PEOPLE OF THE ROCKY HOMELAND

THE HISTORY OF CREIGHTON, CRICHTON AND CREYGHTON

 

By: James H. Creighton

November 28, 1946 – June 10, 2005

 

 

2005 Edition

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tree of Life 2001

Poore Heraldry Left / Creighton Heraldry Right


 

This book was researched and written by

James H. Creighton

Bet. 1999 and 2005

He died unexpectedly on June 10, 2005

Before being able to publish this work of a lifetime

 

Compiled from the author’s completed text

Edited by Susan Creighton Curtiss

 2005 – 2011

 

Published posthumously

In his memory

 

Part IV – “Searching for the Golden Lion”

The Dutch History Research and Editorial Group:

Jos Grupping, Nijmegen, the Netherlands (Liaison and Editor)

Joep Creyghton (Leiden)

Ingrid Creyghton, Spierdijk, West Friesland (New Holland)

Maria Creyghton-Lemmens (Den Haag)

 

Cover art and interior artwork

By

James H. Creighton

 

All Rights Reserved

Copyright © by Susan Creighton Curtiss 2011

 

This book may not be reproduced in whole

Or in part in any form without express permission

For information, please contact

Susan Creighton Curtiss

http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/c/u/r/Susan-C-Curtiss/

 

 

Text which follows is an excerpt from each chapter.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page numbers reflect full text and not this excerpted text.

Credits                                                                                          page    i

Table of Contents                                                                         page    ii

Author’s Inspiration                                                                    page    iv                                                                                                                                            

PART I:   THE ROCKY HOMELAND

Chapter

1.       Dragon Men of Crau                                                                   page    2

2.      The Men of Creighton                                                                 page    7

 

PART II:   BEYOND THE VILLA WALLS

3.      Justinian’s Syrian Archer                                                           page    16

4.      Longships-On-Tyne                                                                     page    25

5.      The Lion Goes to Sea                                                                   page    29

6.      The Princeling and the Lion                                                        page    33

 

PART III:   WHEN BOYS WERE KINGS

7.      Royal Orphans                                                                            page    40

8.      Thurstan de Crechtune                                                               page    44

9.      The Lion and the Rose                                                                 page    52

10.  Stone Upon Stone                                                                         page    61

11.   Hurley-Burley                                                                             page    71

12.   The Black Dinner                                                                         page    83

13.   Douglas Cast Down                                                                     page    91

14.   Flowers of the Forest                                                                   page    98

15.   Meet Me On the Nith                                                                   page    104

16.   Reformation                                                                                 page    108

17.   Lions From the Sea                                                                      page    118

18.   The Silent Lion of Nassau                                                            page    121

19.   Giacomo Cretonio and the Black Robes                                     page    125

20.  The Stock Exchange                                                                    page    130

 

PART IV:   SEARCHING FOR THE GOLDEN LION

21.   Prussen-Holland                                                                          page    136

22.  The Golden Lion                                                                           page    139

23.  The Home of Lions                                                                      page    140

24.  The Lion of the North                                                                  page    147

25.  The Brotherhood                                                                         page    149

26.  Gold With Fins                                                                             page    153

27.  Life On the Memel                                                                       page    158

28.  The Veldpredikant                                                                        page    163

 

PART V:   THE RABBIT

29.  The Flight of the Earls                                                                 page    179

30.  Sewing the Seeds                                                                          page    182

31.   Landlords                                                                                     page    185

32.  Laird of Aghalane                                                                        page    187

33.  Which Thomas Creighton?                                                         page    192

34.  Wood-Kerns and Wolves                                                             page    194

35.  Pipes and Drums                                                                          page    196

36.  The Wedding Present                                                                   page    198

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Chapter

37.  Orange Moon Over Antrim                                                        page    201

38.  Don’t Forget To Water the Potatoes                                           page    204

39.  Scotch, Irish, German or Dutch?                                               page    208

40.  Herring Chokers                                                                          page    211

41.   Bloody-Backs and Linen Goods                                                  page    214

42.  Evangeline                                                                                    page    217

43.  United Empire Loyalists                                                              page    219

44.  A Son for Nancy Ennis                                                                page    221

45.  Rabbit Hunting                                                                            page    227

 

PART VI:   HOME

46.  Jane Magee                                                                                  page    231

47.  Creightonville                                                                               page    235

48.  Crazy Like a Fox                                                                          page    239

49.  The Neighborhood                                                                       page    242

50.  Bonds of Marriage                                                                       page    247

51.   A Decade of Hope                                                                         page    252

52.  Headstones                                                                                   page    254

53.  The Border Crossing                                                                    page    260

54.  Hillforts                                                                                        page    264

55.  Ties That Bind                                                                              page    272

56.  Bursting Bubbles                                                                          page    280

57.  The Lion in Winter                                                                      page    285

58.  Diamond Hill                                                                                page    286

59.  Pine Island                                                                                   page    288

60.  Last Egg in an Emptying Nest                                                    page    291

61.   Forced From the Den                                                                  page    293

62.  Just West of Down East                                                              page    295

63.  Davy Crockett                                                                              page    298

64.  Atomic Kids                                                                                  page    302

65.  Rights of Passage                                                                         page    306

66.  When Time Stopped                                                                     page    310

67.  The Laughing Leprechaun                                                          page    318

68.  Into the  Land of Shadows                                                          page    323

69.  They Shoot Houses, Don’t They?                                                Page    326

70.  A Golden View                                                                              page    328

 

Appendix A:    In Memory of Patrick Crichton (1917-2003)                      page    331

Appendix B:    In Memory of James H. Creighton (1946-2005)                page    334

                        Creighton Coat of Arms by James H. Creighton                page    335                                         

                        Notations Page for C.O.A by James H. Creighton              page    336                                         

                        Creighton Banner by James H. Creighton                          page    337

Appendix C:    In Memory of Cyrus Wilfred (Fred) Creighton                  page    338

Appendix D:   All Crichton, Creighton, Creyghton Names/Heraldry       page    339

                                    Descriptions and Renditions of the Crichton C.O.A.           page    341

                                    Origins and Spellings of Crichton, Creighton/Creyghton  page    347

Appendix E:    Creighton Demographics                                                      page    350

Appendix F:    Combined Bibliography Creighton- Crichton-Creyghton page    356

            “The Re-uniting of Minds and Spirits”                                              page    362

 


AUTHOR’S INSPIRATION

 

Jim hand stitching his final tipi 2004

 

These words written by Jim help us to understand a bit of what drove him to create in so many ways. He knew his time on earth was limited; unfortunately his goals were much larger than time allowed him for completion. It is my pledge to complete and distribute his two final written projects according to his wishes. I hope his words will inspire others.

Susan Creighton Curtiss.

 

    “All men and women are born, live, suffer and die. What will distinguish us from one another are our dreams, whether they be about worldly or unworldly things and what we do to make them come about.

    We do not choose to be born; we do not choose our parents; we do not choose our historical epoch, the country of our birth, or the immediate circumstances of our upbringing. We do not, most of us, choose to die, but we do choose how we live. It is not about what we look like or what we have. It is about taking what we have and doing as much as we can with it. It is about learning and growing. When we are willing to learn what we don’t know and use our experiences, our perfections will begin to show. Collect memories and tie them in the colors of the rainbow, to be taken out and read, containing the story of your life. Write laughter between the lines of family tales before handing them down to new generations who, like relay runners, eagerly wait to add to the plot. Savor the fingerprints on windows and walls of the home, for they are the love notes scribbled around the margins of the family’s heart. May you always speak the truth quietly listening with an open mind when others speak.

   Continue to collect the stories and pass them on to generations yet unborn.” 

James H. Creighton


PART I:

THE ROCKY HOMELAND

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


CHAPTER: 1    DRAGON MEN OF CRAU (Editorial excerpt)

 

It began simply enough with questions from Dutch cousins, pondering why their family spelling of CREYGHTON varied from the Scots CREIGHTON. The Dutch branches of the family have been in place in Holland since the end of the 17th century and appear to have much older contacts with the Continent. I knew nothing about mainland European Creighton’s, especially from the Low Countries. In correspondence with Ingrid Creyghton and her relative, Jos Grupping, I saw that much more had to be done to trace the old family, so long entrenched in Lowland Scotland. Who were these people and how did they branch out so far afield? To accomplish this, I had to go back to the beginning. It was farther removed in time than any of us realized.

 

Our name, in one form or another, has existed as an ancient Celtic surname for 2522 years. To understand the name, one has to understand the people we descend from, the Celts, or more specifically the Gauls and Gaels. 2600 years ago, beginning around 600 BC, the Celts appeared as a race to the ‘civilized’ world of Ancient Greece. Our family name appeared, already well established, 80 years later in Athens.

 

They had been evolving as a people for centuries along the upper Danube River, migrating down from early beginnings in the Juteland Peninsular of Northern Europe, absorbing earlier cultures along the way. The Batavi of the Netherlands descended from these same early wanderers. Where the Danube (a Celtic name) meets the Black Sea, they mingled with Asian Scythians and began a 400-year intercourse (600-200 BC) with those warrior-horsemen from the Steppes of Persia. They absorbed much of the Scythian culture and made it their own; the horse, the two-wheeled chariots, great wagons and new burial practices are a few examples. The Scythians introduced refined metalworking to the ancient Celts, which they perfected into a unique art form. They began to make and use steel weapons. The Celts also borrowed that Asian phenomenon, the dragon, which they developed into the symbol of their fighting regiments.

 

From their river settlements, they branched out all over Europe as traders, warriors and metalworkers from Britain to west-central Turkey, becoming the dominant groups, in time, in Southern Holland, Belgium, France, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Bohemia (Czechoslovakia), Romania, Hungry, the Balkans and Northern Italy. From the mouth of the Danube, they traveled regularly south to the Macedonian and Greek trading centers. The beautiful textiles of the Celts and their elaborate metalwork became prized commodities for the civilized nations, who in turn traded fine wines and foodstuffs from Greece and Egypt. Some of these ancient Celts remained in the city-states, perhaps as merchants, soldiers, or hostages to assure peaceful relations between the Greeks and their barbarian neighbors to the north.

 

Wherever they went, they left place names behind to mark their wanderings; Danube, Rhine, Paris, Belgium, Turkish Galatia and French Gaul were names of ancient homelands. The Boii gave their name to Bohemia and the Italian River Po, a variant of their tribal name. As they migrated west across the southern slopes of the Alps, they followed the rivers into south-central Gaul (France) just north of a 200-square-mile region abutting the Mediterranean Sea still known as Crau, ‘The Place of Stones.’ ‘Cra’ is the root word for stone in almost all known Celtic dialects. In 520 BC, only 80 years after the ‘official’ foundation of the Celts as a defined race, a man of Celtic origin was born who would become a renowned Greek comic poet, the founder of political satire, with the single surname of CRATINUS.

 

This man has come down through history as Cratinus the Elder (520-423 BC), who became famous in Athens as a contemporary of Aristophanes and Percius. Both of these men wrote much about the works of Cratinus. Only bits and pieces remain of his actual writings, but his satire became the rage in Athens. To have risen to such a level of acclaim must have been the result of hard work, for the Celts, who were rarely if ever seen, were then almost unknown as a people. It was three years after the birth of Cratinus that the Greek historian and adventurer, Hecateus de Milelus, first coined the word naming the people of the interior. In an expedition north along the river Po, he encountered the Boii and related tribes whom he called “Keltoi,” The Hidden People. Perhaps Cratinus was a child of a Celtic envoy taken to Athens for diplomatic reasons. Whatever his origins, the name Cratinus remained intact for roughly 5 generations. During the time of Alexander the Great, Cratinus the ‘Younger’ (356-316 BC) was in Athens, also a famous comic or satirical poet, born 164 years after his ancestor.

 

The most probable link to this family and the Greeks was the ancient Greek colony of Massilia (Marseilles), in use as a trade center since 600 BC. It was from here that Hecateus de Milelus ventured into the mountains and the headwaters of the Po to name the Keltoi. From here also sailed the Greek explorer and mathematician, Pytheus, who in 325 BC, circumnavigated the British Isles, naming them “Pretani,” the ‘Land of the Painted People.’ The Romans later altered this name to ‘Brittaini, or Britain. During the time of Cratinus the Elder, the colony of Massilia introduced the Hellenic Culture to the Celts of the Rhone River, where they had trading posts as far north as Toulouse among the Volcae Tectosages, the Vocontii, the Allobroges and the Ambarri confederacies.

For centuries, the Keltoi established themselves in permanent locations and began evolving into distinct sub-cultures. The mother tongue, which is reported to have been closer to Old Welsh than the modern Irish and Scots Gael, began to change as groups became separated from one another over time. Those who chose northern Spain and Portugal became the Iberian Gauls (Gaulii is the name applied by the Romans; the Germans called them ‘Kelten.’). These were warlike Celts who either drove out, or assimilated portions of the indigenous Basque Pictonii tribes. The Pictonii were of the same groups who had settled Scotland as early as 1000 BC, to become the Picts, ‘the Painted People.’ The Iberian Celts were great sea raiders, migrating to lands along the southern French coast and at some point venturing to Ireland to become the Gaels. In Ireland, their language altered to become the distinct “Q,” or Goidelic, Celtic dialect………..

 

CHAPTER: 2    THE MEN OF CREIGHTON (Editorial Excerpt)

 

We tend to think of Britain during these interim years of 50BC to 43AD as devoid of Roman influence. The Britons, for the most part, were fiercely independent and hostile toward Roman interference, but Rome did retain an ongoing contact with the British Belgae. Because many, like the Atrebates shared lands on both sides of the Channel, many encouraged Roman civic rule, but in the west and north, the Cumri kept to themselves. They too had lands in both Brittany and the West Country of Britain, but their only contacts with Rome were in trade, especially from the tin mines in present Somerset and Devonshire. The word ‘Welsh’ did not come into existence for another 400 years with the arrival of the Germanic and Scandinavian sea raiders.

 

The Creighton’s may have acted as intermediaries for the Romans, being middlemen in the trade with the West Country. With such a long history extending back to ancient Greece, they were in a good position to provide these services. It also ties into future dealings with this family as primarily high-ranking service people to regional administrations. The British tribes, whether Belgae or Cumri, were inter related through marriage and many of these families had lands and relations on both sides of the English Channel.

 

Of course it was the Cumri Brigante who I have always related with the old family Creighton, because of that tribe’s early land holds in modern Yorkshire. A future Creighton would (perhaps) come out of this region along the Umber River to settle lands in Lowland Scotland. When Rome eventually occupied Britain in 43 AD, the Cumri Silure and Dumnonii were the dominant leaders of the southwest. Their Brigante, Parisii and Corvetii cousins controlled the north.  The combined Cumri formed a barrier to Roman rule from Cornwall in the south to modern Galloway and Dumfies in the north. The Creighton’s evidently found a niche among the northern Cumri, somewhere between modern eastern Yorkshire and western Cumberland (Cumri-land).

 

One interesting story of note occurred around the time of the birth of Christ. A Roman ambassador, traveling in the county of the Southern Picts of Caledonia to arrange a treaty, brought his pregnant wife along. During negotiations his wife gave birth, near Loch Tay at present Fortingall. The son born to this couple was Pontius Pilate. When he became governor of Judea, he remembered the place of his birth and imported palace guards in Jerusalem from the Lowlands along the Pictish/Brigante frontier.              

 

 


PART II:

BEYOND THE VILLA WALLS

 

 

 

 

 


CHAPTER 3:  JUSTINIAN’S SYRIAN ARCHER (Editorial Excerpt)

 

In the year 483 AD, A forlorn figure sat in a courtyard on a marble bench, surrounded by young children and barking dogs. A warm south wind blew over the rolling Lammermuir Hills, but still the man felt an ache in his bones. He tugged at the folds of an ancient and worn toga, adjusting the patched fabric from what he considered a chilly wind. Soon, in the warm autumn sunshine, he fell fast asleep.

 

A crow flying overhead would have looked down on the scene as being typical of many neighbor’s homes of the region. This particular courtyard enclosed the confines of what had been a proud Roman villa, now in disrepair. The house was large and sprawling, but broken ceramic roof tiles had been replaced, like a patchwork quilt, with sheets of slate and even pieces of tree bark. The trees near the villa and surrounding the settlement were all but gone, mostly in the man’s lifetime. Fields of millet and herds of scraggly longhaired sheep now ranged up the hillside to Bankhead Moor.

 

The 83-year-old man was nearing the end of his life. He was born Marcus Lucius Creightonai, son of Gaius Servilius and great great grandson of Justinian Creightonai, the family ancestor. His was the fourth generation born within these walls. In his long lifetime he had witnessed the end of the Roman Empire in Britannia. He was 10 years old when the legions were called home to fight in Gaul and Italy. They never returned.

 

The old man was one of the last in the entire region that still used Latin as his chosen tongue, other than clergymen who wandered the countryside. He had been lucky to be born before the Germans came; his father had sent him to the universities at Rome, but his classical studies had taken second place to half a lifetime of fighting the invaders and his northern neighbors.

 

Deep in his dreams he thought of those long ago years as a student and of his journey home. In Rome he had seen the glory of the empire, but also watched its decay as northerners sought its riches. He had cousins and two uncles there, all studying for advancement in the Holy Church, but he had placed his emphasis on secular studies. With a master’s degree in philosophy, Marcus had ended his studies at age 30, taking a ship to Massilla and then joining a northbound trade caravan bound for Brittany. At his father’s urging, he sought out family members among the Vocontii Gauls of the Druentia River of the Rhone Valley. This is where his great great grandfather had been born, 197 years before.

 

Marcus found that many of the local families along the Rhone watershed had extended kin from his home region. Like Justinian, they had followed the legions and stayed, bringing over wives and children after they received land grants. Marcus found that his ancestor left four sons and a wife in Gaul. This woman, who had been of the Volcae Tectogages, did not want to venture too far from Britain. Justinian had taken a second wife while stationed on Hadrian’s Wall. This woman, from all reports from his Gallic relations, had been half Syrian and half Vortadini, which was a tribe of the Southern Picts. Marcus made the remainder of his journey home in deep reflection. He had thought himself Roman by birth, a direct descendant of an honored legionnaire. Now he wasn’t sure what he was.

 

Following the old Roman road from Eboracum (York), he eventually found his way home to the family villa. There he angrily confronted his father. “Why was I not told of my lineage? Am I to believe that I am nothing but a lowborn son of a Gaul and a foreign mongrel camp follower, a Syrian, a painted Pict?”

 

Gaius eyed his son with unaccustomed resolve. “Were you there on the wall when Rome left? Did you stand side by side with your so-called ‘foreigners’ as the Caledonians swept the countryside? Did you walk the streets of the great civic enclave at Trimontium telling Greek, Syrian, Frisian, Jute, Alammanni, Batavi and Vortadini women that we would keep them safe? Who do you think your playmates were while you grew to manhood? They were all of these, intermingled with the blood of Rome and the Cymri. We stand alone now; Rome will never send back her troops.”

 

Gaius went on. “You did not know your grandfather, who died as you were born. You did not hear his tales of growing up in this villa, when the Caledonians were truly barbaric. Yes, his grandmother was Martha the Syrian. Yes, she was also of Caledonian blood, through the Vortadini, who now fight on our side. Did you know that she was only 15 when Justinian married her? Do you know why; because she was a warrior who fought beside him against her own kind.”

 

Marcus had not cooled off sufficiently to respond; he only glared at his father and said, “How could a woman of 15 be a warrior of any kind?”

 

“When your grandfather was a boy of 15, Martha the Syrian was still living, at the age of 90. She was agile and active and held a clear mind. Perhaps he asked her the same sort of questions, for before she died, she took him on a pilgrimage of sorts. At the rock of Dun Edin she showed your grandfather ancient rock carvings of her people. She made him trace the spiral designs with his fingers, explaining their meaning to him. At isolated camps in the forests she introduced him to the elders of her mother’s people, others were found as servants at scattered villas and marching camps. Her father was in fact a Syrian, but had been born and raised at Trimontium. His ancestors had been of the early cohorts of Syrian archers, long favored as the best in the world. By the time of his generation, the family had settled their small land-hold north of the wall as traders to the Roman military camps. He himself, whose name escapes me, was an interpreter who carried treaty dispatches to the Caledonians. In his travels he met Martha’s mother among the Vortadini, who held ancient title to these very lands.”

 

“Against the wishes of the Vortadini, the Syrian ‘bought’ the woman, who was a priestess of their old religion. This caused much unrest among the Vortadini and their sister tribes. At Trimontium, the Syrian married the Pict woman; the birth of your great great grandmother was the result of this marriage.”

 

“But father, why did she grow to fight against her own people?” Marcus was now picking up an interest in the story.

 

Gaius continued. “As a girl, Martha exhibited many of her father’s features, including the dark skin and hooked nose of the desert people. She had no brothers. Her father raised her to shoot his great bow like a man and the family traveled together on his trading expeditions. Even as a young girl, while visiting the Roman outposts and towns of the Picts, she was known as the “Little Syrian.” From her mother she learned the ancient rites and healing practices of the Vortadini and began receiving the blue tattooed designs of her order (Both the Greeks and the Romans called these ‘the Painted People,’ but in truth the designs were blue tattoos, often covering every inch of the body).”

 

“In the year 282 AD, as they were returning to the wall from Galloway, a large party of Pictish Catti and Irish Scotti attacked them while crossing the River Nith. Martha was 14. The attackers were some of the same men with whom they had recently negotiated. Martha had, days before, been accepted into their ranks as a novice priestess, through her mother’s efforts. Now, with the Scotti joining them, the Highland Picts sought slaves to sell to the Irish kings.  All seemed lost.”

 

“Now, Marcus, you will see that your pedigree is truly hinged on a remarkably weak thread. If it had not been for aching feet and a blinding fit of depression, we would not be here today.”

 

“How so, father?”

 

“Your grandfather’s grandfather had spent his forty-ninth year commanding foot patrols out of the Cramond Fort near Dun Edin. It was his responsibility to train new recruits, mainly fellow Gauls, but some German auxiliaries as well. He was soon to retire and found the menial position very hard to take. He had found out that spring that his wife and sons in Gaul wished to remain with his Vocontii tribal relations, where Justinian wanted them to join him in Caledonia. Throughout that summer he led cohort after cohort of trainees to the marching camps, until he fell ill with fatigue and worry.”

“By autumn,” Gaius went on, “Justinian’s commander saw that what he needed was a change in duties. Word had come from Pinnata Castra (Inchtuthill) that the Caledonian Catti and other Highland tribes were forming in western Galloway with the Scotti to attack Hadrian’s Wall from the west. Although Parisii and Damnonii Britons held the West Country with friendly Southern Picts, he knew that a concerted military presence might deter an outright attack south of the wall. Justinian, with two cohorts of mixed cavalrymen, was sent to patrol the troubled areas. In the saddle once more, his feet stopped aching and his doldrums lifted.”

 

“He arrived at the River Nith just as the Syrian’s small force was making their last stand. The trader was dead, his young daughter stood in the river with his great recurved bow at full draw, taking a charging Scotti off of his feet with an arrow through the neck. All about her and her fallen father were bodies. When the attackers saw the approaching Roman cavalry, they turned and ran, leaving Martha alone in the bloody water. Martha’s mother and most of the remaining servants were gone, either captured by the barbarians, or dead with her father. On that very spot, with her future husband as her witness, Martha the Syrian swore vengeance against the Painted People and the Scotti raiders.”

 

“There was an instant bond between the two, Justinian and the young mixed blooded priestess………

 


 

CHAPTER 4:  LONGSHIPS-ON-TYNE (Editorial Excerpt)

 

Many believe that our English language began with the arrival of the Angles and the Saxons. ‘Anglo-Saxon,’ mixed with the Celtic British equals English. The Scottish language, if considered at all, is thought to be the Irish Gaelic of the Scotti. Neither is true.

 

The British Celts had undergone 400 years of Roman rule. Belgae or Cymry, they all spoke variants of what we think of today as the language of the Welsh. Since most also took Latin as a second (and sometimes first) language, the many regional dialects became Celtic with Latin additions. Keeping this in mind, the best way to follow the evolution of the languages is to think of the British Celts of 410 AD as speaking ‘Old British.’ Each individual district and region would have had variations of what had once been a common language.

 

The German invaders were also multi-tongued and from different regions of Northern Europe. The Jutes were from the Danish peninsula of Juteland, whence the Celts had migrated 1500-2000 years before. The Frisians were from northern Holland. The Angles and Saxons were from Germany Proper, but of different regions and speaking different dialects. Combining these four groups together, along with the assorted sub-groups that accompanied them, all spoke variants of what is properly called Old German.

 

The German invaders were roaming sea raiders in 500 AD. They ranged the coastal regions, slipping silently up the rivers in longboats that had a shallow draft. Like the later Vikings crafts, these ships allowed them access to inland towns where they ransacked monasteries and plundered entire countrysides. They then slipped away downriver before help could arrive. In warfare they were cruel and relentless. They came with elite fighting men called Berserkers, warriors with giant battle-axes that, either through drug inducement or mass indoctrination, fought long after they should have fallen dead. But, once the battles were won, backup ships brought women and children and all settled down to a peaceful farming society. Wherever this happened, the ‘native’ Celts were relegated to the role of servant or under tenant as second-class citizens. Through this closeness, however, the two languages combined.

 

From 500-800 AD, the island was divided into distinct linguistic districts based upon where the Germans settled. Excluding the Cymry regions of Western England and Scottish Strathclyde, there arose four Anglo-Saxon dialects.

 

The Jutes, who first settled southeast England in Kent and Surrey, spoke Kentish, a combination of Jute, East Saxon and Belgae-Celt. The Jutes then shifted westward after the Saxons took over Kent. They removed to the Isle of Wight near Southampton, where their Danish-German dialect mingled again with that of the Belgae-Atrabates, but it still remained Kentish.

 

A second Saxon dialect was formed in the Midlands south of the Thames in the Kingdom of Wessex (Hampshire, Berkshire, Wiltshire, Dorset and Somerset). The dialect of Wessex became known as West Saxon. The Low Country Frisians settled this area as well, but their language soon became extinct. The people maintained a small pocket in the west, but they eventually mixed with their Saxon cousins until they lost their identity as a separate culture. The continental Frisians today are the only German-speaking people surviving who still speak a form of the Old German of the 6th century.

 

The third grand division was called ‘Mercian,’ for a mixture of Angles and Danish allies who settled the Central Midlands and East Anglia. Mercia would develop into a strong kingdom, which sought power over their West Saxon cousins of Wessex. Here, the Angle-Danish dialects mingled with the local Belgae-Celts.

 

The fourth linguistic division was Northumbrian, also Angle-Danish and Celt in origin. By the end of the 6th century, the Brigante coalition controlled their Kingdom of Strathclyde from Cumberland, England to Ayrshire in western Scotland. To their east, however, the descendants of Vortigern’s Anglian mercenaries had occupied the east portions of Yorkshire as the kingdom of Deira. Just to their north and including modern Durham, England and Berwick, Scotland was her sister kingdom of Bernicia. These people had been evolving separately for 120 years. In 600 AD, Mercian Angles joined with Deira and Bernicia to form the great kingdom of Northumbria, which encompassed all lands north of the Umber River into southern Scotland to the Forth. Here as well was the center of the Celtic Church located on the tiny island of Lindisfarne in Bernicia.

 

The resulting language that evolved from these four groups is now known as Old English. This is not the Old English of the King James Bible, but an older Germanic-Romano—British language based on Old German and Belgae-Celtic dialects. The main thing to keep in mind is that the Belgaic dialects, although related to that of the Cymric Welsh, had 500 years to evolve along separate lines. They were the people closest to the Romans in Britain and Latin words were part of their vocabulary by 600 AD. They also maintained a close relationship with their homeland tribes in Gaul, whose continental Celtic language was being mutated by the Germanic-Franks, forming the roots of an early French language.

 

The West Saxons became the dominant ruling power, but they also became ……………..‘

 


CHAPTER: 5    THE LION GOES TO SEA (Editorial Excerpt)

 

I will now introduce two of the remaining fictional Creightons, to help explain my theory of name changes as well as the tone of the times. I will call the son Ranulf of Chrightoun, of the 17th generation of Justinian Creightonai the Vocontii. Born in Zealand, Upper Holland in 833, he lived to be a very old man, dying in 923 at the age of 90.

 

His father was known simply as Riwald the Blue, signifying the lion on his family shield. So many Germans had arrived in the vicinity that many of the older families used the German practice of taking a single name. Soon, surname meanings for hundreds of local families would be forgotten altogether. Many Celtic surnames, however, simply went underground. For the Britons and Riwald the Blue, it was safer to conform than to be called ‘wealas’, the Saxon word for lowborn serf or foreigner. This was the origin of the word ‘Welsh,’ which was systematically attached to any outland Celt, but the Cymry especially. The Briton family Wallace took their name from this derogatory Saxon word.

 

Riwald the Blue had never been schooled in the classics and he did not seek the safety of the church as many of his family did. He was raised at Dun Creighton but spent his early years in the hills with the sheep herds. He was independent and headstrong, hating the local German warden of the East Forest. They were no longer allowed to hunt on their own land without a permit. Faced with what he saw as unnatural laws and sparked with a rekindled pride in his Celtic heritage through monks stationed at Soutra, he ran away to the sea at age 13.

 

Shipping out of Umberside as a deckhand, he spent two years on merchant ships along the coastal waters. For safety against the Viking longboats, he chose Devonshire as his homeport until he fell under the patronage of a Breton merchant. This man was a Dumnonii Celt from Brittany and took Riwald onboard as his first mate. From the port of Exeter, they had sailed first to Quimber in Brittany and then traveled north to the Baltic Sea. From France to the Slavic-Lands in the far north, Riwald was amazed that most spoke variants of his Scotis tongue in the seaports and trade centers.

 

By 832, Riwald owned his own ship and had become wealthy with a lucrative trade with the northern kingdoms. He had begun that season once more from the southern Cymry seaport of Exeter, as he did each year. He took onboard a delegation of Bretons returning to their homes in France; a common occurrence, for the Dumnonii of Devon and Cornwall also ruled the lands of Brittany from Cornouailles and Quimber.

 

Brother and sister from the House of Poher (my mother’s family, Poore), both had been born in Brittany but were raised by an uncle in their ancient homeland far up the River Exe, on what is today the border between Somerset and Devonshire.  Their uncle now dead, Selyfan (Solomon) and his older sister Roiantdreh were going back to claim their inheritance in the principality of Poher, east of Quimber.

 

During the cross-channel voyage, Riwald became enraptured with the young woman. Raised in the wilds of Exmoor, she found no adventure at living out a life around the antics of the Court of Cornouailles. The woman and the Scottish merchant devised a scheme…………………………………….

 


CHAPTER 6:  THE PRINCELING AND THE LION (Editorial Excerpt)

 

Canute the Mighty, once the fearful pagan King of Mercia, was ill and would die within months. In his younger days he had ruled as joint-king of England with Edmund Ironside of Wessex, collecting the ‘Danesgeld,’ as Saxons paid the Danes to remain at peace. This Norse national extortion had been in effect for decades. Canute reigned from 1016-1035, becoming a strong leader and great Christian king of England. His wife, though, presented a problem.

 

Emma of Normandy represented a barrier to the normal and traditional Saxon succession of the House of Ceridic of Wessex. She was not only Canute’s wife, but the widow of the old Saxon king Ethelred the Unready as well as being a Norman, sister to Duke Richard. As Crechtune and Borthwick laid this out to their king, Duncan began to see how severe the state of events had become. The fate of English succession would eventually affect his kingdom as well. He asked for a simplified listing of the claimants.

1.       Ethelred King of Wessex had by his first wife:

a.   Edmund Ironside Heir to the throne

2.      Ethelred King of Wessex had by Emma of Normandy:

b.    Edward the Confessor

c.    Alfred Prince of England

3.      Upon Ethelred’s death, Edmund Ironside became King of Wessex while his mother    Emma of Normandy married Canute, King of Mercia.

4.      Edmund Ironside had sons and heirs:

d.       Edmund

e.        Edward Aethling (nephew of Ironside and grandson of Edward the Confessor)

5.      Canute has Edmund Ironside murdered in 1016, claiming the throne for himself. Emma of Normandy vows that only her children through Canute will be heirs to the English throne. These sons were:

 f.   Harold

g.   Hardicanute

6.      King Canute banished Ironside’s sons and heirs to death in Sweden, but the Swedish king pardoned them and sent them to Normandy. Edward the Confessor and Prince Alfred are taken as wards of Richard Duke of Normandy, while an infant Edward Aethling is sent to Hungary and the court of King Stephen I.

h.      The sons of Richard of Normandy, Robert and William both claimed title to the English throne through Emma.

 

King Duncan pondered over the list for days. He saw the Normans as a threat, being an extension of the Norse overlords that had kept Britain in check through extortion and intimidation for 200 years. Canute’s sons, Harold and Hardicanute were in the same league, molded by their mother and the powerful Goodwin Earl of Wessex. Edward the Confessor, although first in line to assume the throne under normal circumstances, was now 32 and entirely in the Norman camp. He had married a French woman and the Saxon burgers of London, who controlled the king’s council financially, viewed him with contempt. His affinity for Norman French ways soured them. Duncan saw that 19-year-old Edward Aethling, far away in Hungary, posed the best alternative for the future of his new kingdom of Scots. Duncan directed Crechtune and Borthwick to make ready for a diplomatic mission as soon as Canute was dead. His young son Malcolm, as well as Crechtune’s son Eadric would be escorted to Winchester, where they would be out of harm from Macbeth and his agents from Morray. Leaving loyal servants and Elfgiva Crechtune in charge of the children, Crechtune and Borthwick would then go to Hungary and seek aid and support from King Stephen as well as the English prince, Edward Aethling.

 

The retinue left Scone late in 1035 for the south. Word had come of Canute’s death. With four-year-old Prince Malcolm went Crechtune, his wife and their two-year-old son. They traveled with over 100 servants and men-at-arms, going overland to Edinburgh and there…………………………………………….


PART III:

WHEN BOYS WERE KINGS

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Forth near Stirling, Scotland


CHAPTER 7:  ROYAL ORPHANS (Editorial Excerpt)

 

The death of King Malcolm III in 1093 ushered in a new era for Scotland. The fictional Eadric Crechtune of East Creighton, Edinburghshire died in the same battle. They fought against the tyrannical rule of Rufus of Normandy, crowned William II upon the death of his father, William the Conqueror. None knew, at the time of their deaths, how convoluted the lives of the descendants of this Norman family would become.

 

When the Norman regime took over the Anglo-Saxon lands 27 years before, William I set about restructuring the entire kingdom. He retained the original 40 shires, but placed his loyal Norman, Flemish and Breton (Celtic-Britons of Brittany) knights in charge of all jurisdictions. He created a new system of ‘Honours’ where parts of a shire were controlled from centralized fortified castles. To reinforce his structure, he wed his daughter Constance to Alian VI Fergant Duke of Brittany, who was a descendant of Count Mathuedoi of Poher (Poore). Alain was made First Earl of Richmond. The King also instituted changes in the structure of the church. Some Anglo-Saxon bishops were kept in place, but William brought in continental clergy for the most part. The old church, which had evolved from Celtic origins, now had to adhere to the updated Roman cannon laws and institutions. The whole was due to the genius of Lanfranc Archbishop of Canterbury. University-trained in theology as well as law, he became second to the King. Rural dioceses active since the 600s, found themselves displaced for newer urban bishoprics, better suited for tax collections. Only in Wales, Cornwall and the northern Kingdom of Scotland was there resistance to change.

 

Malcolm III’s demise was due in part to this resistance. The eastern shires of Scotland still fell under the jurisdiction of Northumbria, where the old Anglo-Saxon earls held sway. Culturally, Lowlands Scotland began at the Umber River and encompassed northern Yorkshire, Durham and Cumberland. His uncle, Earl Siward, raised Malcolm at York. In 1069, William sent his sons, led by Rufus, into Cornwall, Devon and Wales to subjugate the Britons of Cymry. Norman-based earls, either relatives or close companions of the King were established to rule over those trouble spots. Angered and uneasy, Malcolm and his brother-in-law Prince Edgar Aetheling sought aid from Sweyn, King of Denmark, who sent a fleet to the Umber River to help them against the Normans, taking York in the process. William turned his army north and wrecked havoc in Mercia and Northumbria. He lay waste the countryside, burning towns, crops, churches and monasteries well into southern Scotland. The Danes were paid to vacate and by 1070, nothing remained in the northern shires but rubble. Widespread famine and economic hardship for the entire island followed. At the Treaty of Abernethy in 1072, Malcolm was forced to relinquish his son Duncan to William as a royal hostage.

 

This single event, passed over lightly in official histories, was probably the first time Creightons entered the political arena since escorting Malcolm’s wife from Hungary to Scotland. Prince Duncan was the son of Malcolm and his first wife, Ingebjorg of Orkney. The boy would have been about 12 and Malcolm would have sent Scottish caretakers with him to William’s court. Of course, no data remains as to who accompanied Duncan into exile, but the possibility remains that one, or more were Creightons. Malcolm’s wife, Margaret, knew them as trusted advisors. Edinburgh, but 12 miles away from Creighton, remained the royal seat. It may not have been a knight of Eadrics caliber, but the queen would have seen fit to send a clergyman south with her stepson. Prince Duncan, however, never forgave his father for sending him to England. This anger would cause ripples in the royal House of Scotland, which would lead to decades of family feuds. In 1083, King William I retired to Normandy to see to his own never-ending family feuds. He died there in 1087.

 

Rufus of Normandy was crowned William II upon his father’s death. As Field Marshall, it had been he who ransacked Northumbria. To maintain his dwindling hold on the south and to help his Northumbrian relations, Malcolm brought Gospatrick Earl of Northumbria north. He granted him the lands of Dunbar and other Lothian locations, making this ancient family with Celtic origins the strongest in the southeast. The seat of Gospatrick was at Dunbar, on the coast of East Lothian near the Berwick border. This was an important move, for Berwick had been the location of the ancient Celtic Church at Lindisfarne Abbey. York was the traditional seat of the Saxon Church of England. Archbishop Lanfranc sought to wrest control from the see of York and replace it with central power from Westminster and Canterbury. With Gospatrick of Dunbar came his son, Hudred, as Earl of Lothian, while his son, Helias, ruled as Prince of Lothian from Dundas (South Fort) near Edinburgh. Malcolm’s move assured a stable Anglo-Saxon frontier against Norman advancement into Scotland. These early transplanted earls of Northumbria formed the base of what would become the very powerful clique, the Lords of the East March.*

 

*This strange word, March, seen so often in histories of Scotland, had an ancient meaning and came with the Normans. It originated in the 9th century among the Franks. While fighting the independent Celtic kingdoms of Brittany, regions would be taken over and titles of king outlawed. The conquered kingdoms would be divided into smaller ‘Marches,’ with counts becoming the ruling heads as March Wardens. In Britain, the March became a military district of the Borders Region, held by a leading Earl instead of a count. They crossed shire boundaries and used natural land features for defensive purposes. Within England Proper, they were called the ‘Ridings,’ today’s subdivided Yorkshire. In Southern Scotland, they were the East, Middle and West March extending from Berwick to Wigtown, Galloway. In King Malcolm’s time, the terminology did not yet exist.

 

During Prince Duncan’s forced exile as a royal hostage, he found favor with Rufus, who catered to the boy as he grew. If the boy had Creighton advisors, they would have become Anglicized to some degree during these years. As the boy grew older, Rufus granted him his own castle on the Tyne near Newcastle, as a form of semi-house arrest. From here and with help from ……..


CHAPTER: 8    THURSTAN DE CRECHTUNE (Editorial Excerpt)

 

Thurstan de Crechtune would have been born around 1090 at Long Creighton village or at Dun Creighton, Edinburghshire. There is evidence that he had a brother or uncle, Alexander, with lands in Berwick. At his birth, the only local Norman was de Lavedre, who became the family Lauder of Lauderdale. One of the first things that King Edgar Ceannmor initiated was a mandatory surname from all of his subjects. Like William the Conquerors Domesday Survey, it undoubtedly had taxation as the ulterior motive, but surname survival through hereditary implementation was how it was promoted. For the grassroots commoner, it held little meaning. These country farmers and urban tradesmen carried on as before with names like John Baker (the baker) or William Miller (the mill-wright). These people rarely traveled beyond their home territory and owed taxes directly to their local laird. It was the titled, or noble houses that were of interest to the King. His tenants-in-chief, his knights and their under-tenants were all dear to his purse. The outdated Saxon ‘first name only’ no longer worked. The new system was also the very beginning of the heraldic process whereas their arms and seals, or crests, evolved into recorded coat of arms. With surname regularity on a father-to-son basis established, tax collection and call-ups for military duty would become much easier. A heraldic blazon, a common name or a home location, as in Thurstan de Crechtune, could now track the often-mobile nobility. As son of Trorstan of Crechtune and descendant of Justinian Creightonai, Thurstan would carry the blue lion arms as his official signature.

 

With Henry I as his mentor and his sister as queen of England, David Ceannmor, like Edward the Confessor before him, relished the ways of the Norman court. Norman French had been the language of the court since William’s time, but never in the frontier sectors. In Cornwall, Devonshire, Somerset, Cheshire and Wales, Norman earls and knights assimilated into the Celtic society. The same was true in the north. The few Norman imports, like de Lavedre of Lauder, soon became Lowland Scots in name and culture. Only when David returned home to Edinburgh did Norman ways follow.

 

David Ceannmor was long a prodigy of Henry I. When David’s brother, Edgar, died in 1107 after a brief illness, Henry had already advanced the 23-year-old David to be Prince of Cumbria (the disputed region that had long been claimed by Strathclyde and was actually a southern extension of east Galloway, Dumfries and Annandale). With Edgar’s death, David negotiated with his brother Alexander and once again, they split the Kingdom. Alexander remained in place as ruler of Scotia above the Clyde, while David ruled South Scotland from Northampton, England. This shaky joint-rule went on for 17 years, with Alexander claiming overall kingship as the elder, resident brother. During Alexander’s reign, he created a new bishopric at Dunkeld on Loch Tay, earlier held by lay abbots, which included his younger brother Aethelred. The ancient Culdee community was disbanded in favor of bishops and a chapter of secular cannons. He did much the same in Moray at Spynie and Elgin.

 

In 1114, Henry I negotiated to have David married to Matilda, widowed heiress of Northumberland, Northampton and Huntingdon. Henry created the Honour of Huntingdon with David as earl. This placed David in control of a vast 11-county manor-hold, straddling the disputed English-Scottish border. Prior to 1124, he was also advanced to become Earl of Lothian and Cumbria, which included portions of Galloway. Throughout Alexander’s reign, David sought to reinforce his holdings with Norman-based knights, which included many Breton and Flemish mid-ranking noblemen. When Alexander died in 1124, David made his grand entry into Edinburgh, surrounded by his friends and companions-in-arms:  Comyn, Freskin the Fleming, Walter Flaad (Fitzallen) the Steward, seneschal (chief) of Dol, Brittany. There was Robert de Brus, first Lord of Annandale, Baldwin the Fleming and William de Dufglas (Douglas), who was also a Fleming and a cousin of Freskin. As David settled in to assume the Scottish throne, he had no idea that his 29-year-reign would become a hallmark in Scottish history. His son Henry (1115-1152) remained in England as 2nd Earl of Huntingdon.

 

The reign of David I Caennmor (1124-1153) is remembered for two things…………………………………….

 


CHAPTER: 9    THE LION AND THE ROSE (Editorial Excerpt)

 

The Holy Crusades were at their height, drawing many toward the ranks of the knights of many lands. Attached to noble houses, they sought the capture of fellow knights (or infidels) in battle, gaining riches from their ransom. The Crusades brought this custom to a fine art and is the basis for the beginning of many ‘first families’ of title. Others would have followed traditional means, the university training, the clergy, the diplomatic field or civil positions within government. Schooling in the great universities meant everything and the Lowland Scots were highly intelligent. Then, in 1159, a new opportunity opened to the forward thinking Scots. It came as a result of the Holy Order of the Teutonic Knights.

 

They had been founded as Prussian knights, preparing for the First Crusade in Jerusalem. As the Crusade wore on from 1095-1099, they swore a vow of celibacy, living a monastic lifestyle, but continuing in their warlike pursuits. By 1159, they were becoming despotic warlords of Northern Europe, building great castles and aligning themselves with German duchies.

 

In the Netherlands, the merchant fleets of Zeeland and southern Denmark had controlled the North Sea trade for centuries. Since the time of Ranulf of Creighton, Scottish and Northumbrian lords had shared in this trade, taking them to the far reaches of the east Baltic lands. There, they competed with the northern Danes and Swedes, who had spread their trading net deep into the Russian Steppes. The rich market in sable, mink and ermine, along with other exotic items, amber in particular, drew many to this business. In 1159, an elite corps of Flemish Hollanders and North Germans formed a trade union called the Hanseatic League, to monopolize the expanding network.

