Friday, April 27, 2018

Johnston - Our Scottish Line

I am always pleased when I find a new name - a new person in our family tree - but I am even happier when I manage to find out more about any particular ancestors.

Edward Johnston is our direct maternal ancestor (12 generations back). I was planning to write a note about him and, quite unexpectedly, I came across some detailed information regarding this family line. How great to know more about our roots and where we come from!

Edward Johnston was born on 21 April 1649 in Aberdeen City, Scotland (some researches claim he the year of his birth was 1638). He probably arrived in America in early December 1676.
About 1767 Edward Johnston married Miss Elizabeth Walker who was born on 13 January 1658 in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The marriage took place at St. Peter's Parish in New Kent County, Virginia.

Not much is known about Edward and his life, besides that he probably worked as a Quaker preacher or missionary in New Kent. He might also be the Edward Johnston who signed the Bacon's Rebellion grievance document.

Edward's father was Arthur Johnston - a doctor and a poet. He was the fifth son of Sir George Johnston and Honorable Christian Forbes (daughter of William seventh Lord Forbes).

Arthur Johnston studied medicine at universities in Aberdeen, Rome and Padua, Italy. Later, he traveled around Europe, and also lived in France where he was a university professor and practiced as a physician in Paris as well. From June 1637, Arthur was rector of King's College in Aberdeen.

Artur was also the physician of King James I and Charles I (+ the royal family). Later, in 1633, he purchased from Sir George Johnston (his nephew) a property at New Leslie in Aberdeenshire. The place was called Monkegy.

Arthur Johnston works include, among others, his translation of the Psalms of David into Latin, several epigrams describing the beauty of the land where he was born, and the Caskieben castle, poems about noble persons of his age, and the anthology of Latin verse by the Scottish poets.

One of Arthur's brothers was Dr. William Johnston - professor of mathematics at the Marischal College of Aberdeen.

The statue of King Robert the Bruce at the Marischal College in Aberdeen

Edward's mother was Barbara Gordon - the third wife of Arthur Johnston's. His great-grandfather William Johnston was killed during the battle of Pinkie (1547) - the battle between England and Scotland.

William Johnston of Caskieben, Edward's great-great-great-grandfather fought and was killed at Flodden (1513).

One of the Johnston relations worked in London as the Virginia Company deputy treasurer. Since he recruited people to go and settle in Virginia, possibly thanks to that connection quite a few Johnston people (including Edward and his brothers) emigrated to America as well.

The founder of the Johnston family of Aberdeenshire was Stiven (Stephen) Johnston of Caskieben, brother of the laird of Johnston in Annadale, Scotland.

The crest of the Johston clan
"Never Unprepared"

Stephen lived and received a baronetcy during the reign of King David II. He was so keen on studying and reading books that he was given a nickname "The Clerk". Stephen married Margaret Garioch, daughter of Sir Andrew Garioch, knight, of Caskieben. The lands of Caskieben and some other ones were granted to Stephen by his father-in-law, and he named them Johnston after his own surname.

Johnston(e) Clan Tartan

The Caskieben castle - which was the seat of the Johnston clan of the north for nine generations - has an astronomical alignment with one of the nearby mountain peaks - Mither Tap. The beauty of that, which can be observed during the equinox, was described in a poem by Dr. Arthur Johnston.

Colorized photograph of Cakieben catle (now Keith Hall), near Inverurie, Scotland

Stephen The Clerk is our direct ancestor (21 generations back). How are we connected with him and his descendant Edward Johnston?

Let's start with our great-grandmother Jurita Elizabeth McIntosh (nee Ledbetter)

her mother Hannah E Ledbetter nee Hagood (b. about 1839, Georgia)
her father Lemuel Davis Hagood (b. 20 July 1820 SC/d. 15 August 1909, Fulton, Georgia)
his father James J Hagood (b. around 1780, SC/d. about 1784, Forsyth County, Georgia)
his mother Martha Hagood (nee West) - b. around 1744, Virginia/d. 19 March 1828, Pickens County, SC
her mother Letitia West (nee Martin) - b. 5 March 1735, Albemarle County, Virginia/d. about 1784, King William, Virginia
her mother Ann Martin (nee Farish) - b. about 1710, Caroline County, Virginia/d. about 1732, Albemarle, Virginia
her mother Judith Farish (nee Johnston) - b. about 1725, Spotsylvania, Virginia/d. 23 Sept. 1793, Spotsylvania
her father William Johnston - b. 19 Dec. 1697, Annandale, Dumfrieshire, Scotland/d.1778, Caroline County, Province of Virginia
his father Edward Johnston.

1. The statue of king Robert the Bruce; By L E X commons [CC0], from Wikimedia Commons;
2. The Johnston Clan Crest: By Celtus (Celtus @ english wikipedia) - Own work by uploader. The crest is adapted from a scanned, out-of-copyright book., CC BY-SA 3.0,;
3. Tartan: By Mibovrd [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons;
4. Caskieben: By colourized photograph produced in 1909 by WR&S Limited - part of the Reliable series 483/23 -,
Public Domain,

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