William Duncan McLaren was born on March 2nd, 1852, somewhere in Scotland. He and his family traveled to America when he was still a boy, and settled in Ontario, Canada.

We suspect he had 4 male brothers (those that appear in the old-photo entitled “The McLaren Bros. At Stockton,CA”) whose initials are: CC, JC, D, and AJ. The second brother, from right to left is William Duncan, who also has his own photo in this Homepage. Later in life he traveled, maybe with his family (whence the McLaren Bros. Photo), down to Stockton, CA. He married Ella Spatzwood at Petaluma, CA, on October 17, 1877. Ella was also from Scotland, and the story tells that she was born on the Ship from the British Isles to America (May 26, 1859), she is supposed to have settled on Kempville (no State or Nation given). Together they had 6 children:

Willard Duncan McLaurin then tried his luck down in the Sate of Arizona, settling in the border town of Nogales. There he conducted a lot of different activities, on both sides of the border: mining, cattle ranching, and trading. At that time, the Mexican Sate of Sonora was very sparsely settled (being a desert) and most of its commercial trace activities were with Arizona, since roads to other Mexican States were long, hard and perilous due to Apache, Seri and Yaqui Indian attacks.
My great-grandfather thrived, and became a very wealthy man. He owned vast lands in Sonora, almost a State within a State. He married, and had 3 children: Elaine, Jeannie and William Douglas. He was known to many Sonorans, who called him “Mike” or “Mister Mike” (they could not pronounce McLaurin), and knew him for a quiet and just man. Many stories about him were told by my father, of his great strength, as he was a towering figure (almost 2 meters in height 6.56 feet). He told us of the time he saw Duncan killing a mule with one single bare-handed blow to the head. The mule had kicked him while he was shoeing it, so he got up all in a rage and hit it, breaking his hand, but the mule fell to his feet and died a few minutes later. At age 77, he got in a fight over his chickens with a Wildcat, his wife could not find the gun so he had to kick and punch it. The cat lost.
My grandfather William Douglas McLaurin (Nogales, b:Oct. 23, 1928-d:Apr. 7, 1985, Hermosillo ) tried his luck down in Sonora, uncovering untold wealth from the virgin mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental: gold, copper, coal, quartz, silver and lead. He was also very prosperous, he married Emma Aguirre (of Spaniard/Basque ascendancy), of one of the biggest and more important families in the State, and established at La Colorada and later at the State’s Capital of Hermosillo. Together they raised 5 children: Willard Douglas, Mary Elaine, Michael, Jeannie and Allan. Life was good to them until a recently decreed Mexican Law stripped him of all his lands and mining claims. The epoch of President Cárdenas hit hard at every “foreigner”, so my grandfather embraced Mexican Citizenship (although he had gained that status by marrying a Mexican citizen) in a vain effort to reclaim his lands and rights. The Government had other ideas. This left him somewhat embittered with the Mexican Government, a feeling shared with his descendants. This “anti-gringo” (Anti-American) policy made Douglas’ children feel unaccepted, often mocked at, by others, and translated into a feeling of denial of their Scottish ancestry. They did not care to learn English or learn the lore from their grandfather. W. Douglas died at the age of 57 years, we did not get many opportunities to ask him about our roots. These two were our greatest losses. I am first-son to Willard Douglas, and together with my brother Ernest, we are trying to regain all that was lost to us, to share it with our family, and later with our own children… This Story is made up of fragments of conversations and written accounts. Those involved were: Great-Aunt Jeannie McLaurin, tales we remember from my Grandfather William Douglas, and my father Williard Douglas. It would have been impossible to do this without the invaluable help of my brother, Ernest.

Genealogy Tree:
These details are from Douglas McLaurin.