Crombie Castle in Banffshire

By Richard Gwynallen

Brae of Crombie


Below the Brae of Crombie, nestled among fields, hills, and patches of woodland, Crombie Castle (to the right of the leaning fencepost in the foreground) awaits the advancing haar or sea-fret blanketing the distant hills, the sea-fog brought to shore from 10 miles away by sea breezes and easterly winds to creep inland.

Old maps show this approach as a track.  From here the modest summits of Black Law, Cranna Hill, Gallow Hill, and the Crannabog Hills loom northeast of Crombie Castle.

In this part of Marnoch parish the ground rolls and rises, most of the summits capped Moss of Crombie mapwith woodlands.

The soil is commonly humid and mossy, the extensive peat moss known as the Moss of Crombie west of Crombie Castle being the most humid.

To the south the ground levels as it nears the River Deveron and is rich and fertile. To the north, the ground becomes more peaty.



Crombie - Moss of Crombie - 1

Moss of Crombie

Crombie Burn is a small burn that rises in the Moss of Crombie near the Ordiquhill parish border.

Crombie Burn - Looking upstream from the bridge at Burnervie. The large house to the left of the stream is Crombie Castle, which is in the next square.

Here below the Brae of Crombie, Crombie Burn lazily flows by Crombie Castle weaving it’s way to enter the River Deveron at the old Marnoch Manse.

Crombie Castle by the Crombie Burn

Crombie - Bridge over the Crombie Burn by the castle

Bridge over Crombie Burn near Crombie Castle

Marnoch old Manse

old Marnoch Manse

The website for the village of Foggieloan or Aberchirder records that in 1790 “. . . the minister lived there rent-free and had an income of 90 bolls of meal, and 22 bolls of bere. He could also grow food on the glebe and had the right to fish a stretch of the Deveron at what is now called the Minister’s Pool.”  A “boll” was a basic unit of dry capacity.  1 “boll” equals 3 bushels or 1.944 gallons (145.145 litres).  So, he received (annually I presume) 270 bushels of meal and 42.77 gallons of bere, which is an ancient form of barley now grown mostly in the far north and western isles of Scotland.

Crombie Castle in the manor house for the Mains of Crombie, the main farm of the old Crombie estate.

Mains of Crombie - part of the steading

Part of the steading on the Mains of Crombie

Of the various farms that would have once existed on the estate, the below farm is one of the few still occupied.

Burnside of Crombie - The farm is one of few still occupied. In the distance, Crombie Castle, 15 kilometres from the coast, has almost vanished in the haar (sea-fret).

In The Surnames of Scotland, George Fraser Black writes that “Crombie” is derived from the Gaelic, with the b silent, so you get the local pronunciation of Cromee or Crummy.  In fact, today the structure is referred to as Crommey Castle.  For consistency, I’ll refer to the building as “Crombie” unless I am referring to a document where the spelling is “Crommey”.  Crom refers to something that is crooked, bent, or winding, such as the horns of a sheep or a winding creek. The original Scottish Gaelic spelling of Crombie might have been Chrombaidh, as it appears in Obair Chrombaidh, the Scottish Gaelic original of Abercrombie.

The Surrounding Area

The current name of Marnoch is derived from St Marnoch, an Irish missionary of the 7th century who is said to have settled near what is now the Bridge of Marnoch.


Some vestige of the Celtic Sacred Well tradition lives on in a pool near the manse called the Saint’s Well.  It was nearly destroyed by the road passing above, the remains simply appearing as a hole of dirty water.  Another referred to as Pettrie’s Well is near to St. Marnoch’s Well.  Another nearby is the Lady’s Well, which has been completely destroyed by drainage.  None are marked and all the sites require the direction of locals. (Scotland’s Places, Banffshire, Vol. 22)

The nearest village in the parish is called Aberchirder, but more popularly known as Foggieloan, often shortened to just “Foggie”.

Foggieloan - 1

Foggieloan lies in the valley of the Burn of Auchintoul, east of Crombie Burn, which flows southwards to join the River Deveron.  This was one of the many planned towns that were founded across Scotland in the decades following the collapse of the ‘45 Rising after the Battle of Culloden. Foggieloan was founded in 1764 at south end of Auchintoul Moss by Alexander Gordon of Auchintoul who owned the estate at the time.

Prior to the town’s founding, there was a fermtoun on the site called Foggieloan, the name being derived from two Gaelic words foidh (peat moss) and lòn (meadow).  So, Foggieloan means peaty or boggy meadow. Alexander Gordon gave his village the same name.

I reference changes in settlement patterns in 18th century Scotland, including fermtouns and planned villages, in the article Life in Banffshire in the 17th & 18th Centuries.


In 1799 the estate was bought by John Morison of Bognie, who renamed it Aberchirder after the Thanes of Aberkerdour who lived at Kinnairdy Castle overlooking the River Deveron in earlier times, which had also been the original name of the parish.  Aberchirder in Scottish Gaelic is abhir-chiar-dur, meaning “confluence of the dark brown water”.  Frances Groome’s Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland states that “the name Aberchirder, originally borne by the whole parish, referred probably to the moss-burn of Auchintoul’s confluence with the Deveron.”

However, the name Foggieloan lives on and is the name commonly used by the villagers.

The Old Marnoch parish church was built in 1792 on the site of an older church, and within a Caledonian Standing Stone circle, of which two remain, and can be seen in one of the pictures below.  All that remains of the previous church is the bell and the graveyard.

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Old Marnoch Parish graveyard with viewof church on hill

Old Marnoch church graveyard.  1792 church can be seen on the hill.

The 17th century graveyard is downhill from the church built in 1792,  but still contains the gabled ruin of the old church.


The graveyard also includes a number of old grave enclosures, including the Baroque monument of Bishop Meldrum, who died in 1692. A mid 19th century watch house stands in the southeast corner of the graveyard.


Old Marnoch Parish graveyard with gabled end of ruined church

Old Marnoch graveyard with ruin of old church and watch house

Why should this matter to us?

We are not able to document the connection yet, but we speculate that our 17th and 18th century Allans from Banffshire were one of many Allan families who descended from Allan M’Farlane and Margaret Innes, who married about 1435, and who received the lands of Easter Crombie as Margaret’s inheritance. As a side note, it is unclear whether Allan M’Farlane’s wife was named Margaret or Janet, or perhaps both.  For simplicity, I refer to her here as Margaret.

Margaret Allan, heiress of Easter Crombie seven generations descended from Allan M’Farlane and Margaret Innes, married Robert Innes of Crombie, son of John Innes of Crombie and Elizabeth Sinclair, and nephew to Robert Innis of that Ilk, who had married Grizel Stewart daughter of “Bonnie” James Stewart, 2nd Earl of Moray, some time after 1580, and they came to possess all of Crombie.  It is likely they resided in this house.  Their son, Allan Innes, sold the whole of Crombie to Thomas of Urquhart, who re-sold it to Meldrum of Laithers, who gave it to a younger son, George Meldrum, minister of Marnoch, where his monument still exists. His eldest daughter married James Duff, a younger son of Duff of Drummuir, and their son William Duff sold it to the Earl of Findlater in 1744, who was an Ogilvie.

The building Allan M’Farlane and Margaret Innes lived most likely no longer exists. There is no evidence that any of our known relatives ever lived in this building.  However, this could have been a central place for Innes and Allan families of Crombie and the wider area of Banffshire  to gather for communal festivities, and the family likely hired and rented land widely within the family.  So, it’s reasonable to think some of our ancestors might have been here in some capacity.  In any case, the building touches on our broader Banffshire family and heritage.

Crombie Castle

Crombie Castle sits 1  1/2 miles north of the manse and overlooks Crombie burn and the manse.  “Castle” is a bit misleading in that the building resembles a manor house more than a castle, and may never have been fortified. However, it may have originally been intended to have appearance of such for decorative purposes.  Canmore; National Record of the Historic Environment describes renovations that were underway on the building from 2011 – 2012, and includes digital copies of floor plans.  In their description, they note: “The tower preserves extensive evidence for an important remodelling, perhaps of 17th-century date, that involved major modification of the roof structure and reduction and reordering of the original wall heads. Effectively the building was ‘demoted’ from one of mock-martial, lairdly appearance to a structure of more domestic character.”

A 1453 charter of the barony of Crombie to Sir Walter Innes, 12th of that Ilk is the earliest indication of Innes possession of the area.  However, the property was most likely obtained earlier through the marriage of Sir Alexander Innes, 9th laird of Innes, to Janet, the daughter of Sir David Aberchirder, last Thane of Aberchirder.  Alexander Innis died in 1412.  This Janet Aberchirder and Robert Innes were the parents of the Margaret (or Janet) Innes who married Allan M’Farlane.

The tower house was built by James Innes, 2nd of Crombie, soon after he acquired the estate in 1542, most likely on the site of an earlier house.  The building was originally a three and a half storey L-plan towerhouse.

His residency was short as James Innes of Crombie is recorded as falling at the Battle of Pinkie in 1547.

A  wing was added circa 1570, probably by Alexander Innes .  It was at this time that the 3-storey wing to the east at right angles to the earlier tower was built; single windows added to second and third floors; and a corbel course at the second floor which probably carried a bartizan, which is an overhanging corner turret.

In the early part of the 17th century further renovations converted the building to form a U-plan structure.   It remained this way for 150 years when even further lower gabled additions were added circa 1820, 1860 and 1910.

The following photographs are from 1978, taken by the owner of the Arjayempee Flickr site, who offered a description of the exterior and interior well before the existing phase of renovation work began.

Crombie Castle - 1

“Essentially what we are looking at here (from the south side), are two L-plan buildings, one in front of the other. . . .The oldest parts form the taller L at the back. The original building was an oblong tower, orientated north / south . . . the south gable of which can be seen to the rear-left, with the remains of an angle turret on one corner.

“. . . about 1820 . . . the two storey wing on the [lower] left [foreground] was added onto the south gable of the old . . . tower. In 1860, another wing was added, out of sight to the left of this photo, . . . built onto the west side of the old tower. This was built as a single storey, but was later raised in height.

“Finally, in 1910, a two storey extension was made to the 1820 wing [lower right foreground], eastwards, parallel with the old 1570 wing, completing the second L. There is a narrow space between this 1910 wing and the 1570 wing, with an arch across its opening, which allows access to the castle’s main entrance. “

The photographer inclines toward the point of point of view that the original did have a defensive structure beyond gun ports and arrow shot openings: “The position of that doorway can be worked out from this photo, because it was once defended by a machicolated projection directly above.”  A machicolation is a feature of medieval fortifications where an opening between the supporting corbels [a projection jutting out from a wall to support a structure above it] of a projecting parapet or the vault of a gate, through which stones or burning objects could be dropped on attackers. “While the projection itself was removed when the roofline was lowered, the three corbel stones that once supported it, and from between which, missiles were dropped on the heads of any attackers below, can still be seen, a little below the modern roofline.”

Canmore; National Record of the Historic Environment offers an alternative: “Various shot-holes and gun-ports beneath windows and elsewhere were newly revealed or better defined. It is possible that the three corbels at the upper level above the entrance at the re-entrant supported an oriel rather than a more defensive feature.

Crombie Castle - 2

This photo by Arjayempee is the view from the “south-west. From here the 1860 wing can be seen [lower left], added onto the west face of the main block, and the c1820 wing, half obscured by trees to the right. The rather unsightly dormer windows were presumably once the second floor windows, from which floor there would have been access to the now butchered angle turrets. Above the 2nd floor, there would probably have been a garret storey, now removed, with proper dormer windows.

“Internally, the old castle doorway opens into the 1570 wing, where the kitchen occupies the wing and vaulted cellars the ground floor of the old tower. A stair climbs up opposite the door to the 1st floor, where the old tower is entirely occupied by the Hall. There is a peculiar inward projection at the north-west corner, which looks as though it should house another stairway, but does not.

“In the main block, there is a large bedroom, in the floor of which is a trap-door, no doubt hidden when the place was furnished, under which is the explanation for the curious inward projection in the corner of the Hall below. It is a “laird’s lug” [Lord’s ear] – a small secret compartment from which the laird could spy on people in the Hall.”

The description of the building in British Listed Buildings indicates that the first floor of the 1542 tower included a Great Hall with a large fireplace to centre of the north wall.  The “Laird’s Lug”, with diamond opening below the ceiling was entered from the second floor through a trapdoor”, allowing him to use this secret listening system to overhear conversations in the Great Hall.

The Banffshire OS (Ordnance Survey) Name Books, 1867-1869, Banffshire, Volume 22
indicates that at the time there was  a stone in the garden “which was taken from the Castle bearing the initials and figures GM./M.S” from the period it was occupied by George Meldrum, Episcopal Minister of Glass, after Allan Innis sold the property.

Crombie Castle postcard - 1908


Crombie/Crommey Castle Today

Today the building is inhabited again, and by an Innes family.  The renovations started in 2011 resulted in a commendation in the Aberdeenshire Design Awards in 2014 for the external conservation work was commended .  The work on behalf of the Innes family owners is described in Excellence Excels in Mediaeval Restoration.

Below are photographs of the building in 2014.

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A German Family Line – Who Knew? Thinking about ethnic identity

Catherine Houpe
1800 – 1888
Relationship to Fawn: 4th great-grandmother

By Richard Gwynallen

Most of us whose families have been Americans for several generations have had families of different ethnic or national origin marrying together.  Even more so the longer one’s family has been here.  Yet, we may not be aware of some of these national origins.

I grew up with the understanding that our family was derived from Irish, Welsh, Scottish, and French lines, and that they all combined in North Carolina.  I grew up in a definite cultural context, filled with Irish, Welsh, and Southern history and stories.  In fourth grade in Japan a friend and and I were discussing our families. I said that I was Irish, Welsh, and North Carolinian.  I suppose I thought being an “American” was just assumed.

When I ran across Catherine Houpe I found a German line that I knew nothing about. Nowhere in my family stories or my cultural understanding, was anything German.  If asked as a child (or up until this discovery for that matter) if I had any German background I would have certainly said no.  Yet, Catherine Houpe was my 3rd great-grandmother – not that far in the past considering Celtic and Southern memories.  Given how important family stories are in my family, it seems likely that my grandmother would have said something about us having German ancestry.  Unless, of course, she didn’t know because the family was not being described like that in the generation or two preceding her.

It brought to mind for me the more publicized stories emerging from the rising interests in DNA tests.  These are the stories where someone discovers a part of their genetic make-up they never knew was there, or was dismayed to find an absence or much lower number of genetic markers from the nations that were part of their understood ethnic origins.  Some are the stuff of commercials, such as the gentleman who grew up understanding his ethnic background as German, but after a DNA tests reveals no German genetic markers but a preponderance of Scottish markers puts away his lederhosen and dons a kilt.  In North America stories abound of people discovering Native American genetic markers.  Or the woman in the United States who grew up Irish only to find that she had significant Ashkenazi Jewish genetic markers, which started her on a search that led to the discovery her father was Jewish.

Blood [or genes] and culture.  Is one more important than the other in shaping our ethnicity?  What makes us who we are?

I once read an article written by a fellow who was born and raised in a Scottish Highland community in Canada.  He lived as a Scottish Highlander, and even more specifically as a MacDonald.  Yet, when the different clan associations started DNA projects he found out that not only did he not have MacDonald ancestry he was actually mostly English by blood.  He wrote about his own thinking as to what that meant to him. It seems his family had at some time in the past emigrated to Canada and ended up living among Scottish Highlanders. Over the generations they became culturally the same as their community. Though he found out his genetic make-up was more English than Scottish he decided that what he had become culturally was more determinate.