 

The Greater Netherlands in the mid-12th century had become rich, in part due to the Holy Crusades. Countries as we know them today did not yet exist; the entire northern region was an accumulation of individual duchies and city-states. For the most part, the leading houses recognized no ‘national’ boundaries. The Rhine estuary, ancient homeland of the Belgae-Gauls had become a strong group of related duchies under the Counts of Flanders. In what is today Belgium, the southern regions of Holland and parts of western Germany, trade flourished. The Frankish Burundians were beginning to make inroads into this region as well. The Flemish House of Baldwin (Baudouin) controlled much of the region and also ruled from the Holy Lands as kings and counts of Christian Palestine. The Flemish knights who were granted Scottish lands by David I King of Scots; Douglas, Murray, Fleming, Leaske and their tenants, helped tie the Scottish Lowlands with the Low Countries. The formation of the Hanseatic League brought all together.

 

To achieve its rapid development, the League required diligent management as well as military clout. The Holy Order of the Teutonic Knights supplied this service. They began erecting strong castles all across coastal Germany to guard trading posts and shipping ports. The sea loving Frisians of North Holland and the citizens of Zeeland supplied management, ships and crews, while Scotsmen from the Lowlands provided clerks and additional staff. These Scots were those trained at the great universities and were naturally prone, with the Northumbrians, to travel and adventure. With the trading fleets went as many clergymen, for the eastern lands were still pagan. The church was anxious to bring the Slavic people to Christianity before the Muslims reached them. Again, the warrior-monks of the Teutonic Knights led the way.

 

One of the achievements that David Ceannmor is remembered for is his support and patronage of the ‘military orders.’ In 1159, the Teutonic Knights, the Knights Templar and the Hospittalers were the only three in existence. Although David probably bestowed lands and benefices to all of them, the Teutonic Knights were ‘closer to home,’ for Lowlands Scotland was an extension of Germanic Europe. During David’s reign, Scotland blossomed upon the world stage as a partner in many trade arrangements with European neighbors. It was the men who comprised his zone of advisors, from Berwick to Lanarkshire that provided the brains and money to undertake many of these ventures. I suspect that the Lothian Creightons and the Lanarkshire Douglases first unified during these years, perhaps through……………

 

CHAPTER: 10                         STONE UPON STONE (Editorial Excerpt)

 

Historically, the ‘Border Wars’ continued until 1356, although they were not ongoing. There was a period of peace after the Bruce and Sir James Douglas died, but a very short one. Many things led to the wars, but the old rivalry between the houses of Bruce and Balliol were at the core. When Robert Bruce died in 1329, the young Edward III was already three years into his English reign. James Douglas had presented the greatest deterrent to English attack. When he died in 1330, the House of Plantagenet again tried to place a Balliol on the Scottish throne. Edward gave his support to the old exiled king’s son, Edward Balliol.

 

Balliol had another liaison often neglected in history books. When Bruce had taken the throne, those Scottish lords who had supported John Balliol were forfeited of their lands and sent into English exile. Collectively, they presented a large force and included men like Robert Clifford who had lost Douglasdale to James Douglas. In the case of Douglas, only his underage son, William Douglas, stood in the way of Clifford’s return to English lordship. So, when Balliol attacked Scotland early in 1332, it was with the full support and backing of the ‘disinherited lords’ seeking to recapture their old baronies. It was called the War of the Scottish Nobility.

 

As ‘Guardians of Scotland,’ its defense fell to the House of Douglas, while regents such as Robert the Steward sheltered the infant king and queen from harm. However, with William Lord Douglas himself only 15, the leadership had to go to older family members.  Andrew Murray, a cousin, was chosen over William’s uncles, but Archibald Douglas teamed with Murray as second-in-command. He was the boy’s protector and regent.

 

The attack came by sea. Balliol met the Scottish army in Perthshire at Dupplin Moor, winning the battle. At nearby Scone he seized the crown, but soon fled to Galloway where his main support lay. In a four-month campaign, Murray and Douglas chased the King from his western strongholds and forced him to Annandale, where he was finally driven through the marches back to England. The Guardian Murray, however, was captured; Archibald Douglas became ‘war chief’ of the country. He immediately began seizing lands and colliding with his Lothian Douglas cousins. Liddesdale on the English-Annandale border was claimed in his name. His third cousins, William Douglas (1310-1353) and John Douglas (1315-1349) owned lands between Creighton and Edinburgh. Selkirk Forest had already been in James Douglas’ control. They worried over Liddesdale. If Archibald, half-brother of James, continued to seize land, he could form a new Douglasdale from England to Edinburgh. If he were to attach Herriot, Creighton and Dalkeith to his holdings, his way would be clear to absorb their lands into his own.

 

In the spring of 1333, Edward III entered the war and led his army north to Berwick. The castle and town of Berwick fell. Archibald Douglas, with his nephew William organized the Scottish defense, rushing to retake the town. With them were Robert Stewart of Annandale, John Randolph Earl of Moray, Thomas Randolph, Robert Bruce of Liddesdale and Patrick Dunbar Earl of March. They never reached the town. At the Battle of Halidon Hill near Berwick, eight earls died. Archibald ‘the Tynesman’ (Loser) also died, as did the young Lord of Douglas. This void in leadership left the country in turmoil. The Earl of Moray was in English hands as a prisoner. Robert Bruce and Thomas Randolph were dead, leaving no backups for the throne in the Bruce line. To safeguard the nine-year-old King David and his wife, the regents sent the children to France. There the royal couple was raised, supported by King Philip VI at Chateau Gaillard on the Seine. Their ‘household’ was under the care of Robert the Steward, who had as part of his cadre John and William Douglas (sons of the Tynesman) and a second Archibald Douglas, illegitimate son of Sir James Douglas.

 

With Archibald the Tynesman dead, his brother Hugh took the family reigns, but he was a cleric with no war experience and soon resigned. The Guardianship of Scotland passed to his Lothian cousin, William Douglas. With his brothers John and James and three other brothers, this line held lands throughout Lothian. One was at Calder west of Creighton in the Pentland Hills on the river Almond. Others were near Preston and Ormiston lands, also close to Creighton.

In 1334 Balliol ceded the six southern sheriffdoms to Edward III. Annexed to England were Lothian, Berwick, Roxburgh, Selkirk, Peebles and Dumfries. In 1335 Balliol returned to hold a parliament at Edinburgh and then went on to Perthshire, where he remained for three years before retiring again to England.  William Douglas at first worked closely with John Randolph, leading men into Galloway against Balliol’s forces. Randolph, as Earl of Moray also backed Douglas in parliament, where many labeled him an outlaw. Aside from two campaigns in the north (one with French help), Douglas concentrated mainly on the southern regions, now officially called ‘Marcher Zones.’ With him at its head, the lords and knights of Lothian became the leading force of resistance as guerilla warfare again became the primary means of hurting the English. It became a war of survival.

 

Like most of his neighbors who followed the House of Bruce, Douglas and his brothers were forced to forfeit their lands. John Stirling was made the English Governor of Lothian and Constable of Edinburgh Castle. Beginning in 1336, Douglas and Ramsay headed a growing number of displaced knights and disinherited barons ready to fight. Ramsey chose a string of fortified caves as hideouts at Hawthornden in Midlothian. Douglas led others to Selkirk Forest, where he gathered a large force of ‘outlaw’ archers. From lairs deep in the forest and high in the Pentland Hills, the combined Douglas-Ramsay force played havoc upon the English patrols. John Chrichtoun was 58, but his son William (nephew of William the Knight), at 32 would have joined Ramsay’s group to fight for his land’s survival. John’s second son was John Chrichtoun (1309-1369). At 27, this young man had ridden with the men of Jedburgh and Selkirk under William Douglas. Like his leader, he obtained lands as a reward of war. His estates eventually were located near Jedburgh at Hounam and Cralig, Roxburgh.

 

Douglas captured John Stirling late in 1337. Using him as a hostage, he traveled to France in the spring of 1339 to meet with King David Bruce, now 15. Meeting with Bruce and French officials at Gaillard, Douglas acquired French troops and crossbowmen to help with his rebellion. He also took back to Scotland his three cousins, William, John and Archibald Douglas. Plans had been laid for the boy-king to reclaim the Bruce throne, but Edinburgh had to be captured before he could return home. This occurred two years later, in 1341. In a surprise attack on the castle with his French allies, Douglas was able to return the richest burgh to Scotland. Shortly after its capture, David Bruce returned to his capitol to rule.

 

For five years he weighed his options as he matured. Thinking Edward III busy with his French war, David, at 22, decided to attack England to aid Philip VI. It was a mistake. In France, The army fell to the English at Crecy. David, unaware, met the English at Neville’s Cross in Durham, but the French were not there to help. It was another English victory. David was taken captive and sent to England, where he remained for 11 years. With one last bold attempt to retake the throne, Edward Balliol re-entered Scotland a year later, only to be met by.. ……………………………………………………………………..  

 

 


CHAPTER: 11  HURLEY-BURLEY (Editorial Excerpt)

 

James I witnessed the beginnings of Creighton dominance in Scottish affairs. William Crichtoun was 21 when the King was proclaimed heir in 1406. He remained the King’s closest advisor for the duration of his reign. King Henry, who was related to James, showered the boy with gifts and provided for his education. James I became a highly cultivated young man who loved music. He was also an outstanding athlete. Initially, he probably thought that his uncle the regent would begin immediate negotiations for his release; unaware that Albany and many corrupt lords of Scotland were the cause of his confinement.

 

Hurley-Burley was a favorite phrase used often in old Scottish writings. It was a catchall phrase denoting the inner wrangling at court and for political intrigue. At the core of the ‘hurley-burley’ were the many branches of Douglas and Stewart, strongly woven together by marriage. Archibald 3rd Earl of Douglas was dead by 1400, but his son Archibald, imprisoned by the English picked up where his father left off as the 4th earl. He was married to Margaret Stewart, sister to the boy-king James. Archibald’s sister Elizabeth married three times: first to John Stewart Earl of Buchan, second to Thomas Stewart of Garioch and last to William St. Clair 3rd Earl of Orkney. Another sister to the King, Elizabeth Stewart, married James Douglas, 2nd Lord of Dalkeith.  Since Sir George Crichtoun was also married to a Douglas, William may have been as well. His wife is remembered only as Agnes of Chrichtoun.

 

The Duke of Albany allowed his nobles full reign to do whatever they wished during the King’s imprisoned minority. Lawlessness ruled the land. The Border Region remained unstable. Their Douglas counterpart, the House of Percy, ruled the English Border Marches. They warred against the Dunbars relentlessly, the Dunbars often siding with England and the English Percys helping the Scots. When Earl Archibald was captured, his forfeited lands went to this Border family for a time. The Douglases, as Defenders of Scotland, were encouraged to retain their control over the south. By the beginning of the 15th century, their power was supreme, rivaling and sometimes surpassing that of the House of Stewart.  The young King James I, safe in England knew little of the corruption in Scotland. Begun by his father and escalated by his uncle the Regent, the Edinburgh government had no intentions on bringing him home until he was of age.

 

William Crichtoun inherited Creighton barony, but much of his early years must have revolved around King James in exile, as a go-between for the English and the Regent Stewart of Albany. His role as minor Lothian Baron, added to his training as a cleric, put him in high standing with all sides. He was an aspiring man with high standards, but prone to doing whatever was needed to achieve a goal.  William worked with Sir John Forrester, son of Adam of Corstorphine (died in 1405), who followed his father as Ambassador to England. Forrester was also Deputy Chamberlain of the South (also inherited from his father), under the Earl of Buchan. With Robert of Sanquhar, Stephen and George of Cairns and young John Crichtoun, they became an integral part of the ‘Hurley-Burley’ of the minority reign of the young James I.

 

During the 17 years that James was a ‘prisoner’ in England, many other Scotsmen were there in a similar capacity for many reasons. The Border Wars historically had seen Scottish knights captured and sent south. In Scotland, as many English knights shared the same fate in that country. They could not be called ‘Prisoner’s of War’ by today’s standards; they were often treated like visiting diplomats.  Archibald 4th Earl of Douglas was one captive who spent years in English hands. One of his fellow ‘captives’ was the Duke of Albany’s son, Murdoch Stewart. In 1407-08 Douglas was allowed to go home to conduct business in Scotland, but he had to be replaced with 19 voluntary hostages while he was ‘on parole.’  Murdoch Stewart was a royal captive, as was King James. One of the things that rankled James in later years, was that his uncle negotiated for Murdoch’s release but left him, the King, imprisoned in England. As a church-trained cleric, William Crichtoun would have been one who would have acted as an agent in these hostage matters. He would have held the King’s confidence as well as Earl Archibald Douglas, who stood against the Regent Robert Stewart of Albany.

 

 This may have been the beginning of a long feud between Crichtoun and Sir John Forrester’s family. Forrester, who owned large estates near those owned by George Crichtoun, was the senior negotiator. He was closest to the King and William possibly was jealous of his role. The future feud was actually between the Crichtouns and Forrester’s son, also Sir John, who was closer to William’s age. In the early part of the century, both men were Douglas adherents who sought higher positions and status.

 

There was a catalyst that melded all of these men together and it was of a religious nature. From Lord Douglas to minor barons like Crichtoun, much time and money was spent on the church. John Crichtoun and Adam Forrester both had private chapels built near their castles, maintained by clergy close to their families. Their sons William and John added to these religious works, expanding them as they grew in power. In 1378 the ‘Great Schism’ began, being one reason for the 1391 Lithuanian Crusade. The Church was divided in loyalties between rival Popes. Through much of the Dark Ages, Avignon, France had been the Pope’s seat instead of Rome. By 1412 most of Europe had sided with Martin V of Rome as the true Pope, including England and France. Scotland, mainly because of Robert of Albany, stood alone with Benedict XIII of Avignon. Civil wars had resulted over this split, but Albany stood firm. In 1414, 19-year-old King James had become embroiled in the dispute from England. He knew that his uncle was negotiating for Murdoch’s release, thinking that he as well would finally be going home. Well informed by men such as Crichtoun, he appointed Archibald Douglas to go to France on a fact-finding tour.

 

A great gathering of scholars had assembled at the University of Paris, the center of Pope Martin’s movement. Douglas was greeted as a king, his servant; John Gray was made dean of medicine at the University. Douglas’ clerical staff was all Paris graduates. With Gray were George Crichtoun’s maternal relation Alexander Cairns, as well as Matthew Glendinning, Gilbert Cavern and John Merton. These men lead the way in procuring favorable sponsorship from Martin V, who wanted Scotland on his side. Letters were taken back to Albany and other high-ranking Scottish officials, but James I, still an English prisoner, was the main opponent to the Avignon Papal Seat remaining with Benedict XIII.

 

The Council of Constance was the result of the Paris meetings and King James kept informed about decisions made there. Douglas and many like him officially took Albany’s stand with Benedict, but secretly sided with Martin of Rome. In 1415 James made his final stand against his uncle when Murdoch was released, but he had to remain behind. The Council of Constance lasted for three years, eventually resulting in Martin V being proclaimed the one true Pope in 1417. In Scotland the battle continued for another year as Douglas formed a ring of Martin supporters around prior James Haldenstone of St. Andrews. When Parliament met at Perth late in 1418, they firmly backed King James and denounced the Duke of Albany, who was the last holdout for the Pope of Avignon. The way was set for the young King’s return to end Albany’s governorship. Earl Archibald, the King’s brother-in-law, became an international favorite and a champion of the Church of Scotland as well as to Pope Martin.

 

There was a second reason for Earl Archibald to go to France. That country, involved with the Hundred Years War with England, also was split by royal rivalry. Charles VI was mentally ill; a regent, who was his brother John the Fearless of Burgundy, ran the country. The King’s son, Dauphin Charles, fought for control of the government.  John of Burgundy held Paris and much of Flanders. In 1413 he met with Archibald at Paris. Henry IV was sending an army of 4,000 men to Normandy under his son the Duke of Clarence. Douglas was asked to provide a Scottish army to combat the English. Before anything happened, Henry IV died in England. His son Henry V favored John of Burgundy, so his army was recalled. The threat no longer existed, but John and Earl Archibald formed a treaty of alliance and confederation where Douglas promised a Scottish force of 4,000 men-at-arms in case of another emergency. Small groups of Scotsmen had fought in France for centuries, but this was the first time an entire army was promised.

The Hurley-Burley intensified between 1418 and 1424. Earl Archibald, formally released by the English, worked with both King James and the Duke of Albany. A series of negotiations were conducted between Henry V and the duke for the King’s release. While these events were happening, the wars in France escalated with England. In 1415, Henry V had won an important victory over the French at Argincourt, near Calais. By 1419 he had recaptured Normandy for England. John Duke of Burgundy was assassinated, but his men captured Paris, leaving the young Dauphin Charles to stand against his……..


CHAPTER: 12                         THE BLACK DINNER (Editorial Excerpt)

 

The political intrigue wore on through 1440 as William Crichtoun and Lord Avondale conspired against the young Earl of Douglas. Avondale wanted his grandnephews (William and David) out of the way so that he could advance his own sons. This elderly gentleman had 10 children, six of them being young men.  Earl William Douglas, born in 1423 was only 17, but already married to Janet Lindsay, the daughter of Sir David Lindsay Earl of Crawford. In November 1440, Crichtoun and Avondale invited the Douglas Earl and his brother to come to Edinburgh for discussions with the King. They arrived with Malcolm Fleming at Dun Creighton, where they evidently stayed for a time. The Chancellor gained the confidence of the boys and the older Fleming. The initial meeting included the boy’s relative Avondale, Chancellor Crichtoun, William Cranstoun, Sir Alexander Livingston and the Earl’s uncle, the Earl of Orkney. They were then taken to Edinburgh Castle to dine with 10-year-old James II.

 

History refers to it as ‘The Black Dinner.’ The Douglas brothers and Malcolm Fleming met the King and prepared to dine, but soon accusations began to be levied at Earl William and Fleming in front of the monarch. Treason and complicity in a royal overthrow was broached and before they knew what was happening, all three were seized by guards and dragged from the King’s presence. The young king was unaware of what was happening and pled for their safe return. Chancellor Crichtoun had the captives taken to another room, where he conducted a sham trial, witnessed and upheld by his accomplices. All three were sentenced to death. Only then did Lord Avondale show a conscience for his grand nephews, but did nothing as they and Fleming were led away. Out of view in the rear of the castle, they met the executioner’s ax. The story so often told about a boar’s head being served the boys as a death warrant at dinner is romantic fabrication. It derived from a poem by Sir Walter Scott (another Creighton cousin) generations in the future.

 

Before you ask why, let me explain the state of affairs in 1440 Scotland. The Black Douglases had reigned supreme for well over a century, holding the country in an ever-tightening grip. Everyone in that room that November day owed their current status to the direct result of previous service to one Douglas lord or another. Baring the young king, every one had begun his career in the Black Douglas train. The two brothers symbolized the continuance of Black Douglas supremacy, which presented a threat to the sovereignty of the crown. When the 5th Earl Archibald had died the previous year, he had left a country that both loved and hated his symbolism. He and his fellow Black Douglas followers had controlled Borders politics to the extreme. Looked upon with both awe and dread, all who opposed him were summarily executed, whether friend, family or foe. The young King James II learned from an early age to deal with this family with caution.

 

The Black Dinner made it clear just how powerful Chancellor Crichtoun and the Council had become. In the past, anyone found guilty of royal treason would have been forfeited of lands and publicly humiliated before being exiled or put to death. In this case, however, only Malcolm Fleming’s estates were forfeited. The Earl of Douglas’ lands, which entailed much of southern Scotland, were left intact. This was the doings of Lord Avondale, who was made 7th Earl Douglas of Douglas by the Council. Knowing full well that he was nearing the end of his long life, he had at least achieved his goal. He would pass the Black Douglas inheritance on to his sons.

 

Revenge for the Black Dinner came swiftly from the scattered followers of old Earl Archibald. In unison, they flared up all across the south, burning and looting those who gave allegiance to the Council and the Chancellor. Lord Avondale fled to the safety of Abercorn Castle. John Forrester of Corstorphine, who lived 2 miles from George Crichtoun’s manor of Barnton, chose instead to lead an army to Creighton. Flying the Black Douglas banner, his men burned portions of Long Creighton and then made a symbolic attack on Dun Creighton. Improvements made by John Crichtoun in 1370 had little effect. During the short siege, many outbuildings were leveled and the walls were breached. The Chancellor was in safety at Edinburgh Castle, but word reached him of Forrester’s attack on his home manor. He made immediate plans to rebuild the castle for defensive purposes, as many others were doing. With cannon warfare a looming reality on a private level, many older tower houses would never withstand an attack.

 

The construction began that winter. The ancient keep remained the main residence, but a full guardhouse was put on the top, capped by a steep slate-covered roof. * Thick battlements crowned the old tower house, shielding the Creighton soldiers from arrows and stones. New construction commenced at the southeast corner, facing the entry road and the hill of Bankmoor. A three-story gatehouse tower was built, giving access to the second floor main hall in the original structure. The ground level floor was left as a storage facility. To the gatehouse tower was added the south range, with another built on the west side. Thick walls of dressed stone connected the remainder of the courtyard with the northwest corner of the original house. The design was in keeping with a courtyard castle and more than doubled Crichtoun’s living space. No longer Dun Creighton, the altered castle would remain unchanged for approximately 150 years.

                                                                                                                     

* Slate as a building material is still used today in many parts of Scotland. It was also a vital byproduct of the Dutch-Scottish trade system. The main Scottish ports were Lieth at Edinburgh, Perth, Culross, St. Andrews and Aberdeen. Beginning in 1407, a Scots Conservator of Scottish Privileges in the Low Countries was appointed by the Duke of Flanders to handle trade. The conservator lived at Veere in Zeeland and managed shipping. Slate was mined in Fife, in the region east of Dunfermline along the Forth. The raw material was used as ballast in the trans-channel crossing. Coal, hides, whiskey, raw wool, flax, grains and fish were the main exports to Veere. In Zeeland, slaters refined the slabs into building tiles, used again for the return voyages to Scotland as ballast.                                                Edinburgh Castle

 

Turmoil reigned on the heels of the Black Dinner as the nobility repositioned for power. The House of Creighton was no longer thought of as ‘minor barons.’ Chancellor William at 63 was the king maker, molding James II to follow in his father’s footsteps. The chancellor and his close family members were also involved in an elaborate scheme to gain control of many Douglas holdings, beginning 10 months prior to the Black Dinner.

 

Through old age, battle or execution, the senior lords of Scotland were gone. Parliament, to bolster the dwindling upper class created new positions of ‘Lord of Parliament.’ James I had fostered this system to elevate his favorites and it gained in momentum through the 1450s. For modern genealogists, it causes confusion. Old documents make no distinction between the traditional feudal title of lord (baron, or Laird) and Lord (of Parliament). Chancellor Crichtoun would have conservatively been the 33rd consecutive lord of Creighton. In the realm of Scottish peerage, however, he was created First Lord Crichtoun of Creighton in 1445. It would have also been the time that the family arms reached their highest achievement. Imperially crowned rampant lion supporters were added to represent outstanding service to the House of Stewart. The dragon crest above the lion shield rested on a baronial coronet cradled on a bed of ermine.

 

In February 1440 Crichtoun had acquired the rich barony of Kirkmichael, Perthshire from his daughter’s father-in-law, Alexander Seton of Gordon (Lord Gordon died the following year). It was a beautiful highland location north of Dunkeld and Clunie southeast of Blair Atholl. This region had been lost with the death of Walter Stewart Earl of Atholl, transferred by inheritance to Joan Beaufort. Seton and the Johnstons had benefited, owning large tracts throughout the Loch Tay area to Perth. In April of the same year Crichtoun met with his cousin Robert of Sanquhar to form a pact of mutual protection. Their cousin George of Cairns* and possibly many other Creighton heads were in Dumfries for the meeting. First, William and Robert signed papers of ………..


CHAPTER: 13                         DOUGLAS CAST DOWN (Editorial Excerpt)

 

In 1447 the King began searching for a suitable match for his sister Eleanor. It is not known how Crichtoun may have participated, but as Lord Chancellor, he would have played a major role. Either he or his cousin George acted as emissaries in past royal marriages and I am sure one or the other would have done so this time. Although the Tyrolean Habsburgs headed the list, other possible ‘suitors’ were available in France; Bishop Kennedy was chosen to head the continental party, with William Monypenny of Putmullen (Pittmilly, Fife). Granted safe passage by surrounding nations, they set out, with Rome part of their itinerary. It was a long and involved journey.

 

They went first to Denmark where they met with the King. Discussed were arrangements for the marriage of King James and Mary of Geldres of the Netherlands. Chancellor Crichtoun would return to the Netherlands in 1449 to escort the lady to Edinburgh, after James reached his 18th birthday. The King of Denmark was mostly concerned over his ownership of Orkney and Caithness. It is for this reason that I think George Crichtoun may have attended. As Admiral of Scotland, he held power and also owned Braal Castle and Dunbeath in Caithness. As with Huntly and Erskine in Mar, the St. Clairs, Sutherlands and Rosses were fighting over the succession of the far north. Denmark had much at stake, with trade relations at the head of the list.  The King of Denmark and Norway wanted to extend Scandinavian rule north of the Great Glen. The Hanseatic League, that controlled northern trade, would not hear of a Norwegian monopoly in Scotland.

 

Leaving Denmark, the delegation traveled on to France, where Monypenney obtained lands and title as Lord Baron Conquersault. He would return here to live out his life in later years. After touring Castile, the party went on to Rome where Kennedy received advice from the Pope, and then turned north into the Alps. At Innsbruck, Tyrol, they finalized marital arrangements for the princess Eleanor Stewart. The multi-faceted House of Habsburg already ruled an empire that included parts of Italy, Austria, Hungary and Poland. They were intermarried to almost every royal house of Europe. It is probable that the delegation then traveled on to Geneva, for the youngest sister of the King, Annabella Stewart, was 15 years old and was promised to 7-year-old Louis de Savoie Count of Geneva (1440-1501). If the delegation returned home at all in 1447, it must have been a short stay for Princess Eleanor was at Innsbruck February 12, 1448, where she married Sigismund von Habsburg, Duke of Tyrol and the future Archduke of Austria. She died early in the marriage in childbirth.

 

On the following October 16, James II reached his 18th birthday and the beginning of his majority reign, which would not be formalized until he was married. Chancellor Crichtoun left immediately for the Netherlands to escort the future queen home to Edinburgh.

 

The Queen-apparent was Mary of Gueldres (1432-1463), the only daughter and heir of Arnold of Edmond Duke of Gueldres (family von Gelderan). Her mother was Katherine van Kleve and her uncle was the Duke of Burgundy. Crichtoun would have taken note immediately at the Gueldres Coat of Arms. Gelderland was the oldest and largest Dutch province. Since 1190, the arms had gone through many revisions. In 1220, the Count of Gelres used a gold rampant lion on a blue shield identical to that of the House of Nassau and Luxembourg. By Crichtoun’s time, it had been combined with the arms of the counts of Gulik (German Julich), a black lion on a gold shield. He would have compared the Creighton blue lion on silver to the Gelres gold lion on blue.

 

Threats of English warships in the channel kept him in Gelderland longer than anticipated. He was in the Netherlands for seven months. While touring Brabant, Zeeland and Holland, he would have seen many more examples of the rampant lion arms. In May 1449, Crichtoun obtained clearance to leave under a naval escort. The party of Mary of Gueldres arrived safely at King’s Wark, Leith where the entire town awaited them. Alexander Napier of Merchiston, Conservator of Trade and King’s Treasurer met the entourage, accompanied by the Provost of Edinburgh (James Crichtoun of Ruthven). The mounted procession then traveled Rotten Row to Kirkgate, where upon entering Edinburgh, they stopped for refreshments at St. Anthony’s Hospital, a Creighton benefice. Amid cheering crowds, they finally arrived at the Cowgate end of Blackfriar’s Wynd, where Mary met her groom at the Guesthouse of Blackfriars. The royal wedding was held at Holyrood July 3, 1449. James II, crowned 12 years before, was finally King of Scots.

 

James Stewart began his majority reign with full awareness of the countries disunity. Plans were set in motion to reverse the escalating power of the youthful William Earl Douglas and his followers. The Livingstons of Callander, long supporters of the crown, had willingly sided with Douglas in the recent troubles. In an early show of force (September 1449), King James ‘threw down’ the House of Livingston, executing, exiling or imprisoning many. The cause was partially financial. His new wife had been promised large tracts of land as part of the wedding negotiations. The King’s aunt and Duchess of Touraine had died, leaving the Galloway estates open to royal takeover. With the Barony of Callander also open, James began his ‘reclamation’ project against the Black Douglas Empire. The Livingston lands were divided between the King and William and George Crichtoun.

 

James II had rebuilt his father’s assemblage of ‘bombards,’ the great Flemish cannon arsenal. They had become a staple import, stacked along King’s Wark at Leith and crowding the Royal Armory at the castle. The largest, his pride and joy had been made at Mons and was lovingly named ‘Mons Meg.’ It is still enshrined at Edinburgh Castle. With a permanent English garrison stationed at Roxburgh Castle since 1390, their presence on the Tweed was a constant source of aggravation.  Henry VI again rattled his sabers in the Borders Region. Thomas Percy the Younger of Northumberland sent English troops into Annandale in October, causing James unrest that another war loomed on the horizon. Hugh Douglas of Ormond, brother of Lord Douglas drove them back across the Tweed.

 

Early in 1450 the crisis in the far north became critical.  The Hanseatic League refused Norwegian heir ship of Caithness and Orkney; a settlement had to be reached. George Crichtoun became a compromise solution. Because of his inheritance of Dunbeath, through his mother, the King created George Earl of Caithness. Advanced in years, he transferred his Cramond Parish Lands of Lenie to Elona Crichtoun and her husband, Nicholas Borthwick of Balhaffie and Gourdonhall. He moved north to occupy Braal and Dunbeath castles. Braal would remain in Creighton hands until the 1600s, when it would again revert back to Sinclair hands.

 

Chancellor Crichtoun proposed that the King should patronize the Douglas Earl and his chief lieutenants by sending them abroad on a pilgrimage to Rome. They journeyed to Melrose Abbey to meet Douglas. Over the bones of his ancestor James the Good and the entombed heart of Robert the Bruce, Douglas was told that he would head a delegation that would keep him away for some time. Duties that included meeting the French to negotiate the estate of the King’s late sister Margaret, Lord Douglas seemed more than happy to depart. To add to the enticement, James knew that Louis of France was willing to reinstate Douglas with partial title of lands in Touraine.

 

Before leaving in 1450, Lord William Douglas led a retaliatory raid into Northumberland where he attacked Alnwick and Warkworth; soon after he set out for the continent. The proposed Jubilee of Pope Nicholas V being the primary goal, Chancellor Crichtoun and the King watched his actions closely and soon learned that Douglas had his own itinerary. They found that just as England had renewed its old border conflict, Douglas had secretly sent his chief aids south through England, where they shipped out to Holland to met their leader at Lille. With Lord Douglas and meeting with Duke Philip of Burgundy, were Douglas’ brother James, Lord Hamilton, Alexander Hume, John Ogilvy of Lintrathen, William Cranstoun, Andrew Kee and Charles Murray of Cockpool. During their six months away on ‘pilgrimage,’ the King continued his campaign to win back lost Stewart inheritances for the crown.

 

By June 1451 Lord Douglas had returned from Rome via England, where he had met with Henry VI. The King immediately sought to stand up to him by asking for the Douglas lands of Hawick, which he refused to turn over. George Crichtoun was sent to obtain a written refusal, which was witnessed by himself, cousin Robert Crichtoun and Patrick Hepburn. This act set the path for possible acts of treason against the crown.

 

In July 1451 the King and Lord Crichtoun led an entourage south to rally support for a Galloway takeover. The route was planned to traverse as much Black Douglas territory as possible, to throw fear into their following. They first traveled to Carrick to meet with Gilbert Kennedy. From the traditional ‘Stewartry,’ they then went through Lanarkshire to formally lay claim to Livingston lands, then traveled down the Nith to Annandale for a council at Lockmaben Castle. Alexander Seton of Huntly made an appearance and formally asked for the King’s help in his war against Robert Erskine and the Douglas Earl of Ross. King James elevated Huntly to Lord of Badenoch and appointed him his chief lieutenant in the north. Finally seeing the King’s ultimate plan, Earl Douglas began openly conspiring with the English for support.

 

The winter of 51-52 saw both sides digging in for a showdown. Early in February the King was at Stirling with the Chancellor. Lord Douglas was asked to come there for a meeting, but the Earl refused. James drafted an official letter of summons and chose a Douglas follower, William Lauder, to deliver it. Lord Douglas was taken in by this ruse and upon arriving at the royal stronghold; the King and Lord Chancellor greeted him warmly. On February 22, a meeting convened in a private chamber with only the King’s closest aids present. Douglas was asked to desist in his helping Crawford and Ross against Lord Huntly. Again, Douglas refused, stating that he and his brothers had too much to lose in the north. The King made the request a demand and Douglas again refused. In a fit of rage, James II pulled his dagger and stabbed Douglas in the neck, whereupon Simon Glendinning and William Cranstoun, Douglas’ own men, helped dispatch him with axes and swords. The 8th Earl Lord Douglas was dead.

The following month saw the forfeiture of major Black Douglas holdings in the south. Crown lands were greatly increased and the Creightons headed the list of newly granted properties. George Crichton was given the Douglas baronies of Buittle and Preston. When the King visited George at Morton Castle late in the month, Crichtoun asked him for Wigtown as well. This placed the family in control of almost all of Galloway, Dumfries and Annandale. In retaliation, the Douglas followers massed in West Lothian at Abercorn Castle and swept down upon Stirling. The town was burned and the castle attacked. James Douglas of Balvenie and the Hamiltons and the Kerrs led the attack.

 

For the first time in his reign, the bombards were rolled out of Edinburgh Castle. The plan was to attack Douglas’ traditional Lothian castle of Abercorn, where the Stirling raid had originated. James Douglas and his allies had retired to Bothwell Castle, however, 30 miles west of Abercorn. The King chose instead to wheel the guns to Hatton House, William Lauders stone tower located near Abercorn. The banners of George Douglas Earl of Angus and Chancellor William Crichtoun led the King’s forces that included Murray of Cockpool, Bishop Turnbull, Douglas of Cavers, Lord Hume and James Kerr. In the bombardment of Hatton, Lauder was killed.

 

In May 1452 the war in the north came to a head when Seton of Huntly defeated Crawford at the Battle of Brechin. Archibald Douglas co-Earl of Moray, who backed Crawford, plundered the Crichtoun –Huntly lands of East Aberdeen. When the King learned of this he forfeited Crawford (Alexander Lindsay) of his lands. This removed Huntly’s primary opponent in the north. Parliament and the King’s secrete council met at Edinburgh in June. New lords of parliament were created, Lord Hailes (Patrick Hepburn) and Fleming (Robert Fleming). George Crichtoun was confirmed Earl of Caithness, while James Crichtoun, son of William, was confirmed Earl of Moray. Brought before the council, James Lord Douglas (9th Earl) requested exile to England and safe conduct for his mother, Beatrice St. Clair, and his widowed daughter-in-law, the Maid of Galloway. Permission was granted. Tons of Douglas gold and family possessions left Scotland, transported by ship to England. Douglas offered his services to Henry VI.

 

This was perhaps the zenith of Creighton acquisitions in their long history in Scotland. With Livingston’s fall, William obtained further lands west of Dunkeld in Perthshire. Robert Crichtoun of Sanquhar obtained Lindsay’s rich home barony of Crawford in Lanarkshire. Confiscating Wigtown and Stewarton, the King called out the Royal Host for the first time since his father attacked Roxburgh. Once again the great army assembled outside of Edinburgh and began the long trek through former Black Douglas holdings. The Pentlands, Peebles, down the Tweed to Selkirk Forest, on to Corhead in Moffatdale, along the Annan to Nithdale and on into Dumfries went the army. As in 1436, the locals ……


CHAPTER: 14                         FLOWERS OF THE FOREST (Editorial Excerpt)

 

Like a recurring nightmare, Scotland again had a dead king, a forceful queen mother and a boy king. James III was crowned days after his father’s death at the age of nine. The young King immediately received a group of loyal retainers as his regents, with Mary of Gueldres placed at their head. Her chief advocate was Bishop James Kennedy of St. Andrews, who had played the same role with Joan Beaufort. The other royal siblings were Mary (eldest sister), Alexander Duke of Albany, John Earl of Mar and Margaret, the younger sister. The Boyds of Kilmarnock, Ayr, were placed in positions of authority; Lord Boyd of Kilmarnock had been a chief aid to James II. He was appointed High Chamberlain, while his younger brother Alexander was made the King’s military tutor. Lord Boyd’s son Thomas married Mary, the King’s sister.

 

Queen Mary and bishop Kennedy immediately opened negotiations with Henry VI of England. Still embroiled in their Lancastrian (Henry VI) and Yorkist (Edward IV) war for supremacy, Henry wanted promises from Scotland that they would not back the House of York. Many noblemen were split on the issue and Lord James Douglas, working from England kept them at odds with one another. He carried on an active campaign of intrigue, often leading raids into Scotland himself. Through his agent Alexander Kerr, the Boyds were drawn into Douglas’ schemes to regain his lost holdings. Still actively at war with England, Douglas led raids into Galloway in 1462 while negations continued. He defeated old enemies, Maxwell, Rutherford and Crawford, while his chief adversary, the Earl of Angus died of natural causes. In 1463 Lord Douglas’ brother, John of Balvenie, was captured and executed, but in December, Mary of Gueldres also died. Countess Elizabeth Crichtoun died that same year in Aberdeen. This left Bishop Kennedy to complete negotiations of a truce with the new King Edward IV. With shifting sides, the Scots were now asked to abandon support for the House of Lancaster in return for an extended truce and return of Berwick and possibly Carlisle. In 1464, Kennedy signed a 15-year truce.

 

1464 found Robert Crichtoun of Sanquhar sheriff of Dumfries. His daughter Elizabeth was married to William Douglas third Lord of Drumlanrig. Lord Lovat and their mother, Countess Janet Dunbar had raised the grandsons of Chancellor Crichtoun near Loch Ness. They were William 3rd Lord Crichtoun (1443-1493), Garvin Crichtoun (1445-1493) and George Crichtoun (1448-1532). At 21, William Lord Crichtoun was ready to assume his duties at Creighton Castle. Like his grandfather, he must have had access to the young king, but it is not known how he fit into the hierarchy at court. He was close, not only to the King, but also his younger brothers and his sister, Princess Margaret.

 

In 1466 Princess Mary and her husband, Thomas Boyd Earl of Arran, were abroad as emissaries, seeking foreign aid for Scotland. Thomas’ father and uncle, Lord Boyd and Alexander, at the urging of Douglas’ agents, kidnapped King James and secluded him at Kilmarnock, enacting a coup of regent-ship. The King was 14 years old and highly susceptible to Lord Boyd’s influence over him. The boy was held, away from the Edinburgh government, for three years. Many of the nobility began to look toward his younger brothers, especially Alexander Duke of Albany as better material as future king. Again, Black Douglas interference, this time from exile, had upset the balance of power in the country.

 

During the King’s captivity, Robert Crichtoun of Sanquhar continued to advance his prestige with the marriage of his daughter Christian to Alexander Erskine, grandson of Robert Earl of Mar in 1467. From 1468-69, Robert of Sanquhar was Coroner of Nithdale. His brother Ninian Crichtoun (1449-1526) entered the clergy as a lay Abbot of Glasgow, the see that governed Sanquhar rectory.

 

In 1469, enough power had emanated from the Privy Council at Edinburgh to call the Boyds to appear before the court for their treasonable acts in kidnapping the King. Thomas was still abroad with his wife. Lord Boyd was forewarned and fled to England before he could be arrested. Only Alexander, ill and infirm was taken to Edinburgh, where he was tried and executed. The family was outlawed and forfeited all lands and title to the crown. The King, finally free to rule at 18, forced his sister Mary to return (Thomas Boyd remained in exile) and he had her marriage annulled. On July 10, he married Margrethe, daughter of King Christian I of Denmark-Norway. Part of her dowry was the Shetland Islands and Orkney, while Scandinavia granted the Sinclairs exclusive rights over Caithness. Their son James IV was born in 1473.

 

This union with Denmark and Norway with the House of Stewart helped seal the pact with the Low Countries……………………….

 

 


CHAPTER: 15                         MEET ME ON THE NITH (Editorial Excerpt)

 

As the second quarter of the 16th century approached, the extended Creighton family was spread from Yorkshire to Aberdeen. Many were clerics with high positions in the church. Others, as ambassadors or clergymen had townhouses and lands in southern England. The eight-some-odd villages of Craigton, which I mentioned sometime back, represented roughly their main places of settlement in Scotland. Many, it can be assumed, took on the surname as tenants, as in the case of Lord Gordon and the free oatmeal. The largest congregation was, of course, the Nith River Valley of Dumfries. In an almost unbroken line from Craigton near the mouth of the river through Sanquhar and Kirkconnel, it reached into Carrick to Brunston and then north to Kilmarnock and the Paisley Abbey region near Glasgow. In Dunbartonshire, the family Galloway materialized as if out of nowhere. Although their crest and motto were unique unto themselves, the Galloway arms were identical to those of Creighton. The line of Craigton villages then followed the route between the old abbeys, Paisley to Dunkeld (Robert Crichtoun was Bishop as well as Lord privy Seal) and then on into southern Angus and Dundee. Within 20 miles of that port city were two Craigton villages. The district lords were the family Lyon Lord Glamis, whose original arms, by coincidence were almost identical to Creighton. In Aberdeen, Craigton near the town of Aberdeen was in the Gordon lands of Huntly. George Gordon 4th Lord Huntly was now head of that important earldom. He was also Lord Chancellor, son of Lord George Seton who died at Flodden and the great grandson of Countess Elizabeth Crichtoun. Last, although there was no village Craigton, were the Creightons of Elgin, descended from both Robert of Sanquhar and George of Cairns?

 

With some understanding as to the placement of the family in 1525, the surname as a whole can be reanalyzed. The major branches, Sanquhar and Frendraught, were not static. They held baronies in many locations north and south, intermixed with those of the original Midlothian Creighton secondary holdings. Enough charters and court proceedings had occurred by 1525 to show a remarkable variation in surname spellings.

I have found records beginning in the early 1400s. I have used ‘Creighton’ as a generic Old Welsh surname throughout the narrative, with subtle alterations from generation to generation, more for clarity than for any other reason. ‘Crichton’ as an official national surname would not become consistent until 1672. William the Chancellor went by either Crichtoun or Chrichtoun. His wife Agnes signed with the latter. In 1404, “Stephen de Crichton of Carnis” witnessed a Dumfries charter for a land transferal from Henry St. Clair Earl of Orkney, to St. Clair’s kinsman, Gilbert Grierson of Ard. The following excerpt is from another Dumfries document dated October 27, 1440:

 

…Instrument narrating that Thomas Kirkpatrick, laird of Closeburn, George Kirkpatrick, Morris Dalrympille, James Sandelandis, Thomas Crechton, John Stewart, Michael Rorysone, George Jenkysone, William Portare, Donald Portare, Gilbert Jonsone, John Patryksone, younger, Donald Mulikane, Andrew Crechtone, Alexander Abernethye, John Dycksone, Cuthbert Grersone, John Minnyhew, John Inglis of Langwelle, Henry Wilyhiamsone, Fergus Danaldsone, William Roxburghe, John Patricksone, elder, Thomas Carmichele, Donald Hunter, were chosen as assize by William Douglas, knt., laird of Drumlangrige, in plea between James Twede, laird of Drumelyhare and Gilbert McMath, laird of Dalpede, over marches. Notary James Cunynghame, clerk. Glasgow diocese: Witnesses. John Crechtone, esquire, Patrick Gledstanys and Patrick Blak...”

 

As you see, this document is almost 40 years after Stephen of Cairns signed as de Crichton, but the 1440 paper is from the same region of Morton Barony, Dumfries. It shows two spellings, Crechton and Crechtone. Signers of old charters were not picked at random, they were closely related to the participants or very close friends. Charters and court documents from the Nith Valley alone would continue to show many variations of the same name through the 1700s. These were actual signatures ranging from the above to Craigton, Creighton, Curichton, Chrichtoun, Crighton, Croirktoun, Creichtoun, Creyghtoun, Creyghtone and Creyghton. Looking at some of the other names in the 1440 document, it becomes apparent why Scotland sought to standardize surnames in the latter 17th century. The following outlines are taken directly from McCrerik family papers recorded in the Sanquhar-Kirkconnel areas from the 1540s through the 1600s. It best describes how varied the Creighton name was on an individual basis:

Arthur McCrerik, son of Fergus of Barharrow, on 12th July, 1549, along with others, enact themselves as cautioners for William, Lord Crichton to George Maitland in the sum of 25 merks to be paid yearly to the latter, of the farms of the lands of Fardin in Kirkconnel, barony of Sanquhar.  He married Elizabeth Crichton. 

