The 1812 Immigrants from Ballyleese, Ireland, to Washington County, Pennsylvania

WILLIAM MCELRAVY (1804 - 1859) Biographical Summary

William McElravy was born in Ireland about 1804, based on the age listed in the 1850 census records.

As discussed in the introduction, I believe William was one of the children of the John McElreavy who was listed with his family as passengers on the Brig Mary in 1812 - and who appears in the 1830 census in Strabane Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania.

William married Margaret Flannigan before 1825 and had at least one child before 1830. However, I have not found the family listed in the 1830 census. The first records that I have seen that specifically name William are in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1840.

In the May, 1840, term of the Washington County Common Pleas Court, on May 25, William McIlravy, a native of Ireland, filed his declaration of intent to become a United States Citizen.

In the 1840 census for Strabane Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania, there are listings for the William McElravey, John McElravey, and George McElravy families - all of whom I believe were brothers. The 1840 census listing for William was as follows:

William McElravey

Males:     1 10-15; 1 15-20; 1 30-40
Females: 2 <5; 1 5-10; 1 30-40; 1 70-80
The person listed as a female in the 70-80 age range was probably actually a male - and was probably William's father, John - who apparently died in North Strabane Township in June, 1845.

The 1850 census listing for the family in Mount Pleasant Township, Washington County, as of Sept. 28, 1850, was as follows:

William McElravy 46 M Ireland farmer
Margaret 44 F PA  
John 22 M PA  
Eliz 19 F PA  
Thomas 18 M PA  
Jane 15 F PA  
Margaret 11 F PA  
Sarah 9 F PA  
Robert 5 M PA  
As referenced in the introduction, a part of the William McElravy family was documented in the History of Western Pennsylvania . 1  This article was written after 1910 and appears to be based on oral history. There are several known errors in the article - especially regarding William's parentage and early history. However, enough of the later accounts of the family can be verified through census records to establish that it is credible.

The above referenced article indicates that William and Margaret had a total of 10 children - the 7 shown in the 1850 census plus Hugh, Nancy, and Harriet who died in infancy. In 1852, the family was in Chartiers Township, Washington County (from a Washington County list of "Lost Taxes" for 1852). The oldest son, John, resident of Chartiers Township, was married on 26 Feb, 1852, to Mary Ann White - a daughter of Nicholas White, whose family had lived next to the McElravys in Mt. Pleasant Township in the 1850 census. In about 1852, the William McElravy family moved to Beaver County, Pennsylvania.

The above article states that William also was a farmer in Beaver County, then left farming after a stroke and was in the mercantile business in Beaver, Greene, and Allegheny Counties - in New Sheffield, Bobtown, and Fayetteville, until his death in 1859. To-date, no death record or cemetery listing has been found for him.

In 1860, Margaret and several of the children were listed in the census in North Fayette Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania as follows:

Margaret McElravy 56 F PA  
Thomas 26 M PA Farm Laborer
Margaret 21 F PA  
Sarah 18 F PA  
Robert 15 M PA  
Also, in the 1860 census, John, the oldest son, and his family were in North Fayette Township:
John McElravy 30 M PA Farm Laborer
Mary A. 35 F PA  
Nicholas 6 M PA  
William 3 M PA  
Also in 1860, Elizabeth was married to Joseph Willison and living in Chartier Township, Washington Co. PA.
Note: In both the 1860 and 1870 census Elizabeth is listed as Anna; in 1880 as Eliza.
Joseph Willison 34 M PA farmer
Anne 27 F PA  
Anna B. 8 F PA  
Elizabeth 6 F PA  
LaLinda 4 F PA  
Homer 3 M PA  
In the 1870 census, Margaret was in Moon Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Margaret and Sarah were unmarried and still living with her. Also, Robert was married and he, his wife, and a young son were living with Margaret.
Margaret McElravy 66 F PA Keeping House
Margaret 29 F PA  
Sarah 26 F PA  
Robert 24 M PA Farm laborer
Angeline 18 F PA  
William 3/12 M PA  
Also, in the 1870 census, John and his family were in the town of Elizabeth, Allegheny County:
John McElravy 40 M PA Laborer
Mary 43 F PA  
Nicholas 16 M PA  
William 13 M PA  
John 8 M PA  
Note: Duane McElravy, descendant of Nicholas, lists birthdates for the three children of John Newton McElravy and Mary Ann (White) as follows:

