McNitt and McNutt

Over the years I have received copies of this history from several descendants of the McNutts who settled in Sandusky, Ottawa, Seneca, and Erie counties in north central Ohio. Internal evidence shows that the author of this history was David McNitt (1837-1929), son of David and Pallas (Rogers) McNitt. The annotations contain additional information added by William McNitt, 3400 LaSalle Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48108.

Original Text

 Bill McNitt's Annotations

Duncan and Donald McNitt were Highland Scotch and first settled in western New York in 1730.  Duncan had four sons: Duncan, Donald, David, and Barney. The first three (the records in Washington show) were soldiers of the Revolution. The names Duncan and Donald do not appear in any known McNitt records from this era. According to The MacNauchtan Saga by V.V. McNitt, the family originally came from Galloway in the lowlands of Scotland. The earliest McNitts in New York settled in the eastern part of the state in 1769.

Revolutionary War records at the National Archives show the following McNitts: Alexander, Alexander Jr., Daniel, Andrew, David, and John of New York; and Andrew, John, Adam, Barnard, and Barnabas of Massachusetts. No Duncans or Donalds appear. Circumstantial evidence later in the history makes it likely that "Donald" is actually Daniel McNitt and "Barney" is Benjamin McNitt. If you substitute the name Alexander for Duncan, the sentence begins to fit with known records about the McNitts of Salem, Washington County, New York, although Benjamin was actually a grandson of Alexander rather than a son.

Duncan, Donald, and Barney bore the name of McNitt; David my grandfather, went by the name of McNutt. David's son John McNutt was born in 1776 and Andrew, whose birth date is not known, is described as the oldest of David's children, so David was probably born in the early 1750s. Alexander McNitt of Salem, Washington County, New York was the only McNitt of his generation who was married early enough to be David's father.

In the 1790 census, all of the McNitts of Washington County, New York appear as McNutts.

David McNutt had five sons and three daughters.  Uncle Andrew, the older, was married three times. By his first marriage, he had three children, Margaret or Peggie, Ira and Abigail. By his second wife he had Lydia, Susan, and Ann, and by his third, Matilda. View a record of Andrew's descendants.


Grandfather's folks came to Ohio in 1815 in a sailing schooner named Alice, from Buffalo. Captain Fox, or "Prairie Fox" as he was called, was captain of the Alice which was considered a big vessel at that time, being eighty feet long.
Grandfather's youngest son, Alexander, whom I remember having seen but twice, had a memorable experience on this trip. While lying in a berth he heard a cry, "Child Overboard!" and rushing up on deck he leaped into the water. A high wind was blowing and Captain Fox told me it was two hours before he succeeded in picking Alexander and the child up. To hold up a child for two hours in a boisterous sea must have been no easy task. Alexander was born between 1795 and 1800.
Uncle Daniel, the next older son of David, was at New Orleans with Jackson during the War of 1812.

I found a Daniel McNutt who served as a private in Captain Elias Hull's company of Colonel Philetus Swift's regiment of the New York state militia between August and December 1812 at Black Rock, Niagara County, New York. Another private in that company was Alexander McNutt, who served from May to December 1812. 

Black Rock is now part of Buffalo, but it was a separate village and served as a major strategic point during the War of 1812. In a shipyard located near the mouth of Scajaquada Creek were built the boats used by Sir Oliver Hazard Perry during the Battle of Put-In-Bay in September 1813. Protected by a block house, the plank bridge over the creek also served as a major strategic point.  Three skirmishes were fought in the area during the war.

Both Daniel and Alexander McNutt were listed in payroll records as having deserted on December 28, 1812, but there is some evidence that Daniel returned to the militia later in the war.

Andrew, the oldest son, has but one descendant living, so far as I know. She is Mrs. Whitmore who lives at Whitmore, Sandusky Co., Ohio who is Uncle Andrew's great, great grand daughter. Two years ago when I visited her she said that she knew of no other of Uncle Andrew's descendants who were living. This is probably Isabella Dunham Whitmore (1860-1934), actually a great granddaughter of Andrew.
Uncle Andrew's family lived on the farm of Luthrus D. Cook at Bloomingville, Ohio. Uncle Andrew had charge of the farm and Uncle John lived with him. Luthrus D. Cook was as crooked as could be and, being in bad shape financially and wanting to take the bankrupt law, he gave Uncle Andrew a deed of trust to his farm. When Luthrus D. Cook died, the farm was in Uncle Andrew's name and Uncle Andrew died leaving it in his name but the Cook heirs got it back through tax-title some years later. According to one correspondent, this might be Eleutheros Cooke of Sandusky, Erie, Ohio, but Eleutheros did not die until 1864 and Andrew must have died long before then. 

