Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sorting Out the 5 McCager Napier's of Perry County, Kentucky

I am writing this in an attempt to sort out the 5 McCager Napier’s of Perry County, Kentucky who were born in a 10-year time span and are frequently mistaken for and mixed up with one another. I am hoping this will help sort out who is whose child, who married who, and who served in which unit(s) during the Civil War.
I will start with the 5 listed in the 1850 Census and work forward.

Originally posted: 5/31/2012

Update: 12/11/2014

2nd Update: 5/4/2017

Some new information has led to some new conclusions about some of these new McCager's.

Foremost of these updates is that I previously stated that McCager # 4 must be the McCager who served in the 10th Kentucky Cavalry (CON) since that was his headstone says. Apparently, however, the descendant of this McCager erred in believing their McCager was the one that served in the 10th. The service record for McCager of the 10th Kentucky Cavalry (CON) shows clearly that this McCager enlisted in the unit while a resident of Wolfe County, Kentucky, indicating that despite McCager # 4's headstone, McCager # 3 is the one who served in the 10th Kentucky Cavalry (CON).

Additionally, it appears McCager #3's headstone is ALSO incorrect, with McCager #4's service being incorrectly attributed to him.

So technically, McCager #3 should have the military headstone of McCager #4, and McCager #4 should have the military headstone of McCager #3. THIS is what happens when it is unclear which McCager belongs to which family and which service during the Civil War. 

1850 Census – Perry County, Kentucky

No. – Name as spelled – Approx. birth year – District – Page on Census - Parents

1. Michager Napier – About 1832 – District 2 – Page 4/37 - Mother, Elizabeth Napier

2. Micager Napier – About 1834 – District 2 – Page 4/37 – Parents, Micager and Leanner Napier

3. Michager Napier – About 1844 – District 2 – Page 6/37 – Parents, James and Mary Napier

4. Michager Napier – About 1843 – District 2 – Page 4/37 – Parents, Patrick and Mihala Napier

5. Micager Napuer – About 1846 – District 2 – Page 17/37 – Parents, Stephen and Polly Napier

Henceforth, each McCager will be referred to as McCager 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5, based on this list.

Now clearly, all of these McCager’s were closely related; they were all either 1st cousins, 1st cousins once removed, or had an uncle/nephew relationship. The mother of McCager # 1, Elizabeth, is the widow of James Napier, son of Patrick Napier and Fanny Brumfield. The fathers of McCager # 2 and McCager # 4, McCager and Patrick respectively, are also sons of Patrick Napier and Fanny Brumfield. The fathers of McCager # 3 and McCager #5 are brothers of McCager # 2, sons of McCager and Leanna Lewis Napier. (Note: James Napier, father of McCager # 3, is often attached on family trees as the son of James Napier and Elizabeth Howard Napier, the parents of McCager # 1, James being the brother of McCager Napier, father of McCager # 2. There is no solid documentation “officially” tying him to one brother or the other, but as James named his first son McCager, just as Stephen (father of McCager # 5, and son of McCager and Leanna) did, I have always tied James to McCager and Leanna in my records.)

Also, PLEASE NOTE that the McCager Napier who is the father of McCager #2, and who was the husband of Leanna Lewis and son of Patrick Napier and Fanny Brumfield is the McCager Napier who died August 8th 1882 in Hazard, Perry, Kentucky. NONE of the above listed 5 McCager Napier’s are THAT McCager Napier; none of them died August 8th, 1882, so PLEASE stop attaching that death date to ANY of the McCager Napier’s other than the husband of Leanna Lewis and the son of Patrick and Fanny Brumfield Napier.

