THE MC CARTYS OF VIRGINIA
Charles and Owen McCartie, the first of the name in America-- The Town of Kinsale, Va., founded by Irish Colonists about 1662--Dennis MacCarthy, patentee of lands in Rappahannock and Princess Anne Counties in 1675--Daniel McCarty, King's Attorney in Virginia in 1692--A wealthy land-owner --Speaker of the Virginia House of Burgesses, 1705-- 1715--His interesting career--Other Irish pioneers in Virginia
In the State Paper Department at the Public Record Office of England there are still preserved some of the passenger lists of the ships that left English ports for the American Colonies during the seventeenth century. The copies of these manuscripts, as transcribed by John Camden Hotten, are familiarly known as "Hotten's Original Lists" and were published at London in the year 1874, under the title of "The Original Lists of Persons of Quality, Emigrants, Religious Exiles, Political Rebels, Serving Men, sold for a term of years, etc., who went from Great Britain to the American Plantations between 1600 and 1700."
The "Immigrant Lists to Virginia" of this period contain a surprisingly large number of Irish names, and among those who came to Virginia in the Plaine Joane
which sailed from London on May 15, 1635, were Charles and Owen McCartie. 1 The Plaine Joane is said to have disembarked her passengers at Newport News in whose immediate vicinity some of them are known to have settled, while others moved out along the James and Rappahannock Rivers, where they worked as laborers on the plantations or later received grants of uncultivated lands themselves. A search through the Virginia records fails to disclose any trace of the whereabouts of Charles or Owen McCartie, except that mention is made of their names in the records of Norfolk County, where it is said that Charles was-aged twenty-seven and Owen eigh-teen at the time of their arrival. Their names do not appear in the early land patents, which indicates the probability that they came over as "redemptioners" and were employed in some capacity by Virginia planters.
It is noted that they came to this country, not direct from Ireland but from the port of London. At that time and during the period of Oliver Cromwell's activities in Ireland, thousands of Irish youths of both sexes were forcibly seized, taken to English ports and thence transported across the seas. Some were sent to the islands of the West Indies and others to the American Colonies, where they were placed in the service of the planters of Virginia and New England, and in the Colonial records may be found the names of many of those Irish boys and girls acting as servitors to their English masters. No discrimination was made as to the social standing of the families who were visited by these
traffickers in human lives, and Prendergast relates, in The Cromwellian Settlement of Ireland, the shocking details of the seizures of boys and girls of gentle birth who were caught and hurried to the private prisons of these English "man-catchers" and afterwards transported to the American plantations.
It is not perhaps, assuming too much to say that Charles and Owen McCartie were brothers, and no doubt at their age were able-bodied men, and consequently equipped by nature to brave the unknown perils and undergo the privations of a savage and unreclaimed wilderness. If, as appears from a tradition which exists among the McCartys of Virginia, they left the protection of the seaboard settlements and proceeded inland as the servitors of some planter or to carve out destinies for themselves, we can imagine that they were possessed of no mean courage, when we consider the conditions that prevailed in the then unexplored region that stretched from Chesapeake Bay north and west to the Blue Ridge and Shenandoah mountains. At this period, much of that territory was nothing more than a vast hunting ground upon which the savage tribes of the west and south killed elk and buffalo and occasionally encountered each other in bloody conflict. Few permanent settlements existed within its borders. It was inhabited mostly by Indians hostile to the whites, each and all of whom fiercely disputed the settlement of the territory. To meet these conditions required men with nerves of iron and sinews of steel, and it is men of that caliber only that were instrumental in redeeming the great Southwest from the savage and opening the way for the stream of civilization which has since poured over its fertile plains.
The family tradition says that Charles and Owen, in
course of time, returned to the seaboard and found a permanent location for settlement in one of the Virginia Counties bordering on Chesapeake Bay, and that they were among those who began the settlement known afterwards as the town of Kinsale, at the mouth of the Yeocomico River, a branch of the Potomac, about the year 1662. If that were true, it suggests the probability, as in the case of Charles McCarthy of Rhode Island hereinafter referred to, that these interesting pioneers came from Kinsale in the County of Cork and that the name of the Virginia town was selected in memory of their original home in Ireland. 2 Kinsale, Va., is a place that is seldom heard of and it has grown but little in the 250 years of its existence, though it appears to have been a place of much trade in tobacco in colonial days; its shipping was considerable at one time and although it gave promise of becoming a town of no small importance, yet, like many other old places in the South, it failed to fulfill expectations.
But, despite the tradition, it is hardly probable that Charles and Owen McCartie were among the founders of Kinsale, because their names do not appear in any of the Virginia land records. It cannot be supposed that the "founders" of a town could be other than substantial colonists, and as nearly all men of standing and substance in those days were landed proprietors, since it does not appear that Charles or Owen McCartie received any grant of land from the Colony it must be assumed that they were employed in some lowly capacity