Immigration records for New Castle are virtually non-existent and yet thousands and thousands of Scotch-Irish landed in America at this spot. Most were bound for Philadelphia and there are a handful of reasons why they would jump ship early.
First and foremost, New Castle was reached earlier than Philadelphia. After anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks aboard ship, who wouldn't want to touch land again, especially a new land where your hopes and dreams, and probably a lot of your money was invested, just in travel expenses?
Secondly, not only was the extra distance to Philadelphia a factor, but at Philadelphia immigrants were forced to wait up to two additional weeks onboard ship under quarantine, while doctors examined each and everyone of them. Not so in New Castle.
Third, there was a tax or tariff on personal belongings being brought into America at Philadelphia, but again, not so in New Castle.
Fourth, the land most of the immigrants were bound for was cheap, or perhaps free land along the Susquehanna River, set aside, in 1720, by James Logan, Secretary of Pennsylvania. He set it aside specifically for the "families of the brave defenders of Londonderry." The members of our family who came to these settlements were the grandsons, and probably the sons of fighters at the 1689 Siege of Londonderry, Northern Ireland. This land was much easier and more quickly reached traveling directly west from New Castle, rather than going all the way to Philadelphia and then back to the Susquehanna.
These families were to be settled on the east side of the Susquehanna River to protect Philadelphia from Indian attack. Unfortunately, they were the subject of many Indian attacks themselves, and eventually most of our family moved to North Carolina to safer territory.
Daniel McCuistion is officially recorded as being one of the "brave defenders of Londonderry." John McCuistion, father to the 1735 immigrants, most likely was the son of Daniel and most likely fought at the siege at 15 years of age. Both Daniel and John are recorded as serving under the same commander - Gustavus Hamilton. Our family and the Hamilton family have other close relationships, including intermarriage.
One of those immigrants from 1735 was Robert McCuiston. On the ship with him was Thomas McCuistion, said in most records to be Robert's brother. Thomas Hamilton wrote in Robert's personal notebook that Thomas McCuistion was his uncle. The sister of Robert and Thomas, named Margaret or Margery, married a man named Hamilton, and she may have come over with her brothers. So the connection between the families was substantial.
Below is a modern map of the area we are speaking of.
Letter A on the map shows New Castle along the Delaware River, reached long before Philadelphia at letter B. Robert is our source of proof that he and other family members landed at New Castle on August 6, 1735. His son, James McQuiston, was born near letter C, or Darby Township.
There is the tradition that Robert spent time in New Jersey, letter D, and it is obvious how easy this would have been since it was just across the river. He is also said to have been the first Archmason in Baltimore, which would be located below where this map shows.
There is some record of our family around Rising Sun, letter E, which was an area in contention between Pennsylvania and Maryland. The Mason-Dixon line finally solved this argument.
It is likely Robert had to go up to Philadelphia to file his land claim. He married Ann Denny, whose family was already settled near Little Britain - letter G. So he must have first gone to the area around Little Britain, met Ann, got married and then traveled up to Philadelphia, for whatever reason, where his first son was born.
He moved back to the Little Britain area and also near letter H, at Middle Octorara Church.
Robert wasn't the first of our family in this area. Between letter I and Philadelphia lies Chester County where a David McCuistion was recorded as dying in 1732, three years before Robert arrived. Also, there are records of James McCuistion/McQueston filing for a road to be built in the area around Little Britain, letter G, in August of 1735. I have not been able to find the actual date, but it does seem that James would not have made it all the way to Little Britain, purchased land and filed a legal document within the first few weeks of arriving in America, although it could be possible. He is not mentioned in Robert's notebook, but is listed as Robert's brother in most records.
There is a possibility that James and David were brothers of William McQuesten of Londonderry, New Hampshire, who came to America years earlier than Robert. William is known to have a brother James who moved south and was not heard from again. He also had another brother, whose name is not known, but who could have been David.
One branch of our family from Tennessee had the tradition that there were five immigrant brothers and this would account for all of them - Robert, Thomas, James, David and William. It would also account for the two missing brothers of William, and for who David of 1732 was, and for why James was already a land owner and filing legal claims about the time his brothers were arriving a New Castle.
Regardless of when James arrived in this area, he and his two brothers, Robert and Thomas, lived in and around Little Britain and Middle Octorara. In 1751, Robert moved with his wife's family to the Carlisle, PA, area. Substantial Indian attacks were happening around the original settlements at this time. Two years later, James and Thomas moved to North Carolina for the same reason. They were part of the Nottingham Colony formed at letter F.
These brothers had one more brother who stayed in Ireland, named Benjamin, and another brother Alexander who owned the Rising Sun Inn near London, England. Alexander left his fortune to the family, which appears to have been into the millions if converted to modern day dollars. James Denny, a cousin to Robert's wife, signed Alexander's will.
Benjamin had a daughter named Jean who married Thomas Moody. Thomas Moody is known to have fought at a ripe old age at a Revolutionary War battle in North Carolina where James and Thomas had moved. If Jean came with him to America, she would be another very early McCuistion in this country. James Denny also moved to this NC community that is now Greensboro.
There are very logical and/or historical reasons why our family and thousands of others took the same path from Northern Ireland to New Castle, many working their way on to North Carolina. Others settled in Virginia. Families from both states ended up in Tennessee and from there up to Kentucky and down to the deeper south.
There are literally thousands of families that followed this same path. For our name to stand out in so many significant ways is pretty amazing.