Children of Molly Quigley and William McLaughlin Sr.
James '40 Acres' McLaughlin (1821-1911)

James McLaughlin was one of nine children born to William McLaughlin Sr. (1793-1853) and Molly Quigley (1796-1856) in Ireland. Their home was on the western shore of the peninsula of Inishowen on the east shore of Lough Swilly (pronounced Sooley) in the hamlet of Linsfort Glebe in the Parish of Desertegny in County Donegal, 14 miles from the city of Londonderry.

James McLaughlin (1821-1911) was the first member of his family to leave Ireland for the United States, emigrating in 1848, then sending for his wife, Ann McKinney (1822-1888). By the time she left for the United States all three of their young children were dead, starvation victims during the potato famine. James and Ann McLaughlin settled in Skaneateles, NY. He bought 40 acres in Skaneateles, started a teasel business, and picked up a new nickname. After his son, James Jr., was born, "40 Acres" McLaughlin also became known as James McLaughlin Sr.

(There was another James McLaughlin in Skaneateles at the time, also from County Donegal. He probably was a first cousin of "40 Acres" McLaughlin, and a very interesting character whose death kicked off a legal battle.)

The eleven children of James and Ann include Mary, Donald and William, all of whom died in Ireland, and eight who were born in the United States – sons James Jr., Dennis, William, John, Daniel, Hugh and Cornelius, and daughter Margaret. For some there are more detailed family trees on separate pages.

1. Mary McLaughlin (1844-1848), born and died in Ireland during the "potato famine."

2. Donald McLaughlin (1846-1846), died in infancy.

3. William McLaughlin (1846-1848), born and died in Ireland

4. James McLaughlin Jr. (1849-1914) m. Mary Jane O'Neil (1850-1940). James McLaughlin Jr. took over his father's teasel business. His wife, Mary Jane, was born in Canada; her family moved to Skaneateles several years later

5. Dennis R. McLaughlin (1851-1925) m. Mary O'Hara (1851-1905). After the death of Mary O'Hara McLaughlin, Dennis married Bridget Quinn O'Brien (1866-1922).

6. William McLaughlin (1853-1914) m. Anna Conroy (1854-1942)

7. John McLaughlin Sr. (1854-1934) m. Elizabeth (Libby) Kerwin (1857-1939). John McLaughlin was a partner in the McLaughlin Brothers teasel firm. He also was mayor of Skaneateles in 1903.

8. Daniel McLaughlin (1856-1881). An 1876 newspaper story had him going to Europe with his brother James. According to the story, Daniel intended to remain in France for a year as a student. The 1880 U. S. census had Daniel listed as working in the family's teasel shop.

9. Margaret McLaughlin (1859-1910 ) m. Dr. Dennis J. McLaughlin (1857-1909).

10. Hugh McLaughlin (1861-1918). The 1880 United States census had Hugh McLaughlin working in the family teasel shop in Skaneateles, NY. Newspaper obituaries for family members in the 1900s have Hugh living in Arkansas, then Missouri, finally Chicago where he died in 1918.

11. Cornelius McLaughlin (1862-1943) m. Elizabeth O'Hara (1864-1916). After Elizabeth's death in 1918, Cornelius McLaughlin married Helen Casey Purcell. He was a Skaneateles village trustee for 22 years.

Obituary for James "40 Acres" McLaughlin

Marcellus Weekly Observer, 1911
James McLaughlin, Sr., died at the home of his son, James McLaughlin, Jr., at Skaneateles Falls, at 6 o'clock p.m., Wednesday, July 5, 1911, in the 90th year of his age. He had been confined to his bed the past year. Death was due to old age.

Mr. McLaughlin was born November 15, 1821, in the little hamlet of Linsfort Glebe, County Donegal, Ireland. He took passage April 1, 1848, from Londonderry, on the sailing ship, James Whitcomb, Jr., of Kennebunkport, Me., for America. He arrived in Skaneateles June 1, 1848, residing in this town until his death. He had been a resident of Skaneateles for 63 years and at his death had probably lived longer in this town than any other Irish-born resident.

From 1848 to 1855 he lived at Mandana, then came to this village to follow his trade as blacksmith for Elson & Gale. Later he bought out Mr. Elson and ran a shop for himself until about 1870, when he discontinued it.

His wife died May 24, 1888, and the following year he went to live with his son, James McLaughlin, Jr., at Skaneateles Falls, at whose home he died. He had lived a retired life for the past 20 years.

Mr. McLaughlin was the father of 11 children, of which six survive—James McLaughlin, Jr., of Skaneateles Falls; Dennis R. McLaughlin of Syracuse, John McLaughlin and Cornelius McLaughlin of this village [Skaneateles], William McLaughlin, Fulton, N. Y. and Hugh McLaughlin of Arkansas.

He is also survived by two brothers and one sister—Hugh McLaughlin of Brooklyn, John McLaughlin of Solvay and Mrs. Timothy Donohue of this village [Skaneateles].

The funeral of the late James McLaughlin, Sr., held at St. Mary's church Saturday morning, was very largely attended. Grandsons acted as pallbearers.


This is the cemetery in Linsfort Glebe where the three young children of James and Ann McLaughlin are buried. The photo was taken in 2002 by Maureen McLaughlin Lester, youngest daughter of Edward F. McLaughlin.

Photo of James McLaughlin (top) is from "Notable Men of Central New York,"
Dwight J. Stoddard, publisher (1903)