Newsletter No. 12

 

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News Letter Number Twelve

Society of Edgar Families

Melbourne, Australia

 

THE ORIGIN OF THE EDGARS OF KEITHOCK, CO., FORFAR

 

The Keithock estate seems to have been acquired by the Edgars from the Lindsay family subsequent to the year 1620. The barony of Keithock was never in the possession of the Edgars, but the family, having consolidated certain lands in the barony, held them, not under the Crown or IN CAPITE but under a subject, viz. the Bishop of Brechin ‘Lawrence-Archer; Acccount of the Sirname [sic] of Edgar, p.148]

 

John Edgar, first of Keithock was probably the same John Edgar in Balconnel who bought the town and lands of Dyktown of Perthill, under reversion, for £1000 [Scots] from John Collace, fear of Pitforkie with consent of Thomas Collace, his father. [Deed dated at Balconnel is 11 July 1623; Reg. of Deeds, 15 June 1627].

 

The Records of the Court of Session include a Contract dated 10 October 1629 between John Allardes of that Ilk, and James Allardes of Kinneff on the one part and John Edgar of Balconnel on the other, for a three years’ tack to the latter, of the lands of Wester Balfour, in the Parish of Menure, and the Shire of Forfar. David and John Edgar, sons of John Edgar of Balconnel were witnesses. Captain John Edgar, Laird of Keithock, writing under date 22 October 1755, from Boulogne, to his Uncle, Secretary James Edgar, reveals that there was a family belief that John of Keithock and John of Balconnel were identical. He wrote:

 

… “I was particularly acquainted with Mr Skeen of Caraldston, who possesses the lands of Balconnel, etc. He readily allowed me to look over all the papers and conveyances of that Estate, but I found that it was the same person that first bought Keithock who, some years before, feued off Balconnel, etc. from Colace of Balnamoon, and afterwards sold the, so it is probably that he was the first of our race that settled in Angus. When I was at Edinburgh I gave a commission to a friend to inquire about some old papers of the family of Wedderlie, but I was obliged to quit the country before they could be found … [torn] however, I am pretty well informed where they are …”

 

On 16 Jul 1634, John Edgar was described as “of Caithick” [Keithock], in the Edinburgh Apprentice Roll [Scot. Rec. Soc., XXVII], his son Patrick Edgar then being apprenticed to Patrick Barthilmo, tailor.

 

It is clear that John Edgar of Keithock had a son John Edgar, junior, [Rec. Ct. of Session. 14 January 1639. Obligation by John Dempster to John Edgar, junior, son of John Edgar of Keithock; and 14 February 1639. Obligation by Mr Jno Levingston to same.] John Edgar, of “Keathick”, presumably the son of John Edgar, senior and brother of the Apprentice, Patrick Edgar, was married at Edinburgh on 16 August 1642, to Bessie Symsoun. [Scot. Rec. Soc. XXVII].

 

In January 1643, Thomas Edgar, of Keithock was taxed £44.10.4 [Tax Roll: Forfar]. This Thomas Edgar may be identified

 

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with the Thomas Edgar in Sheiringtoun, parish of Caerlaverock Co., Dumfries who is mentioned {Inquisitions General & Special: Dumfries; 10 June 1635.] As the heir of Gilbert Edgar, merchant in Dasnke [Danzic] in Poland, who is stated to have been “filii Patrui” of Gilbert Edgar; [Lawrence-Archer says he was a nephew. The testament of William Edgar, merchant traveler, Kingdom of Poill, which was registered at Edinburgh 12 September 1631 and 21 November 1632, might throw some light on the relationship of the Edgars of Keithock and Balconnel].

 

Thomas Edgar, of Keithock married Magdalen, daughter of John Guthrie of Overdyzert, [a family of Guthries were Lairds of Pitforthie, which adjoins the estate of Keithock, and it is possible that Thomas Edgar by this marriage added to his lands]. The eldest son of this marriage was John Edgar who matriculated his arms [1672-8]. [Lyon Register I, 294].

 

It is stated by Nisbet [Heraldy I, 281] that David Edgar, son of David Edgar and Anna Blair, bought the estate of Keithock from his cousin Thomas about 1680 but, although this statement has been repeated by Lawrence-Archer, the existence of the seisin of 1679 to which reference will be made later in these pages, and all the other evidence at present available suggest that Nisbet was mistaken. The seisin of 1679 was apparently necessary to dispel some uncertainty attaching to the title to the Keithock lands following upon the death of the previous laird – an uncertainty which provoked a series of law suits.

 

The descent of the family is not clarified by a deed dated 1 April 1718 [Commissariat of Deeds, Edinburgh, 1 July 1718] in which “David Edgar, late of Keithock, now indweller in Edinburgh,” – disposes, his heirs, etc. all and haill my whole household plenishing - in my dwelling house in Bell’s Wynd, and all debts,”  - reserving to himself the life-rent. A pint stoup was delivered as symbol of seisin.

