The Macy and MacLean Families

Written by Melanie MacLean Cross
Originally published in the October 2006 edition of the OAI Newsletter

The Macy and MacLean families were united by the marriage on September 7, 1923 of my grandparents, Charles Donald MacLean (1900-1965) and Lucille Julia Macy (1903-1978). Both families were very involved in many of the activities of the Arlington community. The following is a brief overview of some of the families’ history.

How the Macy family came to America:

Research by Clarella Macy Montalto has verified that the Arlington Macy’s are descended from Thomas Macy, born circa 1608 in England, and Sarah Hopcott, born 1612, also in England. After sheltering Quakers during a snowstorm, Thomas Macy moved his family from Salisbury (now called Amesbury), MA to become the founder of Nantuckett, MA. His homes in both locations are now historical museums. Thomas’ male descendents leading to the local Macy’s were: John (1655-1691),* Richard (1689-1779),* Abraham (1715-1746),* Abraham (1739-1820),* Seth (1786-1831), Judah (1825-1904), Theodore (1843-1918), Anson (1868-1934). As a note, Abraham Macy the elder, married Anna Worth who was a direct descendent of four of the passengers of the Mayflower that landed in Plymouth, MA. Their son Abraham Macy then became the first Macy descended from the Mayflower Pilgrims. He in turn married Priscilla Bunker who was a Starbuck descendent.

In 1889, Anson Charles Macy married Ella Nora Flynn, whose Flynn family has a long heritage in the Mandarin area of Jacksonville. Their children were: Charles Theodore, Lucille Julia, Louis, Gertrude (Savage), Rosa (Barr) and Ruth. They lived in South Jacksonville, near the old skating rink, north of what is now Prudential Drive and west of Hendricks Avenue. After selling the land he owned where the Baptist Hospital is now located, he bought land in partnership with two other men, one of whom was the Johnson family in Arlington, and built a new two-story home on River Bluff Road. They moved their family there around 1912. Anson Charles and Ella Nora lived there until they died, he in 1934, and she in 1949.

Anson Charles Macy, my great-grandfather, purchased the Arlington Ferry from the Alderman Realty Company, and owned and operated the ferry for many years. It carried four vehicles and ran from the foot of Arlington Road on the east side of the St. Johns River to the Fairfield area on the river’s west side.

In 1939, Charles and Lucille (Macy) MacLean bought the house, moving their family there and taking care of Ella Nora. Charles was a plumber, as was co-incidentally, Gertrude’s husband Vernon Savage (Miami), and Rosa’s husband, Mr. Barr. The house is now known as the Macy-MacLean House.

How the MacLean family came to America:
Thanks to research by Mark MacLean, we know that Donald MacLean became a citizen of The United States of America on October 16, 1896. He was born circa 1874 at Winging Point in Forchu, Nova Scotia. His parents were named Charles MacLean and Annie MacDonald. Annie’s family was from North Uist, Scotland. His grandfather was Archie MacLean, who moved from the Isle of Mull, Scotland to Nova Scotia, circa 1840. Donald, a sailor by trade eventually settled in Chicago, circa 1893. He and Mary E. Martin were married in 1898, and had four children while living in Chicago: Charles Donald, Helen, Marion, and Archie. Around 1907, Donald, Mary and their two surviving children moved to Florida. The first Marion and the first Archie died as children in Chicago. Six more children were born in Florida: Donald Charles, Marion, Archie, Norman, Sydney Gordon and Flora.

First settling in SaintXJohns Park in the Crescent City area. While in Florida, Donald operated a hotel on Dunns Creek, which runs between Crescent Lake and the St. Johns River. When Mary became ill, they returned to Chicago for a while. Donald eventually moved his family to the Jacksonville area circa 1911. He operated a trading vessel on the river and then a store at the foot of Floral Bluff Road in Arlington. He provided mail service both on the vessel and at the store. After that he opened a store, with extensive boat and ship chandlery, at 19 South Ocean Street in downtown Jacksonville throughout the rest of his life, with his sons Sydney and Norman taking over the operation later. Later, Donald and Mary and the family moved to the Fairfield area, on 1511 Hazwell Street (former Mayor Lou Ritter lived in one of their four apartments at one time), moving when the Gator Bowl expanded in 1958, to Oak Forest Drive for a year then to Parental Home Road at Chelton Road, until they died. He and Mary lived in Jacksonville until their deaths in 1967 and 1971, respectively.

Donald’s son Charles Donald MacLean (known as Charles MacLean) was my grandfather. His grandson Charles Donald MacLean, Jr. (known as Don MacLean) is my father. My father’s sisters were Jean Lucille (MacLean) Gully and Norma Ruth (MacLean) Kirby. The Donald MacLeans lived first in Floral Bluff on Shepherd Street in a home that Donald built. To build the house, Donald rowed in a rowboat from the foot of Ocean Street to Commodore’s Point, picked up lumber at the mill and towed it down the river to Floral Bluff. He then carried it up the hill and built the house. Built in the early 1900s it burned down circa 1960s. Some might remember it as the Hungerford Nursing Home.

With wooden construction, fire was always a hazard. The Friseke family had a two-story structure that was a store on the first floor and their living quarters on the second floor. It was located at the NE corner of Arlington Rd and River Bluff Road. When it caught on fire, it burned down because there was no fire department in the area. The store was next to the Macy house. Right after that Anson C. Macy was instrumental in founding the Arlington Volunteer Fire Department, which continued in existence until the Consolidation of City and County Government. The first fire equipment was a fire trailer with iron wheels. After it had outlived its usefulness as firefighting equipment, the neighborhood children loved to play on it.

In the early 1940s, Charles MacLean, a plumber and welder, built a fire truck in the garage at his house on River Bluff Road, welding the steel for the tank and outfitting it with a pump. The engine drove the rear wheels and through a power takeoff drove the pump located on the front of the truck between the radiator and the front bumper. Don MacLean was the “go-fer” for the construction. The garage was well-equipped for everything needed for that operation.

The Arlington Volunteer Fire Station was located in an extension of the Arlington Community Club, which is the location of the present-day Arlington Woman’s Club. There, the electric siren was mounted on top of the CC. When there was a fire someone rushed to the CC, pushed the button and the siren went off. The volunteers would drop whatever they were doing and respond. Most of the men and teenagers were in the fire dept at some point in their lives. Nearly the entire neighborhood would respond when there was a fire.

The Macy and/or MacLean families were also very involved in many other community activities including the Arlington Lions Club, Arlington Woman’s Club, Arlington United Methodist Church, Arlington Community Club, Arlington Waterworks, and the Arlington Cemetery. [Ed Note: officially Memorial Park Cemetery, a.k.a. Arlington Memorial Park Cemetery]

Thank you to Don MacLean and Norma MacLean Kirby for helping with our family history.