James McLean

Death 28 Aug 1807
Burial Unknown
Memorial ID 20029960 · View Source
Suggest Edits

Formerly Northampton, changed to: Southampton, currently: Caledonia, N.Y., circa. 1806.

Two factions (regarding land holdings:
1. Inverness group, while the other Scot immigrant society, known as
2. the Perthshire group
the actual site of the murders is debatable (see website address).

Under the influence of alcohol (March 16, 1807) the following account is indicated:
"...An argument broke out between William Orr and James McLean, a man known for his ill-temper, allegedly over Orr having felled a ... tree... on land claimed by McLean. It is asserted by one account that all three were squatters on land known as 'The Forty Thousand Acre Tract,' and that all three had been clearing land to build the new road.

McLean suddenly raised his broad axe and struck William Orr four times, two fatal blows to the throat, one in the left shoulder and one in the left side.

The Inquisition of James McLean provides a detailed account of the events.

Archibald, nearby, ran over to Orr and knelt over Orr's body, reputedly reproaching the assailant, 'Oh Lachlin, Lachlin, what have you done now?'

Archibald too was struck down.

One fatal blow to the upper back was reported as 'cutting him down to the very heart.'

Both victims apparently died instantly...
... McLean was arrested and jailed at Batavia, N.Y. by Sheriff Benjamin Barton.
Orr's inquisition was held on March 27th, 1807, and McLean was found guilty of the murder of William Orr at trial in June, 1807. He apparently was tried only for Orr's murder and not MacLachlan's by the Hon. Daniel Thompkins' and was defended by 'Judge' Nathaniel W. Howell...
...A great crowd from all parts of the County attended the public execution on August 28, 1807. It was reported in the newspapers that when the weight fell, the rope broke and McClean fell to the ground. He soon recovered from the shock and rising to his feet, expressed a strong desire not to be 'hung again.' Some insisted that one hanging was a fulfillment of the law. Others, however, thought differently and informed McClean that 'as he had killed two men, he ought to be hung twice.' (...he was only convicted of killing one.)

The County Clerk was dispatched by the Sheriff for a new rope. He soon returned with a 'trace rope' sufficiently strong and after considerable delay, the miserable culprit was again mounted upon the scaffold and launched into eternity!...
...McLean ironically was an uncle to Alexander McLean, the chief of police in Rochester, N.Y. for many years. No record has been found identifying McLean's burial location, but it may be assumed he was buried somewhere in or near Batavia, possibly in Batavia Cemetery on Harvester Avenue. The first burial there was recorded in 1806..."
NOTE: no relation to B.E.F. Stienstra.


See more McLean memorials in:



  • Created by: Barbara Elsie Feist Stienstra
  • Added: 22 Jun 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 20029960
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for James McLean (unknown–28 Aug 1807), Find A Grave Memorial no. 20029960, ; Maintained by Barbara Elsie Feist Stienstra (contributor 46541918) Unknown.