His son, Patrick McCrerik, burgess of Wigton and of Sanquhar, and of the Cairn, is, 22nd March, 1576, witness of the confirmation to Mr. James Crichton, eldest son of Mr. Robert Crichton of Eliock, of the lands of Cluny, in Perthsire (this James was the celebrated “Admirable Crichton”).  Patrick entered, October 31st, 1579 (Reg. Deeds) into a contract with John Dougall elder, merchant burgess of Edinburgh, in which for certain sums of money he discharges said John Dougall of all action and cause of warrandice which he had against him for failing to infeft him in a portion of the land called the Guisdubbis lying on the north side of the Burgh of Sanquhar.  In the same year the Privy council Records state that Caution was found in 500 £ by John Creighton of Frendraught, James Creighton of Carcow, and George Creighton; for William Creichtoun, Tutor of Sanquhar, that he will not harm Patrick McCrerik, burgess of Sanquhar; and there is a separate caution 100 £ by the same for said William Creichtoun, in his capacity as Sheriff of Dumfries, that he will enter Patrick peaceably into certain specified leggis of lands with houses lying near the burgh of Sanquhar, and will not molest him in his possession of the same afterwards.  Resumed action at the instance of Patrick McRerik against said William Creichtoun and James Creighton, one of his cautioners, touching “the contravention of one act of the burgh of Sanquhar;” bothe parties appearing, defendant was Mr. P. Edmund Hay, the prolocutor, the Lords admit the matter to McCrerik’s Probation, assigning to him for the purpose the 12th of July next, 1579. In 1583, (Privy Council Rec.) there is a complaint by James Carmichael of Meadowflat, Captain of Crawford as follows:

“In September, 1580, Patrick McCrerik, with five accomplices, bodin in arms and warlike manner, came under silence of night, to the said complainer’s sister’s lands of Dovane, within the barony of Crawfordtoun, and demolished to the ground her haill houses and biggins being thairupon, quhairin John Elliott, her servand, was dwelland for the time, and not content with this they returned within three days and maist tresonablie rasit fyre and burnt and destroyed the rest of the said house quhilk were uncasindoun.”  In January, 1583, Patrick was dilaitit of the treasonabill burning of certain houses pertaining to the Tutor of Sanquhar (Justiciary Records) – the same day Sir John Gordon of Lochinvar is “pledge and suretie for the entrie of Patrick Macrerik before our soverane lord’s justice or his deputy in the tolbooth of Edinburgh, the last day of February, to underly the law for airt and pairt of the alleged burning of ane house belonging to William Creichtoun, tutor of Sanquhar, and his spouse, conforme to ane act of secret council made thairanent and siclyk that the said Patrick shall remain in ward within the burgh of Edinburgh, under the pain of four-score £.”  The same day William Creichtoun of Liberie “obleist him to relieve the said Sir John Gordon of Lochinvar of his caution.”  On the day appointed – the last of February 1584 – the assize failed to obey summons, and were each fined 200 £.

Patrick married Susannah, a daughter of William Creichton of Liberie, or Libry. ……….

 


CHAPTER: 16                         REFORMATION (Editorial Excerpt)

 

The first half of the 16th century found Scotland and the world at the point of change. It began, oddly enough in Saxony, with the son of a peasant miner from Eisleben, Hans Luther of Mohra. Martin Luther was born in 1483 and although his father was ‘rough cut,’ his mother Margaret Ziegler was a deeply devout Catholic, albeit hard line and severe. Today, it would have all the hallmarks of a very dysfunctional family. Martin was abused and beaten incessantly, so much so that he ran away at an early age to join a monastery. Before he was 22, he had achieved bachelors and then a master’s degree in philosophy at the University of Epiphany. The Augustinian monks that he trained with and under were of the ‘modern’ school.

 

The debates had raged for 300 years. It had begun at Paris University, long a liberal church-run school. Richard Poore Bishop of Salisbury had proposed change in 1220, angry at a system that allowed secular appointees to hold High Church positions. When Rome sponsored new universities at Louvain, they followed suit in promoting great changes within the church body. In 1425, 42 separate colleges were associated with Louvain University. One thing that made these schools unique was that they specialized in secular studies---law, the arts and medicine, while teaching fundamental religious training at the same time.

 

From 1507-1509, Luther taught philosophy at Wittemberg University while he studied for his baccalaurean degree in Bible Theology. He was ordained and soon became known throughout Germany as a great scholar. He became district vicar and representative of the vicar-general of Saxony and Thuringia. For a miner’s son, this was unprecedented in class-conscious Europe. Then in 1515, plague hit Wittemberg. For the first time he became aware of the extreme void that separated the very poor and the overly rich. While people died by the thousands, his church peers thought only of their own welfare.

 

Luther entered a long period of deep depression, angry at the church and life in general. He began to seek his own council, philosophically debating with his conscience the traditional church tenants. He drafted a thesis, which proposed personal salvation through faith. His ‘Justification by Faith’ theory, simply put, was that Jesus would forgive you if you placed your trust in Him. Works alone, as promoted by the Roman Church, were not enough. This of course took salvation out of the hands of the church and placed it on an individual basis, which was heresy. In 1517, after long thought, Luther nailed the ’99 Thesis’ on the door of the Wittemberg Castle church. It was more than a symbolic gesture; the door was the town bulletin board. Within 20 years, his rebellious ideas had swept Europe with dozens of offshoots. It was the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.

 

Born two years after Luther in 1484, was the Swiss reformer, Ulrich Zwingli, and in 1509 at Noyan Picardy, John Calvin was born. Working separately toward the same general principals, these three formed a growing movement that brought the Roman Catholic Church to its knees.

 

Elector Frederick of Saxony was first to embrace Lutheranism, although outwardly he remained neutral. Martin Luther was excommunicated from the church and sought asylum in his native province. There was an imperial ban on the reformist movement. Frederick began to quietly establish Protestant communities within his principality. When Anabaptists formed to fight Luther’s principals, he returned to Wittemberg, but by then the die was cast. Other German princes followed Frederick’s lead, his brother John of Saxony being the first. Grand-Master Albert of Brandenburg, heading the Order of the Teutonic Knights took things one further. In 1525 he secularized Prussia to allow for Protestant settlement. It was made a hereditary fiefdom of the House of Brandenburg under suzerainty of the King of Poland.

 

This single act undertaken eight short years after the founding of Lutheranism had resounding repercussions in Scotland. Since their fall at Tannenberg in 1410, the Teutonic Knights had lost their once proud empire. In 1525, East Prussia and one lone bailiwick at Utrecht, Holland was all that remained. Prince Albert, as Grand Master of the order, held Königsberg, Mecklenberg and Dantzig, where Scots traders had settled generations before. Tilsit, 60 miles north of Königsberg was almost 100% Scottish. With her sister port of Veere in Zeeland (the Scots called it Campveere), the two Scottish towns represented both ends of an ancient Baltic trade system. In Scotland, the Sinclairs of Roslin were hereditary Grand-Masons of the Holy Orders. Through normal trade relations and family contacts in Holland and Prussia, the Scots learned early on about Luther’s teachings. Students at the great universities helped relay the information home. In England similar events were occurring, but on a national level. Henry VIII was forcefully evicting the Catholic Church because of his marital difficulties, ushering in a State Church with Henry as its head.

 

As often happens in history, the Reformation was the result of many interrelated events. Without Gutenberg’s printing press, the Scriptures would have remained the exclusive property of the Roman Church, handwritten in Latin for the clergy alone. Surprisingly, the reform began much earlier, in England. In 1382, John Wyclif (1324-1384) had attacked Catholicism as an all-powerful giant that ignored the needs of the masses. Faced with poverty and plague epidemics, the common people rallied to his cause, becoming known as ‘Lollards.’ Wyclif wrote his own tracts and portions of the Bible in English. Faced with heracy, he stepped down and died naturally in 1384, but the spark glowed. Lollardism spread north in a quiet revolution, reaching western Scotland, where it lingered for generations in Ayr and Argyll. Mainstream Scotland was solidly Catholic, but small pockets of educated landowners passed on their worn Wyclif texts to their grandchildren.

 

As Luther’s doctrines took hold in Europe, university students brought the news home to Scotland. The higher class followed a pattern where sons were first sent to Aberdeen or Glasgow, then on to Oxford in Cambridge. The very rich still favored Paris University, as in the case of Patrick Hamilton (1503-1528). He was the great grandson of King James II and his family had acquired the forfeited Boyd titles as Earls of Arran. While a student at Paris, Hamilton became attracted to Luther and met him in 1521. Upon his return to Scotland, he promoted Luther’s teachings and supported the growing cadre of lesser reformers. This brought him to a head-on collision with the primal seat of St. Andrews. He was burned as a heretic in 1528, becoming a martyr of the new movement. Early promoters of the reform religion were Crichtoun of Sanquhar and Douglas of Drumlanrig.

 

Another was William Tyndale (1494-1536), an English student at Oxford. The liberal atmosphere of Cambridge allowed open discourse and being an international university, it included Germans. Religious discussion revolved around the White Horse Inn Society, called ‘Little Germany’ by school officials. Martin Luther was the main subject of debate as early as 1518. In 1521, Tyndale obtained the position of tutor to a wealthy family who favored Luther’s doctrines. Through their patronage, he was able to translate the Latin New Testament into English. Martin Emperour of Antwerp published it in 1524. By the end of that year, hundreds had been smuggled into England from Antwerp. Public book burnings at St Paul’s Cathedral had little impact. A second edition came out in 1525 and the reformist ideas spread everywhere. Tyndale was executed in 1536 and although he held his own in open debate with the Catholic bishops, the English rendition of the Scriptures remained his primary offence.

 

Bishops, in Scotland, lived more opulently than King James V. He was, in effect, a peer to any of the earls of the Kingdom and was expected to gain revenue from his own estates, as they did. There was no national taxation. The bishops, on the other hand, claimed enormous estates and regional districts. The Church as a body took in annual revenues that exceeded that of the King’s by four-to-one. The archbishops, bishops and abbots held high seats in Parliament and historically were royal councilors. For centuries, the church had gained lands and benefices from the nobility with the ‘through works you are saved’ doctrine. Chancellor William Crichtoun fell into this category in the 1440s when he bequeathed land at Long Creighton. By building his ornate collegiate church, he sought prayers from the clergy and stepped closer to salvation. All across Scotland thousands of acres were turned over to the church for similar reasons. Owning the largest land base, the Catholic Church really controlled ……..

 

 


CHAPTER: 17                        LIONS FROM THE SEA (Editorial Excerpt)

 

This is perhaps the best time to begin scrutinizing the family Creyghton, or the Old Dutch spelling, ‘Creijghton.’ Their origin is the reason that I wrote this history. First of all, the spelling ‘Creyghton’ is not unique, as the above lineage of Robert Creyghton of Wells indicates. I have shown court and family papers previously with similar spellings of both Creighton (George Creighton of Carcow, Dumfries 1579) and Robert Creyghtoun (Creyghton, also Crichton) of Eliock, Dumfries dated 1595. I have also shown an inter-connection with Lowlands Scotland and the Netherlands that extends back many hundreds of years. We know that Campen, or Veere, Zeeland was a Scots port as early as 1296. In 1444, George Crichtoun of Cairns escorted Mary Stewart to Zeeland to wed the Lord of Veere. In 1449, George’s cousin and Chancellor William Crichtoun spent 8 months there as well as in Gelderland, to escort Mary of Gueldres back to Scotland to marry James II Stewart. By then, there was a large Scots community of tradesmen at Rotterdam. As early as 1460, Scots by the hundreds attended schools of law and medicine at Leiden, while others established themselves at Amsterdam. Utrecht, a primary Catholic bishopric, was also home to a large group of Scots traders with the Hanseatic League and was also a haven for the Teutonic Knights. I am almost positive that early Creightons will be found in records from these areas. Zeeland would be the first place to check; the church of Groote Kerk in Veere is still functioning and retains records of past citizens.

 

To grasp the history, it is best to start at the beginning. Like most Americans, I thought of ‘the Netherlands’ as being Holland alone. I never knew that it also included modern day Belgium, Luxembourg and portions of Germany. Before the 1580s, it encompassed 17 provinces north and south of the Rhine. In 925 AD, it was just emerging from ancient tribal territories of Belgae-Celtic origins. The Franks, under Charles the Simple, gave it over to the German chieftain, Henry the Fowler. The region became known as Lotharinia (Lorraine).

 

It was governed by Count Dirk I and by 965 was divided into Upper and Lower Lorraine, straddling the River Rhine, as it turned west toward the sea. Counts ruled the sub regions of Namur, Hainault, Limburg, Zutphen, Luxembourg and Gueldres. Barons controlled Mechlin and Marquesses ruled Antwerp. Flanders emerged from this growing region under Charles the Great, who appointed earls to control the provinces. His daughter married Baldwin of Flanders, who forged the region into a principality that rivaled the French kingdoms. His major holdings were north of the Rhine and included the seven original provinces of modern day Netherlands. They were: Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Overijssel, Groningen, Gelderland and Friesland. The Counts of Holland and the Bishop of Utrecht jointly rule this area.

 

The adjoining German duchies developed in a similar manner, small city-states and principalities that fought for dominance. As they grew, they tied into the ruling class of the Netherlands through marriage. The same thing occurred in Flanders south of the Rhine in the ten districts that became Belgium. Luxembourg, as well, shared connecting bloodlines and heraldic arms. What I have found is a history that can be traced through family arms. The Greater Netherlands (Low Countries), as they existed in ancient times, all shared a unique tie to the family Creighton. It was the rampant lion.

 

We have followed the Creighton blue lion from ancient Brigante-Vocontii beginnings in the Alpine Region of Austria, to the Rhone Valley and on into Scotland through Justinian Creightonai. By the 1500s, it had acquired its present form, with green dragon crest, baronial coronet and imperially crowned rampant lion supporters. Every single Creighton branch that evolved in Scotland or England used the same white shield and blue lion with talons, teeth and tongue. I have also shown that families with separate surnames sometimes had identical or almost identical shields. In every case, they either had a common origin (Douglas and Murray) or arms were combined with, or passed on through, matrilineal lines (Galloway, Crichton-Stuart). Some however, have no ………..

 

 


CHAPTER: 18                         THE SILENT LION OF NASSAU (Editorial Excerpt)

 

Much of the land was at, or below sea level. Since ancient times, a single storm could inundate entire provinces, killing 20,000 or more at a single occurrence. The ‘Low Countries’ encompassed Belgium, the Netherlands, coastal Westphalia and Hanoveria (Germany) as well as southern Denmark (the Juteland Peninsular); it is no wonder that these people historically had sought to migrate en mass to other regions, always battling the sea. Those who chose to remain in their homeland became invested with an inner strength. Their fortitude is probably one reason that they had always gotten along with the Lowland Scots so well. They not only shared cultural and linguistic similarities, but inhospitable homelands as well.

 

The real bond, since ancient times, had been commerce. The Dutch historically had been traders and seamen. Their people were industrious and inventive, where the Scots were not. Since the time of Malcolm Ceannmor, Scotland depended on outside trade for its very staples of life. The majority of Scotland lived on barley and oats well into the 1800s. They were the last country to go through the ‘Renaissance,’ which did not come until the 1700s. The Netherlands supplied them with everything from French soap (soap was not made in Scotland until 1750) to swords and plowshares. When the abbots of Melrose helped found the city of Camp Veere in Zeeland in the 12th century, it was a Godsend for Scotland.

 

Zeeland was then a series of islands at the great combined estuaries of the rivers Rhine, Maas and Schelde.  To the north swept the long finger of Holland, ending in the Friesland Archipelago. The counts of Holland and the dukes of Flanders ruled Zeeland jointly. Until the 1500s, the predominant trade center for Europe was at Bruges (Brugge) in Flanders, which controlled the wool industry. While the English merchants concentrated their efforts with Flanders at Bruges and Antwerp, the Scots established theirs at Veere. Never a large city, it commanded an impressive port for centuries until the sea finally reclaimed it. The lion arms of Zeeland, unlike the other five original provinces (Groningen never displayed a lion), come from Scotland and not the House of Nassau. Symbolizing the waterlogged country, the red rampant lion struggles from the waves of the sea. It originated in 1196 when Floris III Count of Zeeland married Ada, sister to William the Lion of Scotland. In 1296, the Cistercian monks of Melrose obtained rights to import wool duty-free to Veere. The van Borsele Lords of Veere (1286-1486) remained the paramount house of Zeeland for 200 years, but their coat of arms was a simple white shield with a black fess, or narrow band across its middle. The municipal arms of Veere displayed a blue castle for the city, with the Borsele shield as its gate. The Borsele arms, however, always were shown in conjunction with the lion of Zeeland when shown on old maps of Veere.

 

Until Mary Stewart’s death in 1465, she, as Lady Borsele and Countess of Buchan, did more than anyone to unite Scotland with the Netherlands. She not only encouraged Scottish immigration to Zeeland, but helped form the Scots communities at Leiden and Rotterdam, Holland. Leiden became a great center of liberal academic training for humanist philosophy and law. Scottish tradesmen and merchants began occupying large sectors of Rotterdam, with many integrating into Dutch society. When the turmoil of the Protestant Reformation took hold, these areas became a haven for Scots refugees fleeing Catholic persecution.

 

The Protestant Reformation in the Netherlands came late in history and its defender was the Catholic William of Orange (Willem van Oranje, 1533-1584). Born to the Ottonian line of the House of Nassau-Dillenburg (the descendants of Walram of Nassau comprised the second), William (the Silent) was German by birth. His family originated in the Rhineland-Palatinate of Hesse and held vast holdings in the Netherlands. In 1544, he inherited all of the Netherlands estates as well as the principality of Orange, a town in southern France. By coincidence, Orange, on the Rhone River, was in the ancient Vocontii tribal region of Justinian Creightonai.

 

William’s parents were both Lutheran Protestants, but upon the insistence of Emperor Charles V, he was raised a Catholic. William became a member of the emperor’s household, who raised him like a second son, becoming the chief page to Charles. In 1555 the emperor made William ‘stadhouder’ (governor) of the Northern Provinces of Holland, Zeeland and Utrecht.

 

I erroneously depicted Charles V (King Charles I of Spain, 1500-1558) as a dictator and outsider. My Dutch cousin has pointed out that he is still very much a father figure in the Netherlands, being a mentor to William the Silent. His history is one of complexity. He was maternally the grandson of Ferdinand V of Castile and Isabella I of Spain. His paternal grandfather was Maximillian von Habsburg, first emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. His great-grandfather was Charles the Bold duke of Burgundy. Born to Philip I king of Castile and Joanna the Mad at Ghent (in present Belgium), he was raised in the Low Countries. At six he inherited the Burgundian territories from his father. At 16 he succeeded Ferdinand V as king of Spain and all of her vast territories. Maximillian died in 1519, leaving the central Habsburg holdings to the young man. His brother Ferdinand ruled this region as governor. By his twentieth year, Charles ruled an empire that exceeded Charlemagne’s. It included the Spanish kingdoms of Castile and Argone, Spanish conquests in Africa, South America, Central America, Mexico and New Spain in North America, the Netherlands, the Italian states of Naples, Sicily and Sardinia and the many Habsburg lands throughout Central Europe. His entire life was spent in trying to unify his empire. He instituted regional centralized government and expanded commerce. Traditional Catholicism was all that he knew and the Ottoman Turks were invading deep within his territories. When the Islamic forces were at the gates of Vienna, Martin Luther emerged to present a second threat to his Roman Faith. Charles spent a lifetime trying to combat the Turks and quell revolts of his German princes, who sought autonomy while he was preoccupied with the Turks. In taking William of Orange under his wing, he may have sought inner peace, for his own son Philip was controlled completely by his fanatical, ultra-Catholic mother. Charles saw great potential in the young prince William, who became his protégée.

 

William married four times and his unions were clearly for his advancement. His first wife was Anne of Egmont and Buren, an honored house of Holland and probably a Catholic, like he was at the time. With Anne, he had a son, Prince Philip William of Orange (1556-1616). He evidently divorced Anne after troubles broke out with Charles V. Two years before she died, William chose Anne of Saxony for his second wife. Her father, Maurice Elector and duke of Saxony was a Protestant, but politically aligned with Charles V. In 1524, Maurice founded the first Protestant university at Marburg and with Philip of Hesse, had formed the Protestant German Schmalkaldic League to oppose the Catholic Emperor. He turned sides to gain the rest of Saxony. Both he and the Emperor opposed William’s marriage of Anne, but they were married even so. Anne of Saxony bore him Maurice of Nassau (1567-1625), who succeeded as Prince of Orange, upon his half-brother’s death. William’s third wife was French, a runaway nun and a princess of the royal House of Bourbon. With full support of the Protestant hierarchy, he married Charlotte of Bourbon in 1578, but she died two years later. His last wife was also French and a Protestant Huguenot (French Calvinist), Louise de Coligny, daughter of Admiral Coligny. She bore him his third son, Frederick Henry Prince of Orange (1584-1647).

 

Charles V had added 13 new archbishoprics at Antwerp, Ghent, Bruges, Ypres, St-Omer, Namur, Boise-le-Duc (Hertogenbosch), Roermond, Haarlem, Deventer, Leeuwarden, Groningen and Middelburg. The last affected the Scots merchants. In 1519, Veere was retired by the Conservator of Trade in favor of Middelburg because the harbor at Veere was filling in with silt. Within 23 years, they were back at Veere because of Catholic dominance at Middelburg.

 

William’s elevation as stadhouder of the Northern Provinces occurred just as Charles passed on his imperial title to his son, Philip II of Spain and the Netherlands. The new Emperor toured the Netherlands and remained until 1559. Lacking the iron fist of his father, he allowed Protestants, especially Calvinists to enter the country, who instinctively sought out the Northern Provinces where laws were less stringent. Before Charles V reorganized the 17 provinces, the Catholic Church had only four bishoprics in the entire region and Utrecht was the only one north of the Rhine. He had centralized government at Brabant and Antwerp became the wool center of Europe. But when Philip returned to …..

 

 


CHAPTER: 19                         GIACOMO CRETONIO AND THE BLACK ROBES (Editorial Excerpt)

 

This is a very hard time to write about when trying to follow a single family to new locations. In Scotland alone, the Creightons now numbered in the hundreds, if not thousands. We know that Catholic-Protestant adherence split known family lines. The Creightons of Sanquhar, Protestant leaders, also produced Catholic bishops. The Creightons of Somerset, England may have been Catholic and from this same group, choosing the semi-Catholic rituals of the Anglican Church over the Scots Presbyterian dogma. They, in turn, produced Anglican bishops. The ‘grassroots’ Creightons, those thousands of tenant farmers spread all over the Lowlands, had not yet had an opportunity to migrate. The very culture of the Lowlands kept them glued to their land. They simply endured, as they had always done. It is from the upper class that the continental Creightons would have originated.

 

One family member of great fame was James Crichtoun (also Creighton) of Clunie, Perthshire. He is a good example of how the upper class was raised and went far afield in their career pursuits. He was the same child mentioned above, born at Eliock House in Dumfries, a member of the Sanquhar Creightons. He was privileged, first of all, by being the son of Robert Crichtoun Lord Advocate. He claimed partial royal title through his mother, Elizabeth Stewart. He was only two when his family moved from Eliock to Clunie Castle, to lay claim to the lands transferred from Dunkeld diocese by bishop Robert Crichtoun.

 

Much can be learned about this complicated family through the old family records of the McCericks of Cairn. Many shared the same first names, but had various spellings of Creighton, although they lived less than 10 miles from one another. Sanquhar district, which James left as a baby, contained William Creichtoun Sheriff of Dumfries, Robert Crichton Lord Sanquhar, James Creighton of Carcow who was closely related to James Creighton of Frendraught (Aberdeen), George Creighton (related to William Creichtoun, tutor of Sanquhar) and William Creichtoun of Ryhill, son of Lord Robert of Sanquhar and the future First Earl of Dumfries and Stair. James’ father the Lord Advocate spelled his name Robert Creychtoun (Creighton).

 

Young James was one of those rare individuals who would be classified today as a child genius. He was born in 1660 and was raised at Clunie Castle on the shores of Loch Clunie in Perth. He had close association with his bishop relative, Robert Crichtoun of Dunkeld. He trained, initially, at the grammar school at the cathedral, probably from a very early age. From there, he was sent to Perth, where there was a larger school. His personal tutor was the famous George Buchanan, ultra-reformist and teacher of Mary of Scots as well as her son, James VI. From Buchanan, James found learning to be an adventure.

 

His scholarly record would have been impressive at any point in time, but was phenomenal for the 1500s. At the age of ten, he had reached St. Andrew’s University, obtaining his Bachelor of Arts degree at 12 in 1572. Two years later, he achieved his Master of Arts degree and was fluent in 12 languages. He was 14-years-old. In 1576, when he was 17, his relatives in Dumfries gathered to draw up papers confirming to him the Clunie lands in Perth. He was a bright and rising star for the Creightons, closely involved with the ancient commercial ventures based out of Sanquhar and Leith. His business associates included John Dougall, elder and burgess of Edinburgh and Patrick McCrerick, burgess of Sanquhar. His king, James VI was six years his junior and still under the tutorage of Buchanan when Crichton, in 1577, went to France at the age of 17.

 

In most historical notes about him, it is called ‘the Grand Tour.’ Still done today as a right of passage, sons of the noble class toured the continent upon finishing school. He seems to have gone with another James Creighton; the two are often confused for one another. The second was probably James of Carcow (Dumfries), or James Creighton of Frendraught, son of John. James of Clunie went directly to Paris and immediately became a sensation.

 

His looks alone would have set him apart. Tall and remarkably handsome, he was also a first-class swordsman and equestrian. Everything about him exuded excellence, but his knowledge became the talk of the town. He sent out handbills challenging the most noted scholars of Europe to meet with him. The faculty of Paris University took up his cause and soon 50 professors, masters of the arts and church scholars, accepted his challenge. The event was well advertised and with an audience of 3000 looking on, the learned men questioned him on every known subject, in ten different languages. The marathon went on for nine hours and Crichton never once answered incorrectly.

 

The following day, at the King’s invitation, he attended a royal joust, where he won all honors. He was proclaimed ‘L’Admirable Crichton’ and upon receiving a ring from the city as well as a purse full of gold, he entered the King’s army. For two years, he remained in the service of Henry III fighting as a Catholic. If he entered the Netherlands, it would have been with the pro-Catholic forces. The brother of Henry III, Francis Duc dAlencon and Anjou led the Protestant forces.  After his stay with the French Army, he went on to Venice and Rome, where the Pope took special note of his acclaim and abilities. While in the Pope’s company, ‘Giacomo Cretonio’ met the duke of Mantua, who befriended him. The duke hired Crichton as personal tutor for his son, Vincenzo Gonzoga (1562-1612). At Padua, he worked in this capacity until 1582. In June of that year, Crichton was celebrating the annual town carnival. Six masked men (everyone was masked for the carnival festivities) attacked him with swords. He dispatched five, but on readying to kill the last attacker, he saw that it was his ward and student, Vincenzo. Jealous of Crichton’s reputation, he had led the attack. Taken aback, Crichton faltered and Vincenzo stabbed him through the heart. He was 22.

 

If James Crichton had lived, there is no telling what he might have accomplished. He undoubtedly would have followed his father into royal service. If he married, it was never recorded. He spent five years in France and Italy. It is reasonable to assume that he, as master of the ‘social graces,’ had many opportunities to father one or more children. He was so well known across Europe and his homeland that his offspring, legitimate or otherwise, would have received special attention. The Scots, especially, gave little credence in ostracizing illegitimate children, especially those of the upper classes. For some reason, I feel that he left a lasting Creighton legacy on the continent. Only he had the rank and title large enough to pass on to a son. There were Creightons in Touraine who could have raised the child. It is only a thought, but plausible. 

 

It was a volatile time of great expansion. Elizabeth I was at the height of power, Mary Queen of Scots was her prisoner and Mary’s son James VI ruled under Protestant guidance from Scotland. Elizabeth surrounded herself with her ‘Gentlemen Adventures,’ those men like Raleigh, Drake and Essex. When Mary was implicated in a conspiracy with Philip II of Spain, she was beheaded. In 1587, Philip, in an attempt to invade England, lost his entire fleet of warships (Spanish Armada) to storms and the rocky shores. One of the primary conspirators against Elizabeth I in favor of Mary of Scots was a little known Creighton.

 

A Catholic faction rarely discussed in Scottish history was the Jesuits. Founded by the militant Ignatio of Loyola (1491-1556), the Jesuits, or Society of Jesus became the Shock Troops of the Counter-Reformation. With Papal blessing and patronage from the Spanish Habsburgs, they rose to great achievements in less than two decades. If left unchecked, they would have become another Holy Order of Knights.

 

Preceding the invasion of Britain by Philip II, years of intrigue embroiled Catholic Scots in France with Philip’s emissaries. The House of Guise and Esme’ Stuart Lord Lennox led the movement to plant the imprisoned Mary of Scots on the English throne. It was Mary’s complicity in this matter that caused her execution by Queen Elizabeth. Beginning in the early 1570s, Jesuit insurgents began entering England. The queen repressed their movement and executed their leader, Edward Campion in 1574. This only hardened the reserve of the Jesuit priests, who went under…………

 

 


CHAPTER: 20                        THE STOCK EXCHANGE (Editorial Excerpt)

 

The “Eastland Company was one of the first attempts at ‘Joint-Stock’ participation in a long-range business venture. No single lord, British or Scottish, could fund it alone, but by combining their interests, it became feasible. The Eastland Company, of all others, should have included Creightons. The Sanquhar group, which retained close ties with the Frendraught Creightons were also associates with the merchants Dougall and McCrerick. The Polish region that drew their attention was the Old Prussian duchies from Courland to Konigsburg and south to Warsaw. The Scots communities at Riga, Tilsit, Konigsburg, Krosno and Danzig had seen Scots trading for two hundred years. It is known that many Gordons were long time residents, who were closely related to the Creightons. James Crichton’s ‘Grand Tour’ in 1577-82 (and James Creighton) could very well have been a family business venture to gain financial support for the Eastland, and future Companies. James Creighton was back in Sanquhar by 1579, when he signed papers for McCrerick.

 

In 1581, one year before Crichton’s death at Padua, the Merchant Adventures founded the second trading concern, called the “Turkey Company”. Combined with the older Venetian trading companies, it became known as the “Levant Company.” In an alliance with the Ottoman Empire, it brought Venetian, English and Scottish ships to ports from Italy to Persia. This eastern Mediterranean region was called the ‘Levant.’ The Admirable Crichton’s presence at Mantua may have been for reasons other than tutoring a boy two years his junior. The duke of Mantua was William Gonzaga (1550-1587), a leading patron of the arts and of Padua University. His duchy was also the chief woolen manufacturing region of Italy, for 400 years. As the ‘Antwerp of the Levant,’ Crichton’s role in Mantua as an employee of the duke would have been advantageous to his relatives at home. By a strange coincidence, the Duchy of Mantua was on the Po River in northern Italy. It was this region that I placed the early Creightons in ancient Grecian times.

 

Following in rapid succession as profits began to be realized, came the “Moscovy Company” and the “Guinea Company”. The first formalized the old trade union between England and Russia, now ruled by Ivan the Terrible. The Guinea Company opened West Africa to trade, in opposition to Portuguese holds on that region. As the Joint-Stock companies continued to expand further and further from home, investments increased and new members participated. In 1601, those of England, Scotland and the Netherlands (United Provinces) joined as “The Company of Merchants of London Trading Into the East Indies. It was known as the East India Company. The following year, the United Provinces founded their own, the “Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie,” The Netherlands East India Company, or the VOC. It has also come down through history as the Dutch East India Company, surviving as a viable body until 1798. It founded ports in Capetown, South Africa and Batavia, Java. Zeeland Province, with Veere and Middelburg as separate investors, flew their own VOC flags. The company soon eclipsed any other in the world. The “Scottish Company” evolved from both the East India and the Dutch East India Companies. The investors, if they had enough money or the will to gamble, invested in many Joint-Stock ventures. Some from Veere and Edinburgh formed a separate company that had Dutch and English, as well as Danish and Swedish backers.

 

With Queen Elizabeth’s death in 1603, James VI of Scotland became James I of England, Scotland and Ireland. With his wife Anne and a growing number of children, the Scottish Court moved south to London. They would remain there for 14 years, not returning to Scotland to visit until 1617. Born a Catholic to Mary of Scots and Henry Stewart Lord Darnley in 1560, James had been raised by ultra-conservative Protestants under John Knox and George Buchanan. Holding him a virtual prisoner at Ruthven Castle from 1583-84, the King had learned to hate the Calvinist Presbyterians and he mistrusted the Catholics for leaving him there. He had already come to blows with Knox, insisting that the new Church of Scotland reinstate bishops. Once installed in England, he began to lobby for the eventual decline of Presbyterianism in his homeland. He favored the less severe English church, which was an Episcopalian (state run) moderate form of Catholicism. He began to promote his ‘Divine right’ to rule, placing the monarchy at the head of the ecclesiastical body of government. To counter the radical Calvinist Bible, widely used throughout the Kingdom, he produced and made mandatory his King James Authorized Version, published in 1611. It became a time of flux for many in his kingdom. The Catholics cheered when Elizabeth died, thinking that the Stuart king would stand behind them, as had his mother. The many ‘Separatist’ Protestant factions, off-springs from Calvinism, saw him as their savior because the Perspiration Scots had reared him. The Church of England (Anglican) assumed that he would allow them free reign as Elizabeth had done. All were sorely disappointed. In 1615, James authorized the execution of a Catholic countryman, John Olgilvie, a Jesuit priest who worked in Perthshire as William Crightoun had done before him. Born in Banff in 1579, Olgilvie became the only officially recognized post-Reformation martyr in Scottish history.

 

Intellectually, King James was on a par with the ‘Admirable’ James Crichton. Both had training under Buchanan, who was a zealot, but a remarkable teacher and poet. James I also wrote, composed and promoted the arts. His intelligence and gift for business led him to the Royal Exchange, home base of the Merchant Adventures. There he became embroiled with men like Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, Sir Fernando Gorges*, John Popham and Lord Thomas de la Warr (Delaware). These men, with investors from all over Great Britain sought his favor for new ‘adventures.’ In 1604, he authorized the London,” or Virginia Company. It eventually provided for colonization of lands that extended from present South Carolina to Nova Scotia. The Virginia Company was an attempt to stay off the approaches of Catholic France and Spain to the same eastern seaboard regions of North America. At the same time (and for the same group of men), James authorized the Plantation of Ulster.

 

*The Virginia Company in reality was two overlapping Joint-Stock ventures. The London Company dealt primarily with the southern lands of Virginia, while the Plymouth Company wished to develop the northern regions of ‘New England.’ Many invested in both ventures, with present mid-New Jersey being the dividing line. South, at Chesapeake Bay, the Jamestown Plantation was exclusively Protestant, while the upper bay (Maryland), became Catholic. Sir Humphrey Gilbert had, early on, founded an English colony at Newfoundland. Sir Ferdinand Gorges of Somerset, a devote Catholic, headed the ‘New England’ faction, concentrating on present Massachusetts and Maine. Many Scotsmen were involved with his ventures, one being David Thompson of Edinburgh, who settled a colony on the New Hampshire-Maine border in 1623. This made Maine, north to Nova Scotia, a Catholic haven in the early years, while Massachusetts became a Puritan Protestant stronghold. My mother’s family Poore settled at Newbury (Quascacunquen Plantation) in 1634. In 1650, at adjoining Rowley, Massachusetts, two Stuart brothers arrived, exiled as Catholic Royalists. They were Duncan Stuart and Alexander Stuart of Invernahyle, whose family had settled as Ulster-Scots in County Donegal.

 

The subject of the Ulster Plantation has been approached in previous writings but now names and places are more relevant. I devote much of Part V, ‘The Rabbit,’ to the Scots Creightons and their settlement of Down, Antrim, Cavan and Fermanagh counties beginning in the 1590s. They were from the senior house of Creighton of Brunston in Kyle, Central Ayrshire, but many Creightons participated in all of the Ulster counties, intertwining with Stewart and Stuart cousins as they had always done. The story of Ulster is a study in itself and should not be passed over lightly. My ancestors came from Scotland prior to 1800, undoubtedly having ties to Northern Ireland for generations before my great-great-grandfather was born outside Downpatrick, County Down in 1800. They were horsemen and horse breeders and may have been from Ayr or Dumfries, but their occupations point toward central to eastern Scotland, Perth-Kinross, Angus or Fife. The Creightons of Fife as you will see in Part V had close ties with their cousins north in Angus and Aberdeenshire. Many were horse raisers and merchants.

             

While we are discussing the Creightons of Fife, one comes to note at Dunfermline. By the 1640s, ‘witch hunting’ had become a favorite past time for the Kirk leaders. James I & VI had started the trend during his early reign by writing a lengthy history of witchcraft and the church. Hundreds met their fiery deaths in Scotland and England as a result. In 1648, William Creighton the Warlock confessed to have made a ‘paction’ with the Devil and was publicly burned to death. The Creightons of Fife resided mainly at Kinghorne, Kirkcaldy and Auchtermuchty.

 

The transitional time of union between Scotland and England was hard ………………..

 


PART IV:

SEARCHING FOR THE GOLDEN LION

Part IV concerning the Dutch History could not have been completed without the encouragement and learned assistance of the Dutch group below

Jos Grupping, Nijmegen, the Netherlands, group liaison to James and then to Susan & Part IV Editor

Joep Creyghton (Leiden)

Ingrid Creyghton, Spierdijk, West Friesland (New Holland)

Maria Creyghton-Lemmens (Den Haag)


CHAPTER: 21                        PRUSSEN-HOLLAND (Editorial Excerpt)

 

With the family members of Scotland, England and Ulster more or less accounted for I can finally concentrate on the continental Creightons. We left them in various locations, East Prussia, Germany and the Netherlands just as William of Orange and his brother broke away from the Spanish overrule of Philip II. The origin of the Dutch family Creyghton is the goal of this work, but much groundwork still needs to be laid. The years of the 17th century were very involved; politics, religion, royal lineage, warfare and commerce tied forever the families of Great Britain with those of Holland and the German Principalities. It should be an interesting journey.

 

Between 1592 and 1616, eight Scottish Creightons were listed in Dutch documents as either émigrés or arrivals of one kind or another. All are from the McLean[1] charts as extracted by Joep Creyghton. Some were soldiers to bolster the companies already there; others were relations who joined family members who were in Holland from previous crossings. Still others could have been merchants, or students bound for the universities at Leiden. What is important is that these people preceded the hordes of religious refugees who began arriving at Rotterdam in 1617, as warfare in Europe escalated and James I & VI began persecution of ‘Separatist’ Puritans from England. Although the United Provinces were predominantly Calvinist Protestant, a sizable number especially from the provinces of Brabant and Gelderland, kept their Catholic religion. It cannot be assumed that all Scots émigrés were Protestant.

 

The lists show Creighton arrivals at Leiden, Dordrecht, Delft, Rotterdam, Bergen op Zoom and Utrecht. In 1592, Jan Bruijnfelt a Scottish soldier, arrived with, or married Elizabeth Crichte (Crichton). In 1593 Joris Crichton of Sint Jansstad, Scotland (Johnstone, near Paisley, Renfrewshire), a soldier under Capt. Edmund, married Elysabeth Andries of Anderson, Faarlijn (Feorlan, Argyll), Scotland. Also in 1593, Elisabeth Krichton, widow of Alfons van Corsenbach of Luijck married Capt. Jan Dalage (this could either be Douglas, or Duilach, a sub-clan of Stewart) of Scotland. In 1596, Floris Herries of Scotland married Mayken Ladthouders, the widow of Adam Crichten. In 1607, a William Crichton, a Scottish soldier is mentioned at Leiden. In 1610, Johan Hameltoun, Sergeant under Captain Hamiltoun, married Eva Davids Crichtum of Beiden, Scotland (Badden, Argyll-Bute). In 1614 Thomas Cunigem (Cunningham), Scotchman, Corporal under Gouverneur Ogle (Ogilvie) married Marie Chrechten at Rosendaal, Utrecht. In 1616, at Bergen op Zoom, Crijstine Crachte (Christian, or Christine Creighton) married Jacus Mussel, a Scottish soldier under Captain Walter Bruijs (Bruce, or Bryce).

 

Because so many of these Scottish surnames were misspelled or altered to Dutch (Ogle, Bruijs, Cunigem, Bruijnfelt and Dalage), I see the many spellings of Creighton and Crichton in the McLean charts to be of little consequence. They were all of the extended Creighton family, some from Scotland and others residents of the Netherlands. Jan Chrichton, Jan Crichton and Margriet Hamelton were at Rotterdam in 1622. Lowys Krichten (Louise Crichton) and Rogier Wodhouse (Roger Woodhouse) were at Zwolle in 1626. Jan Krichten, Robert Furst (Forest) and others were at Nijmegen in 1630. Rying (Ryan) Crichton and Margriet Jong were at Dordrecht in 1631. In 1632, Robert Krechton, a soldier, was at Nijmegen. Janneken Crachten, Thomas Marbles, ‘Ritmr.’ Douglas, Nanneken Crachten and references for a Maeijken (Meagan, or Mayken) Crachten were at Nijmegen in 1637. In 1655, at Bergen op Zoom, a Crichton soldier from Kirkpatrick (Dumfries) arrived with his company from Kampen. Finally, in 1659 Corporal Reinier Krichten was at Hulst.

 

The following year (1660) the first surnamed Creyghton was recorded as being at Leiden, Robertus Creyghton. His credentials were academic and the historical data was written in Latin, with a Dutch ‘accent.’ Since I read neither Latin nor Dutch, I will do my best to read between the lines. It mentions a book authored by ‘Sylvester Sgoropulus,’ who may have been of English origin. Robertus (Robert) Creyghton[2] appears to have been a noted writer and scholar of Latin and Greek, as he did the translation from Greek to Latin. Because of the year, we are tempted to think that this Robert Creyghton might be the same person as Robert of Bath and Wells, at the end of his exile in Europe. With the reinstatement of Charles II, Creyghton resumed his post as resident cannon at Wells Cathedral in Somerset that same year, but had been on the continent since 1646. He is known to have been an avid reader and writer as well as a book collector. The only other option is his son, also Robert, who was 16 years old in 1660. The accolades though point toward a more advanced thinker, unless young Robert was another ‘Admirable’ Crichton.

 

The last three entries on the Dutch list were added by Joep Creyghton, to include some other Creightons, known to have entered The Netherlands. The very next entry, added by Joep, is that of his ancestor Johannes Creyghton copied from the Dutch periodical “Nederlands Patriciaat”, volume 4, 1913. Unfortunately the NP lists January 25, 1660 as his date of birth in Tilsit, Oost Pruissen (German-Ost Preussen) or East Prussia. This turned out to be wrong[3]. Again, the description is lengthy and has events highlighting his life from 1660 to 1711. Johannes was born to that ancient Scots merchant region north of Königsberg, which had become a sub-district at the northern Lithuanian border which had a rather large number of Scots families. I have made mention of it because of its origins with the old Hanseatic League, built by the Order of the Teutonic Knights, being populated by both Scottish and Dutch immigrants. Prussia then was still a grouping of German duchies and principalities, but had become a free state, divided between East and West. West Prussia had Danzig as its capitol. So many Scots had settled there that their district was called New Scotland. The Polish government had controlled East Prussia for centuries, but by 1660 German judicial districts had broken it up into small counties, called a ‘Kreis.’ Each Kreis, which had originally been family holdings, was ruled over by the Landrat, who presided over the Landratsamt. Königsberg was the eastern capitol and the Scots throughout East Prussia were allowed Scots Kirks and they spoke Scottish as their first language.

 

Logistically East Prussia, from the Danzig area north to Memel near Tilsit, was made for sea trading. Two great sheltered lagoons protected by long spits of land kept out the eastern Baltic (called the Ostsee or East Sea). Facing the southern inner harbor was Kreis Braunsberg, one of the four Catholic counties where the Jesuit Father William Crichtoun S. J. fled, around 1610.  One of the ‘Amtsgerichtes;’ or lower court districts of Braunsberg, was Preuesisch-Holland or Prussian Holland. Here, many of the Dutch Catholics, as well as Scots, had fled. Since 1526, various members of the House of Hohenzollern had traditionally ruled East Prussia.  Johannes Creyghton*, though, was born in the northern Protestant regions where Tilsit, one of the oldest settled regions, was divided into six lower court districts.

 

*Editor’s Note: Johannes was born as Johannes Krechthon or Kroichton. Some 20 years later, when finishing his studies in the Netherlands, he decided to change his surname to Creyghton. For reasons unknown! This has remained the name of the Dutch Creighton/Crichton branch to the present day.

 

The only other Scots line that used a spelling close to Creyghton was that of Robert Creychtoun (Creighton) of Eliock and Clunie, father to James ‘the Admirable’ Crichton. Since he originated from one of the many side branches of the Creightons of Sanquhar at Eliock, Creyghton of Bath-Wells,……….