McCager Marriages between 1850 and 1860

McCager # 2 – to Elizabeth CAMPBELL – on 23 Dec 1852 in Perry County, KY*

McCager # 1 – to Betty unknown – on unknown date, approximately 1859 (based on them having no children in the 1860 Census)*

McCager # 1 – to Harriett McLemore Fairchild – about 1860 (according to 1900 Census)

      - Please note that these are 2 different McCager’s who married two different Elizabeth/Betty’s, as proven by the 1860 Census

1860 Census – Perry County, Kentucky

No. – Name as spelled – Approx. birth year – District – Page on Census – Living with

1. Micajah Napier – about 1832 – District 1 – Page 27/97 – Spouse Betty + Future Spouse Harriett

2. M S Napier – about 1834 – District 1 – Page 3/97 – Spouse Betty (Campbell) + son Harison

3. Micajah Napier – about 1844 – District 1 – Page 53/97 – Parents Jas and Marry

4. Micajah Napier – about 1844 – District 1 – Page 49/97 – Parents Patrick and Mahala

5. Mc Cager Napier – about 1845 – District 1 – Page 56/97 – Father Stephen and step-mother Hulda


6. Micajah Napier – about 1844 – District 1 – Page 25/97 – James and Martha Napier Guinn

Note: It is not known which McCager this sixth Census entry belongs to; clearly, it is either #’s 3, 4, or 5. The problem is that the Martha Napier who married James Guinn is a daughter of McCager Napier and Leanna Lewis, and therefore sister of McCager # 2. This McCager is working as a laborer, and is either Martha’s nephew or cousin, but it is not known which. It was not horribly uncommon for a person to appear in a Census twice for one year, especially when they lived in one household and worked in another, as is the case here. (Helen Keller appears in the census twice one year as she is at home the first time, and traveling the second time.) If the person happens to be at both places whenever the Census-taker came by, then they were counted twice. I believe this is the case here, and that this is not a random 6th McCager who was not in the 1850 Census.

McCager Marriages between 1860 and 1880

McCager #3 – to Patience Spencer – about 1867, no marriage record found, year based on first child born about 1868

McCager #4 – to Armina Davidson – about 1861, no marriage record found, year based on first child born about 1862

McCager #5 – to Anna Eagle – about 1870, no marriage record found, year based on first child born about 1871

1870 Census 

No. – Name as spelled – Approx. birth year – City, County – Living with

1. Cager Napier – about 1830 – Campbell, Perry – Spouse Harriett + 3 children

2. M S Napier – about 1834 – Lost Creek, Perry – Spouse Betsey + 7 children

3. Micager Napier – about 1844 – Precinct 3, Wolfe – Spouse Patience + 2 children #

4. Cager Napier – about 1840 – Campbell, Perry – Spouse Armny + 3 children*

5. McCager #5 has not been located for the 1870 Census.

* - Note: It was decided that this McCager is McCager #4 based on the fact he is living directly next door to Patrick and Mahala Napier, parents of McCager #4.

# - Note: McCager #3’s parents, James and Mary Napier, also moved to Wolfe County.

1880 Census 

No. – Name as spelled – Approx. birth year – County – Living with

1. Mc Cager Napier – about 1834 – Perry – wife Haret + 7 children

2. Mack S. Napier – about 1834 – Leslie – wife Elizabeth + 7 children

3. Mccager Napier – about 1843 – Wolfe – wife Patient + 7 children

4. Mc Cager Napier – about 1843 – Perry – wife Armina + 8 children

5. Mecager Napier – about 1845 – Perry – wife Anny + 4 children **

** - It was determined that this was McCager #5 based on History of Kentucky, Volume V by William E. Connelley and Ellis Merton Coulter (American Historical Society, 1922). In a sketch about Calloway Napier, it discusses mentions his parents are McCager Napier and Anna Eagle, and his grandfather’s name is Stephen William Napier. This McCager’s oldest son is named Stephen W., and McCager #3 is the son of Stephen Napier. Unfortunately, the rest of the sketch outlining Calloway’s Napier ancestry is full of completely inaccurate, false information. It claimed Stephen was the son of a completely fictional man named John Napier, who was a supposed son of “Sir William Francis Patrick Napier”, who not only did not die in Perry County, Kentucky as the sketch claims, but never even resided in the United States. It was not uncommon in those times for someone to think of the most well-known person who shares their last name, and assume they were descended from them, or sometimes a person was hired to research the family’s ancestry, and made the same guess/assumption. This has happened in my family in determining we were descended from John Jay because he shared a family last name, or deciding we were of the same stock as Zachary Taylor, since he was a Taylor from Virginia. Many Napier lines originally claimed they descended from John Napier, a famous mathematician, but this was later disproven. This is most certainly what happened in this case.

