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Duncan McEachern was born in 1835 in Morvern, Argyle, Glasgow, Scotland; the son of Archibald McEachern born in 1791 in Scotland and Margaret McLachlan McEachern.

Archibald died in Strathdownie, Victoria  in 1859.  They had a number of children including Duncan "Little Duncan" McEachern; named after his grandfather Duncan McEachern who was born in 1811.

"Little Duncan" lived with and worked for the Turner family at "Stonefield", and "Trough's Creek" at Grassdale, near Digby, Victoria. Duncan became involved in the Crimean War and later participated in the  American Civil War.

Little else is known of Duncan McEachern’s life before October 10, 1862, when he enlisted in the 13th Massachusetts Light Artillery at Boston, Massachusetts at 25 years of age.

 
The 13th Massachusetts was organized at Readville and left Massachusetts for the “Department of the Gulf” on January 20, 1863. It was attached to the defences of New Orleans, Louisiana, doing duty at Apollo Stables until June 5, 1863, participated in the Siege of Port Hudson from June 6th trough July 9th,  the assault on Port Hudson on June 14th, was present at the surrender of Port Hudson on July 9th, with the Artillery, 4th Division, 19th Army Corps, Department of the Gulf, until August 1863, did duty at Port Hudson until August 31st, was ordered to New Orleans and duty there until September 17th, the Battery was then attached to 2nd Massachusetts Battery on September 18, 1863,   provided the defences of New Orleans until March 1864, attached to the 6th Massachusetts Battery until March 6, 1864 and to Battery "L," 1st United States Artillery 19th Army Corps, until June 28, 1864. It again provided for the defences of New Orleans on June 30, 1864 through July 1865.  It was officially mustered out on July 28, 1865.
 
While on guard duty at Camp Meigs, Readville, Massachusetts around December 15, 1862, McEachern’s feet became badly frozen; resulting in the amputation of all his toes and the balls of the large toes on each foot. He underwent treatment at the Pemberton Square Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts from December 15, 1862 until September 28, 1863; returning to duty on October 7, 1863 when he was transferred to the 2nd Battalion, 18th Company, U.S. Veteran Reserve Corps; under Captain de la Mesa; whom McEachern referred to as De Lel. Massie. He first appeared on the 2nd Battalion rolls on October 31, 1863, then spending time in the Portsmouth Grove, Rhode Island  Hospital, from November 1863 until June 1864. In a Certificate of Disability dated March 2, 1865, prepared for his discharge at Providence, Rhode Island and signed by McEachern’s commanding officer Captain A. de la Mesa, it stated he had not been fit for duty for a period of some sixty days and was even unfit for duty in the Veteran Reserve Corps.

McEachern was discharged on March 2, 1865, due to severe disabilities,  and three weeks later left the U.S. to join family members who had migrated to Australia around 1859. Upon his arrival, he joined family members on property in the Grassdale-Digby district of Victoria and found work as a boundary rider; living for some twenty-six years on property adjoining that of Mrs. Catherine Turner, until her death in 1891. After that he moved about half way between Grassdale and Hotspur and lived alone for the next twenty-two years.

In 1893 McEachern received notice, after having been awarded a pension, that his pension was being suspended because he was not a citizen of the United States; even though he had fought for the U.S.. He wrote them and detailed his war service record, but to no avail. In his letter he told them;

 

"...I was enrolled in the 13th Mass Battrey at Boston on the eighth day of October 1862. I went out to camp at Readville, Mass. that same day. I got frost bitten while on guard on 15th December. The Doctor thought I was only chilled, he only put cold water bandages to them for ten days. On the 25th of December I was sent to Pemberton Square Hospital as mortification had set in, next day the Doctor amputated all my toes of both feet and the balls of my two great toes. On the 16 or 18 of September 1863 I was transferred to the Second Battalion Veteran Reserve Corps. Company 18 - Captain De. Lel. Mattie. I was sent to join? my Company in November 1863 to Portsmouth Grove Hospital, R.I. (Rhode Island) where I acted as a Nurce ?? My Company came to Providence R.I. to look after deserters and bounty jumpers. I was discharged from the service the second of March 1865 at Providence, R.I.

