Read your posting with interest. I have copies of letters from James McIlrath (1829-1862) to his wife Jane dated 1861 and 1862. Jane was living in Ill. at the time and was caring for their children. I have a letter from "Robert" (Robert John McIlrath) to James Hugh McIlrath (1842-1925), his brother, and their mother (Jane). James, the eldest, was in Company G, 31st Illinois Infantry from Cairo, Illinois. His second son, Robert John, ran away from home to join his father in the war in December of 1861. James was killed at the battle of Fort Donelson, Feb 15, 1862.
I have several pages of family tree that are difficult to decipher and take a direction away from my 'direct path'. I have James Hugh McIlrath (1842-1925) listed as the son of James and Jane. I will continue to try and research some of that branch. Isaac McIlrath was the brother of James Hugh and appears to be my direct decendent.
It looks as though James Hugh McIlrath may have married Dorris Mitchell but it is difficult to read. That branch of the tree doesn't seem to come any closer to present on my sheet. It also looks as if there may have been a James Hugh that sprang from Hugh McIlrath, brother of the eldest James, that lived until 1948. It appears that he and his wife, Janis?, had at least two children, Donald (1897-) and something Hugh (1895-).
At any rate, I will continue to look through my documents to find anything that may be of interest. I would be interested in your information to help fill out my tree.