Documents and Data
and sons Daniel, Malcolm and Patrick:
Our Immigrant Ancestors?
(Follow the highlighted links to the documentation for this information.)
Oral tradition is that the common ancestors of the Cape Fear Monroes was a
John Munro who settled in the region with three sons. That is probably true. The
earliest record of a Munro in the area is John Munro's land grant in Bladen Co. in 1753.
(This is actually now in Cumberland Co. Keep in mind that as new counties are formed, the
records change to the new county, although the person hasn't moved.) John was born about
1700, based on a 1762 Cumberland Co. court
record in which he is recommended to the General Assembly to be exempted from taxes
due to old age, "he being about 60 years of age."
John's three son's were Patrick, Daniel and Malcolm. That relationship is documented in Patrick's 1797 will in which he names his executors to
be "... John Munroe my brother Daniel son of Cumberland County and John Munroe
brother Malcolms son...." Little more is known about Patrick and his wife, Flora. He
seems to have lived on the east side of the Cape Fear River, in what is now Harnett Co.
Several times he is assigned
by the court to work the roads in that area. That he named his nephews to execute his
will suggests that he had no sons, or at least no grown sons, although he mentions his
children in his will and one daughter, Margaret, by name. We don't know what became of his
line. He died between July 25, 1797, the date his will was written and the October, 1797
term of court when it was recorded.
Daniel, often referred to as "Old Daniel," lived on the Lower Little River, in
the vicinity of Pope Air Force Base. In fact, the old Munro cemetery there was probably
covered over by the Pope landing field. There is a monument at the field to that
effect. Daniel operated a toll bridge over the river, a grist mill and a tavern, called an
"ordinary" back then. During the Revolution, the Patriots destroyed Daniel's
bridge to slow the British army. Later, the
county agreed to pay to rebuild the bridge on the condition that Daniel no longer
collect tolls Daniel died prior to April 28, 1787, based on the court
John's third son, Malcolm Munroe, received several
land grants on either side of Drowning Creek in Cumberland/Moore and Anson/Montgomery
counties. Because there are about seven different Malcolm Monroes in the same area during
this era, we've nicknamed this one "Drowning Creek Malcolm" or DC Malcolm.
Like his brother, Daniel, he operated a toll bridge, mill and an ordinary. In 1772, he
built a fine home overlooking the creek, which is still standing (see article and photo) but unfortunately, he died in July
of that year.
Moving forward a generation, "Old Daniel" Monroe had at least two sons:
Malcolm Munroe, his oldest son, and John Munroe, mentioned in Patrick's will.
By a 1799 deed, Malcolm assigns his interest in the
property he inherited from his father to his brother, John Munroe. In an 1828 partition suit, this same property,
belonging to John's estate, is divided among John's three sons, Daniel, Christopher and
John (Jr.). John's 1827 will names those
three sons, daughters Mary Ann and Annabella, and wife Catherine.
Malcolm, John's brother, was a Patriot in the American Revolution, serving
as a private in Capt. McCranie's Company (see DAR documents). Both
Malcolm and his father, Daniel, were involved in the Massacre at Piney
Bottom, as described in The Old North State In 1776, by Rev. Eli Caruthers,
1854. Malcolm owned much land in Cumberland and Moore counties, and seems to have
been a land speculator. He ultimately settled in Moore Co. in the vicinity of Union
Presbyterian Church, so we have nicknamed him "Union Church Malcolm" or UC
Malcolm, for short. He was a justice of the peace and one of the original commissioners
who selected the site for the county seat and courthouse when Moore Co. was formed. Even
today, one of the four streets leading to the courthouse circle is named Monroe Street for
him. When the town was laid-off, there were 16 building lots plotted around the
courthouse. Malcolm, ever the wheeler-dealer, bought six lots for himself.
At this point, unfortunately, these families disappear into the mist of
history. Numerous courthouse fires and "Our Recent Unplesantness" (aka,
the Civil War) destroyed most records from the first half of the ninteenth century.
We do know that "Union Church Malcolm" had one son, Patrick Munroe (1810-1859,
spouse, Christian Margaret McNeill) whose line is document in the above-referenced DAR
papers. Malcolm may have another son, Neill Munroe. Dugald Monroe, whose family is documented in the Genealogy section of this web site, may
have been a son of Neill, or possibly, Malcolm's son.
Similarly, another Malcolm Munroe (nicknamed "Alabama Malcolm"
as he emigrated there in 1842) who is also documented here,
could have been the son or grandson of "Drowning Creek" Malcolm. Alabama
Malcolm was born in Nov. 1773 and Drowning Creek Malcolm died before July 1772. Assuming
gestation periods haven't changed significantly in 200 years, one of those dates has to be
wrong for them to be father and son.
If the two Malcolms are grandfather and grandson, then who is the father? We do know
that DC Malcolm had one son named John (from Patrick's will) and that John and Dugald
Munroe were named to work the road from DC Malcolm's bridge after Malcolm's death,
suggesting they were his sons. There are various records showing Archibald, Daniel,
Malcolm (another one!) and Catron* Munroe in the in the area of DC Malcolm and in a
time-frame which suggest they could be his sons. So, Alabama Malcolm could be the
son of John, Dugald, Donald, Daniel, Malcolm, Catron or Archibald -- or yet another
unknown son of DC Malcolm. Unfortunately, from Moore County's formation in 1784 until
sometime in 1880, the courthouse burned three times. Virturally no Moore Co. records
survive. We may never definitively know the answer.
* The name "Catron" was found
in a printed record and may be a mis-transcription of "Colin" a very popular
name in this line of Monroes.