My Bondurant family arrived here from France in the 18th century.  Over the generations they intermarried with families of other cultures, but their recognition of that French origin has persisted and defined significantly how they view the family.  As I began my search to learn more about my ancestry I discovered that my mother’s Bondurant line was filled with Scottish and English lines.  In their case, there was a break between the generation of my mother and her siblings with her mother’s Richardson family, which resulted in little knowledge of her mother’s family to pass on to us.  Consequently, we and they grew up only with an understanding of the French Bondurant heritage.

Here in the immigration of the Haupt/Houpe family we have a story in which one family assimilated into a different cultural community, ultimately the memory of their national origins being forgotten.  Through generations of intermarriage they were a new people.

This essay explores both the Haupt/Houpe immigration story and this question of how identity is shaped.

The Houpe Story


Rheinland-Pfalz, Windesheim is in the district of Bad Kreuznacher

The Houpe family originates in Windesheim, Bad Kreuznacher Landkreis, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany, or the Palatinate, in southwest Germany, where the family name was Haupt.


Windesheim, Germany




Windesheim, Germany

Bad Kreuznach - 1

Bad Kreuznacher

Johann Nicolaus Haupt was the son of Johann Nicolaus Haupt and Anna Elisabeth Geiß/Geiss.  Johann Nicolaus (the son) was the immigrant ancestor of our Catherine Houpe. It’s believed that he made two trips to the Pennsylvania Colony.  The first was after marrying his first wife, Maria Magdalena Caesar, in June 1746.  Maria died not long after the marriage.  The second was after a return trip to Germany, where he married Anna Schweiss from Badenheim, Germany on 28 November 1747.  Returning to the homeland to secure a marriage was not uncommon among some 18th century immigrants.  Our Bondurant ancestor, Jean Pierre Bondurant, returned to France for the same reason.  The second trip resulted in Johann Nicolaus’ permanent settlement in Pennsylvania.

He arrived in Philadelphia on the ship Edinburgh, where he signed the declaration of oath on 30 September 1754, together with his cousin, Joann Samuel Haupt, his sister, Maria Catharina Haupt, and his younger brother, Johannes Haupt.

Some record the ship he arrived on as the Loyal Judith, but the below signatures seem to indicate it was the Edinburgh.


Selection from the declaration of allegiance of male passengers who arrived in Philadelphia on the Edinburgh, dated 30 September 1754. The declaration bears the adjacent signatures of … (1) [Johann] Samuel Haupt, born 14 December 1725 in Windesheim, Palatinate [Germany], a son of Johannes Haupt and Anna Margaretha Geiß. He was the “double first cousin” of the other two Haupt men accompanying him on the journey. (2) Johannes Haupt, born 27 August 1734 in Windesheim, Palatinate [Germany], a son of Johann Nicolaus Haupt and Anna Elisabeth Geiß. (3) Johann Nicolaus Haupt, born 13 February 1725 in Windesheim, Palatinate [Germany], a son of Johann Nicolaus Haupt and Anna Elisabeth Geiß. The signatures read (1) Samuel Haŭbtt, (2) Johannes Haŭbt and (3) Johann Nickel Haŭbt.

And the Edinburgh is included on the plaque at the cemetery where the immigrant ancestors are buried.


Upper Dublin Lutheran Church Cemetery, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

The Völkwanderung

Between 1683 and 1776, around 120,000 German-speaking immigrants (“Auswanderungs”) arrived in the American Colonies, with about 100,000 of those arriving between 1708 – 1760.  Between 1727 and 1776, a total of 324 ships arrived at Philadelphia carrying some 65,000 German passengers.

The Palatinate (“Der Pfalz” in German) was an area of very significant emigration during this time. This exodus from southwest Germany was known as “Massenauswanderung der Pfälzer”.  The chief port of entry for German immigrants was Philadelphia.  From Philadelphia they spread into the countryside in search of land. So, our ancestors were part of a large wave of German immigration coming through Philadelphia.

The Palatinate includes the lands west of the middle part of the Rhine river (Rheinland-Pfalz). In the 1600s, it also included much of northwestern Bavaria, Schwabia, and Baden-Wurttemburg. The de facto capital of the Palatinate at that time was Heidelberg.

Why did they leave?

The 30 Years War of 1619 to 1648 resulted in serious impacts upon the people of the Palatinate.  Caught between the warring French and German armies their land and economy was devastated.

The 30 Years War ended with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, stimulated in part by the less-than-peaceful sacking of Prague by Queen Cristina of Sweden to kill two birds with one stone – acquisition of the historical and artistic treasures of Prague, and demonstrating to the German states the necessity for peace.  People started doing what all people do after a disaster.  They began rebuilding.  Farms returned to producing. people built new houses.. Under The Palatinate elector Karl Ludwig, some religious tolerance existed allowing Catholics and a range of Protestant groupings, including the Mennonites to co-exist.

But that period of peace was short-lived.  In 1674 – 1675 war between France and Holland brought destruction again to the Palatinate. Poverty, sickness, and starvation finally drove them to begin leaving in the first wave of emigration in 1683.   At this time, religious strife renewed with Lutherans and Reformed (essentially Calvinist) churches were in conflict, a conflict that became violent. The flood of emigration kept going for 80 years as war continued to interrupt any peace these people might have enjoyed.

Throughout the Nine Years War (1688–97) and the War of Spanish Succession (1701–14), recurrent invasions by the French Army devastated southwest Germany. Except for four years of relative peace there was almost continuous war between 1684 and 1713. The depredations of the French Army and the destruction of numerous cities created economic hardship for the inhabitants of the region.

The social hierarchy of German society exacerbated the economic problems.  Social status was determined by the size of farmland and amount of personal property. People with little or no property, particularly in the form of farmland, found themselves at the bottom of the class structure. These were frequently the sons and daughters of farmers who were not entitled to inherit the farm. The number of people in such a predicament increased after the destruction of the Thirty Years War, and never fully abated, being reinforced by the series of wars over the 80 years following.  Such individuals had to work as day laborers or seasonal workers, or as house servants. Many created home businesses, such as engaging in weaving.

The hard economic conditions were made even worse by a rash of harsh winters and poor harvests that created famine in Germany and much of northwest Europe.  The particularly severe winter of 1709 seemed to spur another wave of emigration.

Throughout the nearly 100 years of the “Massenauswanderung der Pfälzer” the most common reasons cited for departure in the surviving emigrants’ petitions for departure registered in the Palatinate were “impoverishment and lack of economic prospects”.

Some found refuge in the Netherlands.  Others of the “Völkwanderung” migrated to England, Eastern Europe, South Africa, and Australia.  Still others, in large numbers, headed to America.  They packed up, floated down the Rhine to Rotterdam in the thousands, and embarked for England, ultimately taking ships to America.  England could not absorb the numbers and the promises of free land in North America drew them across the ocean.

Farming in 18th century Palatinate Germany

Fortunately, it is not necessary to go to Germany to see what a typical farm in the Palatinate might have looked like.  The Frontier Museum in Staunton, Virginia has one. The farm dates to the late 17th Century and came from the Palatinate region.  The photographs below are of the German Farm exhibit at the Frontier Museum.


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The construction of typical German farm dwellings varied, but the following were common characteristics.

The floor plan combined the family’s living quarters and the living quarters of the animals. The families rooms were at one end of the building and usually included: one or more sleeping rooms (kammer) and one or more sitting rooms (stube) depending on the size of the dwelling. An open kitchen dining area (flett) was in front of the “living” rooms and ran the width of the building.  A cooking hearth was at the center of the “flett”. Unlike other European cooking hearths, the German cooking hearth was raised, allowing the cook to work at the hearth without bending low and capable of storing firewood underneath it. Smoke escaped through the roof without benefit of a chimney, drying the hay which was stored in the loft above.

German farm - Frontier Museum - Cooking hearth

Raised cooking hearth at German Farm exhibit at the Frontier Museum

At the front of the building were the animals stalls and the “Deele” (or Diele). It was formed by the space between animal stalls on either side. This was the largest area in the building and was entered from the outside by large doors.

The deele was used for threshing grain, breaking flax, gathering the harvest, and other labors

The Germany farm house would have felt very different to our modern sensibilities.  It would have smelled of a mix scents, animal and human certainly, but also tobacco drying in the rafters, meats curing in the rafters, hay, smoke, and cooking.

The farmed land was divided into narrow, undivided strips. The system rendered parts of the holding less accessible.  A natural consequence was disputes when cattle from one farm would enter and eat from the unharvested crops of another farm.

Most farmers were not owners of their own land. The land belonged to wealthy land owners, and the cultivator of the land held the tenancy of the land at the pleasure of the landowner.  The farmer may have been more prosperous and had terms much like tenant farmers of today.  Or, the farmer may have essentially been a serf, with no or few personal freedoms.  For instance, he could not marry without consent of his lord, he could not leave the land on his own will, and he could not but or sell land.

Those who were put in charge of land and a working farm, including any serfs on the land if it was a larger holding were able to pass it on as heritable property, but without the right to sell it, and with the understanding that the successor would ensure the same care and yield as the previous user did. The farmland could be divided among all heirs or be given to the oldest or youngest son while other brothers and sisters received monetary compensations. If a farmer had no heir, the manorial lord took back the property and gave it to another farmer.

Essentially, it was a feudal order with most of the population being peasants.

Still, before the Thirty Years’ war the peasants had a fairly comfortable life for peasants. They had substantial material possessions, and excess produce and livestock to survive lean years. The Palatinate was well traveled because of the waterways traversing the land.  Reports by travelers built the reputation of farmers in the Palatinate for being excellent farmers and highly industrious.

Peasant life in Germany seems to have affected the character of the German farmer in Pennsylvania. In German Agriculture in Colonial Pennsylvania, John G. Gagliardo writes: “Centuries of peasant tradition in Germany encouraged an attitude of thrift, which one contemporary observer regarded as approaching the point of avarice, and the Germans depended upon members of the family for all types of work.”

While men tended to work in the field, the women worked in the dairy and at spinning and weaving.  However, come harvest time the women joined the men in the fields.

Though field work was seldom hired out, the presence of house servants were a sign of a farmstead’s increasing prosperity.    House servants were frequently indentured servants, or “redemptioners”, as the Germans called them.

The First Generation Born in the American Colonies

Johann Nicolaus Haupt and Anna Schweiss had a son named Sebastian. He and his wife Catherine (Morrison was probably her surname), would leave Pennsylvania, migrating down the Great Wagon Road in the mid – late 1770s to a part of Iredell County, North Carolina that would become Rowan County.  Two of their sons, Valentine and Anthony, migrated into southwest Virginia.  Valentine would continue on into Tennessee while Anthony would move to Indiana.  They would maintain the “Houpt” spelling.

The Family in North Carolina

Sebastian and Catherine’s other sons, Jacob Haupt and John Morrison Haupt, would remain in Iredell County on the family’s tract of land.  They would change the spelling of their name to “Houpe.”

Here is the point of this essay.  Why did we never know there was a German family line?  If Catherine’s family name was Morrison, the German family had already intermarried with a Scottish family.  Many of the family followed suit marrying Scottish, Ulster Scots, and Irish spouses.

Sebastian and Catherine’s son Jacob (our ancestor) married Eleanor Reid Watt.  Their son Valentine also married a Watts.

Our own Catherine Houpe, daughter of Jacob and Eleanor, married Robert Boyd.

Jacob and Eleanor’s son, Abner, married Dovie Catherine Adams.

Jacob and Eleanor’s other son, Franklin, married Della Nicholson.

Sebastian and Catherine’s son, John Morrison, married Sarah Gallaher.

John Morrison and Sarah’s son, James Franklin Wright Houpe married Margaret Stevenson.

The list could go on, but I’m sure the reader gets the point.  The family was marrying into Ulster Scots, Scottish, and Irish families.  There were German farms and communities in the western Piedmont to which the Houpe family could have remained attached.  If a connection to one of those German settlements existed it must have fallen aside in the first couple of generations as  the graves of Houpe descendants start appearing in Presbyterian burying grounds.

In Pennsylvania, the Haupt/Houpt family was buried in, and, presumably, participated in Lutheran churches.


St. Luke’s Evangelical Lutheran Church Cemetery, Bucks County, Pennsylvania

The first generation in the American Colonies began intermarrying with Scottish families, but in Pennsylvania they remained connected to the German community.

In North Carolina, the family predominately married Scottish and Irish spouses in the well known Ulster Scots and Irish settlements in Iredell County, and are buried in Presbyterian church cemeteries.

Bethany Presbyterian Church Cemetery

Bethany Presbyterian Cemetery, Iredell County, North Carolina, where some of Catherine Houpe’s siblings are buried

Concord Presbyterian graveyard

Concord Presbyterian Cemetery, Iredell County, North Carolina, where Catherine Houpe and Robert Boyd are buried

Robert Boyd and Catherine Houpe tombstone

Catherine Houpe and Robert Boyd tombstone

In North Carolina the German immigrant family seems to have made the transition to living in a distinctly Scottish and Irish community.  By the time we get to Catherine Houpe and Robert Boyd’s daughter, Nancy Angeline Boyd, my 2nd great grandmother, Nancy was only about 12.5% German.  Most likely her descendants simply did not think of themselves as German.  The Houpe name would have been known.  Did they know it was German?  “Hope” is a name found in Scotland as well. Did they assume a Scottish background for the name?  All speculation, but it’s possible that by the time Nancy Angeline Boyd married John Murdock in 1867 and began their family, which included my great-grandmother, Minnie Murdock, the memory of a German ancestry had faded.  Otherwise, it would have passed on to my grandmother, whose family stories filled my early teen years.

Does this discovery of a German family line matter?

On the one hand, yes, it broadened and deepened our knowledge of the various tributaries that came together to form our family.  As to how I think about myself culturally, not so much.

Our genes dictate certain things about us.  Even with the progressive muddying of our genetic waters as our people move about and intermarry, a gene will determine the color of our eyes, as an example.  We inherit much genetically.  However, ethnicity is not a trait derived from a single gene.  Rather, ethnicity is mostly our perception of a collection of traits, and our lived experience, including our understanding of our inherited culture.

Kim Tallbear from the University of Alberta and author of Native American DNA, puts it this way: “We [Native nations] construct belonging and citizenship in ways that do not consider these genetic ancestry tests. So it’s not just a matter of what you claim, but it’s a matter of who claims you.”

Tallbear’s point about belonging stood out for me.  Belonging to a particular people or community means some attachment to the life of that people through shared beliefs, cultural practices, and actions regarding the needs of that people.

Referring to rising interest in DNA tests revealing unknown Native American genetic connections, the anthropologist, Charles Menzies, from the University of British Columbia put in practical terms: “At the very least, it’s nice that people find that kind of ancient genetic history interesting and positive, but now we need to put our money where the mouths are.”  In other words, meaningful ethnicity comes from belonging and the actions that put you in connection with a living cultural or ethnic community.

It was a fascinating and fresh find on the family tree, and it enriched my understanding of the paths of my family’s wanderings, but I don’t think lederhosen are in my future. It does, however, make me wonder what else lies deep down there in the roots of our family tree.

Select Sources

The History of the German Immigration to America; The Brobst Chronicles
German Agriculture in Colonial Pennsylvania; John G. Gagliardo
Frontier Culture Museum, Staunton, Virginia
The Palatines
Rhineland-Palatinate – Encyclopædia Britannica
Sorry, that DNA test doesn’t make you Indigenous, CBC Radio, includes Kim Tallbear and Charles Menzies



A Civil War Story – A more human aftermath

By Richard Gwynallen

1834 (?) – 1921
Relationship to Fawn: 3rd cousin, 6x removed

This year Fawn and I went to Gettysburg for Father’s Day.  We had family in both armies,  which was a legacy of Irish Presbyterian families from Ulster settling in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, then in the next generation having most of the family migrate down the Great Wagon Road through Virginia and into North Carolina.  Some stayed in Pennsylvania, while the bulk of the family moved south.  We spent the day locating where their regiments fought.

