 male 20-30, 1 female 15-20, and 1 male under age of 5 (their first born, John). There is a Rutherford County court record dated 8 October 1833 detailing the sale of land to a James McGinnis, from his brothers John, Larkin, Andrew, and Richard, for fifty dollars each; for their inherited share of a 150 acre tract of land owned and left by their father, Isaac. The land appears to have been on the banks of a stream known as “Sandy Run” that flows into the north side of the main branch of the “Broad River”. An indication of how close this property was to the current Cleveland-Rutherford County line can be found in the fact that the transaction had to be re-filed in the records of Cleveland County in 1869. It appears that Larkin and his brother, Andrew, took their money from this sale, moved to the western part of Rutherford County, and bought land there. The area in which they took up residence would later become part of Polk County, and would be known as “McGinnis Crossroads”; it still exists today as an intersection on the “Old Chesnee Road” leading into South Carolina. I have been unable to find Larkin and his family listed in any of the 1840 Census records, but I do know that he was apparent still in Rutherford County at this time since I have found him listed on the County Court records for the 1840-41 session as a juror.

The next “official record” that I have found of Larkin and his family, and probably the most extensive and revealing, is the 1860 Census record of Spartanburg County, South Carolina. The census lists:Larkin McGuines, 55, farmer, owning real estate valued at 1000 dollars & personal property valued at 700 dollars (a considerable amount for 1860); Margt, 48; Sarah, 28; Elvira, 26; Mary E., 24; Eliza B., 22; Wm. C., 19; Joseph (T. or F.), 17; Osborn L., 14; Audern, 12; Margt. A., 10; Nancy E., 4; and Emily, 3. Some notes on this census information; Margaret A., Nancy E., and Emily are shown as having been born in South Carolina, everyone else (including Larkin) is shown as having been born in North Carolina; Osborn L. is actually Osborn Landrum; Audern is not found in later documents and possibly could have been an “Andrew”; and Emily shows up in later documents as both Emma and Emmaline. The sons, John and James, are both married and no longer listed with Larkin’s family; with John still living in Polk County (probably at the old home place near “McGinnis Crossroads”) with his wife Alicia and two daughters; and James in Cleveland County with Lucinda and their family. The census would also indicate that since Margaret Ann, age 10, was born in South Carolina, the whole family would have most likely been there in South Carolina at the time of the 1850 census, (but I haven’t been able to find it).

Larkin next shows up in a marriage license dated the 3rd of July 1870 with a new wife, Elizabeth Walker. Just a couple months later the family is listed in the 1870 Polk County, North Carolina census; showing Larkin as being 67 years old and his new wife as being just 25 years of age. In this listing, we also find Larkin’s children: Elmina (Elvira), 34; Landrum, 25; Margaret, 18; Nancy, 13; and Emma, 12. Missing from the census is the mother, Margaret “Peggy” Elizabeth, Sarah, Mary E., Eliza B., William C., Joseph, and Audern (Andrew). Since “Peggy” disappeared between the 1860 and 1870 censuses, the assumption would be that she probably died sometime during that decade, but I have found no references to her death or a grave marker bearing her name. There was an instance while doing some census research that I ran across an individual (I don’t remember if it was an Elizabeth, Margaret, or Peggy), but she was a McGinnis female who would have matched our 3x-great-grandmother’s age, and it appeared that she was living with a family that included who could have been one of her granddaughters. I made a note of the find with the intent of doing further research to try to confirm my suspicions, but I have not been able to find my note, and after years of searching I have not been able to relocate the census information that I had originally found. If I am ever able to once again find that census listing, I could possibly prove that “Peggy” not only didn’t die during the 1860’s, but that she was either divorced or abandoned by Larkin before his marriage in 1870. If true, it would be disturbing to find that both Larkin and his son James both abandoned their spouses for younger women around the same time.

Larkin and his new wife Elizabeth had two children, and they show up in the 1880 Polk County census with the family listed as McGinis: Larkin, 83; Elisabeth, 37; Willy T., 7 (listed as deaf and dumb); and Martha, 6. A note of interest, and one that I will detail in a later post, is that this census shows Larkin’s father to have been born in Kentucky. Larkin’s little family is living back in the Green Creek community of Polk County, apparently on the old “McGinnis Crossroads” property. Also living nearby are his son Landrum, his great-nephew Leander, and his daughter-in-law Alicia; all married with families of their own.

Larkin’s first born son John, who was the husband to Alicia, joined the Confederate Army in Polk County on the 29th of August 1862, and was assigned to Co. G, 60th Reg., NC Troops. He may have seen action in Tennessee, but he died in Ringgold, Georgia from dysentery on 13 February 1863. It is very likely that he was buried there, but I have found a family story that says that Larkin and James (John’s brother and our 2x-great-grandfather) upon hearing of John’s death, made the trip to Georgia to retrieve his body and returned it to Polk County to bury it in the Green River Baptist cemetery. While I don’t believe there is an individual marker there for him; there is a marker for “Alisie Painter, wife of Calvin Painter and former wife of John McGinnis”, and nearby is another marker for “Louise Alice McGinnis, daughter of John and Alisie McGinnis”.

Larkin died in Polk County in December 1880, as indicated in the court records of the legal action which was filed by his children against his wife Elizabeth in an attempt to claim their share of his Green Hill land. The suit included as plantiffs: Landrum McGinnis, Margaret Ann Hall, Elvira Walker, Nancy McGinnis, James McGinnis; along with W.T. McGinnis and Martha M. McGinnis (who were the children of Elizabeth and Larkin), and the three children of John: William McGinnis, Lou (Louise) McGinnis, and Margaret M. Womack. The plaintiffs in the action had to be alive and present to join in the suit, so the assumption would be that the remaining children including Sarah, Mary E., Eliza B., William C., Joseph, Audern, and Emma were either dead, no longer living in the area, or did not want to participate in the matter.

I haven’t been able to find where Larkin is buried, but I would imagine that he was buried on his land near “McGinnis Crossroads” in Polk County. There are still so many questions; so it looks like I still have a lot of searching to do.