Family Stories

The McQuown Family of Nelson and Barren Counties

Glasgow Municipal Cemetery, Barren County, Kentucky.

In the Glasgow Municipal Cemetery, located at 303 Leslie Avenue, in Glasgow, Kentucky, is buried a family by the name of McQuown.  This family was originally from Nelson County, Kentucky. And our story begins there.  William McQuown and Mary Elizabeth McCown married in Nelson County, October 27, 1827.

In the 1850 census of Nelson County we find William McQuown, age 44, a painter, living with his wife, Mary Elizabeth, age 47.  Their children are Burr, 21, a painter; Mary, 18; Alexander, 13; William Rice, 11; and Lewis, 7.  A son, Richard, was born in 1845, but lived less than a year.  Mary Elizabeth McQuown died about 1854; and daughter Mary died October 3, 1857.  This must have been very hard for the rest of the family to bear.

Evidently they decided to pick up and move to Barren County.  There we find the marriage certificate, dated November 15, 1856, for B. K. McQuown, residence of Glasgow, age 30, single, place of birth, Nelson County; who married Mariam Richardson, residence Glasgow, age 20, single born in Glasgow, Kentucky.  In the 1860 census Burr, 31, is listed as head of household, and is a cargo maker.  I’ve pondered this for most of the day.  To jump ahead just a bit, William McQuown is listed as an undertaker in the 1880 census.  I looked up cargo maker and most sites talked about making a basket type item to carry cargo in.  But, the word coffin comes from the Old French coffin, and from the Latin, cophinus, which translates into basket.  A coffin has six sides, a casket has four.  Could this have been another way of saying they made coffins?  We may never know.  Let me show you the household list:

  • McQuown, Burr K., 31, cargo maker
  • McQuown, Mariam, 28
  • McQuown, Wiliam A., 3
  • McQuown, Mary E., 2
  • McQuown, Richard, 6/12
  • McQuown, Alexander, 23, cargo maker
  • McQuown, Lewis, 17, apprentice
  • McQuown, William, 54, painter
  • Graham, Charles J., 23, cargo maker, Nova Scotia
  • Kell, William H., 25, plater, Ireland
  • Nickolds, Frank, 27, cargo maker
  • McGillock, James, 20, wagon maker
  • McGillock, William A., 17, apprentice

More than just the family living and working together.  We see Burr’s father, William, and his two brothers, Alexander and Lewis, living with Burr, his wife and small children.  It must have been a very busy place, with so many people living and working together.  But they sound like a very productive bunch!

Burr McQuown joined the Confederate Army during the Civil War.  He was in Company K, 7th Regiment, Kentucky Cavalry.  He was a bugler!  But we will save that story for another time.

In 1870 we find William, 65, painter, has married again – to Mary J., 49.  Son Lewis, 25, is a lawyer and Alexander, 23, is a painter.  Burr and Mariam have three more children, Burr, Leslie and Lewis.  Burr is now listed as a painter.

In 1880 William McQuown, 75, has the occupation of undertaker.  Mary J., is 60.  Son Alexander is still living with his parents at the age of 43, and is a painter.  And a grandson, Lewis A., also lives in the household.

William McQuown, December 14, 1804 – April 13, 1885.

Mary J. McQuown, wife of William McQuown, June 9, 1820 – July 18, 1897.

William McQuown died April 13, 1885.  He and his second wife, Mary J., who died July 18, 1897, are buried side by side.

Alexander McQuown, December 10, 1836 – July 31, 1885

Alexander McQuown died July 31, 1885.

Mariam, wife of B. K. McQuown, born January 15, 1833, died February 19, 1887.

Miriam Richardson McQuown died February 19, 1887, and husband Burr Kavanaugh McQuown November 2, 1904.  Other members of the family lived on into the early and mid-1900’s.

Burr Kavanaugh McQuown, June 18, 1829 – November 2, 1904.

2 replies »

  1. Enjoyed this article. You might be interested in exploring the history of the Denton family of Merry Oaks, Barren County, Kentucky (Denton was a Revolutionary War veteran whose obit makes him sound like the “Forrest Gump” of the Revolutionary War and who was one of the original settlers who came with the Boone and Scholl families). And if you ever go back to Glasgow (or know someone there who is a photographer), a number of us with relatives buried in the Wininger Cemetery–apparently located on the Ken Wininger farm on the Old Oil City Road (Brooks Road on city maps)–would love to obtain photos of gravestones there. Below is a description of the cemetery from Find-a-Grave. Thanks.

    C. Boone Schwartzel
    Houston, Texas

  2. You have done an excellent job on this site. Should you wish to go further back in time, go to Wikitree, a free genealogy site and you will find this family and their ancestors back to John who paid the “Hearth Tax” in 1665 in County Monaghan, Ulster.

    Bruce E. McEwen

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