    Nicholas White McElravy - b. 22 Aug 1853
    William France McElravy - b. 13 Jan 1856
    John Newton McElravy - b. 30 Dec 1861

Also in 1870, Elizabeth was married to Joseph Willison and living in Chartier Township, Washington Co. PA.
Note: In both the 1860 and 1870 census Elizabeth is listed as Anna; in 1880 as Eliza.

Joseph Willison 47 M PA farmer
Anna 38 F PA  
A. Bell 19 F PA  
Lizzie 17 F PA  
LaLinda 14 F PA  
Homer 12 M PA  
Oscar 8 M PA  
K-------? 7 M PA  
Hattie 3 F PA  

Regarding the children of William and Margaret, the History of Western Pennsylvania article states:

John, killed at Elizabeth, Pennsylvania.

Thomas, died at Shousetown, Pennsylvania.

Elizabeth, married Joseph Willison and died in Washington County, Pennsylvania.

Jane, married William Orr and died at New Sheffield, Pennsylvania.

Margaret, married John Hicks and died at Coraopolis.

Sarah, unmarried, lived with her brother Robert.

Robert Breckenridge McElravy - (detailed account of his family in the article)

I've found all of the families, except for John McElravy and Jane McElravy in the 1880 census. Also, William, one of the sons of John and Mary McElravy was married and still living in Elizabeth, Pennsylvania. In addition, next door to William is the family of White McIlravy - the son of John and Mary listed in the 1860 and 1870 census as Nicholas. Both William and White are listed as Calkers. According to a death record summary from the Elizabeth Township Historical Society (obtained by Duane McElravy), John McElravy was killed 10 October 1898 when he "Fell from a roof while repairing it." He is buried in the Elizabeth Pennsylvania Cemetery.

In 1880 both Margaret and her daughter Sarah were living with Thomas. The 1880 listings follow:

Crescent Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania - 1880

Thomas McElravy 42 M PA Farmer
Ellen 40 F PA  
Margaret McElravy 75 F PA      - mother
Sarah 36 F PA      - sister
Notes: In the 1900 census, Sarah McElravy, age 55, was living with her brother Robert B. McElravy. Thomas (66) and wife Ellen (61) were still living in Crescent Township where he was listed as a house painter and she as a baker. Thomas was listed as born Feb. 1834 in PA, father born in Ireland, mother born in Scotland(?) They had been married for 34 years and had no children.

Moon Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania - 1880

Robert B. McElravy 33 M PA painter
Angeline 27 F PA  
William A. 10 M PA  
Elizabeth E. 8 F PA  
John D. 6 M PA  
Robert C. 4 M PA  
Joseph W. 1 M PA  
Note: Robert Breckenridge McElravy, born Aug 5, 1845 in Washington Co., lived in Moon Township, Allegheny County, and in Coraopolis. Married, 24 Dec 1868, Angeline Hendrickson. Children: William Albert, Elizabeth E., John, Robert Cooper, Joseph M., Seth R., Olive E., Edna M., Chester L.

In 1900, this family was listed in Coraopolis in Allegheny County. Also, in 1900, the oldest son of this family, William Albert, was married and also living in Coraopolis. The History of Western Pennsylvania article documents William Albert and his family. Since this is the only branch of the family that was documented, I assume that the information for the article was obtained from William A. and from his father.

In 1930, Robert Cooper McElravy, 54, was living in Jefferson County, Ohio with his wife Ethel, 47, and one child, Elizabeth, 14.