We saw a marker at the site of Pickett’s Charge that told the story of a Southern officer who was wounded that day.  He was shot through the cheek.  Years later when he attended a reunion at the site he met the former-Union soldier who shot him.  They shook hands and exchanged words that indicated they could hold no animosity as they were now part of the same country again.

That reminded me of this clipping I had come across online about one of our Mooneyham relatives who had fought in the Civil War. It was posted by Judy Lynn in 2012 on the Find A Grave memorial page for Daniel Mooneyham. I am grateful to her for making it public.  I do not at this time know what paper it came from or who wrote it.  The writer states that Daniel Mooneyham was still alive at the time of the article and was 93 years of age. If his year of birth of 1834 is correct that would place the article in 1927.  That, however, is after the year I have for his death, which is 1921.  The article also says he was middle-aged when he entered the war.  That would indicate that the 1834 date is wrong.  Perhaps more research will set this matter to rights, but I would guess that the article was around 1915 – 1920.

Daniel was from a branch of the Mooneyhams who had moved on to Tennessee.  They are more distant relatives and I have not looked into their lines much. The grave marker shown below provided me his regiment, Tennessee Cavalry, 13th Regiment, and the National Park Service Soldiers and Sailors Database showed that he was a Private.

There is likely more information about Daniel Mooneyham that could be added to give a better picture of his life, but for the purposes of this posting I’m going to let it stand at the very human story revealed in the newspaper clipping below.  I think such scenes must have played out in many places in many states.

Daniel Mooneyham, 1832 - 1921, headstone


Daniel Mooneyham story larger

The Tyree Family

By Richard Gwynallen

Sarah Ann Tyree
1795 – 1853
Relationship to Fawn: 5th great-grandmother

William Bowcock
1782 – ?
Relationship to Fawn: 5th great-grandfather

In An 18th Century Tavernkeeper we introduced the Bowcock family.  That essay focused on Henry Bowcock and Mary Tyler.   As the same essay mentioned, the Bowcock line (now spelled Bocock) eventually intermarried with the Richardsons.

Henry and Mary’s grandson William married Sarah Ann Tyree in 1825.  Having discussed a bit about the Bowcock line, this essay is about the Tyree family.  The name has many spelling variations: Tyree, Tyrie, Tyre, and others.

Many of our family lines are well documented.  Others, less so.  This one is the latter, so this essay will be a work in progress.  Updates will be incorporated as new or revised data is found.

Sarah Ann was the daughter of Zachariah Tyree, who was born in 1765 in either Buckingham or Amherst County, Virginia (genealogies vary on this point, though he clearly ended up in Amherst County), and Nancy, whose surname is unknown.

The Tyrees and Tyree-Bowcock descendants were mostly farmers, much as we see in many of our North Carolina family lines. A brief review of lists of landownership deeds for late 17th and 18th century Tyree families in Virginia showed most of the families listed with land holdings of 100 – 300 acres.  This made them substantial yeoman farmers, with some becoming larger planters.  How many acres were needed to support a family and be workable by that family depended on the size of the family.  The farms consisted primarily of subsistence farming growing to include tobacco as a cash crop.

Two things stood out for me as unique for this family.  First, was the name itself.  It’s an interesting name, Tyree.  It struck me as Gaelic in origin, and certainly is.  The first thing that came to mind was the island of Tiree.  I wondered how they pronounced the family name.  “CHi-ree” would be likely as the appropriate Gaelic pronunciation of Tiree.  Maybe the Gaelic pronunciation was retained while the “y” was inserted when written in English. Or was it “tire”?  Or “tie-ree” or “ti-ree”?  Turns out that Tyree or Tiree or any form of it is not today or in the 19th century a common surname in Scotland.  The origins of the name both etymologically and geographically are interesting.

Secondly, my scan of Tyree information indicated a possible interesting racial mix for Sarah Ann’s ancestors in the American Colonies.

It’s in pursuit of these two matters that I started this essay.

The Family in Scotland

Let’s start in the beginning.  While some researchers point out that some Tyrees might have come from Ireland the broad consensus seems to be that most Tyrees emigrated from Scotland to the American Colonies.  But where in Scotland did they reside?

There seem to be at least three different possible origins for the surname:

1. The Parish of Tiree and Coll. The parish includes the island of Tiree. As families emigrated some identified themselves as “of . . . “, their place of origin becoming a surname. However, during the 18th century when we find our ancestors in Virginia I could not find evidence of significant emigration from the island of Tiree.  In fact, the discovery in the eighteenth century that soda and potash could be recovered from some seaweed species improved incomes for islanders somewhat. These were essential to the soap and glass industries and linen bleaching.  There was an increase in emigration from the island in 1848 – 1852, with most heading to Canada.  The nearby island of Coll also did not see concentrated emigration until the clearances of the 1830s and 1840s.

2. The Dictionary of American Family Names, associates the name with Dunideer Hill Fort, near Drumkilbo in Perthshire.

“Near Insch, once an impressive Pictish hill fort settlement circa 1000 BC and the Castle (circa 1260) previous home of the Tyrie (Tyree) family up to the 18th century, sitting on the hill 8,076 ft high.”

The name “Insch” (Scottish Gaelic: An Innis or Innis Mo Bheathain) comes from the Gaelic “Innis” meaning an island.  In this case it refers to a raised area surrounded by boggy ground or marsh.

Elinor Tyree speculates that these Tyrees drew their name from the practice of the early Scots in establishing strongholds throughout Scotland to which they sometimes gave the name of “tir” (land), pronounced “CHir”, “reigh or re” (meaning King). So, Land of the King. Anyone living on such land could have adopted the name “Tire” or “Tiree”.  In specific, the “Tire” that Elinor Tyree ties the family to “was built near today’s Fraserburg in the County of Aberdeen-shire, perhaps on a rock projection just off the northeast coast.”  The 11th century parish “was named Tyrie, so called from the ruin of the nearby, old Irish stronghold. The Parish of Tyree is reduced today and better located as the town of Tyree, just 5 miles southwest of Fraserburg.” (Origins of the Tyree Surname, Elinor Tyree)

The Dunnideer and Drumkilbo families were related in some fashion, and variations of the Tyree name appear throughout Abderdeenshire and Perthshire.

By way of example, John Tyre was rector of the parish church of Balingre in 1475.  This is probably the parish of Ballingry (possibly derived from the Scottish Gaelic baile iongrach) in Fife. In 1485, Gilbert Tyrye was vicar of Cargill, Perthshire.   This is a parish about 7 ½ miles northeast of Perth. Yet another John Tyrie was a Sheriff Deputy of Perth in 1456, and still another John Tyre was a writer in Perth in 1475.

The Tyries of Drumkilbo, Perthshire were supporters of the royalist cause.  Thomas of Drumkilbo served under Montrose at Aberdeen in 1644.

The Red Book of Perthshire by Gordon A. MacGregor indicates that the Tyrie family parted with Drumkilbo when Thomas of Drumkilbo sold the lands of Drumkilbo to Patrick, Master of Olipant, on 27 July 1624 due to financial difficulties, but the family had held these lands for 300 years.

The Tyrie family of Dunnideer in the Garioch in Aberdeenshire were out for the Jacobites in 1715.  The Red Book of Perthshire references a Thomas Tyree (not the same as the above mentioned Thomas) who was mentor and tutor to the underage chief of the Tyree family of Drumkilbo. This Thomas Tyree was connected with the Roman Catholic clans and families in the early 18th century, and The Red Book of Perthshire  references communication in this regard between Thomas Tyree from Drumkilbo and James Tyrie of Dunnideer.

When in 1714 the Earl of Mar (the Earldom encompassing Dunnideer) raised the clans in the Northeast for the “Old Pretender”, the Tyrie’s of Dunnideer joined in. The Tyrie family was stripped of Dunnideer in 1724.

While the heir to Dunnideer, John, inherited nothing, he decided to follow in the footsteps of an uncle, James, and become a Jesuit priest and theologian, later joining Prince Charles.  His uncle James was “of Dunnideer” but born in and resident at Drumkilbo.

Two priests were in charge of the well being of the approximately 1,500 Catholics in Glenlivet and Strathavon at the time of the ’45. They were John Tyrie and Alexander Grant.  Tyrie and Grant drew lots to determine who would accompany Glenbucket’s regiment to join the Prince and who would remain behind as priest in Glenlivet.  It fell to Tyrie to accompany the Glenbucket regiment. The regiment served with the Duke of Perth’s regiment. (The Organization of the Jacobite Army, Jean E. McCann, pp. 113 – 130)

A list of clergymen serving in the ’45 records that John Tyrie was wounded at Culloden,but escaped. It also lists John as being from Clashmore, which, way up north in the Assynt, is far from Glenlivet.  It may be that he was assigned there at some point. In any case, John went into hiding while his house and books were burned at Buochlie in Glenivet. He died in exile c. 1755.  Glenlivet (Scottish Gaelic: Gleann Lìobhait) is the glen in the Scottish Highlands through which the River Livet flows. Gleann Lìobhait lies in the Highland area of what is now Moray.

Glen Livet

Another John Tyrie of Dunnideer was a colorful character.  He joined the 1745 rebellion in Aberdeenshire, and was forfeited. “When orders were sent to every parochial clergyman to intimate from the pulpit his Majesty’s design for the suppression of the clans, this John collected a few rebels to oppose the mandate and they went armed to church. When Rev. Alexander Mearns began reading the proclamation, one of the rebels ran to the pulpit, presented a loaded pistol and exclaimed, ‘Stop, Mearns! Stop, Mearns!’ Tyrie rushed forward with his sword unsheathed to plunge it into the body of the minister. Quick thinking bystanders threw a cloak over his head and managed to wrest the sword from him.” (Origin of the Tyree Surname, Elinor Tyree)

3. Robert Black, in Surnames of Scotland has an extended discussion of the name, including the above, but also emphasizes that Tyree can be derived from the surname Macintyre, or in Gaelic Mac an t-Saoir, son of the carpenter. Tyree can be a shortened version of Macintyre.

Certainly many early holders of the name in Scotland and in the American Colonies used the spelling “Tyre”.  However, the vagaries of spelling in those centuries, particularly when translating from Gaelic to English, whether intentional by members of the family, the result of illiteracy, or the preferences of a scribe or clerk in recording the name, result in a very weak foundation for spelling to help determine the possible origin of one family.

Using this possible origin of the surname, there seems to be broad agreement that the earliest historical records of the Clann an-t-Saor place them in MacDonald territory in Kintyre.  In fact, some connect the name to a MacDonald chieftain called Cean-tìre because of his possession of the peninsula that came to be called Kintyre (Cinn Tìre in modern Scottish Gaelic).

A further legend holds that the first Macintyre chief was in English Murdock the Wright (carpenter/joiner), who about 1150 was, for his service, honored by his uncle Somerled, King of Argyll and the Western Isles.

Clan tradition says that the Mcintyres originated in Sleat on the south portion of the Isle of Skye, moving to Glen Noe on the North Slope of Ben Cruachan and the South shore of Loch Etive.  In the1490s the Macintyres became the 16th clan of the Clan Chattan confederation. Being a small clan living amidst lands dominated by Clan Campbell the clan was motivated to seek the protection of a confederation. At home they hedged their bets by the chiefs frequently marrying Campbell wives.

Despite living next door to the Campbell the clan remained Jacobite.  At the time of the ’45, the chief was married to a Campbell and with their lands surrounded by Clan Campbell they could not join the Clan Chattan muster rallied by Colonel Anne, but Macintyres did join the Stewart of Appin regiment.

The way clans moved about all these Macintyre legends and theories could be true as all of them fall within Argyllshire, which corresponds roughly with the original area of Scottish Gaelic settlement known as Dàl Riata.

The Houses of Dunideer and Drumkilbo


All that remains of Dunideer is a ruin,which can be seen below. The excavation of the site confirmed that it consisted of a single rectangular tower of 15m by 12.5m with walls 1.9m thick, that a first-floor hall probably existed, and that it had several floors. More information about the site can be found at Historic Environment Scotland.

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There is a theory that the Balliol family built the original Dunnideer structure about 1260 and gave to Morice de Tiry for military services prior to 1292.  The “de” in de Tiry indicates an existing landowner.  A Morice de Tiry is signatory to the Ragman’s Roll of 28 August 1296 in which the landowners declared support for the English king as overlord. This de Tiry was absent from the original 1292 Ragman’s Roll.  Perhaps not a landowner at the time, or perhaps not supportive of signing.

There is reportedly a preserved ruin of a farmstead in Glen Lochay (Scottish Gaelic: Gleann Lòchaidh) in western Perthshire, which is called Tirai and believed to date to the 13th century.  Some speculate this might have been an early Tyree settlement, perhaps even a sub-tenancy belonging to Maurice before being given Dunnideer.

South-West Glen Lochay near to Stob an Fhir-Bhogha, taken from Southern slopes of Beinn Heasgarnich.

South-West view of Glen Lochay near to Stob an Fhir-Bhogha, taken from Southern slopes of Beinn Heasgarnich.


The original recorded owner of Drumkilbo House near Meigle, Perthshire, Scotland appears to have been Robert the Bruce, who most likely gave it to Morice de Tiry as a reward for military service.  This Tiry was not a new family, but the existing landowner in possession of Dunnideer.

The house as it looks today is the result of later owners adding to the original structure over hundreds of years.

The Drumkilbo website reads:  “When it was first an inhabited dwelling is not known, though from the formation of the ground and from the type of building found in part of the foundations, it may well date from the time of Nechten, when Pictish courts were held in Midgill (Meigle), one of the oldest villages in Scotland.”

“The present house incorporates the remains of a fortified tower dating from the 13th century.”  The Tyrees were the first confirmed inhabitants of Drumkilbo. On an old tombstone in Kirkinch (Nevay) Churchyard. they are described as ‘ ‘honest men and brave fellows ‘. The chief of the clan joined Robert the Bruce in the Wars of Independence.

Kirkinch (Nevay) Churchyard - 1

Kirkinch Churchyard

The property came into the hands of the Nairn family, who enlarged it in 1811. The property was sold to Lord Wharncliffe in about 1851, then in in 1900, Drumkilbo was sold to Edward Cox of Cardean for his younger son, John Arthur Cox. The Cox family were the leading proprietors of the jute industry in Dundee. In 1920, John Cox commissioned the leading Scottish architect of the day, Sir Robert Lorimer, to enlarge the House. It passed into and out of yet more hands, but it wasthis expansion created the house as it exists today.

Drumkilbo House - 2 (19th century)

Drumkilbo House – 19th century

Drumkilbo House - 3

Drumkilbo House - 1

Drumkilbo House today

Drumkilbo House - 4

Both Dunnideer and Drumkilbo were seats of the family, and, as such, our own Tyrees, assuming this is the accurate place of origin, may well have attended festivities or other gatherings at these houses, or worked in the houses or on the lands.  However, in case anyone gets the idea that any of our own Tyree family lived in such houses, the images below represent the more likely type of dwelling of our 18th century Tyrees prior to emigration.

Thatched house - Aberdeenshire

Croft house - 1

Restored mid-18th century thatched Aberdeenshire house on Culloden Battlefield

The Family in the American Colonies

Were there patterns of immigration of Tyree families into the American Colonies that could be identified?

Most researchers seem to agree that the Tyree or Tyre name can be found in New Kent County, Virginia as far back as the mid-1600’s.  The first appearance of a Tyree is in 1660 when Howell Pyrse was granted land for importing Henry Tyree and 28 others.

Further, there is general agreement that several branches of the Tyree family in North Carolina, West Virginia, and Kentucky, all trace their ancestry back to New Kent County.

From New Kent County, Virginia, Tyree families expanded to Campbell County, Virginia.

Further, these researchers are firm that these family lines originated in Drumkilbo, Scotland, at least as far back as the 1500’s.   Such a place of origin would include both Drumkilbo and Dunnideer families.  This indicates an initial migration to the Virginia Colony in the mid-1600s, with future migrations in the 17th and 18th centuries joining family already settled in the American Colonies.

