From the Doctoral Dissertation of Clement Tsehloane Keto.  American Inolvement in South Africa 1870-1915 -- The Role of Americans in the Creation of Modern South Africa.  Washington, D. C.: Georgetown University, May 1972.  (The entire report is available as a facsimile from University Microfilms International, Ann Arbor, Michigan)

pp.140-42  The impact of the missionaries of the American Zulu Mission in South Africa, in general, and Natal, in particular, is amazing when one considers that they were few in numbers compared to other missionary groups from other countries.  Yet they wielded an impact on the missionary world of South Africa which far exceeds their numbers.

Since they were the first missionary group among the Zulus, they did pioneer work in the reduction of the Zulu language into a written language.  James C. Bryant one of the early missionaries wrote "one of the most accurate and concise accounts of Zulu ever given" and Lewis Grout in 1859 published the first grammar book of the Zulu language.  From this advantage, the American Zulu Mission undertook and completed under the editorship of William C. Wilcox, one of their missionaries, in 1883, the first translation of the Bible into Zulu.  For a long time other missionary societies had to rely on the Zulu publications of the American Board in their missionary work among the Zulus or the related Ngoni and Ndebele in Central Africa.

Dr. Burt N. Bridgman began work as a medical missionary among the Zulus in 1892.  He was assisted for a short period by Dr. John N. Nembula.  Dr. J. B. McCord arrived in 1899 and was responsible for the establishment of an African hospital in Durban which still bears his name.  Another hospital for Blacks founded by the American Board in Johannesburg bears the name of another American missionary, Frederick B. Bridgman.

The American missionaries aided in the conversion of the Africans by the indirect method of healing their illnesses.  Dr. McCord at one time envisaged the creation of a medical school in Natal for Africans.  Although the plan failed to materialize, it is a credit to his vision that he believed in the ability of the Africans in Natal to master the complicated techniques and skills of medical practice.

(There is much more on the effect of the missionaries on the Zulus in this chapter although these are the only references directly referring to Dr. McCord that I have found.)

From Eric Rosenthal, Southern African Dictionary of National Biography, London and New York:  Frederick Marne & Co., 1966, p.228:

McCord, Dr. James Bennett (1870-1950).  American medical missionary.  Born in Toulon, Illinois, he studied at Oberlin College and at North-Western University, where he graduated in medicine.  In 1899 he came to Natal for the American Board of Foreign Missions.  There he worked among the Zulus and in 1909 established the McCord Hospital, now with over 300 beds entirely for non-Whites.  His proposal for a medical service for Bantus was adopted in 1935.  He retired in 1940.

Note written by Peggy Nixon included in Hazel and Jerry's records:

Margaret and James McCord arrived in Durban, Africa in 1899 with no money, two children and hearts full of hope and expectation.  For the next 40 years they lived an extraordinary life.  They revolutionized the relationship between the whites and the Zulus, built clinics, dispensaries, a training school for nursed, inspired a school for Zulu doctors and built the now famous McCord Zulu Hospital in Durban.  Retired 8 August 1940, the second year of the World War II.

See My Patients were Zulus.  by James B. McCord, M.D. with John Scott Douglas.  For even more information read Margaret McCord Nixon's The Calling of Katie ___________, the American edition published in 1998.

