McBride Family

1780 - 1876

Although the European origins of this family have not been found yet, we can determine from the surname that they were likely Irish or Scottish. McBride is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic "Mac Brighde", meaning "son of the servant of (Saint) Brigid", an Abbess of Kildare who died in 525 A.D. Most Irish with this name come from County Donegal, as does the names earliest recorded roots.

Our McBride lineage is headed by John McBride, born in 1780 in an unknown location. He married a woman named Catherine, who was born January 21, 1782 in Pennsylvania, and had only one known son:

  1. William G. McBride, (b. July 1, 1802)

The couple may have had other children but their names have not yet been discovered. One of them may have been a son named after his father, born sometime between 1801 and 1810.

The family lived in or around Chestnut Hill, where William was born. Not much is known about John but he died on April 24, 1850 and is probably buried in United Methodist Church on Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill. Though no gravestone has survived, the rest of his family is buried here and so he probably was as well. After his death, Catherine moved in with her son's family in Germantown. She died 12 years later on September 13, 1862 and is also buried in United Methodist Church. 

William was initially a shoemaker in Germantown but later became a farmer, owning property worth $3,000. By 1870, he’d become a carpenter. In 1843, Either he or his father lived on what is now 440 West Mermaid Lane near Chestnut Hill, though the current house on this property was built in 1925.

William married Hope Gibbs who was born in Germantown on November 3, 1805 to parents Calib Gibbs and Isabella Peters and they had five children:

  1. John A. (b. abt. 1832)
  2. William Jr. (b. abt. 1836)
  3. Sarah Elizabeth (b. June 25, 1838)
  4. Henry (b. 1843)
  5. Isabella Jane (b. August 21, 1845)

John A., probably named after his paternal grandfather, married a woman named Lucretia and they are buried in Ivy Hill Cemetery. Henry had been a cordwainer before his unfortunately early death when he was only 19 years old, before he’d even had a chance to marry. Though he had served for the Union and died on October 28, 1862 amidst the Civil War, his death certificate says he died of apoplexy (stroke). Though it was not unusual for soldiers to die of disease during the Civil War, apoplexy does seem an unlikely death for a 19 year old soldier. His Company (Company E, 119th Regiment Pennsylvania Infantry) was stationed in Maryland at the time and Henry had only served for two months before his death. He was originally buried in Wesley M.E. Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia but re-interred a year later in Mount Moriah Cemetery.

Isabella Jane, probably named after her maternal grandmother, married a man named Griffin A. Hart and moved to Kingston, New York but their family remained in contact with her sister Sarah’s family even after Sarah’s death.

Hope died on October 23, 1865 and was buried two days later in the United Methodist Church in Chestnut Hill. By 1870, William moved in with his son John until his death six years later on November 23, 1876 and was buried five days later alongside his wife at the United Methodist Church on Germantown Ave.

Sarah Elizabeth McBride was born on June 25, 1838 and grew up in Germantown where she met and married an Englishman named Josiah Fallows on April 18, 1861. To read about Sarah's married life, see the Fallows Family Chapter.

© Robin Bauer 2010-2013


McBride Photos and Documents

Hope McBride (nee Gibbs)

A young Sarah Elizabeth McBride

Sarah Elizabeth McBride

An 1843 map of Philadelphia showing the McBride property with Google maps overlaid showing modern street names.