From what we know of the Dunnideer and Drumkilbo families, remaining in the majority royalists and Catholics even after being dispossessed and all the way to the ’45, members of these families could have often had reason to emigrate during the supremacy of the Protestants in the 17th century before the restoration of Charles II, and as result of failed Risings in 1715, 1719, and 1745.

Does that rule out emigration from further west in Argyllshire by families still more associated formally with Clan MacIntyre? Not necessarily. The name Macintyre appears on passenger ships throughout the 18th century, and after being squeezed out of their lands after the ’45 by their more powerful neighbor, Clan Campbell, with even the Chief emigrating to the United States in 1806 after selling the last lands, emigration increased.

Sarah Ann’s ancestors

Sarah Ann’s father was Zachariah. Her mother was Nancy, but with no other information about her. The family was based in Amherst County, Virginia, and it seems clear that our Tyree family can be traced to the Tyrees of New Kent County and Campbell County, Virginia, but exactly which line is less certain with the limited documentation available.

Our main hint is the name Zachariah.  It is not common across Tyree family lines, but does repeat in the generations of certain lines.

The following is the most likely scenario:

Sarah Ann was the daughter of Zachariah Tyree (1765, Amherst County – 1821,) and a woman named Nancy.

Zachariah was the son of William Tyree (1734, Amherst County – 1803, Amherst County) and a woman whose name I have not found.

William appears on tax rolls for 1785-89, 1792-1807, and 1809-12.   His children sold his land in Lexington Parish in January 1807, his children being listed at the time as Reuben, Nathan, Zechariah, Mary, and Elizabeth.

Zachariah had the following siblings: William, Jacob, John, Mary, Elizabeth, Reuban, and Nathan.

Zachariah, William, Jacob, and John all served in the Revolutionary War from Amherst County.  John was appointed on 28 February 1777 to the 6th Virginia Regiment of Foot under Samuel Jordan Cabell who marched his Company north where it was commanded by Lt. Col. James Hendricks. Then John served (based on pay records) August – October 1777 as part of Daniel Morgan’s Company. Private John Tyree was wounded and died 21 October 1777 in hospital in Albany, New York.

Zachariah served in the Revolutionary War in the 2nd Division of the Virginia Line under Captain Samuel Higgenbotham (information from pension application of John Cash).  In the Cash pension application he appeared on a list of men who marched north in 1776 from Amherst [now Nelson] County thru Albemarle, Fluvanna, and Goochland counties to Richmond to take charge of the artillery there.

William Tyree’s parents, Zachariah’s grandparents, were Jacob Tyree (1719 – 1801) and Mary Martha (1730 – 1799).  Mary’s family is uncertain, but there is speculation that she was an Allen or a Currie.  Both names appear in some genealogies.  Jacob’s place of birth is unknown.  Speculation is that Jacob was among the immigrant ancestor party for this line and was born in Scotland, but married in the American Colonies.

Jacob Tyree’s parents, Zachariah’s great-grandparents, were Benjamin Tyree (assumed birth around 1690 and died 1784) and Sarah (unknown years or family, but believed to be a Drummond)

Benjamin Tyree’s father is thought to be David Tyree, but not much is known about him.  A David Tyree does appear among the muster at Braemar of the Earl of Mar’s forces in the1715 Rising.  He is identified as a blacksmith from Comrie, which is in the highland part of Perthshire and the area anciently known as Strathearn (Scottish Gaelic: Srath Èireann), the strath or valley of the River Earn.  Comrie is today a historic conservation town, but at the time of our ancestors it would have been a center of weaving and a drover town, a staging post for cattle being driven from the Highlands to Lowland markets.  However, Comrie and western Strathearn suffered considerable from early clearances in the 18th century.  In the early 19th century, cleared of much of its Gaelic communities, Comrie became a destination for tourists and the wealthy.

Comrie - 2Comrie - 1

The name Cormrie comes from con/comh ‘together’, and ruith ‘to run’, ‘running’, “translating literally as ‘running together’, but more accurately as ‘together flowing’ or ‘the place where rivers meet’. In modern Gaelic the name is more often transcribed as ‘Comraidh’, ‘Cuimridh’ or ‘Cuimrigh’. This is an apt toponym as the village sits at the confluence of three rivers. The River Ruchill (Gaelic: An Ruadh Thuill, The Red Flood) and The River Lednock (Scots Gaelic: An Leathad Cnoc, The Wooded Knoll) are both tributaries of the Earn (Gaelic: Uisge Dubh-Èireann) at Comrie, which itself eventually feeds into the Tay (Gaelic: Uisge Tatha).” (Wikepedia)

Could the Comrie area be the area of residence for our Tyrees in the generations prior to emigration?

Strathearn - Pictish

Ancient Strathearn

Strathearn today

Strathearn Today

Interracial Marriages in the American Tyree Family

Zachariah’s brother William (born 1760) married Frances McDaniel, and they had a son named Zachariah Tyree (1787 – 15 December 1871).  Zachariah’s son, Reuban (born 1830) filed for Indian rights to the Dawes Commission in which he stated that his father, Zachariah, had married an Indian woman born about 1809 and who died about 1839.  This marriage may have been a common law marriage.  This is confused by Reuban’s clearly stating elsewhere that his mother was Zachariah’s second wife, Polly Curry.  Reuban’s application (#18196) of 21 July 1908 at Johnson City, Tennessee for Cherokee Indian rights lists his wife as Lurany, her application #18197.   He had married Luthemia Beverly in 23 January 1855 in Amherst County, Virginia.  Is Lurany the same person as Luthemia?  To make it more confusing, the1870 Census shows Reuban’s wife as Sarah. Some connection to the Beverly family existed. On 19 December 1881 James Tyree and Reuben Tyree made a land bond with Edward Beverly who represented the widow of deceased Samuel Beverly.

Since Lurany had an independent application for Cherokee rights was she alone part Cherokee and the woman referenced as Zachariah’sfirst wife from a Virginia Native Nation?  Neither application seems to exist, just the index of the filing.

The Dawes Commission was authorized under a rider to an Indian Office appropriation bill on 3 March 1893.  Its purpose was to convince the Five Civilized Tribes to agree to cede tribal title of Indian lands, and adopt the policy of dividing tribal lands into individual allotments that was enacted for other tribes as the Dawes Act of 1887. During this process, the Native Nations were stripped of their communally held national lands, which were divided into single lots and allotted to individual members of the nation. The Dawes Commission required that individuals claim membership in only one tribe, although many people had more than one line of ancestry.

Zachariah later married Polly Curry, who died in 1840.  Zachariah lived until 1871. There is confusion about which of Zachariah’s children are by which wife and what their dates of birth are, but using one list, the children include: Charles Tyree (all lists show Charles as the first born),Sally, Lucinda, George Washington, Mary E., Reuben, Jacob Tyree, and Catherine. It is clear that Charles was by the first wife and possible that Reuban was by Polly but the rest are uncertain.

Many of Tyrees from these family lines were listed as Mulatto in the Federal Censuses of the 19th and 20 centuries, and several applied for benefits from the Dawes Commission. It is possible that these Tyrees actually were of mixed bloodlines. But the Dawes Commission did not approve the applications. And the Memoranda listed in the Appendices shows how by the mid-20th century, the government had a habit of treating families differently based on suspected racial ties. Simply because many Tyree’s were known to have intermarried with African and Native Americans, all would be seen as mulatto.

The wife of Sarah Ann’s cousin, Zachariah (D. Wright), her own mother (Nancy), and her grandmother all lack any substantial surviving information about them.  To the best of my knowledge, no one has even uncovered anything to explain whether D. Wright died or left Zachariah. The lack of records could indicate she, and the others, were not white.  North Carolina records of the Native partner in a marriage between a Native person and a white person were more complete, but in Virginia records regarding Native partners were left bare and often an English name was recorded even if it was not really used.  Many researchers report this same idea.  However, this is simply supposition on all our parts.

Summary Ideas Regarding Origins

We speculate that our line left Scotland between 1719 and 1735 because Jacob is believed to have been born in Scotland but married in the American Colonies. We assume Benjamin and Sarah brought their family to the American Colonies, but there is no proof of that.  Many a young man or woman emigrated alone or with siblings, frequently entering a period of indenture to learn a trade.

The years following the collapse of the 1715 Rising and then Glenshiel’s Rebellion in 1719 saw significant emigration from Scotland, as prisoners in 1716 and 1719, and as refugees from clearances in other years.  Significant emigration from the West Highlands and Islands occurred in the 1730s creating Gaelic-speaking communities in the Cape Fear area of North Carolina and south of Savannah in Georgia.  This is the broad context for the lives of our ancestors, but we do not know their exact reasons for emigrating.

Given the apparent limited emigration from the islands of Tiree and Coll in the 18th century it seems an unlikely place of origin for our ancestors. The greatest likelihood is that they came from the Tyree families of Dunnideer and Drumkilbo.  These families had family centers in the foothills and lowlands of Aberdeenshire and Perthshire, but were scattered from the Highlands of Moray to the Aberdeenshire coast.  It is possible that Comrie in western Perthshire or Strathearn in the southern Highlands was the area of their residence.  However, which environment our ancestors came from is uncertain and this remains speculation.

The possibility also remains that while even if they had been of the Dunnideer and Drumkilbo families, they could have all descended from the Macintyre clan.  The origins of the Morice de Tiry who received likely received Dunnideer from the Balliols are cloudy.  Despite the French structure of the name, the conveying of that property, or later of Drumkilbo by Robert the Bruce. does not seem to represent the planting of a foreign family, but recognizing a family already in existence in the Highlands and northern Lowlands. Many were recorded in official documents in a French fashion who did not use that form of their name in daily life.

Our emigrating Tyree ancestors seem to have headed for Virginia where Tyrees had settled earlier.  Yorktown was a major port of entry to the colonies and Tyrees had been settling in New Kent County and Campbell County, as well as other counties along the James River.  Some respected researchers believe that these diverse Virginia families and branches that moved on to North Carolina can be traced back to the Dunnideer and Drumkilbo Tyrees.

War and the clearances took their toll.  There are few of their name left in the Highlands, northern lowlands, or even in Scotland as a whole.

The first currently identified appearance of this line on any surviving records in the American Colonies is with the appearance of Zachariah Tyree (Sarah Ann’s father) and his brother John as Revolutionary War soldiers from Amherst County in 1777. What they did in the decades between immigration and 1777 I don’t as of yet know.  Much of this Tyree family moved on to Kentucky and then Illinois.  Our direct line is through Sarah Ann’s daughter, Margaret, who married James Bondurant in Virginia, and some of their children moved to North Carolina.



The Purviance-Wasson Family in the Revolutionary War

By Richard Gwynallen

Sarah Jane Wasson
1746 – 1800
Relationship to Fawn: 7th great aunt

James Purviance
1733 – 1806
Relationship to Fawn: 7th great uncle by marriage

In the essay, Archibald Wasson – Cordwainer and Farmer, I introduced the Wasson family, who married into our Mordah/Murdah (now Murdock) line.  One of the daughters of Archibald Wasson and Elizabeth Woods, Sarah Jane Wasson, married James Purviance. The Purviance and Wasson families would intermarry on several occasions over two generations.

Both of Sarah’s parents were born in Ireland, but Sarah was born after Archibald and Elizabeth had emigrated to the American colonies, then moved the family from Pennsylvania to North Carolina.

This essay is less about Sarah and James’ life together, and more on the role James and other Purviance relatives played in the Revolutionary War.  I ran across some material collected by other researchers and thought it made a nice addition to the stories of our ancestors.  The Wasson line is the actual bloodline of our immediate family.  We are descended from one of Sarah’s sisters, Agness “Nancy” Wasson, so we are not descended by blood from any Purviance lines that I know of yet.  However, the story reflects on the experience of that branch of the Wassons during the Revolutionary War, and with the intermarriage of Wassons and Purviances there is a joint experience with our bloodline.  In particular, the reader will note:

  • A reference to Sarah Jane Wasson in the records of one of her sons that offers a rare intimate insight into a moment of one of our ancestors lives.
  • A look at what Sarah was confronted with as her home became a military hospital and her husband went to war.
  • That the Purviance family interacted closely with other families that are part of our bloodline, such as Wassons and Mordahs.
  • The movement of that branch of the Wasson family west and north from North Carolina.

A Little Background on the Purviance Family

The Purviance family immigrated to the American colonies in the early 1740s from Castle Finn (Caisleán na Finne, Irish, meaning “castle of the (river) Finn”) in County Donegal, Ireland, where they had lived for at least two generations. Castle Finn is located in East Donegal near the County Tyrone border.

As to the origins of the Purviance family, most researchers maintain that they were French Huguenots from the town of Royan in the Charente-Maritime department, which was in the former Poitou-Charentes administrative region of France, arriving in Ireland prior to 1702.

Royan is a seaside town on the western coast of France. After the Edict of Nantes established tolerance for Protestants in France in April 1598, Royan developed as a fortified Protestant town.  After the Edict was revoked by Louis XIV in October 1685 and Protestantism declared illegal, most of the population of Royan emigrated.  We do not absolutely know whether this Purviance family left at this time or earlier.

This would be in keeping with the time frame of the Purviance family.

James’ father, John David Purviance, was born in Castle Finn, County Donegal, in 1708.  Using the French theory, James’s grandfather was possibly Jean Purviance, born about 1680 in Royan.  John David’s older brother Samuel is believed to have been born in Ireland in 1701.  If Jean was the grandfather of James and was born in Royan about 1680, his emigration from Royan after 1685 would make sense given the circumstances of the time. However, most Royan residents seem to have emigrated to the Dutch Republic. It’s a question as to why Jean, and possibly his family, would have ended up in Ireland.

James’s mother was Margaret McKnight, also of County Donegal.  The McKnights were originally from Scotland, but it is unclear to me how long they had been in Ireland, why they had left Scotland, or where they originated in Scotland.  The most frequent contenders for a place of origin seem to be the area of Loch Awe in Argyll or Kirkcudbright in southwest Scotland.

After emigrating from Ireland, the family of John David Purviance and Margaret McKnight first settled in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Apparently Margaret’s McKnight family emigrated with them.  The Purviance and McKnight families then moved to Rowan (which became Iredell) County, North Carolina.  There is general agreement that James and and some of the Purviance family moved south in in the 1760s, following the same pattern as many Ulster Scots in Pennsylvania by migrating down the Great Wagon Road south.  They may have settled on the south fork of the Yadkin River.

However, as early as 1758, a John Purviance appears on a petition to be excused from tax delinquency in Rowan County (which becomes Irdell County).  This could be James’ brother or his father.  It indicates that when James and others moved south in the 1760s they might have been joining family who migrated earlier.

The Purviance name, as well as McKnight, appear on a petition to organize the Fourth Creek Presbyterian Congregation in Iredell County in 1764.  Other names on that same petition that will be familiar to readers of this site include Mordah, Murdock, Wasson, Milligan, and Sloan.  This could be the same John or James himself.

Further, James Purviance and John Purviance (most likely James’ brother) appear among the first Elders for what became the Concord Presbyterian Church in 1775.  A McKnight is also on that list.

This indicates that the full Purviance family was in Iredell County by 1764, and that they had a relationship with our Mordah/Murdock family as well as the Wassons.

The family first appears in the Rowan County record of deeds when George and Mary McDonald sell “200 acres on the south side of Third Creek adjacent to the land of William Stephenson” to John Purviance for £35.  It was deeded 26 August 1762 and proved at the October court in 1765. (Abstracts of Deeds of Rowan County, NC 1753-1785, Pg. 79: Vol. 6:214/5 Oct. 1765)

This was most likely James’ brother John because it clearly was that brother who in 1767 sold that same acreage to “Mathew Oliphant, husbandman”, for £58. This transaction references John’s wife Jane, who would have been Mary Jane Wasson, the sister of Sarah Jane Wasson.  (Abstracts of Deeds of Rowan County, NC 1753-1785, Pg. 91: Vol. 6:503/23 Dec. 1767).

