The McPhail Family of Sampson County

By Claude H. Moore (1916-1994)

It is believed that all the MacPhails in the United States stem from the ancient MacPhails of Scotland. In Scotland there were three branches of the family. One group were parts of the MacIntosh Clan in Perth County.

I have known members of the MacPhail family all my life. I have taught several descendants and once I spoke at the MacPhail family reunion when it met at Herring School in Sampson County.

Duncan Campbell MacPhail and his brother came directly from Scotland to Cumberland County, North Carolina, prior to the American Revolution. Duncan MacPhail Jr., received grants of land in Sampson County near Coharie Swamp as early as 1797 and in 1806 he bought a plantation near Beaman’s Crossroads from Bedredon Carraway. In fact, this tract included the old Carraway Museum, which was considered one of the finest old plantation houses in north Sampson. The second generation spelled their name McPhail.

In 1810 Duncan McPhail was married to Pheroby Warren (1777-1876), the daughter of Isaiah Warren, who was a soldier of the American Revolution and the ancestor of the large Warren Clan in Sampson County.

Duncan and Pheroby had the following children: Mary (b.1812), who married Wiley Herring; Ann Eliza who married Bennett Warren (1807-1889); Duncan Campbell (born 1818); Catherine who married Anthony Currie; and Isaiah McPhail (1824-1903) who married Ellen Sophia Parker (1829-1907) and had 14 children and a foster son. Isaiah McPhail bought large tracts of land, operated a watermill, and had a prosperous turpentine business. He was also one of the founders of Hopewell Methodist Church.

The 14 children of Isaiah and Ellen Parker McPhail were: Margaret Ann MacPhail (1846-1934) who married William Daughtry (1833-1904) and had one foster son; Duncan Campbell McPhail (1848-1928) who married Isabella Tart and had 10 children: Joseph R. McPhail (1850-1933) who married Martha Ann Westbrook, lived in Mount Olive, had eight children, the youngest being the late Harvey McPhail of Mount Olive; Marcellus McPhail (1852-1930) who married Sara M. Warren and had several children; Mary E. V. McPhail (1853-1893) who married P. C. A. Tart and had six children; Pheroba Catharine McPhail (1857-1938) who married Winslow Tart and had nine children; Sarah Elizabeth McPhail (1859-1939) who married Marshall Newman and had 13 children; Mattie J. McPhail (1861-1929) who married Henry B. Culbreth and had one son; James Adelaide McPhail (1864-1952) who married William Blake Warren (1862-1934) and had seven children; Fannie L. McPhail (b.1866) who married Henry E. Brewer (1860-1934) and had four children; Ada R. McPhail (168-1952) who married Jasper C. Weeks and had eight children; Minne E. McPhail (1871-1922) who married William Repton Herring (1866-1922) and had 10 children; Portia Ida McPhail (b.1873) who married Arthur Vann, lived at Beaman’s Crossroads and had 11 children; Bertha P. McPhail (b. 1875) who married Rufus A. Herring and had 10 children; and a foster son, James Henry Vann (1868-1913) who married Cordellia Warren and had six children.

A host of the McPhail descendants served in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. Lawrence G. Wilson and Mrs. Fannie Vann Simmons did an excellent history of the McPhail family in 1968 and I am indebted to them for the data in this article.

* Reprinted with permission of the Mount Olive Tribune