Bloomingville is in Perkins Township, Erie County.

Margaret Boiden's family, I never knew. I met a man who was station agent for the Lake Shore Railroad at Monroe, Mich. about 27 years ago. As near as we could figure it out, he was a grandson of Margaret Boiden. Could she be Margaret McNutt Boyden (1789-1867) who lived in Chenango and Cortland Counties in New York and never moved to Ohio? That might explain why the author never knew her family.
Uncle John's family consisted of Francis, whom the older ones know then Phoebe, John, Calvin, Mrs. Sam Brown, David, Isabell, and James D. John was born in 1776.  I have been unable to find any record of a Sam Brown in this area who is of the right age, but Elizabeth, widow of Jacob Brown, lived near John McNutt in 1850. Among her children are sons named Calvin and Francis (like two of John McNutt's sons).

View a record of John's descendants.

Aunt Betsey Baker's family were Charles, Jefferson, George, Shepard, and John and Dianna Stull. Betsey was born in the 1780s, but I have been unable to find a more specific date.  View a record of Betsey's descendants.
There were six in David, my father's family: Andrew, Sally, Mary, Maria, Thomas, and David. David was born in 1782 or 1783.  View a record of David's descendants.
Isabell Davis' family consisted of Gertrude Lockwood and Andrew Davis. I am somewhat mixed as to the families of Uncle Daniel and Uncle Alexander. I know of some of them but am not sure whether they are of Uncle Daniel's or Uncle Alexander's family. Isabel was born between 1786 and 1790.  View a record of Isabel's descendants.

Daniel was born in 1789 or 1790.  View a record of Daniel's descendants.

Alexander was born in the 1790s.  View a very incomplete record of his family.

Duncan McNitt settled with his family on the shores of Shimmo Bay, Lake Ontario. I never saw but one of his family and I saw him when I was about 20 years old. I was sailing on a schooner and this man, Captain Shubale McNitt, was captain of a Northern Transportation Propeller running from Ogdensburg, N.Y. up the St. Lawrence to all the lake ports. He was married and had a family living at Shimmo Bay. I met him first at Buffalo and again, at Sandusky but I do not know whether any of his family are living. Shimmo Bay could be Chaumont Bay in Jefferson County, NY. Quite a few McNitts lived in Jefferson County. Most of them were descended from Barnard McNitt's son John or grandson Samuel.

I have not found a McNitt with the first name Shubale in my many years of research.

Donald McNitt's family are scattered in Michigan; one near Owosso, another at Cadillac, and one near Ravenna between Grand Rapids and Muskegon, Michigan.  Barney's family settled near Clyde, Bellevue and vicinity. This "Donald" McNitt must be Daniel McNitt (1789-1854), son of the Daniel McNitt who served in the Revolutionary War. From 1835 until his death Daniel Jr. lived in Thompson Township, Seneca County, Ohio. Several of his children moved to the area between Grand Rapids and Muskegon, Michigan, including two who lived at Ravenna. Daniel McNitt Jr. was my great-great-great grandfather.  

Several of Daniel's nephews (sons of his deceased brother Elijah) lived near him in Ohio. Eventually some of Elijah's descendants settled near Cadillac, Michigan. I am not aware of any McNitts near Owosso.  

The only McNitts living near Clyde and Bellevue were children of Daniel McNitt Jr.'s brother Benjamin McNitt (1785-1851).

My grandfather was raised by his grandfather and always went by the name David McNitt, the name having been borne by his grandfather, and three uncles before him. My father drove to Ohio with a team in 1837 and landed at Muskcash, eight miles west of Sandusky. Here he traded one of his horses to my cousin, Ira McNutt, and that horse was sold to Hollister and Bolt to haul the first car that run over the first railroad in Ohio, the Sandusky and Monroeville, which later became the Sandusky, Mansfield, and Newark, but is now known as the B. & O. I think the author meant to say that his father (not grandfather) was raised by his grandfather, since it was his father, and not his grandfather, who went by the name David McNitt.  If the author's father David was truly as closely related to "Donald" and "Barney" (Daniel and Benjamin) McNitt as is claimed here, his grandfather would have been named McNitt, but didn't have the first name David.

The correct spelling is of the town is Mustcash. It is in Margaretta Township of Erie County.

