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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Annals of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania published in 1905 by The Genealogical Publishing Company.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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REV. W. A. McCARRELL. D. D., pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Shippensburg, is recognized as one of the more prominent ministers of the Cumberland Valley. Dr. McCarrell was born in Greene county, Pa., Aug. 20, 1846, a son of Rev. Dr. Alexander and Martha (McClellan) McCarrell, natives of Washington county, Pa., of Scotch-Irish descent. The grandfather on the paternal side was Samuel McCarrell, whose father was Thomas McCarrell.

Thomas McCarrell was a Belfast weaver, was born in County Armagh, Ireland, in 1741, and in 1758 emigrated to America. He listened to the proclamation of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia in 1776, and served throughout the Revolutionary war, witnessing the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown. In 1793 he migrated to Washington county, Pa., where he died at the advanced age of ninety-five. He was an elder of the Seceder (Tent) Church, now Cross Creek U. P. Church, and was a courageous, consistent Christian His descendants were numerous and of excellent standing in western Pennsylvania. At least five of his great-grandsons are on the ministerial roll of the Presbyterian Church, viz.: The three McCarrells of Pennsylvania, Dr. J. R. Miller, of Philadelphia, and Rev. R. J. Creswell, of North Dakota, and one great-great-grandson. Rev. R. J. Creswell, of Shiloh Church, Minneapolis, Minn.; Rev. Dr. R. J. Miller, of the U. P. Church, Pittsburg, and Rev. Dr. Alexander D. McCarrell, of the same church, are also great-grandsons of the old soldier of ‘76.

Thomas McClellan, the maternal great-grandfather of Dr. W. A. McCarrell, of Shippensburg, was a soldier of the Revolutionary war. He enlisted first at York, Pa., was sent to North Carolina, where his term of enlistment began and expired, and re-enlisted in the Cavalry, serving through the war as a lieutenant. He was wounded in the leg at the battle of Trenton, N. J. After the war he moved to Washington county, Pa., where he was a farmer and where he died at an advanced age. His son, Thomas, was the grandfather of our subject.

Rev. Alexander McCarrell, D. D., was born in Washington county, Pa., as before stated, and was pastor of the Claysville Presbyterian Church, of that county, for thirty-five years. Four children were born to himself and wife: S. J. M., a prominent attorney of Harrisburg, Pa.; Rev. J. J., pastor of the Presbyterian Church at McKeesport, Pa., who died in 1902; Thomas C., a Presbyterian minister at Mechanicsburg, Pa.; and W. A., who is mentioned below.

Dr. W. A. McCarrell acquired his education at Washington and Jefferson College, from which institution he was graduated in the class of 1868. After graduation he accepted a position at Harlem Springs, Ohio, in the college of that place, as professor of Greek and Latin, and Mental and Moral Science. After remaining there a year he entered the theological seminary at Allegheny City, Pa., whence he was graduated in 1871, and soon thereafter he accepted a call to the churches of Gravel Run and Cambridge, Crawford county. There he remained until 1875, when he was called to the Presbyterian Church at Shippensburg, where for twenty-nine years he has been the much beloved pastor. During this long period the church has greatly prospered, and his congregation increased until he now has 350 communicants. He has taken a great interest in the temperance cause, being one of its ardent supporters, and for a number of years he was president of the Cumberland Valley Sabbath Association. In 1876 Dr. McCarrell wrote a very able history of the Shippensburg Presbyterian Church, which has since been published, and is extensively read. He is an able and frequent contributor to newspapers upon matters of religious interest, and for a number of years served as chairman of the committee of arrangements for the Presbyterian reunions held at Pen Mar.

In 1871 Dr. McCarrell was united in marriage with Miss Martha Means, daughter of Benjamin and Margaret Means, of Washington county, Pa., of Scotch-Irish descent. Seven children have been born to Dr. and Mrs. McCarrell, three of whom are living: Martha E., a graduate of Wilson College, is assistant principal of the Shippensburg high school. William Alexander is a graduate of Mercersburg College, at Mercersburg, and spent two years at Washington and Jefferson College, but is now in the mechanical department of the Pennsylvania Railroad at Altoona; he married Marie Bonebake, of Waynesboro, Pa. John C. is a student at the Cumberland Valley State Normal School.

During his useful and beautiful life Dr. McCarrell has always exerted his influence toward the betterment of humanity. All of his teachings and writings have been done with this end in view. His ministry has been particularly blessed, and he is highly honored by his people, not only on account of his eloquence and erudition, but also because of his kindly, courteous nature, and his upright Christian mode of living, which in itself preaches an unanswerable argument in favor of his creed and teachings. In 1900 the degree of D. D. was conferred upon him by Washington and Jefferson College, at Washington, Pennsylvania.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Biographical Annals of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania published in 1905 by The Genealogical Publishing Company. 

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