At the commencement of the Revolutionary War, one of the worthy and patriotic citizens of the little town of Charlotte, in Mecklenburg county, N.C., was Patrick Jack. He was a native of Ireland, and emigrated to America, with several brothers, about 1730. He married Lillis McAdoo, of the same race, who is represented to have been, by all who knew her, as “one of the best of women,” having an amiable disposition, frequently dispensing charities to the poor, and truly pious. Her Christian name, “Lillis”, in subsequent years, was softened into “Lillie”, by many of her descendants in adopting it. The descent of Patrick Jack is traceable to noble ancestors, one of whom was a ministerial sufferer in the reign of Charles II, in 1661. In that year, that despotic monarch, who, according to one of his own satirists, “Never said a foolish thing, nor ever did a wise one,” ejected from their benefices or livings, under Jeremy Taylor, thirteen ministers of the Presbytery of Lagan, in the northern part of Ireland, for their non-conformity to the Church of England. The Puritans of England were called to the same trial, in August, 1662, and in the following October, the same scene of heroic suffering was exhibited in Scotland.
Among the honored names of these thirteen ejected ministers, were Robert Wilson, ancestor of the Rev. Francis McKemie, who, twenty years later, was the first Presbyterian preacher that had ever visited the Western Continent, and near relative of George McKemie, of the Waxhaw settlement, and a brother-in-law of Mrs. Elizabeth Jackson, the mother of General Andrew Jackson; Robert Craighead, ancestor of the Rev. Alexander Craighead, the first settled pastor of Sugar Creek congregation, the early apostle of civil and religious liberty in Mecklenburg county, and who ended his days there in 1766; Thomas Drummond, a near relative of William Drummond, the first royal Governor of North Carolina; Adam White, ancestor of Hon. Hugh Lawson White, a native of Iredell county, and William Jack, ancestor of Patrick Jack, of Charlotte, Charles Jack, of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, and others whose descendants are now found in ten or twelve States of the American Union.
In the list of tax-payers for Chambersburg, Pa, during the latter half of the last century, the “Chief Burgess,” or Mayor of that place, informs the author the name of Jack (especially John, James, Charles, and William) is of frequent occurrence; but, at the present time, not one of the name is to be found there. One of these, (James) probably a nephew of Patrick and Charles Jack, served five years with distinction in the Revolutionary army, and others are traditionally spoken of as actively engaged in the same patriotic duty. Several of the elder members of the family are buried in the graveyard of Chambersburg, others in Williamsport, Md., and elsewhere in western Pennsylvania.
Several years previous to the Revolution, there also came over from the north of Ireland to America, at least two brothers of the name of Jack, distant relatives of Patrick and Charles Jack, and settled in western Pennsylvania. When the county town of Westmoreland (Hannastown) was burned by the Indians in 1783, one of this family distinguished himself by saving the lives of the women and children. After the burning of that place, the name of the town was changed to Greensburg, and a new location selected on land donated by William Jack, who had become quite wealthy, and one of the Associate Judges of Westmoreland county. He had five sons, four of whom died bachelors; the elder married, but none of his descendants are now (1876) living, except a grand-son, (William Jack,) who resides near Greensburg, Pa. The only daughter of Judge William Jack, married “John Cust”, who fled from Ireland soon after the rebellion in 1798.
About 1760, animated with the hope of more rapidly improving his worldly condition, Patrick Jack joined the great tide of emigration to the Southern colonies, and shortly after his arrival in North Carolina purchased a tract of land between Grant and Second Creeks, in the Cathey settlement (now Thyatira) in Rowan county. After remaining there for about two years, he sold his land and moved to the adjoining county of Mecklenburg. Here, by strict economy and industry, he was “blest in his basket and his store,” and enabled to make more enlarged possessions. This improvement in his pecuniary condition and prosperity may be inferred from the fact that in 1775, and a few years subsequently, he and his eldest son, Capt. James Jack, who, about this time united in business with his father, became the owners of some of the finest lots, or rather blocks, in Charlotte. Among the valuable lots they are recorded as owning, may be briefly named: No. 25, the present Irwin corner; No. 26, the Parks lot; No. 27, the whole space, or double block, from the Irwin corner to the Court House lot; No. 29, the space from the Parks lot to the corner embracing the Brown property; and several lots on Trade street, opposite the First Presbyterian Church. On one of these last named lots (the old Elms property, on the corner next to the Court House) Patrick Jack and his son Capt. James Jack, resided when the delegates from the militia districts of the county assembled, on the 19th and 20th of May, 1775, and kept a public house of entertainment. Here Patrick Jack, on suitable occasions, was accustomed to “crack” many an Irish joke, to the infinite delight of his numerous visitors; and by his ready wit, genial good humor and pleasantry, greatly contributed to the reputation of his house, and inculcated his own patriotic principles. The house soon became the favorite place of resort for the students of the collegiate institute known as “Queen’s Museum,” and of other ardent spirits of the town and country, to discuss the political issues of that exciting period, all foreboding the approach of a mighty revolution.