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The Brownlees of Torfoot
Monday, September 08, 2008
Friday, February 17, 2006
Photos by Betty Rudolph (used with permission)
The Brownlees of Torfoot
This is the history of the Brownlees of Torfoot in Strathaven, Lanarkshire, Scotland. (A work in progress.)
Years ago, before my father, Robert Brownlee Sr. passed away, he told me that all Brownlees are related and can be traced back to Scotland. Now I don't know if that's true or not, but after picking up on the research that my mother started before she died, it looks like it could very well be true!
Please feel free to copy and submit any additional information you may have. I would love to hear from you.
'The information listed here is from "The Torfoot Brownlees", compiled by Martin Dale Armstrong, (17 Oct 1908- 24 Jan. 2008, a descendant of John Brownlie, the 3rd Laird of Torfoot.) In it, he also credits Dr. James Clinton Neal, (b. 1843, also a descendant of John Brownlie, the 3rd Laird of Torfoot) and Kate Brownlee-Sherwood, (b. 1841, who was a descendant of Thomas Brownlie, the 4th Laird of Torfoot) for their research of the Brownlees of Scotland.
Some quick notes of interest of some of our better known ancestors;
Kate Brownlee-Sherwood was married to General Isaac Sherwood, (he served in the Union Army during the Civil War, was also a Probate judge in Ohio by 1860, mayor of Toledo, Ohio by 1861, secretary of state of Ohio, 1869-73 and U.S. Representative from Ohio for several terms beginning in 1873.)
Dr. William Craig Brownlee (1783-1860), born in Strathaven, Lanarkshire, Scotland, a descendant of James Brownlee, the 5th Laird of Torfoot, wrote "the Account of the Battles of Drumclog and Bothwell Bridge", which I will be adding, as well as several other books.
This genealogy contains the following contraversial items. I have made conclusions from the following bits of evidence. MDA
I. John Brownlee as a brother of Archibald and James - -
a. A statement by John Oscar Blakeney directly on this subject.
b. John and Archibald Brownlee named in the Martic Forge & Furnace Record.
c. Jean, daughter of John Brownlee married John Gabby in 1758. See will of Jean Brownlee-Gabby.
d. Dr. James C. Neal recorded that John, a brother, "died in Scotland."
I believe that John did emigrate with Archibald & James, lived in Eastern Pennsylvania for a time and returned to Scotland. At least two of his children remained in this country.
Per Betty Rudolph;
One small correction to the data on John & Archibald Brownlee taken from the Armstrong data. John & Archibald (brothers, sons of the 3rd Laird of Torfoot) did not come to America at the same time. John was here by Dec. 1751 when 3 of his children were baptized and he probably come about 1747. Archibald's youngest child was b. in Scotland in Dec. 1751. John may have returned to Scotland but I have found no documentation of that. He is last mentioned in Lancaster Co. PA records in 1764 when he was one of the owners of Martic Forge.
II. The two wives of Thomas Brownlee, the 4th Laird - -
a. Dr. James C. Neal names her as Rebecca Fleming.
b. The Scottish Ancestral Society names her as Jean Hamilton.
c. Marriage & birth records obtained thr L.D.S. show that - -
1.Thomas Brownlee married Jean Hamilton in 1734.
2. Thomas Brownlee of Torfoot was the father of these children: Jean 1724/11/01; Janet 1725/11/05; Martha 1728/01/01; John 1735/06/10; Agnes 1736/12/31.
3. The Scottish Records were not complete as there were no record of a marriage prior to 1734. Also no record of birth of James Brownlee, the 5th Laird.
4. On the tomb stone of the 5th Laird, "James Brownlee departed this life, May 12,1817, age 84 yrs,3 mo." Which would indicate he was born in Feb. 1733.
I conclude that Thomas Brownlee had two marriages and that James, the 5th Laird was from the first wife, Rebecca Fleming.
III. Who was the First Brownlee Laird (owner) of Torfoot?
a. The Scottish Ancestral Society recorded that Margaret Muir, the widow of John Burnly dead at Torfoot in 1668. Her husband must have died previously.
b.John Brownlee was deeded Torfoot in 1658. The next transfer of this property was in 1695 when his eldest son, Thomas, became the 2nd Laird. See Sasine of Torfoot.
I believe it is clear that John Brownlee, the 1st Laird, died in 1695. John Burnly and Margaret Muir may have been the parents of John Brownlee, the 1st Laird.
IV. When did these Brownlees come to America & the birth date of Archibald's son, Hugh?
a. Most researchers agree that they must have been in Eastern Pennsylvania about 1750.
b. Dr. Neal names Hugh last in his list of children "Hugh washed over board at sea."
c. Scottish Records show that Archibald had a son, Hugh, born in 1738.
I believe that 1752 was the year of Hugh's death and the year of emigration.
V. Andrew Brownlee as a son of the 4th Laird - -
a. Dr. James C. Neal shows in his chart that Thomas, the 4th Laird, had a son, Andrew, who had a son, John, and a grandson, Andrew.
b.Andrew was named as head of a Scottish family (genealogy). He also had a son, John, and a grandson, Andrew. Also this Andrew was said to be a son of Thomas (otherwise not identified.)
c.In the sasine of Torfoot only two sons are indicated - "Thomas, the elder son." I believe these two Andrews are One and the same person. I believe that John names as born in 1735 did not mature. Few of Andrew's descendants came to America.
Torfoot, "Foot of the Rocky Hill or Mountain", was chartered as 400 acres in 1547 to John and William Brownlie by Helen Cunningham and James Hamilton. We have no record for over 100 years.
The estate of 350 acres was divided and deeded in 1658 by Anne, Duchess of Hamilton to Thomas Hamilton and his wife, Helen Brownlee, and John Brownlee and his wife, Helen Hamilton. (The Duchess is an ancestor of my grandmother, Adelia Wilcox.)
From the Sasine, these families already occupied these parts of Torfoot. There is some evidence that Margaret Muir, widow of John Burnly, may have died at Torfoot in 1668. Both by the Sasine and by family records, John Brownlie named in 1658 began the numbering of the Lairds of Torfoot. Such records suggest many questions;
1) What happened to the 50 acres? Were measurements only approximate?
2) Was Torfoot divided as far back as 1547?
3) Was there a break in the chain of inheritance about 1650? How does charter differ from deed?
4) Was John Burnly a descendant of those named in 1547? Were he and Margaret Muir parents of one or more of the Brownlees named in the deeding of Torfoot in 1658?
You can click on these pics to enlarge them enough to read them.