James Bruce Magill

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Dec 29, 2020
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My persona is based off my own families history and tree in coming to America, mixed in with my own life experiences along with where I currently reside. As it is based off my own family tree and my experiences, it also has a touch of fictional occurrences all while putting it together to make it as close to historically time period correct while I trek and do my traditional hunting. As all of us who are fascinated by having a persona are and will always be students of history, I will be refining as I research and learn more, but for now, to me its a story that I immerse myself in when I am out hunting:

A, James Brus Makgill boarn ïn tha yeir o wor Loard, 1757, sootheast o Braddock, Pennsylvania nearhan Brush watter ïn tha heich braes o tha Allegheny murtins, tha furst boarn o ma Ulster Scot mither an faither. Ma faither, James Magill o tha laich lan clan Makgill an ma mither Jane Brus o tha laich lan clan o tha Royal Hoose o tha clan o tha Brus....................

I, James Bruce Magill, was born in the year of our Lord, 1757, SE of Braddock, PA along Brush Creek in the high hills of the Allegheny mountains, the first born of my Scot-Irish parents. My father, James Magill is descended of the lowland clan Magill's and my mother Jane Bruce, is descended from the lowland clan of the Royal House of the 14th century, Bruce clan. My father and mother, along with my grandparents, Samuel and Mary Magill and Thomas and Jane Bruce, immigrated to America in 1754 due to the calamitous drought in Ulster, not to mention the success that was being reported to us from other Ulster Scots (Scot-Irish) who sailed to America. Upon arrival and heading to western Pennsylvania, my parents and grandparents were thrust into defending the western front of the frontier being thrown into the fire of the French-Indian War. With Pennsylvania leaders being pacifist Quakers, there was no type of military, so we did as well as we could in defense of our lives and property. Should we have landed farther south as many of our fellow Scot-Irish had? Only time will reveal. Lessons were great and needed to be learned quickly, my grandfathers and father taught me to keep focused on God and His Word only, not the word of others including our fellow Scot-Irish neighbors as our family steered clear of the Paxton and Cumberland Boys, and prior to them, nearby Fort Pitt, especially after learning what Captain Ecuyer had done.

During my early formative years while I was on my boyhood adventures in the woods, I was infatuated with all these animals that could be caught, skinned and not only be used for food but also to make things out of. I began to learn trapping from whomever could understand me and whomever I could understand! I didn't have any iron traps, but was able to learn how the natives trapped and I worked at those learned skills. My brothers and I continued to work the land and hunt with father, yet, upon hearing the sermon "The Character and Doom of the Sluggard" by Rev. David Caldwell, my father made the decision to join the Westmoreland militia, and when I became of age, I also joined.

After seeing battles throughout my life, upon hearing about the Paris Treaty of 1783, I packed up my young family in 1784, along with my parents, my 2 brothers and their wives and my younger sister, and headed westward through what was later called the Northwest Territory. Our family worked hard together establishing a new farmstead, my brother Timothy and I worked at harvesting game for the closest trading post, and with a bit of the income, I purchased some iron traps as I continued to dabble in trapping fur in the region. Hearing of the broken promises from a young government and the built up anger from my fellow kinsmen and neighbors that later resulted in the Whiskey Rebellion, and seeing the success that our family was having together, I was glad that we had chosen to leave Pennsylvania when we did.

Being exposed to French early in my years while learning to trap, I quickly picked up conversational French while meeting other trappers at the fur sales in the Ohio region and while out on the Mississippi. I soon found out that knowing conversational French helps with bartering and trading. I began learning much more about trapping, various techniques and understanding the fur market from the few and far between, friendlier French trappers that I had met causing me to bring before the Lord in prayer if I was to pursue this budding opportunity. Many tears from family and nights on my knees later, I kissed my wife, children and aging mother, knowing they were in the good hands of Timothy and Thomas, set out westward in search of going beyond the confines of the United States in the pursuit of happiness for my families future. Heading first down along the Mississippi towards St. Louis where I obtained as much of the supplies needed, including any research and maps that I could find concerning this new found frontier that lay in front of me. One of my hopeful desires, besides the ultimate desired goal of bringing many furs back, was being able to one day set my eyes upon the Columbia River and the Ocean that Francis Drake and Jaque Nicolas Bellin had written about and recently the mountains that Captain George Vancouver had named. I may never be known as well as these men, but then again, that is not my goal, my goal is to experience what God has created and stability for my family.

My first trek started in 1788 as I headed into the Louisiana Territory with my supplies, my hard work ethics and my ambitions of coming back to fulfill the hopes and dreams of my grandparents and my parents, to give purpose for the hardships they endured to bring our families name to America. That in itself is an adventure to tell, along with a few others, but even now, as I am on my third, longest and final trek out, I am finally in the land that I dreamed of seeing, north of the Columbia river in the mountains that Captain Vancouver had named. This is where I currently am hunting and trapping ..........ïn tha yeir o wor Loard, 1795.
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