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John McGimsey, Jr.
(May 22, 1754 - September 1821)

The following excerpts were taken from:
Phifer, Edward William, Jr. Burke: The History of a North Carolina County, 1777-1920: Revised Edition. 1982.


John McGimsey, Jr. of Scotch-Irish descent and of Irish name origin came to America in 1770-1775, as did John Sr., Robert and Dr. William McGimsey and their family members. They came from County Down, Ireland to York County, Pennsylvania. William and John Jr., went to Burke County, NC by 1778. John McGimsey, Jr. entered a land grant on August 17, 1778 in Burke County. John Jr., entered other land grants up to 1814. The family name was spelled McGimpsey upon arrival to America. The Coat of Arms goes back to the Irish Gaelic spelling of MacDiomsaigh, Irish version of McGimpsey, and English version of Dempsey.


John McGimsey, Jr., was born May 22, 1754 in Ireland. He married Flora Witherspoon, the daughter of John Witherspoon and Martha Pettigrew. They applied for a marriage bond August 4, 1790 and were married August 29, 1790 in Wilkes County, NC. They had two children: William McGimsey and John Witherspoon Pettigrew McGimsey. John McGimsey, Jr. was District Surveyor of Burke County in 1796. He was High Sheriff of Burke County in 1790-1798. He served in the American Revolution and was wounded in the battle of Ramsours Mill June 20, 1780. He was a Colonel in the War of 1812.


According to family research records of Mary Elizabeth McGimsey Staples, of Concord, TN, Benjamin Brooks McGimsey, of San Antonio, TX and Jeremiah Alderson McGimsey, of Nogales, AZ, and compiled by Edith Warren Huggins in 1962, John Jr., was just 16 years old when he arrived in America. It is assumed that John McGimsey, Sr. was his father according to this family history. However, B.B. McGimsey had a chart that had the father as Dr. William McGimpsey, who died at Kings Mountain, NC, in October 1780. Some family members question the existence of Dr. William McGimpsey, as no records can be found in North Carolina. Land records and tax lists should have been available from 1778-1780 in Burke County. The inscription on John McGimsey, Jr. tombstone was supposed to have had: "The son of the McGimsey who came to North Carolina." The inscription was not on his broken tombstone at Greenwood Cemetery in Columbia, Maury County, TN. Col. John McGimsey, Jr., died there while visiting his sons, William and John W.P. in September 1821.


It is known from a 1923 letter that Col. John McGimsey, Jr. had a brother Thomas, and from the 1837 will of Thomas McGimsey, that they had a brother William. The McGimsey History, 1982 by Edith Warren Huggins lists the children of John Sr., as John Jr., William, Robert, Thomas and Joseph Lewis; however, Robert born about 1730 is too old to be the son of John Sr. Robert and John Sr. are most likely siblings. William died before 1837 and is listed in the 1837 will of brother Thomas McGimsey. There is no mention of Dr. William McGimpsey who died at Kings Mountain October 1780 (he most likely is another brother or cousin). The Wakefield research shows a daughter of John Sr. as Jane Yarbrough McGimsey. She is married to John Wakefield.


John McGimsey Sr. was widowed when he came to America, and thus married a daughter of Joseph and Sarah Lewis of York County, PA. The 1771 records of Guinston Church in Chanceford Township, York County, PA show that John McGimsey was a subscriber in August of that year. John Sr. was granted two land warrants in York County, PA in 1773. John Sr. was shown in Shenandoah (Then Dunsmore O'County), VA in 1783, and then in Augusta County, VA in 1785. John McGimsey was shown in the 1790 census of Burke County, NC. This most likely was John McGimsey, Jr., since John Sr. did not arrive in Burke County following the year 1800. It is believed that John McGimsey, Sr. died in Burke County in 1815. He had a will but it was among the many records destroyed during the Civil War by Union Troops. The index survived which lists his youngest son Joseph Lewis McGimsey as executor. Joseph Lewis McGimsey has many descendants in North Carolina.


The Burke County Deed registered in 1804-1813 identified five McGimsey men as Joseph, John Jr., John Sr., Thomas and W. McGimsey , Jr. It reads: McGimpsey, John Jr. to John McGimpsey Sr., for 300 acres dated January 7, 1804 proved by Joseph L. McGimpsey (written "McGimsey") October sessions 1804. McGimpsey, John to John Fox for 47.5 acres dated September 16, 1802. McGimpsey, John to Joseph McGimpsey for 284 acres dated August 1804; Acknowledged April sessions 1805. McGimpsey, Thomas to Samuel Pierce for 200 acres dated August 3, 1809 Proved by oath of Joseph L. McGimpsey; January Sessions of 1812. McGimpsey, John to William Wilson for 100 acres dated January 14, 1813 Proved by W. McGimpsey, Jr.: January Sessions 1813.


Dr. John Witherspoon Pettigrew McGimsey, son of Colonel John McGimsey, Jr. and Flora Witherspoon, was born May 27, 1796 in Burke County, NC. He married Rowena Jossey, November 9, 1821, in Columbia TN, where he practiced medicine and was a partner with Dr. W.H. Brown. Rowena was born December 1, 1797 and died in April 1827. They had four children: Rowena Carolina (b. March 1820, d. July 23, 1827), John W.P. McGimsey, Jr. (b. 1822 in TN d. 1850 in Baton Rouge, LA), Mary Flora (b. 1824 in TN d. March 15, 1889 in Baton Rouge, LA), and Sarah Christina (b. April 1827 d. September 1827).


Dr. John W.P. McGimsey married his second wife, Martha Malvena Cooper Gillespie, in 1830. They had four children: Martha Elizabeth, Eudora A., James G., and William Champe McGimsey. Dr. J.W.P. McGimsey practiced medicine until his death in December 1884. His wife, Martha, died December 26, 1884. They are buried in Magnolia Cemetery in Baton Rouge, LA. Many of JWP and Martha McGimsey descendants reside in Louisiana and Kentucky.


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