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With almost all Ewing lineages, anything before 1700 is difficult to nail down and nearly impossible to prove.  So now we are going to tread lightly into the category of "plausible".  We are not leaving reality, but we are entering a time of over 300 years ago to talk about ancestors that were just ordinary people who did ordinary things, but that because our family enjoys the results of what they built, we consider them to have done extraordinary things; so much so that if we are not careful we can fall into the trap of labeling ourselves as descended from Royalty, or coming from an ancient castle, or doing battle with heroes, or that we fought with and for great men of our faith... BUT MAYBE WE DID...

So with that disclaimer aside, I've thought long and hard about how to start this chapter.  "In the beginning God created the heavens and earth..." was taken.  So then finding the picture below, I considered "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit", but that was taken too.  

So, I'm not going to start with the beginning, for there just might be one more chapter in our beginning before this one, we'll see.  But we are going to start at our homeland in the late 1600s, and that would be in SCOTLAND.

Now, before your mind starts to conjure up images of bagpipes and kilts, please know that there was little of that.  For one, we were not highlanders... at least not at this time.  We also were not border clans, suffering nearly constant English intrusion and occupation.  At this time period we were lowlanders, yet only about 10 miles south of the highland boundary.  But don't allow yourself to believe that is such a bad thing.

To these lands the highlanders often came in support in time of need.  We were allies to Mary Queen of Scots, and we were Presbyterians and supporters of the Covenanters.  We were from the lands made famous by the likes of William Wallace, King Robert Bruce, Bonnie Prince Charlie, Oliver Cromwell, and Rob Roy, nearly all the great heroes of Scotland.  These lands were ground zero for the fight with England for Scottish independence.  And the house above lay in the shadow of the bastion central to it all.  And so now we get to the story of:

William Ewing of Stirling, Scotland (b. 1598)

Possibly the ancestor to my ancestor Joshua, as well as his brothers and half-brother










Wait a minute!  We're talking over 100 years before Joshua's birth.  How is all this related to us?

And you would be right to ask that question.  For the painting above refers to a William Ewing of Stirling that was thought to be born in 1598, and served as a "Watchman" of the castle (perhaps head of security and oversight of the grounds) around 1625.  Given Joshua was born in 1704 in Londonderry, we certainly have to cover a lot of ground and a couple of generations to get us to Londonderry... not to mention a lot of speculation.

So, about this time, the genealogical "purists" are steaming at the ears and in a frenzy that after my going through all the effort to take such an academic approach in my previous chapters, that I would dare consider discussing William of Stirling as if he were my proven ancestor.  So let's pause for a reality check here.  This is one possible "story" of our family.  When I commenced this endeavor I committed to providing documentation in evidence of anything I suggest is true of our family.  I never said I would provide proof of everything, and certainly because of the limits and constraints of documentation in Ireland and Scotland, and given that I have already quoted God himself, J.R.R. Tolkien, and used a painting from the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum, I will definitely have my source documents and bibliographical house in order.  

It is also important to point out that you already know the end of the Ewings of Gwinnett story, that our family ends up in the Ulster Plantation in what is now Northern Ireland, because the Cecil County brothers were born there, in the area of Londonderry, including my Joshua, before they came to the new world and Cecil County Maryland.  We've all known for years that we came from Scotland.  It is my opinion that this William of Stirling could be an ancestor, and perhaps the grandfather or great-grandfather to Joshua and his siblings.  Much of this story is not new, particularly to Clan Ewing of Scotland and Ewing Family Association.  They've been kicking this stuff around for years, and there are plenty of people who have "claimed" this William of Stirling as their ancestor, even without evidence.  Therefore, I'm just going to take the same approach as I have with previous chapters, and present the evidence along with the story against the backdrop of history, only this time there's going to be more story and history than genealogical diligence.  So on with the story...

Examining the painting above by John Slezer (ca.1650-1714), it was certainly done in the period that William might have been there.  I say that to point out the figure in the foreground of the picture that appears to be walking his dog.  I see no kilt, no bagpipes, nothing that people would normally associate with Scotland.  In fact his dress appears almost like that of a colonial American.  This should not be surprising.  The mode of dress in the late 1600s is not very different from that in the early to mid 1700s in colonial America or anywhere in Europe for that matter.  We will talk about the tartan, the kilt, argyle socks, and bagpipes in another article on this site.  

So, how do we know that is William Ewing of Stirling's house in the painting?