Eventually parts of the family would end up in what is now Carrabus County, North Carolina, but what was then part of Mecklenburg County.  The family in Carrabus became associated with the Poplar Tent Presbyterian Church, so called because the first minister, Rev. John Thompson, sent by the Presbytery of Philadelphia to preach to scattered Presbyterians in the colony of North Carolina would hold his services under the shade of a Poplar tree.  Ultimately, the Purviance family would remove to Tennessee, then on to Kentucky where James died.

James and Sarah were still in North Carolina in 1784 when State Grant #861 was made to James Purviance for 480 acres on the north fork of Fourth Creek. (Abstracts of Deeds of Rowan County, NC 1753-1785, Pg. 197: 10:237/4 Nov. 1784)

It is not clear why they left North Carolina, but they did not remain long in Tennessee as the Cherokees made it clear they did not want further white settlement in the area.  A John Purviance was killed in one attack.  The move to Tennessee most likely occurred in autumn of 1791.  James’ brother John was killed in 1792 or 1793.  The Sumner County, Tennessee Court Minutes [Wells, pg. 33-34] records that in the 1793 April Term Richard King returned the “inventory/sales of estate of John Purvoince”.

Researchers indicate that some Purviance family returned to Sumner County, Tennessee to a part that would become Wilson County.  James’ brother John died in Wilson County, Tennessee in 1823.  The rest of the family would push on further north into Ohio.  While we don’t know why they left North Carolina, one indication might be that the family, particularly James’ brother David, would become abolitionists, which was one reason they left Kentucky to move further north.

James’ will was dated 6 May 1800 and was proved in Bourbon County, Kentucky on 5 April 1819. Sarah Wasson preceded him in death in 1800, also in Bourbon County, Kentucky.  I currently have no information on the site of their graves.

Service in the Revolutionary War

Several members of the Purviance family were participant in the Revolutionary War. Here I concentrate on James.  As the others’ stories become available I may add them.

James Purviance

In his later years, James and Sarah’s son John wrote reminisces about his family. His comments on his family during the Revolutionary War were included in the Memorial Record of Northeastern Indiana (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1896, pp. 455-7) as well as in chapter 4 of The Purviance Family by Stuart Hoyle Purviance.  Excerpts appear on the genealogical website, GENi, as well as other places.

John was born 23 April 1770, so he was but a boy of nine – eleven years of age during the incidents he is describing.

James Purviance was a Captain in the North Carolina Line from 1779 through at least 1781. (Colonial Records of North Carolina, Vol. 10, p. 320, and North Carolina Roster pp. 45, 213).  A number of battles occurred within miles of his home, and the Purviance house was at times converted into a battlefield hospital.

James’s son John describes hearing the sounds of battle:

“We heard the cannonading at my father’s, it being heard from seven or eight miles farther north. My brothers, my sisters and myself were sitting on the porch during the cannonading, but my mother could not remain in the house. She walked across the yard, back and forth, with her arms folded across her breast, with a solemn countenance. She spoke not a word more than to let her children know that their father was probably in the battle.”

When I first read this I could see my 6th great aunt, pacing, hearing the roar of battle just miles away, worried, thinking through what she had to do, the only adult between it and her children huddled on the porch.  She would be about 33 at the time, with at least five children ranging in age from one to about 10 years of age.  It made her come to life for me.  Perhaps being outside made her feel closer to the experience of her husband.  Perhaps it was part of her personality to not be able to remain still. Perhaps it was more practical. Perhaps she wanted to be the first to see whatever came into view in order to know as soon as possible whether her home needed protection.

The houses of these settlers were very similar.  An historic house  of that same period remains in the general area and allows us an idea of what the Wasson house may have looked like. That house is pictured below and can be visited on the Ramsour’s Mill battlefield site.

Ramsour's Mill Christian Reinhardt Cabin

John later speaks of another battle or skirmish occurring two miles south of his father’s house. This was his immediate experience, though later it was proven that his father was not in the first battle mentioned, but was engaged at some other point.

As a side note, John Purviance speaks of the ‘making of songs’ to praise the soldiers and mock those who deserted. He said, “ . . . there were songsters and songmakers in that day, and in a short time the songs were made and sung by many with an air to the satisfaction of the good soldiers and mortification of those who retreated.”  In fact, though now in English, such songs were the continuation of a long Irish and Scottish Gaelic tradition where the bards circulated songs to encourage clans to battle and ensure that ridicule lay in store for those who did not fight.

In addition to James, several members of the Purviance family served in the colonial army.   John Purviance speaks of having two uncles and several cousins under the command of General Lock.  One of the cousins was killed and an uncle was ‘shot in four places,’ at last being ‘brought to the ground by a ball which struck him in the hip.’ This uncle was most likely James’ brother John who other sources show as having been wounded and taken to the Purviance house for medical care. John may have been wounded at the battle of Ramsour’s Mill, about twenty miles from the home of James Purviance.  Whichever battle it was in which John was wounded and taken to the Purviance house, the house was used as a hospital and he was taken there as many wounded were.  This was not unusual for the time.  In those days all the homes near the battlefields were temporarily turned into hospitals. Sarah Jane Wasson would have organized her children to tear up linens and clothes to serve as bandages and help care for the wounded.  The house would have been a scene of frantic activity, and Sarah and the children old enough would have been in the midst of it, rushed, tired, and having to keep their wits about them.

James’ son John Purviance describes these events: “Many of the wounded were carried on biers, one on each bier, and took boarding; in the neighborhood. My uncle and others were brought to my father’s home. I remember it as though it was yesterday. The sufferings of my worthy and respected uncle were great and cannot be described. Surgical operations could not extract the ball in the hip. About forty years later my aunt, who was dressing the wound, felt the probe cut something hard and by probing the ball was extracted. I heard of it, went to visit them and saw the ball.”

Knowing that the Purviance house was about 20 miles from the site of the Battle of Ramsour’s Mill gives us geography within which to places James Purviance and Sarah Wasson.   Since the Ramsour battlefield is in Lincoln County and the Purviance-Wasson family lived in Iredell County at this time the 20 mile swath of possible landscape would have to be east of the battle.

Ramsour Mill Painting

Battle of Ramsour’s Mill painting depicting the rally by Tory forces in their encampment before they drove the Patriot cavalry back down the hill.  The painting hangs in the lobby of the James W. Warren Citizen Center of the Lincoln County, North Carolina government.

Today what remains of the battlefield is nestled between three schools. A strategic plan to preserve the battlefield does exist.

A .3 mile trail runs behind the battlefield, with the trail head at 229-255 Jeb Seagle Drive, Lincolnton, North Carolina.  The map below pinpoints the site of the battle and displays a 20 mile swath about the battle site.


Below is a diagram of the position of forces at the Battle of Ramsour’s Mill.

Battle of Ramsour's Mill battle layout

Below is the Ramsour’s Mill Battlefield site today.

Ramsour's Mill Battle site

Below is a map of the vicinity on the battlefield today.

Ramsour's Mill Battle Site Vicinty Map 1

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Much of the original battlefield has been lost to development, but the historic cabin on the site was that of the Reinhardt family.

Ramsour's Mill Christian Reinhardt Cabin

Christian Reinhardt, Sr., his wife Elizabeth, her mother, Barbara Schindler Warlick, and her brothers all took an active part in the Battle of Ramsour’s Mill. The Battle was fought on the Reinhardt land, 1/2 mile north of Lincolnton, North Carolina, and their home was turned into a hospital.

Ramsour’s Mill was on a creek about three hundred yards west of the Reinhardt house.  About 1,300 Tories assembled in camp about three hundred yards back of the Reinhardt home and 300 yards from the mill, and Colonel Locke with about 400 patriots decided to attack the Tories at sunrise on June 20th.  The battle was ferocious.  Discipline was lacking because most were farmers, not trained soldiers. At times the fighting was close combat and the parties were so close together that they beat each other with the butts of their guns.

Mrs. Reinhardt and her two children had taken shelter in the cane field during the battle.  Returning home, she found the dead and wounded strewn on the ground around her house.  Mrs. Reinhardt and Mrs. Warlick tore up their fine linens to make bandages for the wounded soldiers.

Neighbors, relatives and friends fought against each other and as the smoke would clear they would recognize each other.  All were in civilian clothes and it was hard to distinguish the Whigs or Patriots from the Tories, save by a piece of white paper in the hats of the former and a twig in the hats of the latter.

It is believed that James Purviance, with other relatives, originally served under General Rutherford as Captain, commanding a company, then later was assigned to General Gates and General Sumter. Ultimately his company was assigned to Colonel Locke.  His son John relates:

“Being entitled to so much weight in the baggage wagon, father provided a suitable chest for his clothing and papers. The baggage wagon, belonging to one of the neighbors, passed by and took in the chest, which was taken to Gates’ army in the South. For some reason father, with a part of his company, was sent to join Sumter, leaving part of his company and baggage with Gates, and an engagement was expected. I think the reason why father was sent to join Sumter was to escort him to Gates. What I will say about Sumter’s defeat I received from father orally. Sumter knew that the British were in pursuit of him, but nevertheless the army came to a halt on the side of the hill, near a large watercourse; by some it was called a half-mile wide; I think it was the Catawba river. Arms were stacked and sentinels stationed. Sumter’s tent was struck while he was in it writing. The army was mostly scattered down by a spring by the riverside. Father and Colonel John Isaacs, in walking up from the spring, stopped by the way and were talking about the bad generalship and critical situation they were in when the sentinel’s guns reported and the dragoons came on in a rush. Colonel Isaacs was taken prisoner, but father slipped down a bank out of view and kept up the river. At some distance he met with William McKinney, one of his company, and they took the river. Sometimes they had to swim, sometimes they could wade, the bullets striking the water before and behind them until they were out of reach. McKinney was a stout young man, good in water, and kept foremost; but after they got out of reach of the bullets, poor McKinney’s fortitude failed. He proposed to turn back and surrender and wished counsel. Father told him that his counsel would be known by his conduct, and he was determined not to surrender while he could help it. Poor McKinney turned back, surrendered and afterward took the South fever and died in the hospital. Father fortunately had a knife; he ripped open his coat-sleeves and by that means got his coat off and let it go to the waves; next was his hat, which was large: he let it go also; next came his sword, with which he was loath to part, but to save himself he let it go too. He made to land, and looking around could see the British dragoons ranging about on the same side of the river. He took to the woods and rounded the field, bending his course from the river till finally he saw some men who had also made their escape across the river. He recognized Philip Drumm, a young Dutchman, one of his own company. They got together and traveled home together, not less than 100 miles. Father had saved his handkerchief and had it tied on his head. Young Drumm took it off and insisted upon putting his own hat in its place.

“In passing through the Indian land about seventy miles from home two horses were presented to father with the request that he take them home and deliver them to friends of the owner for safe-keeping, who lived in father’s neighborhood. Each had a horse. They traveled together to Morrison’s mill, three miles from home; the roads parted; the hat father was wearing being given to young Drumm, its owner, Archibald Bradley, the miller, presented father with a decent hat to wear home. When he came in view he was not at first recognized by his family, no coat, a strange hat and no sword and a little dirty. When he embraced the family his countenance was pensive. Clean clothes put on, the word ran through the neighborhood and the neighbors gathered in. He had but little to say that afternoon and was much cast down over the outlook, with two armies defeated and the British marching where they pleased. But the next morning he put on his cheerful countenance again, took courage and started for the field.”


Bondurant Places in the Languedoc Region of France

By Richard Gwynallen

In The Bondurant Migration to America, I introduced the Bondurant immigrant ancestor from France, Jean Pierre Bondurant.  Exterior pictures of his house in the village of Génolhac appeared in The Bondurant Migration to America and The Bondurant Ancestral House in Génolhac..  Thanks to the Bondurant Family Association, below are images of earlier Bondurant properties in France.

First is a photo of a pre-World War II postcard showing in the foreground the Bondurant home near the existing Cougassac mill site, below the viaduct, or Chamborigaud bridge.


This was the Bondurant home and inn on top of Belle Poile in the Gard Department, and part of the historic Languedoc region, of south-central France. It was a three-storey stone house.  It was known as the Malihieres property because the Bondurants came from the village of Malihieres.  The property was also known as Cougoussac.  The setting is the Cévennes, a mountain range in south-central France that includes this part in the Gard Department.


Red area shows the Gard Department.

The Bondurants left the property in the 1500s for a house in the town of Génolhac but continued to operate it as an inn. This was part of the properties sold by Jean Pierre Bondurant to finance his immigration to Virginia in 1700.

A viaduct is a bridge, usually constructed of several spans, connecting roads and crossing a valley, river, or other obstacle.   This viaduct is not ancient.  It was completed in 1867 near the village of Chamborigaud.  It is unique apparently because the curve of the Viaduct of Chamborigaud faces upstream.

This house was accidentally bombed in World War II by the allies while they were trying tochambourigaud-viaduc destroy the bridge in an effort to slow down German troops on the viaduct.

This picture shows the viaduct as it exists today.



In this picture a gentleman stands at all that remains of the Bondurant house, the basement with trees and brush growing out of it.  The house built to replace it is in the background.


With the Malihieres property was a mill.  In addition to being innkeepers, the Bondurants ran mills.  Below is the ruins of the mill at Cougoussac.


Jehan, or Jean, Bondurant, the first known owner of this property, was known as les


Le Luech River

Maliheyres because he came from Malihieres, a small village near Belle Poile. Malihieres stood on a steep mountain slope above the settlement of Donarel and the le Luech River.


Le Luech River

Stone terraces were constructed along the slope and filled with soil hauled up from the valley to make small gardens. Residents grazed sheep and goats, and gathered chestnuts from trees in the area for food.  There was little arable land to grow extensive crops. Jehan owned the Bondurant property at Malihieres.

When Jehan died, he left the property to his son, also named Jehan.  Jehan II ran the inn, which was inherited in 1472 after Jehan II’s death by his son, also named Jehan. It was Jehan III’s grandson, Anthonie or Antoine Bondurant, who inherited the property, but after marrying Gilette Amat of the nearby settlement of Donarel in 1558 and moved the family ten miles away to Génolhac, where he died in 1604.  He and Gillette were innkeepers in Génolhac as well as running the Malihieres property.


Church at Vielvic where Amat family worshiped.

In the fullness of time, the immigrant ancestor, Jean Pierre Bondurant, would inherit


Génolhac nestled in the Cévennes.

these properties, become an innkeeper and apothecary in Génolhac, and then, under increasing religious pressure at home as a Huguenot, sell off properties to become part of the Huguenot migration to the American Colonies.

A quick note on the spelling of names:  Jehan is the Oc equivalent of Jean. Oc (or Occitan) was the primary language of the Languedoc area and the Cévennes in the Middle Ages. When France conquered and annexed the region after the Albigensian Crusade (1209-1229), Occitan was replaced by French and Latin in the official and ecclesiastical records, but continued to be spoken as a common language. Therefore, Jehan and Jean both appear at different times, as do Anthonie and Antoine.

High School Days in 1940s Raleigh

By Richard Gwynallen

Worth Bagley Allen, Jr.
1928 – 1968
Relationship to Fawn:  Grandfather

There are many places in the landscape of a family, markers along the road, crucibles of memories, places where just being there helps you think about the life of your family.

Recently my brother, Jerry, pulled out of his collection of family things our father’s high school year book from Hugh Morson High School in Raleigh, North Carolina for our Dad’s graduating year of 1945.