CHAPTER: 22                         THE GOLDEN LION (Editorial Excerpt)

 

For over 100 years, a great civil war had torn apart northeast Scotland throughout Aberdeen. It had begun as a clan feud between the senior houses of Gordon and Forbes, with Creightons being cousins to both sides. After the Reformation, the sides divided between Catholic Gordons and Protestant Forbeses, but their hatred toward one another was more traditional than religious. The Creightons of Aberdeen (Frendraught line), the Keiths, Leslies and Frasers led the Forbes faction throughout this ‘war.’ At some point in time, one of the many Creighton-Forbes marital unions may have seen the couple migrate south to the Argyll-Bute region. The Forbes family motto is “Grace me Guide.”*

 

*Editor’s Note: The ‘standard’ motto of the Creighton/Crichton family, as we mentioned (see appendix), was and still is “God Send Grace”. Among the other motto’s there is one used by a Ruthven Cadet of the Crichton of Easthill family saying: “God Me Guide”, that strikes as a combination of the two mottos above and that is also, as we will see shortly, what turns out to be the motto of the Dutch Creyghton branch.

Currently, in Scotland, Sir Robertson Dunn Crichton, being a cousin of the late Patrick Crichton,* bears a coat-of-arms that has the same and unique family motto, with a slightly different spelling of “God Me Guyde.” I have no idea as to its antiquity, but the word ‘guyde,’ in Old Scottish (or Old English) hints that it come from this time period or before. This Crichton shield is also unusual and has two elements not usually associate with traditional Scottish heraldry, but about 90% of it is the original Creighton arms. The crest, instead of the entire Creighton green dragon, is the head only, fully colored and spouting fire. The helm is partially forward facing and is a standard helm, indicating non-baronial status. On the shield is the Creighton rampant blue lion, but he is holding a scale in his left paw, indicating a possible link to the judicial scales of law, or those of a merchant. In ‘chief’ (the entire shield is colored silver, the chief, or top portion of the shield, is separated by a very narrow red band), is a black, three-masted sailing ship, of 17th century vintage. Again, it is probably an ocean-going trading ship. On each side of the ship are gold ‘garbs,’ or sheaves of wheat, another symbol of a merchant or trader.

 

 *On a sad note, Patrick Crichton passed away at the blessed age of 85 on April 2, 2003, during the final editing of this portion of the book. Those that worked with him will miss his advice and guidance. His obituary is Appendix 2.                                                                            

J.H.C. November 2003

 

I would suspect that this particular family possibly had Creighton-Forbes origins and may have been tied to the trading ports of Veere, Zeeland, Königsberg or Memel, East Prussia. If the arms date to the 1600s, the family could have had merchant ships anywhere in the world. If they worked with English traders, Exeter and Portsmouth in the West Country would have been a location of family warehouses, with the Creyghtons of Somerset being close by and possible participants. If they were strictly Scottish, then Zeeland would have been a secondary homeport, working with the VOC (Dutch East India Company). The Cunninghams of Ayr still controlled the conservatorship at Veere and Middelburg as resident Scots-Dutch citizens. Nowhere else in Scots heraldry was there any family motto approaching those of Forbes and Creighton. Creighton/Crichton: “God Send Grace,” Forbes:” Grace Me Guide,” the ‘merchant’ (Dunn Crichton) Crichton line:” God Me Guyde.” Sometime through these years, the Dutch Creyghtons acquired their own unique arms*, with their motto being “God Me Guide.”

 


*Editor’s Note: As research has progressed, we now have learned that it was Johannes Creyghton who established this particular Coat of Arms himself.

 

The Creyghton wapen is a gold rampant lion on a blue field, displaying talons, teeth and tongue, which is black instead of red. The arms are fully ‘achieved,’ bearing matching gold rampant lion supporters, both being imperially crowned. Above the baronial helm is the gold and blue wreath, surmounted not by the Creighton dragon, but by a demi-rampant lion, which is also gold.

 

“God Me Guide” is bannered across the bottom. If these arms were black and white and transposed over the full achievement of the Creighton arms of Scotland, the two would be identical except for the crest and motto*. Was the Creyghton arms of Holland an alteration of the 15th century Creighton arms, or did it evolve separately along Dutch and German lines? There is no way of knowing, but the Scots arms of Creighton derived from generations of close service to the ruling House of Stewart (Stuart). The crowned lion supporters attest to this. The gold on blue colors of the Dutch Creyghtons, however, are also almost exactly like those of the Royal Dutch wapen, derived from the House of Orange-Nassau. But this seems to be a mere coincidence as recently Jos Grupping discovered that Johannes was already using the Creyghton wapen, supposedly with the gold lion on a blue field. So I don’t feel very comfortable about a relation with Nassau with respect to the colors.

 

*Editor’s Note: Have a look at the special chapter on the Dutch Creyghton branch at the end of Part IV where we did a similar action by re-coloring the excellent rendition of the Creighton wapen by Jim.

 

Johannes was probably born and raised as a Scottish boy and after his theological study in Franeker he stayed for a rather long time in the north of Holland. The Creyghton motto and crest also hint at ………..


CHAPTER: 23                         THE HOME OF LIONS (Editorial Excerpt)

 

Frederick V was born to the Pfalz-Rhineland heritage that was home to the House of Nassau. His birthplace of Arnsberg, in the Oberbergischer Kreis was east of the Rhine near northern Luxembourg. His minority years were spent due south at Zweibrucken, near the French border. Halfway between, near the southern tip of Luxembourg on the Rhine, was the small district of Creichingen-Pietingen. If you look for it today, it is the town of Puttlingen, with Krichenger Strasse running through its center. Pietingen, the adjoining town to the west, has become Morgenstern. The largest city is Saarbrucken, to the east. I think that Creichingen is one of three known German Creighton sites, probably occupied since the 1400s by descendants of Sir John Crichtoun of Chatillion-sur-Indre, or from ‘native’ Creightons of distant times.  

 

The earliest reference to Creichingen that I have found is that of Count (Graf) Georg I of Creichingen-Pietingen (1510-1567). His wife, a noblewoman from south-central Germany and the old Swabian region of Baden-Wurttemburg, was Countess (Grafin) Philippa of Leiningen (1512-1554). Her region, due east of Creichingen was near Leipzig, near the Bavarian border. Their son, Graf Georg II von Creichingen married another countess of Baden-Wurttemburg, Grafin Esther of Mansfeld-Eisleben. Their son was Graf Peter Ernst von Mansfeld, who had an illegitimate son named Graf Ernst von Mansfeld (1580-1626). This man, who became a noted soldier, married Anna Sibylla von Nassau-Welberg (1575-1643), a cousin to the ruling Dutch House of Orange-Nassau. Last was their daughter, Grafin Antoinette of Creichingen (1603-1635), who married the Marquis Hermann of Baden-Rodenmacher.

 

At the same time, Creightons of the Mansfelderland district of Baden-Wurttemburg owned lands at Cratzenbach and Creglingen. Seeing the maternal ties of this region to that of Creichingen, they were probably one extended family and related to the ancient House of Veldenz. In 1647, George Wilhelm Herr von Cratzen (or von Cretzen) was born at Cratzenbach. Another ancient family from this region was the House of Guelph, tied to the dukes of both the Hohenzolern line and to that of the dukes of Luxembourg that were granted rulership of portions of East Prussia. Their family arms, as well, was a gold lion on blue.

 

The Late Patrick Crichton of Scotland once told me that, in his opinion, the history of these elusive people would be found in their heraldic arms. I am beginning to think that it might be the only way. The ‘Creighton Zone’ extended from Chatillion-sur-Indre (Berri) in central France to the Rhine at Creichingen-Pietingen and then across southwest Germany to the Saxony-Bavaria border. Our original ‘Rocky Homeland’ was south on the Rhone, within the principality of Orange. The German Creightons may have evolved separately from the time of the Romans, being part of the Gallic Belgae who crossed the Rhine and intermarried with the Alamanni princes of Swabia. If the Creighton blue lion is as old as I think it is, it followed the ancient ancestors to the deep forests of the Rhineland.

 

It was the home of the lions. Swabia included all lands of southwest Germany east of France and north of Switzerland to Upper Bavaria. Until 1534, the Swabian League ruled over 26 city-states in a militarized trade union that rivaled the Hanseatic League. To the west, Swabia overlapped the Rhineland-Pfalz districts where the House of Nassau and their gold lion on blue ruled a vast territory extending into Belgium and the Netherlands. Eastern Swabia shared rule with the Hohenzollern princes of Bohemia and Brandenburg-Prussia, who were red lions on gold. The red lion took precedence across Swabia in various forms, except in the Rhineland-Pfalz Kreis.

 

In 1101, Otto I of Nassau-Geldern and Hendric I of Limburg had spread the Nassau gold lion on blue to new principalities. At that time, the counts of Veldenz at Emichonen in Kreis-Rhineland used the Creighton blue lion on silver as their arms. In 1444, the arms of von Veldenz combined with the gold lion on black of Phalz-Zweibrucken to create the new Kreis district of Phalz-Rhineland. This is where Creichingen-Pietingen was located, indicating that the French-German Rhineland south of Luxembourg may have always been a Creighton stronghold. When Sir John Crichtoun was governor of Chatillion-sur-Indre in 1428, he probably knew of many more continental cousins who remained behind when others migrated to the Isles. Many families of Scotland and England today share land holdings in ancient Gaul with ‘those who were left behind.’

 

It is the gold lion, however, that we are seeking. I have already elaborated in Part III on the ‘Order of the Golden Lion’ from the Grand Duchy of Hessen-Darmstradt. Their ducal arms, however, was a red and white-striped lion on a blue field. The gold lion on blue, specifically associated with the House of Nassau and the Rhineland, was also found in other locations. There was the Lower Saxony family Ostring at Jever, in Friesland County. Another was of the family Guelphs (Welfen), dukes of Saxony and Bavaria of South Swabia, which I mentioned earlier. Last were the counts of Ravensburg, in the Tubingen district of Baden-Wurttemburg, which was the same region where Mansfelderland, Cratzenbach and Creglingen were located.

 

And so, when 14-year-old Frederick V succeeded as elector, he was quite familiar with the blue and the gold lions of his homeland. Through his mother’s Nassau roots, he was also familiar with the gold lion on blue of his grandfather, William the Silent. In 1613, at the age of 17, he married Princess Elizabeth Stuart, daughter of James I & VI. This added the rampant red royal lion of Scotland to the mix. The gathered German princes recognized Frederick as successor to his father’s Protestant League. In 1614, he was declared of age to assume all of his father’s duties as elector palatine of the Rhine. It was quite a responsibility for such a young man.

 

The couple had four years of semi-solitude and began their long line of sons and daughters. Whether Elizabeth had Creightons in her personal service from England or Scotland is unknown, but …………

 


CHAPTER: 24                         THE LION OF THE NORTH (Editorial Excerpt)

 

The Scots participation in the Thirty Years War was unprecedented for 17th century Europe. Although they had acted as mercenaries to many nations for centuries, nothing preceding the Swedish King’s call to arms had existed in the numbers that responded. I said earlier that 25,000 Scots entered the war, but this number could have been as high as 40,000. When they assembled in Sweden under their field commanders, the “Green Brigade” included insular Scots (Scotland, England and Ulster) and reassigned Scots Brigades from Holland, Germany and France. It was the first ‘modern army’ in world history and the war would be a training ground for the later Wars of the Covenant in England, Scotland and Ireland. I would like to see a complete list of the commanding officers, for I am sure one or more was a Creighton.

 

Gustav Adolph, the Lion of the North, assumed command of the allied Protestant forces in 1629, but Scotsmen had been part of his forces for years prior to that time. Robert Douglas, the King’s personal page, rapidly rose to the rank of field marshal. Sir Alexander Leslie of Auchintoul, who had relieved Stralsund in 1628, became another field marshal and envoy to Russia. Other field marshals were Sir Patrick Ruthven and Hugo Hamilton. Colonel Robert Munro of Foulis (Fowlis, Angus) was one of his closest friends and confidants.

 

The King’s army and navy worked like a well-oiled machine and Scotsmen headed many departments. His minister of war was Alexander Erskine, a Creighton cousin. His Vice-Admiral of the navy was Richard Clark. Some were Catholic, who wished to support deposed Queen Elizabeth Stuart of Bohemia. The most prominent was Colonel John Hepburn, leader of the Scots Brigade Regiment. Another partially Catholic Scots Regiment was the Highlanders of Donald Mackay Lord Reay of Strathnaver. Mackay’s Scottish Regiment became famous, remaining on the continent through seceding generations. His sons John and Angus fought with him as fellow officers, with John becoming a Danish Army General. His grandson, Aenus, settled in Holland as commander of the regiment. In 1822, Aenus’ grandson Barthold Mackay became Baron Ophemert of the Netherlands.

 

Lt. General Alexander Forbes (10th Lord Forbes) led a large force for Gustav Adolph throughout the German campaigns; it is probable that many Aberdeen Creightons fought under his command. In fact, any Protestant Creighton north of the Clyde would have followed him, as they had through the century-long Gordon-Forbes Civil War in northeast Scotland. Much of the fighting in 1631-32 revolved around the Creglingen and Cratzen lands west of Leipzig. General Forbes’ cousin Patrick was the civil leader of the Prussian-Scots communities based at Danzig. John Hepburn’s Scots Regiments were heroes of Breitenfeld. They then went on to take Leipzig in 1631, which Hepburn occupied as military governor. He then went on to take Munich in 1632, with Mackay’s Highlanders being the first to enter the city.  King Gustav appointed Hepburn governor of Munich as well. When the king made an offhand comment on Hepburn’s Catholic beliefs, the Colonel angrily resigned his commission and departed for France, where he was made Field Marshal of the French Army. King Gustav was killed that year, but 59 more of his Scots officers received governorships of captured German towns or castles before he died.

 

Field Marshal Alexander Leslie, who Gustav had used successfully to bring Russian aid into the war, succeeded the king as commander-in-chief of the United Protestant Army. Leslie (Earl of Leven), with his rapport with the Russians, became governor of Smolensk and later a general in their army. That Russian city was located half way between Minsk and Moscow. Major General David Drummond became governor of Strattin. Maj. Gen. James Ramsay became governor of Hanau. Maj. Gen. William Legge became governor of Bremen. Field Marshal Patrick Ruthven became governor of Ulm. Who were the other 55 German governors assigned from the ranks of Scottish commanders, and were any of them Creightons? Again, it is very likely. So many of the top ranking officers ……………………

 

 


CHAPTER: 25                         THE BROTHERHOOD (Editorial Excerpt)

 

The similarities of the Creyghton wapen and that of the Royal Netherlands Arms are striking, but the Royal Arms, in the 1640s was in its infancy. The Royal wapen of Orange-Nassau, the gold lion on a blue shield supported by imperially crowned rampant lions, came out of the Treaty of Westphalia (Munster) of 1648. As new duchies and grand duchies formed as a result of the treaty, the basic Orange-Nassau Arms was cloned to represent Luxembourg and many other holdings of the ruling senior house.  There was much interplay as diplomats and military envoys sought to sub-divide the Habsburg Empire, creating new countries and districts. National boundaries altered between Germany and her neighbors as Sweden fought to gain ‘conquered’ territories. A Creighton of some distinction may have played a role in these peace conferences, but the present Dutch Creyghton arms had evidently already evolved along separate lines. I will continue to follow the historical events with the succeeding Prince of Orange William II, son of Frederick Henry. He became the first ‘royal’ prince of the United Provinces.

 

The senior merchants of the VOC ruled from their wealthy home city of Amsterdam. They controlled the vast empire of the United East India Compagnie, called ‘Jan Compagnie,’ in competition with the English ‘John Company,’ or East India Company. During the war they had authorized the capture of Portuguese holdings in the East Indies and took control of much of the world’s trade. The Dutch businessmen of Amsterdam were called the ‘Lords XVII’ and profit gains took precedence over religion or national unity. Their goal was a 40% return on all investments.

 

The House of Orange-Nassau, of course, had many family members within the VOC hierarchy, as did most of the senior houses of the Dutch nobility. Many of the German city-states had operated independently with their own trade union, especially in the Catholic south. With the re-appropriation of Greater Germany after the war, the VOC had much say in the matter. The Scottish generals occupied the major German trade cities as governors, placing them as middlemen in the negotiations. They were only the most recent body of Scots administrators for many of the German districts, especially in the east. For 200 years, a close-knit cadre of Scottish merchants had operated from bases at Hanover, Danzig, Warsaw and Königsberg. They were loosely formed into what became ‘the Scottish Brotherhood.’ It is most likely that the Creyghton Arms came from a member of this group.

 

Two recent discoveries support this theory. The accepted ancestor of the major Dutch Creyghton branch was Johannes Creyghton, born in East Prussia in 1665. In an archive in Utrecht there is a letter written by him dated 1711 and sealed with the unmistakable Creyghton lion and lion crest described earlie*. At the time he was well into his career as a minister. Until now, we have known nothing about his pre-Netherlands life in Tilsit, East Prussia. The entire story has led up to finding a Dutch source for his arms, but the arms may have come with him from Prussia. The second discovery entails many facts that bring Prussia, and the Scots communities located there, to life. The family at Tilsit went by the (Germanized) name ‘Krichton’ and was evidently of very old stock. Except for quite a few Dutchmen, most of the founding fathers of the region north of the Memel River were Scottish. They descended from the upper merchant class, having settled there in the 1400s. But before we go directly to their story, I will finish relating the interweaving string of events leading up to the time of Johannes Creyghton.

 

The United (Verenigde) Provinces began to congeal into a true nation as the Thirty Years War subsided in peace talks. The office of stadhouder remained with the family of William the Silent, bringing his grandson William II (1626-1650) to the office, in 1647. This placed him as the chief civil authority in the United Provinces just before the 1648 Treaty of Munster. It would seem natural that he would play an important part in negotiations, but in actuality, he opposed the treaty. Negotiations were being formatted to cater to the rich merchant class of Northern Europe, with the Lords XVII of Amsterdam, the voice of the movement, profiting the most. William II Prince of Orange saw it as a threat to the higher nobility, the ‘royal’ class of his peers. He began lobbying for central control of government and needed help from France to do so. He stood openly opposed to the businessmen of Amsterdam, who had the Dutch citizenry in their pockets.

 

In 1641, William II married Princess Mary Stuart, eldest daughter of Charles I. Robert Creyghton of Wells was appointed personal chaplain to his son Charles (Charles II, 1633-1685) and there is a possibility that Princess Mary had Creyghton (or Creighton) retainers when she traveled to Holland to meet her husband. Based upon past family history, it is more than likely that she did. It is also important to remember that by 1641, ‘Scots Creightons’ and “English Creightons’ were one. It had been so since James VI assumed the English throne as James I of Great Britain. Continental historians more and more would refer to Scotsmen as Englishmen*.

 

*Note: This is especially important when researching family connections in Germany, Poland, Russia and the rest of the northern lands to Estonia. Even traditional Highland clans like MacKay and Ross, through military prowess, gained vast titles and lands in these eastern countries. Their descendants assimilated into the local cultures with time, taking on Slavic and German derivatives of their surnames. Tracing backwards today a town, like Johannes Creyghton’s Tilsit, may provide the only clue to past occupancy. Many known sources, including parish records and the annual accounts of the League of the Teutonic Knights, more often than not list these early settlers as ‘English’ and not Scottish. However, with respect to Alexander Krichton and his fellow Scotsmen, athe time unified in the “Brotherhood”, we found several occurrences where they individually or collectively are referred to as Scotsmen.

 

1641 was also the year that began the English Civil War. Oliver Cromwell and the Puritan Parliament rebelled against the King’s proposed Episcopal form of Church and State. The Scots Presbyterians joined them against Charles I, pitting mostly Highland ‘Jacobite’ clans, led by James Graham Earl and 1st  Marques of Montrose against the ‘Roundheads’ of Cromwell (Covenanters in Scotland). Again, religious lines were set aside. Montrose was a devote Protestant, but joined his Stuart king as a sign of loyalty. Cromwell gave Alexander Forbes a command to raid the Irish coast, where he bombarded Galway and set the city afire. Eight-year-old Prince Charles, with Robert Creyghton at his side ……………

 


CHAPTER: 26                         GOLD WITH FINS (Editorial Excerpt)

 

I have outlined the role that the Scots played from ancient times with the Dutch Frieslands, as roving warrior-seamen-merchants to the Baltic. My fictional Creighton, Riwald the Blue, traded from his homeport of Leith to the northern waters in 833 AD. The Dutch seamen of Friesland were historically and linguistically tied to the Lowland Scots and neither lost their common love for the sea. Beginning in the reign of William the Lion, trade officially opened between the ‘German’ regions and Scotland. In the 1180s, the King of Scots allowed cities in northern Scotland to conduct trade with the Germans of the Teutonic League. Aberdeen, especially, became a major Scots home base, with Dundee, Perth, St. Andrews and Leith being almost as involved. One hundred years later, William Wallace and Andrew Moray (Murray) sent a letter to the magistrates of Lubeck and Hamburg encouraging general trade. In 1321, Robert the Bruce followed up this request in his campaign to promote Scottish shipping and trade. The 14th century saw Scotland involved with the Teutonic centers of Danzig (then called Danskin), Königsberg, Stralsund, Bremen, Hamburg, Griefswald, Wismar and Rostock.

 

The Scots-Dutch-German trade concentrated on products obtained mainly in the eastern Baltic regions. The Teutonic League used Danzig and Königsberg as their primary centers, controlling the Cour, Livonian and Lithuanian tribal lands to locate trading posts and fortified castles. As the Slavic tribes were pacified, Dutch and Scottish settlers were imported to manage the local trade of timber, grains, amber, furs and herring. The tiny fish, so prevalent to the Baltic, became so lucrative that they were called ‘gold with fins.’ Harvested and dried at ports like New Dortmund (Memel), the herring were then transported to Friesland. There, they were packaged as ‘kippered’ herring and sold to other countries. The timber came from Russia and was floated down the 480-mile-long Memel River past Tilsit to New Dortmund, where Scots merchants controlled the sawmills.

 

The ships that traveled from the Baltic to Scotland were highly valuable, often carrying lumber, salt, amber products, flour and dried fish. Beginning in the early 1300s, Scotsmen out of Aberdeen teamed with Dutch Friesland and began raiding the trade routes as pirates. The first was Gregory Gordon in 1302. For well over 100 years, the annals of the Teutonic Knights recorded incident upon incident of Scottish pirates capturing ships and goods. Most of the paperwork had to do with restitution of losses to the German merchants and cities. The most famous pirate was our ancestral Gordon cousin, Alexander Stewart Earl of Mar. He was called the ‘Pirate-Earl’ and operated fleets of ships out of Aberdeen, using Dutch Friesland seamen as his crews. Major occurrences were recorded in 1406, 1410 and 1412, while Stewart at the same time traded openly and legally with the Baltic. Often times he sent his agents to East Prussia for timber, bartering with gold chains and other items of wealth. He was probably not the only pirate-earl involved. His neighbors Forbes, Leslie, Erskine and Seton were as enterprising and were also part-time pirates. If this practice traveled down the east coast to Dundee, then Creighton and Olgivies could also have operated pirate ships, as would Creightons from Aberdeen.

 

The Teutonic Order at Königsberg had ‘Liegers,’ or factors stationed at Edinburgh and Glasgow in the late 1300s; the Sinclairs of Roslin headed their Scottish interests. There were factors at Sanquhar and the Creightons were agents for both the Teutonic Order and their King. We have already witnessed the connections from Sanquhar with McCrerick of Cairn as the local factor and Mr. Dougal of Edinburgh being the agent, or factor at Leith. In 1406 Hermann Gral of Königsberg was the appointed factor at Edinburgh. In 1422 Nicolaus Jerre, who held the Edinburgh post until 1444, replaced Gral. It was Jerre who dealt personally with William Crichton, the King’s chamberlain, who acted directly for James I as his agent.

 

The first recorded shipment that Crichton received was of iron goods for Edinburgh Castle in 1428. These, more than likely, included cannon from Hamburg. After James I was assassinated, Crichton worked as regent and chancellor to the boy-king James II. Also being governor of Edinburgh, Crichton personally arranged to have shipments of beer brought in for the boy’s 1437 coronation at Holyrood. Crichton found the local homemade Scottish ale was unacceptable. When the shipload of ‘Cerevisa Alammias’ arrived at King’s Wark from Hamburg, the lord of Creighton escorted the valuable goods to the palace. Crichton seems to have had considerable experience with the ‘German’ trade, which of course included the wool center at Veere in Zeeland. During the boy’s minority reign when Crichton was in charge of the royal purse, he seems to have failed to pay for the shipments. When James II became old enough to reason, he refused to repay the German debts run up by his chancellor and his friends. This breach in protocol almost caused secession of German trade altogether. It is more than likely that William Crichton re-appropriated the funds meant for the German merchants to renovate his castle of Dun Creighton with goods brought in from East Prussia. These would have been paid for primarily because the senior merchants from Danzig to Memel were fellow Scotsmen.

 

By 1433, Scots textile-weavers, tanners and tradesmen made up a large portion of Danzig’s population. They had other communities at Bruges in Flanders and at Königsberg. Wealthy Scots merchants located in these cities operated like minor kings, amassing so much money that some lent to the Royal House of Poland. They were alternately persecuted and acclaimed as invaluable citizens, with many integrating into the local societies. Again, the Aberdeen families of Gordon, Forbes and Fraser found early notoriety in the Prussian and Polish regions. For 100 years these great families of Aberdeen and Angus grew in status in the Eastern Regions. Since William Crichton, George Crichton of Cairns and Robert Crichton of Sanquhar all had children married into these families, it is certain that they held residential status there as well. It was this interaction with the Teutonic League and succeeding Hanse and Swabian Leagues that gave rise to the integrated Creightons of Creichingen and Cratzenbach. The Chretiens * of France and Belgium evolved along similar lines, with some marrying into the ruling duchies of Germany.

 

* The French family Chretien is far older than Sir John Crichtoun’s time when he was governor of Chatillion-sur-Indre. They were located in Champagne east of Paris in the 1100s, one famous troubadour being Chretien de Troyes. This man was sponsored by the Count of Champagne and was an early Knights Templar. He was one of the first ‘Arthurian’ writers that utilized ancient Welsh legend to weave tales of Arthur the King. Chretien de Troyes was the originator of the story of the Holy Grail (“Conte du Graal” 1182) as well as the first to use the legendary Camelot as Arthur’s capitol in story form. The surname Chretien is often synonymous with ‘Christian’ in France, but it is also the same as Cretin, Cretien and Creighton. The Chretien-Creighton double usage goes back to the 1670s in Canada. In France and Canada, the surname Chretien also links closely with those of Fure, DeLisandrac, Lesourd and Vincent. The Arcadian family Fume, which is very large today, descends from French and Canadian Chretiens who have also used Creighton as an alternate surname through the centuries. The Chretien arms depict three blue lion heads on a gold shield.

 

Through the ensuing decades of the 1400 and 1500s, the ‘East Lands’ continued to grow. The ancient Baltic trade centers developed into the breadbasket of Northern Europe. The Danzig region and East Prussia filled with war and religious refugees as the Reformation altered society as a whole. Political refugees, like William 2nd Lord Crichton, who fled Scotland 1488, had interests in Prussia and may have gone there. I see his cousin Alexander of Brunston, who fled Scotland 1546, also bringing his various family members to either Holland or East Prussia. He was a wealthy man with backing from the English throne, closely related to the Dumfries-Perth-Kinross Creightons. Both of these notable Creightons lost their Scottish lands and titles, but would have maintained………….


CHAPTER: 27                         LIFE ON THE MEMEL (Editorial Excerpt)

 

Johannes Creyghton was born in January 1665, and baptized on the 19th of that month at Tilsit, which is now Sovjetsk, Russia. Little is known of his first 21 years in Tilsit; his Dutch “career” began in 1686 as a student in Groningen and Friesland, The Netherlands. He was the son of Alexander Krichton and his wife Maria, possibly of Dutch or German heritage; (the Dutch had been at Tilsit as long as the Scots). Now we know that the family shared a centuries-old environment of international trade, with ongoing links to Scotland and Holland. Crottingen-Kretingale,’ just north of Memel, hints at a very early family presence at the seaport. The city’s seals and arms, of both Memel and Tilsit, revert back to the 1600s, indicating the importance of trade and to their longevity as Teutonic League centers. Memel’s seal is the stone citadel with timber towers at each side. This chronicles the timber industry and rich shipbuilding heritage of the city. Its arms relate to the lucrative herring trade. A fish with an antlered deer’s head dominates the shield. Tilsit’s arms are the elector’s castle, with the River Memel at its base. Adorning its gate is the arms of the local Hohenzollern elector, displaying plain blue and white quarters.

 

Agriculture and trade were the main occupations, with the elector’s family controlling the land. Lesser family members, the ‘Rittergutsbesitzers,’ or estate owners, governed the Hohenzollern districts. The ‘Nachbar’, or group-lease tenants, provided the bulk of the population, with ‘Paechters’, or common tenants, being the largest group of lessees. At the bottom, as were the Catholic Irish in Ulster, were the ‘native’ Lithuanian and Livonian serfs, virtual slaves within their own homeland.

 

This was the norm from the 1490s until 1572, but in that year famine was so rampant in Scotland that James I issued the ‘Leith Proclamation’, openly prompting mass Scottish emigration to the East Lands. Thousands left in a planned exodus, rich and poor alike, both Protestant and Catholic. Most had families in place throughout Germany, Prussia and Poland. The Netherlands received a select few, but most went to the more unsettled regions where opportunities were more attractive. It wasn’t until the 1590s that the mass emigrations hit the north, Tilsit in 1592, Stuham in 1594, and Memel in 1607. It was this ever changing world that Johannes was born into. The new arrivals, at first looked down upon by the older ‘first-family’ merchant class, soon assimilated into the culture as ‘Kramers’ or traveling craftsmen- vendors. They were also kinsmen and fell under the protection of the Scots Brotherhood.

 

When Johannes was born, the VOC headquartered at Amsterdam had three major sources of trade. The first and foremost was the Baltic, which received their best merchants, ships and seamen. Closest to home, it demanded better pay for the sailors and produced rapid returns on investments. Herring, lumber products, furs (entire shipments were of rabbit fur or lamb skins), and grains were obtained from Memel and Tilsit.  Second was the East Indies trade based at Batavia, Java. Great East Indiamen sailed the waters of the Spice Islands, where peppercorns, cinnamon and cloves brought fantastic gains. The problem was that the journey was long and dangerous and the bodies of sailors were mostly conscripted German ex-soldiers, landless and penniless from the long wars. If the ships arrived home at all, it was often years after departure from Holland. The third place of commerce was New Amsterdam on the Hudson River, which the English had captured in the 1660s and renamed New York. Still, the merchants at Fort Orange (Albany) maintained a thriving business in furs (beaver pelts were called ‘soft gold’) obtained from the Native American tribes of the Upper Hudson. But again, the turn-around time was long and involved and English, Swedish and French competition with the same tribes limited profits. So the Baltic remained the most lucrative trade center for the Dutch East India Company and for Scotland.

 

Johannes’ surname was spelled Krichton and not Creyghton, at least during his boyhood. The McLean charts of Scottish soldiers in The Netherlands show how varied the name had become and not all can be cast aside as Dutch misspellings. Creighton barony in Midlothian was once called ‘Krektun’ and shows an historic difficulty with the Germanic tongue pronouncing old Celtic-Gaelic names. Even today, all that remains of any reference to Creichingen, Germany is Kreichingen Strasse within the old city of Pietingen. Scots Creightons in Holland were invariably recorded as being Crichton, Krichton (Elizabeth, 1593, widow of Dutchman from Luijck), Krichten (Jan, 1630), Krechton (Robert, 1632), Krigton, Crychten, Chrichton, Crichte, Crichtum, and Crechten. The many Blaeu maps of Scotland also show variations of similar spellings when referring to known Creightons lands, Kraiginkum, Kraigtom Hill and Kraiglerian near Sanquhar. Even at Memel are two separate parishes, side-by-side, named Crottingen-Kretingale’ and Krottengen-Kretingale’. This is one reason that Scotland, Germany, Prussia, Sweden, Denmark and Norway all began looking at standardizing surnames about the time Johannes was born. Scotland enacted theirs in the late 1670s. Crichton became the accepted rendition, at least north of the Tyne. Creighton remained localized to southwest Scotland and England (generally speaking, at least) and became the predominant spelling in Ulster, Canada, Australia and America.

 

Johannes’ immediate family would have retained a Scottish culture, no matter how many generations they had been at Tilsit. Scottish assimilation into the local German and Polish cultures was just beginning about the time he was born. Even then, immigrants were entering Memel from Scotland as late as 1820. His blood relations were probably spread throughout the east, including the Catholics at Braunsburg, Ermland. As he grew, he would have heard many stories of past ages. He would have viewed himself first and foremost as a Scot, but one who past had bound him to the trade routes. The great ships entering and departing from nearby Memel were a living link to what must have been almost a mystical land, although many neighbors were first generation émigrés. It is very likely that uncles and cousins lived in Scotland, England and The Netherlands as factors. Mainly because of the Robertson Dunn Crichton coat of arms, a ship building family may have been its source. Whether there is a link to the Krichtons of Tilsit is unknown, but the stylized black ship could point towards an involvement with the Memel shipyards, and if his mother were Dutch, she as well would have taught him her heritage and the VOC ships claimed Amsterdam as their homeport.

 

As for Johannes’ neighbors, they would have been German, Dutch and predominantly Scottish, and of various trades and social lines. The Memel River was a major artery that linked the Russian cities to Memel. The river was navigable for large boats well past Tilsit to Grodno, Russia. In many ways, his boyhood home was not unlike the Tay River in Scotland. From Creighton lands near Dunkeld, the river flowed down through the Highland foothills to Perth, where shipping lanes connected that city with the main seaport of Dundee, at Angus. If Johannes spent any time visiting the quays at Tilsit, he would have met sailors from many lands, Russian timber men bringing logs downriver from Minsk, traders in silk and brocade, Jewish money-lenders, farmers bringing produce to market, German dignitaries, Swedish soldiers and traveling bands of Gypsy ‘tinklers.’* The latter were often grouped as a single class of roving Romi hawkers, but many from their transient culture were in fact Scottish émigrés. The ‘tinklers’ of Scotland were not of Gypsy blood, but descendants of the very ancient Pictish Caledonians of southern Scotland. Forced to flee the famines with thousands of other Scots, they carried on their age-old trade of battering handicrafts for food and lodging, usually living in temporary camps away from the main towns.

 

*The tinklers have become a new subject for me to research. Sir Walter Scott, a Creighton cousin, wrote extensively on the tinklers and their ability to sing ancient songs going back to the times of the Roman occupation. Much of what we know of ‘Celtic’ music today comes from these studies by Scott, collected at campfires in the forests of Selkirk. They were ‘The Old People’ that had direct links to the Votadini Picts and their pre-Celtic neighbors. Hounded and persecuted throughout the centuries as pagans, they became a little-known subculture all over Scotland. In reality, they evolved as all other Scots, intermarrying with ‘townies’ and becoming as Christian as anyone else. They were a small, dark people, probably the source of the ‘People of the Hills,’ or fairies. One segment of these people was literally driven underground in the 1500s. Chained and shackled for life, they became slaves to the rich lords of Fife who owned the lead and coal mines. Their descendants, referred to as ‘colliers’ live in the towns that grew up around the mines. They worked the gold mines of Sanquhar as well. A very good novel concerning these people was written by Robert Crichton, called “The Camerons”, drawn from the lives of his great grandparents, a Scottish coal mining family, published by Knopf in 1972.

 

Many of the young men of Johannes’ age, especially those from the upper ranks of merchant families, sought status by attending schools in Holland or Scotland. Traditionally, they sought either Leiden or Aberdeen Universities as their first choice. Since Aberdeen required lineage backgrounds, the sons of merchants often sought these schools, either out of ego or to prove lineage, family pedigrees, or ‘birth-briefs’. Both Patrick Forbes and Robert Gordon promoted higher schooling and funded and maintained a Scots school at Danzig. Because of the great number of Scots in Poland and Prussia (30,000 by 1600), great care was needed to keep them recorded in some kind of order. Family history centers developed into a thriving business, especially from Aberdeen and Dundee where many of the older emigrants were from.

 

The Brotherhood formed a constitution of union in 1625 after having gone through a century of intermittent hostility and financial persecution. The Prussian dukes and Polish kings had tried again and again to group them with the Jews and Gypsies, to collect ‘peddler’ taxation. The unified ‘Bruderschaft’ comprised 12 orders that had a committee of elders and judges. Courts, held during the Feast Day of Epiphany had the power to levy fines or banish fellow Scotsmen. The ‘courts’ convened for their major functions on Martinmas, Candlemas, Whitsuntide and Bartholomew’s day. Each of the twelve orders operated under strict guidelines, recording each new émigré into the brotherhood. Books were meticulously kept. Because of the sever lack of clergymen, the body acted as a whole to regulate attendance at services. The constitution only outlined to the ducal authorities what the Brotherhood had done for generations.

 

The maintenance of the Poor Fund headed the list, but 20 separate and unique articles clearly defined how the Scots communities would conduct themselves. People were instructed to dress in a neat manner and run orderly homes. Only one shop per-trade was allowed, to prevent monopolies. Nicknames were prohibited. Servant’s rights were upheld, no one could keep a servant more than four years. Squandering, card playing, dice and laziness were outlawed. Shipping magnates were personally responsible for any undesirable émigré brought in from Scotland that violated the rules. All in all, the constitution of the Brotherhood spoke well for the governing body that was forced to oversee 30,000 fellow Scotsmen abroad[4].

 

Almost as soon as the Prussian dukes accepted the constitution, ……………

 

 

 


CHAPTER: 28                         THE VELDPREDIKANT (Editorial Excerpt)

 

The stage was set for Johannes to depart his homeland. I cannot stress how easy it is to oversimplify the state of time, especially when writing about Prussia in general. The young man was one of a body of prominent non-German settlers that had occupied the Memel River lands for generations. The Scots of Tilsit and Memel, at least those of Johannes’ class, were long-time merchant traders that looked to their leaders, Forbes and Gordon for guidance. The elders of the Brotherhood maintained a traditional Scots society in a predominantly German land. Just as involved and politically active was a growing body of native Polish Lithuanians that sought autonomy. Sweden, who saw adjacent Pomerania as theirs by conquest, constantly squabbled with the dukes of Brandenburg and Danzig, often flaring into warfare. It is these ducal overlords that I would like to look at briefly, for the Great Elector that had chosen the Danzig-born Alexander Dennis might have been a contributor for sending Johannes abroad for schooling.

 

The Great Elector Frederick William von Hohenzollern was heir to Prussia by birthright, but as explained earlier, his family had lost prestige through bad management. He was the first to revitalize the family name, but this was done partially through his two marriages, the first to a woman from the Dutch House of Orange and the second to the ancient Saxon-Swabian house of Guelph. His son Frederick I (King of Prussia 1688-1713) and his grandson Frederick William I (1713-1740) married into the Guelph line as well. The family Guelph included the Creichingens and became founders of the House of Hanover. Their hereditary arms, as you remember, was a gold lion on a blue field. Their history is one that stretched back through centuries of interaction with the Teutonic Knights and the Angevian houses of Normandy, having as much to do with Italy as with Germany. Their rise as founders of the House of Hanover placed them as the strongest rival to the Hohenzollern dukes of Brandenburg and Prussia. The marital union between the two forged a unique force that led to the imperial Prussian Military machine, but in 1679, it was in its infancy. In 1680, the Great Elector began to organize Prussia as a viable nation, initiating a standing army, a department of the exchequer, a national budget and an office of audit. Tilsit on the Memel was one of the richest counties in East Prussia and Alexander was treasurer of the Tilsit Brotherhood. Although the Great Elector lived at Berlin, he owned and maintained the elector’s castles at Königsberg and at Tilsit as well. It had been he who offered halls in both castles to be used as churches for the local communities shortly after he took reign of the government. The coincidence tying the Great Elector’s family to Tilsit and Alexander Krichton’s* family cannot be overlooked. The gold lion was evidently common to both.

 

*It is far too early to say definitively that Alexander Krichton was the father of Johannes. He is the only one found so far that fits the role. Using Scotland as a guide, dozens, if not hundreds of Creightons could have been interconnected throughout the northern region, having such a long history of occupancy. Tilsit and Memel were a very large districts and not just cities. The facts to date indicate that Johannes’ immediate family did have a lion arms and crest, but being from a wax impression from a signet ring, colors are unknown. Staying with Alexander Krichton as a known subject, we can take one last look at the ‘Creyghton’ lion and finally put him to rest. First, color is irrelevant. Being of Scots heritage, the original arms would have been the blue lion on silver, but similar to that of the arms of Robertson Dunn Crichton. Somewhere along the line as merchants for the German leagues, Johannes’ family altered the traditional arms, but it was the lion crest and not color that was most important. The lion crest, among others is that of Stuart of Bute. If the family motto was used in Alexander’s time, it implies a link to Forbes, possibly through Consul Patrick Forbes of Danzig (or his family). The only ‘Prussian’ link to a gold lion on blue was that of the co-rulers Guelph, tied by marriage to Hohenzollern electors. The House of Orange-Nassau was as involved through marriage to Frederick William, but it was the House of Guelph that rose to become administrators of Prussia. If the Krichton lion changed from blue to gold, it was probably as a result of some past involvement with this old Saxon-Swabian family.

 

Johannes, in any event did leave Prussia for The United Provinces, but exactly when is unclear. He was 19 when pastor Dennis arrived at Tilsit. By family tradition he was a member of the commercial Scots community. He may have had older brothers or at least uncles in Holland as factors for the family business, which may have been anything from grain production to breeding horses. They were probably involved in the local timber industry* with sawmills at Memel and had interests in the shipyards. There would have been one or more ‘Krichton’ ships to operate the Baltic waters. Not knowing where Johannes fell within the family makeup, it is impossible to determine his role as a young adult. The Scots were prone to have large families. It is likely that he was one of a number of sons, with his older brothers assuming the father’s businesses. Unless Johannes was away for preparatory schooling (the Scots School at Danzig, for example), he would have been expected to help with the commercial affairs. This could have placed him at home in Tilsit, at the shipyards at Memel, onboard a family ship or at any related port from Königsberg to Amsterdam. His personal aspirations, however, must have been to enter the church as a predikant. Pastor Dennis, his family and the overall Scots community may have pointed him in that direction.

 

*The overall economy of the Baltic nations was in decline, the height of commerce having occurred in Alexander Krichton’s time. For centuries, timber products had been the mainstay. Pine and spruce comes to mind as masts for ships, but ‘fine lumber’ was the main product. This came primarily from the great oak and beech forests, processed at Memel and Königsberg as ‘clapboards,’ or long laths. These could be refined, for one, as barrel staves, used in the herring-processing centers. Another valuable export was ash and potash, again made from oak and beech. This was an essential product in ‘finishing’ woolen textiles in The Netherlands. By Johannes time, the clear cutting of the hardwood forests had eradicated the oak reserves.

 

And so at the age of twenty, Johannes would have faced many challenges. Economically, it behooved him to follow family pursuits and I am sure that he did so in some capacity. He was possibly a clerk or junior factor at a family office in Amsterdam, or some other Dutch port. It is also highly likely that he was married, 18 was the accepted age for this to happen. If so, this would have also been partially a business venture, to a Dutch or Scots-Dutch woman aligned with a comparable trading family. It is very important to look at the overall picture. He did not begin his ecclesiastical pursuits until 1686, allowing roughly a five-year period for him work. Wherever the Dutch VOC located, Scots were always involved, generally as clerks. This was true in the Far East, Capetown, South Africa or at the great estates along the Hudson River in New York. During this time, entire family fortunes were won or lost. Family fleets were often destroyed in storms or were captured by warring nations. Those missing years in Johannes’ life could have found him in any one of a number of situations. Pressured by family, peers and possibly in-laws to invest in trading ventures, he may have lost everything in a single stroke of fate.

 

One example that affected many would have been the lumber business. The sawmills of Memel (there were many at Tilsit as well) were one end of a greater ‘sawyers union’ which had up to 40 companion mills located within the Amsterdam city limits. The sawyers made fortunes as Amsterdam doubled and tripled in size through the early 17th century. Then modern technology threatened the old sawyer’s guilds. The great windmills began springing up in the countryside; wind-operated sawmills could cut more board feet with less manpower. Johannes, if he were involved could have lost either way. Early investors in windmills fought the traditional sawyers union of Amsterdam, whose political power kept the new mills out of the city. Those that tried to modernize the city mills lost heavily, no one bought their goods. If he were of the older group, the sawyers in turn lost financially because of the new technology. The windmills were also introduced to the Memel River region, displacing the hand-sawn profession.

 

Whatever happened, Johannes finally looked toward an ecclesiastical career. If he had a business failure, he may also have faced a failed or floundering marriage. This was not uncommon for the times. It is probable that he had direct family members as residents of The Netherlands, many having assimilated into the Dutch culture. Beginning with the eminent Robert Creyghton mentioned in 1660, many others with that surname spelling were known, especially at Amsterdam. Because the national standardization of surnames was well under way, Johannes may have changed his to Creyghton shortly after arriving in Holland, but there is no way of knowing.  Many families retained the German ‘K’ and clerks used it as well. Johannes’ signature survives as being Creyghton, but both he and his son Jacobus Nicolus Creyghton were commemorated in church plaques as ‘Kreijghton’.

