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McEwen Notes

The name Ewen is derived from Gaelic Eoghan which means "kind natured", and comes from the Latin, Eugenius. The name McEwen, (also spelled MacEwan, MacEwen, MacEwing, MacEuen and MacEwin) means "son of Ewen." It is a Scottish surname but the roots preceed Scotland. McEwen is an Irish derivitive and this is where this ancestral line begins. These ancesters were most likely Scots, which is a Gaelic branch of the Irish Celts. About 350 B.C., the Gaels, a Celtic people from France migrated to Erin, which is now Northern Ireland (the Romans called the island Scotia). Early in the fifth century when the Romans withdrew from the Southern Uplands of what is now Scotland, these Scots migrated from northwest Ireland to the coastal region, northwest of the Firth of Clyde. They established a kingdom called Dalriada, now known as Argyll. Excerpts from "Clan Ewen: Some Records Of Its History" by R.S.T. MacEwen (Glasgow, 1904) are noted with quote marks. "I. The ancient Clan Ewen or MacEwen of Otter, (Eoghan na h-Oitrich) which once possessed a stronghold of its own, was one of the earliest of the western clans sprung from the Dalriada Scots. These Scots were among the assailants of the Roman province in Britain, but they did not finally settle in Argyllshire till the beginning of the 6th century. The year 503 is usually said to to mark the commencement of the reign of their first King in Argyllshire. Little of their history is known prior to the foundation of the Scotish monarchy in the middle of the 9th century. They probably came more as colonists rather than invaders. The first leaders were the three sons of Ere; Lorn, Fergus and Angus and these tribes were at least partly subject to the Picts from 736-800." "II. Up to the 13th century these Scots were divided into a few great tribes. Gallgael was four clans from which sprang five smaller clans. From the Siol Gillevray, the 2nd of the great clans, came the clans Neill, Lachlan and Ewen. Clan Lamond sprang from Siol Eachern, although elsewhere it would appear that Ferchard and Ewen, the ancestors of the Lamonds and MacEwens, were brothers." "The Maclachlans, MacEwens and Lamonds are sprung from Aodha Alain (d. about 1047), termed Buirche, called by Keltie De Dalan. He was the son of Anradan, and grandson of Aodha Allamuin, the head of the great family of Oneils, kings of Ireland, descended from Niall Glundbh (850-900)." Niall Glundbh (850-900) l Aodha Allamuin l Anradan l Aodha Alain (d. 1047) l----------- Gillachrist l----------Lachlan (ancestor of Maclachlan clan) Neill (ancestor of MacNeill clan) Dunslebhe l---------- Ferchard (ancestor of Lamond clan) Ewen (ancestor of MacEwen clan) "These clans were in possession in the 12th century of the greater part of the District of Cowal, from Toward Point to Strachur. The Lamonds were separated from the MacEwens by the river Kilfinnan, and the MacEwens from the Maclachlans by the stream which divides the parishes of Kilfinnan and Strath Lachlan. The MacNeills were in possession of the islands of Barra and Gigha." "The MacEwens possessed a tract of land about 25 square miles and could probably bring about 200 fighting men. On the conquest of Argyll by Alexander II, 1222, they suffered severely and were involved in the ruin which overtook all the adherants of Somerled, except the MacNeills who consented to hold their lands of the Crown, and the Maclachlans who gained their former consequence by means of marriage with the heiress of the Lamonds. Although the MacEwens suffered severely at this time a remnant survived under their own Chief at Otter, on the shores of Loch Fyne, where the last chief died 2 1/2 centuries later." "MacEwen I of Otter, the earliest chief of the clan flourished about 1200. He was suceeded by Severan II of Otter 1222. III and IV are unknown and Gillespie V of Otter 1315. From this date there were four chiefs; Ewen VI, John VII, Walter VIII and Sufnee or Swene IX (d. about 1432), the last of the Otter chiefs. So as late as 1750 it is recorded in the "Old Statistical Account of the Parish of Kilfinnan: - On a rocky point on the Loch fyne there stood in 1700 the ruins of Castle MacEwen (Caisteal MhicEoghain), the stronghold of the earlier Lords of the Otter." For 200 years leading up to 1314, Scotland was composed of sub kingdoms under the rule of Barons, who had soverign authority over their