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Agnew and Hunter Families

My grandmother Mary Chambers Hunter Stier, daughter of Mary Hannah Agnew and John Porter Hunter of Pittsburgh

On the Agnew side

includes Agnew, Chambers, Carnagey families in Beaver and Allegheny Counties, Pennsylvania and Northern Ireland

On the Hunter side

Hunter, Porter, Armstrong families in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania and Northern Ireland

Agnew Family

The historic seat of the Agnew clan is Lochnaw Castle, in Wigtownshire, Galloway, Scotland. The Agnews were hereditary Sheriffs of Galloway and also the Lords of Larne in Ulster.

Most all of the Scots who migrated to this country were Lowland Scots who came to the Colonies via Ireland. They were Presbyterians who had been urged by King James and successors to populate Ulster in order to "civilize" it. The Ulster Plantation consisted of nine counties set aside in Northern Ireland for "settlement" by English and Scottish settlers. The purpose of the Plantation was to expand the wealth and power of Britain's empire by displacing the "mere Irish", and is at the core of the troubles Northern Ireland still has today. The settlers were predominantly Presbyterians.

The Scotch-Irish (now called this because they were neither Scotch nor Irish, after three generations in the land, but a distinct new culture) were driven off the land by huge increases in rent which they could not afford to pay. A great exodus into Virginia, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina ensued. Early Pittsburgh was largely settled by the Scots Irish, and all of our early family from Pittsburgh were of Scots Irish descent.

Our earliest known Agnew ancestor was Robert Agnew who was born in Antrim, Northern Ireland, in 1757. He came to New Jersey around age 7. We do not know who his parents were, but the emigration of Daniel Agnew to New Jersey at about the same time leads to the question of whether they were related. Daniel Agnew's grandson, also Daniel Agnew, later moved west to the Pittsburgh area (Beaver County) and became a very well-known Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice.

Meanwhile, Robert Agnew enlisted in the army from Pennsylvania and had a distinguished career as a Revolutionary War soldier serving under Colonel (later General) Anthony Wayne. After the war, he took advantage of land made available to veterans in Western Pennsylvania, then the frontier, and lived first in Canonsburg and later settled in Moon Township near Pittsburgh in Beaver and Allegheny Counties.

Robert married Esther Carnagey, the sister of his war buddy William Carnagey. They had 12 children. Their son John married Catherine Leitch of Beaver County, and John and Catherine's son John married Mary Ann Chambers.

Carnagey Family

The Carnagey family moved west from Bucks County to Beaver County, PA, and later on through Ohio to Missouri. The best known descendant of the Carnageys was Dale Carnegie, author and speaker.

Chambers Family

The Chambers family, originally from Ireland, emigrated in 1821 and became quite prominent and wealthy in Pittsburgh through the glass and later natural gas industries.

Alexander (born in County Armagh, Ireland) and David H. Chambers were glassmakers, in business at first with John Agnew and later on their own. The Chambers glass company became the largest window glass manufacturer in the world at the time.

Their uncle, John Chambers, was apparently in real estate or perhaps building. He lived on Washington Ave. near Sansbury's Tavern (probably this is now called Arlington Avenue on the South Side) and conveyed 52 acres on Brownsville Road in Carrick land to his daughter, Mary Ann, and her husband John Agnew in 1854. This is where the Agnew home and glass factory were built.

Hunter and Porter Families

John Porter Hunter was descended from Scots-Irish families in Pittsburgh--Hunter, Porter, Armstrong, Glover. John's father, Thomas Armstrong Hunter, was an immigrant from County Tyrone, Ireland, and a nailer. John Porter Hunter was a prominent Pittsburgh lawyer and City Soliciter.

Linked toPittsburgh, Allegheny Co., PA; Oakmont, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania; Family: Agnew/Chambers (F200); Family: Hunter/Agnew (F35); Family: Hunter/Porter (F34)
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