McLennan, Neil (1777–1867)

By: Evelyn Clark Longwell

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: April 1, 1995

Neil McLennan, early settler, was born on the Isle of Skye in 1777. He immigrated in 1801 to North Carolina with numerous family members and friends; in 1816 they moved to Florida. In December 1834 Neil and a large group of family and friends, including Laughlin and John, Neil's brothers, set sail from Pensacola, Florida, in a three-masted schooner, the Caledonia, which they navigated themselves. They arrived at the mouth of the Brazos River around March 1, 1835, and sailed up the river as far as Columbia (then named Montezuma, later Columbus). After a resting period they continued their journey, stopping at Pond Creek, in Robertson's colony. McLennan received a league of land on July 28, 1835, and in the early fall he and the men set about building shelters and improving the land. He built on the bluff overlooking the rolling prairie with a small lake nearby. During the following winter Indians killed Laughlin McLennan, his wife, and his mother and captured his three children; the other families moved back to the Robertson settlement of Nashville-on-the-Brazos. John McLennan was killed by Indians in 1838. In 1839 Neil McLennan joined George B. Erath on a scouting and surveying trip to a site on the Bosque River near that of present Waco. McLennan exchanged his Pond Creek land for claims on the Bosque, and in 1845 he moved his family there, where he died in 1867 at his family home.

Lelia M. Batte, History of Milam County, Texas (San Antonio: Naylor, 1956). Roger Norman Conger, A Pictorial History of Waco (Waco: Texian Press, 1964). Roy Eddins, ed., and Old Settlers and Veterans Association of Falls County, comp., History of Falls County, Texas (Marlin, Texas?, 1947). Malcolm D. McLean, comp. and ed., Papers Concerning Robertson's Colony in Texas (19 vols., Arlington: University of Texas at Arlington Press, 1974–93). A Memorial and Biographical History of McLennan, Falls, Bell, and Coryell Counties (Chicago: Lewis, 1893; rpt., St. Louis: Ingmire, 1984). Rupert N. Richardson, Texas: The Lone Star State (New York: Prentice-Hall, 1943; 4th ed., with Ernest Wallace and Adrian N. Anderson, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1981). Lillian S. St. Romain, Western Falls County, Texas (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1951).
  • Peoples
  • Scots
  • Exploration
  • Surveyors and Cartographers

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Evelyn Clark Longwell, “McLennan, Neil,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 15, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 1, 1995