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The Autobiography of John W. McCann


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Autobiography of John W. McCann

Generously submitted and transcribed by Nancy Bray. Thanks, Nancy!
Please contact her if you can add to her research.

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The following autobiography of John W. McCann appeared in a newspaper in Paris, Monroe County, Missouri. John was the brother of my gggrandfather Arthur G.McCann.


I am the youngest child, save one, of Leanty and Margaret McCann, who emigrated from Tyrone County, Ireland to America in the year 1789.  They were accompanied by my grandfather Arthur and grand mother Catharine Taggert, with two uncles of the latter name, and settled in the county of Berkly, Virginia, and shortly there after removed to the county of Mason, Kentucky, from thence they removed to the central portion of the latter named state, what is now known as Bracken County, and where the county seat, Brooksville, now stands; at which place the subject of this sketch was born on the first day of May, 1800, consequently will be 75 years on the first of May, 1875.

When in my eleventh year my father and family removed to Pendleton County, near the county-seat, Falmouth.  My grandmother still remained with him, she, save one son, being the only survivor of her family, and when she died; in 1825, was 118 years old.

In 1820 my father died, leaving his third wife a widow, by whom he had three children, two of whom now live in Missouri.

I taught school for one year in Pendleton County when in my eighteenth year; afterwards acted as Deputy Sheriff one and a half years in said county, and having in that service obtained a smattering of the practical parts of the law, in 1823 entered the law office of Major William Routt, a celebrated land lawyer of Campbell County (now Kenton), and in 1827 obtained license to practice law in any of the Kentucky courts.  Having expended the last of a little patrimony left me, for board and tuition fees, and being without means, I taught school one year in Grant County; from thence I went to the county of Mason, near Washington, then the county-seat, where the profession of teaching was more highly appreciated.

On the 29th of May, 1830, (being the Lord's Day) I attended a protracted meeting at May's Lick, in Mason County, where for the first time I saw Elders Alexander Campbell , Jacob Creath, elder and junior, with many other Elders whose names I do not remember.  On this occasion I determined to obey the commands of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Elder Campbell, being on his way home to Bethany, Virginia, preached on the first day of June, 1830, in the city of Maysville.  School was dismissed on that day, went to said city, and on confession, with some dozen others, was immersed in the Ohio river by Elder Campbell, and returned to my boarding house and school, rejoicing  and happy that I did that which I should have done years before.   School session having expired, returned to Williamstown, Grant County, Ky., where I found one Disciple, who came to Grant County during my absence.  There was near that town a large and respectable church of Free Will Baptists, most of whom knew me from my boyhood.  They invited me to lay in my letter from the Bushy Creek Church in Mason County, which I did; by the unanimous note of said church.  True they requested me to publicly state whether I was a Cambellite or not (having heard I had joined the then current reformation), on which occasion I stated if I was anything pertaining to religion, I was a Christlite.  Though immersed by Elder Alexander Campbell, this was satisfactory.  At the next monthly meeting I was made clerk of the church, and afterwards made clerk of the Ten Mile Association - in 1833 the Disciples formed a church - with six members - in Williamstown, of which myself and sister constituted two members; was made clerk of the same, mained such to 1850, when I removed to Missouri.  When I left, that church contained 350 excellent Disciples.

In 1831 I commenced the practice of law in said town.  Married Miss Nancy Barton, near Georgetown, Ky., 1832, Elder Barton W. Stone officiating.  She died within thirteen months thereafter of cholera, that swept over the land, childless.  In November, 1839, married Miss Elizabeth Tully of Boone County, Ky., Elder James Challen officiating.  She died in November, 1841, having two children, whom she survived for a short time.

I now come to my marriage with Miss Amanda G. Mason, near Paris, Missouri, on December 16, 1844.  Elder Jacob Creath, of Palmyra, officiating.  She died December 20th, 1862 leaving my present family of children.  Returned to Kentucky in January, 1845, where two sons, John W. and William Worth, were born.  The first died Nov. 6th, 1856 in Paris.  Purchased and settled on a farm near Paris, where I remained till 1856, when I removed to Paris and commenced the practice of law, and  on Jan.,1st. 1859. was commissioned Postmaster at Paris, in which I remained the incumbent till the last of August, 1868, when I was superseded by my son, W. Worth.

I have given a succinct account of my peregrinations and misfortunes since I was 18 years of age, and have reason to thank the good Lord of heaven and earth that it is as well with me as it is.  The day I bowed to the Savior of sinners in 1830, I look upon as the happiest of my life, and am as firm in my belief in the salvation of men today as I was at that happy period.  And my utter astonishment is, how men and women can live to the age of maturity without bowing to that Savior who bought them  with a price - His own precious blood.  For let it be known to all, that the person 'who is not for Christ the Lord is against him,' which they will find to their sorrow when its too late.  Such has been the state of my health for the last five years, that I must abandon all public business.  My departure is at hand, and when the event occurs I hope to meet all my Christian friends in the mansions in the skies.

Jno. W. McCann
April 15, 1875


Note: If anyone knows any addition information to the above, I would love to hear from you.  I know that my ggggrandfather Leanty (father to John) married a Lilly Price in Bracken County in 1807, and then to a Mary 'Polly' Dawson in 1814.  I know nothing of what happen to the first two wives of Leanty, and would love to find something.  When did they die, and from what?  My line comes with the marriage of Leanty to Margaret his first wife.  Thank You.

Nancy Bray

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