The pages are filled with inscriptions from friends as everyone’s year book of every year is filled.   Our father looks young and innocent.  In fact he was pretty young. He’s only 16 in the picture below.  He had gone to summer school to earn enough credits to graduate out of the 11th grade. When he turned 17 that July after graduation my grandmother signed permission for him to join the Army.  So, in the last weeks of World War II my father became a soldier, did his hitch, then transferred into the reserves and went to college at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, returning to the regular Army after college graduation.


My grandmother’s inscription with her wish for her son was I thought the most beautiful thing about the book.


Hugh Morson was a high school from 1925 – 1955, then a junior high school from 1955 – 1965.


This photo was taken from the 1945 yearbook

In the early 1920s the Raleigh school system undertook the design of four modern school buildings.   These were the days of segregation, so there was a white and a black high school built, the white school being Hugh Morson High School near Moore Square, and Washington High School for African-Americans on the southern extension of Fayetteville Street.  In addition, Wiley Elementary School on Saint Mary’s Street, and Thompson Elementary School on Hargett Street were designed and built.

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There were less than 50,000 Raleigh residents in 1945.  It was the size of Medford, Oregon when our daughter grew up there.  Walking distance from the school was the Raleigh City Market on Moore Square.


1940s photo

As were theatres like the Capitol at 124 West Martin Street, and the Ambassador at 115 Fayetteville Street


Finch’s opened in 1945 as a drive-in on Peace Street, where customers pulled up in their cars and gave waitresses their orders.

Only 5,000 households countrywide in 1945 had televisions.  My father would have listened to the news and sports on radios like these.

It was an era of hair slicking products like Brylcreem and Wild Root


1944 poster in UK railway station


1945 poster

the debut of National Velvet


Lunch counters and malt shops


Fayetteville Street – 1940s


Lunch counter at F. W. Woolworth in the 1940s

As is evident from the pictures in this essay, it was also an era of segregation, and it would have been apparent everywhere, part of the landscape of my father’s youth.  A high school for whites and a high school for blacks. Separate places to eat.  When my father went to movies at the Ambassador pictured above he went in one entrance, while black movie-goers entered via a side entrance.

Referring to the growth of Raleigh from 1900 – 1945, writes: “The city limits billowed to the north and west to encompass the white, middle-class suburbs developing on land once considered remote. First the streetcar system and later automobile ownership made such locations attractive in the twentieth century. Deed restrictions kept these new subdivisions segregated. Established African American neighborhoods southeast of the center of the city continued to grow as well, and early twentieth-century suburbs for African Americans were established nearby.”

But change was in the air. The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) was founded during the war in 1942, and pressure for desegregation increased as WW II entered its final months.

Growing up in the segregated South can have different effects on people.  I don’t know what turned my father in his own direction, but we were brought up with the very core understanding that everyone was equal.   I recall a conversation between my mother and grandmother after my father died in which my grandmother acknowledged that even in his younger years he looked at everyone the same and helped everyone when they needed it. She mentioned that once while he was in high school he spent many days helping a black family on their farm because the father had been injured. She said he was the only white man in the field and he never seemed to even think about it.

Labor unrest was also on the rise as this graduating class stepped out of school. In 1945 ford-strike-1945and 1946 4.5 million workers from every industry participated in strikes fighting against wages that were lowering.  In 1945 alone, 10,500 film crew workers had struck in March, and 43,000 oil workers went out in October, followed by 225,000 auto workers in November.

I don’t believe my father ever held a job where he would have had to strike, but once when we were traveling cross country we pulled up late a night to our hotel only to find the staff on a picket line.  Despite how tired we all were he pulled away and they searched for another place with vacancies.  I was told that you never cross a picket line; that it’s like saying it’s okay to mistreat people and take their jobs.  It stayed with me.  I never have crossed a picket line.  It’s like littering. It’s instinctual. I just can’t do it.

My father walked out of high school into the military as a way of paying for his college education at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The graduating class of 1945 was stepping out into a very different world than when they started their high school years. Women had joined the work force in droves, forever changing the role of women in economic life.  And, of course, thousands had lost loved ones as war defined the entire span of their high school lives.

Shortly before they graduated the Nazi regime fell. Then in their first summer after graduating the world’s first nuclear bomb was dropped on a human population.  Power most had never conceived of had been released. Then Japan surrendered and the war that had defined their high school years was over.

But the halls all these students walked day in and day out are now long gone. Thehugh-morson-hs-5 demolition of a school is a sad thing to me. Even in this more mobile world, so many of our memories of our youth and of the neighborhood are bound up in the school itself. How much more so when generations of a family grew up in the same town?

Once a school in which one spent years is gone its absence is palpable.


A wonderful website called Good Night Raleigh has two articles well worth reading covering demolition of the school:  The Death of a High School and ‘In Days of Auld Lang Syne’ — Chronicling the Last Days of Hugh Morson High School.  I am grateful to Good Night Raleigh for many of the photos I have used in this essay.


Alumni erected a memorial for the school in 1978.  The brick marker pictured above contains gargoyles that once guarded the entrance to Hugh Morson High School.


The gargoyles are visible above the third floor windows in the center section

The gargoyles now face the site approximately 275 yards southeast between Person, Morgan, Bloodworth, and Hargett Streets, the streets that bordered Hugh Morson High School.


More on our Scottish Allan Family

By Richard Gwynallen

Our direct immigrant Allan ancestor was James Allan, who arrived in the American Colonies with his wife, Anne, somewhere between 1762 and 1770. We do not know their port of entry, but they appear on the Yadkin River in North Carolina in 1770.  I found little information about his parents at the time, but I have written a few essays on a couple of his aunts who remained in Scotland.

I have found a smattering of information about others related to James, a collection that includes both ancestors of James as well as folks descended from his family who did not emigrate. I decided to write this essay, focusing on where and how his ancestors lived.

I expect that this essay will be a work in progress.  As more information is found that adds to our understanding of our family, but that I don’t think fits an essay unto itself, I will add it to this essay.  Much of the information on our family lines is reasonably documented, but not all.  Where I have made family connections that are not well documented I have drawn them from what seems like reasonable agreement among others researching the same lines.  As documentation surfaces I will amend that qualifying language.  And if errors are pointed out to me or as I discover errors I will amend the essay appropriately.

On to our story

James father was George Allan, born on 2 January 1724 on Redhyth farm in Fordyce Parish, Banffshire, Scotland.  I am not going to take up the story of George Allan, and his apparent first wife, Margaret MacDonald, in this essay.  That story is looking like an interesting tale on its own.  George and Margaret were my 5th great-grandparents.

George’s father was James Alexander Allan, born 22 November 1699 on Hallyards farm in Fordyce Parish, Banffshire, Scotland.  James Alexander married Isabel Ruddach from Grange, Banffshire. They were my 6th great-grandparents.

James Alexander’s father was William Allan. The facts about William are a little elusive. He may have been born about 1670, but apparently not baptized until 3 March 1678 in Fordyce Parish, Banffshire, Scotland.  William married Janet Guthrie of Cullen, Banffshire.  There is a William Allan and Janet Guthrie married on 26 May 1688 in Cullen.  Is it ours?  Some say ours were married later.  In any case, William and Janet appear to be my 7th great-grandparents.

Wiliam’s father was Gilbert Allan, born about 1650 in Fordyce, Banffshire.  He married Anna Garden of Longforgan, Perth, Scotland on 7 November 1669 in Cullen. Longforgan is  a village and parish in the Carse of Gowrie, along the Firth of Tay, in Perth and Kinross They were my 8th great-grandparents.

The area in which these families were living in northeast Scotland in the late 17th and 18th centuries is shown on the map below.  The main towns referenced in this essay can be seen: Fordyce, Cullen, Grange, and Banff, plus Boyndie, another town of Allan interest in other essays.


Banffshire in the 17th & early 18th centuries

Banffshire remained largely Roman Catholic after the Reformation of the 16th century. Thus, it was a target for Protestant, Anglicizing, and Cromwellian forces.

A central and defining aspect of the 17th century in Scotland was what has been known as the British Civil Wars or the Wars of the Three Kingdoms and their aftermath. These “Wars” were comprised of an intertwined series of conflicts from 1639 – 1651, covering England, Scotland, and Ireland.  These conflicts culminated in the execution of Charles I by the English Parliament in 1649 and the defeat of Irish rebellions that same year by Cromwell’s New Model Army.  By 1651 the English Parliament under Oliver Cromwell was firmly in control.  Another set of conflicts continued throughout the 1650s that ultimately resulted in the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II as a constitutional monarch.

At the heart of the tensions were (1) the degree to which the monarch’s authority was constrained by parliament; most particularly around the right to raise taxes and armed forces, (2) the nature of a state religion, and (3) the national sovereignty of Ireland and Scotland.

These were the military and political conflicts that determined the future of Great Britain and Ireland as a constitutional monarchy with political power centered in London, ultimately culminating in the Union of the Scottish and English crowns in 1707.

The Earl of Finlater and Seafield

The largest landowners in the area discussed in this article were the Abercrombies, Innes, and the cadet branch of the Ogilvies centered around the Earl of Finlater and Seafield.  These two titles rested upon the same person.  Obviously we are not related to them, but since it appears that our ancestors were living on Ogilvie properties I thought I’d explain these titles.

The Ogilvies of Banffshire were a cadet branch of the chief of Ogilvie, the Earl of Airlie.  John Ogilvie was the ancestor of the Earls of Airlie, the branch recognized as chiefs of the clan.  From John’s brother, Walter, descend the Earls of Finlater.  Walter’s descendant was created Earl of Finlater in the Peerage of Scotland in 1638.  As these Scottish titles descended to first of line and not first male of line, his daughter inherited the title Countess of Finlater.  Her grandson, James, was given the additional title of Earl of Seafield in 1701.  James’ support for the Act of Union in 1707 split his immediate family as well as Ogilvies on his estates.  The title of Earl of Finlater is now dormant, but the title Earl of Seafield is extant.

Back to our story

We do not know if William Allan and Gilbert Allan were in the town of Fordyce or somewhere in Fordyce Parish.  However, William was on Hallyards farm by 1699 when James Alexander was born there, and William seems to have remained there.  James Alexander left Hallyards farm by January 1724 when the first child of James and Isabel, George Allan, was born at Redythe farm.  They had five children born at Redythe between 1724 and 1731: George, William, Isabel, Anne, and James.  James was born in 1731.  By Margaret’s birth in 1733 the family was at Bogtown farm in Fordyce Parish.  After Margaret came David, Cecilia, and Alexander.  Alexander was born at Bogtown in 1740.

Each of these properties appear to have been Ogilvie properties.  We do not have an Ordinance Survey for the time period in question, but we do have ones for the mid-19th century that identify each as farms owned by the Earl of Seafield, who was an Ogilvie.

The Ordinance Survey (OS) of Banffshire for 1867 – 1869 describes Hallyards as: “A dwelling house with a court of offices, and a farm attached, the property of the Earl of Seafield.”


Redythe was later known as Redhaven. The OS for Banffshire 1867 – 1869 describes Redhaven:  “A dwelling house with a court of farm offices, a garden, and an extensive arable farm.”  It notes that it is the Earl of Seafield’s property, and that the mansion house of Redhythe stood a little to the south of the farmstead that existed then, but that there were no remains of the mansion house.


The OS for Banffshire 1867 – 1869 describes Bogtown as: “A large farmhouse in good repair, near the Turnpike Road, having garden outhouses . . . attached.  The property of the Earl of Seafield.”  It further references “A small Croft near the farm of Bogtown, with gardens and a few acres of arable land.”


Other sources indicate an Ogilvie ownership of Redhythe and Bogtown going back into the 17th century.  The article, A Seventeeth-Century Pew-back from Moray,  which I found on  the Archaeology Data Service, references a Walter Ogilvie of Redhthye in 1636.


From “A Seventeenth-Century Pew-back from Moray”

Other documents indicate that an Ogilvie that was a cadet branch of the Earl of Finlater funded a trust from Bogtown receipts to support the education of boys in the area from about 1680.

Collections for a History of the Shires of Aberdeen and Banff, Volume 4, edited by Joseph Robertson, indicates that an Ogilvie had possessed Hallyards prior to the publication of the book in 1843.


I have not found a Hallyards reference further back, but it seems that at time of these ancestors residence the properties in question were most likely owned by the Earl of Finlater or cadet branches of that family.

The below map shows the position of all three farms – Hallyards, Redytyhe/Redhaven, and Bogtown – and their geographic relationship to Fordyce and the larger town of Portsoy.


We do not have any documents proving that any of these Allans held tenancies at these farms, but they were tenant farmers, crofters, artisans, or farm laborers.  Though the information is scanty, I’d speculate that William was a crofter or tenant farmer.

Below shows a restored example of a common 18th century croft house from northeast Scotland.  This one is located on the Culloden battlefield park.  It was most likely originally constructed on the Culloden estate in the early 18th century.  It now sites in isolation, but the area would have been more populated in an earlier day with the estate divided into small crofts.  We do not know for a fact if any of our Allans lived in exactly such a house, but it represents the kind of house a good percentage of the population lived in.

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James Alexander Allan went out on his own but stayed in the area and on Ogilvie properties.  James’ reasonably short stay at Redythe might indicate that he was an artisan moving from one Ogilvie property to another.  Laborers would probably have moved around more.  It seems like tenant farmers or crofters would have remained more years.

We cannot document Gilbert’s parents so the line cannot be proven before 1650, even by reference to the genealogies of other researchers.  There are Allans scattered around the area in the early 17th and 16th centuries who may well be related but it’s truly speculative at this point..  There are a few more than I will mention here for which there are some indications of a relationship, but the ones I have selected have appeared in enough genealogies connected to our Allan line that my confidence level in their relationship to our family line is fairly high.  Plus, the little bit of information we have about them tell stories about life of the time.

The Town Piper

Gilbert’s apparent brother James is listed as the Banff Town Piper in 1680 in The Waits Website: The Official Website of The International Guild of Town Pipers.  James was a 9th great uncle to me.

The Annals of Banff ( pp 159 – 160) records a payment to James Allan:  “Paid to James Allan, piper, for his goeing morneing and ewining throw the toun with his pyp frae Hallomes, 1680, to Hallomes, 1681, the sowme of sex pundis.”


Just to avoid any confusion, I’ll note that there is another James Allan who was the well known piper to the Duke of Northumberland.  Our James Allan would have been performing more humble services.

In the article, Town Pipers: A European Tradition by Brian E. McCandless,the town piper is described as “. . . itinerant busy-body who could deliver news and praise, song and dance – all at the drop of a hat . . .”  The town piper was somewhat of a civil servant whose function varied according to need.  We do not know what kind of bagpipe James Allan played.  It could have been the Great Highland Pipe (pìob mhòr), but many of these pipers in Scotland and northern England used the bellows-pipes which allowed them to issue announcements while playing.  It could be that he was experienced with various types of pipes and used the one most suited to the present duty.

A good picture of an 18th century bellows bagpipe appears in Town Pipers: A European Tradition.

The picture below is of a pìob mhòr that contains a set of 18th century drones and the most precious relic of Highland piping, the chanter of Iain MacAoidh, Am Pìobaire Dall (1656–1754). The originals are in the museum of the National Piping Centre, Glasgow.


The Wright

The Annals of Banff, edited by William Cramond, lists a James Allan who served as Deacon of the Wrights in Banff in 1707.  James appears to be a son of Gilbert Allan, born before 1680 in Fordyce.  James was an 8th great uncle to me.

The title of Deacon meant the represented the association of Wrights.  That he served as Deacon of the Wrights for at least one year indicates James was a skilled workman involved in construction, most likely a carpenter, and of some status among his peers.  A wright might be a shipwright, wheelwright, well wright, or other such title identifying his specific line of work.  We do not yet know what that would be for James.

The organized trades were the Hammermen, Wrights, Shoemakers, Weavers, Tailors, and Coopers.

