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John Sterling Cathcart
Genealogical Research

The following two letters are vitally important to my Cathcart lines genealogical research.  The first was written in May of 1910, and presents a genealogical outline—as best my great-grandfather understood it at the time—of his ancestors.  One of the more important details of this letter is the link created amongst the "Big 4 Cathcarts:" James, John, Matthew, and Samuel.

The letter was written one month before John and family were enumerated in the 1910 census in Winnsboro, South Carolina.  He is writing about family members who are living in the same small town as he... not some distant relatives living in a faraway land! This contemporaneous family outline allows us to attach great credibility to its contents.

In about the 15th paragraph of the letter, John discusses the family of Samuel Cathcart, Sr.—as he states, "the brother of his grandfather James."  

The second letter was written in 1943, and attempts to outline family connections between those Cathcarts who left the Winnsboro area in about 1843 and settled in South Western Illinois—what would have then been referred to as "the West."

John Sterling Cathcart - Family Letter/transcription

Names and Ancestors of John Sterling Cathcart
May 1910

James Cathcart, Sr., my grandfather, had three brothers. Namely: John, Matthew, and Samuel Cathcart. My grandfather, James Cathcart Sr., had six sons and two daughters, namely: John, Robert, James, Richard, Charles, and William Cathcart and daughters: Nancy and Jane Cathcart.

Charles Cathcart, my father, married Miss Sarah Lucinda Blain1  in the year 1859, Sept. 28.

They had five sons, namely: James Erving, Andrew Blain, Charles Erving, John Sterling, and Thomas Barkley Madden Cathcart.

James Erving married Miss Sue R. Lemmon. They had two sons, John Lemmon and James Riley Cathcart.

Charles Erving Cathcart married Miss Mary E. Clowney2 . They have three sons and one daughter: Charles E., Jr., Moses Clowney, and Melville Cathcart and Margaret Cathcart.

John Sterling Cathcart married Miss Maggie Elizabeth Foster from near Glenn Springs in Spartanburg County South Carolina. They had four children, two sons, James Foster, who died in infancy, and Thomas Madden Cathcart, and two daughters, Sarah Elizabeth Cathcart and E11en Cathcart, who died in 1910, age 10 years and nearly 4 months.

T. B. M. Cathcart married Miss Rosa Sease from Trenton, S. C. They had three sons, namely: Richard S., Samuel Lindsay, and Andrew Blain, and one daughter, Mittie.

A. B. Cathcart married Miss Euphemia Bollick -first marriage. Second time he married Miss Emma.

John Cathcart, brother of my father Charles Cathcart married in Ireland and moved to Illinois.

James Cathcart, brother of my father, Charles Cathcart, was married four times. First wife was a Miss McCreight -- no children. Second wife was a Miss Moore. Had two children. One son named Robert and one daughter named Eliza Cathcart (Peck). Third wife was a Miss Nelson. Had one son named James. Fourth wife was Miss Ann Carrol. Had one son, William J. Cathcart who now lives in Columbia (South Carolina).

Richard Cathcart was a brother of Charles Cathcart. Richard Cathcart married Miss Ellen Huey. They had one son., William Cathcart, who accidentally shot himself. His (Richard Cathcart) mind was deranged for several years before his death.

Dr. William Cathcart, a brother of my father Charles Cathcart, married Miss Nancy Beaty.3 They had two children, John Stavely Cathcart, Nancy lsabell Cathcart, and _________ __________.

[Note. In the manuscript "three children" was originally written, but later the "three" was crossed out and "two" written above it.  However, the blank spaces for the names of the third child were not erased.]

Miss Nancy I. Cathcart married William Crawford. They had three or four children: William I., Sumpter B., and Richard T. Crawford. Her second husband was Dr. T. B. Madden -- no children by this marriage.

Miss Jane Cathcart, a sister of my father, Charles Cathcart, married Rev. Campbell Madden. They had one son, Dr. Thomas B. Madden, and one daughter, Nancy Madden.

Samuel Cathcart, Senior was a brother to my grandfather, James Cathcart, Sr. He had five sons: John H., Samuel, and William Cathcart, the latter living in Ireland.  These three are full brothers. George and Robert Cathcart are half brothers, half brothers to John H., Samuel, and William Cathcart.

John H. Cathcart, Sr. married Miss Nancy Madden, and they had five children: William M., Thomas Madden, Mary and Bell Cathcart. He lived about thirty or more years of his last days in the asylum. His mind was deranged.

Richard Cathcart (better known as Dick) and Robert Cathcart were sons of George Cathcart, half brother to Samuel Cathcart, Sr. at Adgers.

John Stavely Cathcart was never married. He was a farmer the greater part of his life. He was a brother to Cousin Nancy Madden. Samuel Cathcart, Jr., who lives at Adgers, S. C. was the son of Samuel Cathcart, Sr., who was the brother of my grandfather James Cathcart, Sr.