 

The Dutch were one of the first people in the world to grant state-aid to foreign émigrés, profiting richly off their later contributions to Dutch society. This made The United Provinces a haven for mainly Protestant refugees from all over Europe, the largest groups (other than the Scots) being the French Huguenots and Spanish Protestants. Promising individuals, often entire families were paid annual pensions, if they promised to apply their professional talents toward Dutch society. Many of these ‘pensioners’ were earmarked to be sent abroad to help colonize the provincial regions of South Africa and America. Taking advantage of the system, Johannes was finally granted a state-sponsored scholarship as a Scots émigré; enrolling at the Theological University at Franeker, Friesland May 1, 1686. He was 26 years old. Aside from possibly a brief return to Prussia, he spent the remainder of his life in The Netherlands.

 

While Johannes was in school, momentous events occurred in The Netherlands. As a member of the Scots Brotherhood, he would have retained contacts with family and acquaintances from home. His location at Franeker placed him at a convenient stop over for ships traveling from Scotland to East Prussia. Pastor Brown of Danzig was near the end of his tenure, calling Alexander Burnett in from Creighton Parish in Midlothian to take his place. Burnett may have stopped at Franeker to visit Johannes on his way to Danzig. He officially replaced Brown in 1688, with the old man retiring permanently to Rotterdam. It was Johannes’ last full year as a student. …………


 

The Dutch Creyghton Branch  (Editorial Excerpt)

 

In the present day Netherlands you can find a pretty large number of people, who carry the name of Creyghton (or Creijghton).When looking further, they all seem to be relatives, all descending from one common  forefather (or maybe two?).  There have been a few attempts to unravel the history of the Dutch Creyghton branch. The first one was the entry about the Creyghton family in the genealogical and heraldic yearbook “Nederlands Patriciaat”, part A, volume 4, 1913. The NP contains simple lineages of the more important Dutch patriarchal families. The Creyghton family was considered one of them.

 

The chapter on Creyghton also contains a picture of the Creyghton Family Coat of Arms, which shows a remarkable likeness to the original Crichton/Creighton Arms; see below.


To the left the first (jugendstil-like) picture of the Dutch Creyghton coat of arms from the NP yearbook, Vol. 4, 1913. To the right the nice Creighton coat of arms that Jim Creighton drew for his own family in 2001 side by side with  a re-colored version , made to show the remarkable likeness, but also the few differences: the inverted colors: gold on blue versus blue on silver, the lion-crest replacing the dragon and the different motto. However, the “God Me Guide” motto is known to have been used by members of the Crichton/Creighton family in the UK too! And the coat of arms of Sir John Crichton-Stuart, Marques of Bute shows both crests side by side! See the appendix on heraldry.

 

The entry in the NP is a short lineage, starting with Johannes Creyghton, supposedly born in 1660 in Tilsit (East Prussia), now called Sovjetsk. This lineage ends with Tjeerd Johannes Creyghton, born in Amsterdam in 1870 and still living in 1913. Many family members have since done research on the family, notably Mr. J.W. Lugard, who wrote his findings down in a report named “Proeve van een Creyghton Genealogy”, issued in 1986. Lugard makes a distinction between two separate Dutch Creyghton families, the one descending from Johannes Creyghton and the other descending from Jacobus Creyghton, born in 1791.

 

In recent years a group of family members, including Joep Creyghton, Maria Creyghton-Lemmens, Ingrid Creyghton and Jos Grupping have done further research. One important finding was the discovery by Joep of the Taufregister (baptismal records) of Tilsit in the Evangelisches Zentral Archif in Berlin. There he found the registration of the baptism of Johannes as the son of Alexander Krichthon (or Krechthon), indicated in the records as ‘Scot’, and his wife Maria. So Johannes was born and baptized in 1665 (and not in 1660 as the NP said) and was the second child and first son of Alexander and Maria. Johannes had five brothers and three sisters. The complete list of children and witnesses to the baptisms follows below.

 

Note: Krechthon or Krichthon is the typical German spelling of the original UK surname Crichton or Creighton. 

 

1.       Anna KRECHTHON [5670], baptized (Taufregister Tilsit) at 3 juni 1663 at Tilsit (O.Pruissen). Sponsors: H. Gorg Swenner, Consul. H.N. Förstay; H. Merten Röse; fr. Gallisch; fr. Johan Bachmansh; fr. Wilhelm Ritche; fr. Albrecht Ritche

2.      Johannes CREYGHTON (born KRECHTHON of KRECHTHON) [920], baptized (Taufregister Tilsit, Evangelisches Zentral Archiv Berlin) at 19 jan. 1665 at Tilsit (O.Pruissen). Sponsors: Gabriel Preusch,; H. Fridrich Beschel; Dittrich Federmann; David Eisenblatter; fr. Johan Telmonch; fr. Anna Bessels; Anna Lang; Alex Leipsch

Note: The Nederland's Patriciaat shows the wrong year of birth: 1660.

3.      Anna Maria KRECHTHON [5671], baptized (Taufregister Tilsit) at 28 juni 1666 at Tilsit. Sponsors: Ritche; Balther Simons; H. Albrecht Ritche; fr. Hans Johannessen?; fr. David Barchlaij; fr. Wilhelm Schapelsch-Trinter?; fr. Michael Robsche (O.Pruissen).

4.      Andreas KRICHTHON [5672], baptized (Taufregister Tilsit) at 27 juni 1668 at Tilsit (O.Pruissen). Sponsors: Andreas Ritch, from Köningsfeld; David Barchlaij; Jacobus Kommer; H. Georg Andres Keiman; fr. Merten Rösche; fr. David Eisenblatter; fr. Gilbert Kamfersch from Köningsberg

5.      Alexander KRICHTHON [5673], baptized (Taufregister Tilsit) at 18 febr. 1670 at Tilsit (O.Pruissen). Sponsors: H. Wilhelm Ritch, H. Jacob Messer; Hans Elcrún?; fr. Balther Simonsche; H. Martin Röse;

6.      Fridrich KRICHTHON [5674], baptized (Taufregister Tilsit) at 7 april 1672 at Tilsit (O.Pruissen). Sponsors: Fridrich von Dieben; H. Gabriel Preusch; H. Johannes Schlemmer, fr. Anna Sophia; Daniel. H. Christoph Röse

7.      Wilhelmus KRICHTHON [5675], baptized (Taufregister Tilsit) at 20 maart 1674 at Tilsit (O.Pruissen). Sponsors: H. Michael Schlenner Jun.; Christophor Röse; Christoffer Schlenner; H. Reinbold Dachhauen; fr. David Eisenblatter Jr.

8.      Alexander KRICHTHON [5676], baptized (Taufregister Tilsit) at 21 juli 1676 at Tilsit (O.Pruissen). Sponsors: H. Gottfrid Colby; Wilhelm Ritch; Jacob Grewert; H.Johan Lasmans; fr. Hans Aredingh

9.      Elisabeth KRICHTHON [5677], baptized (Taufregister Tilsit) in 1678 at Tilsit (O.Pruissen). Sponsors: H. Jacob Meyer; Albrecht Irving; fr. Allan Sophia; H. Gaiseris Dusslers; H. Henniy Mevy J; fr. Catharina Barclaijsch

Oost Pruissen met Tilsit (nu Sovjetsk geheten).

As written above, the Nederlands Patriciaat, states that Johannes Creyghton was born on the 25th of January 1660 in Tilsit, East Prussia. However, in the baptismal records of Tilsit, presently preserved at the Evangelical Central Archive in Berlin (EZAB), no mention is made of any Creyghton/Crichton baptism in 1660. On 1665, January 19th, however a Johannes was baptized in Tilsit as the second child of Alexander Krechthon and his wife Maria.

 

Further proof that 1665 was the year of his birth is provided by a testimony of Johannes himself before the Magistrate of the Court of Friesland on October 24th, 1704, where he declares that his age is 39 years. This clearly fits in with January 1665, not 1660, as his date of birth. We therefore may assume that he was born and baptized in 1665 from Alexander Crichton (Krechthon) and Maria as his parents.

 

Map circa 1650, of former East Prussia showing Tilsit (now Sovjetsk), near Konigsberg.

 

The baptismal records also include a number of sponsors or witnesses, which gives us a good insight to the social environment of Alexander and his wife Maria. One of the sponsors of his first child Anna was Georg Swenner, Consul; having the Consul of Scotland or England as a friend of the family meant that Alexander still entertained relations with his homeland, possibly as a merchant. A certain Albrecht Ritsch is mentioned twice as sponsor of respectively Anna (born 1663) and Anna Maria (born 1666). Among the sponsors of the other children of Alexander and Maria, the name Ritch/Ritschie/Ritsche is mentioned another four times at least, which makes it probable that Alexander’s wife Maria descended from that family as well. Wilhem Ritchie, mentioned as a witness in 1660, 1670 and 1676, was the man who in 1679 obtained permission from the Elector in Berlin to officially establish a Scottish reformed congregation. Another surname mentioned several times as sponsor is Barclays. Both Ritchie and Barclays are definitely Scottish names; Lang, Simons and Rose are international; could be German or Dutch but might be Scottish as well.

 

Moreover, in the book “The Scots in Germany”, Alexander Krichton of Tilsit is mentioned as the treasurer of the Scottish “Poor Fund” of the Scottish Brotherhood. He must have played an important part in the formation of the Reformed congregation at Tilsit as well. This union of the Calvinistic settlers from Scotland took place some time before 1667, as a Scottish Poor Fund is mentioned in that year. Although Alexander Krichton was the treasurer, the general supervision lay with the whole "Brotherhood." The Poor Fund amounted then to 230 gulden, lent out to three members: Albrecht Ritsch (Ritchie), Peter Kerligkeit (?) and William Schamer (Chalmers). The first of these, Albrecht Ritchie, is mentioned twice as a witness at the baptism of Alexander’s children.

 

We have reasons to assume that Krichtons (Crichtons) were already established in the region of Königsberg, Tilsit and Insterburg before 1600. A certain Alexander Crichton is mentioned in a letter written by George Frederick, Markgraf of Brandenburg, from Königsberg in 1601 to his magistrates in the country concerning the tax on the inheritance of a recently killed Scot among his subjects:

“His Majesty of Scotland has also written requesting us to give up whatever may be left of the dead man’s goods in our Duchy to the bearer Alexander Crichton, who has arranged with the representative of our treasury concerning the ‘fourth’. We command all our governors and magistrates to deliver the said inheritance to him without fail”.

This Alexander Crichton may have been the father or an uncle of the aforementioned Alexander Krechthon, as they were both acting as treasurers and financial brokers. Assuming that all the Crichtons derived from the same family branch, which cannot be taken for granted, this would imply that the Crichtons had already migrated to East Prussia before the end of the 16th century. This was the start of a period of bitter political and religious strife in Scotland, which led to the emigration of many Scots who were on the losing side in politics or in their business interests.

 

In 1679, the Tilsit community of Calvinist Scots had established their own congregation; in that year they acquired the permission to call its first preacher, Alexander Dennis. Born at Königsberg, but of Scottish descent, Alexander Dennis had been trained in theology at Dutch universities, where he registered as a student of divinity at the universities of Utrecht (1675) and Franeker (1676). An important part in his coming to Tilsit was played by William Ritsch, a rich Scottish merchant and a member of that congregation, who had gone to Berlin in order to obtain the required permission from the Elector. Young Johannes Krechthon was 14 years old when Alexander Dennis started working as a preacher in Tilsit; it would seem more than plausible that Dennis was personally acquainted with the Krechthon family and that he convinced or advised Johannes as well to pursue his studies of divinity in the Netherlands. In 1686, Johannes matriculated as a student at both the universities of Groningen and Franeker. In the latter university Johannes van der Waeijen, who was later to become his father-in-law, was rector magnificus when Johannes registered for matriculation. 

 

Family ties were clearly important to the Crichtons, and so was theology.  This is illustrated by what we know about William Crichton, in all probability a cousin of Johannes.  Wilhelm Crichton from Regiomontanus (Königsberg) in East Prussia matriculated as a student of divinity at the University of Franeker in 1706. Three years later he registered as “Guilielmus Creyghton Interburgensis Borussus” (from Insterburg in East Prussia) as a student of divinity in Leiden, 24 years old. Insterburg belonged….

The "old" Johannes Branch (Editorial Excerpt)

In the books of the “Nederland's Patriciaat", edition 1913, a brief male lineage for the prominent Creyghton family is presented, starting with Johannes Creyghton born on the 25th of January 1660 in Tilsit (East Prussia). We now know that the year was a mistake and that Johannes was born in 1665 and baptized on the 19th of January of that year. This lineage has been further researched and extended by Mr. J. W. Lugard from Heemstede, resulting in his report “Proeve van een Creyghton Genealogie”, dated April 4, 1986. Many other members of the family have researched in the last century and written down genealogical and other information about the family. Now this all has been gathered by Maria Lemmens-Creyghton and Jos Grupping and made available on the Creyghton-Morel website. http://www.xs4all.nl/~joscmg/Creyghton/Families.htm

 

As already mentioned, in 1686 Johannes enrolled at the University in Groningen under the name of Johannes Crichtonius; he then is 21 years old. For some reason he is also registered as “refugee”, probably allowing him extra grants from the government. Later he also enrolled at the Theological University of Franeker in Friesland. In 1689, he finished his studies in divinity and obtained his first post as a protestant minister in Pieterburen (Groningen). Around this time he chose Creyghton as his surname. Why this particular spelling and not Creighton or Crichton; maybe he was trying to be different.  In any event, Creyghton has also been used in the UK, but only vary rarely. The most well known occasion being the row of bishops Robert Creyghton of Wells and Bath, described elsewhere in detail in this book. Now, the Creyghton spelling remains almost unique to the Dutch branch.

 


In 1691, the young ds Johannes Creyghton was for some time a field preacher in the army (Veldpredikant) and a member of the private household of the Frisian Stadhouder Hendrik Casimir II; in 1692 he obtained another stage as field preacher, making himself known in the higher political ranks as well. In 1704, he acquired the important post of Leeuwarden, and from 1711 until his death in 1738 at the age of 73 years, his last one was in Haarlem (a very prominent one in the Dutch Reformed (NH) church). He was succeeded by his son Jacob Nicolaus. Both reverends are mentioned on a plaque on the wall of the Grote or St. Bavo Church.

In October 1700, Johannes married Geertruida van der Waeijen, daughter of ds. Johannes van der Waeijen, his former professor at Franeker University and at the time a colleague and a man of great influence in the Netherlands, patronized by the Stadhouder of Friesland. Geertruida was 10 years younger and they had 7 children of whom 2 died in infancy. Their eldest, Jan Alexander was born in Franeker in 1702. Names of the eldest son were not without significance in those days, as they were usually the names of the grandfathers. Jan Alexander was Jan for Johannes van der Waeijen and probably Alexander for Alexander Creighton, Crichton or Krichton from Tilsit. Jan Alexander became a solicitor and attorney in Amsterdam. Second son Jacobus Nicolaus, was born in 1704, following in father's footsteps as a preacher. Jacob or Jacobus (James) is the most common name in the family. This will be referred to later…………….

The Dutch Creyghton Coat of Arms

As said before, the entry about Creyghton in the NP, 1913 also contained a description and a picture of the Creyghton Coat of Arms (Familiewapen). This is originally dedicated to Johannes Creyghton, the founding father. As shown above, the Creyghton CoA is essentially the same as the original Creighton/Crichton Arms, with the main difference the “inverted” colors. But Johannes clearly knows what he is doing by his choice of the demi-lion as crest and “God Me Guide” as motto. Maybe he is trying to indicate family connections to the Crichton-Stuart and Crichton of Ruthven families, considering his choices for the crest and motto? See the CoA of the Marques of Bute to the right, showing both the dragon and demi-lion crest!

 


The first occurrence of the Creyghton Wapen from Johannes is as the seal on a document by Johannes from 1710. The most detailed is the one by his grandson Jacob Creyghton from 1781, showing the motto and the correct heraldic crosshatching for the colors blue and gold. All show the demi-lion as crest and two lions as supporters.

Jacobus Creyghton

In Leiden on the 8th of March 1823 the birth of Maria Anthonetta Creyghton was registered, firstborn child of Jacobus Creyghton and Maria Anna Bran(d)te. In the following years 6 more children were born. This is the start of another branch of the Dutch Creyghtons who, in contrast with the other line flourish, have many children and in our (fifth) generation (born from 1925-1950) has over 75 persons of whom about half carry the surname Creyghton. It is a typically Roman Catholic family, which has many people who work for the church as priest or nun as most RC families would before the Second World War. But who is Jacobus Creyghton?.................

Where did Jacobus come from?

There are two possibilities: Jacobus is a child of one of the descendants from the Johannes branch or he is from another family altogether. If the latter were true - this must have been an existing Dutch/Scots family Creighton/Crichton etc. However, not only can the registration of his birth be found, but no one else has been registered who could be his mother or father. He could have come over from Scotland on his own like Johannes and married Anna, but why then would their marriage not have been registered? All we know is that he was born in Amsterdam and Jacobus was usually James or Jacob in Scotland; he could have Dutchified it, but his surname would have remained Creighton or Crichton. In that time there were no reasons for changing to the y-spelling.

Only one possibility remains- he must come from the Johannes branch. But there may have been a reason for hiding the fact of his birth ……………

 Jacob and his wife Maria Regista Rietveld had 10 children of whom 7 died in infancy. Remains: Hermanus, born in 1762; nothing further is known of him - no death - no marriage etc. Chances are that he also died young. Jan Alexander married in 1795, long after the birth of Jacobus; would it have been a problem for a man to have had a child registered before his marriage? Remains: the daughter Maria Regista. An eligible daughter of 19 in a prominent family like that of the Bailiff Jacob, who has an illegitimate child just could have been a problem. It could have been that the girl was sent to relatives in Amsterdam before the birth and that the child has been named after the grandfather but reared by a foster family and registration conveniently forgotten.

There are rumors that Jan Alexander, Maria's brother had Jacobus, his nephew in his family when he was a teenager and that he was his Guardian. Jan Alexander at that time lived in a large mansion in Den Bosch. Unfortunately nothing can be found of this in the Tax Registry (Kohieren). But it would explain why Jacobus ends up marrying a girl from Den Bosch.

Jan Alexander and his wife died very close in time to one another in Den Bosch when Jacobus was 17. Their children were then taken in lovingly by Maria Regista, who had by then married Wolter Becquer. Her daughter Annette Maria Becquer married Jacob Jan Alexander Creyghton-Jan Alexander's son. This family did not have a surplus of imagination as far as names are concerned! Anyway, our Jacob had to fend for himself because it may have been unthinkable that a bastard join his own mother after all.

A final possibility is that Jacob the Bailiff was the father. This would have been a scandal at 57 and in view of his prominent function. But would he in, that case, have named his illegal son Jacob as well? None of it can be excluded but it seems most logical that the mother is Maria Regista.

There is another story which was passed on in different parts of the family for over a century. It is usually referred to as “The story of the lady in waiting. In essence, the story runs as follows:…………

Now, it should be clear that this story met a vital need for Jacobus’ children, firstly to understand why they had such an exotic English surname and secondly to get an inkling of the mysterious descent of their father. Such a story may contain both fact and fiction. ……………

A fascinating part of the story is ……………..

…………………..Grandson Jacques Creyghton, who told the story to his nephew in law, must have heard it directly from his own father or from his uncles and aunts, who had all been actual witnesses of the visit.

Other parts of the story are less plausible, if taken literally

A last interesting aspect of the story is that the children and grand children of Jacobus have been inquiring actively about the descent of their father and that they apparently were well aware of the possible link with the protestant Creyghton family.  ………………

Another indication of a possible link is a pewter dish, of which at least two copies have been in possession of members of the family. A series of those dishes may have existed. The design clearly shows the Creyghton Coat of Arms, including the motto: "God Me Guide". According to an expert, the dishes display a style that was characteristic for the years around 1850, which means that they were made either by Jacobus or – more probably - by one of his sons, who were all coppersmiths. This raises the question: why would Jacobus (or his sons) make a series of dishes with the family arms if they were not considering themselves a part of that family?

The "later" Jacobus family branch

Overlijdensadvertentie van Jacobus Creyghton in de Leidsche Courant

The Johannes branch was protestant with many vicars among them. Jacobus however married in the south of the Netherlands - Den Bosch - which was and still is predominantly RC. Jacobus may even have been reared RC but certainly his wife was RC and they would have reared their children accordingly. Coppersmith was Jacobus' trade - important business in those days. He and Maria Anna had 7 children; the 3 girls all joined the church as nuns. The sons were either coppersmiths or watchmakers or coal (fuel) merchants and moved further away, to Rotterdam and Alkmaar. When Jacob died in 1849, his widow was 57 and took over his business together with two of their sons. See the ad below.

Genetic Genealogy or “It’s all about Genes”

Quite recently, in 2008, Hans Creijghton, a member of the old Protestant family branch and  descending in a straight line from Johannes Creighton from Tilsit (1665), and Joep Creyghton, of the ‘new’ Catholic branch, descending from Jacobus Creyghton from Leiden (1791) together participated in The “Genetic Genealogy in The Netherlands” project, based on DNA-research,  in which more than 400 Dutch people participated, was designed to establish genetic relations of and eventually among the participants. Examined were the DNA-structures of the Y-chromosomes of each participant, which remain constant, or almost constant, for hundreds of generations among male ancestors. This means that if participants have a common male ancestor, they belong to the same broad ‘haplo’ type or group.  In addition, within that group they must have similar, or virtually similar, so-called DNA-markers, because mutations in the DNA-structure over hundreds of years are very rare. This way it was discovered that a few participants had an identical ancestor and might consider themselves as cousins.

………………………….

 

One more interesting conclusion presents itself: ……………

 

Joep Creyghton

Jos Grupping

 

May 24, 2009


PART V

THE RABBIT

 

 

 

 

 

COUNTY DOWN IRELAND

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER: 29                        THE FLIGHT OF THE EARLS (Editorial Excerpt)

 

When I wroteNorthwind Southwind, the Legacy of Michael Creighton in 1998, I concentrated either on ancient history, or known events occurring after 1802. My knowledge of Scotland and of Northern Ireland was almost nonexistent. With this narrative, a wider world has opened up for the associated Creighton family. It is time to reexamine Michael Creighton (180o-1884), his family’s role in Ulster society and how he, my great-great grandfather, became a Canadian farmer. The story is as relevant as that of Johannes Creyghton of Tilsit. Like the Prussian-Scots, the Ulster-Scots were part of the overall Scots Brotherhood.

 

The Roman and Saxon invaders had bypassed Gaelic Ireland, due to its very isolation. Until the 12th century, it remained a stronghold of ancient tribal, Celtic (and Norwegian) chieftainships. Anglo-Saxon Normans entered primarily the south in the 1170s, as Henry II sought to subjugate the rebellious island. For four hundred years the descendants of these Norman knights integrated into Irish society, but the north, called Ulster, remained uniquely Gaelic.

 

Ulster was, in a sense, synonymous with the Scottish Highlands. Both remained primarily Gaelic and Catholic, while the Lowlands and Southern Ireland evolved along separate lines. Many clans were located in both Ireland and Scotland, traveling back and forth as events warranted. They helped each other in times of war for centuries and a short 35 miles separated southwest Scotland from Ulster. The nine northern counties, Monaghan, Cavan, Fermanagh, Tyrone, Tyrconnel (Donegal), Armagh, Coleraine, Antrim and Down remained a great frontier of mountains, marshy lakes and woodland. Led by the senior clans O’Neill, Maguire, O’Reilly, O’Rourke and O’Cahan, the native Irish held their own against the Anglicized south.

 

Antrim and Down were historically held by the O’Neills. Once the leading and royal house of Ulster, they had remained leaders as earls, but fought constantly with their neighbors. In the 1400s, as the Midlothian Creightons were reaching the height of their power in Scotland, the earls O’Neill asked for Scottish help. The Clan MacDonald of Argyll responded as mercenaries, as they had done since the 13th century. Because of their close alliance with the O’Neill earls, they eventually acquired much of Antrim; displacing the Irish clan MacQuillan. In Ireland they eventually assumed the surname O’Donnell. By the 16th century, they had become a ‘native’ Irish clan under their chief, Sorley Boy MacDonnell (1509-1590). His descendant Randal MacSorley O’Donnell was created Earl of Antrim in 1620.

 

It was during Sorley Boy MacDonnell’s chieftainship of Antrim that Elizabeth I came to power in England. The Irish in general opposed her Protestant reign, supporting instead the imprisoned Queen Mary of Scots. This especially held true in the north, which had received many Catholic Scots fleeing the Calvinist rule of Knox’s Edinburgh parliament. The, conflicts, however predated the Protestant Reformation. The Irish had been fighting for independence from English rule for centuries. Elizabeth inherited the ‘Irish Problem’ from her father’s reign, but sending English troops there was expensive. Her privy council proposed sending English colonists to Ireland to help defuse the situation. Two earlier attempts in southern Ireland had ended in failure. Ulster, though, was still a wilderness and her councilors soon had her convinced that a ‘planting’ venture there could reap rewards while ‘holding down’ the Irish. Her secretary of state, Sir Thomas Smith (1513-1577) became the chief proponent, calling in Scottish aids to negotiate with the Irish earls. The O’Neills offered a portions of northern Downs called the Ards to be set aside for English use and, in 1572, Elizabeth appointed Smith as her chief undertaker. Investors came mostly from the English West Country, but some were Scots, the Hamiltons of Lanarkshire being one. The senior Smith organized the venture while his son Thomas acted as resident magistrate but the venture waned with the death of the elder Smith in 1577. The predominantly Protestant settlers found the local Catholic Irish sullen and hostile. After Elizabeth I executed Mary of Scots in 1587, the divisions widened.

 

With his mother’s death, James VI took the reigns of the Scottish throne in earnest, but was faced with two problems at home. First were the Presbyterian Lowlanders that opposed his changes to their church by incorporating Episcopal bishops. Second were the Border Riders, the Reivers that had become…


CHAPTER: 30                        SEWING THE SEEDS (Editorial Excerpt)

 

In 1607 the British government formalized the settlement of the six escheated counties of Ulster. The Plantation Act of 1607 was the end result of years of negotiations involving the British, Scottish, Catholic Irish and Anglo-Irish administrators. The flight of the earls merely gave an air of legality to the British confiscation of greater Ulster. The after-effects linger to this day, pitting the ‘British’ Protestants against the traditionally Catholic Irish. Specific rules of settlement, especially for Scots nationals were activated and a commission administered the plantation progress from Dublin.

 

The English plan as sanctioned by James I & VI was very simple and was geared to both exploit and to control Scottish settlers. The king’s ongoing battles with the Border Clans and his dislike for the Scots Presbyterians caused many to worry.  The problem was solved when Scots were forced to take oaths of Irish Denization (denizens of Ireland) before they were allowed passage to Ulster. This placed them somewhere between alien emigrants and native Irish. They were required to produce a letter of patent of denization and a fine was levied similar to those imposed upon Scottish emigrants to the Prussian lands. Oaths of allegiance to the British Crown were also imposed and only children born after the oath was given were eligible to purchase lands in the future. Scots could hold no public office, whether civilian or military. If after 7 years of tenancy an applicant adhered to all requirements, full naturalization as a British subject was allowed.

 

From the onset, each of the Ulster counties had special-interest groups vying for the confiscated lands. Politically, the affair remained complex for some time as the Catholic Irish landowners tried to retain a grasp on their traditional home territories. After the flight of the O’Neils and their fellow earls, scattered outbreaks continued to occur, the last being that of Cahir O’Doherty in Derry in 1608. His Coleraine home had been set aside for English settlement in 1604. The ensuing grant allowed for the formation of a new town called Derry; the county of Derry was formed from Coleraine and adjoining portions of Antrim and Donegal, changed later to Londonderry. After O’Doherety’s death, the Londoner’s Plantation began in earnest. Londonderry was settled by 12 formal English trade guilds: The Mercers, Grocers, Drapers, Fishmongers, Goldsmiths, Skinners, Clothworkers, Merchant Tailors, Haberdashers, Saltors, Ironmongers and Vintners. This plantation with the city of Londonderry as its hub soon thrived as a center of English trade, as did the adjoining port city (Borough) of Coleraine in Antrim. The remaining counties were subdivided and allocated, but the distribution followed more diverse lines. The county of Monaghan was not part of the original planting scheme aside from one small settlement. Five counties remained as the principal areas of settlement, Cavan, Fermanagh, Donegal, Armagh and Tyrone.

 

The ‘seeding’ of the counties followed a strict plan of operation to provide for handpicked undertakers. They fell into three major divisions of importance:

 

1.       English and Scottish “Undertakers”: patent holders or grantees responsible for the overall plantation of a given grant, or precinct. Precincts were very large tracts, which were subsequently subdivided into “proportions” of 3000, 2000, 1500 and 1000-acre-tracts. Only chief undertakers of the caliper of Esme Stuart Lord d’Aubigny were allowed tracts of 3000 acres, although many had more than one plantation. There were only nine chief undertakers from Scotland, but they handpicked the 50 ‘ordinary’ Scots Undertakers.

 

2.      Servitors: English or Anglo-Irish crown servants that resided in Ireland. This group included family groups that had been in Ireland for centuries as administrators as well as military families that could provide protection and help form a standing army of militia. Sir Arthur Chichester, as Lord Deputy of Ireland fit into the first group. As well as his own private plantation at Belfast, he was an undertaker for other lands in County Tyrone. Sir Ralph Gore, a knight from Hampshire and a Poore cousin (my mother’s family) was granted lands in Fermanagh County at Enniskillen on Lough Erne.

 

 

3.      Native Irish Freeholders: These were the senior Irish pre-plantation landowners such as the McGuires of Fermanagh and the O’Reillys of Cavan that swore allegiance to the British crown. Although many of these first-families had fought against the crown, others had helped and supported the British cause. By law they were to receive 10% of all allotted lands, but for the most part their allotments were on poor mountainous land or on land undesirable to the British. Their tracts were small, averaging about 120 acres, but some were as small as 25 acres. There leases were ‘life-rents,’ ending when the applicant died.

 

Note: Not usually shown, as a group, were the ecclesiastical grantees. Portions of all five counties were set aside, to be controlled by the Church of England. The Presbyterian Scots were seldom allowed their own churches in the new communities. The struggle of the Scots Kirks in Ulster is a story in itself. Municipal and school lands formed a fifth group as towns were planted and developed after ‘pacification’ was complete.

 

Although regulations were intended to include plantations in far off Virginia, that colony was void of many financial responsibilities imposed on the Ulster undertakers. Virginia was settled initially by………

 


CHAPTER: 31                         LANDLORDS (Editorial Excerpt)

 

In 1902, C.A. Hanna wrote a unique 2-Volumn book entitled: “The Scotch-Irish, or, the Scot in North Britain, North Ireland and North America, the Ulster Plantation 1610-1630.” Hanna chose as his main source the actual documents compiled by the British authorities from Dublin. Reporting directly to King James, they periodically inspected the many precincts and proportions county by county. Many of the commissioners, such as Sir Arthur Chichester, were planters (servitors) as well. Their reports of 1611 and 1619 especially were invaluable, for they listed not only the original 1607 undertakers, but also those, like the Creightons, that obtained lands after 1611. The original reports, called “The Carew Manuscripts, 1603-1624” were published by the British Government.

 

On June 29, 1611, Lord Deputy Chichester, George Carew, Thomas Ridgeway, Richard Wingfield and Oliver Lambert left Dublin for Ulster, traveling directly to the English plantations* of Coleraine. Meeting with magistrates and sheriffs of each county, they made the circuit and recorded progress on each plantation. From Coleraine they traveled to Donegal, Fermanagh, Tyrone, Armagh and Cavan for the remainder of the summer. In all cases, the original undertakers were expected to have met all regulations and to have become resident landlords. Some, like James Hamilton earl of Abercorn received high praise for his remarkable progress with his lands in Tyrone. For the most part, however, Chichester and his commission found many proportions that had never been visited by their undertakers, let alone settled and developed.

 

*Of the six escheated counties, only Derry (Coleraine) and Armagh were meant to be all-English. Tyrone and Donegal were predominantly Scottish, while Fermanagh and Cavan were originally split evenly between English and Scottish planters. Monaghan did have one small plantation, but all others failed and the county was left to the native Irish for another eighty years.

 

One partial entry for Lord Burleigh’s Knockninny precinct of Fermanagh shows how the commissioners evaluated the undertakers. First mentioned is Lord Burleigh’s elder son, Michael Balfour of Fifeshire, Laird Mountwhany (Mountwhinney). His 1500-acre tract (actually 1590) was called Kilspinan and he began constructing his castle there in 1610. Kilspinan was at the southern end of Upper Lough Erne and straddled both east and west shores. His stone fortress was called Crom Old Castle and would become the major Creighton holding in 1655. Thomas Moneypenny owned the adjoining Aghalane proportion just southwest of Balfour’s castle; Trayle’s proportion was called Dristernan. Balfour, Moneypenny, Trayle and Smailholm were all close associates with Thomas Creighton of Brunston (grandson of John):

 

 “…Mr. Balfore, La. Mountwhany, 1500 acres; appeared in person, brought over eight freeholders and lease-holders with four women servants. He felled 200 oaks, provided lime, and brought over a dozen horses and mares for work, with household stuff. La. Kinalle, 1000 acres (Thomas Moneypenny Laird of Kinkell, Fifeshire), not appeared and none for him; nothing done. James Trayle, 1000 acres; took possession, returned to Scotland. Sent over four persons to make freeholders, Etc. Some timber and other materials provided, and six horses and mares out of Scotland. George Smolhome (Geo. Smailholm of Leith, Edinburghshire), 1000 acres, taken possession, returned into Scotland, no agent, nothing done.”

 

One of the last entries in Chichester’s 1611 report concerns activities in nearby Clanchie (Clankee) Precinct in County Cavan.

 

 This county overall was initially well proportioned and like Fermanagh was both Scottish and English in makeup. Alexander Hamilton’s Tullyhunco precinct and Esme Stuart’s Clankee precinct totaled 6000 acres. Sir Stephen Butler at this time was but one of the many English undertakers that shared lands with the Scots. He knew that Chichester’s commission would invariably punish absentee landlords for non-compliance of plantation laws. The Commission had the ability to foreclose on any planting venture if the original owner…………..


CHAPTER: 32                         LAIRD OF AGHALANE (Editorial Excerpt)

 

Michael Balfour Lord Burleigh was one of the earliest Scots in the region, in an official role. The family was old and prestigious, hailing from Markinch, Fifeshire, which was just north of the Creightons of Kirkcaldy. As a Scottish governmental official, he worked as an Irish diplomat from 1579-1604.  Through those years he ingratiated himself with the Maguires, barons of Enniskillen and rulers of Fermanagh. In 1590, he became heir to sizable Maguire holdings at Lough Erne through Connor Boy Maguire, who became one of the few remaining hostile Irish lords to retain status after 1603. When the post-war negotiations ended with the 1607 flight of the earls, Connor Boy Maguire stayed in Fermanagh through Balfour’s support, although the two later became opposed to each other. As a result of his diplomatic successes with Maguire, Balfour was created Lord Balfour of Burleigh in 1607, leading to many high government postings. With the ratification of the Plantation Act, he was first in line to apply for patents of land that he held partial title to since 1590. He received his patents of plantation June 29, 1610 and within a month; he was in Fermanagh to oversee the first plantees. He was recorded as chief undertaker for Knockninny barony, with 2000 acres at Legan and another 1000 acres located at Carrowchee. By that time, he was a sitting member of the Scottish Privy Council. Surprisingly, Lord Burleigh was the chief opponent to the king receiving Irish lands; he felt it to be unethical. By February 1611 he was back in Scotland, but had begun construction of his stone castle. For the annals of 1611 (Carew Reports), his progress of plantation for Knockninny barony was:

 

“…24 persons plus one agent on proportion; 70 cows brought from Scotland, crops harvested, one house built, and other buildings in progress…”

 

Lord Burleigh’s son, James, held adjoining lands at Clanawaley, which was north of Knockninny and west of Enniskillen. His stone castle at Carrowshee became the main Balfour estate on the west side of Lough Erne. James also obtained lands on the east side and took over all of his father’s plantations in 1619. Michael Balfour, son of Lord Burleigh, has already been highlighted by Chichester’s report. He eventually obtained the barony of Magherastephana on the eastern side of the lake, but it is his 1590 acres at Kilspinan that concerns us. Aside from building a castle, Balfour since had let the land to the local Irish, leasing it out by the year. The commissioners in Dublin looked down upon this practice officially, although some commissioners, like Sir Oliver Lambert, did the same on their own proportions (Lambert held a 1500-acre servitor ship at Clonmahone Precinct, County Cavan).

 

Stephen Butler, an English undertaker, became the greatest landowner in the Cavan-Fermanagh region. A member of the House of Ormond, his family had historically been royal favorites of past Scottish and English monarchs as earls of Ormond. For generations, they had ruled lands in Kent, the Scottish Highlands Ross, and Cromarty regions and from County Wexford, Ireland. Stephen Butler was Queen Elizabeth’s cousin, through her mother Anne Boleyn. In Ireland, his family joined the Husseys, Frenches and Powers as Anglo-Norman administrators that came from England in the 117os. Shortly after Chichester’s group returned to Dublin to prepare their reports, Butler began plans to buy up Balfour lands in southern Fermanagh. His original proportion of 2002 acres was located at Loughtee barony in northern Cavan. To this was added 284 acres just south of Lough Erne, where he established the townland of Belturbet (Bealetirbit), which became his headquarters as a market town. From there, Butler evidently sent out word to Esme Stuart and the Balfours that Chichester meant business, prompting immediate action by the senior undertakers. This began a series of voluntary land sales, many Cavan and Fermanagh landlords never left Scotland.

 

Thomas Creighton, who became Stuart’s agent, may already have been a resident under-tenant in Cavan with others from his family. His grandfather, John of Brunston, died the same year that the Chichester Commission toured the northern counties. After 1597, the immediate family would have gone with the Montgomerys and Hamiltons to County Down, as thousands of fellow Gallowegians had done (Kirkudbright, Ayrshire, Renfrew, Dunbarton, Dumfries and Lanarkshire made up ancient Strathclyde and Galloway). When the remaining counties opened up after 1607, many undertakers and tenants came from the Down Plantations (Sir Hugh Montgomery obtained patents for lands in Tyrone). It is likely that some of the Brunston group relocated to Cavan. In Butler’s Loughtree Precinct, future Creightons would be recorded as tenants on lands owned by the English undertaker John Fishe, Esq. (later a baronet). For Fishe’s 2000-acre proportion in the Cavan County Muster Rolls for 1630 are listed James Creighton, Rynyon Creighton and a second James Creighton, all of fighting age. All that is definitely known, however, is that Thomas Creighton, the agent, was the son of James and worked for Esme Stuart and Stephen Butler.

 

In the archives of the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) are Creighton family records (file D/1939) compiled by the Creighton/Crichton Earls of Erne 1611-1981 (the surname was officially changed to Crichton in 1802). They are called simply the “Erne Papers.” Some family and estate correspondence has found its way into the National Library in Dublin (e.g. MS 15360). Because of devastating fires in the 18th century, most of the early records were lost, leaving just enough to piece together how this family originated, beginning with Thomas Creighton. The Erne Papers, on their own, are not enough to determine what occurred in the years from 1611 to 1631. Very important information in the family records are either overlooked, or lost all together. Many missing pieces can be reassembled, however, thanks to reports compiled in the “Carew Manuscripts, 1603-1624” and for muster rolls dated 1631 for Fermanagh County.

 

With the deaths of the senior John of Brunston in 1603 and his son John in 1611, James, Thomas’ father, became the ranking Creighton ‘of Brunston.’ The castle and much of the Brunston estates had gone in the 1597 sale, but some land was retained. This family from Kyle in central Ayrshire had, over the generations, established themselves around Kilmarnock and also retained strong ties to the senior House of Frendraught in Banffshire near Aberdeen. There, the direct descendant of Lord William the Chancellor, James Crichton of Frendraught lived precariously with his Gordon and Huntly cousins. James Crichton was married to Janet Gordon of Lesmoir. Their son James would marry Elizabeth Gordon in 1619, the same year the senior Frendraught died. During the Plantation of Ulster, the head of the House of Frendraught would have technically been the Creighton clan chief, but he continued to share that role with the House of Sanquhar. In that old stronghold, his cousin William Crichton would become 1st Earl of Dumfries, while James’ grandson, Sir James Crichton would become Viscount Frendraught.

 

Like most of the leading houses of Scotland, those at the top held titles and lands, but had little ready cash. What they did have was usually tied up in investments, livestock or shipping interests. The Creightons of Aberdeen, with their Gordon and Ogilvy cousins took advantage of world expansion to send ships to the Baltic and America. Out of all the Creightons, they probably were the wealthiest, until they destroyed themselves through infighting with the Gordons by the end of the century. In Fife at Kirkcaldy and in Angus near Dundee and Forfarshire however, the extended Creighton group had links to all major branches, as horse suppliers.

 

Patrick Crichton before he died pointed out the importance of this region. The long and numerous wars took a heavy toll on horseflesh and historically, the area of Perth-Kinross on into coastal Angus and Fife became a horse-breeding enclave. William the Chancellor and his cousins were aware of this in the late 1300s and horse raising became one family business. By 1611, the great houses of Fife and southern Angus were the Olgivies, Balfours and Moneypennys. Ogilvy is not readily associated with the Plantation of Ulster, but Balfour (Lord Burleigh) and Moneypenny (Thomas Laird of Kentell) are. Balfour, as you remember had been involved in Fermanagh land deals since 1590. Moneypenny, whose home barony of Kentell was just south of St. Andrews Fife, was hand-chosen by Balfour as one of his undertakers, probably in 1607. To settle Ulster according to plan, men and materials had to be in place within 3-1/2 years and this meant horses, for work and for military use. Moneypenny was still in Fife when the commission arrived.

 

Lord Burleigh had already ‘planted’ his lands and left Ulster earlier that year. Probably at Stephen Butler’s urging, he called in the Scottish land agents to make haste, for “the commissioners were coming!” It is no coincidence that his son Michael Balfour arrived from Fife just as Chichester entered Knockninny Precinct, with ………………


CHAPTER: 33                         WHICH THOMAS CREIGHTON? (Editorial Excerpt)

 

We know of Thomas Creighton through many sources, but conflicts arise when comparing various documents. The Erne Papers, though many early ones were lost to fire, lead directly from Thomas to the present Earls of Erne. The early progression from Thomas to his Uncle Abraham’s offspring is well known, but when viewing the Pynnar Report, conflicts arise. The Erne Papers state that Thomas of Aghalane died in 1661; Pynnar’s Report of 1619 listed Thomas of Aghalane as deceased upon their arrival in Fermanagh. The Erne Papers imply an unbroken Creighton occupation of Aghalane from 1616, but this was not the case.

 

First of all, Nicholas Pynnar knew the Fermanagh undertakers personally, as a Cavan County servitor. His finished report was very detailed and accurate, listing not only progress of the undertakers but of their tenants. Arriving in Knockninny Precinct, his commission found James Balfour to be the only one left of Lord Burleigh’s family ‘in residence’. The younger Balfour had obtained his father’s barony of Knockninny as chief undertaker, moving his seat of power across the lake to Lisnaskea, where his great castle was still under construction.  Butler, however, had begun the process of buying-out the Balfour Empire; his acquisitions since August 1618 amounted to 5000 acres of southern Fermanagh (Knockninny proper was only 3000 acres). Following is an excerpt taken from Captain Nicholas Pynnar’s Survey of 1619 (see Carew Manuscripts, 1603-1624, pp 532) for Knockninny Precinct:

 

4. 1000 acres, George Ardwick, guardian of David Crichton, son of Thomas Crichton, deceased, (transferred from Thomas Moneypenny, Laird of Kentell, Fifeshire): bawn of stone enclosing a poor thatched house; 6 freeholders, 4 lessees.

 

This was Thomas Creighton’s Aghalane proportion. Throughout Pynnar’s report of Knockninny, George Ardwick was listed as Butler’s agent in all of his ‘transferrals.’ Although much progress had occurred since 1611, many of the initial undertakers had failed. One who sold out to Butler was Sir John Wishart of Pittarro, Forfarshire. The 1611 reports listed him as the ‘most likely to succeed’ of any of the undertakers, but Butler ended up with his 1500 acres on the lake. With it came Wishart’s stone house and bawn and 17 lessees. His proportion was able, however, to raise 66 men with arms. Michael Balfour’s proportion of Kilspinan, also obtained by Butler, had 12 lessees, but only 15 men with arms. Pynnar ended the Knockninny report with his totals: “Six freeholders, 76 lessees; able to produce 178 men with arms.” Surprisingly, all freeholders in the precinct of Knockninny were on the Creighton proportion of Aghalane.