James was residing and working in a town of ancient standing.  Banff received its first charter in 1163 under Malcolm IV.  King Robert II granted Banff the status of a Royal Burgh in 1372.  Despite having no harbor, Banff had been a busy center of trade since the late 12th century received its first charter in 1163 under Malcolm IV.  It held the status of a “free hanse.”  As a hanse, the burghers held the right of free trade within the burgh, and the privilege of associating in defence of their prerogatives.  By the 15th century Banff had become one of three principal towns in Scotland exporting salmon to the continent.

The origins of the name “Banff” are a little uncertain. Different Scottish Gaelic words have been considered: banbh meaning “piglet”; buinne, a stream; or a contraction of Bean-naomh meaning “holy woman.”  The burgh’s coat of arms which features the Virgin Mary).  Banff is Banb in the Book of Deer and Banbh in modern Gaelic.

However, the road to these associations represented a struggle between social classes.  The town councils were run by merchants, and were closely allied with the aristocracy.  The craftsmen were organizing to create a power base not governed by the merchants and aristocracy.

Legislative enactments of the Scottish Parliament in Perth in March 1424 instituted the office of Deacon, selected among the craftsmen, with the intention of the position ensuring the quality and honesty of the craftsmen. But in September 1426 Parliament restricted the power of the Deacons and created a position of Warden to regulate the wages of masons and wrights.  The Warden was appointed by town councils as opposed to the craft associations. In July 1427 another legislative act prohibited the office of Deacon altogether. The masons and wrights continued to hold their conventions,and in 1493 came into conflict with  James IV. The conventions of the masons and wrights ordained that “they should have fee as well for the holiday as for the work-day”, and that “where any begins a man’s work an other shall not finish it”.

Parliament responded by passing an Act in which the “makers and users” of the statutes in question were ordered to be punished as “oppressors of the king’s lieges”. The Act also restricted the powers of Deacons to a testing of the quality of the work done by their respective crafts.

Parliament acted again against the organized trades in 1540 by authorising the employment of “un-freemen” equally with burgesses.

In 1556, Parliament again acted rendering illegal any conventions of craftsmen other than those approved of by town councils. Queen Mary, on attaining her majority, repealed the Acts suppressing the Deacons  as injurious to the commonweal, and granted letters under the Great Seal restoring the office of Deacon and confirming the trades in the privilege of self- government, the observance of the customs that were peculiar to each, and the unrestricted exercise of all other rights which they had enjoyed under former monarchs.

James VI gave the magistrates of the town the right to select the Deacon, but only from a list of three provided by the craftsmen, and essentially confirmed the rights provided by Queen Mary.

The six incorporated trades formed themselves into a convenery to protect their privileges.  The rise of the crafts were recognized in 1657 when articles of condescendence were entered into between the town council of the Elgin burghs and the crafts, recognising the latter’s existence as independent corporations, and making regulations for the management of their respective bodies.

In 1700 the trades advanced a stage further. They claimed, and then in 1705 were accorded, the right to nominate their own deacons. And in 1706 the trades obtained the right to be represented at the town council board by three of their members—the         deacon-convener and two others selected by the town council from the deacons of the six incorporated trades.

In consequence, a considerable amount of political influence ended up in the hands of the crafts. For instance, the election of a member of Parliament for the Elgin Burghs—which then consisted of Elgin, Cullen, Banff, Inverurie, and Kintore—rested in the respective town councils of these burghs, each of whom chose a delegate. A majority of the votes of those delegates carried the election. The admission of the trades representatives placed in their hands the fifth part of the representation of the burgh. (Source: Electric Scotland, A HIstory of Moray & Nairn)

Returning to Banff where our James Allan served as Deacon of the Wrights in 1707, the Cullen, Deskford, & Portknockie Heritage Group summarized the crafts in Banff.  Between 1680 and 1840 the six incorporated trades had a formal status in running Banff. The Deacons representing each craft took turns as the convenor of trades. Certain privileges were associated with these trades.  As Deacon, James Allan would have had his own pews in church and a small pension. The merchants also formed a guild and considered themselves superior to the trades. However, no merchant was allowed to practise a trade, and thus were forced to deal with the trades.  Artisans as a class ended up with more rights than they previously possessed, but it did not end conflicts between the democratic craftsmen and the more conservative town council.  The conflicts arising in this new state of affairs is interesting but a story not needed for this essay.

Our James Allan served as Deacon of the Wrights in Banff during the earliest period in which the tradesmen had secured full rights.  Therefore, he would have been present in the years in which the tradesmen were struggling for those rights. He lived through an era of distinct change in the class structure of his world.

The Ritchie and Keith Families

By Richard Gwynallen

1822 – 1894
Relationship to Fawn: 4th great-grandmother

Nancy Ritchie married James Murdock before 1841 in North Carolina, probably in Iredell County.  The assumption about their marriage is based on the fact that their first child, William, was born in 1841.

I left this family line alone for quite awhile because we have a death certificate that shows her last name as Rickie. However, I couldn’t find a Rickie family in that area to correspond to her, and she appears in various Murdock genealogies as Ritchie.  Also, there are families named Richey and Ritchie in Rowan and Iredell counties in North Carolina in the same time period of our interest.  Some are of Scottish extraction, some of German.

All that seemed certain is my 3rd great-grandfather, James Murdock married Nancy Ritchie or Rickie, and they had a son from whom we are descended, John, who married Nancy Angeline Boyd.  The Murdocks and Boyds were Irish and Scottish, but that was not enough of an indicator as to whether Nancy Ritchie was from a Scottish or German family.

As an amateur looking into family history I didn’t have the time to try and dig any deeper so I decided to let it sit.

A small break occurred when a Ritchie also doing genealogical work sent me a note saying that he, too, had a relationship to the Murdocks.  I understand that in a family bible belonging to them (which I have not seen, but have no reason to disbelieve), Nancy, the wife of James Murdock, appears as a Ritchie, her father being identified as “John Ritchie” her mother, “Nancy”.  Others the writer’s parents had contact with said that these Ritchies came from Virginia originally, Scotland before that, and that John Ritchie’s father was James.  Efforts have been made to contact the original researchers, and if there are eventually responses I will update this essay.

We can say that this particular Ritchie family believes this is the accurate parentage.  If this is accurate, Nancy’s parents are probably John Ritchie, son of James Ritchie and Mary Polly Keith (and known as “Long John” for reasons I do not know), and Nancy Hutchinson.  An added complication is that John Ritchie and Nancy Hutchinson had two girls named Nancy Ritchie associated with their family.  They were not peers as they were separated in age by 13 years.  Were both girls their daughters, or was the younger a cousin they took in? If both were their daughters why were they both named Nancy?  Until proven otherwise, this essay assumes that at least both lived as sisters.  If our Nancy turns out to have had different parents and was a cousin to the other children of the house I feel confident that we at least have the correct family line and common immigrant ancestor.

This Ritchie family descends from Ritchie family members who left Scotland sometime between 1758 and 1770.

While this essay was principally aimed at better understanding the Ritchie family that married into the Murdock line, the Keith family of Nancy’s grandmother, Mary Polly Keith, a 5th great grandmother to me, has a couple interesting stories of its own.  So, I will be elaborating a bit on the Keith family rather that give them a completely separate essay.

Ritchie Migration to the American Colonies

James Ritchie was born was born 8 May 1757 in Ayrshire, Stewarton Parish, Coayr, Scotland.  I’m not sure where Coayr is, unless it is just a reference to the town of Ayr.  It is believed that he arrived in the colonies with his father, Alexander. Some of his brothers either accompanied them or followed.  Some researchers believe they sailed from Liverpool, England, about 1768 on The Marigold, but this is not confirmed.

Alexander was married to Margaret Wilson. We assume she died prior to their emigration because she is not referenced as being part of the emigrating family.  They had eleven children.  The family story is that Alexander fought at Culloden in 1746, and they became part of the large post-Culloden Scottish migration of the 1750s through the 1770s.  The Ritchie or MacRitchie name is considered to be a sept of the Mackintosh clan in the Dalmunzie area of Scotland in the Highlands of North Perthshire.

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Though unproven as of yet, if the family story that Alexander was present at Culloden is mackintosh-tartanaccurate, he would most likely have been part of the Mackintosh or Clan Chattan regiment mustered by Lady Anne Farquarson of Mackintosh, and led in the charge at Culloden by the MacGilllivary chief, a clan member of the Clan Chattan Confederation in which the Mackintoshes were the principle clan.  I have not seen a muster role for the regiment. In the image below one can see Clan Chattan’s position on the field.  They are drawn up next to the Farquarsons led by Lady Anne’s cousins.


Position of forces at Battle of Culloden

We don’t know where they entered the colonies, though some believe they entered at Yorktown, Virginia and stayed for awhile on the James River. Given the marriage James Ritchie makes, which we will see later in the essay, this seems likely.   However, his father, Alexander, is recorded as dying in 1787 in Cumberland County, North Carolina.  That would imply that no matter where they entered, eventually they, or at least he, headed for the significant Scottish Highland community of the Cape Fear area of southeast North Carolina. Perhaps they had family in the area that had emigrated earlier.

James must have moved back north, or perhaps never left Virginia, because we find him married to Mary Polly Keith, in Stafford County, Virginia, the daughter of Samuel Keith and Catherine Ring.

James served as a private in the 2nd Virginia Regiment in the Revolution.  He was thought to have been present at the battles of Monmouth and Kings Mountain.  He fought at Yorktown along with his brother, John, and was captured.

Later James and Mary moved with more of their family to what was Burke and would become Buncombe County, North Carolina prior to 1790 when they appear in the first federal census.  Also on  the 1790 Census of Burke/Buncombe County are two of Mary’s brothers, Gabriel and Ruben.  They all appear again on the 1800 census, but afterwards James and Mary move back to Virginia around 1801 or 1802.  In 1802 James applied for and received a land grant in Russell County, Virginia in 1804.  They lived beside Crane’s Creek in what is now Wise County, Virginia.

James and Mary moved on to Kentucky about 1815.  James drowned crossing Carr Creek, a branch of Troublesome Creek, in Perry County, Kentucky, in 1818. It’s said he was buried near Carr Creek.

By this time they had at least six children.  Mary seems to have moved back to North Carolina with her family, except for Alexander Crockett Ritchie who remained in Kentucky, and in which state his descendants still reside.

Mary’s son, John, and his wife, Nancy Hutchinson, settled in Scott County, Virginia where they appear on the 1820 and 1830 census.  As I noted earlier, interestingly enough there were two girls named Nancy Ritchie in there household.  One born in 1809 who would marry Jeremiah Powers, and our Nancy, born in 1822, who would marry James Murdock.  It’s possible that our Nancy was not the blood daughter of John and Nancy – possibly a cousin.

John and Nancy moved their family to Russell County, Virginia in 1831 or 1832.  They are on the 1840 land tax list for Russell County.  The 1850 Census finds them in a  part of Russell County, Virginia, Nancy’s home county, that is now Wise County near the Kentucky border.  It’s believed that they settled on Sandy Ridge. Their son, John Ritchie, lived directly behind the little settlement of Cranes Nest at Fullers Gap on Cranes Nest River.


Fuller Gap viewed from Fuller Rocks

They were all in Wise County when it was formed.  John Ritchie was a farmer and Nancy Hutchinson was a midwife.

John, Sr. died before 1860.  Nancy appears in the 1860 Census as living near the Wise County Courthouse.

Nancy Ritchie married James Murdock before 1841 and lived in Iredell County, North Carolina.

A story is recorded in Singing Families of the Cumberlands by Jean Ritchie where descendants of John Ritchie and Crockett Ritchie accidentally met.

During the Civil War, two of John’s daughters would travel across the state line to Kentucky to peddle goods. On one such trip, they began talking to two Kentucky girls. After an exchange of names, they discovered that they were cousins, the two Kentucky women being the daughters of Crockett Ritchie, Long John’s brother. Long John’s daughters invited Crockett’s daughters to visit. As they began planning the gathering, they discovered a small problem. Long John’s family was on the Union side, despite being located in Virginia, and Crockett’s family was on the Confederate side. After promises of protection by the Virginia Ritchie family, the gathering was arranged.

As a personal note, though I related the story above as it was given, I rather think the women who met in Kentucky were more likely granddaughters of Long John and Crockett.  It seems the actual daughters of these two men would have been too old for that kind of duty during the Civil War.  They all would been in their late-40s to 50s at the time.  In any case, it would have been nice to discover a description of the reunion when it happened.

Nancy Ritchie was buried in St. Michael’s Cemetery in Troutman, Iredell County, North Carolina.  Perhaps one day I can tell more of a story about her life with James Murdock.  In the meantime, I earlier prepared an essay about her son, John Franklin Murdock, from whom we are descended, in John Franklin Murdock – Another mid-19th Century North Carolina Life.


Background on the Keiths

From what I can see, there seems to be general agreement among Keith researchers that the immigrant ancestor of this Keith line was Cornelius Keith and Elizabeth Johnston.  Cornelius was born before 1695.  Many record his place of birth as the Loch Lomond area of Scotland because Loch Lomond, Stirlingshire is inscribed on a tombstone erected for his son, Cornelius, in South Carolina.  Others assert that the location inscribed on the tombstone may have been in error.


Cornelius and Elizabeth emigrated with one son, Cornelius (Jr.), who was born in 1715 in Scotland.  They are believed to have emigrated about 1720.  

Clan Keith was an important supporter of the Jacobites in the 1715 Rising in Scotland.  The keith-ancientdefeat of that rising led to the Keith chief having lands and titles forfeited.  The chief’s family left Scotland for Europe, and the clan members began to scatter as did many other Highlanders in the years after the collapse of the rebellion. These may have been the circumstances that led Cornelius Keith to leave Scotland.

Cornelius is named, along with William Byrd, Captain James Terry and John Kendro, in a land grant of 1721 in the County of New Kent, Virginia.

In Virginia, Cornelius and Elizabeth had at least two more sons, John, born 24 December 1724 in Bristol Parish, Dinwiddie County, Virginia, and Samuel, born 13 December 1725, in Botetourt County, Virginia.  Some genealogies show two more sons, Gabriel and James, in this list of siblings. And there may have been other children as well.

Cornelius, Sr. was living in Brunswick County as early as 1725, and there is a 1728 account of Cornelius Keith living on the Roanoke River, with a wife and six children (recorded in the Journal of William Byrd). Also in 1737, Cornelius was granted license to operate a ferry crossing on the Roanoke River, from his own landing. His land there was sold in 1742.


Sketch of a typical 18th Century Ferry

Cornelius Keith was also a mill stone maker.  In Colonial America millstones were


Millstone Path at Hermitage Museum, Norfolk, Virginia

originally imported, but eventually they came to be quarried in the colonies.  A millstone that was five to six feet in diameter and weighed between one-and-a-half and two-and-a-half tons might have been good for twenty years. Flint and buhrstone were the most common materials used in Virginia, while quartzite was more common in North Carolina.  We assume Cornelius used one or more of these materials.


Our line descends from Samuel Keith, who married Catherine Ring (born about 1730) .  They had four children, Henry (1750) and Reuben (about 1754), both born in Buncombe County, North Carolina, and Gabriel (about 1755) and Mary “Polly” (1758) in Botetourt County, Virginia.

Some researchers show Gabriel as Catherine Ring’s husband.  Others show Samuel. It is conceivable that Gabriel married his brother’s widow.  The year of Samuel’s death is a little uncertain.

There are two interesting stories involving the Keiths that I relate below.

Cornelius Keith Arrives In Cherokee Land
Cornelius Keith, Jr., my 7th great uncle, was born in 1715 in Scotland, possibly in the Loch Lomond, Stirlingshire area. When he was still a child, he came with his parents to Virginia and settled on the Roanoke River in Brunswick County.  He married Juda Thompson, then Mary (or Sarah) Bohannon. As a side note, “Bohannon” is simply a different anglization of “Buchannan.”

