Sunday, March 15, 2009

Thomas Hughan, merchant of Ferry Town of Cree

Thomas Hughan was born in c. 1695. He was a merchant in the settlement known at the time as Ferry Town of Cree, which became in later times 'Creetown'. He married Elizabeth McCulloch, according to his gravestone, although no record can be located for this marriage, nor any baptisms for their children.
The only records for the marriage of a Thomas Hughan and baptismal records with Thomas as the father are for the couple Thomas Hughan and Elizabeth McSkimmin/g. They were married at Girthon, some nine miles from Creetown, on April 12, 1716, and amongst their children were Patrick, Alexander, Jane and Thomas. There are several ties with Girthon parish in the early 1700s, and it would not surprise me to discover that the Creetown/Kirkmabreck Hughans were an offshoot from the Girthon Hughan family.
Getting back to Thomas Hughan and Elizabeth McCulloch...the only definite offspring I have coming from this pair is Alexander Hughan, and that information comes solely from the inscription on his parent's grave.
Alexander was also a merchant from Creetown.He also owned a ship in partnership with Patrick Brown of Barharrow- a sloop named the 'Ferry Town'. At the time of Alexander's death in 1771 he was owed £36-5s by the government as his half of a bounty due to he and Patrick Brown for the employment of the 'Ferry Town' in the Herring Fishery in 1766 and 1767.
Alexander Hughan married Margaret Gerrant, and although they had three children survive to adulthood, the gravestone in Kirkmabreck kirk yard also mentions the burial of three other children- Elizabeth Goldie Hughan, William Hughan and Mary McCulloch Hughan.After their name is the year '1769'...I imagine that this must be interpreted as the three young children all dying in the year 1769, just two years before their father.
Alexander Hughan the Elder died in 1771 when his wife Margaret was only thirty years of age, so although we can't locate baptisms for their six children, we know as a certainty that they would have had to have been born in the period c. 1758-1771.
The Scots tended to have fairly fixed naming patterns for their children, and so the first son was usually named after his paternal grandfather. In the case of this family the paternal grandfather was merchant Thomas Hughan, so Thomas Hughan son of Alexander and later known as "Thomas Hughan of Airds" was most likely the first born son of his parents, born c.1758-1760.
His siblings – Alexander and Jane, and the three children who died young- must have been born during the decade 1760-1770.
This means that Thomas Hughan would only have been aged between 10 and 13 years at the time of his father Alexander’s death in 1771. Thomas was named as executor of his father's will, which to me seems a very young age to be nominated for this position, although times were very different back then and this may not have been unusual in 18th Century Scotland.
Alexander appointed curators and tutors for his two youngest children, Jean and Alexander. Jean would have only been about 3 years old at the time of her father’s death, and I suspect that Alexander was younger as he was always named after Jean in his father’s will.
Alexander Hughan left a will,and although his wife Margaret Gerran died intestate there exists an inventory of her estate. Wills were also made by their children Thomas, Alexander and Jane. They have all been a very useful genealogical resource, and I will reproduce them in this blog- give or take vast slabs of extremely boring 'legalese'!

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