Samuel Cathcart, Jr. married Miss Anna Elder. They had two sons, John H. Jr. and Robert Elder Cathcart and one daughter named Ella Shaw Cathcart. Miss Ella Shaw Cathcart married H. Elliot Kitchen. John H. Cathcart married Miss Mattie Harris from North Carolina. Robert Cathcart died of the effects of a fall he received in falling out of a tree.


Ancestors of John Sterling Cathcart on the Blain Side of the Family

Andrew Blain, my grandfather, had one brother, James Blain, Jr. and four sisters, namely:

Andrew Blain, my grandfather, married Miss Jeanette Sterling. They had nine children, three sons and six daughters, namely: Dr. Sterling Blain, James Blain, and Melville Blain, the last named was killed in the war; the daughters were named Mary, Sarah Lucinda, Narcissa, Margaret, Naiomi, and Emma.

Mary Blain married a Nelson. Aunt Narcissa Blain married a McCaw, living now ( 1910) in Texas.

Aunt Naiomi Blain married Mr. Setherson in Florida. No children. She went out there for her health.

Aunt Emma Blain married Mr. E. B. Morton in Florida. They have several children.

Aunt Margaret Blain never married. She taught school almost all of her life.

Dr. Sterling Blain was the son of Andrew Blain. He married Miss Sarah _______.

Sterling Blain was born Oct. 1, 1827 and died Oct. 4, 1860.  Graduated at Erskine College in 1846 and graduated in medicine in 1851. Andrew William, son of Dr. S. W. and S. J. Blain [was] born Dec. 14, 1859; died Nov. 6, 1860.

Jane (Jeanette) Sterling, wife of Andrew Blain -- Born Aug 1, 1803, Died Dec 5, 1886 - age 83 years, 4 months, 5 days. Buried in Hopewell graveyard.

Grandfather Andrew Blain was born Oct. 1, 1805; died Feb.19, 1892.  Age 86 years. Buried in Hopewell graveyard.

James Blain, Jr., brother of my grandfather, Andrew Blain, was born Feb. 20, 1797 and died July 16, 1860. Age 62 years, 4 months, and 27 days. Lost his mind, buried in Hopewell graveyard.

Mrs. Margaret Blain, mother of Grandfather Andrew Blain died May 26, 1834. Age about 73 years. Buried in Hopewell graveyard

Copied Aug. 27, 1940 by John V. Cathcart (grandson of John Sterling Cathcart).

Dates of Births and Deaths

(Copied, probably in 1940, from my grandfather's family Bible - JVC)

Sarah L. Cathcart was born Feb 7, 1832.

James Erving Cathcart was born Sept. 4, 1860.

Andrew Blain Cathcart was born Dec. 4, 1862

Charles Erving Cathcart was born Aug. 30, 1865

John Sterling Cathcart was born Feb. 12, 1868.

T. M. B. Cathcart was born July 24, 1870.

James M. Blain was born Aug. 6, 1842

Andrew Melville Blain was born Apr. 4, 1845.

Charles and S. L Cathcart were married Sept. 28, 1859.

Charles E. and Mary E. Cathcart were married Oct. 20, 1887.

John S. Cathcart and Maggie Foster were married Sept. 25, 1889.

Dr. Sterling Blain was born Oct. I, 1827, died Oct. 4, 1860

Charles Cathcart died May 30, 1873 -age 68 yrs.

Miss Nancy Cathcart died Nov. 29, 1879.

Sarah L. Cathcart died Nov. 9, 1905- 73 yrs., 9 mo. 2 days

Miss Margaret R. Blain died Sept. II, 1905- 71 yr., 6 mo.

James Foster Cathcart died July 7, 1891- 3 mo. 14 days

J. M. Blain died Oct. 26, 1913

Andrew Melville Blain born Apr .4, 1845; killed and buried on the battlefield near Campbell Station, Tenn. in 1863.

Ellen Cathcart, daughter of John S. and Maggie Cathcart, died Feb. 5, 1910.

T. B. M. Cathcart died Sept. 3, 1924.



[1] I have found several instances where the name "BLAIN" was spelled "BLAINE."  Future research will narrow down where and when the spelling changed.
[2] This surname should be spelled "CLOWNEY."  I have found many connections using this spelling.
[3] Probate records of Fairfield County SC show that Nancy Beaty married Robert Cathcart.  This now seems correct based on grave and other records.



John S. Cathcart Letter - re Illinois Cathcarts

Letter from 
John Sterling Cathcart 
John V. Cathcart (his grandson)

[John Sterling copied, in his own hand, a letter he received from two granddaughters of his Uncle John Cathcart – the "Illinois Cathcarts"]

Hartsville, S. C. July 2, 1943

Dear John,

I have not had a letter from you for a long time. I am enclosing a copy of a letter received from Mary and Ella McIntire, great granddaughters of John Cathcart, father's brother who married in Ireland and moved from Winnsboro to Illinois. I had written them last year to get more information concerning the Cathcart who lived in Illinois.