From Who's Who in America Vol. 2, 39th Ed.  MCCORD, WILLIAM MELLEN, coll. pres; b. Durban, Natal, Union South Africa Jan 24, 1907 (parents Am. citizens); s. James Bennett and Margaret (Mellen) McC.; A.B., Oberlin Coll. 1928; Ph.D., Yale, 1931; M.D. La. State U., 1939; Litt.D., Coll. Charleston, 1974; m. Evangeline Andrews, June 14, 1930; children-James A., Marilyn Ann (Mrs. Harry S. Sloane).  Instr. biochemistry La. State U. Med. Sch., New Orleans, 1931-35, asst. prof., 1935-39, asso. prof 1939-42; intern Charity Hosp., New Orleans; mem. faculty Med. Univ. S.C., Charleston, 1945-, prof., 1945-64, interim pres., 1964-5, pres 1965-.  Trustee Charleston County Hosp., 1964-. Served with AUS, 1942-5.  Named S.C. chemist of the year Am. Chem. Soc, 1973.  Mem. Charleston County Med. Soc. (past pres.), A.M.A., Am. Chem. Soc., Soc. Nuclear Medicine, A.A.A.S., Am. Fedn. Clin. Research, S.C. Acad. Sci., Soc. Exptl. Biology and Medicine, Assn.Acad.Health Adminstrs., Sigma Xi, Alpha Omega Alpha, Etk.Ckhrlc. Hibernian Society, Contrb. prof. jours.  Home 210 Fort Johnson St. Charleston, SC 29412.  The listing in American Men and Women of Science Vol.4 L-O does not add any significant biography.  

Obituary of Dr. William Mellen McCord sent by Peg Nixon gives the date of his death as 29 January 1996 at age 89 years of age.  There are extensive comments on his term as President of the Medical University of South Carolina.  He left the University in 1976 and practiced for two years in Montgomery, Alabama as a family practitioner.  He then helped organize St. George's University School of Medicine in Grenada, West Indies and served as professor and dean.  He retired to a farm in Lodge a rural community north of Waterboro.  He was born in South Africa living there for seventeen years.  His son Dr. James Andrews McCord was a graduate in 1962 from MUSC.

The following parts of a letter from Peg Nixon on 23 December 1996 will add significantly to the genealogical data:

 McCord) daughter, Mary, was born in Toulon, IL, and later taught for

a year in Toulon and then for two years in Lake City Iowa.  Robert

Leeper McCord moved to Lake City, Iowa when his wife inherited some

farm property from her father, Joel Willis Hopkins of Granville, IL.

He married Helen De Armond Hopkins and they had six children.

1. JOEL HOPKINS MCCORD born around 1868 or 1869 and married to Laurie

whose maiden name I do not know.  They had two children.

His son, Joel, lives in Boise, Idaho.

His daughter, Janet, died several years ago.  She was married to James Laubaugh and they had one son whose real name I have forgotten but who was known as Kip.  He did not marry and I don't know if he is still alive.

2. JAMES BENNETT MCCORD, my father, who married Margaret Carolyn Mellen.  They had six children.  He died in 1950.

JESSE, born in 1897 or 98 and died in 1918.

MARY HELEN born, I believe, in 1899.  She married Worth J. Parsons.  They had four children.

JAMES born 1927.  Married Betty Anne.  They now live in Oakham, Mass.  They had several children whose names I have forgotten.

WILLIAM, also married and has several children and lives in North Brookfield.  He can be reached through his sister.

MARILYN married Ernest Brunelle.  They have three children.Their oldest son also lives in Oakham, Mass., is married and has four children.  Names available through his mother. Their second son, Jeffrey, lives with his parents in Oakham and is not married. Their daughter, Paula, married Ed Marks and has two children, names available through her mother.

ROBERT LARKIN born 1900 and died about 1960.

LAURA, born around 1896 or thereabouts died (when).

WILLIAM MELLEN  (see biographical data above)

MARGARET CAROLYN (Peggy) married Charles R. Nixon in 1941, divorced in 1981 ?. I have two children.

JOHN BENNETT NIXON married Helen Neterer.  Has two children. ANDREW JOHN born 1975.  DEBORAH born 1986 or 87.

3.  MARY ELEANOR (known as MAMIE)  I believe she was the third child.  She married Ralph Larkin.  They had one son, ROBERT EDGAR, who died in infancy.  Mary died in 1900.

4.  ROBERT LEIGH married Lily (I don't know her maiden name).  They

had four children.   

HELEN who never married.

ROBERT LEIGH who married Wanda (I don't know her maiden name). 

They had two children.

ROBERT married and divorced and has two children.

PENNY, also married and divorced, and has two children.

RUTH married William Peterson and has two children.

KAREN, married with children.

WILLIAM, married, divorced, remarried and has children.