There was a great deal of movement in the colonies in the mid-18th century as settlers migrated looking for cheaper land.  In 1743, Cornelius and his family moved southward along the Blue Ridge mountains in a narrow-gauge covered wagon pulled by a pony with two other ponies hitched to the back of the wagon.


A typical family would have filled that wagon with clothing, bedding, dishes, dried vegetables and fruits, and breadstuffs enough to last for months until more could be made. There would have been grain and other seeds for planting, a spinning wheel, tools, iron pots, kettles, ovens, and buckets.

They probably followed the Indian trails and blazed the way close to the hills of the Blue Ridge Range. They came down into the Carolinas and finally settled in the uplands of South Carolina in what became the Oolenoy Community in Pickens County, South Carolina in view of Table Rock Mountain.


They probably initially built a brush harbor on a flat-top hill overlooking the Oolenoy River Valley and the surrounding mountains. I read that Miracle Hill Mission School is now located on this ground and has a plaque memorializing the original settler, but I have not seen a picture of the plaque.


Sketch of a brush harbor church. A home would have been closed on all sides with brush and stick or canvas flap for a door

There was a Cherokee village on Uwharrie Mountain and these were the first first white settlers in their territory.  However, it didn’t escalate into conflict.   Keith and the Cherokee Chief Woolenoy bartered.  Keith told Woolenoy he would trade one pony for land and asked how much land he would give. The chief showed that he would give all the land


Oolenoy River

Keith wanted. So, Keith traded the pony for a big wedge of what is now Pickens County consisting of the entire lower half of the Oolenoy River Valley and for the privilege of hunting and fishing. Family lore says that this trade was sealed by the ceremony of smoking the peace pipe. This was the beginning of the Oolenoy Settlement.


Uwharrie Mountains

The below Mills Map of the Pendleton District, published circa 1825, has the word “Keith” on the spot where Cornelius Keith built his first hut.



The first Keith cabin was probably one room with a dirt floor and stick and dirt chimney. The cracks would have been chinked with mud to keep out the cold. Long boards were rived from trees of the virgin forest for the roof, door, and window shutters. Later, a puncheon floor was added and a shed room.

The relationship with the Cherokee helped the family survive the first year and learn to thrive in this area.

Keith researchers say that as the family grew a large log house was built with two large rooms with an open hall between. Steps went from this hall to two upstairs bedrooms. There were also two shed rooms at the back. The chimneys were of field rock with mud mortar.

They raised twelve children on this land, three of whom served in the Revolutionary War although the Cherokees were in sympathy with the British.  Given the positive relationship between the Keiths and the Cherokees this must have been quite a story.

The younger son of the chief of Clan Grant, Ludovic, was sentenced to transportation to the American Colonies for his role in the 1715 Rising.  After spending seven years of indentured servitude, Ludovc Grant ended up living among the Cherokee of North Carolina, even marrying a Cherokee woman and remaining with the Cherokee Nation for decades until his death.  Given their relationship with the Cherokee and being Scottish Highlanders, I wondered if the Keiths came to know Grant, but have not found any such indication.

Cornelius Keith died in 1808 and was buried in Oolenoy Church Cemetery. His monument was patterned after that of an Indian chief — a mound of field rock with a small soap stone head rock. The inscription was simply, Cornelius Keith, Born 1715, Died 1808. In 1956, his descendants erected a monument which contained a bronze plaque with the Keith Coat of Arms.


Oolenoy Baptist Church – An integrated church

cornelius_keith_marker_largeThe story of the Oolenoy Baptist Church graveyard where Cornelius was buried is another interesting story of the South.

After the Revolutionary War more people moved into the area of the Keiths.  After 1795 enough settlers were present to warrant a church being built. By the time other Keoth brothers had joined Cornelius on his land. They jointly provided land for a small log church roofed with wide boards split from white oak trees. It was not heated so services may have been discontinued in the winter. The first pastor and organizer of the church was Rev. John Chastain. Church records do not exist before1833. in 1834, the church was called “The Church of Christ”. Despite its presence in the South, the church was multi-racial.  In 1837, two Blacks were received by letter. The 1845 minutes report 97 members, including 18 blacks. Black participation in the church continued until Black families left the area after 1868.  A new building of planks was built in 1840.  This church was larger than the old one – about 40 feet long. It had big windows with wooden shutters. The floor and seats were made of rough planks.


And there we leave it for now – two Scottish Highland families, both affected by 18th century wars, the 1715 Rising for the Keiths and the 1745 Rising for the Ritchies, and both searching for new lives in the American colonies, ultimately bonding their families through marriage in yet another Southern story of our family.

The Children of George Benjamin Allen and Mary Fleming Thompson

By Richard Gwynallen

In An Allen and Thompson Story – From the Farm to the Citywe introduced the family of George Benjamin Allen and Mary Fleming Thompson in order to explore my father’s paternal line, George and Mary being his great grandparents.

In this essay I am particularly looking at the siblings of their son, my great-grandfather, Alonzo Lafayette Allen, whose story was introduced in the above mentioned article, but who will make an appearance here, too.

The Allen-Thompson farm where they all grew up was near modern day Wake Forest, North Carolina.  In the 1850 Federal Census the residence is referred to as in the Western Division, Wake County, North Carolina.

By the time of the 1860 Federal Census, Forestville had become the post office for their farm.  Forestville developed as a town as it was on a major north-south path used by Indians and settlers on a ridge between Smith Creek and Richland Creek. Also, an early Wake County road, Forestville Road, crossed that ridge and probably continued on toward the community of Falls. During the 1830s stores opened in Forestville, and on 19 March 1840 the railroad reached the village.  By the 1870s Forestville was a center for mills as well as stores.  “In 1872 the village of Forestville boasted at least eight nearby mills grinding corn and flour, six general stores, one liquor store, a shoemaker and the Masonic lodge.” (Source: Wake Forest Gazette).  George and Mary and their children probably traveled to Forestville regularly for a variety of commercial needs.

However, Wake Forest College had its start in a house purchased by the North Carolina Baptist State Convention. From early in the 1850s the college worked to get the train depot moved from Forestville north to Wake Forest. As the area grew following the Civil War they finally succeeded in getting a post office and then the relocation of the depot in 1872.

By the 1870 Federal Census, Wake Forest was the post office for George and Mary’s farm.


Map showing general area of Allen-Thompson Farm and family life – Wake Forest and Forestville

George and Mary had at least 11 children, of which Alonzo was the youngest.  Some moved from the farm to the city.  Others tried to stay the course as family farmers.  I haven’t found out much about several, but there are small stories to tell about a few.  This essay may be a work in progress, with me adding material as I find it.

I am going to start with my 2nd great-uncle, George Michael Allen (1835-1907), because part of his story directly relates to that previously mentioned article.

George enlisted in the Confederate Army in Wake County on 15 July 1861. He enlisted as a Private in Company A, 1st Light Artillery Regiment, North Carolina. For most of the war this regiment was part of General James Longstreet’s army.

His brother William (1833 – 1900), obviously another 2nd great-uncle of mine, had earlier enlisted in Wake County on 8 May 1861 as a Sergeant in Company A, 1st Light Artillery Regiment, North Carolina. He was promoted to Full Quartermaster Sergeant on 1 January 1863.

The brothers were present at the battles of Seven Pines, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness campaign, and others.  The regiment was among the last to leave Petersburg covering the retreat of the Confederate Army. The battery joined the army at Appomattox Court House after Petersburg was evacuated.  They received word of the surrender at Appomattox and final orders to bury their guns and burn the carriages. Upon completion of this task, the men mounted their horses and rode off for Lincolnton, North Carolina. Officially the battery was surrendered at Appomattox, but the soldiers were never officially paroled as they left the field and did not receive parole papers. I do not know if they were ordered to depart or did so on their own, or what their objective was.  In any case, William took the Oath of Allegiance on 6 June 1865 at Raleigh, North Carolina. We don’t yet know when or where George took the oath.

In An Allen and Thompson Story – From the Farm to the City, I described the migration of the family from the farm to Raleigh. I particularly focused on Alonzo and his son, Worth Bagley, and their business, Allen Forge & Welding.  I understood that Alonzo had been in the business with at least one brother, but I had not seen business records from the forge that would describe who worked there.

In the 1880 Federal Census, George, the eldest child of George and Mary, is living in southeast Raleigh, with his occupation listed as “Foundry Plow Castings and C.”  Not sure what “C” means.  However, it seems that George was already forging metal plow implements while Alonzo was still living on the farm.  As far as I know Allen Forge & Welding did not open until 1910.  Perhaps the business got started when more of the brothers, or at least Alonzo, moved to Raleigh.  Perhaps they decided to build on the business George had already started.

George was the second oldest child, born in 1835. Alonzo was the youngest, born in  1855.  When Allen Forge & Welding opened in 1910 George was already 74 years old. It’s possible that Alonzo and other brothers took the business from George as their older brother was entering retirement.  We also don’t know when George died.  He was alive in 1900 when the Federal Census was taken. He was listed as living in Raleigh Ward 1, Wake, North Carolina.  At that time, Alonzo was a carpenter living in Franklinton, North Carolina.

My 2nd great-aunt, Susan Hicks Allen (1844-1917), married James Anthony Winston in 1865.  She was 21.  He was 24.  James’ parents were Isaac Winston and Salle Allen.  Salle may have been Mary Ann’s aunt, making Susan and James cousins, but this relationship is not proven.

In the 1880 Federal Census Mary Ann and James appear as farmers in Freemans, Franklin County, North Carolina.

My 2nd great-aunt Mary Ann Allen was born in 1852.  She married Almond Fleming on 7 December 1876 in Wake County, North Carolina.  In the 1880 Census they appear as farmers in Little River, Wake County, North Carolina, but they are listed in the Jacksonville, Florida City Directory by 1891.  In the 1910 Census they are living in Jacksonville Ward 2, Duval, Florida.  Almond died there in 1915.

One of their children, Wade Hampton Fleming married Marcile Haynes.  He was a truck driver.  They are shown in the Jacksonville City Directory of 1929 to have lived in this house on 3040 Rosselle.


Marcile seems to have been a local pianist of some reputation.  One of the clippings shows she was the pianist at the “electric theatre,” meaning she played in a silent movie theatre.



My 2nd great-uncle, Sidney Franklin Allen (1848 – 1918) was by the 1880 Census a farmer in Wake Forest Township, Wake County, North Carolina, and married to Cora Young.

My 2nd great-aunt, Caroline “Carrie” Allen, was born in 1838, and married John Richard Holland on 13 February 1862.  They appeared in the 1880 Federal Census as farmers in Wake County, North Carolina. Their farm must have have been very near that of her parents as they appear in the census immediately after George and Mary’s household.  After the death of her father, George, in 1884, her mother, Mary, would come to live with them.

My great-grandfather, Alonzo Lafayette Allen (1855-1932), was in the 1880 Census a young man of 25, living at home and identified as a laborer, which probably means he hired himself out to various jobs.  His brother Henry, age 40, and sister, Candace, age 34, are also living at home in 1880.  No occupation is listed for either. Both are simply identified as “At Home.” They may have just been visiting at the time of the census.

We know Alonzo eventually moved to Raleigh and was in 1910 involved with the opening of Allen Forge & Welding with his older brother, George.  In the 1900 census, Alonzo was living in Franklinton, North Carolina and listed as a carpenter.  It must have been somewhere between 1900 and 1910 that he moved to Raleigh because in the 1910 Federal Census he is in Raleigh working in a repair shop.  This may have been Allen Forge & Welding since it opened that year.

Eventually, Allen Forge & Welding went to Alonzo’s sons, Milton (my great-uncle) and Worth Bagley (my grandfather).

The earliest Raleigh City Directory I have seen to date is the 1928 directory.  It shows Milton as proprietor of Allen Forge & Welding.  Worth Bagley was a machinist in the business.  Perhaps Milton was the blacksmith.   Milton’s wife, Lyda Martin Purnell, is listed as the bookkeeper and secretary in different directories.  Various directories from 1928 forward show the same listings, and list the various people employed at Allen Forge & Welding.


Ad from 1934 Hill’s Raleigh City Directory

In 1928, Alonzo was living at 612 Lane Street in Raleigh, and seems to have remained at this residence until his death in 1932.


612 Lane Street, Raleigh, built in 1910

The 1928 directory shows Worth Bagley Allen and Mabel Mooneyham living at 210 W. Morgan in Raleigh.  The next year we find them at 404 Kinsey.  By 1938 they had moved to 614 Polk Street, and lived there until 1940 when they moved out of the city to County Road 1, Cary, North Carolina. However, in 1938 we find Milton Allen and his family at 404 Kinsey.  Perhaps it was a family property, or a rental property that simply passed from one Allen tenant to the next.


404 Kinsey Street, Raleigh, built in 1920


614 Polk Street, Raleigh, built in 1926

I’ll close this essay with Larkin Jethro Allen.  I saw one genealogical chart where he appears as Larkin Jethro Jeter Allen.  The Jeters are a family that intermarried with Allens in North Carolina. In the 1850 Federal Census it is hard to read his name.  It could be Jethro or Jeter.  Usually he appears in records as Larkin J. Allen.  So, bottom line is that there is confusion over his middle name.

I have seen Larkin listed as one of the children of George Benjamin Allen, and as the brother of George Benjamin Allen.  Personally, I doubt the theory that Larkin was George’s son. Though I’ve not seen a birth certificate for either one of them it appears that George was born in 1808 and Larkin in 1822. The age given for George in the 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880 federal censuses is consistent at placing his birth in 1808.  For Larkin, the 1850 census shows a Jethro Larkin in the house of George’s parents, Benjamin Allen and Martha Hicks, age 29, which makes for an 1821 or 1822 year of birth.  He may have been married at that time and simply at home at the time of the census, or back performing work on his parents’ farm.  Some say he married a Mary (possibly Mary McCall) about 1846, then Catherine Horton in 1851.  However, his wife at the time of the 1880 census is recorded as “Mary.” The 1860 census shows Larkin farming in Cleveland County, North Carolina and gives a birth year of 1822.  And the 1880 census has him still in Cleveland County and lists his age as 58, for a birth year of 1822.

For him to be George’s son George would have had to have been only 14 at the time of Larkin’s birth.  George was not married until November of 1832, and there is a marriage bond and marriage record proving that time period.  To the best of my knowledge this marriage to Mary Fleming Thompson was his first marriage.

So, I believe that Larkin was George Benjamin’s much younger brother, making Larkin my 3rd great uncle.


Believed to be Larkin J. Allen at about the time of the Civil War

Before moving to Cleveland County, Larkin appears as a witness to the marriage bond of Lucy Earp and Benjamin Perry in Wake County on 24 September 1849.

At the time of the Civil War Larkin and Mary were farming in Cleveland County.  Due to his age at the time of his enlistment, he may have been a reluctant recruit to the Confederate Army, most likely conscripted, though not impossible that he enlisted for the enlistment bonus.  He enlisted as a Private on 13 August 1863 at the age of 41 or 42. He enlisted in Company G, 49th Infantry Regiment North Carolina.  He was wounded about 15 July 1864.  He was hospitalized on 28 October 1864 at Richmond, Virginia, and returned to duty on 29 December 1864.  I’ve never seen any war records past that.

Larkin and Mary had 12 children, nine of which were listed for their household in the 1880 federal census.  Anjaline, Emeline, Margaret, and Eliza were all married at that time and listed as “At Home.”  They were present in the house at the time of the census.  William, Laban, Perry, and Naomi are all listed as “works on farm.”  The youngest, Levis or Lewis, is nine years old.

Information about Larkin and Mary becomes scant after this time.  Larkin, not an uncommon name in the 19th century south, is an anglicized form of the Gaelic name, Lorcán.