Biographical Non-Fiction posted July 1, 2022 Chapters:  ...10 11 -12- 13... 


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I share McClendon DNA on both sides of my family.

A chapter in the book Pioneers of My People

The Clan McClendon

by BethShelby


My great grandfather on mother’s paternal side was Lewis Bruce McClendon. He was the one who was married to my Jewish grandmother, Sarah Elizabeth Sides. He was born in North Carolina, but he’d lived for a while in Louisiana. Both he and Sarah were in Copiah County Mississippi when he and Sarah were married. From there the family relocated into my county of Newton, Mississippi. The couple lived out their lives and are buried in Newton, but most of their children moved to Texas. If any of the McClendons remained in Mississippi, I never met them. When I look for those who share my McClendon DNA today, I find them scattered throughout the state of Texas.

Lewis Bruce McClendon, born in 1804 in North Carolina, was four generations removed from Dennis McClendon II, who was among the first to come to the United States and settle in North Carolina. He was the son of Burwell Shadrach McClendon and Polly Woods. Lewis’s sister, Annas McClendon, is my great grandmother on my father’s side of the family. She married my great grandfather, Charles Simmons. Once again, my family line becomes complicated. Believe it or not, in spite of all those cross marriages, my mother and father were not related. At least, I don’t think so.

Lewis and Sarah had ten children. Eight of them were girls. I found nothing to indicate that Lewis’s family fought in the Civil War. Lewis himself would have been too old. His two sons, born late in the marriage, would have still been teenagers at the time, and perhaps too young to be drafted to serve.

The McClendon family, with different variations of the name, was found both in Scotland and Ireland, but my earliest record is of Thomas MacLennan, born in 1550 in Kintail, Ross-shire, Scotland. The family remained in Scotland until around 1683. About six generations from the original Thomas, some of the family entered America. There is some disagreement among genealogists as to whether the family came directly here or was first on the Island of Barbados.

I’m inclined to believe the older Dennis McClendon was in Barbados for a while with his family. Dennis II born in 1683 Cromarty, Cromartyshire, Scotland was first mentioned in Bertie, North Carolina. However one his brothers, Bryant McClendon died in Barbados because his will is on record there. Another of his brothers, Thomas, is first mentioned in Louisiana and later in Texas. Like most of the new southern settlers, the McClendons were granted land and started plantations.

There is in Tyler, Texas a house called the McClendon House, built in 1878. It is a high Victorian style house and is on the National Register of Historic Houses. The last McClendon to live there was Sidney Smith McClendon born in 1907. He was a prominent Texas Lawyer and a descendant of Dennis’ brother, Thomas McClendon. The family occupied the house for around 100 years, and the original furnishing and artifacts are on display. Tours are available on Fridays and Saturdays. The house may also be rented for weddings.  Another activity conducted there is the murder/mystery entertainment for limited groups with dinner provided. The guests are led from room to room in an attempt to solve the mystery the group provides.

There are a lot of historical facts, as well as legends, surrounding the earlier McClendons. Here is one of the things I found. "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)”

Another tradition carries the origin of the clan back to a certain chief of the Logans of Druimdeurfait at the end of the thirteenth century. After a bloody battle with the Frasers, in which the chief was killed, his widow was carried off by the victors, and soon afterward gave birth to the chief’s son. The story relates that the boy was deliberately deformed in order to prevent his ever attempting to avenge his father’s death. The deformity apparently caused him to be a hunchback. “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.”

Still another clan legend is that a great castle built in AD 901 by Cormac MacCullenan, Bishop 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. These ecclesiastical ruins are a tourist attraction.

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 picture is of the McClendon House in Tyler, Texas.
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