JOHN never married.  Died a few years ago.

5.  ARCHIBALD WILSON born 1878 and died 1902.

6.  WILLIAM died the day he was born.

MARY OLIVE, Robert Leeper's sister, born in 1849, was my father's favorite aunt, and in the early 1900s when family members contributed to a fund for the building of the McCord Zulu Hospital in Durban, "Aunt Ollie" made a generous contribution.  When I was a child in the 20s she was still corresponding with my parents--a fact I remember because her letters arrived with a return street address but no mention of the 'old ladies home' where she lived after retirement.  I gathered from my mother that she felt ashamed of having to live in an institution instead of with relatives.  (a very different orientation to the current popularity of "retirement centers."

I am also curious about James Burnett McCord's son, John Davis McCord.  Occasionally my father would talk about his uncle John in Wisconsin  who was apparently very active in the "Underground Railroad."  And when he died the obituary included a limerick which began "Here lies the body of John McCord--" and then goes on to speak of the grave as so many feet long and six feet wide and then something about John McCord lying there with a nigger on each side'.  He also told me once that his Uncle John was very tall, standing almost seven feet.  All the McCord men in that branch of the family were tall, including my father, his brothers, his sons, and his grandson, all of whom were well over six feet.  (Truman O. Douglas in "Platteville in Its First Quarter Century", The Wisconsin Magazine of History Vol. VI gives his recollection of the doggerel on which the above is based as: 

Abolition Hollow; ten feet wide

Nigger in the middle, and a McCord on each side.

The articles by Douglas and his wife give a good insight into the developing conflicts between the abolition movement and the slavery supporters in the North.)

William Mellen McCord filled out a questionnaire for Alenia McCord and included the following on his brothers and sisters:

Jessie Fairbanks  b. 12 July 1897 d. 9 Oct 1918 in Oberlin, Ohio

Mary Helen  b. 19 Jan 1899  d. 1990 in Oakham, MA.

Robert  b. 5 May 1900  d. 1962 in Wisconsin

Laura Robinson  b. 9 Mar 1905  d. 9 Mar 1920

Margaret Nixon  b. 1917

A daughter of Robert Leigh McCord and Lily Jane McArthur filled out a questionnaire, badly blotted; I believe her name is Helen and she is unmarried.  Born 11 May 1918 in Sac City, Iowa.  She lists three persons under the heading children, but I believe they are brothers and a sister:  Ruth McCord Peterson; Robert Leigh McCord, deceased; and John Turner McCord, deceased.

From "The McCord Family Record" - prepared by Herbert Holmes McCord assisted by Lucien Elbert McCord in 1885-86.  Added to by Mr. and Mrs. L. E. Alexander of Reno, Illinois, Mrs. Almira Beagle of Canton, Illinois, and George E. McCord of Tulsa, Oklahoma:  (This is the basic document for information on the Robert and David McCord families.)

11.  JAMES BURNETT MCCORD b. Aug 15, 1806  d. Aug 23, 1874

m.  Mar. 2, 1826 Margaret Caroline Robinson  b. Aug     22, 1805  d. Apr. 7, 1865