In short, we don't for sure, and to some degree we have to live with the artistic license of Mr. Slezer.  However, in 1991 the late Jim McMichael, one of the great researchers at Ewing Family Association (formerly Clan Ewing of America, a name I now believe is more appropriate), with the help of Ellsworth Ewing (also of EFA), enlisted the assistance of a great researcher of Scotland, John G. Harrison, an expert in the history of Stirling.  Jim's request was to try to determine if anyone by the name of William Ewing in the region of Stirling might fit the characteristics needed to possibly be the father of our Joshua and his siblings.  The result was a 20 page fully sourced article presented by Mr. Harrison to Jim McMichael on January 3, 1992, with followup letters appearing on November 20, 1993 and other times.  I am in possession of copies of these items (found at both the EFA website after much digging, as well as rougher copies found at the Allen County Library - home to the EFA archival holdings).  Essentially John Harrison found among other Ewings a William Ewing and his wife Jonet Henderson (sp?) in 1612 being given some land "in the Castlehill area of Stirling.  It was described as being on the East of the Park Dyke (wall), now called Haining Dyke, between the King's Gate (road), leading to the Port (gate) of the said dyke on the North, the common bray (slope) on the South and the old Barn of Umquil (late) Patrick Lundye, alias Porter and the nook of the hard of Umquhil Jon McKie and three great stones, lying in the Kings Gate on the East."  John Harrison goes on to say in reference to the Slezer illustration above, "This can be roughly identified as the site of the house seen on the left of the illustration, which is from an engraving made about 1672, though I would not suggest the illustration is of the actual house [(apparently acknowledging the possibility of artistic license)]." Further in the article, Harrison explains that this land apparently was still referred to as William Ewing's until between 1643 and 1647 when it was sold to James Dae.  Harrison then finally states his conclusion is the most likely candidate for the William Ewing criteria provided by Jim McMichael.  









There are additional findings by John Harrison, and that is that in 1603 land was given on the east half of Castlehill to a William Ewing and wife Marion Stewart.  If this is the same William Ewing (either a the same man or there are clearly too many William Ewings working for the castle), then it is with a first wife.  

In Harrison's November 20, 1993 letter to Jim McMichael, he cited additional references to this William Ewing.  The Stirling Burgh court books from 21 Dec 1603 indicated that William Ewing was a "watchman" in the castle (now we know why he had land on Castlehill).  He also notes a possible family connection with the Earls of Mar, who were hereditary keepers of the castle at this time.  This doesn't exactly give us royal blood or even title, but the association with the castle is of clear importance.  

There are numerous other Ewings in the area surrounding Stirling in the period, indicating a large concentration of kin-folk, probably also indicating something of a clan.  

FINALLY - My theory... and it is only a theory...

First, I do NOT believe that the William Ewing who lived in this house and served as Watchman in 1603 is the father to Joshua and his brothers.  Second, there is record of a Baron William Ewing (b. 1625, d. 1718) being born to William Ewing and Esther Baily (William's 2nd wife after the first passed?) of Stirlingshire.  This is a perfect age for a grandfather to our Joshua, but still not a father.  This second William married Elizabeth Milford of nearby Dunbartonshire, and they had 5 sons, including another William Ewing (b. 1660-1670).  NOW we have a William Ewing that could be the father of Joshua and his brothers.  

So, why am I stuck on the name "William" as the father of Joshua and his brothers?

I'm stuck on "William" because that is all we have right now.  Joshua's half-brother Nathaniel had a grandson years later, also named Nathaniel (b. 1772) who prior to his death in 1846 wrote "Nathaniel Ewing's Account of His Family".  In that writing, he seemed to have a good memory concerning his family, but when he got to remembering the father of his grandfather, he said only "I BELIEVE HIS NAME WAS WILLIAM EWING".  In his account he also indicated that William might have been from the area of the "Forth" (meaning the Firth of Forth, near Stirling).  Since then some people have taken this as gospel and from there extrapolated that this William was descended from the Watchman of the early 1600s.  Others have dismissed it in part in favor of another William from Glasgow, who could be the same William depending on who you ask.  David Ewing of Ewing Family Association has a little fun with this.  In some back-issues of the EFA Journal he refers to this William as "I believe his name was William" Ewing, using the whole quote as the first name.  Admittedly there is a good point there.  We have no empirical evidence at this time confirming Nathaniel's memory.  We would like to believe it were true and reliable, but the way he wrote it was a little vague.  

Some Circumstantial Stuff:

Hey, do you remember the Porters and Gillespies that intermarried with the Ewings and each other any chance they got in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia?  Well guess what?  They are not only with us in the early 1700s in Londonderry, but they are with us as early at 1625 in Stirlingshire.  Family is family, right?  The presence of Porters and Gillespies in Stirling is the main reason I believe that Stirling is on the right track for our Ewing line.  As I continue with my research, and publicize my findings I will provide more of this important information.

Summary thus far:

I've tried to weave an interesting story of where we might have come from in Scotland.  I've also provided my "guess' of how it might have played out.  But I have to reiterate that we really know nothing, because there is not yet any documentation.  Sorry, that's the truth.   But the story is a good one, William of Stirling (b. 1598) begat William of Stirling (b. 1625), begat William (b. 1660) begat Joshua and his brothers.  

I'm Not Done Yet!  What's Next?