 

The Registers of Apprentices and Burgesses of Edinburgh and the record of burials in Greyfriars Churchyard together with the list of Testaments enable us to trace the ancestry of this James Edgar – who must almost certainly have been a kinsman of David Edgar, of Keithock, and this way we are brought to conclude that the Kiethock Edgars were living in Dumfries about 1590 and were a cadet branch of Wedderlie.

 

[to be continued]

 

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“RAEBURN THE PAINTER AND THE EDGARS”

[contributed by I Trentham-Edgar, FSAG]

 

Sir Henry Raeburn, the great portrait painter, was born at Stockbridge, a district of Edinburgh on 4 March 1756, the younger son of Robert Raeburn and his wife Ann Elder, the owner of the mills at Stockbridge.

 

In 1778 when Raeburn was 22, there called at his Studio one day a lady who desired to sit for her portrait. He instantly remembered having seen her in some of his sketching excursions when he was noting down fine snatched of scenery. They must have been tolerably well-acquainted with each other’s appearance, for the lady lived at Deanhaugh House, close by and was some twelve years the senior of Raeburn and, moreover, a widow.

 

Permit the artist’s great-grandson to tellthe tale! “On further acquaintance he [Raeburn] found that besides personal charm she had sensibility and wit. His respect for her did not affect his skill of hand, but inspired it. He fell in love with his sitter and made a very fine portrait of her. This lady was the Countess Leslie     [eldest] daughter of Peter Edgar, the Laird of Bridgelands, and was so much pleased with the skill and likewise with the manners of the artist that within a month or so of this adventure in the studio she gave him her hand in marriage, bestowing at once a most affectionate wife, good sense, and a handsome fortune.”

 

He former husband was one of the Leslies of Balquhain, in Aberdeenshire, who had won the title of Count by activities opposed to the House of Hanover. The contract of marriage dated 16 September 1772. [Rec. Ct. of Session, 27 January 1778] stated that count James Leslie, of Deanhaugh, was the only son of George Leslie, Esq., then of Bruntsfield Links, representative of the Leslies of New Leslie. It was further recorded that Ann [born in 1744] was the eldest daughter of Peter Edgar of Bridgelands, Peebles, by his wife Ann Hay.

 

Count and Countess Leslie had issue a son who was drowned and two daughters – Jacobina who married Daniel Vere, Sheriff-Substitute of Lanarkshire, late of Stonebyrnes, and Ann who married James Philip Inglis [died Calcutta April 1817] and had two sons Leslie Inglis and Henry Raeburn Inglis.

 

Sir Henry Raeburn painted a likeness of his wife’s grandson, Henry Raeburn Inglis, holding a rabbit, as his diploma picture, now in the Private Diploma room of celebrated artists in London; also another picture of the same subject which is in the possession of his own descendants, the Raeburns of Charlesfield.

 

By her second husband, the former Ann Edgar had two sons, Peter, who died young, and Henry, who married Charlotte, daughter of John White of Kellerstain and Howden, having issue.

 

The portrait mentioned by Raeburn’s great-grandsons in the passage quoted has gone astray. The existing portrait of Lady Raeburn, which is now in the possession of Lady Louis. Mountbatten, brought £9135 in the Tweedmouth Sale at Christies, in 1905. As against this substantial figure, and indicative of the curiously slow growth in the appreciation of the art of this Master Portraitist, it may be mentioned that in 1877, forty-nine of his portraits fetched the modest sum of £6000, and one of these works was the aforesaid portrait of Lady Raeburn. It was in the collection of the late Sir Edward Cassel.

 

Sir Henry Raeburn’s father-in-law, Peter Edgar, was born in 1704 and died in 1781, and was the youngest brother of Alexander Edgar [c. 1698-1777], Laird of Auchingrammont, who had issue as follows:-

 

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1        James Edgar, of Auchingrammont, married Elizabeth Lorington and had issue two sons [1]

James, died young, [2] Alexander, and two daughters

 

2        Alexander, died 1820. Married and had issue

 

3 Handasyde MD FRS. Married and had issue

 

1             Susan, married J Hutton, and had issue

 

2 Charity

 

All these Edgars, excepting Susan and Charity were depicted in Raeburn pictures. The late General C G Edgar of Detroit, USA had a picture of the infant Alexander, and another picture of the same subject is known to exist.

 

Portraits of James Edgar are owned by Mr Percy R Pyne of Long Island, USA and by General Edgar’s family. The Gallery at Ghent, Holland and Lady Forbes-Leith, of Fyrie have pictures of Alexander Edgar [died 1820], and Baron Schroder, of London has a portrait of Dr Handasyde Edgar. One of the pictures of James Edgar of Auchingrammont sold at Christies in July 1929 for about £5000.