When father was a young man he used to pilot on the rafts on the Monogahela and Allegeny Rivers to Cincinnati on the Ohio river. After he married mother he farmed in Chautauqua County N.Y. until he came to Ohio in 1837 when I was about eight weeks old. Later he and my brother Andrew owned a farm in the northeast corner of Sandusky Co. Many descendants of Barnard McNitt's son David McNitt (born 1731) and his wife Martha Patrick lived in Chautauqua County, NY. There is chance that the family described in this history could be descended from this David rather than his half-brother Alexander McNitt of Salem, NY, but that would mean that "Donald" and "Barney" (really Daniel and Benjamin) McNitt would not have been as closely related as the author seems to believe.
Uncle John and his family came from New York state in 1817 on a flat boat on which he placed his oxen and wagon. They landed at a place called Whetstone on the Ohio river. Here he sold his flat boat, loaded his stuff on the wagon drawn by the oxen and drove across the state to Bloomingville, six miles south of Sandusky. Three days later the oxen got the trembles, or "milk sick" as it was called, so he could not use them until winter. They put in no crops that first summer, but he cut hay for Luthrus D. Cook.
Uncle John used to travel through the country making looms for weaving, usually using black walnut for this purpose. In those days women spun wool and wove the cloth for their clothing. He used to use a howell and dig bowls out of black ash knots which he sold at a good price. I remember a bowl that he made for my mother that measured two feet across. Father had brought up a black ash knot which he intended using to make a maul. Uncle John saw this knot and said to my mother, "Pallace, there's the makin's of a good bread bowl."  David's wife's name is often spelled Pallas.
"Yes," said mother, "when David brought it up I said that I wished Uncle John was here to make me a bread bowl of that knot."
"Well," said Uncle John, "I guess I might as well start right about it," and when Father came home the black ash knot was spoiled for making a maul. The last time I saw that bowl was in 1863 at Sister Mary's in Bluemound, Wisconsin, where it was still doing service as a bread bowl in the second generation. This is Blue Mounds, Dane County, Wisconsin. Mary and her husband Grant Barnes lived there for a while, but moved to Union, Hardin County, Iowa in 1869.
I think Uncle John died near Ballville on the Sandusky river in 1849.  Mother said to Father, "David, I feel as though if we don't go to see Uncle John We'll never see him again." We were living then in Muskash and while Uncle John was in good health, still, because Mother felt so about it, she and Father drove to Uncle John's, a distance of thirty miles, and before spring both mother and Uncle John had died. Pallas McNitt died on February 16, 1849 and is buried in Castalia Cemetery, Castalia, Erie County, Ohio.  John McNutt died October 11, 1852 and is buried in Lacarpe Cemetery, Erie, Ottawa County, Ohio.

Muskcash is Mustcash, Margaretta Township, Erie County.

When Uncle John's son, David, was about 13 years old he went with a man to drive cattle south. They never heard from him afterward. One of James McNutt's sons met a man while he was in the army whose name was David McNutt and whom he said looked exactly like his uncle Frank. He had come from the north and was living in Nashville but had never given any history of himself and was supposed to be a rebel. Frank is apparently John McNutt's son Francis.
Barney's family I have not seen in years. Peter, while he lived in Clyde, used to farm in the summer and teach in the winter. Later he moved to Paw Paw, Michigan, and one of the Dunham boys told me that he had the nicest farm anywhere around Paw Paw. Peter McNitt (1818-1899) was the son of Benjamin McNitt (1785-1851). Peter married Deborah Rice in 1841 in Sandusky County, OH and lived there for several years. He later lived in Van Buren County, Michigan, which is where Paw Paw is located.
Pardon, his brother, was quite a joker. He got into an argument one time with one of my cousins as to why the name had been changed from McNitt to McNutt and Pardon said, "I'll tell you why, it was changed. They were afraid the name would get lousy so they changed it to McNutt." Pardon W. McNitt (1825-1863) also moved on to Michigan. Besides Peter and Pardon, at least three others of Benjamin's children lived for a while in proximity to the McNutts - Elijah and Franklin in Sandusky County and Cordelia in Seneca County.
Last summer while riding from Grand Rapids to Charlotte, Mich. about a two hours ride, I conversed on general topics with a man whose seat I shared. When we reached Charlotte a gentleman walked in and reached out his hand, saying, "How do you do, McNitt", and to my surprise he was speaking to the other man. I reached out my hand and said, "I'll have to shake hands with you on that name for my name is McNitt, too." The train was moving than so we had no chance for a conversation.
What I have written is what Uncle John and Father talked over while I was small and, later, Aunt Betsey and Father and Aunt Isabell.
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