Who was James McClellan of Kirkcudbright, Ulster and Worcester County Massachusetts?

Whilst researching Stewartry families abroad I came across this intriguing entry in Appletons’ Cyclopedia of American Biography :-

McCLELLAN, Samuel, soldier, b. in Worcester, Mass., 4 Jan., 1730; d. in Woodstock, Conn., 17 Oct., 1807. His parents emigrated to America early in the 18th century and settled on a farm near Worcester. The family came from Kirkcudbright, on the Frith of Solway, Scotland, where in earlier times they had taken part in Scottish wars as stanch upholders of the cause of the Stuarts, Samuel was brought up as a farmer, but joined the army, and served as a lieutenant in the French and Indian war. The experience thus gained, and the example of the British officers with whom he served, proved of great advantage to him in the Revolutionary war. In 1773 a troop of horse was raised in Woodstock and neighboring towns, of which he was made captain. On the news of the battle of Lexington the company immediately marched to Boston. Subsequently he was commissioned major, lieutenant-colonel, and colonel of the 12th regiment of militia, and on 10 June, 1779, brigadier of the 5th brigade of militia.

The book Scottish Irish Pioneers in Ulster and America contains the following entry:

Exact information may be had in regard to a few of the Worcester settlers. James McClellan, whose early purchase of land has already been mentioned, was a very religious, industrious and thrifty man. His will, on file at the Middlesex Probate office, was signed September 29, 1729, when he made his mark. It was probated October 31st. The will was written apparently by Samuel Jenison, who with Moses and Jane Harper were witnesses. McClellan mention “Margaret my dearly beloved wife”; the son William to have lands at Boggerhoage, (NOTE: “The south part of town, then known as Bogachoag [now Auburn].” – Carl’s tour in Main Street, p. 119.), 104 acres with buildings, and to give his mother yearly 100 weight of beef and 100 weight of pork; the son James to haul and cut her fire wood, and to provide yearly ten bushels of Indian corn, three of English corn, two of malt, one barrel of cider, fodder for two cows, and a horse in the winter season, and also to fit (?) him in order whenever she wants to ride. To Margaret he gave the use of the orchard for life. To William’s children William, Samuel and Ann he gave three pounds each, and to James children James and Rebecca like sums. James he made executor. It is an excellent will, clear, simple, and thoughtful through all details, worthy of the Worcester colony, and of the emigrant’s distinguished descendants General Samuel McClellan, General George B. McClellan, and the mayor of greater New York.

The book History of Worcester (Mass.) and its People gives a little more information.

James McClellan, son of James, one of the Scotch-Irish, came here in the summer of 1718 ; bought land of Gershom Rice, Aug. 9, 1718, and of Nathaniel Lee, April 23, 1719; of David Jones, Dec. 30, 1720, and of Ephraim Rice, Mar. '21, 1720-1. He died in 1735-6. His will was dated Jan. 21, 1735-6; inventory Mar. 10, 1735-6. John Chandler was exec. He beq. to his father James and mother Margaret "McClennen," and to wife Elizabeth and "children who were to be put in good families to be brought up." . . . James, Moses, David, Rebecca and Mercy. His son James was adopted by his uncle William McClellan ; Moses by James Boyd. Children recorded here by wife Elizabeth : John, b. Dec. 6, 1723-4; Rebecca, b. Apr. 23, 1725; James, b. June 22, 1727; Mary, b. Jan. 7, 1730-1; Moses, b. July 9, 1733; David, b. Aug. 19, 1735, who had here a son David, b. Feb. 22, 1761.

McClellan, William, son of James and Margaret (Thorn) McClellan, settled here with his brother James, mentioned above. His sons Samuel and William, as heirs of his mother Margaret Thorn, had guardians appointed, Feb. 2, 1745-6. His will, Oct. 12, 1751, beq. to wife Jean and children Jean, William, Samuel. His son William by wife Ann had Ann, bapt. Apr. 12, 1752; Hannah, b. Nov. 18, 1753.

Worcester Vital Records show James McLellan’s marriage to Elizabeth Hall at Sutton 26 Dec 1772. It seems that the  first will  (1729) is of James McClellan senior, and that the second (1735/6) is that of James McClellan Junior, his son.

It appears from the above that James McClellan and his wife Margaret Thorn came initially to Sutton along with two sons James and William, but that they shortly thereafter moved to Worcester. When James McClellan senior died in 1729 his wife Margaret was still alive, and two sons William (who had at that time William, Samuel and Ann as children) and James (who had at that time James and Rebecca as children).

Further evidence for this can be found in the book Scottish Irish Pioneers in Ulster and America. In 1724 the seating in the Orthodox Church at Worcester had J McClellan in the 5th row and William McClellan and James McClellan in the 6th row. By 1733, in the fore seat of the long gallery, there is William and James McClellan but no J McClellan

By the time of the death of James McClellan junior in 1735/6 his mother is still alive (father perhaps erroneously reported above as still alive – Margaret possibly listed as wife of James McClellan??). He did not have a son named Samuel.

I then discovered an entry in a book History of the Town of Sutton in Massachusetts a lengthy and detailed article on the family of James McClellan and Elizabeth Hall with no mention of a Samuel.

James’s brother William McClellan did however have a son called Samuel. Provided there are no other brothers it seems certain that, for the statement at the beginning of the biographical note for Colonel Samuel McClellan, at the top of this article, that his parents emigrated to America, and that his family was of Kirkcudbright(shire) origin, he is the son of William McClellan and grandson of James McClellan senior. 

If I understand correctly the entry for William McClellan in the History of Worcester above, Margaret Thorn or McClellan died 1745-6.