I don't like where I've landed with this at all.  When I first began putting together what we do know about Joshua and his brothers, I had hoped that there would be more already solidified because of so many who are descendants of those Cecil County brothers that made such firm claims on the lineage in Ireland and Scotland.  What I'm finding is that this could be on shakier ground than I ever imagined.  So what's next?  I'm already in touch with the Ewing Family Association and David Ewing.  I'm also in touch with Mr. John Harrison of Stirling, and will soon be in touch with Thor Ewing, President and Chieftain of Clan Ewing of Scotland.  I've also been referred to some new contacts in Londonderry who are experts in the Burt Congregation and Derry Cathedral, churches that we came from in Ulster.  After many years of being disconnected from Irish and Scottish research I am getting plugged back into the resources of PRONI, (Public Records Office of Northern Ireland) and the National Records of Scotland.  If the information exists to prove any of this and nail it down for posterity, I'll see it done. Until then, the Ewings of Gwinnett can be assured that the efforts of many have gotten us across the pond to Ireland, specifically Londonderry.  We know that for at least some period we were in Scotland.  I will be continually updating this site with my findings, but expect that this is going to take a while.  In the mean time I won't hold up the rest of my work waiting on Scotland.   I'm going to go back through my work thus far, refine, source, and perhaps even redesign to make it more compatible with different systems.  So, let's get back to reality and talk about the next step back in our history, the place where it is believed Joshua and his brothers and half-brother came from:


According to the Coleraine Historical Society, shortly after James 1 came to power he saw to it that the The Irish Society was formed from a number of London Companies, to attempt colonizing Ulster with English and Lowland Scots on land taken from the Irish Clans. One point I'll note here is that there is no mention in this history of the Lowland Scots land in Scotland being taken by the crown, thereby forcing them to settle elsewhere (as is often cited).  More on this point later.  

In 1610-11 the first settlers arrived to plan and rebuild Coleraine after centuries of invasion and final victory by the English forces, and to erect defensive fortifications. The town was laid out in its present form, surrounded by earthworks, with entrances at the King’s Gate and the Blind Gate, each with a drawbridge, which was drawn up at night.  The newly rebuilt town received its charter in June, 1613.  It was well-known for it's Salmon fisheries and lumber from the nearby forests.  

About the time the new settlers laid down roots, the displaced Irish again attacked in 1642.  The town held out for six weeks against the Irish forces.  People from surrounding farmlands took refuge in the town, and thousands died from famine and disease. The Scottish army relieved the town, but themselves were defeated by the Cromwellian army. Still chaos ensued when the army of King James II came to lay siege in 1689.  At that time the inhabitants were forced to evacuate to Londonderry, where they again starved from lack of supply and continual siege.

This is the environment that resulted in our family of Ewings leaving Coleraine Ireland and setting out for the New World.  

According to the Coleraine Historical Society, during the first half of the 18th century, there was a great exodus from the town of Coleraine and surrounding countryside. In Dunboe and Aghadowey, whole church congregations left for the New World. 

The direction of my research at this point will be whether any land records or other records of major sale of assets or signs of pulling up roots exist in the timeframe around 1720-1726, near the time of our family's departure.  According to "Ulster Emigration to Colonial America, 1717-1775", by R.J. Dickson, Copyright 1966 by the Ulster Historical Foundation, Belfast, Northern Ireland, U.K, an estimated 3,500 Presbyterians left Ulster for America between 1725-1727.  I will particularly be looking at the church congregations (especially Presbyterian and the Presbyterian-tolerant Episcopal congregations) in Coleraine and other nearby areas.  I have already checked Dunboe, and that congregation left at a later part of the 18th century.  The congregation at Aghadowey left in the great migration of 1718 led by Rev. McGregor, arrived in Boston MA, the community settling in New Hampshire.  Our family was not among them, but the captain of the ship we came in on (see the story of Joshua in the previous chapter) may have been related to a member of that 1718 expedition. 


Besides the area of Coleraine, I may also look in the area of Londonderry, including another review of the ubiquitous Birt Congregation, so often mentioned in Ewing history.  Specifically, I'll be looking for evidence of the seven siblings and one half-brother living near or being associated with one another.  One thing I'll be keeping in mind is that because land was not freely available just anywhere they wanted in the Coleraine area, they may not have lived next to each other.  Also, some may have had land, and some may not have.  Some may have had businesses, and some not.  I'm not sure what combinations I'll find, and I'm sure that will make the search more complex.  But I'm optimistic that the indications I have seen in Maryland and Pennsylvania will prove true with the finding of some evidence of the family's presence in the area of Coleraine.  

William of Stirling House on Castle Hill
Slezer's view of Stirling Castle from La
Pictured above is Slezer's view of Stirling Castle from Lady Hill to the south, and is thought to show William Ewing's house on the left - The Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum and National Library of Scotland
Laye's plan of 1740 Stirling.jpg
Laye's Plan of 1740 of Stirling (north is to the left) is to show the road passing the two houses, descending the brae and crossing the park as described in Harrison's first letter.
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