 

The great artist died on 8 July 1823 at the age of 67, and was buried at the Kirk of St John, Prince’s Street, Edinburgh.

 

SOURCES

Henry Raeburn,[1756-1823], by T C P Brotchie, 1924

Pedigree of the Family of Leslie of Balquhain, by Col C Leslie, 1861

an account of the sirname [sic] of Edgar, by J H Lawrence-Archer, 1873

The Scottish House of Edgar. Cttee of Grampian Club, 1873

Letters and Genealogy of the Edgar, Brig-Gen C G Edgar, 1930

 

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EDITORIAL

 

This issue of the News Letters is number twelve and marks the end of the third year of publication. In that period more than one hundred foolscap pages of matter have been placed in the hands of our members at home and overseas. The size of the News Letters is determined, not by the material available, for that continues to pile up, but by the financial resources of the Society. Our circle of members, however, continues to widen and the time will surely come when it will be possible to increase the size of our quarterly publication and thus inform our members more fully about the various and interesting aspects of Edgar history.

 

In addition to the more easily read articles which appear in the News Letter from time to time there have been, and will continue to be, contributions of a more serious sort. It is expected of a Society of this kind that it should undertake to do more than reprint material already available to the research student in many scattered volumes. There is original work being done by some of our members which is worthy of preservation because of the light which is in that way thrown upon problems which confront those interested in particular Edgar pedigrees. Indeed there is a very wide field open to the keen student who is prepared to spend time, and perhaps money, in the unraveling of  the intricate knots in the pedigrees of the Wedderlie, Keithock, and Edinburgh Edgars, Much of that sort of research work can only be undertaken in Scotland where the original records can be referred to, but there are a great many local Edgar families whose pedigrees could be worked out and permanently recorded so that at some future time the threads can be carried back to Scotland, England or Ireland.

 

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In a recent letter, Mr E L Frazer, Victorian Parliamentary Librarian, significantly remarked that “Family tradition is beginning to be valued in Australia. Its importance in the future as one of the means of strengthening, if not saving Society, cannot be over estimated.”

 

That view is being widely supported today when so many have had forced home to them that the British Empire, with its back to the Wall, is a vast agglomeration of family units striving to safeguard habits and ideals which the peculiar freedom of our family life down the centuries has enabled us to develop to the benefit of civilization.

 

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MARRIAGE

 

EDGAR – WOODS

On 22 May 1941, at Christ Church, South Yarra, Melbourne, Marjorie Mary, daughter of the late Mr and Mrs E J Woods, of Melbourne to Waldene Philip Swan Edgar, youngest son of John Thomas and Margaret Edgar, formerly of Kadnook Estate, Harrow, Victoria.

[see News Letter no.1 p15]

 

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OBITUARY

 

 

MR ADAM EDGAR, TAPANUI, NZ

It is learned with regret from Tapanui, Otago, New Zealand, that Mr Adam Edgar has died in his 91st year.

 

The late Mr Edgar was born on 1 April 1850, near Langholm, Dumfriesshire, Scotland. He was educated privately on Pine Hill Station, Harrow, Victoria, the home of his Uncle David Edgar. In 1875 he went to New Zealand and there managed a number of farming properties, including the 3500 acre estate of Mr Gladstone Robinson at Waikoikoi. For about 25 years Mr Edgar had lived in retirement at Tapanui and was a deacon [1895] and elder [1901] of the Presbyterian Church there. He married on 11 October 1871, at Hamilton, Victoria, Margaret, daughter of John Huston by his wife Margaret McGurk, formerly of Castle Dawson, Ireland, Mrs Edgar died on 14 August 1918 at Tapanui. They had issue four sons and three daughters:-

 

1        Rev James Huston Edgar, FRGS [1872-1936]

 

2        John Scott Edgar, born1874, sometime Mayor of Tapanui

 

3        Adam Scott Edgar, born 1878

 

4        Thomas Edgar, born 1883,

 

1        Eliza [Mrs G P Brownlie]

 

2        Margaret [Mrs J W H Clarke]

 

3        Isabella

vide News Letter no.1, p9-10]

 

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MR JOHN THOMAS EDGAR, OF MELBOURNE

Mr J T Edgar, who died at the Old Colonists’ Homes, North Fitzroy, was a Foundation member of the Society of Edgar Families.

 

The eldest son of the late David Edgar, [1812-94] of Pine Hills Station, Victoria, a well-known Western District Pioneer, the late J T Edgar was born 20 February 1848, at Double corner, Portland and was educated at Scotch College, Melbourne.

