Delaware County NY Genealogy and History Site

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The following "McIlwain" information was submitted by a researcher of that Delaware County family. It's not properly sourced so use it strictly as a jumping off place for your individual research. --posted here 11 November 2018

Gain & David McIlwain of Delaware County, NY

There appears to be two original McIlwain families from Delaware County, NY. The patriarch of the first family was Burgoyne (Gain) McIlwain and they resided in Harpersfield. David McIlwain Sr. was the head of the second family and they lived in Kortright. Both only have one mention in the book “The History of Delaware County” (published in 1880 by Geo. MacNamara, 1976 by W. W. Munsell & Co.).

Page 235 mentions David McIlwain: “David McIlwain, a Revolutionary soldier, was the first resident of North Kortright. He lived on the farm now owned by Joseph Rowland. The first night he stayed in the town he slept on a rock and listened during intervals of wakefulness to the fierce cries of panthers and other wild beasts. He settled some time previous to the year 1789. At present, one of his grandsons, Clinton McIlwain keeps the hotel at North Kortright”.

Pages 238-9 mentions Gain McIlwain, but not by name: “The elder McIlwain built a saw-mill at North Kortright; his son, Robert built one on the farm now owned by Ebenezer Rowland, 2nd.

Both David & Gain seem to have had Revolutionary War Service or documentation. David received a payment (Cert# 37113580) on 15 Dec 1777 in New Windsor (Orange County), NY. This payment certificate was made out to “David McElwin” of Capt. Bordowine Tarpening’s Company in a detachment of Colonel Jonathan Hasbrouck’s Regiment of Militia from the county of Ulster. There is also documentation that says he served in Hardenburgh’s Fourth Regiment in Ulster County under the name David McIlwain and that he served in the Fourth Regiment in Orange County under the name David McElwin.

In 1853, Robert, the son of Gain McIlwain applied for his father’s Revolutionary War pension (listed on under the name Goine Mc Ilwain). In it, he mentions that his father was a soldier in the Revolutionary War in 1776 under the command of George Washington and was part of the evacuation of New York City. He could not remember who else had command over his father, but did mention that he was then living in the town of Walkill in Orange County (12 miles from New Windsor where David received his payment for time served in 1777).

The evacuation of New York City occurred during the New York and New Jersey Campaign. This was a series of battles for control of New York City and New Jersey between British forces under General Sir William Howe and the Continental Army under General George Washington in 1776 and the winter months of 1777. Howe was successful in driving Washington out of New York City. The pension application information of Gain McIlwain is corroborated by information that can be found on Revolution battles.

David McIlwain also received payments for being in Janson’s Regiment (Capt. William Cross) on 4 Mar 1782 and 14 Jun 1785. “Gam” McIlwain received payment for Pvt. David McElvin on 4 May (no year listed but payment certificates were 2429 and 2539). Capt. Cross was referenced on the certificate.

Gain McIlwain was in Harpersfield by 1787 and on 11 Nov 1791 he purchased lot 100 and then later lot 125 of the Harper Patent. David McIlwain leased lot 7 of the Kortright Patent from John Kortright on 8 Oct 1789 (source: Delaware Republican, Delhi, NY 27 Feb 1869). Since David and Gain lived close to each other in Orange County and then in Delaware County, and Gain was able to receive payment for David’s Revolutionary War service, it seems safe to assume they are related to each other. They are likely brothers but could have also been cousins.

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