 

All of a sudden, Thomas Creighton takes on new relevance. Moneypenny had done nothing with Aghalane according to Sir Arthur Chichester in 1611. At that time, Thomas Creighton had been Esme Stuart Lord d’Aubigny’s agent. George Ardwick took over that position shortly after Creighton occupied Aghalane. Up until that time, Ardwick had been a grantee (leaseholder) on John Trayle’s proportion of Dresternan, near Aghalane. Butler’s use of Ardwick as his agent speaks well for this little-known Scotsman, who was probably from d’Aubigny’s home region of Stirlingshire or Renfrew. Why and how he became guardian to young David Creighton and what became of the boy is unknown. In fact, David Creighton is not mentioned at all in the Erne Papers and neither is George Ardwick. Twelve years later, Ardwick was still shown as the undertaker of Aghalane (Fermanagh Muster Rolls, 1631).

 

I find it interesting that David Creighton was never mentioned in the (surviving) family archives as an ancestor of the Earls of Erne. The family’s rise to the peerage began in the 1700s, a clear pedigree would have been essential to establish lineage. Thomas’ pedigree was impeccable, tracing directly back to Edward Crichtoun First Laird of Brunston, who was brother to John Crichtoun of Long Creighton, Midlothian. Pynnar’s Survey is very clear, Thomas was dead by 1619 and his lands transferred to George Ardwick, for his underage son, David. It can be assumed that David was his first-born son, but there appears to have been two more. The second-born would have been Thomas (Jr.) and the youngest would have been …………….

 


CHAPTER: 34                         WOOD-KERNS AND WOLVES (Editorial Excerpt)

 

The Ardwick years at Aghalane were crucial ones to Upper Lough Erne. This had been the sacred heart of ancient Ulster. When King James died in 1625 and his son Charles I succeeded to the throne, most native Irish had already left the lake for the mountains. So many new arrivals had come from Scotland and England that the Irish found themselves unwanted in their own land. The original plantation scheme allowed for only 10% of the land base to remain Irish-owned. This left thousands of landless Irish to be relegated to the status of servant, or outlaw. Forced away from their old holdings, they had nowhere to go but into the mountains. From there, they banded around landless younger sons of the Irish gentry, the Maguires, O’Reillys and O’Donnells.

 

They have been compared with the American Indian, sweeping down from their mountain strongholds in plundering raids. Ulster was still a heavily forested region. The Scots settlers called the Irish raiders “Widcairns” or ‘Wood-Kerns,’ meaning lightly armed soldiers. To the local Irish tenants that shared the region (O’Cassidys at Aghalane), the wood kerns were Robin Hoods. To the Protestant settlers, they were bandits and rebels, to be hunted down like animals, by animals. Many tenant farmers became rich raising bloodhounds, bred especially for this purpose. If caught, they were often executed without a trial, after being publicly humiliated in the streets on their way to the gallows tree. In East Prussia the native Lithuanians were viewed the same way, as were the Native Americans in the American plantations. The wood kerns remained small isolated groups of guerilla fighters through the 1630s. Although the English settlers hated them, the local Scots in Fermanagh lived in a semi-state of coexistence and toleration with the Catholic Irish until 1641.

 

Aghalane, one of the most prosperous proportions in Knockninny bordered the mountains that rose off to the west. Aghalane Castle on Woodford River probably began as a typical Scottish hillside farm. Drumboory, where Abraham Creighton had his farm was closer to the main lake and Derrylin, but still within the low-lying lakeside county. The general Irish population that had lived here for centuries were semi-nomadic, following their cattle to the mountain pastures in summer and wintering in the deep woods. The Scottish farmer, for the most part arrived with not much more refinement, especially those from Ayrshire and Kirkudbright. The Scots held to their old routine of farming oats and barley on the hillsides and turning cattle and sheep into the low-lying swamps. Luckily, English tenant farmers, whose techniques were considered to be the most modern of the day, jointly settled Fermanagh. The Scottish tenants learned from their English neighbors and soon, bogs and swamps were drained, opening up acres of new, fertile land. Sheep were imported immediately; wool became the main export all across Ulster. Oats and barley were replaced by Sir Walter Raleigh’s potato, brought over from……..

 


CHAPTER: 35                         PIPES AND DRUMS (Editorial Excerpt)

 

At Newbury Neck, Essex County, Massachusetts, my mother’s ancestor, John Poore, was building his first house. Just married at nearby Salem, he was perhaps unaware of the unfolding events in Ulster, but was connected nonetheless. His cousin Sir Ralph Gore of Hampshire was undertaker to much of northeastern Fermanagh. Gore was also a military servitor at Enniskillen and held lands in Donegal. Both men were homeowners on frontier plantations. John Poore and his brother Nicholas had spent a year in southern Massachusetts fighting the Pequot Indians, now he shared his lands on the Parker River with semi-hostile Penacook Indians. Ralph Gore was in charge of the Enniskillen Militia, including the fighting men of Aghalane. Abraham Creighton of Drumboory was in charge of seeing to his district’s safety, but his ‘Indians’ were the Irish Wood-Kerns. Between Wentworth’s recall in 1640 and the start of hostilities in October 1641, all had remained quiet. Many exiled Scots had returned from Scotland to their farms in Fermanagh and Cavan, thinking it safe. All seemed unaware that the pipes and drums were being tuned up for war.

 

Reminiscing in the smoke of his mosquito fire while his roof was being thatched, John Poore would have sucked at his clay pipe and remembered the Pequot War. Nothing today could describe his feelings as a young man in a dark Connecticut swamp, encased in outdated steel armor that chafed his skin. He was trained in law, not soldiering. Through a mixture of trade-English and Algonquin slang, he asked his Massachusetts scouts what the distant noise meant. From the other side of the swamp came high-pitched whistles, women’s trilling and a steady monotonous drumming. “They strike the red pole, Poor-Man,” they answered (the war dance, where warriors enacted their battle deeds while dancing around a painted pole), “when the dancing stops, they will attack.” Somewhere between the two camps a wolf howled into the night. In 1710, the last wolf in Connecticut was shot, for its bounty.

 

Late summer 1641 found the average settlers of Ulster unaware that anything was brewing. The wood kerns had been dealt with a decade before and aside from small and sporadic raids, were thought to be a thing of the past. Thomas Creighton of Aghalane was first to notice the change in his Irish tenants; many of the younger men were gone from their leaseholds, the same held true for those at Kilspinan. He had sat in at enough meetings with his Irish tenants, however, to realize their growing anger at the rent increases. From the onset of the planting of Ulster, the Irish had been relegated to the smallest allotments of the worst lands available. Limited to annual leases that could be canceled at any time, they paid more per acre than Scot or English lessees. This then became their main point of contention; religious differences had little to do with it. Rents were due once again in November. With the senior houses of Maguire, O’Reilly and O’Neill once more at the head of Wentworth’s ‘disbanded’ army, silent word went out to all Catholic Irish across Ulster to rise up collectively on a given date in October to slaughter the ‘English’ settlers. Getting wind of just enough information to make him uneasy, Thomas warned his cousin Abraham to watch his Irish tenants. There had been reports of drums in the hill country.

 

 Abraham’s watch-post was a stone tower at Lough Derrycanon near his home, surrounded by forest and filled with wolves. Like all able-bodied men over 16, he was trained as a militia soldier and he was better at it than most. Born in 1591, he was already 50 but still fit and trim. Late one night while standing watch, a boy approached. It was one of Magee’s sons, Jamie. “They saint me oop froom the hoose, me’ laird, ta ask ya what the bloody widcairns are ‘a wailin’ aboot!” The boy fidgeted before the steel-clad Abraham. “It ain’t wailin’ young Jamie, it’s the smallpipes and the bodhrans ye be hearin.” Abraham went on, “It’s the war music, same as our own people once played before a fight. Their pipes are little things, made with a goat’s skin, some pipes and a fireplace bellows, but the war-songs are as good as ours. The war drum is called the bodhran; its sound is the voice of the old War Gods. The noise is supposed to scare us, but for me, it is music to my ears. As long as you only hear the single drum and pipe, fear not, but boy, when the mountain comes alive with the pipin’, and the ground shakes from the bodhran’s thunder, run for you life for Castle Crom.”

 

If Jamie Magee heard the bodhrans, it was not for long and he probably never had a chance to run for Crom. It was the wrong place to run to, anyway……….


CHAPTER: 36                         THE WEDDING PRESENT (Editorial Excerpt)

 

While Thomas Creighton of Aghalane went about his business as manorial laird, his cousin Abraham was becoming a rising star. The Drumboory Creightons were still only leaseholders and as such, were limited in their social standing. Abraham’s lack of freeholder status was compensated for by his acclaim as a military leader and it can be supposed that he profited greatly from the recent war. Bishop Spottiswoode, fellow lessee of Crom Castle, had died in 1644 (or 1645, there are conflicting reports). He had been a very controversial figure in the area and had exhibited great control over the Clogher diocese. He had leased Crom Castle from Francis Butler of Belturbet, but the Butlers were his main opponents. His favor with the king protected him until his death, however. While his body was shipped off to England to lie beside his brother John at Westminster Abbey, his family retained the leasehold of Crom.

 

Some of the Spottiswoodes, the bishop’s third daughter Mary, in particular, must have lived at Crom. In 1655, Abraham Creighton of Drumboory married the woman and the leasehold of Crom came with the marriage. Whether her father arranged the event before he died is unknown, Mary may have had brothers that ran the property or the bishop may have left the leasehold to her. In any event, Abraham Creighton at 30-years-old acquired Crom Old Castle as part of his Mary’s dowry. It would turn out to be a most prestigious wedding present.

 

In 1661, things took another turn. Thomas Creighton died at Aghalane. Rev. George Creighton, his younger brother, succeeded to the lairdship. This man may have owned land elsewhere and administered Aghalane out of obligation alone, but he found time to help out his Drumboory relatives. Upon receipt of title to the manor, George met with Abraham and he gave him a fee farm grant, making Abraham the outright owner of Drumboory. At the same time, Francis Butler chose to grant freehold status to Abraham for Crom Castle, followed four years later (1665) with a freehold lease for the entire Kilspinan estate. Butler levied an annual rent of L15 for what was the old Michael Balfour Jr. proportion. He did not stop here. Adjoining his lands of Drumboory was James Trayle’s old Dresternan proportion. Theophilus Tate had purchased it from Stephen Butler and in 1671; Abraham obtained from Tate a 31-year-lease. The great Creighton land deals had formally begun.

 

Abraham, who became a Colonel of Militia, had at least one sister. The year prior to his purchasing Dreternan, his sister married Hugh Hamill of Strabane, County Tyrone. In 1778 her husband bought Lifford, in County Donegal from its original owner (Richard Hansard of Ballindrait) for L3,450.  Abraham Creighton had lent most of the large sum to his brother-in-law, who it seems fell almost immediately into hard times. He was unable to repay Abraham.

 

All told, Abraham and Mary had seven children, five sons and two daughters. Only the fifth son, David (1671-1728) survived to inherit Abraham’s estates, but it is known that an older brother James married Hester Hamilton of Manor Hamilton, Leitrim and a sister married John Hamilton of Brownhall, Donegal. John Creighton (1688-1715), possibly the son of James and Hester was the only male besides David that lived into the 18th century.

 

At the old manor of Aghalane, John Creighton was born in 1672, probably the son of Rev. George Creighton. It would have been his offspring that would have continued on to be the senior line, but when he married, he only had six daughters. In 1702, he gave up the old castle of Aghalane and moved into a new mansion at nearby Killynick. He was the last Creighton Laird of Aghalane, dying in 1738. The Aghalane estates were sold to Samuel Cooke.

 

Abraham Creighton of Crom Castle remained the local military expert. In 1673 he was appointed High Sheriff of Fermanagh. When the Jacobite Rebellion started in Scotland, he chose to stand with the Protestant forces and welcomed the arrival of William of Orange in 1688. King James found many Catholic Irish and some Protestant Scots in Ulster to fight for his cause. Soon, the entire north was once again ablaze with thousands of expatriate Scot and Irish soldiers being brought in from distant Germany and the Netherlands. In 1689, as the Royalist army approached, the local forces were mustered at Enniskillen. Abraham Creighton was appointed Colonel of the Enniskillen Regiment of Foot. His son David was just turned 18.

 

This war surpassed all others in devastation; entire cities were burnt to the ground. The armies were no longer hastily assembled militia farmers; they were tried veterans of the Thirty Years War in Europe. As Col. Creighton led the Enniskillen Regiment out, his son David formed his companies in and around Castle Crom. Lord Galmoy led the first attack on the castle, which David defended with his life. The Royalists regrouped and General McCarthy led the second attack. For days the siege went on, but Creighton held out until reinforcements arrived from Enniskillen. David’s successful defense of Crom became an early victory in the war and saved the destruction of Enniskillen. In 1691 his father Col. Abraham became the hero at the Battle of Aughrim, in which the Enniskillen Regt. of Foot distinguished itself.

 

The two war heroes were richly rewarded. In 1692, one year after the Battle of Aughrim, Col. Abraham Creighton became MP (Member of Parliament) of Fermanagh County. In 1694 David, now also a colonel married Catharine Southwell, the sister to the 1st Lord Southwell of Castle Mattress, Co Limerick. In 1695, Abraham was MP of Enniskillen (Enniskillen and Londonderry held separate seats in parliament) and the same year, his son David was MP of Augher, Co Tyrone.

 

Meanwhile, the European stage readied again for war……………….

 


CHAPTER: 37                         ORANGE MOON OVER ANTRIM (Editorial Excerpt)

 

The first seeds of exodus had been sparked in 1636 when Antrim tenants had complained to their landlords about unfair market prices. Behind every undertaker were a slew of investors, like a board of directors in a large corporation. They were the Joint-Stock members of England and Scotland that expected returns on their investments, many which had originated during Queen Elizabeth’s reign. Antrim, with Belfast and Coleraine Borough as its main ports led the field in the Irish textile trade. Many of the undertakers and tenants of this region, including Creightons, were of the Kilmarnock region of North Ayrshire and their patrons were historically Stuarts, Montgomerys, Hamiltons and Boyds. Throughout the reign of James I, Antrim and Down had done much to fund his treasury with a thriving wool trade, but it grew too large and threatened English wool merchants. Charles I had tried many times to curtail the Irish trade and in 1636, it buckled to rising export duties. The king proposed to ban Irish wool exports to anywhere other than England.

 

The Antrim investors, probably from both countries met at Edinburgh. The Puritan Massachusetts Bay Colony had remained aloof from royal intrigue and offered a possible alternative to Ulster as a wool center. They knew that Governor Winthrop was trying to settle his northern frontier. The investors drafted a letter to Cotton Mather, the spiritual leader in Boston. They were familiar with David Thompson of Edinburgh who had been an early grantee of lands on the New Hampshire-Maine border. Another early planter had been John Hussey, an Irish-born Anglo servitor whose family owned Hussey Island in Casco Bay, Maine. The Massachusetts General Assembly wanted settlers for a ‘problem’ plantation on the Winnicunnet River (Hampton River just over the disputed border with New Hampshire), where the Mason family of Hampshire, England held a royal patent. Most that had settled at Winnicunnet were dissidents and royalists that opposed the Puritans. When Mather received the letter of inquiry from Edinburgh, he assumed that the proposed settlers were Scotsmen and firmly Calvinist. He invited them to ‘cross the pond’ to America and set up residence just north of the mouth of the Merrimack River.

 

First, if Mather had known that the emigrants were Scots-Ulstermen, he would have refused the offer. Although a few individuals had migrated to Massachusetts as indentured servants, they were generally viewed as Irishmen. The Puritan mind-set was closed and oppressive. If Ulster was in Northern Ireland, then Ulstermen were ‘mere Irish’ and probably Catholic. Luckily, the crossing never met fruition. At Belfast, the Eagle Wing was outfitted, but every time it tried to make the crossing, it was beset by storms. Almost sinking, it finally limped back to Antrim. If it had made it to Boston, the General Assembly would have turned it away once it was found to contain ‘Irishmen.’

 

Although nothing came of this first attempt to leave Northern Ireland for the New World, it does show an early desire of the Ulster-Scot to seek greener fields when he felt trod upon. Antrim, in particular, had acted as the stationing point for the interior settlement of Ulster. The Creightons of Lough Erne, Cavan and Donegal could not have survived the early years without support from family that first settled there. The beautiful hills of Argyll in Scotland were only 18 miles from eastern Antrim. With Clan MacDonnell sharing both regions for generations, Antrim and the adjoining Ards of County Down were as much Scottish as Irish. When Lord Chichester established his plantation at Belfast, there were also Stewarts, Orrs, Magees and possibly Creightons from Arran and Argyll sharing MacDonnell lands. As time and events carried the interior settlers through the bad years of war and famine, their Antrim cousins remained, for the most part, stable.

 

From 1636 onward, Ulster generally was beset by one calamity after another. Added to the political and economic woes, were years of extreme drought and famine. The great wars in the Rhineland, the English Civil War and the Scottish Covenant and Jacobite Wars stripped Ulster (and Scotland) of her finest young men, thousands never came home again. Although part of Ireland, Ulster was never considered ‘Irish’ after 1607. Neither was it a self-governing English colony like Virginia or New England, although the same men founded all three.  James I had used Ulster as his prototype, a springboard to propel him into world affairs. The early participants like the Creightons of Brunston had been expected to front liquid assets of L 1,000; that is why Brunston had been sold, as a show of ‘good faith.’ Undertakers had to provide much more. Added to this were new titles of the peerage especially invented by the king to fund his projects. The title of Baronet was established first for the English gentry, but by 1620 it included those of Scottish birth, as Baronets of Nova Scotia first and then Scotland at large. It could be bought for L 25,000, a remarkable sum for those times. Although ‘Sir’ was used in front of a baronet’s name, it had nothing to do with knighthood. Its original use was strictly as a moneymaking scheme.

 

The aborted attempt to send Scots-Irish from Antrim to New England was in 1636, when the hard times historically began in Ulster. The Irish war and the coming of Cromwell led to a widespread breakup of the population, thousands fled and returned to either England or Scotland during his oppressive years in mid-century. His roundup of the dissident Irish, however, included a general purge nationwide. His Puritan ‘witch hunt’ took in Catholic Irish rebels, Protestant Anglo-Irish like the Butlers of Cavan and Fermanagh and just about anyone that opposed his views. Great families in place since 1177 found their lands seized and entire families deposed or jailed. This happened to my mother’s cousins, the Poers and Powers of Ireland. In 1652 he placed 250 of these ‘rebels’ on two ships and sent them to Boston to be sold as household servants. Once being set ashore, this early group of mostly Protestant Ulstermen vanished from history. They would have found little warmth from the Boston Puritans; it is thought…….

 


CHAPTER: 38                         DON’T FORGET TO WATER THE POTATOS (Editorial Excerpt)

 

Abraham Creighton of Crom, born in 1699 was one of the few family members that prospered in Ireland. Born to wealth and prestige as General Creighton’s son, the man who would become Lord Erne lived apart from the strife that surrounded him, not so his many cousins.

 

First came the reign of Queen Anne (1702-1714). She immediately set out to force the Episcopal form of religion on the Ulstermen, imposing the ‘Test Act’ where Presbyterians vowed to uphold Episcopal sacraments. Many historians put this as a major reason for the mass exodus to America, but that was not the case. The common people of Ulster were familiar with many such acts imposed over the years, they mostly ignored the order, but it did affect the Presbyterian clergy. In Ireland, the High-Church Party enforced the Test Act, meant to jointly do away with the Presbyterian and the Roman Catholic faiths. When the Scottish kirk leaders objected, they were expelled from their own congregations. Presbyterian marriages were labeled null and void. Belfast and Londonderry became the leading centers of Scottish opposition against the policies of the High-Church Party and their congregations and others in Antrim suffered the most.

 

In 1714, a massive drought began all across Ulster. Crops withered in the fields, except the hardy potato. For six- successive years the drought continued, making farming all but impossible. Food costs soared. To make matters worse, sheep rot attacked the flocks in 1716*, crippling the wool industry. Winters were especially long and cold everywhere throughout the decade, also affecting market prices. There were plague epidemics and finally, in 1718 came a very nasty form of smallpox. Those with foresight, however, had already taken action to seek greener pastures.

 

*This was an important year for another reason, banishment from Ireland and Scotland for past ‘wrongs’ against the crown. Many had to do with the Jacobite rebellions. Ship’s records for 1716 show an unusual number of Scots being transported to America as deportees. There were scores of Stewarts that ended up from Barbados to Nova Scotia. There was also one James Creighton banished to Charleston, South Carolina in that same year.

 

In Massachusetts, Governor Schute faced the same problem that had beset Winthrop in 1636. North, beyond Essex County and the Merrimack River, laid a vast wilderness that had remained unsettled for the most part. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts had tried for years to permanently settle the coast of Maine, but Indians and isolation had prevented it. Those who did live along the coast were transient Indian traders, fishermen or ‘dissidents’ expelled from the settlements. The French in Canada were moving their (Catholic) frontier deep into Maine among the Abenaki Indians, which also threatened Massachusetts’s expansion. A very costly war with France (Queen Anne’s War 1701-1713) had recently ended. The Bostonians had actually captured the French fort of Port Royale (1710) in Nova Scotia, only to relinquish it back to them in treaty negotiations. Some of Governor Schute’s subordinates had ties to Ulster and proposed importing Scot Presbyterians. This plan was backed by local and long established Scotsmen like the Duncan Stewarts of Rowley. Aware that the newly termed ‘Scotch-Irish’ were effectively being used concurrently with Palatinate Germans in Pennsylvania, Schute was receptive when he received a visit from an agent from County Antrim, in Ulster.

 

Presbyterian clergymen south of Coleraine Borough had hired the agent in 1717 after the sheep rot epidemic. There, on the Antrim-Londonderry border, the great River Bann flowed from the coastal city deep into Antrim. It had historically been a place of wealth and prosperity, home of Clan O’Donnell and other Scotsmen that settled there generations before. These people from Coleraine Borough to Belfast had led the way for over 100 years forging northern Ulster into a viable mercantile power. They has stood alone against the elements and rebellious Irish, only to be singled out as secondary citizens in their adopted homeland. A core group had formed around church leaders that had been denied their rights to minister to their own kirks. Investors put forth money and materials, most coming from the senior families of the port cities. The Stewarts had so many interests along the River Bann that the seaport of Coleraine Borough was called Portstewart. Creightons, whether or not they participated in the investing were in residence at Belfast and Castlereigh in Antrim and at Drumskee, County Down. Between 600-800 people, of both Scot and English descent were recruited from central Antrim. Two of these, David and John Creighton, were part of the ‘Bann Valley Company.’

 

Meeting at Boston, the Antrim agent approached Governor Schute about bringing the Ulstermen to settle in the region near Boston. Massachusetts Proper however was made up entirely of Federalist Congregationalists, the same Puritan element that associated any ‘Irishman’ as a Papist. Schute knew that there would be a public outcry. His main interest was to stall French encroachment in the north coastal region. Casco Bay, where the Hussey’s owned much land had been unsuccessful in keeping long-term settlers. Many Abenaki had their main villages near Casco and a permanent ‘English’ colony would keep the Indians in check. He also wished to send some of the Ulster-Scots to Worchester, another frontier region west of Boston in the Berkshire foothills. When the agent from Antrim refused the offers, Schute told him to bring the people over anyway and that a solution would be found.

 

In the spring of 1718, the Bann Valley group assembled at Belfast, where five ships had been outfitted to cross the Atlantic. The smallpox had already begun to spread across Ulster. The first ships arrived in Boston Harbor in August; last to arrive was the Elizabeth with 115 people in November 1718. The Port authorities predictably labeled them all as “a parcel of Irish.”

 

The Ulstermen, harassed by the Bostonians, almost at once met to discuss Governor Schute’s offer of resettlement. Many researchers think of this group as unique to New England, but many had relatives that had preceded them. Scotsmen and Ulstermen alike had come to New England for years as servants, only to gravitate into the wild interior to get away from the Puritan mentality. Depending on where Gov. Schute proposed to send them, the assembly broke up into smaller groups. Many resident relations were militiamen on the Indian frontier (which still was only 30 miles west of Boston). Over half opted to go to Worchester and the Berkshires the following spring, but 250 voted to settle at Casco in Maine. They set out late in the autumn if 1718 by ship, promised with a ‘townland right’ that comprised 12 acres.

 

Casco Bay had long been a point of importance for Massachusetts. It was part of the old royal grant set aside for Sir Ferdinando Gorges of Somerset, whose family still fought for control in the courts. Europeans, English, Irish, Scottish and Portuguese fishermen had made temporary winter camps there since 1507 as they worked the Cod-rich Grand Banks off Nova Scotia. During the late war, Casco had been used as a stationing point and meeting place to negotiate with the Abenaki tribes. What few resident frontiersmen that did settle coastal Maine remained independent.  They were traditionally royalists and anti-Puritan; many were Catholic. The Casco area was also the entrance to the Plymouth Company’s trading region, called Franconia. When the Ulster settlers arrived at Casco, winter was already setting in and most of the 250 people sat out the cold months onboard the ships. No preparations had been made for their arrival. As the winter progressed, they broke up into smaller groups. About 135 went ashore and moved overland to the tiny settlement of Wicasset, where they remained. The remaining 115, discouraged and homesick returned to Essex County, where they found temporary haven at Haverhill, Massachusetts.

 

At Haverhill, the reality of the situation hit the Ulstermen. In touch with their relatives that had gone on to Worchester, they found……….

 


CHAPTER: 39                         SCOTTISH, IRISH, GERMAN OR DUTCH? (Editorial Excerpt)

 

In my book, Eastwind Westwind, the Poore History, I followed the Scotch-Irish migrations extensively. The relatively small group that left the Bann Valley of Antrim for Massachusetts was the only one from this group that settled in the northeast from this time period. The majority of the emigrants that left Ulster for America funneled through Pennsylvania to the Blue Ridge of Virginia. Using the Shenandoah River as a highway, they came by the thousands and found their way into Appalachia and the American legend. Crockett, Boone, Morgan, Jefferson; so many of our early American heroes were of Scotch-Irish ancestry. They brought a much-needed infusion of new blood to the older English colonial society and eventually became the national leaders. In five successive waves, between 1717 and1775, over 200,000 emigrated from Ulster to Pennsylvania, where only 20,000 found their way to the northeast during those 58 years. In Eastwind Westwind I also told how the Scots almost always were grouped with German emigrants. This initially was a result of Penn’s desire* to import the Rhinelanders to settle along the Delaware and Susquehanna Rivers and by coincidence; the German and Ulster-Scots arrived at the same ports.

 

*Penn had two reasons for importing Ulster-Scots and German emigrants. First, adjacent Maryland, (especially the eastern portion) was predominantly Catholic and was receiving many transplanted Jacobite Scots. His Quaker government feared Catholic expansion into the wilder western portion of Maryland that connected to the mountain highlands and the Ohio River region. Secondly, the Upper Susquehanna held hostile Indian tribes that threatened his development schemes. This region included a fertile zone that straddled the New York border to the Mohawk River and east to the Upper Hudson. Penn may have been encouraged by Robert Livingston, a Scotsman who had imported the first Scots and Germans to his 160,000-acre grant on the Hudson in the 1680’s (Columbia County, NY).

 

Where Puritan New England barred full-scale immigration, the tolerant Quakers welcomed all Protestants. It was a good ‘marriage,’ Scot and German. Both groups had Calvinist roots and were strong-willed individualists who had survived decades of war and privations at home. The Germans were naturally good farmers, highly organized and industrious. Wherever they went they built permanent stone houses and barns. Scottish middlemen, usually of the Edinburgh merchant class, brokered land grants for Penn. They usually remained in the cities and settled eastern Maryland and New Jersey. The first recorded usage (in America) of the word ‘Scotch-Irish’ came from the Maryland Secretary, Sir Thomas Laurence, in 1695. James Logan, Penn’s secretary, was an Irish native from Ulster who had brought the first contingent of Ulstermen to Chester County, Pennsylvania in 1710.

 

These groups of Scots and Germans that came to the Delaware River became a flood of humanity over the ensuing decades. They populated the Susquehanna River Valley and then turned south into western Virginia, following the mountains to the Carolinas. From highland outposts, they spread into Indian lands in Tennessee and Kentucky, which in turn took them to the Ohio River Valley. This closed a great circle that encompassed the entire Appalachian chain, with the Alleghenies of Pennsylvania merging with the mountains of western New York to Canada. As with the Ulster Poors, Poers and Powers, Creightons from many clans joined the migrations, intermingling with the Germans. The early Rhinelanders were staunch religionists, giving way in time to a wider range of semi-secular Lutherans. In the American colonies, all German émigrés were referred to as ‘Dutch.’ Through the first half of the 18th century they became the true frontiersmen of American history, the Scots as the restless woodrunners and the Germans as the towns-minded administrators. The Scotch-Irish brought a culture that survives to this day in Appalachia; songs are still heard that word-for-word are identical to those of 17th century England and Scotland, which became the basis of modern Bluegrass.

 

The older settlements of the Tidewater Region from Maryland to South Carolina remained home to the original Virginia undertakers. The earliest Creighton of record was Henry Creighton, who came to settle lands in Virginia in 1661. The southern Poores were of the same mold, being both old planter families from the Tidewater as well as new ‘Irish’ cousins. As the Scotch-Irish and German emigrants settled the western mountains, their Tidewater cousins joined them. This union with old and new makes it very hard today to trace origins of many southern surnames. A good example is the Scottish family Little, long associated in Massachusetts with my northern family Poore. The first Littles, from Somerset and Gloucester, England had been settlers at Roanoke Island (North Carolina) in the 1580s. The Littles who married into the Poore clan at Newbury, MA were from London’s textile merchant class. The old Scottish parent clan survived as one of the Border Clans deported to western Ireland, while others lived near the Creightons of Angus and Fifeshire, becoming Ulstermen. The Littles as Scotch-Irish emigrants entered North Carolina in the 1740s, almost 150 years after their cousins disappeared with the others from Roanoke Colony.

 

I do not want to dwell further on the southern Creightons, however. There were many that eventually ended up in the Southeast. From the highlands of Virginia they spread out to Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri and Arkansas. Thousands of Americans descend from these early Scotch-Irish that funneled through Roanoke, VA beginning around 1730, but tracing them is a full time occupation. Many native Irish Crehans * and Crogans had changed their surname to Creighton by this time as well. Like the southern Poors, Poores and Powers, they became a mixed group, some Scot, some Irish and others intermixed with German immigrants. Bloodlines were further broken down as the frontiersmen intermarried with Cherokee Indians in Tennessee.

 

*I had written earlier that Crehan was an old derivative of Creighton in Ireland, which it may have been in the distant past. It is better described as a simpler version of the native Irish clan O’Croidheain of County Tyrone, long-time Ulster leaders related to the High Nialls (O’Neills), kings of Ulster. The surname Crean is another variation of O’Croidheain. As the Fermanagh Creightons of Lough Erne became prominent, many Crehans altered their name respectively.

 

Since my line derived from the Creightons of County Down and settled primarily in eastern Canada, it is the connection to the Maritime Provinces that I wish to explore in detail…………..

 


CHAPTER: 40                        HERRING CHOKERS (Editorial Excerpt)

 

My father called himself a “Herrin’ Choker”, although he was born at Prince Edward Island, Canada in 1901. It is one of those colloquial names more aptly applied to the coastal population of New Brunswick. My grandfather was born near Sussex, NB in 1868, so in this case, I would be the grandson of a Herrin’ Choker. This funny nomenclature refers to the almost 500-year-old fishing culture of the Maritime Provinces but in the 17th century, fishing had little to do with Grandpa’s home region.

 

Old French Arcadia was the entire southern shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Gaspe Peninsular, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Island and Prince Edward Island. The Bay of Fundy separated the Nova Scotia Peninsula from New Brunswick, with the Isthmus of Chignecto joining the two at the Straight of Northumberland in the north. Since England and France claimed and fought over discovery rights (John Cabot, 1497, Jacques Cartier, 1534), the territory changed hands every time the two countries went to war. One area sought by both sides was the St. John’s River Valley in New Brunswick, discovered and named by Champlain and de Monts in 1604. It was not only home of the Algonquin Malliseet, but also a virtual goldmine of virgin pine and hardwood forests.

 

In the early part of the 17th century, Charles de Biencourt, son of Baron de Poutrincourt, headed the French colony at Port Royal. Jesuits had filled the ranks of settlers since his father began the colony, but he clashed with their doctrines. When he banished the Jesuits from Port Royal, they crossed the bay and founded a mission in English territory at Mount Desert Island, Maine. This act brought New England opposition from the Plymouth Colony. Sir Samuel Argall began a long tradition of taking Massachusetts ships north, attacking Port Royal and Mount Desert, burning the settlements and expelling the French. In this first incident, Biencourt and his successor Charles de la Tour escaped with their settlers to Cape Sable, at the southern extremity of the peninsular.

 

By 1631, Charles de la Tour had become disillusioned when new officials were sent in from France. He abandoned his Cape Sable lands and crossed the Bay of Fundy to the St. John’s River, where he built the first trading post at present Saint John, New Brunswick. For twenty years he built up a strong trade with the Maliseet and Micmac, but Scotsmen from Scotland and Ulster had started small settlements in the north. Because of their isolation, they looked toward the ‘Boston Traders’* to help them. This marriage, built out of necessity, bound New England ‘Coasters’ with the fledgling “Herrin’ Chokers” of old Nova Scotia. Boston and Salem ships were as common in the Bay of Fundy as they were in Boston Harbor. The culture became unique to the Maritime Provinces. French Arcadians, Basque and Portuguese sailors, French aristocrats, English merchants, Boston traders, Scottish land agents and settlers and the Indian groups lived side-by-side. They were sometimes at peace and often at war, but all profited from one another in many ways. In 1654, while Oliver Cromwell was deporting many dissident Scots and Ulster-Scots to the Americas, Robert Sedgwick of Boston seized de la Tour’s post on the Saint John and claimed it for England.

 

*Before everyone jumps to the conclusion that these Bostonians were straight-laced Puritans, I will explain who they were. The Puritans of Governor Wentworth founded Boston in 1631, but Wentworth was actually getting his religious flock away from the corruption of Salem. It was this much older port north of Boston that was the financial head of Massachusetts’ interests. It was originally Naumkeag, the southern capital of the Penacook tribe (also spelled Pennacook). Independent sailors and fishermen first settled there in the early 17th century and they remained chiefly royalists and often Catholic, if they claimed any religion at all.  As Wentworth’s Puritans took over the civil government, they clashed head-on with the traders of Salem. Many families moved north to coastal Maine to distance themselves from the zealots, often as Indian traders for the old Plymouth (England) Company. The leaders at Salem became known as the Boston Traders, a loose organization of anti-puritan frontiersmen that favored living in the wild interior over putting up with the Book of Common Prayer. Robert Sedgwick was of this merchant seaman class who saw great opportunities in the Saint John River Valley.  The initial attraction was the lucrative Indian fur trade, which the Boston Traders excelled in. They also illegally provided firearms to the Indians, to compete against French, who were doing the same.

During Queen Anne’s War (1701-1713), New England’s role was reinforced in Nova Scotia when the Bostonians attacked and captured Port Royal and renamed it Annapolis Royal. It was not the first time; New Englanders had captured it in an earlier war. It was a remarkable coup, however, but it was returned to France with the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. French Arcadians that included members of the Chrétien family of France fought the Scots and New Englanders for the first time in large numbers.

 

The treaty of Utrecht left the entire peninsular of Nova Scotia in British hands, but France retained Isle Saint Jean (PEI) and Isle Royale (Cape Breton Island). New Brunswick remained disputed land. To safeguard their interests, France began building the formidable fortress of Louisbourg at Isle Royale in 1710 and it became their strongest emplacement outside Quebec. It took years to build and was modeled after the most modern forts of Europe. In 1717, Sir Alexander Cairns, a Creighton cousin, attempted to plant a Scots colony at Chebucto Bay (modern Halifax) but failed to carry it off, mainly due to governmental ineptitude. Small pockets of Scots and Ulstermen did appear, however, mainly around Censeau (Canso) on the northeast coast. Two records have been found from this time period listing Creightons as arriving in North America. The first was Rebecca Creighton, who traveled to New York in 1739, the second was John Creighton, deported “to America” as a convict in 1743.

 

1745 brought added turmoil as the Scots Highlanders rose up in support of Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie). This last great Jacobite uprising ended at Culloden Field, with Creightons once again fighting on both sides. After 200 years of warfare on the continent, the armies had become very professional and organized. One junior officer of the 20th Regiment of Foot was Major Charles Cornwallis of Sussex (1717-1776). Cornwallis was from a prestigious background. Born the sixth son* to Baron Charles of Cornwallis and Lady Charlotte Butler, Major Cornwallis was related to the Earl of Arran as well as the Duke of Ormonde, his grandfather and great-grandfather. In 1734, he fought in Europe under the Duke of Cumberland and during the ’45 Uprising, he was stationed in Edinburgh and Stirling. The war, as explained in the previous chapters, was part of the greater War of the Austrian Succession, called King George’s War in America (174401748). Another regiment, formed in Germany at Dittengen and fighting with the 20th was Battereau’s 62nd Regiment of Foot. One of its lieutenants was John Creighton, who also had been stationed at Stirling and fought at Culloden, the great battle that forever crushed the Highlanders in 1746. Many regiments were decommissioned after that, such as Battereau’s 62nd Foot at Stirling in 1748. Lt. Maj. Cornwallis, at the same time, gave or sold his 20th Foot commission to his friend, James Wolfe and set his sights on the colonies……………….

 

*Cornwallis was a twin. His identical brother, Frederick Cornwallis, later became the Archbishop of Canterbury.

 

 


CHAPTER: 41                        BLOODY-BACKS AND LINEN GOODS (Editorial Excerpt)

 

Cornwallis’ Chebucto Colony at Halifax sent ripples through the French communities at Isle Royale and Isle Saint Jean. In 1750, they began their own colonization, at Chinecto. Near Aulac, they built Fort Beausejour and near Port Elgin, they built Fort Gaspereau. This was at the critical juncture that connected the Nova Scotia Peninsula with New Brunswick and the mainland. Many settlers arrived from France (they also brought in Polish soldiers that had fought for them in Europe), but most came from settled regions along the St. Lawrence, uprooted with enticements of new land. Many would be surprised to find that the French ‘community’ was well established from Isle Royale to Montreal. The British found Halifax backward and wild, but the French Arcadians lived comfortably in small villages all over Nova Scotia. What few Scots Highlanders that did arrive, settled among the French at Isle Saint Jean* and Isle Royale, many finding service in the fur trade as agents and proctors.

 

*This island, where my father was born in 1901, was originally called Abegweit (‘cradled on the waves’), a summer resort for the Micmac. First settled by Basque fishermen, the French held on tenaciously as New Englanders repeatedly raided the small villages along the coast.

 

And so, many divergent cultures evolved almost side by side. The initial ‘Protestant” contingent had been discharged as soldiers and sailors and their New England allies. Beginning in 1750, another 25o0 began to arrive at Halifax, mainly from the Rhineland. British, Swiss and Dutch forces had fought against the French during the late war. Much of the fighting had occurred on the Dutch-German border and like the earlier Palatine migrations of 1717, German and Dutch emigrants once again were sought out to settle Nova Scotia.

 

Thanks primarily to the 1717 Scotch-Irish and Palatine migrations, ‘English’ North America now included the fertile lands from Western Pennsylvania to the Virginia and Carolina highlands. Beyond the Appalachian Mountains lay the vast Ohio River Country. Firmly Indian lands, it was claimed by right of discovery by France, who held the entire Mississippi River from New Orleans to Lake Superior. The English colonists, especially the wandering Scotch-Irish of the back country, viewed it as open for the taking. With the center of French policies issued from Quebec and Montreal, a great circle was completed. The inevitable clash over the Ohio Country would involve everyone from Halifax to New Orleans. As tensions increased, armies were formed once again on both sides. French and English alike began building forts throughout the interior and each side plied the various Indian tribes as allies. At stake was not a frontier river valley, but the entire Empire of New France.

 

I dealt quite extensively with the French and Indian War (1755-1761, called the Seven Year’s War in Europe) in Part IV of Eastwind Westwind. In Part V, I followed the same families through the American Revolution (1775-1783). Although it was primarily to follow the Poore family as they expanded out from New England and Virginia, it can be used to trace almost any colonial family from that time period. Most of what I covered in EWWW pertained to the fighting in present West Virginia and into the Ohio Country, with the related fighting in Upstate New York. I barely touched, however, on the Canadian campaigns, other than a few ancestral Poores that saw service in Nova Scotia. The Ohio Country was the overall goal of the British and French combatants; it was truly the first, “First World War’, the first war for global empire. Now, by following the Creightons and their related cousins, a picture can be drawn to put the whole into a clearer perspective.

 

It began quietly in a mountain meadow on the Maryland-Pennsylvania border in the spring of 1754. Young George Washington, commanding a portion of the newly formed Virginia Regiment fired upon a French force commanded by Ensign Coulon de Jumonville. The French commander was killed and this international incident led to the French and Indian War.

 

At best, it had been an uneasy peace since the 1748 Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, with both countries using the six years to build new forts and ships. The confrontation between Washington and de Jumonville was the   spark that reignited the war. Immediate action began by reassembling the old regiments, with Governor Shirley of Massachusetts heading the Colonial Militia in the north. Halifax was chosen as the chief navel base for the British and for the first time, professional regiments were shipped in to fight in America. Veteran regulars of the continental wars, the 44th and 48th Regiments of Foot went directly to Chesapeake Bay to assemble at Alexandria, Virginia. Although many colonials shared leadership, overall British command was placed under Maj. Gen. Edward Braddock (1695-1755). As the red-coated regulars disembarked at Chester, Delaware, the locals called them ‘Bloody-Backs’. Also for the first time, Dunbar’s kilted Highland companies of the 48th Foot ushered in the evolving Highland dress to America. Kilts began to be an accepted Scots military dress some thirty years prior.

 

These troops of the 44th and 48th represented the cream of the British military, made up of mostly Scotsmen (Braddock was born in Perthshire) and comprised of elite officers and enlisted men. They were a product of centuries of war in the Rhineland and Low Countries, as well as the English and Scottish Civil Wars. The roster of leaders, British and Colonials alike read like a “Who’s Who’ of the Revolutionary War…Gates, Clinton, Carlton, Wolfe, Washington, Cornwallis (Edward and his nephew Charles), Burgoyne, Johnson, Rogers, Boone and Morgan. Confidence in an early victory ran high, so it came as a shock when Braddock and 900 of his best men died in July 1755 on the Monongahela. In one great ambush, a handful of French and northern Abenaki allies defeated Braddock’s army. It fell to the junior colonial officers like Col. Washington to rally the troops that remained. 20,000 American and Canadian colonists rose to the call to arms, a formal declaration of war did not come until 1756. By then, much fighting had already occurred in the southern mountains and in Upstate New York. At Lake George, NY, Sir William Johnson led the local militia made up primarily of New Englanders. This bitter fighting was covered in detail in Eastwind Westwind. A second ‘front’, which I briefly mentioned was the concurrent fighting in Nova Scotia and present New Brunswick. At the time, Canada was far from my thoughts,……………

 


CHAPTER: 42                         EVANGELINE (Editorial Excerpt)

 

Longfellow immortalized the plight of the Arcadians in his epoch poem, Evangeline. The French of Arcadia were in a time warp, as a group of old citizens of Basque-French-Indian descent, with some families being residents for over 200 years. Their French was, even in 1755, an archaic form of 16th century speech. They were as much a part of the old Maritime Provinces as were their Indian neighbors. All through the many Franco-English conflicts, as Nova Scotia changed again and again to French or English ownership, they had tenaciously refused to swear allegiance to either country, England especially. Most of the French ranger leaders, such as de Ramezay, were Canadian-born and closely aligned with the northern tribes. With the capture of the Chignecto forts, it became imperative to subdue the Arcadians and Governor Lawrence saw that the only way was to relocate them en-mass to other regions. I cannot do justice to the entire chain of events; it was both devastating and heart wrenching. The overall majority of the Arcadians of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were quiet and productive ‘Habitants’, rural farmers, fishermen and merchants. Their villages were neat and clean and reminiscent of 16th century France. It fell to a combined force of New Englanders under Major Joseph Frye (Enoch Poor was part of this unit) and British regulars under Col. Robert Monckton to ‘mop up’ the Arcadians that refused to join the British.

 

The campaign began in the north around the captured French forts at Chignecto; Fort Cumberland being their base of operation. One of my Hussey ancestors was the fort’s commander. Proclamations went out to all Arcadian households to swear allegiance or be deported……………………

 


CHAPTER: 43                        UNITED EMPIRE LOYALISTS (Editorial Excerpt)

 

Before the war ended, over 2,000 British colonists had immigrated to Nova Scotia, but the vast majority of her colonists were from New England. Using my own Poore, Hazen, Hussey and Saltmarsh ancestors as examples, I have shown how the Yankees played such a large roll in the war as soldiers, traders and shipping merchants. In 1758, in the form of a New England town meeting, the first representative assembly election in British Canada took place in Halifax, which became the capitol of Nova Scotia in 1763. For the next decade, the “Herrin’ Chokers” watched closely as the Virginia and Massachusetts General Assemblies increasingly voiced anger over growing English rule. It was evident that the Americans were on a collision course in their attempt to form home rule. Behind much of the activism were the hard-core Scotch-Irish descendents that had always been self-sufficient. The Tidewater Planters, mostly of English descent had clung to their rich holdings east of the mountains from Massachusetts to Georgia. It had been the 200,000-some-odd Scotch-Irish who had crossed the mountains and had made up the ‘frontier’ force that had won the Indian wars. Britain could never have claimed the rich interior without their resolve. Now names like Jefferson, Morgan, Hamilton, Henry and Montgomery were leading the cause to break away from British rule.

