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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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McArthur, Neil

by Carole Watterson Troxler, 1991

fl. 1764–84

Neil McArthur, Loyalist leader during the American Revolution, moved from his native Scotland to Cross Creek in 1764 and opened a store. When the war began he was a prosperous merchant and planter, owning two plantations and six uncultivated tracts in Cumberland and Bladen counties and wagons and boats for hire. He supplied provisions, camp equipment, and boats to the Loyalists at Moore's Creek Bridge and fought there as a captain. He was imprisoned with other Loyalist leaders for almost three years afterwards. In April 1779, on his way from New York to Georgia, he was captured off the coast of Virginia and confined at Boston for four months. Freed again, he rejoined the British at New York and accompanied Sir Henry Clinton to Charles Town in 1780.

Under Lord Charles Cornwallis's commission McArthur raised the reactivated North Carolina Highlanders, and in 1782 he joined that corps to John Hamilton's Royal North Carolina Regiment. McArthur accompanied the regiment to East Florida in 1782 and to Nova Scotia in 1783. When he moved to Nova Scotia, there were six people in his household. He received one thousand acres at the regimental settlement near Country Harbour and seven hundred acres on Swan Creek in Kings County. McArthur and his family left Nova Scotia in March 1784 to present his compensation claim in London. There he was allowed £2,345 of his £4,056.18 claim.


British Headquarters Papers, no. 4211, Lawrence Collection, Chipman Papers, and Muster Rolls of North Carolina Highlanders and Royal North Carolina Regiment (Public Archives of Canada).

Marion Gilroy, comp., Loyalists and Land Settlement in Nova Scotia (1937).

Public Record Office, London, AO 12:71, 101, 109, 13:121–22, 130:1259, FO 4:1.

Royal North Carolina Regiment Warrant to Survey (Public Archives of Nova Scotia).

William L. Saunders, ed., Colonial Records of North Carolina, vol. 10 (1890).

Additional Resources:

Graves, Donald E. Guide to Canadian Sources Related to Southern Revolution War National Parks. (Research Project for Southern Revolutionary War National Parks, National Parks Service Solicitation Number 500010388.)  Ontario: Donald E. Graves. (accessed May 28, 2014).


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