 

He managed Kadnook Estate from 1872 until its sale in 1911. He was elected a Councillor of Kowree Shire in 1880; resigned in 1884; re-elected 1888 and continued as a member until 1910. President of Kowree Shire 1896, 1898, and 1908. A keen cricketer in his youth, he was partly responsible for the visit to England of the famous team of aborigines

 

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in 1866. He was widely known as a judge and breeder of Merino sheep.

 

The late Mr Edgar had lived in retirement in Melbourne for many years. He leaves a widow, formerly Miss Margaret Swan, daughter of William Swan of Koonongwootong Station, Coleraine, Victoria and nine children. Three other children pre-deceased the late Mr Edgar.

[vide News Letter No.1 p14]

 

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MR FREDERICK WILLIAM EDGAR, OF MELBOURNE

The death occurred on 13 July 1941, at Melbourne of Mr Frederick William Edgar who was born on 6 March 1861.

 

The late Mr F W Edgar was the eldest son of Andrew Lindsay Edgar [1835-1903], Master Mariner and pioneer pastoralist who came to Australia from Dundee, Scotland, in the ‘Fifties.

 

Mr Edgar married, at South Melbourne, on 9 December 1885, Elizabeth Mary, daughter, of Samuel Charles Lomax, of Melbourne. Mrs Edgar died 13 August 1933. There were five sons and two daughters of whom four sons and two daughters survive.

[vide News Letter No9, p71]

 

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GENERAL NOTES

 

EARLY NEWS LETTERS

The Honorary Secretary would be glad to hear from anyone willing to dispose of a copy of our first issue, which contained the “History of the Edgars of Moffat”. An enquiry for a copy comes from New York USA, from a member to whom News Letters No 1, was mailed on the ill-fated RMS “Niagara”.

 

PHOTOGRAPHS OF PINE HILLS STATION HOMESTEAD

Orders will be accepted for prints of this old homestead which was the home of the first Edgars in Victoria. Mrs Keith Nicholson, and her brother Mr O S Edgar, grandchildren of the pioneer, David Edgar, who took up the Pine Hills run, have kindly loaned the pictures from which the prints, priced at 1/- each [plus postage], are taken.

 

NOTICES FOR NEWS LETTERS

The Editor desires to remind his readers that he is always willing to receive notices of births, marriages and deaths for publication. In this way events of family importance can be permanently recorded.

 

OFFICIAL CERTIFICATES [Births, Marriage and Death]

Very often these official certificates are indispensable to the generalist but it is necessary to point out that not all particulars recorded in such certificates are necessarily correct. On the occasion of a death, for example, often a badly informed friend of the family will fill up the required form. Even members of the family, at such a time, may set down inaccurate details of fail to remember the family history well enough to complete the form. In spite of these difficulties however, official certificates are worth procuring as they frequently supply information unobtainable anywhere else. One, at least, of our members has certificates covering all the births, deaths and marriages in his family since registration was enforced. These, supplemented by a series of Wills for a longer period, provide evidence of descent and family connections in a most interesting way. In Victoria such certificates are obtainable from the Registrar- General, Melbourne, at 7/6 each, Full names of the subject of the Certificate are required together with an approximate date for the event to which the certificate relates.

 

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WAR COMFORTS COMMITTEE

 

The funds of the War Comforts Committee have benefited by more than five [£5] pounds as the result of a novelty card evening arranged by Mrs J A Burgess at her home at Armadale on 31 May last.

 

At a Meeting of the Committee which took place at the conclusion of the Society’s Quarterly General Meeting in Melbourne, on 26 June 1941, it was agreed that, because of the difficulty of sending individual parcels to the men overseas and the plea made by Officers of the Australian Comforts Fund that all comforts organizations should operate through the ACF, in future the War Comforts Committee of the Society of Edgar Families shall donate all amounts raised to the ACF. A sum of £8.0.0 has been handed to the Secretary of the ACF as our first donation. Plans are in hand for collecting further sums to be similarly disposed of. The Hon Secretary to the Committee, Miss Margaret Edgar, Box 2630X, GPO, Melbourne will be happy to acknowledge monies forwarded to her for this good cause.

 

The personnel of the War Comforts Committee for 1941/2 remains unchanged except for the election of Miss Elizabeth Edgar to the Committee.

 

The following additional name has been added to the list of men on active service:

 

VX 12479 Houlihan, J J Corporal

Attached AAMC, 2/32 Battalion, 25 Brigade, AIF Abroad

 

CASUALTY LIST

Lieut Selwyn Kinmond Edgar, formerly of Mosman NSW who went abroad, in May 1940, attached to HQ Signals and who subsequently spent more than six months in England, where he gained his Commission, is reported as Prisoner of War [see NL p74].

 

Gunner John Edgar Nicholson, who enlisted in an Anit-Aircraft Unit and embarked in December 1940, is reported as Prisoner of War [see NL p16].

 


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