I. WILLIAM ROBINSON MCCORD b. Mar. 5, 1827  d.Mar. 10, 1914

II. JOSEPH BRADLEY NEWTON MCCORD b.Sep 26, 1828 d.Mar 5,1873

III.ROBERT LEEPER MCCORD  b. Aug. 7, 1930  d. Dec. 14, 1909

IV. THERON BALDWIN MCCORD b. Aug. 18, 1832 d. Aug 20, 1893

V. JOHN DAVIS MCCORD b. Oct. 4, 1834

VI. EDWIN KIMBALL MCCORD  b. Jan. 19, 1837 d. Jul. 13, 1909

VII. MORRIS FOSTER MCCORD b. Jun. 29, 1841 d. Apr. 5, 1913

VIII. ELIZA JANE MCCORD  b. Sept. 9, 1843  d. Mar 8, 1913

IX  MARY OLIVE MCCORD  b. Jan. 14, 1849

m. October 15, 1867 - Martha Hopkins

I. WILLIAM ROBINSON MCCORD b. Mar. 5, 1827 d. Mar. 10, 1914

m. June 1, 1852  Sarah Ann Laughlin  d. Jan. 26, 1883

A. CARRIE THERESA MCCORD b.Sep 28, 1853 d.Nov 27, 1892

m. Feb. 14, 1882  John W. Lawer

a. ALTA MAY LAWER  b. May 18, 1885

b. LOLA VERN LAWER b. Mar. 2, 1890

m. Mar. 20, 1898   Harold Dewey

B. ALMA LILLIAN MCCORD b.Sep 8, 1855 d.May 15, 1880


m. May 9, 1889  Ada Wright

D. JAMES ELMER MCCORD b. Jun. 11, 1861  d. May 5 1889

E. LEONORA MCCORD b. Feb. 7, 1863

m. August 29, 1894   Joseph Goes

F. CLAUDIUS TILTON MCCORD b. Feb. 3, 1866 (twin)

     G. THADDEUS STEVENS MCCORD b. Feb. 3, 1866 (twin)   m. June 11 1898   Gertrude Heath

                        a. HELEN HEATH MCCORD b.Jul.27, 1900                                                                                

                        b. MADALAINE ADELLE MCCORD b. Jun 3, 1903

III. ROBERT LEEPER MCCORD  b. Aug. 7, 1830  d.Dec. 14, 1909

m. Sep. 3, 1867  Helen DeArmond Hopkins b.Jun 22, 1843

A. JOEL HOPKINS MCCORD b. Sept. 24, 1868

m. June 1914  Annie Laurie Adams

a. JANET MCCORD b. Oct. 9?, 1917

b. J. H. MCCORD b. Apr. 23, 1920

B. JAMES B. MCCORD  b. Apr. 5, 1870

m. Aug 4, 1895  Margaret Caroline Mellen

b. Nov. 9, 1870          


b. MARY HELEN MCCORD b. Jan. 19, 1899





C. MARY ELEANOR MCCORD b. May 14, 1872  d. 1899

D. ROBERT LEIGH MCCORD b. Mar. 13, 1875

E. ARCHIBALD WILSON MCCORD b.Feb 6, 1878 d. 1901

F. WILLIAM  MCCORD b. Nov. 6, 1879 d. Nov. 7, 1879

IV. THERON BALDWIN MCCORD b.Aug 18, 1832 d.Aug 20, 1893

m. January 10, 1867 Ellen McGrannis b.Jan 23, 1841


V. JOHN DAVIS MCCORD b. Oct. 4, 1834

m. May 23, 1861 Elizabeth Aurelia Brown b.Jun 13,





D. GRACE ISABELL MCCORD (step-daughter) b. Jul 12,


m. October 14, 1880 Pauline Robinson Stuck

VII. MORRIS FOSTER MCCORD b.Jun 29, 1841 d. Apr 5, 1913

m. April 21, 1870 Isabell Cooley b. Sep 9, 1851

A. ESTELLE MCCORD b. Apr. 5, 1872

B. NELLIE MCCORD b. Dec. 7, 1875

C. MARY OLIVE MCCORD b. Apr 11, 1878

D. ROSCOE MCCORD b. Jan. 7, 1881

E. MAUD MCCORD b. Oct. 7, 1883

VIII. ELIZA JANE MCCORD b. Sep 9, 1843  d. Mar 8, 1913

m. March 26, 1860 Warren C. Smith

A. HENRIETTA SMITH b. Sep 8, 1861  d. Dec 8, 1861

B. DEWITT CLINTON SMITH b.Sep 6,1863 d.Dec 9,1868


m. May 3, 1883 William Hanley b. 1860

D. LILLIE MAY SMITH b. May 13, 1867

E. FANNY OLIVE SMITH b. Aug 17, 1868 d.Jun 7,1878

F. HERBERT GRANT SMITH b. Mar 25, 1875

Revised 8 February 1999