territories. Scotlands King John de Baliol aligned himself with King Philip of France, who was at war with England and had agreed to aid Scotland should King Edward of England invade. He did invade in 1298, marching into the west of Scotland, seizing the castle of Robert Bruce, Earl of Carrick. Bruce was protecting the castle of Ayr against Edward but at his approach, Bruce burned the castle and retreated. Edward then seized Bruce's castle of Lochmaben in Dumphries, wherein were confined hostages given in 1297 as pledges for the loyalty of Galloway. Here is found the earliest record of Andrew MacEwen MacGill Rory, who with ten other hostages died by 1300, due to their suffering and ill treatment. "In 1431-2 Swene MacEwen IX granted a charter of certain lands of Otter to Duncan, son of Alexander Campbell. He resigned it to James I in 1432, who passed it to Archibald, Earl of Argyll in 1493. He passed it to his son, Earl Colin in 1513, to his son Archibald in 1526, to his son Archibald in 1575." "So after the middle of the 15th century the barony and estates of Otter passed and gave title to a branch of the Campbells, and the MacEwens became more than ever, "children of the mist." Some remained in the vicinity and joined the Campbells. In 1602 proof is allowed to Colquhoun of Luss to show that a number of Maclachlans, MacEwens and MacNeills were "men" of the Earl of Argyll. Others joined MacDougal Campbell of Craignish in Lorne. Some of these settled in Lochaber. Some allied with other westrn clans as the name was common in the Western Highlands and Islands, especially in Skye. Other colonies were formed in the Lennox country, in Dumbarshire and in Galloway." In the following centuries, the Scottish and British thrones, and their respective religions (British episcopal and Scots presbyterians) were the cause of considerable fighting for dominance. People aiding their Presbyterian leaders were subjected to fines, imprisonment, banishment, sold as slaves, or tortured. Reference is made of a Samuel McEwen of Glencairn parish who was sentenced and suffered at Edinburgh on August 15, 1684. This lead up to the 1700's when migration resulted from religious discontent and religious settlements known as presbyteries, began in the American colonies around 1739. One such settlement known as the Presbytery of Orange located in North Carolina, at the Eno River or Sandy Creek was established around 1780. This is the next reference found of McEwen as a member of this settlement. Family records state that RObert's father immigrated from Scotland in 1777, settling in North Carolina. -------------------- On June 1, 1773, Sir James Wright, the Governor of Georgia appointed by King George II, secured land by treaty from the Creek Indians. This land now comprises the counties of Wilkes, Lincoln, Elbert, and parts of Madison, Oglethorpe, Greene, Taliaferro, Warren and McDuffie. A fort named Ft. James was built at the Broad and Savannah Rivers and became the gateway into Georgia for settlers from Virginia and the Carolina's. Settlers registered there for tracts of land. On February 3, 1804, a Headright Land Lottery was conducted for Revolutionary War soldiers and an Alexander McEwen (who it is believed but not proven to be Robert's father) received 2 unsuccessful draws in Oglethorpe County, Georgia. It is recorded that Robert married Rachel Hawkins in that county. At this point in time it is believed that Robert and Rachel continued their migration towards Gwinnett County, Ga., as they marrried in 1801 and Kirkham was born in 1802 in Gwinnett County. It has been recorded (The Descendants of George Evans) that Robert received a land grant for his service as a private in the Georgia Militia. The northeast territory of Georgia includes Gwinnett Co, which was ceded in 1818. This action resulted in a migration of citizens and Robert and Rachel McEwen were a part of this movement. This part of Georgia was considered frontier country complete with a rudimentary network of roads. During the War of 1812 with Great Britain, Roberts only brother, James, was a Corporal. While going to war was not a popular view in New England, the South and Western territory Congressional "War Hawks" favored this action as a way to gain the land including Canada and Florida. It is not known where James served, although further research may uncover some information. During the first U.S. Census conducted in this