Andrew Carmichael
1675 – 1759
Relationship to Fawn: 8th great grandfather

Much of what has been written so far about our Scottish and Irish family lines has been about my father’s side of the family.  Growing up, I mostly knew my mother’s family as Bondurants, a French family line. However, my mother’s maternal grandmother, Mary Eliza Wilson, was the daughter of Benjamin Wilson and Mary Eliza Reddick, both of whom were the descendants of rich and varied Scottish and Irish family lines.  The Carmichaels are part of the Wilson line.

Andrew Carmichael is held to have been born in 1675 in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland, and died on 1 December 1759 in Dungannon, County Tyrone, Ireland.

From information in the Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, we find that Andrew moved to Ireland and was living in Killyleagh, County Down as of about 1693 “under the protection of the Hamiltons.”  He married his cousin, Anne Montgomery in 1701.  Later they moved to Dungannon in County Tyrone where he served as Provost of Dungannon.  Notes from his “Legal Note Book” regarding cases that came before the Dungannon Council appear in the Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland.  The notes refer to him as “sometime Provost of Dungannon.”  So, he could have held the position more than once, but, according to a record in the National Library of Ireland he was Provost in 1718.

Andrew and Anne had four children that we know of.  The eldest was James.  John became a curate in the Church of Ireland at St. Peter’s in Dorgheda. Hugh became a “barrister-at-law” and lived in the village of Spamont near Stewartstown.  We are descended from their daughter, Anna Carmichael.

Dungannon in Gaelic is Dún Geanainn, meaning “Geanann’s stronghold.  For centuries the area was the center of the powerful O’Neill clan.  The traditional site of inauguration for ‘The O’Neill’, was Tullyhogue Fort, an Iron Age mound some four miles northeast of Dungannon.  In the 14th century, they built a castle on the hill now called Castle Hill.  After the Irish defeat in the Nine Years War, The O’Neill and 98 other Irish chieftains and their followers fled Ireland for the continent, setting sail in 1607 from Rathmullen.  The English then built a plantation town on the site, which grew to be present day Dungannon.  The town was seized in 1641 by Phelim O’Neill in the early stages of the Irish Rebellion, and he issued the Proclamation of Dungannon declaring the aims of the rebels and their loyalty to Charles I.

An excavation of Castle Hill uncovered remains of the O’Neill stronghold. For a review of the excavation go to the 2007 Geophysical Survey Report.

The position of Provost held by Andrew Carmichael was a position to which the holder was elected by the free burgesses, of which there were 12 in the Dungannon legal system.  “Burgesses were merchants or craftsmen who owned property in burghs and were allowed to trade in burghs free of charge. They could obtain these rights by inheritance, by marriage, by purchase, or by the gift of a burgh. Burghs were essentially urban settlements which enjoyed trading privileges from medieval times until 1832, and which regulated their own affairs to a greater or lesser extent until the abolition of Scottish burghs in 1975. By 1707 three types of burgh existed: royal burghs, burghs of regality and burghs of barony. Burghs produced characteristic forms of historical record, such as court books, guild records, and registers of deeds.” (Scottish Archive Network)

The status of Dungannon as a “free borough” is described in The History of Boroughs and Municipal Corporations of the United Kingdom (p. 1609, published 1845). James VI of Scotland and I of England granted the charter in 1613.

Our Andrew was a merchant or craftsman, thus a burgess, and respected enough to have been elected to the position of Provost.  At present, I do not know what kind of merchant or craftsman he was. Perhaps there will be more on that later.

Anne Montgomery’s line of descent is distinguished and will be explored in future essays.