McCager’s deceased before 1900

McCager #3 died 30 Jul 1899 in Washington County, Arkansas. His is buried in Hazel Valley Cemetery in Washington County, AR with a Union army headstone.

McCager #4 died in 1899 in Perry County and is buried in Red Hill Cemetery with a Confederate army headstone. However, this McCager did not serve in this unit, as mentioned below. A descendant mistakenly attributed McCager #3's service to this McCager. This McCager likely served in the 13th or 19th, but cannot be confirmed as one of those McCagers.

1900 Census

No. – Name as spelled – Approx. birth year – City, County – Living with

1. Mccregor Napier – Apr 1833 – Hazard, Perry – wife Harriet + 2 children

2. Mc Cager S Naper – Apr 1834 – Campbell, Perry – wife Betty + 3 children and 1 grandson

5. Mc Cager Napier – Jun 1844 – Troublesome, Perry – wife Anna + 4 children and an unknown Thomas McDaniel listed as a son

McCager’s deceased from 1900 to 1910

McCager #1 died before 1900, as proven by his wife, Harriett, being widowed in 1910 Census. Unfortunately, no death record or headstone has been discovered for him by this researcher, so solidifying a precise date between 1900 and 1910 has not been accomplished.

McCager #5 died April 10th, 1910 according to the aforementioned biography of his son, Calloway Napier. No headstone has been found by this researcher. However, this date matches up with the fact that his wife, Anna, is widowed in the 1910 Census, so he was certainly deceased prior to then.

1910 Census

No. – Name as spelled – Approx. birth year – City, County – Living with

2. Mc Cager Napier – about 1833 – Campbell, Perry – wife Elizabeth + 2 children and 3 grandchildren

Death of last McCager

McCager Napier died 14 May 1912 according to his Civil War pension file. His place of burial has not yet been located by this researcher.

The McCager’s in the Civil War

1. McCager #1 was a part of the 5th Kentucky Mounted Infantry (CON). This is confirmed by George Washington Noble’s book Behold He Cometh In the Clouds: A Religious Treatise from Inspiration and Illumination, which mentions McCager many times, and mentions his wife Harriett as well. It does not appear that this McCager served in any other units. He enlisted on 4 Feb 1862, and was last marked present on 20 Oct 1863.

2. McCager #2 served in the 14th Kentucky Cavalry (UN), as did McCager #4. They each have their own distinct service records. McCager #2’s service proven in his Pension file. He also appears to be one of the two McCager Napier’s who were part of the 13th Kentucky Cavalry (CON). He appears to have enlisted September 26th, 1862 as a 4th Sergeant. It then appears that the unit re-organized October 18th, 1862, and at this time, he was conscripted back into the unit as a Private. McCager #2’s brother, Jerome, was also a member of this unit. The records give two different desertion dates; one says 24 Oct 1862, and the other says 1 Nov 1862. This aligns with his enrollment in the 14th on 17 Dec 1862.

3. McCager #3 appears to have served in two units, but unlike previously believed, it does not appear that he served in the 14th Kentucky Cavalry (UN).

A descendant appears to have mistakenly attributed the service of McCager #4 in the 14th Kentucky Cavalry to McCager #3. Interestingly, a descendant of McCager #4 has also attributed the service of their ancestor to the service of McCager #3. So both these McCager Napiers have incorrect headstones, as those particular individuals did not serve in those particulars, but rather their cousins bearing their same name did.

McCager #3 is the only one of these McCager to have resided in Wolfe County, therefore we can attribute the service of the McCager Napier in the 10th Kentucky Cavalry (CON) to McCager #3. Further, it appears prior to his service in the 10th, that this is the McCager who served in the 19th Kentucky Infantry (UN). He enlisted from Irvine in Estill County in Nov 1861; there is no further record of his service there after that point. Irvine is geographically closest to this McCager in Wolfe County; Wolfe and Estill counties do not quite border one another, but are separated by only a very small distance. He then enlisted in the 10th on 1 Jan 1863, and deserted 29 Jun 1863.