territory in 1820, it was learned that Gwinnett County was made up of 693 housholds. These households included 4589 inhabitants; 4050 whites, 539 slaves and 1 free black. Each home averaged 6.5 people and 23 percent owned slaves. Each home averaged 3.5 slaves, and 6 of those heads of households that owned slaves were women. The McEwen family were not slave owners. Refer to the McEwen section of our ancestory to examine a photo copy of the 1820 census page containing the McEwen household. Robert was a farmer as well as a minister, and the 1850 census shows that he valued his real estate at $190, at the age of 73. Research into the McEwen ancestral line has lead to the following observations which have yet to be confirmed. Through family records, the earliest confirmation of the direct line begins with Kirkham (Jasper), who was born in Gwinnett Co., Georgia, in 1802. Family records state that Kirkham's parents were Robert Bort McEwen and Rachel Hawkins. The 1820 census shows Robert as the head of a household in Gwinnett County that consisted of one white male between 16 and 26, and Kirkham was 18, at that time. The census also show two white females between 0 and 10, and two between 10 and 16 years of age. According to the 1820 U.S. census records, James H. McEwen (Robert's only brother) was the head a the household in Gwinnett County, Georgia. It is currently believed that he is an uncle of Kirkham McEwen, although no positive proof has been obtained. These family records indicate that while Robert relocated from Norht Carolina to Georgia, his brother James settled in Tennessee. Research has uncovered the following information. No McEwen grave markers exist in Gwinnett County, although records show that Robert and rachel are buried at the Stone Mountain village cemetery. All marriage records prior to 1840 were destroyed in a courthouse fire in 1871. The Athens, Georgia newspaper (The Athenian), reported a petition in the Court of Ordinary by Kirkham on September 28, 1827, that one John Butler, deceased, had sold 50 acres of land to Kirkham. Kirkham also successfully participated in a land lottery in 1827 in Gwinnett County, Georgia. This land was located in Maddux number 12, district 13, section 1; and Wallis number 117, district 2, section 2. Further, the 1830 and 1840 census' did not include any McEwen surnames in Gwinnett County. It was recorded by Eunice Nova (Jackson) Woods (relative), that Kirkham's son Francis married Lena Olive Melton, of Tallapoosa Co, Alabama, and their daughter Ida Lee was born in Weogufka, Coosa County, Alabama. Kirkham McEwen relocated his family from Georgia, to Alabama, as Eunice Woods recorded that Kirkham McEwen settled about 14 miles south of Daleville, Tallapoosa County, Alabama, during 1836. The 1850 census shows the Kirkham McEwen family resided in Coosa Co., and that all members through Minervia, 15, were born in Georgia, and that Virginia aged 13, was born in Alabama. Kirkham's father and mother, Robert and Rachel however, do appear in the 1850 census, in Gwinnett Co, Ga. This chronology fits with the settlement of Alabama. The native Indian population was removed from the central part of Alabama by 1837, and this is the point in time that a great wave of settlers migrated to this territory from the Carolina and Georgia back country. These settlers were mostly young families in their early twenties. They were nearly all farmers or planters, planting corn and cotton and raising cows and hogs. The Federal Land Law of 1820 permitted a settler to purchase a minimum of 80 acres for $1.25 an acre or for $100 cash. Research shows that Kirkham held several occupational interests. He was a farmer as a young adult. After settling in Alabama, Tallapoosa County records show that he officiated in at least seven weddings, serving as Justice of Peace. This included the marriage of Susan Cannida and William Porch on October 24, 1842. This is an interesting note because Kirkham's wife, Mary An's maiden name was Kanada, so Susan may very well have been a niece. The 1850 census records Kirkham as a millwright. In 1844, Kirkham's family moved to Coosa Co., AL., where they remained until 1855. During that year KIrkham and Rachel re-settled in Calhoun Co., MS, where they remained until their deaths in 1865 and 1889, respectively.

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Peggy Loos
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