I left America three months after I got discharged. I came to Australia. My cousins payed my passage before I got Discharged. The reason I never applied for a pension sooner, I was in a prosperous way till five or six years ago, I have now lost everything I had. I have not got a home as much and I am getting an old man. I can't do no manual labour.

I remain Dear Sir
Yours very respectfully
Duncan McEachern"

 
Desperate by November 1894, he contacted the pension office again, offering to take an oath of allegiance if he could do it through the Consul General’s office in Melbourne.

The “Act of March 1, 1893” stated that no pension could be paid unless the person was a U.S. citizen or had received disabilities incurred in the service of the United States; which he had, and he detailed the incidents for them.

He explained again that the reason he had not applied for a pension before leaving the U.S. was that he had left the states within three weeks of being discharged; to join family members already in Australia.

Eventually, McEachern’s pension was reinstated, at the rate of $12 a month which he received until his death on November 26, 1913, still living alone; in Digby, Victoria between Grassdale and Hotspur, Victoria. He never took a wife, stating on his pension application that he was never able to support one.

 
 
Duncan McEachern was buried in the Hotspur Cemetery in Victoria with an elaborate headstone marking his gravesite.
 

Geneology

Angus McEACHERN  @ 1750 & Mary / Margaret BEATON @ 1750
Most of the McEachern families in south western Victoria trace their beginnings back to the family of Angus McEachern and his wife Mary or Margaret Beaton who were thought to have been born in Morvern, Argyleshire, Scotland sometime around 1750. Their known and possible children are listed below, courtesy of a lot of work by Lyndal McLean and Daryl Povey of Victoria.
   
1. Hugh McEACHERNborn 1776 Morvern, Argyle, Sct. d. 1863 Heathfield Station, Strathdownie, Vic; m1 Mary Margaret STEWART (1780-1834), 9 chn., d, Sct; m2 Ann CAMPBELL, 2 chn.;
   
2. Donald McEACHERN b. abt 1780, Argyle, Sct, m. 1806 Morvern, ARL to Sarah McMILLAN / McMULLEN;

Ann McEACHERN b. 1805 Morvern, ARL, SCt m. John TAYLOR

Alexander McEACHERN b. 1809 Morvern, ARL, Sct

Duncan McEACHERN b. 1811 Morvern, ARL, Sct

Angus McEACHERN b. 1819 Morvern, ARL, Sct

Betty McEACHERN b. 1823 Morvern, ARL, Sct

   
3. Archibald McEACHERN b. 1791 Sct, d. 1859, Strathdownie, Vic; mar Margaret McLACHLAN. They had a number of children including;

Duncan "Little Duncan" McEACHERN, b. 1835 Morvern, Argyle, Sct, d. 1913, Digby, Vic.

Janet McEACHERN b. 1795, Argyle, Sct. d. 1876, Digby, Vic; m. Peter TURNER (1794-1879);

Charles McEACHERN b. 1796 Argyle, Sct mar Marion 'Sarah' LAMONT (stayed in Sct, 15 chn);

Ann McEACHERN b.1800, Argyle, Sct d. _____, Aus?; m. Alexander McLEAN in Sct;

 
William McEACHERN 1814-1895 & Mary Elizabeth HOLDEN 1832-1899
William McEACHERN b. 1814 Morvern, Argyleshire, Scotland, son of Hugh & Mary McEACHERN married 1856 Portland, Vic to Mary Elizabeth HOLDEN b. 1832 Hobart, TAS, daughter of John HOLDEN and Mary Elizabeth BRIDGELAND and they had the following children:
   
1. Hugh McEACHERN - Born 1857 Portland, Victoria -  Died 1886
2. Mary Stewart McEACHERN - Born 1859 Portland, Victoria
3. Elizabeth Mary McEACHERN - Born 1861 Digby, Vic d. 1876;
4. Euphemia Sarah McEACHERN b. 1862 Casterton, Victoria - Married Robert LEVIS
5. John Holden McEACHERN - Born 1864 Strathdownie, Victoria - Married Elizabeth EVANS
6. William McEACHERN Born 1866 Strathdownie, Victoria
7. Thomas Kyle McEACHERN Born 1867 Casterton, Victoria - Married Catherine Ann EVANS
8. Donald Alexander McEACHERN Brown 1869 Dartmoor, Victoria
9. Margaret Johanna McEACHERN Brown 1870 Casterton, Victoria
10. Sarah Ann McEACHERN Born 1870 Casterton, Victoria
11. Margaret Johanna McEACHERN Born 1870, Casterton, Victoria
12. Frances Mary Elizabeth McEACHERN Born 1872 Casterton, Victoria - Married James ROSS
13. Angus William Holden McEACHERN Born 1875, Dartmoor, Victoria - Married Frances Agnes Mary PERRY
 

