Thursday, March 15, 2007


James McGregor
1835? – After 1895

James McGregor is one of the more elusive members of the Club in spite of the fact that he made one of the most callous comments to the press immediately following the Flood. The National Flood Memorial says he was an attorney and had obtained the rank of major. If that is so, then the other historic records of Pittsburgh’s contributions to the Civil War indicate that Pittsburgh lawyer James McGregor was mustered in on April 24,1861, enlisting as a lieutenant and rising to the rank of major.

In addition, here is what we do know about James McGregor

The SFF&HC member James McGregor was a director of the Allegheny National Bank along with fellow SFF&HC member John Caldwell Jr.

James McGregor married Margaret Mackey, who was born in Scotland in 1852. Margaret was the daughter of William (born 1823) and “Sabilla” (probably Isabella) (born 1820) Mackey, who with their family had immigrated to Pittsburgh sometime after 1860 but before 1870. They lived in the City of Allegheny, where William was enumerated as a skilled professional saddler.

James and Margaret Mackey McGregor had at least the following child:

Lyda “Lide” G. McGregor (born circa 1875) She married George L. Farrell (born circa 1872) of Columbus Ohio on October 7, 1896 in Pittsburgh, PA.

In the Pittsburgh and Allegheny Blue Book of 1895 Mrs. James McGregor (nee Margaret Mackey) and her daughter Lide G. McGregor are listed as living at 362 Highland Avenue, in the East End. Mr. McGregor is not listed with them, which suggests that either he had died or they had divorced by this time.

A separate listing for James McGregor in the 1880 census has him in a boarding house on Penn Avenue, enumerated as a self-employed lawyer and as married, even though no spouse is listed at the same address. This suggests the possibility that a short-lived marriage between James and Margaret may have occurred, sometime after 1870 and was over by 1880.

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If James and Margaret were indeed divorced, there is a possibly that James McGregor had sometime after 1889 (when we KNOW he was in Pittsburgh, given his idiotic comment to the newspapers about the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club's dam), gone west to Utah, as there is a James McGregor who served a director of the Crescent Mining Company in the 1890s, as the following indicates…

“The annual meeting of the Crescent Mining Company was held on Wednesday the 15th at Salt Lake; James McGregor, who has been superintendent of the company for the past year, is now elected also to the Executive Committee. (Pitchard, Park Record, Park City, 18 October 1890) ...”
”An item which notices that James McGregor is the managing director of the Crescent Mining Company. (Pitchard, Salt Lake Daily Herald, 22 March 1891)”

These would be in keeping with the fact that earlier a James McGregor had been superintendant of the Loyalhanna Mine of the Loyalhanna Coal and Coke Co. in Western Pennsylvania.

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Further speculation…

The census records for Pittsburgh and Allegheny are interesting but not specifically helpful.

If we look at the records for the 1870 census we find a James McGregor who is in charge of the U. S. Pensions Office in Pittsburgh, an important post coordinating the pensions of Civil War survivors and their spouses. He is enumerated as age 35 (so would have been born in 1835) and married to an Eliza ? with two children: Frances age ten (born in 1860) and Margaret age eight (born in 1862). If this is one and the same as the SFF&HC member than he was married twice, first to Eliza and then thereafter to Margaret Mackey.

In the 1880 census James is enumerated as a self-employed lawyer, as mentioned above and living at a boarding house on Penn Avenue. This having been said, he is also listed as age 49, which would mean either that one of the census records is incorrect or that one of these is not the SFF&HC James McGregor.

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