 

As the 1770s approached, many families along the Saint John voiced concern. Many of them had retained lands in New England and close family ties bound them to home. In correspondence with their relations, they kept abreast of the growing turmoil, for the most boisterous of the activists were from Boston. Just as hostilities were breaking out at Concord and Lexington Green in 1775, a large group of English settlers arrived at Saint John to boost the population in the valley to 4500. The new arrivals were Yorkshiremen. As the fleets outfitted at Halifax to sail to Boston, the townships in Nova Scotia voted to remain neutral. Going to war against their American family members was out of the question………

 


CHAPTER: 44                         A SON FOR NANCY ENNIS (Editorial Excerpt)

 

During the decade preceding the American Revolution, a Creighton baby was born, most likely somewhere in western Scotland. Family tradition (a letter written by his granddaughter in the 1880s) says that he “came from Scotland”, but his family roots were in the Downpatrick area of County Down and vicinity. The oldest ‘Irish’ Creighton abodes stemmed from the Montgomery and Hamilton grants of 1604. From place names, I would put the earliest Creightons at the juncture of Antrim and North Down near Belfast. Just east of Belfast on the shore of Lough Belfast is Holywood, where there is a Creighton’s Green as well as a Creighton’s Green Road. The Hugh Creighton family of nearby Belfast maintained deeded property (nine acres) into the 20th century.

 

By 1800, the Creightons of Down had settled mostly in the Dromore Seapatrick region that included Banbridge, Saintfield, Ballyagharty, Marshallstown and Grangecam. This region included Hamilton’s Killeleagh Castle, all being within a 50-mile radius north and west of Downpatrick. Before I embark on endless speculation, I will state that I am not the first, or the last Creighton to look for this elusive ancestor. My cousin Fred (Cyrus Wilfred) Creighton of Scarborough, Ontario, our family genealogist, has spent half a lifetime searching*, as has our cousin Al Creighton. To date, all that we know is that he supposedly was born in Scotland and came to County Down prior to 1800. No one has ever learned his first name or that of his first wife, only that she was also Scottish and labeled as “Miss Galway”. From this ragged beginning and from information collected in 1974 by Wilfred Creighton in Canada (supplied by cousin Fred), some things can be established that may help locate the mysterious ‘Mr.’ Creighton.** 

 

*Editor’s Note: On a sad note, I have been informed that our cousin Cyrus Wilfred Creighton has passed away on December 21, 2010. I received a note from his wife, June Creighton with the news. Cousin Fred was the first contact with genealogical material when Jim started writing the first small Creighton family history book Northwind Southwind in 1999. He had a wonderful open manner and shared back and forth with Jim and me throughout the years, as recently as a few months ago supplying me with his most up-to-date files on CD. I will endeavor to input his family files on my Family Tree Maker file. Jim’s note above hoping that Fred could link us to our mysterious “Mr” Creighton happens to fall just above the actual news below about finding him. Unfortunately this note needs to be here as well. Three critical people have now passed during the writing of this book, Patrick Crichton in 2003, Jim Creighton in 2005, and now Fred. I can rest knowing that the three are most likely conferring about the past as we finish this book. His memorial is listed as Appendix C.

Susan Creighton Curtiss—January 30, 2011.

 

** Editor’s Note:  I am happy that I have taken so long in finishing this text for my brother Jim; I have recently received new information on this illusive and mysterious ‘Mr.’ Creighton, whom Jim searched for so tirelessly without avail. The source comes through the aforementioned cousin, Al Creighton. He located a very distant Creighton relative in Ireland by the name of Roy Creighton. I will copy Roy’s email message to Al Creighton directly so as not to distort or miss any information.

 

 It is noted below that the name Nancy or Nan was probably a pet name or nickname, or her middle name may have been Nancy. This record shows only four children with the second being Michael Creighton. Our family records show Michael being first born of four children on Feb. 2, 1800. This could mean that the first born in this list (Christian Creighton) did not live and a fourth child was born after 1806. The records after that year were not clear to read. This remains a mystery.

Susan Creighton Curtiss, Great Barrington, MA April 14, 2009.

 

            Email message arrived – Date: Sun, Apr 20, 20:09:56 +0100

From: Roy Creighton

To: Al Creighton

Subject: Creighton

 

“Hi Al, 

Sorry to take so long to get back to you, but as you know it can be a “one step forward, two steps back” process!

 

To get round the problem of having no 19th century Census records for Ireland (they were all destroyed by the Government of the day), I had to try what are called “census substitutes”.

 

One of the substitutes that fits in with your time scale is the “Tithe Appointment Books 1823-1837”. This was a tithe on tax on agricultural land paid by Leaseholders and occupiers to the Curtch of Ireland, and was arranged by Civil Parish or Townland.

 

On consulting the books, I found only one Creighton: 1828: William Creighton, Marshallstown, Downpatrick, County Down.

 

He is recorded as having 14 acres and 2 roods of 2nd class pasture, on which he paid an annual tithe of 1 pound and 10 shillings. (The land would have been about the size of 14 soccer pitches).

 

The next avenue I explored was Church records re: the Baptism of Michael (1802). There are many churches in Downpatrick but only one, the Church of Ireland, covered the period of Michael’s birth c 1802.

 

There were four records:     

May 1799 – Christian Creighton, child of Robert and Ann Creighton                            

January 1802 – Michael Creighton, child of Robert and Ann Creighton

February 1804 – Mary Anne Creighton, child of Robert and Ann Creighton

May 1806 – Isabella Creighton, child of Robert and Anne Creighton

 

Pages for 1807 – 1808 were faded and unreadable, so it’s possible that there were more children to Robert and Ann.

 

I noted that Michael’s mother’s name is given as Ann (or Anne), not Nancy. As Nancy is a “pet” name, it could be a form of Ann.

 

I could not find the Marriage of Robert and Ann, but that is probably because it was normal practice for a bride to marry in her own Church.

 

I hope the above may be helpful. I’ll keep looking, and see if I can trace some School records?

 

Cheers, Roy Creighton”

 

I believe the Scots Creighton household to have been in Kirkudbright or North Ayrshire, in the vicinity of Glasgow. Creightons had been located in the Paisley area near Glasgow for many centuries and the cadet lines from the Brunston Creightons were prominent in North Ayrshire. The Glasgow-Paisley zone is probably more prevalent, mainly because of ‘Mrs.’ Creighton, or ‘Miss Galway’. ** Since this title (Miss rather than Mrs.) comes from a granddaughter from a second marriage almost ninety years later, it could be just a slip in wording. It may also imply that ‘Miss Galway” was just that and a possible reason for Mr. Creighton leaving Scotland. Secondly, her name was more likely ‘Galloway’ and if so, she was of the ancient clan that evolved out of thin air centuries before, in the Glasgow area. It was probably an altered Creighton surname, the family arms are identical, a blue lion on a silver field. Although the region of old Galloway included the entire southwest of Scotland, the family Galloway was a product of Kirkudbright and North Ayr. When someone finally does discover the records, I wouldn’t be surprised to find that this particular branch of Creightons was horse breeders from this region, as well as Downpatrick. If Mr. Creighton was in fact born in Scotland, he was probably a product of a family business with holdings in both Ireland and Scotland. If we place a tentative time of birth, it would have been about 1765, making him a father around 1787; we know that he and ‘Miss Galway’ had four sons and two daughters. I see them going to Ulster early in their marriage, to possibly manage a family business.

 

** Editor’s Note: Roy Creighton is also looking into the records for the children born to Robert by his first wife know only as ‘Miss Galway’ (or perhaps Galloway). We know only that there were four sons and two daughters. Roy Creighton believes that these children were born in Scotland, not Ireland.

Susan Creighton Curtiss, April 14, 2009

 

In Ireland, it would have been a good time to be a Creighton, with Earl Erne as one of the leading political figures at Dublin. Over the course of the past century, the Fermanagh Creightons had purchased or inherited almost the entire Butler Empire around Lough Erne as well as much of Lifford, Donegal. Based on past family history in Scotland, I think that every Creighton from laird to letter carrier would have bowed daily toward Castle Crom, as if it were their private Mecca. Just west and on the outskirts of Downpatrick, ‘Mr.’ Creighton had settled in at the family horse farm called the ‘Course’. Whether he bought it, or inherited it is unknown In 1957, it was still in operation, close to the Downpatrick racetrack. In the 1790s, it was perhaps one of dozens of Creighton horse farms spread from Donegal to Aberdeenshire, supplying the now worldwide British Empire with military mounts. It is as good a guess as any, at this point……………..

 

Sometime in the late 1790s, his first wife passed on, possibly during childbirth. This left him, around 1796, with six children to raise. As a freeman (landowner), he was considered part of the ‘landed gentry’, and here again, there is an implication of prior family holding at the ‘Course’. Not knowing his exact age, it can only be assumed that he was about 21 when first married. If the ‘Course’ had already been an active Creighton farm, which I feel that is was, he probably took it over as his inheritance. On the other hand, he and his first wife could have been brought in by wealthier relatives to work the farm for the true owner……………..

 


CHAPTER: 45                         RABBIT HUNTING (Editorial Excerpt)

 

The years of Michael Creighton’s youth were momentous abroad. Creightons in general had continued to migrate across the Atlantic and ship’s records hint at a few that settled in various locations. In 1774, James Creighton, age 33 left Belfast for Maryland. At Belfast was the family of Hugh Creighton, born about 1740 in Scotland. His two sons, John and James immigrated to Washington County, Pennsylvania in the 1830s. John, married to Margaret Hewitt, evidently remained there. His brother James married Elizabeth Seidel and they eventually founded their own line at Stark County, Ohio.

 

Closer to home, a man left out of Belfast in 1802, bound for Saint John, New Brunswick. His name was Michael Creighton and something deep down tells me that this was ‘Mr.” Creighton of Downpatrick. If he were as involved with horses as I think he was, the ‘Course’ may have been one of many horse farms controlled by the extended family. It would not have been unusual for him to travel abroad on business, especially if he had brothers or cousins already in Canada. By 1800, New Brunswick had grown from 4500 citizens to 20,000. By 1825, it had grown to over 75,000. Since the end of the American war in 1883, thousands of discharged soldiers and sailors from both armies had sought land pensions in compensation for their military services. The Americans found theirs in Upstate New York and deep into the Ohio River Valley, Kentucky and Tennessee. The British were faced with a larger relocation project. A new form of sheep husbandry had developed where large tracts were ‘cleared’ of tenant farms to become open sheep range. Thousands, from Yorkshire to the Scottish Highlands were ‘kecked off’ their lands to make way for the ‘woolies’. For the first time, entire townships of Highlanders were gathered up to ship out for new homes in Prince Edward Island, Cape Breton Island and Nova Scotia. Michael Creighton, as a provider of horseflesh, may only have been in Canada on business.

 

There is one other possible scenario, although very far fetched………………

 


PART VI

HOME

St Patrick's Cathedral Downpatrick

Downpatrick  Ireland

A new life awaits ‘just across the pond’ in New Brunswick Canada

 


CHAPTER: 46                        JANE MAGEE (Editorial Excerpt)

 

Much of the following data, relating to Michael’s beginnings in Canada and vicinity, comes from the unpublished manuscript of Wilfred Dixon Creighton. Written in 1974, when he was 81 years old, Wilfred either met or interviewed many elders who became part of the story. His work should remain a valuable family treasure for it tells of the personal lives of our family, as it grew. Wherever he seems to be lacking pertinent data, it is miraculously filled in by a second document written by Michael’s daughter, Mary Ann Creighton Taylor in her 59th year. She writes from Lincoln, Maine, to her nephew, David Law Creighton. Her letter, dated March 7, 1893, is also a treasure, telling of family beginnings, hopes and fears. From her letter, came the story of the rabbit and also the story of her mother, Jane Magee. Combined with these family heirlooms, are dozens of records from New Brunswick Provincial Archives showing that Michael was far from the first Creighton to settle in New Brunswick.  Many were undoubtedly close family members and some may have met him when he arrived from Downpatrick.

 

Michael disembarked at St. Andrews, then a bustling Port of Entry on the Maine border. Many émigrés entered the province at this port because of its convenient location, which shared the mouth of the Saint Croix with Saint George and other small hamlets of Charlotte County. It was adjoining Saint John County (five counties: York, Sunbury, Queens, Kings and Saint John radiated out from Charlotte like a giant fan) that Michael sought, with the shipyards at the city of Saint John offering ready employment. Because he was a deported convict, he may have had to report to either family or the authorities once he found a place to stay, although there may have been Creightons in Charlotte County.

 

The oldest Creighton in the area had been Thomas, who first appeared on land grant rolls in 1791. That year he was one of 11 men that joined William Caldwell in petitioning for land on the Saint John River in Queens County. This may have been a ‘Joint Stock’ Company, but it could also have been a company of war veterans from the American colonies that sought land as Loyalists after the Revolution. With Caldwell and Creighton, were William Bead, Nathan and William Bostwick, George and Mays Case, Francis Crawford, Charles Duff, Conrad Hendericks, John McNicholl and Jeremiah Regan. Something must have happened, for the actual land grant did not go into effect until 1801 and by then Caldwell and four others had withdrawn from the list, and new members had joined. Charles Duff is listed as the 1801 prime grantee. New members were William Read, John and Robert Robertson and John Young. The Duff Grant was probably quite large; it is unclear how much Thomas Creighton received from the original transaction. In 1809, he applied for and received 200 acres at Wickham, Queens County, which was on the Saint John River in Hampstead Parish.

 

What I find interesting is that this land grant, from initial petition to final receipt, took almost 20 years, unless there were multiple land deals. It seems that it was quite common for groups of men to pool their resources to apply for adjoining tracts. Their individual wealth, and/or social status, decided how many lots they would own and lots previously surveyed ranged from as little as 33 acres to over 500. The Michael Creighton that came to New Brunswick in 1802, and may have been Michael’s father, could have come over to appraise a possible land investment or to see Thomas’ grant on the Saint John. The names listed in Thomas’ group are mixed. They could have been American, Scotch-Irish, Scottish or English; it is hard to tell. Although Thomas Creighton’s origin has yet to be determined, I suspect a connection with Michael’s County Down branch. He was perhaps an uncle that had fought for the British in the American War of Independence, or a Loyalist merchant from Boston.

 

A second Creighton was in place prior to Michael’s arrival not far from Saint John. This was Nugent Creighton (1775-1863) who received grant #1464 at Portland, Saint John County in 1822. His 1200 acre grant included six men that were all either Scots or Irishmen: Thomas Campbell, Thomas Conner, Robert McBeath, Martin Murphy, Patrick Murphy and William Waters. What is even more interesting is that this man, Nugent Creighton, had an earlier grant in Kings County dated 1820 and his fellow grantees included the same six men. This man, with two major grants must have had strong backing or was personally wealthy. I am wondering if he may have been one of Michael’s uncles, perhaps a carpenter. At the time, the New Brunswick timber industry was the largest in North America, and Kings and Saint John County were leading producers of raw products. With the shipyards at Saint John, Nugent Creighton, especially if he were a master carpenter, would have prospered by having lands both near the city, as well as tin the interior. I think that his Kings County grant was not far from Sussex Parish, possibly at Cedar Camp near Waterford.

 

When Michael arrived in New Brunswick, in 1825, John Harvey was petitioning for a grant in Gloucester County in the far north of the province. His fellow applicants were William Creighton, Alexander Harvey, James Harvey, Robert Jeffery, Alexander Macdonald and Donald Alexander Macdonald. As you can see, Michael was far from alone when he hit the docks and set out for Saint John. His father undoubtedly wrote letters of introduction, especially if any of these Creightons were directly related. I see Michael as being hustled off to Saint John to be set to work at a trade. It could have been anything from working in the shipyards to being farm labor at outlying farms, which could have been Creighton-owned. His experience with horses would have found him employment almost anywhere.

 

While working in Saint John, Michael had ample time to explore the surrounding villages and camps. West of the city was the large Saint John River, flowing down from the northern highlands to enter the Bay of Fundy at Grand Bay, passing through Thomas Creighton’s Wickham land on the way. The city, as explained in Part V, had roots first with French and then New England traders. The Yankee tradition was very old. Culturally, the resident Herrin’ Chokers shared a lifestyle that was similar to adjoining coastal Maine, being a mixture of old Yankee and newer Scotch-Irish, such as those at Wiscasset, who came from County Antrim, in 1718. For over a century, the rivers Kennebecasis, Petitcodiac and Anagance provided a trading and military route to Chegnecto. The Kennebecasis (Big Salmon), a very beautiful river, flowed from Saint John northeast through great forestlands and open meadows. It was to this river that the Loyalists from the New Jersey regiments were granted land in 1783, including the Parlee brothers, who had fought with Capt. James Creighton on the 3rd Volunteer Regiment.

 

 

The war veterans called the upper Kennebecasis “Pleasant Valley”. Actually, the many smaller streams that converged there created a series of ridges and valleys that blocked the winter winds. Built around old Indian camps and trading posts, were four tiny hamlets, Roachville, Sussex, Pleasant Valley and Dutch Valley.  Roachville was on the northwestern side of the river. Across from Roachville, the tiny settlement of Sussex sat at the mouth of Trout Creek, a pretty river that flowed southeast. South a short distance on Trout Creek was the village of Pleasant Valley and six miles further on was Dutch Valley, now Waterford. From this village back along Trout Creek were the Dutch Valley grants. The Parlees, with many co-grantees, had land in and south of this district, which I will explain later on. In 1786, so many had made grant applications that Sussex Parish was laid out and surveyed into individual lots. In 1792, the village of Pleasant Valley was renamed Sussex Vale and through 1809, Dutch Valley was parceled out to grantees in lots averaging 200 acres each.

 

Michael may have had business opportunities to travel upriver to Sussex Vale or to visit Nugent Creighton’s land near Waterford. Michael would have found Sussex Vale to be the most active way-station on the road to Chegnecto. His journey out of Saint John, whether by horseback or canoe would have taken him in to a wide sweeping valley dominated by an island in the middle of the Kennebecasis. It was so much like western Scotland that, years later, the Prince of Wales would name the village there “Rothesay”, after the old Stuart home on the Isle of Bute……………...

 


CHAPTER: 47                         CREIGHTONVILLE (Editorial Excerpt)

 

Sussex, Sussex Vale, Pleasant Valley, Dutch Valley, Poney Mountain, Roachville, Parleeville, Parlee Brook, all place names from relatively the same region of river junctions surrounding present Sussex, New Brunswick. There were, from time to time, many smaller place names throughout this region, Sweeney’s Mills, Creightonville…but many like Creightonville no longer exist aside from old cemeteries and in some cases, nothing at all. I can relate, somewhat, as to how some of these places evolved by using my own hometown of Loudon, New Hampshire as an example. In Loudon Village on the Soucook River, the earliest homestead was the Batchelder grant that dated back to around 1729. The Batchelders, Poore cousins with roots in Hampshire, England had come from Essex County, Massachusetts. Loudon Village began as an Indian outpost. The house that I was raised in was built in 1742. Today, the roads leading out from the village go through second and third-growth pine forest past points on the map that shows no visible occupation. These strange names like Turtletown and Page’s Corner were once tiny communities that have grown back to forest, leaving only stone foundations and haunting cemeteries deep in the woods.

 

I think that Michael and Jane had a clear plan to settle in Dutch Valley prior to their going there. They may have made real estate arrangements before the wedding, with either Magees or Creightons acting in their behalf. From Mary Ann’s letter, we know that the couple purchased their farm for L90, and she also tells of their bringing the first wagon into Dutch Valley. To me, this may be the only piece of ‘family legions’ that somehow got embellished over the years, for the village of Dutch Valley was already a thriving little town complete with mills, blacksmith shops, an Anglican church and what would become five drinking establishments. It was the last ‘stage stop’ in later years; like ‘Old West’ towns in the American West, it was a sea of mud streets, lumbering teams of oxen and logs floating down to the mills on Trout Creek. Horseback was still the popular mode of transportation, but just maybe, Michael and Jane did drive the first wagon to the vicinity.

 

Upon arrival, Jane must have thought her new husband daft. She had been raised with the beauty of the green fields that surrounded Lough Erne, complete with stone castles and ancient standing stones from centuries past. Now, here she was, in a god-forsaken overgrown lumber camp swarming with black flies (you have to have grown up in these northern regions to truly appreciate them), that bit with the ferocity of a pack of wolves…, “oh dear, wolves!” She thought long and hard about her situation; hopefully Sussex Vale would be more inviting. About two miles west of Dutch Valley, Michael stopped, tall pine lining the road on each side. The road turned sharply around a curve, far below to Jane’s right was the river, seen now and then through the trees. To the left, great trees towered over her head far up the hillside that rose to the south. Taking her hand, Michael led her down the road to a turnoff that turned back down the slope to the riverbed, the secondary road angling off to the northeast. At the bottom, Michael led her east along the steep riverbank, the smell of pine and greenery fresh in the air. “This is it, Jennie, this is our land.”

 

Michael’s farmstead was one of many that formed a chain of long, skinny lots that ran from the river southeasterly on a diagonal to the tip of a ridge. In viewing the Sussex Grant Allotments dating from 1779, the Trout Creek zone east of Sussex Vale shows the original lots averaging 200 acres each. The original grantees were both Loyalist military and civilians from the New Jersey regiments and New England. Capt. John Cougle received Grant #14 at Sussex Vale, a large block of 350 acres, which was only one of his five lots previously mentioned. The Dutch Valley lots began south of Cougle’s 350 acres on the south side of Trout Creek. At the village of Sussex Vale, Lots #53 and 54 were originally granted to Charles Peters and Donald Drummond.

 

Six lots into Dutch Valley District, beyond Drummonds’ property, began the Snyder Grants, which were immense. At the present Adair Road turnoff, Elias Snyder had in excess 500 acres north of Trout Creek. Today, a beautiful covered bridge, Trout Creek Bridge #4 built in the early 1900s, sits at this junction. In the center of Snyder’s land began Mill Pond Brook, which ran northwest to the Kennebecasis. John Jeffries had operated a very profitable grist mill on the brook north of Sussex Vale since 1816, using an imported French grinding stone that was 20 inches thick and weighed 2400 £. South of Trout Creek, Martin and Peter Snyder had three 200 acre lots that rose to the top of the hill. Lot # 60 was Martin’s, Lot #61 was both his and Peter’s and Lot #62 was Peter’s. Both men (also spelled Snider) were primary petitioners in 1794 that included 23 others on lands that totaled 7202 acres. Among these men were six named Parlee (Peter, Abraham, Isaac, Cornelius, Peter Jr. and Edward). In 1809, the Snyder brothers joined with 14 men (including Edward and Peter Parlee, Jr.) to receive an additional 200 acres. This land I believe to have run from the top of the ridge southwesterly into Parlee Brook District. Again, I have a sense that Capt. James Creighton, who fought with Peter Parlee in the New Jersey Volunteers, was somehow involved with these people. There is no Creighton applicant for Sussex grants following the American Revolution, but many of these men were in this regiment of Loyalists.

 

Michael’s land was beyond this point and is off my grant map, but Lot #1 of what was probably the Rockville or Waterford grants, began just past Peter Snyder’s Lot #62. The numbering system began anew with #1 and ran toward Waterford, the lots almost perpendicular to the river and main road. The next road juncture (Parlee Brook Road) turned south and not far beyond that another angled off to the northeast, being present Urney Road). Michael’s land began at this intersection, where the road turned sharply southeast, following the river. This turn in the Waterford Road placed his farm parallel with the road, the northeast side being a narrow shelf overlooking the river, while the southwest side was on the uphill grade that rose to the top of the ridge. Unlike other lots in the district, it placed most of the land close to the road on each side.

 

Reportedly, his first house was of logs, but how elaborate is unknown. It was more likely somewhere between a classic log cabin and a Northern Irish mud and wattle structure used in Ulster and western Scotland for centuries. Sawn lumber was readily available, but Scotch frugality may have won out in favor of rough-hewn saplings over a post and beam foundation. There was no shortage of raw materials. Being from Ulster, however, Michael may have finished it in an old world manner, plastering inside and out, which would have whitewashed……………..

 


CHAPTER: 48                         CRAZY LIKE A FOX (Editorial Excerpt)

 

Remember back to 1801, when Michael was a baby in County Down. In that year, Capt. John Creighton 1st Earl Erne changed his name to Crichton, his way of helping to elevate his status as one of the 28 Irish Representatives allowed to make the transition to sit in the English House of Lords after the Act of Irish Union. In 1804, he was again elevated to the Irish Privy Council and remained governor of County Fermanagh until his death, in 1828. Out of longevity and marital connections, he became the senior Creighton, surpassing his Scottish cousins in wealth and status. His later life at Westminster was that of a self-centered politician who put constant trials upon his second wife, Mary Caroline Hervey and their daughter, Elizabeth Caroline Mary Creighton, Lady Wharncliffe*.  Entire books have been written of their topsy-turvy home life and his shenanigans. When he died, much of the accumulated Creighton wealth fell to his son, the Honorable Viscount Abraham Creighton 2nd Earl Erne, born to his first wife, Catherine Howard. Abraham also began his career as an officer in the Fermanagh 14th Light Dragoons, but since 1798, had been judged insane and was in the care of Brooke House, Clapton, near London, England. Because of this, he was incapable of assuming his father’s political roles, but did become officially head of the Creightons of Crom as Earl Erne. This technically placed him as ‘Clan Chief’ of all Creightons worldwide in 1828. The vast estates and monies were held in trust; the only outgoing expenses went to his immediate upkeep at the asylum at Brooke House.

 

Realistically, I think that Abraham’s illness was more for family connivance than anything else. The Herveys had much to lose by taking over the reigns of the Creighton Empire. Mary Caroline’s father was Frederick Hervey Bishop of Derry and 4th Earl of Bristol, a very powerful man. Abraham was committed one year before his half-sister, Caroline Creighton (1779-1856), married Lord Wharncliffe in 1799. His full name was James Archibald Stuart-Whortley-Mackenzie (1776-1845), a descendant of Stuart 3rd Earl of Bute, who was also of the Crichton-Stuart line. I would assume that the Hereveys, thinking Abraham to be insane, would have promoted Lady Wharncliffe to assume title to the Crom estates upon her father’s death, but her half-brother, no matter how ill, took heredity claim as the only surviving son. For the sake of historical record, the following is Lady Caroline’s obituary in an 1856 County Cork newspaper:

 

*We regret to announce the demise of Elizabeth Lady Dowager Wharncliffe, who died on Wednesday evening, at her house in Lower Grosvenor-street. The deceased, Lady Elizabeth Caroline Mary, was the only daughter of John, first Earl of Erne, by his second marriage with Lady Mary Hervey, daughter of the fourth Earl of Bristol. Her ladyship, who was in her 79th year, married, March 30, 1799, James first Lord Wharncliffe, grandfather to the present peer, who at his death, in 1845, was Lord Privy Seal in the late Sir Robert Peel’s administration. By her husband she leaves surviving issue the Right Hon. James Stuart Wortley, M.P., the Recorder of London, and the Hon. Caroline, married to the Hon. Rev. John Chetwynd Talbot, son of the late Earl of Talbot. The health of the deceased lady had been on the decline since the death of her son, the late Lord Wharncliffe, in October last. Numerous families of rank are placed in mourning by her dissolution.”      

 

Abraham Creighton 2nd Earl Erne (later heirs would classify the title as Earls of Erne), for all his mental ill (if any), was a compassionate and thoughtful man. He never married, but while at the asylum, he maintained partial control of the Creighton estates. His father had spent years saving a massive fund to one day rebuild Castle Crom, but Abraham, through legal maneuvering, held on to most of his personal assets. He either had very good attorneys working on his behalf, or he wasn’t as crazy as everyone imagined.  Approaching the age of eighty in 1842, much of his estate had gone to the extended family buying up additional properties. His annual maintenance allowance amounted to only L780, so his immediate worth had grown over the years. During his 44 years of confinement, his family had used the money for many purposes. From 1810 on, much sent toward improvements to Castle Crom. When he finally died in 1842, most were surprised to find that he left a will with assets of L52,500. This was an incredible amount for those times. The family had tried unsuccessfully to take this money from him as well, to apply toward the Crom Renovation Project. This was probably the reason that sparked his writing of the will. Almost the entire sum went to junior branches of the Creighton family. The Downpatrick Creightons may have been one of them, which included Michael, his brothers and sisters. 

It was probably from this general time that Creightonville began to be known locally as a place name and not just Michael’s farm. David Law, as well, miraculously went from carrying seeds on his back to the local mill, to being a respected leader of the region. Sometime prior to Michael building the large farmhouse, David and Sarah had moved to a Chambers farm near the village of Urney, but he maintained a close rapport with Michael. They worked closely with one another, either Michael helped David financially, or Law had his own windfall from Irish inheritances, but both led the way as future patriarchs of Creightonville. They collectively began seeking funds to build a Methodist Church and sometime prior to 1850; the small one-room affair was built on Creighton property close to the farm. Creightonville now had a landmark, a Methodist sanctuary and a symbol of Ulster-Scot ingenuity. It was one of the first non-Anglican churches in the region, except for New England Congregationalists and a few Baptists, who still were without a church. Jane Magee Creighton probably felt vindicated after growing up with her mother’s tales of public whippings in Ireland. Her Methodist neighbors now had a church of their own. Mary Ann later wrote that as children, they were raised in both churches. 

 

Of the Creighton household, it still stands; at least it did in 1974 when Wilfred Creighton wrote of it. Some time prior, both he and his brother William had been allowed by its current owners to tour the farm. He said that “it was well built (by Michael) and attention was paid to the width of the lumber used in its construction.” When facing east, the buildings were on the left side of the road, while fields dominated the upland pastures,…………..

 


CHAPTER: 49                          THE NEIGHBORHOOD (Editorial Excerpt)

 

The growth of Sussex Parish began with men and women like Michael and Jane, David and Sarah, (combinations of old world émigrés mixing with older established families). Old Peter Parlee (1736-1821) was born in Bucks County Pennsylvania, a neighbor and possible boyhood friend of another Bucks County boy, Daniel Boone (1734-1820). Being one of three brothers that came to Sussex in 1883, they shared in the old United Empire Loyalist heritage of the valley. Now three generations past, Mary Ann Parlee (1844-1885) was becoming a young woman, probably not far from Creightonville. Her father was Simon Parlee and her mother was Eliza Ann Biggar, descended from an old Scots family from Lanarkshire. The Biggars, still a common name in Sussex, became school teachers and community leaders. The same holds true for the Parlees. One Parlee grant (Parleeville) was east of Sussex and north of the Kennebecasis, but they also owned land south of Michael’s farm at the small settlement called Parlee Brook. Less than two miles distance from the Creighton farm, it may have been where Mary Ann Parlee grew up.  

 

About the time that Michael and Jane were establishing themselves at Dutch Valley, William Lennerd and Jane Hapburn McEwen were newly arrived from Northern Ireland. They had emigrated in 1832 and settled at Dutch Valley, as well. Four of their nine children were born in Ireland. Of the last five, the youngest, Margaret McEwen (1846-1931) would become my great-grandmother. Her oldest brother, James, was 28 when she was born; this was a very large and strong family. Like Michael, the McEwen’s were Anglican and of Scottish heritage, descended from a very old Argyll clan famous as bards, the ancient Celtic poets and singers of family genealogies. In Scotland, they are historically called Maceoghhainn, or ‘Sons of Ewen’ being Ewen of Otter. They were hereditary bards of Clan Campbell and Macdougall of Argyll. As a side note, McEwen also married into the Poore family of New England. On September 10, 1861, Lewis McEwen of Canada (born 1839 to George and Sophia Planchette McEwen) married Harriet Nye Poore (1838- ) of Norwood, NY, daughter of Elijah Poore and Sophia Bailey. Harriet’s father Elijah would join the Union Army and would become a prisoner of war after being captured at the Battle of Fair Oaks early in the American Civil War. He was never heard from again.

 

Meanwhile at Prince Edward Island, the absentee landlord situation from the initial dispersal of land to Scottish noblemen was corrected early in the century by importing Scots Highlanders. Beginning in 1820, thousands came over in controlled migrations that cleared the Highlands of ‘crofters,’ the impoverished tenant farmers. Much the same was one in Northern Ireland as wealthy landowners found that more money could be had by using the land for sheep grazing than by collecting annual rents. The nether regions of England-Yorkshire, Wales and Cornwall suffered similar upheavals in the land tenure. Of interest to this story were the Mackenzies of Scotland and the ancient family French from Cornwall. Both sought haven in PEI.

 

I will begin with the old Norman family French (de Freyne); the surname means ‘(People) Of the Ash Trees.’ They were noted soldiers in Cornwall in the time of Henry II Plantagenet and went with the le Poers (Poores) into Ireland in 1172, to become so strong as to be counted as one of the 14 original tribes of Celtic Ireland, even though they were not Irish. In Ireland, they remain a leading political family of great wealth, but the Cornwall ancestors were absorbed into the older Cornish-Celtic society. They became sailors and fishermen, with many migrating in the 1600s to New England, first as mariners and then as colonists. Many more found their way to Canada………….

 

Thomas French (1798- ) and his brother James Richard French (1803- ) were from a fishing, or seafaring family located at Otterman Mills Parish, near Tintagel Castle, Cornwall. Thomas may have been born at sea. In 1829, James married Jemima Jenny Lloyd at Liverpool, England. Shortly thereafter, he, his wife and his brother Thomas emigrated to PEI, where Thomas met and married Mary Ann Willow, in 1832. The Willows, like the family Wicks (or weeks) were old-time West Country native Britons.

 

My great-grandfather, John Alexander French (1835-1895) (photo at left) was Tom and Mary’s first born. Family tradition states that he was also born aboard a ship, like his father. After Mary Willow died, in 1846, Thomas married Ann Morrison, who bore him the last two of his nine children. He then disappeared from history around 1850, perhaps going alone to the California gold fields, or being lost at sea.

 

The Mackenzies of PEI we know nothing about, but there were many groupings of them there. As a Highland clan, they need little introduction, being Maccoinneach, ‘Son of the Fair Bright One.’ Their arms, a gold stag’s head on a blue field, are as famous as their Highland military history and bagpipe marching songs. They are of even more interest to me, however, for I have Mackenzie great-grandmothers on both the Creighton and the Poore side, and the two ladies may have been related. My mother’s grandmother, Susan Elizabeth (Mackenzie) Hussey however, has been found. She was born in Maine in 1853, but her family originally came from Nova Scotia and was part of the general exodus from the Highlands, which brought others to PEI. John Alexander French married Jane (Jennie) Mackenzie on December 24, 1863 in PEI; she was born in 1842, but reportedly in Scotland. Her direct family line remains to be found, but Jennie Mackenzie will soon enter the Creighton story as John Alexander French’s wife.

 

The first census was taken in 1851 in Kings County, New Brunswick, and it is the first recorded data for the Michael Creighton farm. Michael, Jr. was eleven years old; his elder brother Robert was 19. What I find of great interest is obvious flaws in arithmetic, which leads to many problems for researchers that depend only on old census records. Michael, Sr. has had changing times of birth; his daughter Mary Ann listed it as 1802, others have it as 1801, but his obituary and headstone clearly state that he died at 84 in 1884. This age and date were confirmed in probate records after his death. This would have placed his birth as 1800 and Jane Magee as 1798. At the 1851 census, Michael would have been 51 and Jane 53, with Robert 19, Mary Ann 17, William 16, Samuel 14 and Michael, Jr. 11. This is how the 1851 census reads:

 

CREIGHTON

Michael           m         H (husband)   47(age)           Irish    Farmer     1825 (Date of Canadian entry)

Jane                f           W                    49                    Irish                      1825

Mary Ann       f           D                     17

Robert             m         S                      19                                                                                           

William           m         S                      15

Samuel            m         S                      13

Michael           m         S                      11

 

That was the extent of New Brunswick’s first census. The children’s ages are listed correctly, but Michael and Jane’s ages, as well as Jane’s time of entry are incorrect. She came with her family in 1824.

 

By 1853, negotiations were long underway to build the first Saint John-Moncton Railway. The original plans were to put it directly through Sussex Corner, which would have increased that town’s wealth and future growth. Many landowners refused to sell, however, forcing the powers that be to re-route the tracks……………..

 


CHAPTER: 50                        BONDS OF MARRIAGE (Editorial Excerpt)

 

This is such a common phrase today that most of us would give it no thought. It means simply that a couple has married, in slightly ‘legal’ terms. In 1861 British Canada, it meant much more. Back then, a couple did not just announce their pending marriage and then rush off to the alter. Crown Law expected them, actually obligated them, to post legal Bonds of Marriage. These were documents that were drawn up, not only to announce the betrothal, but to allow for a specified time of waiting, in case anyone objected to the union. It was like a delayed marriage license, not active until paid for and signed. Conventionally, the announcement would be displayed for one year at the local Anglican Church, allowing ample time for the couple to change their minds or have parents or guardians step in to protest a union. Once the bonds were properly displayed, the couple paid a staggering fee of L500 to the Royal Treasury for the right to get married.

 

Mary Ann married Xenophon Taylor in 1858. Robert, the oldest, did not marry until October 13, 1863, his wife Margaret Adare was from Donegal, Ireland. I do not know if either couple posted bonds; Mary Ann was a devout Methodist and Robert had unclear Religious views. Mary Ann was quick to point out, however, that only she and William were of a religious background, as if her other brothers were somehow not Christian. Personally, I see all three brothers as good Anglicans, like their father. There is no reason to doubt that Robert, Samuel or Michael, Jr. were ‘less religious’ than were Mary Ann or William Henry.   As Methodists, Mary Ann and her brother, William, viewed formal marriage bonds with disdain, thinking the Church of England as more Catholic than Protestant. Even William, however, followed tradition and married as an Anglican when his time came.  

 

William had known Isabella M. Law all of his life. Their friendship had grown with each passing year. Sometime in 1860, it is probable that William formally asked David Law for his daughter’s hand. These ‘doings’ often included both families; Michael and Jane could very well have attended the meeting. By then, both Michael and David were older, well-respected community leaders. With both men being from Ireland, they were perhaps more conscious of old-world traditions and the Upham Anglican Church was the heart of the community.

 

From Mary’ Ann’s letter, we know that William Henry was torn concerning religion. He was 24 in 1860, so his abortive attempt to become a Free Will Baptist was probably well behind him. When pressured by his Anglican father and his Methodist mother, he compromised in favor of his mother and sister’s church. He also was at a turning point in his life. Robert had rejected the farm, so Michael was looking to William to carry on in his place as next oldest. If all met at the Law Farm to formally activate a marriage engagement, then David and Sarah would have added their wants and needs for the young couple, as well. Like the Creightons, David was old-world Anglican, but Sarah Chambers Law was probably Methodist, like her aunt, Mrs. Patterson. Mary Ann mentioned a pastor, Richard Smith, who encouraged her to join the Methodists; perhaps he was the local minister at Creightonville Church. The meeting, if it ever happened, must have been interesting. The old men would have argued the importance of standing on Anglican traditions and prompted the couple to post bonds at Waterford and Sussex. The ladies, on the other hand, would have pooh-poohed the stuffy old church regulations in favor of a less costly and probably happier wedding at Creightonville Methodist. Since Wilfred doesn’t say one way or the other in his manuscript, we can only guess as to how this marriage carried out. William Henry Creighton, 25, married Isabella M. Law on January 17, 1861, place and denomination unknown.

 

Here, the story gets more involved. Samuel, age 23, and Michael, Jr., age 20, were still unmarried and living at the big house with their parents when William and Isabella got married. One particular occupation, concerning both of these younger brothers emerges from Wilfred’s papers. Both were later milk dealers and I suspect that Michael’s farm became a major producer of dairy products during the railroad-building years, 1853-1859. Michael Jr., I feel, left the farm about the time his brother married, probably to seek work in Sussex Corner with the McMonagles, who had completed their large inn and tavern. Sam alone remained at home, but may have begun a relationship with Brice Creighton, of Sweeney’s Mills. It appears that Robert may have gone there to farm, as well. The railroad, evidently, brought the Creighton interests together from Saint John to Sussex and Samuel began investing in land, far afield. In 1861, after Williams wedding, Samuel joined William Hasty to petition for a grant of land in Charlotte County, near St. George. Of all the brothers, he appears to be the only one who took advantage of the greater economy that the railroad brought to the region.

 

The date of Williams wedding, however, bothers me. Eastern New Brunswick is not a tropical paradise in January of any year. In 1861, a formal wedding that time of year would have been a major feat, even if it were held at Saint John. Maybe, just maybe, bonds were posted at the Anglican churches, but William and Isabella just couldn’t wait. It would not have been the first time youthful zeal won out over traditional values. Instead of waiting for the summer and the posted time for marriage, the two may have run off to get married wherever they chose. It was probably at a Methodist Church and most likely their own at Creightonville.

 

Instead of William and Isabella being showered with gifts and money, Michael gave them the Old Snider Place to begin housekeeping (Robert, the eldest, was yet to marry). The newlyweds remained there for an undetermined time, even Wilfred, who once visited the cellar hole of the old place, did not know the duration. Close at hand was the big harm above on the Waterford Road, William and now Isabella pitched in with Samuel and the other brothers to help the aging parents. Even with hired hands, it was a big farm to maintain.

 

Michael was now 61, but still fit, tall and rudy-complexioned, showing his Celtic-Scots-Irish heritage. Jane was 63, but family tradition says that she was ‘tall, of slight build and dark complexioned,’ hinting at much older Pictish blood in her family’s past. The duo, both products of very large working families, were probably hard taskmasters, finding little patience with their children’s shortcomings. Michael perhaps related to Samuel and Michael, Jr. the most since he, like them, had been a younger son. He had been the fifth of six sons fighting for recognition at the horse farm in Ireland. Now with his own large farm to run, he was probably looking forward to lighter years as his sons assumed command, which was their natural right. With Robert gone away but still close enough to visit, Michael was satisfied. Sam enjoyed speculating in land, but for the most part remained at the home farm. Michael, Jr., for the present anyway, was more inclined to test his newfound freedom away at Hugh McMonagle’s farm. This rapport with the innkeeper will get more involved later on.

 

Much credit has to go to Isabella Law Creighton for bearing nine children in 17 years. It became a full-time occupation. The list of children came from Wilfred Creighton and all can be placed with a year of birth except for two. Altogether, there were three sons that died as infants. Using Wilfred’s data alone, Herbert could be dated as dying in a specific year, 1881. Michael and George were noted as dying ‘some years before” and Sarah was noted as being the fifth-born. Using my own means, I placed Michael as first born due to his name, after his grandfather Creighton. I placed a date of late 1861, ten or eleven months after the parents married. George, the second infant death, I placed as number seven, being born in 1870. Then I remembered seeing a copy of headstone inscriptions recorded years earlier by my aunt Doris Creighton Beers, one was a stone at Creightonville Cemetery, which listed all three children. It confirmed my guess that Michael was the first child. He was listed on the headstone as dying February 3, 1863 at the age of eight months. This would have made his birth date June 1862. This also makes Sarah the sixth-born and not the fifth. The following, then, is the true order and birth years for the children of William Henry Creighton and Isabella M. Law:

 

     1.    Michael Creighton, b. June 1862; d. Feb 3, 1863 at 8 months old.

     2.    David Law Creighton, b. September 29, 1863; d. May 29, 1914     

     3.    William Henry Creighton (Called Henry Creighton), born June 12, 1865; died 1919

     4.    Jane Creighton (called Jannie), born March 4, 1867

     5.    Charles Wilfred Creighton (called Wilfred Creighton), born July 14, 1868; died Aug 5, 1944

     6.    Sarah Creighton, b. 1869; d. Sept 06, 1890, at 21 years old of scarlet fever

     7.    George N. Creighton, b. Oct 1870; d. Aug 26, 1871 at 10 months old

     8.    Cyrus Dutcher Creighton, b. Dec 16, 1874 d. 1949

     9.    Herbert E. (Edgar?) Creighton, b. March 1879; d. Nov 6. 1881 at 2 years 8 months old 

With the three infant deaths of Michael, George and Herbert came a new cemetery at Creightonville Church; they were the first buried there. Today it is the last remaining place to bear the family name, aside from Creighton Lane in Sussex Corner.

 

Now, knowing that the first child had died while at the Snyder Farm during deep winter, reasons come into play as to why Samuel left the farm and William and Isabella moved into the larger farmhouse with Michael and Jane………….