William McEACHERN was a Squatter at Strathdownie East Pastoral Run.

 
Angus McEACHERN 1816-1875 & Ann McDONALD 1834-1914
Angus MCEACHERN b. 1816 Morvern, Argyleshire, Scotland, son of Hugh & Mary McEACHERN married 1854 Portland, Vic to Ann MCDONALD b. 1834 Inverness, Scotland. Angus died in 1875 and his widow Ann and most of her children moved to New Zealand to join her eldest daughter Mary and husband Donald McBAIN. Angus and Ann had the following children:
   
1. Mary McEACHERN Born 1856 Portland, Victoria - Married Donald McBAIN > NZ aft 1877
2. Margaret McEACHERN Born 1857 Portland, Victoria > NZ, Married. ? MAXWELL
3. Johanna McEACHERN Born 1860 Hotspur, Victoria, > NZ, Married. William MEE
4. Andrew Alexander McEACHERN Born 1861 Digby, Victoria, > NZ > AUS ?
5. Ann Jane McEACHERN Born 1863 Digby, Victoria, > NZ Married Michael REGAN
6. Jessie Steward McEACHERN Born 1866 Branxholme, Victoria, > NZ Married William SMITH
7. Angus Hugh McEACHERN Born 1867 Branxholme Victoria - Died 1868
8. Grace Christina McEACHERN Born 1869 Branxholme, Victoria, > NZ Married Thomas HIGHSTED
9. Myssie McEACHERN Born 1871 Branxholme, Victoria, > NZ Married Thomas ELLIS
10. Duncan McEACHERN Born 1873 Branxholme, Victoria, > NZ Married Jean PEMBERTON
11. Elizabeth McEACHERN Born 1875 Branxholme, Victoria, > NZ Married Richard GERKEN
 
1860 - In the Digby Court of Petty Sessions, 25 Apr 1860, Angus McEACHERN of Hotspur applied for and was granted a General Publican's Licence for the Crawford Inn at Hotspur. Surities were - Duncan McCALLUM of Ardgarton, Digby and Alfred Von BODEN of Dartmoor.
 
1861 - In the Digby Court of Petty Sessions, 23 Apr 1861, Angus McEACHERN of Hotspur applied for and was granted a General Publican's Licence for the Crawford Inn at Hotspur. Surities were - Thomas Henry CLARKE of Merino and John STOCK of Hotspur. On the 11 Sep 1861 the Licence was transferred to David Blair STONE with the surities being Alfred T FARLEY, Digby and Thomas INVERARITY, Digby
 
Duncan McEACHERN 1824-1906 & Margaret McDONALD 1838-1914
Duncan McEACHERN b. 1824, Morvern, Argyleshire, Scotland, son of Hugh McEACHERN & Margaret STEWART. He lived on "Kangaroo Station" near Digby and was married in 1857 at Portland, Vic to Margaret McDONALD b. 1838 Inverness, Scotland, dau of Andrew McDONALD and Margaret McDONALD and they had the following children:
   
1. Andrew McEACHERN - Born 1859 Portland, Victoria - Died 1879
2. Unnamed male McEACHERN - Born 1860 - Died 1862
3. Mary McEACHERN - Born 1863 Digby, Victoria - Died 1863
4. Sarah McEACHERN - Born 1866
5. Grace Johannah McEACHERN - Born 1869 Branxholme, Victoria
6. Jane Georgina McEACHERN - Born 1872 Hotspur, Victoria
7. Catherine Lilly McEACHERN - Born 1875 Hotspur, Victoria
8. Hughina Audria McEACHERN -  Born 1881 Portland, Victoria
 