A descendant of McCager # 4 mistakenly acquired a headstone for McCager # 4 for service in the 10th, but that was an error on their part, as McCager # 4 never lived in Wolfe County, KY, nor anywhere even very near Wolfe County.

4. McCager #4 DID NOT serve in the 10th Kentucky Cavalry (CON), despite his headstone claiming so. He never resided in Wolfe County, only McCager #3 did. It appears by logical deduction (being able to attribute the service of all the other McCager's to their proper persons) that McCager #4 served in the 14th Kentucky Cavalry (UN). This also fits perfectly as this McCager was born in 1843, and at the time of his enlistment in 1862, he gave his age as 19. He later applied for a Federal pension for his service in the 14th, as did his counterpart McCager #2.

5. McCager #5 served in the 47th Kentucky Infantry (UN). This is proven by his service record and his son Calloway’s biography detailing his service. He enlisted in the 47th on 4 Jul 1863. It appears that prior to this, he was enlisted (or conscripted) into the 13th Kentucky Cavalry (CON). He enlisted on 5 Apr 1863 and was present 25 days later, but he appears to have deserted shortly after to enroll in the Union army. All 4 of the other McCager's are accounted for in serving other units in Apr 1863 except for this one, which brought me to the conclusion that the 2nd McCager to have served in the 13th must have been McCager #5.


There is plenty more evidence in connecting McCager #2 to McCager and Leanna Lewis Napier, but I won’t devote an entire section to it. I believe the evidence as I’ve laid it out speaks for itself well. I hope other researchers will find this essay helpful in attaching the appropriate records and family members to their own respective McCager Napier’s. It’s really sad to see so many researchers attaching other people’s information to their trees without at least checking to see if it’s accurate. With even the littlest bit of digging, one can figure out where each McCager belongs in their respective family tree as descendants of Patrick Napier and Fanny Brumfield, as proven above. If anyone has any questions, please feel free to contact me.

It is unfortunate that this information was not lain out previously by prior researchers, as it could have prevented a lot of confusion. The ultimate culmination of this confusion, I believe, is in the erection of incorrect military stones for McCager #3 and McCager #4.

McCager #4 has a Confederate stone, but served in the Union army. McCager #3 has a Union stone, but appears to have deserted or left the Union Army to serve in the Confederacy, who he then also deserted. But he did not serve in Union regiment attributed to him on his headstone. Unfortunately, it is likely that confusion on this issue will continue for generations to come because of these incorrect headstones.


  1. I am the great grand daughter of one of the McCagers. My history is on my mother's side of the family. Her father was Henry Napier. I remember her telling me as a child how her father would tell her she so much like her grandmother Harriet. My mother, said Harriet's maiden name was Fairchild. Henry Napier had 13 children from 2 marriages. My mother was his youngest.

  2. Hi Nathan

    Great piece of research. I descend from McCager #4 and Armina Davidson. Their daughter Elizabeth married my great gf Andrew Jackson Williams. I recall my initial searches in Perry for my McCager and was baffled by the number of them! You indicate that "McCager #4 died in 1899 in Perry County and is buried in Red Hill Cemetery with a Union army headstone." However, his headstone indicates CSA (as you indicate a little later in your article).

    Best regards
    Todd Williams (a likely cousin somewhere along the line)

  3. Hi Todd, Apologies for my late response. I have amended my piece to reflect two things. One, as you mentioned, I said that McCager #4 has a Union stone, when he in fact has a Confederate stone. Two, that stone is mistakenly attributed to him. The McCager Napier who enlisted in the 10th KY Cavalry did so from Wolfe County, KY, which is where McCager #3 was from. So a descendant of McCager #4 mistakenly applied for a Confederate headstone for him as being a member of the 10th KY Cavalary, although he was not. He likely did serve in either the 13th or 19th, but it cannot be proven which if either was him.