Gerrard McClanahan & Descendants

Gerrard McClanahan was the son of James McClanahan and Lettice Mooney Crabb (a widow) of Westmoreland County, Virginia. James McClanahan is, according to other researchers, the son of William McClanahan.

Chancery Record – heirs of James McClanahan

Gerrard married his wife Sarah Rust, nicknamed Sally, on 21 April 1796 in Fauquier County, Virginia. Although I’ve found no death record as of this writing, his death likely occurred about the year 1813.

After his death, Gerrard’s widow “Sally” (Sarah Rust) and their four children left Fauquier County, Virginia, and came to Kanawha County, West Virginia. Gerrard’s sons John Robert, Benjamin, and William Smith McClanahan were named in Fauquier County Deed Book 17, pg. 364, on Feb 1, 1806. His youngest son, George Fleet McClanahan is named in Book 31, pg. 240 of Kanawha Co., WV, Nov 6, 1830. From this and the Censuses below, we can ascertain that all of Gerrard McClanahan’s descendants were living in Kanawha County no later than 1820 (excerpted from an article posted 10 Aug 2010 by robinbell1113,

The family was all living in Kanawha County according to the 1820 Census (begun 7 Aug 1820) and all were living in one household with Sarah McClanahan listed as the Head of Household. Each is enumerated as follows:

  • 2 Males 10-16 [George Fleet & William Smith];
  • 1 male 16-18 [Benjamin];
  • 1 male 18-25 [John Robert];
  • 1 female 45 and over [Sarah];
  • 1 female slave 26-44 years old.

It is apparent from the ages of the sons in the census and the absence of any females other than their mother Sally and a female slave that these men most likely married in Kanawha County. However, the marriage records have either not been indexed or they are obscured so badly that indexing is impossible. Only the marriage of George Fleet McClanahan to Elizabeth Melton in 1833 is indexed. While I can’t prove it at this time, I believe Sarah Rust McClanahan accompanied relatives to Kanawha, most likely a brother or two.

The 1830 Federal Census for Kanawha County provides the following names (note that this record is an alphabetized listing taken from the original; the original would reveal the neighbors’ names) – shown in separate households now: John and Benjamin are living in separate dwellings from mother Sarah:

  • McClanahan, Sarah: 2 males aged 20-30; 1 female 10-15; 1 female 50-60; *William Smith and George Fleet are still living at home. The female aged 10-15 may be a granddaughter or an error – errors were very common;
  • McClanahan, John: 1 male aged 5-10; 1 male 30-40; 2 females under 5; 1 female 10-15; 1 female 20-30;
  • McClanahan, Benjamin: 1 male aged 20-30; 1 female under 5; 1 female 5-10; 1 female 20-30;

Also note that these are the only McClanahan’s listed in both the 1820 and 1830 Censuses for the entirety of Kanawha County, an area that, at that time, included parts of present Mason, Jackson, Roane, Putnam, Fayette, and Nicholas Counties. From this, I believe we can conclude that the McClanahan’s of the Kelly’s Creek/Cross Lanes/Sissonville/Poca areas and the McClanahan’s of the Plymouth/Bancroft areas are  related, albeit distantly. This, of course, is based on those McClanahan’s whose families have lived in those areas for more than three generations. Exceptions are expected.

I personally descend from John Robert McClanahan and his second wife Jane Milam through my maternal grandmother, a descendant of Richard McClanahan & Rebecca Rollins.

My cousin Duane McClanahan’s father Ollin descends through James Polk McClanahan, elder brother of Richard (my ancestor), both being sons of John Robert and Jane Milam McClanahan.

Both Richard McClanahan and James Polk McClanahan are sons of John Robert McClanahan.

Children born to John Robert McClanahan and 2nd Wife, Jane Milam

My cousin Duane and I (as well as Duane’s siblings) share the same great-grandparents through both our maternal and paternal families: We are 5th Cousins through the McClanahan’s and 2nd Cousins-Once-Removed through the McGrew’s. For those of you who follow along, lines like this in one’s tree are called Pedigree Collapse.