D. McEACHERN was listed as an early landowner on the Hotspur Parish map

 
John "Long John" McEACHERN 1828-1908 & Ann McLEAN 1828-1897
John "Long John" McEACHERN b. 1828 Morvern, Argyle, Scotland, son of Hugh & Mary McEACHERN married 1857 Strathdownie to Ann McLEAN, Ann b. 1828 Morvern, Argyle, Scotland, dau of Alexander McLEAN and Ann McEACHERN and they had the following children:
   
1. Mary McEACHERN - Born 1858 Casterton, Victoria
2. Flora Ann McEACHERN - Born 1859 - Married Donald MATHESON;
3. Hugh McEACHERN - Born 1861 Strathdownie, Victoria - Married Annie McLEAN;
4. Margaret Ann McEACHERN - Born 1862 Casterton, Victoria
5. Alexander McEACHERN - Born 1864 Dartmoor, Victoria
6. Mary Margaret Stewart McEACHERN - Born 1867 Branxholme, Victoria - Married Andrew LINN
7. Alexander Mclean McEACHERN - Born 1869 Digby, Victoria - Married Catherine Jane McFARLANE
8. Hannah McEACHERN - Born 1870 Digby, Victoria - Died 1896 Mt Gambier, South Australia
9. John Angus McEACHERN - Born 1874 Hotspur, Victoria - Married Dorothy KERR.
 
In the Digby Court of Petty Sessions, 26 Jun 1867, Lachlan McCLEAN of Hotspur applied for and was granted a transfer of his General Publican's Licence for the Crawford Inn at Hotspur to John McEACHERN.
 

SOURCE

 South West Victorian Pioneers & History - www.ballaratgenealogy.org.au/digby/index.html

 For more information contact:

 Lyndall McLEAN at: elesmac@hotmail.com

Daryl Povey at: povey@sebas.vic.edu.au

 

Index to Digby Map showing location of pre 1900 Buildings

xxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
1 Burgess N. R. Blacksmith, Hay & Corn Store 23 Simkin, H. 46 Burgess, F.C.
2 Burgess N. Blacksmith, Hay & Corn Store 24 Hide, W. Store 47 Burgess, G.
3 Burgess N., Blacksmith 25 Sullivan, J. 48 Thomas, A.
4 McCallum, Wheelwright 26 Gull, M 49

Original Police Station

5 Woolpack Inn 27 Murphy, R. 50 Thomas, V. - Skin Buyer
6 Ottey's Store 28 McCallum, W. 51 Simkin, G.W.
7 Harris Bakery 29 Post Office and Store 52 Mabbitt, T.
8 Allardice 30 Smith, A 53 Nickleson
9 Burgess, Nathaniel 31 Miss Joyce 54 Biggin, J.H.
10 Mercer, General Store 32 Hawkins, Eli 55 Cameron, D.
11 Wombwell, W. 33 Haleys 56 Taylor, W.
12 Burgess, N. 34 Hawkins, J. 57 Barker, W.
13 Burgess, L. N. 35 Handcock, J. 58 Mansfield
14 Guthridge, G 36 Simkin, W. 59 Simkin, G.L.
15 A.O.F. Hall 37 House (unknown) 60 Simkin, J.
16 Lewsi 39 Cooper, R. 61 Findlay
17 McCallum, J 41 Digby Hotel 62 Roman Catholic Church
18 Hickleton, W 41 Wilkes 63 State School
19 Guthridge, H 42 St John's Church of England 64 Methodist Church
20 Brunton, R 43 Mechanics Institute 65 Simkin, J
21 Waters, W 44 Hazlewood's Store 66 Presbyterian Church
22 Burgess, N.J 45 Gibson, W. 67 Percy, F.

Commissioner of  Pensions Records, Washington, D.C.

Daryl Povey, Victoria - “Digby District Pioneers & History”

“Digby First Families”

“First Families Strathdownie & District”, South West Victoria, Australia

Hotspur Cemetery Records - “Hotspur First Families”

Lyndall McLean, Victoria - Massachusetts Regimental Histories

“Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors and Marines in the Civil War”

McEachern Genealogy - National Archives, Washington, D.C.

 

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