Moon Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania - 1880

John Hicks 58 M PA teamster
Margaret 38 F PA  
John 8 M PA  
Robert 5 M PA  

Mount Pleasant Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania - 1880

Joseph Willison 47 M PA farmer
Eliza 48 F PA  
Maggie 23 F PA  
Samuel 18 M PA farmer
Luella 14 F PA  
Lizzie E. 10 F PA  
Leah B. 10 F PA  
Notes: In 1900 Joseph (67) and Eliza (69) Willison were still living in Mt. Pleasant Township, Washington Co. None of the children were at home. Their son Samuel was listed in the town of Hickory in Washington Co. with wife Elizabeth and one daughter Mary E.

An obituary for Elizabeth appeared in the May 14, 1909, McDonald, PA, Record:

"On Sunday morning at 3 o'clock, at her home on the Hickory-Canonsburg road, occurred the death of Mrs. Eliza McElravey Willison, widow of Joseph Willison who died several years ago. Mrs. Willison suffered a stroke just one week ago and had steadily grown worse since that time. She was aged about 75 years and has lived in this vicinity all her life. She was a member of the Hickory United Presbyterian Church. She is survived by one sister, Jane McElravey, who made her home with the deceased, and one son and five daughters, Samuel H. of Oklahoma, Mrs. Hugh Frazier of Cecil township, Mrs. James Peacock of Washington, Mrs. Dan Acheson of Westland, Mrs. John McNary of Mannington, W. Va., Mrs. Patterson of Washington. Funeral services were held on Tuesday from the late home. Interment was made in the Hickory cemetery."


In the 1880 census, in the town of Elizabeth, Allegheny County, following is the listing for William, son of John and Mary McElravy - and for White McIlravy who was the brother of William listed in previous census records as Nicholas:

William McElravy 24 M PA Calker
Louisa 17 F PA  
White McElravy 26 M PA Calker
Jennie 21 F PA  
Note: In the 1900 census, William and his family were listed in Forward Township, Allegheny County. Children listed were: Presley - 16, Washington I. - 8, Maria A. - 5, Jeanetta - 3.

Also, in the 1900 census, John N. McElravy, brother of William and the youngest son of John and Mary A. McElravy, was listed in Elizabeth, Allegheny County, Age 38, Day Laborer; wife Janet A. - 34; daughter Catherine - 6.

The information below is from Jay W. Mohney's web site entitled "Steamboat Building in Elizabeth PA" at   Mr. Mohney's greatgrandfather, J.W. Lynch, kept a journal during his career at Elizabeth Marine Ways from 1898 - 1925. He also kept in touch with, and recorded additional data regarding the people with whom he worked there up until his death in 1948. Two of the brothers (William and Nicholas White McElravy) were employed at Elizabeth Marine Ways. He recorded the dates of their deaths as:

Wm. McElravy, Calker, June 8, 1917

White McElravy, Carpenter, Nov. 13, 1919

Also, their nephew John N. McElravy was employed at Elizabeth Marine Ways and Mr. Lynch recorded his death as:
John N. McElravy, April 14, 1944, age 47
Note, per information from Duane McElravy, John, the brother of William and Nicholas White and father of the above John N. McElravy died November 24, 1902. Duane and his brother Jay have traced many of the descendants of John and his wife, Jennie Skillen. They have also traced most of the descendants of Nicholas White McElravy and his wife Phoebe Jennie Jordan

More about the family of Nicholas White McElravy is found in a biography of Charles Albert McElravy, one of his sons.


The only references to Jane, daughter of William and Margaret McElravy, that we have found to-date are from the History of Western Pennsylvania document statement that "Jane, married William Orr and died at New Sheffield, Pennsylvania", the 1850 census list indicating that she was born about 1835, and the statement in the 1909 obituary of her sister Eliza, to wit: "She is survived by one sister, Jane McElravey, who made her home with the deceased ..."

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