Motto: Justice and fortitude are invincible

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

James Silas McGuire - family history


James McGuire, the father of James Pascal McGuire. He lived 1841 until 1928, entirely in Franklin Co. The photo of James was probably taken shortly before his death.


James Pascal McGuire, my great grandfather, and father of Jack McGuire, my grandfather. He lived 1873 to 1942, all in Franklin Co. The photo was probably taken in the late 1930's or early 1940's..


Jack McGuire and Elsie Powell McGuire, my paternal grandparents. They lived 1903 to 1985. They were both born in Franklin but lived much of their adult life in Roanoke. They retired to Franklin and were buried there. Their photo was probably taken in the 1960's.

The McGuire’s of Franklin County, Virginia

Franklin County lies on the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains, south of Roanoke. My McGuire’s were there by 1790. The county is primarily agricultural and McGuire’s were basically subsistence farmers until the 1920’s. At that time many left for jobs in the cities, including my grandfather, Jack McGuire. My father, James Silas McGuire was born in Franklin in 1925 but grew up in Roanoke.

Jack McGuire was born in 1903 and married Elsie Mae Powell in 1924. They had two boys, James Silas and Garrett, and lived in Roanoke. Jack worked at a rayon factory and Elsie worked in a millinery shop. They retired to a farm in Franklin, directly across the road from where his father, James Pascal McGuire, used to live. Elsie died in 1984 and Jack died in 1985.

James Pascal McGuire was born in 1873. He married Julia Plybon in 1895 and they had eleven children. "J. P." was a farmer and ran a sawmill. He died in 1942. Julia died in 1970, at the age of 93. J. P. apparently loved firecrackers and he kept sticks of dynamite in his car to destroy bootleggers stills. Franklin Co. is still known as the bootleg capital of Virginia. J. P. was the son of James McGuire.

James McGuire was born in 1841. He married Sarah Adeline Fisher in 1865 and they had seven children. James was a farmer and a veteran of the Civil War (served in Company B, 53rd Virginia Infantry). James died in 1928, a victim of an infected sow bite. Sarah died in 1935. James was the son of Joel McGuire.

Joel McGuire was born 1812 and died in 1856 of consumption. He married Jemia Meador in 1835 and they had five children. Three of their sons were involved in the Civil War. Samuel was run over by a wagon and was crippled for life. Pascal died of disease and James (above) returned unharmed. Jemia died in 1895. Joel was the son of Jonathan McGuire.

Jonathan McGuire was born around 1791 and he married Sarah Dowdy in 1812. They had nine children. Jonathan died after 1870 and Sarah died before 1850. Jonathan lived the latter part of his life with his unmarried daughters. Jonathan was the son of Elijah McGuire.

Elijah McGuire is still a bit of a mystery. We know he was in Franklin County by 1790 and married Sarah Robertson in 1791. They had at least three sons, maybe other children. Sons Jonathan, Robert and Elijah T. are mentioned in the will of Susannah Robertson Martin, Sarah's sister. We think Elijah was the son or grandson of the McGuire boys orphaned in Goochland Co. in 1734.

When I submitted my DNA sample for testing, I was interested in the ancient migration pathways that led people into Europe. To my great surprise, and pleasure, sharing those results allowed me to make connections that I had been unable to achieve by conventional genealogical methods. Until someone invents a time machine, it’s about as good as it gets.


Email: jmcguire356 at

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