In the 18th and 19th centuries, the McCartys were one of Virginia’s most prominent families, associating with families such as the Balls, Lees, Masons, and Washingtons. The family’s progenitor in America was Dennis McCarty, who arrived in Virginia by 1675. Dennis’s great-great-grandson was Daniel McCarty (1758-1801) who married Sarah Eilbeck Mason, the daughter of George Mason IV (1725-1792) of Gunston Hall. Daniel and Sarah had ten children, among them William Mason McCarty (ca. 1789-1863). (Cooper*)
William Mason McCarty (ca. 1789-1863), a lawyer, married, first, Emily Rutger Mason (1793-1836), a cousin of his mother, and second, in 1838 (Index to the Richmond Enquirer, Library of Virginia), Mary Blair Burwell (1811-1892). William and Emily had two sons, William Thornton McCarty (1819-1858) and James Ball McCarty (1822-1888). William and Mary had one son, William Page McCarty (1839-1900). Each of the sons attended the University of Virginia. William Mason McCarty is buried in Shockhoe Hill Cemetery, in Richmond, VA. Emily is buried in Saint James Episcopal Church Cemetery in Leesburg, VA. Mary is buried in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, VA.
William Thornton McCarty (22 Apr. 1819-23 Dec 1858) attended the University of Virginia in session 24 (1847-1848), where he studied law. He married Rebecca Martha Royall (1830-1855) before 21 Aug. 1850, when the 1850 U.S. Census recorded them as living in Miss Terrill’s boarding house. This couple had three sons, William Mason, Junius Royal, and James Thornton McCarty, each of whom also attended the University of Virginia (see below). William Thornton McCarty practiced law in Charlottesville, VA. Both William and Rebecca McCarty died young, Rebecca in 1855, and William in 1858, leaving three sons under ten years old. William and Rebecca are buried in the University of Virginia Cemetery, in Charlottesville, VA.
- William Mason McCarty (b. 4 Jul. 1850) attended U.Va. during sessions 41 and 44 (1864-1865 & 1868-1869). He married Mary Champe Garnett (1853-1882) on 15 Aug. 1881. Mary died about a year later, on the day that her daughter was born. William remarried to a woman named Anna (last name unknown), and lived in New York City for the rest of his life. William and Anna had no children. He worked first as a metals agent, and later as a partner in a smelting business. William and Mary’s daughter, Mary Garnett McCarty (1882-1969) was raised by her maternal grandparents, Edgar M. and Emily (Hayward) Garnett, in Richmond, VA. After Edgar died, Mary and her grandmother moved to Baltimore, MD, where Mary later became the Maryland State Librarian from 1920-1922. She later married Thomas Jefferson Manning of West Virginia, but had no children.
- Junius Royall McCarty (9 Nov. 1852-12 Mar. 1906) attended U.Va. in sessions 49-50 (1872-1874). He married Rebecca Yerger (ca. 1855-before 1900), daughter of Edward M. Yerger of Jackson, Mississippi and his wife, Cornelia A. Yerger. Junius and Rebecca had a daughter named Lillian. They lived in Washington, D.C., where Junius was a clerk for the U.S. Senate. By 1900, Junius McCarty was a widower and lived in Chicago, IL, working as a secretary. He died in 1906, and was buried in Read Dunning Cemetery, in Cook County, IL.
- James Thornton McCarty (b. 8 Dec. 1854) also attended U.Va. in sessions 49-50 (1872-1874). The most known about him at this time is that he was alive and in Richmond, VA, in 1903, based on an article in the Richmond (VA) Evening News.
James Ball McCarty (1822-22 Apr. 1888) was the second son of William Mason McCarty (ca. 1789-1863) and his first wife, Emily Mason. He attended the University of Virginia in session 24 (1847-1848), where he studied chemistry, medicine, and anatomy and surgery. After leaving U.Va., he started a medical practice in Richmond. When his brother, William Mason McCarty died, Dr. McCarty had custody of his underage nephews.
During the Civil War, Dr. McCarty served as a surgeon in the Confederate army. He worked at hospitals in Staunton, Richmond, and Mount Jackson, Virginia. After the war, he resumed his practice in Richmond. As early as 1871, Dr. McCarty was developing his farm near Oakwood Cemetery south of Richmond, planting grapevines, and other fruits and fruit trees of all kinds. In the 1880 census, he is described as a “vintinor” or vintner. Dr. McCarty died in 1888, having never married. He is buried in Hollywood Cemetery, in Richmond, VA.
[Note to the researcher: There is another contemporary James Ball McCarty (1826-1888) of a related McCarty line who lived in the Northern Neck of Virginia. He was a lawyer, and is often confused with the James Ball McCarty who attended U.Va.—JLC]
William Page McCarty (9 Nov. 1839-25 May 1900)—called Page McCarty—was the son of William Mason McCarty (ca. 1789-20 Dec 1863) and his second wife, Mary Blair Burwell. He attended the University of Virginia in session 37 (1860-1861). He served as first lieutenant and adjutant in Company S, Virginia 13th Light Artillery Batallion, and by late 1863, was a brigade inspector in Wharton’s Brigade in the Army of Tennessee. He was wounded in 1864 in the Battle of Petersburg. His final rank was captain.
After 1865, Page McCarty took up the profession of newspaperman. He was the editor of several newspapers during his life, including the Alexandria Gazette, the Richmond Enquirer, the Norfolk News, and the Washington Post. Page McCarty is most well-known—one might say “notorious”—for killing John Brooke Mordecai (also a former U.Va. student and a former friend) in a duel in 1873. In addition to his newspaper career, Page McCarty was active in the Democratic Party, both locally and nationally, and wrote plays and operas. He died in 1900, and the wounds received in the 1873 duel were thought to have contributed to his final illness. He is buried in the family lot in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, VA, near his brother James Ball McCarty and his mother, Mary (Burwell) McCarty.
[*Most of the information above is summarized from my book, A Challenge Was Given. (See below.)—JLC]
- 1850-1930 U.S. Census. [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc.
- Cooper, Jean L. A challenge was given; the duels of John Mason McCarty and William Page McCarty. Palmyra, VA, 2017.
- Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, VA [database online]. http://www.hollywoodcemetery.org/genealogy/burial-records
- Library of Virginia. Index to the Richmond Enquirer, 1815-1860. [database online]
- McCarty tombstones, Findagrave.com.
- University of Virginia Matriculation Books, 1825-1904, Accession #RG-14/4/2.041, Special Collections Dept., University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.