The McCubbins of America

Oregon Trail wagon

McCubbins were among the early settlers of America. By the time of the census of 1880 there were 527 McCubbins recorded. There were distinct areas where McCubbins settled. The largest group were in Maryland, with 130 individuals. The next highest groups were: Kentucky, 89, Missouri, 75, North Carolina, 27. Many were descended from John the Colonist who arrived in America about 1649. On the west coast, 21 lived in Oregon and 20 in Washington.


John McCubbin is the earliest known McCubbin to arrive in America. As evidenced by early Maryland records, he was a Quaker. It was the mid 1600’s, when Scotland was rife with bloodshed during the Covenanting times. There is proof that a John McCubbin (also spelled Maccubbin) arrived in Maryland in 1649 as an indentured servant. Some of his descendants claim a pedigree back to King McAlpine. Our Association is presently trying to find documented evidence to support this claim.

Living among other Quakers, John took several land grants in Maryland. He married and raised a family. When he died in 1685, this founder of the Maryland family was buried on his plantation (surveyed 1659) at Brampton. The lands were divided between his five sons, each of whom spelled the name differently.

Today, John McCubbin’s descendants now span the nation. Sarah McCubbin, who is reputed to be the daughter of John the Colonist, married William Griffith. Numerous notable Maryland family lines cross hers.

Perhaps the most prolific family was that of James and Mary “Polly” (Cook) McCubbin of North Carolina. James, b 1755, was a soldier of the Revolutionary War. James McCubbin and Mary Cook were married in 1784. They lived in Rockingham Co, North Carolina, then moved to Green County, Kentucky. They raised 13 children while growing tobacco on their plantation. The tobacco was transported by water to New Orleans to be sold on the market.


A colorful individual descended from John the Colonist, was Pleasant McCubbin.

Pleasant was the leader of an emigrant party, consisting of his family, the William H. Rupe family, and the John and Levi Bloyd families, that left Green County, KY in the fall of 1830, going to Sangamon Co., Ill. They spent the winter there, then continued on to Hancock Co., in the spring of 1831. These people established the first settlement in what is now known as Oak School district of Hancock Co. There was an Indian scare and Pleasant then moved with his family to Benton Co., Mo in 1836 in company with the William H. Rupe family.

J.C. McCubbin tells, in a letter written 1928, of his ancestor, “Pleasant McCubbin served in the Black Hawk War about six months. He was a champion prize fighter of a large territory in the vicinity of his old home in Kentucky. While this sporting record was possibly of no credit to him, the possession of such unusual strength served him well throughout his life. While hauling freight with his ox team, no other man could lift as much as he. Those familiar with his work preparing heavy tiers, scoring the logs, said that he could hew about twice as many timbers in a given time as any other man, and the character of this finished product was practically flawless. At one time, Pleasant worked for Samuel Brown while Brown was building his mill dam across Crooked Creek. Mr. Brown related that McCubbin was moving heavy stones from the quarry on the bank and placing them in the dam. About two o’clock p.m. without having exerted himself unnecessarily, he stopped and came to Brown and said, “Do you see how much rock I have moved?” To which Brown replied in the affirmative. Then McCubbin asked if it was as much as his average man had been moving in a whole day. Brown told him that it was more than any man had ever moved for him in an entire day. Then McCubbin said, “Well, if you don’t mind I think I’ll lay off ’til morning.” Brown said, “All right.” McCubbin was back on the job the next morning at sun up.


McCubbins continued to move west across America. Some took the Oregon Trail west from Missouri, through Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Idaho to Oregon. In 1852 the following McCubbins apparently were emigrants on the Oregon Trail:
McCubbin, Abraham, Clackamas Co., born 1820-29 MO
McCubbin, Sarah, wife of Abraham, marr. 1844 MO
McCubbin, Elizabeth (Brown), died 7 Feb 1931, age 82 years, marr. __ Griffith
McCubbin, William R.,Clackamas Co., born 1815 KY
McCubbin, Nancy, wife of William R., marr. Sept 1842 MO
McCubbin, Zachariah, Marion Co., born 1831 VA-TN
McCubbin, Lucy (Nevitt), wife of Zachariah, marr. 9 Jan 1850-51 Franklin Co., MO


Settling in California, Robert McCubbin, who had arrived in America in 1849, married Elizabeth Bubb in 1864. The two bought a 290-acre farm in Cupertino in 1868.


Descendants of a major family, Alexander McCubbin and Jean McIlwraith of Ballantrae, Scotland, now span the globe from Australia to American. Their great grandson Hamilton McCubbin (son of ALEXANDER McCUBBIN & Anne Aitken) born 1831, Ayrshire, Scotland, emigrated to Hawaii via San Franciso. Thus, the McCUBBIN name lives on in the beautiful clime of Hawaii!

If you would like to know more about American McCubbins, and/or if you have documentation and citations to help us prove the McCubbin link to King McAlpine, please let us know.

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