Birth Year of Thomas McClurken
By: Roger Kemps © 2010
Unfortunately, the various sources, that indicate the birth year of Thomas McClurken, are not consistent. This webpage will describe the various sources and it will present the conclusion of this researcher.
Sources in Support of a 1756 Birth Year
· Page 10, of the Revolutionary War Pension File of Thomas McClurken, indicates that he was 77 on April 2, 1833 when he applied for his pension. This puts his birth year as 1756, or possibly, 1755.
· Page 14, of the Revolutionary War Pension File of Thomas McClurken, indicates, in answer to a direct question, he replied “I was born in Ireland in the year 1756 and emigrated to Charleston in 1772.” He further states that “I have no record of my age – my information on this subject was derived from my brother Robert McClurken, now dead.”
· The 1800 US Census (line 2) indicates that Thomas was between 26 thru 44. This puts his birth year in the range of 1756 to 1774.
· The 1830 US Census (line 9) indicates that Thomas was between the ages of 70 and 80. This puts his birth year in the range of 1750 to 1760.
· The Narratives of Randolph County, page 53, presents a letter written by W. J. McClurkin in 1941. In it, he describes stories told to him. Specifically, that Thomas McClurkin came to America at age 17 or 19 before 1776. Since he actually came in 1772, this would put his birth year as 1753 to 1755.
· The Narratives of Randolph County, page 55, presents a letter written by Rev. J. J. McClurkin on June 29, 1896. In it, he describes stories told to him by his grandfather, Thomas McClurkin. Specifically, at about age 16, he describes an experience with the chief officer of an English camp. 1772 minus 16 puts his birth year as 1756 or later.
Sources in Support of a 1745 or 1748 Birth Year
· The 1840 US Census (line 2) indicates that Thomas was age 95, specifically, in the column for the age of Revolutionary War pensioners. This would put his birth year as 1745.
· A Census of Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Services (page 188) indicates that Thomas was age 95 in 1840. This is essentially an extraction from the previous reference, the 1840 US Census.
· The Oakdale Cemetery Website indicates that he died on March 22, 1845 at age 97 (Old Section, Row 5, Grave 32). This supports a birth year of 1748. A second headstone is located in the Old Section, Row 7, Grave 39 and has different dates, but, they are not provided.
· The Narratives of Randolph County, page 39, indicates in the third paragraph, that in 1833, when Thomas was 85 years old, he and wife moved with several of their sons from South Carolina to near Oakdale, Illinois. This indicates a birth year of 1748.
· The Narratives of Randolph County, page 41, in the second paragraph, describes two tombstones. One tombstone was placed by the government and has a birth year of 1745. The other tombstone, placed by the family, has a birth year of 1748.
This researcher concludes that Thomas McClurken was born in 1756. The most compelling source is his direct testimony on the subject (page 16 of the pension file). This conclusion is further supported by the number of sources that are in agreement.
1800_Thomas_McClurken.pdf see line 2
1830_Thomas_McClurken.jpg see line 9
1840_Thomas_McClurken_Sr.jpg see line 2
Last updated: 8/17/2011