My dear Mr. Cathcart,

Our Uncle Edward Cathcart is not very well so he asked us to answer your letter concerning the Illinois Cathcarts. Our great grandfather was a John Cathcart, whose wife was a Harper.  They had five sons: James, our grandfather, William, Robert, Richard, and Charles. There were, four daughters: Margaret, who married George Hays; Mary Ann who married Thomas Donnelly; Nancy, who married Dr. Thomas Marshall; and Ellen, who married a blind minister, a Mr. Peoples.

Our grandfather, James Cathcart, married Ella Ketchin, a daughter of the Rev. Thomas Ketchin. Uncle William, his brother, our great uncle, married Mary Ann Ketchin, grandmother's sister. Great uncle Richard married Margaret Redpath.  Great uncle Robert married Jeannie Keyes, and Uncle Charles married a McMaster girl. There were no children.  She died and later he married Margaret Moffett of St. Louis.

Aunt Ellis Keyes was a woman who lived with Grandfather and Grandmother Cathcart. We thought she was a sister of Great Grandfather John Cathcart. Is that correct?

We are not sure how much more of the recent family history you want. Our own family history descended from James Cathcart and Ella Janett Ketchin Cathcart as follows:

1. Thomas, born in 1844, died during the war in June 1864

2. John Harper, born in 1846; died in 1847; buried in the Associate Reformed Cemetery in Winnsboro, S. C.

3. Mary Jane, born in 1848; died in 1932. She married James McAfee. They had one son and three daughters.

4. Robert McElvaine, born 1851; died in 1927. He married Sophia Norris. They had two daughters and six sons. [These four children of Grandfather Cathcart were born in Winnsboro, S. C. before the family came to Illinois.]

5. William James Cathcart born in 1854. We are not sure whether he was born in Illinois or Winnsboro, S. C., but we think he was born in Winnsboro, S. C. He never married and died in 1933.

6. Tirzah Elliott Cathcart, our mother, born in 1857, died in 1926. She married William A. McIntire, and they had two daughters, Mary M. and Ella Elliot.  We are writing this letter.

7. Charles Park Wright Cathcart, born in 1860, died in 1907.

8. Richard Edward Cathcart, born 1865 and living now in Champaign, Illinois.

If you would like to have information about all of John Cathcart's sons and daughters and their families, we shall be glad to send you what we can. We are not quite certain when Great Grandfather John left South Carolina, but know that in 1848 he and some of the family were in Illinois. We have a letter dated 1848 written by our Grandfather in Winnsboro James Cathcart to his brother Richard Cathcart in Illinois in which he sends his love to his father, John Cathcart and his mother and to some of the brothers and sisters. We think that Grandfather James and Great Uncle William came into Illinois about 1855 or 1856. We are not quite certain of the relationship to you, but it is possible that James Cathcart Sr., is your grandfather and Uncle Edward's great grandfather. Probably John was the oldest of James Cathcart Sr.'s children and your father, Charles Cathcart, the youngest.

If this letter is not clear, write us and we will try again. We have visited in South Carolina, and Cousin Ella Gooding, who is a full (sic) of mother and Uncle Edward Cathcart gave us a good deal of information. Elliott Ketchin, who married Ella Cathcart, also gave us much information. I am sure that you know both of them. We enjoyed reading your letter to Uncle Edward for it gave us some things we did not know about the family.

Sincerely, yours,

Mary and Ella McIntire

Great Grand daughters of John Cathcart

I believe that Ellis Keyes who lived with Grandfather was a sister of his mother rather than his father, so she would be a Harper rather than a Cathcart.

John, I hope you will be able to understand the history of the Cathcart family in Illinois. This letter from Mary and Ella McIntire gave me the information I wanted to know regarding John Cathcart who was a brother of my father, Charles Cathcart. You have not heard anymore when you would be likely called?  Hope you will get some chemical government work. Let me hear from you. I would be glad when you make your copy from information given in this letter that you make a duplicate at the same time. Type it at one time. Wish you well. May God bless you and keep you in good health. I have not been feeling well the last few days. Grandmother's cold is some better.

With Love from us both,

John S. Cathcart


  1. Mary and Ella McIntyre were born in 1883/1886 respectively in Randolph County, Illinois.  They were daughters of William and Tirzah Cathcart McIntyre.
  2. For more information about John and Mary Harper Cathcart and family, see Illinois Cathcarts page.
  3. Richard Edward Cathcart (1865-1945), youngest son of James G and Ella Ketchin Cathcart.
  4. Nancy first married Robert Redpath (1799-1852) in March 1850.  Robert's first wife (Jane Miller Redpath) having died about 1849.   Robert and Nancy would have one daughter, Martha Redpath (1852-1877). However, her first husband would die in August 1852.  Nancy would then marry Dr. Marshall.