Discovering Roots Around The County

Mount Joy Resident Traces Lineage Back To 1600s

Mount Joy resident Dr. James McCollum had always taken an interest in the McCollum side of his family's lineage. But in 2018, an invitation to be part of a ceremony for the installation of a historical marker at the Kyle-McCollum House in Youngstown, Ohio, sparked a newfound interest in the Kyle line.

The Kyle-McCollum homestead was completed in 1813 and became home to Joshua Kyle and his wife, who are McCollum's great-great-great-grandparents. The couple's daughter, Hannah Kyle, married Ira McCollum, and the pair inherited the home after Hannah's parents passed away - establishing it as the McCollum house. Ira and Hannah had a son named Alexander, who later had a son named James, who is the grandfather of Dr. James McCollum of Mount Joy. "My father was also named James, and he lived (in the Kyle-McCollum House) too, during the Great Depression," explained McCollum.

For that reason, McCollum and his siblings were invited to speak at the building dedication in July 2018 as the descendants of some of the earliest pioneers to settle in Youngstown. "It is the oldest continuously occupied home in Youngstown," noted McCollum. His ancestors sold the main home to an automobile dealer during the Great Depression, while maintaining ownership of a smaller house beside it.

"As I was preparing to say something (at the ceremony), I realized I'm also a Kyle descendent," recalled McCollum. As he began to research, he learned that Joshua Kyle was a veteran of the War of 1812. Joshua's father, John Kyle, was a captain in the Revolutionary War and had been born in - of all places - Lancaster County.

Although McCollum grew up in Youngstown, Ohio, and spent much of his adult life and career in Youngstown and Columbus, Ohio, he moved to Mount Joy in 2006 to serve as executive deputy to the president and chief of staff at Millersville University. He and his wife, Donna, have remained residents of Mount Joy since his retirement.

Doing so turned out to be perfect as he further researched the Kyle family genealogy. McCollum discovered that John Kyle's parents, Jean Bell and Samuel Kyle, are both buried in nearby Chambersburg. Samuel Kyle is the son of James Kyle, who was born in Ireland and married Susan Dixon, and the two are buried in the cemetery at the historic Donegal Presbyterian Church in Mount Joy. Upon realizing this, McCollum contacted pastor Matt Randolph to learn more about the gravestones and cemetery, as well as the history of the church.

According to McCollum, many of his ancestors were part of at least two major waves of Scotch-Irish settlers in the 1600s and 1700s before the United States was officially founded. Many McCollums journeyed from Scotland to what is now New Jersey before making their way slowly to Westmoreland County in Pennsylvania and later on to Ohio. A second wave included the "Ultra Scotch-Irish," a group that McCollum explained had only lived in Ireland for one or two generations and would not allow themselves to be called Irish. Many of these settlers were Protestant Presbyterians seeking religious freedom who traveled through Philadelphia and into Lancaster.

"For me it was this incredible experience. We lived most of our lives in Ohio, but here it is that we have generations of people we're descendants of (who are) buried all over Lancaster County," remarked McCollum.

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