Saturday, July 16, 2011

Surname Saturday: What is the connection between James P. McPherson and Wm. and A. Cairncross?

James Peter McPherson's Diary of his years in Springdale, Wisconsin, has pulled me back through the strands of time.  His friends and neighbors are now as close, or closer, than many my current friends and neighbors --- well at least in some ways.  Unfortunately, I know little about the people named in J. P.'s diary (now "J.P." is my short hand for my 2x great grandfather) and I plan to use Saturday Surname to highlight some of these names and hope that someone reader might know about some of these people of  J.P.'s diary.

The first family name that I am listing is CAIRNCROSS.  There are two CAIRNCROSS men, WilliaM and A. (which may be for Alexander).  I don't know their relationship to one another, but I do know that they have been in Cincinati and Pittsburgh before coming to Springdale.  J.P. might also have know them in Scotland before 1842, or in New York City, during the years 1842 through 1849.

My first introduction to the CAIRNCROSS family is when  J.P. notes in his diary on January 24, 1851, that he had "posted a letter to CAIRNCROSS."  This letter was written shortly after J.P.  moves his family into his newly completed log house. The connection between the two families is strong because over the next year and a half, J.P. regularly exchanges letters with Wm. and A. CAIRNCROSS.  By June, 1852, Wm. CAIRNCROSS arrives in Springdale, Wisconsin, and J.P. helps him look for land, cut logs, and build his house. William  helps J.P. as well during the five months that William is buildng his house in Springdale.  Immediately after CAIRNCROSS'  house is "raised," Wm. returns to Cincinnati and the letters resume.  By 1853 both Wm. and A. CAIRNCROSS return to  Springdale.

I am interested to know if anyone out there in this cyber-community of genealogist knows or has ties to the CAIRNCROSS family.  If you all know these folks, leave a message.


  1. I'm sorry to say I don't know your Cairncross family but I did want to say how wonderful it is that you have letters and J.P.'s diary. Despite not knowing the connection between J.P. and the Cairncross men, I'm sure you've found lots of other helpful information in the diary. I admit: I'm just a little envious!

  2. Nancy, Thanks for reading and commenting --- always greatly appreciated. Reading the diary is like having a bit of history unfold before my eyes -- in just the little bits of day to day living. A treasure.

  3. Good luck with finding the Cairncrosses and thus a link to your family. They will also be thrilled to have the day to day info on their family.