Thursday, April 28, 2011

Robert Morgan (1601-1675)

My 10th great grandfather was Robert Morgan, born in Tredegar, Monmouthshire, Wales, son of Thomas Morgan of Llanrumney and Catherine Herbert. 


It is believed that Robert migrated on his uncle Richard Morgan's ship The Phillip, which landed in Jamestown Virginia in 1635.  He soon migrated north to Salem.

Records of Salem first sees Robert in 1636 when he was given an allotment of 20 acres there.  He married on 27 Jan 1638 to Margaret Norman, b. abt 1620 Somersetshire, England, daughter of Richard Norman Sr and Margaret Alford. Together they had eight children:

Henry Morgan (the pirate and namesake of Captain Morgan rum) - to be verified
Samuel m. Elizabeth Dixey (Samuel was my ancestor)
Joseph m. Deborah Hart
Luke m. Susannah Clark
Robert died without issue
Arron died infantcy
Bethia m. Samuel Weed

Robert was admitted to the church of Salem in 1650, he baptized his sons 23 Apr 1650. In 1667 he was one of the founders for the First Parish Church of Beverly. In a deposition in 1671 he gave his age of being 70 years old.(1601 birth year fits with this). Robert died some time between 14 Oct 1672, when his will was written and signed, and 10 Dec 1672, when an inventory of his estate in Beverly was taken

In A History of Salem, Massachusetts, Vol II 1638-1670 by Sidney Perley (1926), Robert Morgan is listed in 1667 as one of the "leading men" helping to build a meeting house for a pastor named Mr. Hale before the town of Salem was founded. A Lieutenant Dixey (probably William Dixey, whose daughter Elizabeth married Robert Morgan's son Samuel) was also one of these men.

In 1685 Robert Morgan was fined 1 pound for "being overseen in drink."

Jan 29, 1637-38 Robert Morgan owned 25 acres
1652 Owned lot on Cape Ann Side
Dec 24, 1655. The court thought about putting a ne'er do well, John Talboy, as a servant to Morgan, but another victim was found who would supply him with a cot, some corn etc.

Robert's son Samuel (1637-1698) died in Beverly, and must have bore witness to the Witch Trials, even though he wasn't directly involved.  His son, Samuel Jr., and grandson Samuel III, were each my ancestors.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Blairs of Ayrshire Scotland

The surname Blair was first used in the Scottish/English borderlands by the Strathclyde-Briton.  The first Blair family lived in the village of Blair, in County Ayrshire Scotland.  In ancient history they were known as the DeBlair Clan, being that they were "of Blair".  Their clan fought alongside Robert the Bruce and William Wallace in the 11th century.  Many genealogists have traced this line back as far as 1033, just prior to the Norman Conquest.  It's reasonable to assume that many lines have no older data.


A large number of Scottish Blairs, however (like many Scottish border clans), were banished by King James in the early 17th century, and forced to moved to Northern Ireland to help Scotland settle the historically Gaelic land and make it Protestant.  These people were known as the Ulster Scots.

David Blair (1603-1655) my 8th great grandfather, was born in Blair, Ayershire, Scotland, and worked in textiles.  He was part of the Blair clan that was banished to Ulster, Northern Ireland.  He and his wife (Bessie Watson) migrated to Aghadowey, in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland in the mid 1600s, and started a family there that lasted in Aghadowey for only two generations.

David's son James (1644-1732), and his grandson Robert Blair (1684-1775) was born in Aghadowey.  Robert and his wife, Isabella Rankin, had many children, including my 5th great grandfather, Captain William Blair (1718- 1791).  Robert & Isabella and family (including Robert's parents) sailed to the New World in 1733, and landed in Massachusetts.  Robert died at 91 at the beginning of the American Revolution.  Many of his descendants remain in Massachusetts today

His son, Captain William Blair, made extensive purchases of land as early as 1744 in Worcester & Blandford, Massachusetts and also in Voluntown, CT.  He earned the rank of captain and served in many pre-Revolutionary campaigns in New England.  William left Massachusetts with his regiment in the fall of 1759 (also with his new wife, Jane Barnes), and started a settlement by driving the French settlers out.  The settlement occurred in Onslow Township in Colchester County, Nova Scotia, where their son James was born.



James Blair (1766-1858) and Isabella Catherwood (1766-1795) were my 4th great grandparents.  They stayed in Onslow Township all their lives, where their daughter Isabel (1795-1868) was born, and where Isabel married a stone mason by the name of John Browning (1799-1868). 

John & Isabel were my 3rd great grandparents, and their children moved to Portland Maine, where their descendants still live today.  John and Isabel lived in Machias Maine toward the end of their lives, and John served time in Maine State Prison.  John died in either Machias or Nova Scotia by 1868, and Isabel died in Salem, Massachusetts of lung congestion in November of 1870.

In doing some research at the Mormon library, I was pleased to see that someone had saved a document that indexed all birth, marriage and death records from Nova Scotia newspapers in the 1800s.  Here is an abstract of the announcements I found as they relate to Blairs living in Nova Scotia, even though I don't know yet how they figure into my family:

-26 Mar 1797, Mr. John Blair died, 43 [grocer]

-27 Jan 1819 at London, Dr. Primrose Blair, Physician to the Fleet
-18 Nov 1819 at Truro by Rev. J. Waddle:  Marriage of Mr. William Blair & Susannah, youngest daughter of James Kent, Esq.

-23 Aug 1830, by Rev. F. Uniacke:  Richard Inglis, Esq. married Jane, daughter of Major Blair.

-9 Sep 1832, at Cornwallis, by Rev. J. Moore:  Adam Gordon Blair, Esq. & Harriette, youngest daughter of late Colin Campbell, Esq.

-4 Dec 1833, James Blair, Esq., died at 75.

-3 Mar 1835, at Truro by Rev. J. Burnyeat:  Marriage of Joseph McLean Dickson and Lavinia, 2nd daughter of James D. Blair

-7 Apr 1835, at Onslow by Rev. J. Baxter:  Marriage of William Elliot & Jane, 3rd daughter of James Blair, Sr.

-14 Jan 1836, at Onslow by Rev. J.J. Baxter:  Marriage of Daniel Cock, Jr., of Truro & Agnes, 2nd daughter of Samuel Blair

-21 Mar 1848, by Rev. R. Arnold:  John Bell, Workington, Cumberland, Eng & Miss Jane Elizabeth Blair, Halifax.

-1 Jul 1848, Joseph Howe, died at 6, youngest son of John Blair

-9 Dec 1848 (Friday last at Halifax:  Corporal Samuel Blair & Miss Agnes Blyth, from Aberdeen, Scotland.

-24 May 1849, at Truro by Rev. W. McCulloch:  H.L. Dickey, Cornwallis & Nancy, eldest daughter of James D. Blair

-2 Aug 1849 at Liverpool by Rev. J. McMurray:  John Blair & Miss Letitia R. Burnaby

-5 Dec 1849, at St. John, N.B., by Rev. Mr. Dimock:  John Blair, Onslow & Caroline M., 2nd daughter of late Captain Forsyth

-14 Jun 1851, Adam Gordon Blair, died in Halifax at 46.


  • The Blair Family of New England, published 1900 by David Clapp & Son
  • Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s
  • UK, Extracted Probate Records