 


CHAPTER: 51                         A DECADE OF HOPE (Editorial Excerpt)

 

The 1870s was a time of growth for the extended Creighton Clan, sort of a ‘Last Hurrah’ before hard times set in. Michael, Sr. and Jane were also in their 70s, basking in the glory of what would become 18 grandchildren before the 1881 census. On the farm at Creightonville, the old couple were there to watch William’s children grow, but were also close at hand when death came knocking. Baby Michael had been gone since 1863. Then in August 1871, 10 month old George died as well, joining his brother at Creightonville Cemetery. In the years that William and Isabella had lived on the big farm, they had become well respected by the small community. As “Squire Creighton” William, performing as JP, acted in much the same manner as the landed gentry in Ireland or the ‘Lairds’ of Scotland. He became a leader of the nearby Methodist Church, while his father Michael and David Law became the community Patriarchs, with each giving in his own way to church and neighborhood. Both became firmly Methodist before they died.

 

Now that we are down to counting bushels of oats and heads of children, we must not lose sight of the overall history. Worldwide, the British Empire continued to grow and Canada was an integral part of the British Commonwealth of Nations. In Michael, Sr.’s lifetime, Australia and New Zealand had gone from distant penal colonies to becoming Canada’s equal. Because so many “Anzacs’ descended from criminal deportees from Ireland and Scotland, the ancient Scottish Brotherhood truly became a worldwide society. At the same time, great military regiments continued to be filled by young men of not only English, but of Scottish and Irish backgrounds. In India, Africa, China and Southeast Asia, thousands of inter-related Creighton cousins fought and died together as they had done for centuries. The great houses were still alive, Douglas, Hamilton, Stewart (and Stuart), Sinclair, Mackenzie, Campbell, Montgomery and Kennedy. Almost every senior family that had previous dealings with the old Clan Creighton now had expanded territories all over the world.

 

At the time that the Butlers, Joseph Brandt, John Simcoe and the Hamiltons were founding settlements in Upper Canada (1783-1815), a Douglas founded his own empire in Western Canada on the Red River of the North. He was Thomas Douglas 5th Earl of Selkirk (1771-1820) and, as such, a direct descendant of the Douglas-Creightons of Dalkeith and Earls of Morton. In 1803, he brought 800 Scottish settlers from Saint Mary’s Isle, Kirkudbrightshire to PEI’s East Shore. The following year he purchased large portions of land in Upper Canada at  Lake Saint Clair, which he settled with the same PEI contingent as well as settlers from the United States. In 1810, Douglas bought interests in the Hudson Bay Company (in existence since 1690), placing him in control of the richest fur region outside of Russian Siberia. At the time, the HBC was in a violent dispute over control of the fur regions with the competing Northwest Fur Company, called ‘Nor’westers’. It was all open and wild Indian country from present North Dakota to Central Manitoba. In 1812, Lord Douglas again brought in West Scottish settlers, 250 in number, sending them to a new grant of 3000 acres on the Red River. The Assiniboine, or Red River Settlement, with Fort Douglas as a base, brought a firm Scottish culture to the upper Great Plains, which mixed with both Indian and French-Canadians already there. Few realize that many of the famous ‘Mountain Men’ of the western fur trade were Scottish nationals, complete with tartans and bagpipes. Leaders such as Alexander McKee, a cousin of Clan Magee, was one that interacted for years on the Northern Plains and as far west as Oregon. I have found no direct Creighton involvement in this early western movement, but I am sure that there were at least female Creightons involved.

 

On the American side, Creightons of the Midwest became famous by a group from Nova Scotia that settled in the early years in Ohio. In the 1850s, two brothers, John and Edward Creighton were influential in the building of the Union Pacific Railroad to Omaha, Nebraska, where both settled. This family, that also brought the telegraph to the American West with the railroad, founded the Jesuit Creighton University at Omaha. There is also the town of Creighton in Knox County, Nebraska. Other Creightons settled East Texas in the 1830s when it was still a Mexican state. The Comedian, Carol Creighton Burnett’s stepfather was a Creighton.

 

In Eastwind Westwind, I   wrote a piece that included Edward and John Creighton’s participation in the growth of the American West. I am including the section here, for it also shows the time and events that may help explain Thomas French’s disappearance from PEI in 1850, perhaps to the California goldfields. Like the arrival of the railroad to Sussex in 1853-59, the same fever of excitement struck both nations as the steel tracks snaked across the heartland:

 

“When George Alfred Poore (1825) of the Jonathan of Newbury branch left Independence, MO, in 1848 as a trader to Santa Fe, freight wagons were the main means of transportation. He probably traveled all the way to El Dorado County, California, in this manner, opening a hotel and trading post at Green Valley in 1851. For 8 years he traded and farmed near Sacramento. In 1858 it took 25 days to send mail via the Butterfield Stage from Sacramento to Independence, MO. In 1860, while he farmed a new location in Tahoma County, the Pony Express had cut his time to 9 days. Before moving again to Vallejo, Solano County, in 1866 to start a newspaper, The Vallejo Recorder, George regularly sent telegrams home to Newburyport, almost instantaneously. The ‘Singing Wires’ had reached Sacramento in October 1861, thanks to a man named Edward Creighton.’

 

Edward Creighton of Ohio had built the first line from St. Louis to Omaha by 1860. In partnership with Western Union, the California State Telegraph Company and Brigham Young, the Pacific Telegraph Line was constructed across Nebraska to Denver, meeting the western crews at Salt Lake City, which had come eastward from Sacramento.

 

The Plains Indians met what they called the ‘Singing Wires’ with dread. It ran directly through their ancient hunting grounds, the range of the northern buffalo herd. 230 years before, the Penacook tribe of New England felt much the same way about the coming if the English honeybee. Both honeybee and telegraph foretold of an advancing white flood into Indian lands.

 

During the Civil War, President Lincoln authorized the construction of the Union Pacific and Central Railroads, to link in Utah as the first transcontinental railroad. Following the telegraph, the Union Pacific snaked across the country to Omaha. Many Poore railroad tycoons and financial brokers helped manage the construction from Boston and New York, while others like Edward and John Creighton conducted the field design and engineering to lay the tracks. Another Civil Engineer, attorney and US Marshall who did the same was David Lawrence Morril (1827), son of Lydia Poore of Goffstown, NH. A graduate of Dartmouth College, this multi-talented man remained in the west, settling finally at Leavenworth, Kansas.”

 

Closer to home, Michael, Jr. and Margaret continued on their farm and Michael, Jr. perhaps became involved indirectly with British military imperialism. In working for Hugh McMonagle, he was close to the activities surrounding the racetrack near the inn. Part way in toward Sussex, McMonagle had a dairy farm, which Michael seems to have managed. He lived there with his family for a time in the early eighties. When my grandfather, Harris, was a boy, the racetrack was also used as a training ground for the local militia, the 8th Canadian Hussars. McMonagle, always interested in horsemanship lent out his land to the military during the summer and fall seasons, the mounted soldiers offering a local atmosphere of excitement for the citizens. Photos of the inn during this time show men and women dressed in the latest London attire complete with bustled dresses and men with bowlers (Derby hats). Michael was part of an equestrian world that had the inn and racecourse as its center. The mounted cavalry units were modeled after the old Enniskillen Rangers, founded by Col. Abraham Creighton of Aghalane (County Fermanagh, Ulster) and they would use McMonagle’s land to train until it became Camp Sussex in later years. By the First World War, Camp Sussex would become the leading military emplacement and take up much of the town. Where the dairy farm was would one day become the firing range. The combined military and horse racing environment revolving around McMonagle’s Inn (also called Sussex House) may have had an impact on Michael, Jr. and his sons. Gambling may have been involved and that may answer why Michael’s life seems to have had so many ups and downs in ensuing years that cannot be explained otherwise. Harris, as the oldest son, may also have been affected and this may explain why his life, as well, was wrought with mystery and strange behavior. My father also inherited a love of gambling that many times adversely affected our lives as children.

 


CHAPTER: 52                         HEADSTONES (Editorial Excerpt)

 

The combined Creighton farms entered the 1880s with high hopes, as prosperity reigned. Little did they know that many were soon to be tested by the fates and their lives would alter forever. Whether it was the David Creighton clan of Penobscot Bay, Maine or John Creighton’s at Glenelg, Northumberland County, New Brunswick, all bathed in a sense of false security.

 

Michael Creighton, Jr., unlike his brother William had not yet suffered the loss of children dying. He, the youngest son, was 40 and William was 45 in 1880. Time was creeping up on the Creighton siblings; Robert was almost 50 years old.  As for their character and appearance, all that there is to go on is Wilfred Creighton’s writings and old photographs of William Henry and Isabella as an old man and woman. Since the photo shows William as a stern-faced elder with a full, white beard, it can be assumed that Michael, Sr. may have had a similar appearance in 1880. William was a very handsome man in old age. Isabella appears the classic Victorian-Era matriarch, sitting surrounded by her family with a look of regality about her. The grown children, (the photo was taken in 1912) who were my grandfather’s first cousins, are more contemporary men with styled hairdos and trimmed moustaches, befitting their status as sons of ‘Squire’ Creighton. If you look deep into their eyes, however, you will detect a hidden sadness.

 

As 1881 wound to a close, William and Michael, Jr. competed against each other on their separate but very productive farms. Children were everywhere and fairly evenly spaced. William and Isabella at the Creightonville Farm had seven surviving children ranging from two-year-old Herbert E. Creighton to eighteen-year-old David Law Creighton. Michael and Margaret, at Lower Cove Farm, had eight children ranging from thirteen-year-old Harris Edgar Creighton to three year-old Herbert Fenimore Creighton, with a brand new baby, Crandell Michael, being born the previous fall*. Samuel and Mary had four children in Saint John from ten-year-old Herbert Edgar Creighton to two-year-old Frederick Oscar Creighton, plus Mary Ann and Xenophon’s daughter, Etta Creighton in Maine, who should have been around 27 years old.

 

*Crandell Michael is usually shown as being born December 12, 1881, but the 1881 census listed him as being three months old. This would mean that this birth was probably December 12, 1880, the census was conducted the following March. Before we continue, I want to point out another important thing in relationship to names. Our main family mystery is the name and Scottish origin of Michael Sr.’s father. Look closely at three of the above-named cousins – William’s baby Herbert E., Michael’s baby Herbert Fenimore and Sam’s oldest son, Herbert Edgar Creighton. Herbert, or more likely Herbert Edgar Creighton, must have been a past family member of great importance. My grandfather’s middle name was also Edgar, which he passed on to my father’s generation. It is probable that William’s son was also Herbert Edgar and this may have been the name of Michael Sr.’s father or grandfather from Scotland.

 

Although 1881 was a census year, little indicates a change at Michael’s farm. It would seem that all was as it had been ten years before at Lower Cove where he was shown as the owner. There is one subtle change, however. Instead of ‘Sub-district K, Parish of Sussex No. 2’ as per 1871, the 1881 census listed his residence as ‘Parish of Sussex 1’. To me, this indicates that the family was closer in to the center of Sussex. I don’t think that Michael had lost the Lower Cove farm, but for some reason he had the family at McMonagle’s, where he was working as a milk dealer or managing the dairy farm. One easy explanation is that the Creighton Farm, close to the Kennebecasis got flooded out that spring; it was in the very flat region southwest of Sussex Center. If Michael had been my father, however, I would suspect that he lost the farm in a game of chance and, through McMonagle’s help, had to fight to get it back. All that is certain is that Michael and his children were in residence somewhere other than their home farm when the census was taken.

 

On November 6, 1881, the first history-changing event occurred. At Creightonville Farm, William Henry’s young Herbert E. Creighton passed away. He was two years eight months old. Although he was the third son to die, his death, in particular, left William Henry drained. ‘Squire’ Creighton had learned to place all of his burdens on God, but sitting at the child’s funeral at Creightonville Methodist Church, he felt alone and abandoned. Perhaps his depression carried over to his family, for the oldest son David also began doubting in the Methodist training. David, at eighteen, was already looking at alternative religions (as his father had done with the Free Will Baptists). The Salvation Army was newly arrived in the Sussex region, but for the time being, he was more interested in the youthful pursuits of women and moneymaking. The important thing is that father and son became torn over the random death of an infant, just when life seemed so full of abundance and hope. I think that Herbert’s untimely death left all with similar feelings.

 

Exactly 41 days later, Michael Jr. had worked a long and hard day at McMonagle’s farm. He had been in the fields with the threshing machine, although it was December 17th. Leading his team home, he met the children, who followed him to the barn to watch him put the horses away. His own young son, Herbert Fenimore, almost four years old, was with them and Michael seems to have tarried to play with the children before going to the house. Just then, a large Canada goose landed in the barnyard.  Michael saw it as food for the table and he ran for his shotgun, which he had nearby. Somehow, young Herbert saw the goose as a thing of boyish wonder and before Michael knew what was happening, Herbert ran in the path of the gun just as Michael fired. The boy fell dead, age three years eight months. Two days later, the Sussex Weekly Register ran the following piece that documents the accident and confirms that Michael, at the time was not living at his own farm:

 

“At Sussex on the 17th: a terrible accident occurred about a mile and a half below the Sussex Railway Station about four o’clock in which a father accidentally and fatally shot his little son, four years old. Michael Creighton, who is a milk dealer and resides on the McMonagle farm, had been threshing during the day, had just returned home with his team. While in the barn with several children a wild goose flew close to the barn and settled on the ground……”

 

Now the family had a double tragedy to deal with…………….

 


CHAPTER: 53                          THE BORDER CROSSING (Editorial Excerpt)

 

At Michael’s death, the old Sussex had grown to a sizeable community which included a growing military training camp. It would remain an active facility through World War II. From Camp Sussex, local boys had enlisted for many of Britain’s wars, including the Zulu Wars in South Africa and later the Boer Wars in the same locality. It was the height of Victorian Imperialism and as in the past generations, ‘colonists’ from the nether regions bolstered the Scots and Ulster regiments. New Brunswick was no exception.

 

Looking at it from a modern perspective and knowing the families involved, it all seems surreal, in a way. Each family has researched their particular branch for years, collecting census reports, vital statistics and oral history. The William Henry line has probably done more than any, Wilfred Dixon (1893-1975), called Wilf, wrote “The Creightons” in 1975, David Creighton wrote a follow up in much more detail in 1988 and he finally topped it off with a published book entitled: “Loosing the Empress, A Personal Journey” (The Empress of Ireland’s Enduring Shadow), Dundurn Press, Toronto, 2000. David’s brother, Fred (Cyrus Wilfred) has painstakingly collected the lineage charts for all related branches and helped me a great deal when I wrote “Northwind Southwind” (The Legacy of Michael Creighton). Their data not only relates the ‘Empress Disaster’ which I will touch upon later, but their family’s role in the Great War as Canadian soldiers. It is an impressive story. Michael, Jr.’s line, on the other hand all but disappeared as far as the other Creightons knew. In a matter of a few years, the two groups, (Michael’s and William’s families) went from being a very close farm-related group of cousins to one that embraced separate lifestyles. Much had to do with Michael’s death and his widowed wife taking her children to the United States.

 

When Michael died, it seems that the extended family would have rallied to help Margaret and her children and perhaps they did. It is evident that Michael was a respected member of the Sussex community, as much so as his brothers. Beverly was old enough to run the farm with Crandell’s help and in past times, they and their older brother, Harris, would have assumed this role. Margaret should have been blessed with equal respect, retiring in comfort on her large farm.  In reality, though, the two households were separate. Different ideals and backgrounds prevented true family unity. Margaret and Michael impress me as a family beset with hidden misfortune that we can only speculate about, while William and Isabella, with as many misfortunes (loss of children), prospered. Perhaps it was the age-old mystique of Michael being the youngest son, but Robert, his oldest brother was known even less. William’s family had one all-important factor, though, which unified them as a working family unit – The Salvation Army.

 

It was not just another church; it was a sub-culture that had swept in from PEI and Nova Scotia in the early 1880s with roots in England. Unlike other Protestant offshoots, it was a true army, led by a corps of officers from Ensigns to Adjutants, with staff members that operated like a military unit. It was so unique for the times that thousands flocked to its doors, seeking life-long membership and opportunities. They were literally ‘Soldiers for Christ’ and everything in their lives revolved around the church. Through David Law Creighton’s early conversion (it was to him that Mary Ann Taylor directed her 1893 letter), his entire family, including both parents, became embroiled in ‘Army Life’, with the exception of one brother. By the turn of the century, the Army had spread to western Canada and into the United States, its newspaper “The War Cry” heralding its approach with marching bands.

 

This same life was open to Margaret and her offspring, but she (they) evidently rejected it. The McEwens were Baptist and Michael had been Methodist through his mother, with Anglican connections through his father. My grandfather, Harris Edgar, went his own way as a teacher, his religious beliefs are unknown, but I am sure that he helped his mother through the initial years after Michael died. With the children’s help, she tried to hold on to the farm………………..

 

 


CHAPTER: 54                         HILLFORTS (Editorial Excerpt)

 

In Post-Roman Europe, the ancestral Celts used ‘Oppidum’, or traditional hillforts, as a last-ditch form of defense. Over 1500 years later, their stone foundations can still be seen from Central France to Western Ireland. The early 20th century Creighton farms of William Henry, Harris Edgar and Silas R Creighton can be likened to Opidda, in the sense that they represented a last holdout of traditional values rooted in family and land.

 

William Henry ‘Squire’ Creighton’s farm on the Kennebecasis was not on a hill, but in a sense was still a fort. In selling the Creightonville home farm, which was in hilly country, William chose as a replacement a large crescent of land that abutted the big river but was within walking distance of downtown Sussex. Its location, with its back against the water, would assure a solid base for the future welfare of his children and grandchildren. It was also close to Salvation Army Headquarters in Sussex.

 

Of William’s surviving children, David Law Creighton (1863-1914) married Bertha Jane Dixon (1869-1914) in 1892. She was an officer in the Salvation Army, as was he. Charles Wilfred (1868-1944) married Charlotte (Lottie) Lowry (1868-1960) in 1896. She, as well, had come up through the ranks at Winnipeg as Adjutant. William Henry, Jr. (1865-1919) married Alice M. Hannah (1867-1943) in 1903. Jane Creighton (1867) married William Boggs; they too were involved with the Army. Of all the cousins, this clan was probably ‘most likely to succeed’ because of their combined church involvement and the close proximity to Sussex society. A wonderful 1912 portrait survives showing William Sr. and Isabella Law Creighton surrounded by their offspring: David Law, sister Jennie, brothers Charles Wilfred and William Jr. with his wife Alice, and the youngest, Cyrus D. Creighton, the only brother not to marry or join the Salvation Army. They shared a lifestyle that placed them at revolving posts from Toronto to PEI, moving from town to town as the Army dictated, children being born along the way all over eastern Canada. Even their marriages required ‘Army’ approval, but they loved the travel and excitement that the church provided.

 

In, 1914, as Europe rushed toward war, a more famous group photo was taken of David, Bertha and their five children just prior to leaving for a church conference in London. David, in full uniform had a contented look of confidence; it was quite a handsome family. The children were:

 

Wilfred Dixon Creighton (1893-1975), author of the 16-page manuscript “The Creightons”.

Edith Theresa Creighton (1895-1988)

William Henry Creighton III (1897-1971)

Arthur Harrison Creighton (1906-1973)

Cyrus Clifford Creighton (1909-1926)

 

The photo of David’s family was taken just prior to an event that the current David Creighton devoted an entire book to. “Losing the Empress”, published in 2000. In brief, an International Congress of the Salvation Army was called for London, England. As officers, David and Bertha were expected to attend and initially, the whole family meant to go. Finally it was decided to leave the children home and only David, Bertha and Wilfred made plans. Wilfred was a member of the band, but he too voted to stay behind. Leaving the younger children with relatives, David and Bertha set out for Quebec, where the party was to embark on the Empress of Ireland in May. There were 167 Salvationist officers, 39 being Wilfred’s band. Since the Titanic sank but two years before, taking 1,517 lives, great caution was placed on all ocean liners to drill in shutting watertight bulkheads, the crew of the Empress could do so in 30 seconds, sealing the lower decks from incoming water. Like the Titanic, the Empress was listed as unsinkable.

 

On May 29, 1914, the Empress left Quebec and steamed down the Saint Lawrence River, bound for the open ocean. It was a clear and cloudless day. That night, a heavy fog rolled in and at 1:45 am, the Empress was hit amidships by a Norwegian coal-carrier, the Storstad, whose bow cut deeply into her side. In the fog, the two ships never saw each other until it was too late. The crew rushed to seal the bulkheads, but the damage made them in-operable. In 14 minutes, the ship sank. Of the 1,417 on board, there were only 397 survivors. David Law Creighton and his wife Bertha Dixon Creighton were among the dead; their bodies were never recovered. 158 of the 167 church members lost their lives. When word reached church headquarters at Sussex (called the Citadel, it burned in 1914), old William Henry Creighton wept for yet another lost son. In their memory, he erected the last family headstone at Creightonville Cemetery.

 

MAJ. D. L. CREIGHTON S.A.

AGED 51 YEARS

BERTHA HIS WIFE

AGED 45 YEARS

DROWNED IN RIVER ST. LAWRENCE

MAY 29, 1914

WHEN EMPRESS OF IRELAND

WENT DOWN

 

Back in New England, both Harris and his brother Silas married to the French sisters, Ada and Bessie, received word of the disaster, probably from William, in writing. By then, both had established new ‘hillforts’ in New Hampshire. Harris had left a teaching career to go back into farming and his farm on Mt. Montcalm overlooking Mascoma Lake in Enfield, Grafton County, not far from the Vermont border. It was very hilly country surrounding the long, narrow lake. Oak Hill, Shaker Hill, Methodist Hill, Jones Hill, all ran together with Montcalm overshadowing them all. Down below closer to the lake was a sprawling community of Shakers who lived in a highly organized religious commune that boasted giant stone buildings and communal barns. Harris’ 300 acre farm was up on the mountain above the Shaker community. Silas and Bessie’s farm was of a comparable size at Methodist Hill, closer to the town of Lebanon, but still in the same vicinity.

 

I recently found Harris’ farm listed in the 1910 census, it is perhaps the last official record that he existed, other than his headstone when he died in 1949. His early life in Sussex is a mystery. His career as a teacher is a mystery, as is his change to become a farmer. About 1916, he left the farm altogether, apparently abandoning his family and he literally disappeared, dying 33 years later somewhere (possibly in Vermont) as a hermit. For me, he is the most elusive person in my life; I was three when he died. But in 1910, he was still the gentleman farmer and on May 7, Florence L. Wilson made the rounds of Enfield Township, Grafton County, NH as Census Enumerator. She had just come from the Shaker Community and was beginning Montcalm District – Roll 861, Book 3, 173b:

 

Creighton, Harris       Hd.                  Age 42        Canadian (English)       Farmer             General Farm

            Ada L.             Wife                Age 30        Canadian (English)

            Leonard          Son                  Age 8          (born) Massachusetts

            Edgar              Son                  Age 7                      Massachusetts

            Doris               Daughter        Age 1                        New Hampshire

 

That was the extent of Florence Wilson’s ‘enumerations’ and as usually occurs in census reports, mistakes become official records. Leonard is my father, John Leonard Creighton, born not in Massachusetts, but PEI, Canada. The family moved from Tryon to Cambridge six months after he was born and he spent a lifetime trying to obtain lost birth records (courthouse in PEI burned with all records) to establish US citizenship. Brother, Edgar, who was born in Cambridge, MA, was Reginald Edgar Creighton and his sister Doris was Doris Mildred, first to be born on the farm in NH. In book 3, Page 170b at Jones Hill District, Enfield Township was another family that had great importance to my particular family, the Cloughs. The boy, Lyle F. Clough, grew up to become my father’s best friend through life.

 

Clough, Val M.     Age 40      Hd.      (born) New Hampshire         Farmer            General Farm

            Minna      Age 35        Wife                New Hampshire

            Lyle F.      Age 7          Son                 New Hampshire        

            Carrie       Age 79        Mother            New Hampshire        

            Bartlett     Age 77       Father             New Hampshire

 

This shows that dependent family elders were listed and Val Clough had in his care his mother and father, born in 1831 and 1833. When I was growing up, Lyle and his mother Minna were still living and we used to visit the farm. Minna Clough was a remarkable lady who served us her delicious date-filled cookies after we finished the beef tongue sandwiches (also very good).

 

 

(MONTCALM NEW HAMPSHIRE ------ CREIGHTON HOMESTEAD)

Drawn by Doris Mildred Creighton Beers

 

My grandfather’s Montcalm Farm was as grand as William Henry’s farm in Sussex and 100 acres larger. It had a large house, barns, outbuildings and a carriage house, orchards and fields, pasture land and a building that served as a cookhouse and housed the hired hands (or ‘the help’ as they were called). His farming techniques would have followed the English Canadian mode, as Michael, Sr. had taught his children, and the household would have been ‘Canadian-Victorian’ if a name was to be applied. Cattle were kept near the farm during the summer, but they were herded down the mountain to winter pasture near the lake when cold weather came. His brother, Silas, at Methodist Hill Farm would have run his farm in the same manner, both having grown up at Michael, Jr.’s Sussex Farm at Lower Cove. There was much hard work, but education and refinement was also stressed, my father had a private tutor for classical violin. Ada and her sister, Bessie, were also from the ‘old school’, coming from Cornish and Scottish (French and MacKenzie) heritage, being raised in similar surroundings in Prince Edward Island. A third sister, Matilda Ann French (b. 1877) lived in nearby Lebanon, NH, married to James Hall.

 

 

 

 

 

Harris probably remained fairly content through the early years and he and Ada had six children before he ‘went off the deep end’. They were:

 

John Leonard (Len) Creighton         (1901-1968)

Reginald (Edgar) Creighton              (1903-1972)

Harold Creighton                               (1906-1980)

Doris Mildred Creighton                    (1908-2001)

Ruby Lorena Creighton                     (1910-still living-2006)

Ernest Albert Creighton                     (1912-1963)

 

 

Silas and Bessie, at Methodist Hill, had eleven children, a true ‘tribe’ that remained rooted to the region:*

Minnie Beatrice Creighton                (1905-died at birth)

Arthur Fenimore Creighton              (1906-)

Crandell Silas Creighton                    (1909-)

Pearl Catherine Creighton                 (1912-)

Daisy Olive Creighton                                    (1914-2000)

Beatrice Elizabeth Creighton             (1917-1926)

Clarence Albert Creighton                 (1919-1976)

Donald Newton Creighton                (1921-)

Margaret Jane Creighton                  (1923-)

Wendell Thomas Creighton               (1925-)

Ruth Inez Creighton                          (1928-)

 

*Note: From this large group came many that I called ‘Uncle”; they had grown so close to Harris and Ada’s children that they all were one, true extended family. We visited Crandell Silas (Shorty) and his wife, Marion, so much as children that we knew him to be our ‘uncle’, only to find out when we were grown, that he was actually a cousin. From Clarence Albert Creighton alone came 12 grandchildren of Silas and Bessie. ‘Uncle’ Clarence (murdered at Lebanon, NH in 1976) married Arlene Elsie Knowles in 1940. Their ninth-born, Albert Silas Creighton, b. November 14, 1952 is a fellow researcher and Creighton historian. He is actually a twin with his brother Elbert James Creighton. Al married Pamela Evans March 5, 1970. Al recently pointed out that his son, Phillip W. Creighton has been previously overlooked in all Creighton charts and histories.

 

 

Seated Ruby Lorena Creighton Colclough on her 95th birthday, Sept, 30, 2006

Standing Left - her son, John Cecil Colclough and wife, Dorothy;

Center – her daughter, Jacqueline Ann and her husband Brian Purdy Handspicker;

Right – her son, Douglas Earle Colclough and his wife Janet.

(Photo courtesy of Douglas Colclough)

Note: Ruby Lorena Creighton Colclough, the last remaining sibling of Harris and Ada Creighton passed away on October 21, 2010 in Lynnfield MA at the age of 100. She was a loving and gracious woman. She will be missed.

 

Aunt Ruby Creighton Colclough, alone, remains from the Montcalm Farm contingent, although her sister Doris Creighton Beers lived well into her nineties. Ruby is still very sharp-minded for her age, but has little if anything to say about her father. My dad never discussed him either. She can relate points in time on the old farm that brings it to life, but she never really knew her father, Harris Edgar Creighton; he left when she was still a young girl. She was three when her uncle Crandell Michael came to visit in 1913. There is a photo that was taken of him sitting in a Model-T Ford (below). I think that there was already trouble on the farm; perhaps Ada had called Crandell in to talk with her husband. Based on stories I overheard as a boy at Daisy Olive Benson’s Farm (Silas and Bessie’s daughter), Harris may have been running around on Ada. Ruby had a very distinct look; she was red-haired and very pretty. About the same time that she was born, another girl was sired in the general neighborhood that grew up to almost be her twin sister. It leads one to think the obvious, Harris was somehow involved and by chance coincidence, the two babies looked alike in later years. It must have been something of that nature if the farm ladies were still discussing it forty years later!.......................

 


CHAPTER: 55                         TIES THAT BIND (Editorial Excerpt)

 

When my father turned 16, he was in charge of a diversified crew. There was a 37 year old mother, brothers, age 14, 11, 9 and 5 and sisters, age 9 and 7. I think that for whatever reasons his father left, there must have been some kind of mutual arrangement between Ada and Harris. Grandfather may have promised to send money to help support the family, but it was my father’s ultimate responsibility to run the farm. His youth ended when Harris left the mountain.

 

With the war in full swing, Leonard was faced with a daunting task. He was at the head of his class in school. Because of the war, learning German became mandatory. He was highly intelligent and had plans to go on to college, as Harris had done; his aspiration was to become a pharmacist. He was also an accomplished musician, although his violin teacher gave up on him because he favored country fiddle playing to the classics. He excelled in guitar, piano, mandolin and the Dobro-slide guitar with equal precision. He had no ‘off hours’, however. Because of the situation, when he was not at his studies he had farm work to attend to. The hired hands stayed on and their wages had to be met. Leonard and Edgar, as the oldest sons, were forced into working at any job that came along. Initially, Leonard ran a trap line, the sale of the dressed furs bringing in enough money to keep everything stable. He also hunted on a regular basis to supplement the food larder. Much of this derived from the regional lifestyle, but he also learned much from his neighbors, one being an Indian from Maine. Prime pelts of animals such as wolverines or fisher cats (large member of the weasel family) could fetch over $200.00 a piece.

 

High school was across the lake and much too far to walk. Leonard hired himself out to a farm in Enfield Center, where he performed work in exchange for room and board. Whatever extra money he collected from odd jobs went to Ada and the children. For companionship, were his boyhood friends Lyle Clough and Tighe Riccard. The trio, too young for war, did whatever young men did back then in Enfield, NH. It was 1917, and with rationing for the war effort compounded with trying to retain the farm labor, Leonard, probably at his mother’s urging, applied for a job. While still in high school and hunting and trapping to help the family survive, Leonard went down to the railroad yards.

 

This began a very long career with the Boston & Maine Railroad. Leonard had grown up with the sound of the train down the mountain; the tracks coming up from Concord followed the edge of the lake and went into Lebanon before heading toward Vermont. If he were so inclined, he could have followed the tracks back to Sussex. His first job may have revolved around his studies, working at any of a number of locations. The B & M was very big back then and offered a wide variety of work. Locally, it could have entailed cleaning the depots to mending track. I remember him telling us that one of his first jobs was to go with a crew to a wreck, where he saw his first man die when a crane toppled on him. This seems a hard life for a 16 year old in today’s terms, but he had acquaintances not much older than himself that were being gassed in muddy trenches in Belgium. One did what he had to do. Somehow Leonard managed to graduate with honors, but he gave up his college goals in exchange for full-time employment with the Boston & Maine. That would have been about 1919, shortly after the Great War had ended. What would have been his thoughts?

 

I have not dwelt on the farm life, although it equaled or exceeded any Creighton farm in Sussex. I now see that it ended with Harris Edgar. His was the last generation of greatness in Canadian agriculture. Although schooled as a teacher, he was first and foremost a master-farmer who had ‘old world’ roots through his grandfather. If he had remained as Leonard’s role model, perhaps things would have evolved much differently. In abandoning the family for what appears to be either weakness of character or self-gratification, Harris damaged the Creighton name and caused anger and resentment that lingers today. I think my father, before reaching 20, chose to distance himself from anything that even resembled his father or where his father came from. In making the decision, John Leonard Creighton placed Prince Edward Island (his birthplace) as his ‘ancestral homeland’, but as a French and as a Mackenzie, not as a New Brunswick Creighton.*

 

*On a final note on those still at Sussex: following the “Empress” disaster, the younger children of David and Bertha were ‘farmed out’ to other family members. In 1919, William Henry Creighton died at the age of 84.

 

Following WWI, millions died worldwide die to the 1918 influenza pandemic. It passed over the Montcalm farm but lightly, only six year old Ernest got sick and he survived. It began as a strain of Swine Flu in Iowa, spread in canned pork to the trenches and from the Front, circled the globe in a matter on months. It re-entered the United States at Boston, killing thousands, but taking only the young and strong. Small children and elders, for the most part, were spared. It disappeared as quickly as it materialized, never to return.

 

Ada French Creighton, after struggling for four years to survive with her children, finally decided to sell the farm. She had never been timid when it came to work. When her parents were sick and dying, she had done factory work to help her younger siblings. Her memories of PEI were undoubtedly varied. The current situation found her adrift again, but with her own children this time. To help Lenny, she had taken in laundry while the girls sold eggs. Somewhere along the way, she began formulating a plan to escape with the kids back to Boston, where her own relations could help her start a business of her own.

 

Leonard had begun the move when he transferred to the Boston yards around 1920. Although his father was in nearby Cambridge, Leonard sought out his uncle, Tom French (Isaac Thomas, 1866-1953), who helped him to get accustomed to the city. This is who his mother, Ada, had been taken in by when her parents died in 1895. Most of Ada’s brothers and sisters now lived in New England. There are two photos of Leonard from 1920 on a lawn in a suburban area, probably Malden. In one he is alone standing by a tree, white shirt and narrow necktie, a frown on his young face. The other the other is taken the same day, he sits with Doris Mackenzie, perhaps a cousin and his date; they both wear frowns. This facial expression became a lifelong trait, but in 1920 it may have reflected his overwhelming responsibility to his family. Leonard had continued to send money home. He also began making extra cash playing music in bars and dancehalls, where his distinct ‘Country-Swing’ began to be noticed. When he had extra time to spare, he worked part-time at a Boston pharmacy, renewing his old yearning to enter that field. Edgar, back home, signed on with the B & M like Lenny had, working part time until he was finished with high school. His 1921 graduation signaled the time for him, his mother, Harold, Doris, Ruby and Ernest to ‘go down to Boston’.

 

‘Ada and Company’ hitting town put an extra burden on Leonard. Long the dutiful son, he had put his mother and siblings before his needs for years. He had sacrificed a college career to become a railroad yard worker and, mainly due to his help, she had brought the kids away from the farm. Now as they grew older (four were still in school), Len found that most of his income went toward the children’s upkeep, even with Edgar’s help. The youngest son, Ernest, was still sickly. He never was quite the same after surviving the 1918 influenza. The two brothers worked side by side for two years, mostly at Boston, sometimes at Hartford, but more increasingly at Concord, New Hampshire. By 1923, Edgar had removed himself from the situation by marrying Isabel Dow. At the same time, Ada broke away from her brother’s more Victorian-style regime, Tom French was much older and set in his ways. With two teenage daughters and a 17 year old son still in school, she at 42 was still a young woman and found Malden too restrictive. With farm restrictions behind her, she and especially her daughters Doris and Ruby embraced the ‘Roaring Twenties’ lifestyle. Possibly getting some kind of financial support from Harris (he may have remarried for a time after leaving the farm, according to Aunt Ruby) and with her son’s help, she bought a boarding house in Concord, New Hampshire. My father was probably already there and again, he became the chief provider for his mother and younger siblings. In later years, Ada told people that her relocation to New Hampshire was for Ernest (the country air was better for his frail health), but I think that she only wanted to be closer to her main source of income, Leonard. 

Looking at the pictures taken from this time, it becomes evident that all were caught up in the excitement of the times. Harold, Doris and Ruby entered Concord High School, where my siblings and I graduated from years later. Group photos showing Ada, Doris and Ruby in the twenties show three very attractive young women that could have been sisters, definitely not a farmwoman and her daughters. Smiles, beads and bangles, flapper dresses and fur coats. Leonard, too, is always in dress clothes and hat standing beside his mother; he was in many ways as flamboyant as his father had been. He became their lifeline and Ruby still speaks of him more as a father figure than as an older brother. It was also a time of great extremes.

 

The ‘Flapper-Era’ was in full swing, with dancehalls everywhere. Alcohol flowed like springs of living water, and even at country barn dances, drugs from marijuana to cocaine could be had. My father even spoke of opium dens in Boston. On the opposite side were the very poor, mainly immigrant Irish, French Canadians and Italians. Following WWI, thousands flocked to New England for better lives only to find grueling lives in the factories as cheap labor. Leonard became yard foreman at the railroad complex in Concord and his work force was made up mostly of men from this segment of society, many of them residents at his mother’s boarding house. Another side of him emerged, as labor leader that fought for worker’s rights, pitting him against the B & M management. It would become a lifelong commitment that barred him from worthwhile advancement. It also caused a rift with Ada; she sought to rise above the disparity. Her tenants were a source of income that could take her and her children to a higher level.

 

Leonard, in the meantime, had formed a Country Swing band, the ‘New Hampshire Sate  Hillbillies’ and since 1921, had his own radio show based in Portsmouth, NH. This meant working full time at Concord while traveling around New England to dances and then going across state to Portsmouth to air his show. Throwing his classical music training to the wind, Ada resented his apparent regression back to a rural lifestyle that she was trying to escape from. I think that she saw them all, after some kind of windfall, returning to Boston in triumph, where she and the children could delve into real estate and become rich. Leonard had the brains and talent to make this all happen, but not by playing a fiddle in a barn. Then, an unexpected opportunity arose, from one of her boarding-house tenants…………..

 


CHAPTER: 56                         BURSTING BUBBLES (Editorial Excerpt)

 

1928 began well with the first baby, John Leonard Creighton, Jr. born at Concord Hospital on February 23rd. The Poores operated the largest blacksmith shop in Concord and were related by marriage to almost every old family in the region. It was about this time that Leonard began thinking of buying land locally and starting a farm, much to his mother’s horror. She was bent upon his leading her family group into a real estate venture, in Massachusetts. The country was still riding high on the post-war wave of prosperity and almost anything from milk to mink farms could be bought on credit. Whoever had money, invested in the stock market.

 

In Concord, one of Mom’s cousins had gone from being a schoolteacher to editing the local newspaper. He was also chairman of the New Hampshire Investment Company, married in 1928 to another Poore cousin, Sally Clement. The man was Styles Bridges (1898-1961), related to Sylvia’s great-great-grandmother, Anna Bridges of Rowley, MA. His wife’s family shared three separate Poore marriages in past times. Living in a stately mansion on Mountain Road in East Concord, the Bridges’ family remained community leaders.

 

Harris Creighton was still evidently in Cambridge, MA and living high on the hog and he, too, might have been one of the Capitalist investors. If my suspicions are correct, he may also have delved into a lifestyle of gambling. Old Margaret McEwen Creighton, his mother, was still alive in nearby Stoughton and the country as a whole basked in a secure future. Ada was seeing her children reach maturity as her third oldest, Harold Creighton, age 22 married Ruth Crownan in 1928. This left only Doris age 20, Ruby age 18 and Ernest age 16 at home at Malden. Then, on a Friday afternoon in October 1929, ‘Black Friday’, the bottom dropped out of the Stock Market.

 

It is impossible for those of us who did not live through it to appreciate the panic that Black Friday caused. Entire fortunes were lost in a matter of one day’s trading. Hundreds committed suicide within hours of the news. Banks folded overnight. Styles Bridges in Concord, NH lost his investment firm, putting him out of business. Bert Poore, on his massive dairy farm in Candia, reeled from the impact, but tried to hold on. Layoffs rapidly followed nationwide, leaving thousands unemployed; there was no national system to help those in need. The entire nation was heavily (and willingly) in debt, thanks to a decade of installment buying, Loans were called in to salvage what remained of the banking system.

 

At the Boston & Maine, management took immediate action to throw off devastation. It was probably at this time that Ernest Poore was forced into early retirement due to his blindness. He received a gold pocket watch and little else; he fell in to a deep depression that matched that of the country. Massive layoffs followed, those with foresight, like many of the Irish railroad workers, joined the police force, where they would soon be placed to quell union troubles. The same happened across the country as railroad unions fought for workers relations to save jobs. My father, as president of the local brotherhood, held his position, but was transferred to Boston.

 

For over a year, Leonard and Sylvia lived in a walk-up tenement on Milk Street, just a few blocks from where his uncle Millage had died, in 1893. Work was cut back, causing him to seek other forms of employment to supplement both his and his mother’s income. Like his uncle, he worked selling ice door to door with a horse and wagon. He worked in a bowling alley setting pins, whatever it took to put food on the table. It must have been a very hard time for them. Ernest Poore joined them, having his own rented room nearby, but his drinking often found Sylvia traipsing out in the night to carry him home from speakeasies. She told of manhandling her brother ‘blind drunk’ up flights of stairs, carrying him over her shoulder to put him to bed. I think that both she and Leonard were drinking as well; Dad often played music in the bars. By 1930, she was pregnant once more and they were again sent home to Concord, New Hampshire by the railroad.

 

That February, Sylvia’s brother, Vernon Sherman Poore, died unexpectedly at the Candia Farm of Lobar Pneumonia less than three weeks before his 18th birthday.  Bert Poore finally gave up, selling the farm and moving to Penacook, NH. Sylvia’s younger brother, Lester Daniel was still in high school and her mother, Susie Hussey Poore, was becoming sick with cancer. Soon to give birth to her second child, she now had her own (Poore) family to care for as well. On October 9, 1930, my oldest sister, Virginia Sylvia Creighton, was born. The following year, Leonard’s grandmother Margaret died in Massachusetts and possibly, as a result, her son Harris pitched it in and went to Vermont. For the remainder of his life that had begun with such high hopes in Sussex NB, Harris dropped out of society and became a recluse. He still had his 1910 Model-T Ford, but would remain a shadowy figure with a long flowing beard. Whenever he did return to Massachusetts, it would be to hide out at his daughter Doris’ house, or in Harold’s upper room. Since my brother, John, saw him only once as a boy, I assume that Dad kept track of him, but we were never told. That would have been about 1939.

 

On August 6, 1932, the Creightons had a third son, Glen, who died one day later. He was the first of four infant fatalities that were interspersed through the child-rearing years. Times had gotten increasingly worse as the Great Depression heightened. Long periods of lay-offs began as railroad management went to loggerheads with union activists. That same year, Congress voted to repeal the ‘Union Shop’ rule, siding with railroad management, all union activities formed in the past six years became null and void. This reversal of the law placed Leonard in direct conflict with his employers and the strikes began……..

 

On November 28, 1946, I was born at Concord Hospital. The family had resided for years in East Concord within walking distance of Senator Bridges’ mansion, now the Governor’s Mansion for New Hampshire.

 

Sometime in 1949, word came from Uncle Harold that Harris Edgar Creighton had died in Vermont, reportedly from some kind of logging accident. We have recently learned that Uncle Edgar went to Vermont to drive the old Model-T back to Randolph, MA. Uncle Edgar died in 1972 and his children don’t know where Harris had lived. Since the town was not known we found no vital records for Vermont for that year. Neither were records found for Massachusetts to indicate his death that year; therefore, his death certificate has not been located.* We would need to know the exact town to find it. The search continues. He also appears in no national census after 1910 that I have found. We have recently been told of a funeral which was held for him in 1949, perhaps at Harold’s home. Hopefully some of Harold’s descendants can help us in this most baffling and frustrating family mystery. We do know that Harris’ body was taken to Stoughton, MA, where he was buried beside his mother, Margaret McEwen Creighton, at Evergreen Cemetery. He would have been 82 years old, so any ‘accident’ might have happened at his home, maybe he was cutting his own trees and one fell on him. Later that year my sister, Susan Lorena Creighton, was born on August 5, 1949. By then, we were living in Loudon, NH.

 

*Editor’s Note: 11 Feb 2010

I was contacted by Janet McHugh, granddaughter of Harris Edgar Creighton to inform me that Vermont records had been opened for the year of Harris’ death, 1949. I immediately looked and found the death certificate. He died in Bennington, VT at Putnam Memorial Hospital on March 14, 1949. Cause of death listed as Congestive Heart Failure. He had undergone a gastrectomy in 1946 at Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital in NH where they found cancer. This was the underlying cause of his death. The long wait was over to know of our grandfather’s end.

 


CHAPTER: 57                         THE LION IN WINTER (Editorial Excerpt)

 

If I were to design our own particular Creighton Coat of Arms, it would have no earls or barons crown. Michael the Rabbit Poacher had no lineage of record to a known Scottish line, so it should not be used. If the Downpatrick Creightons were a cadet branch of the Creightons of Crom and in such going back to the Creightons of Brunston, even they would have had altered arms. Depending on Michael’s father’s ranking in order of birth, the border of the shield could have had any number of variations. The only known elements would have been the blue lion on a silver shield, surmounted with the green-dragon crest above the helmet. This is the basic Creighton arms, “God Send Grace” being our family motto.

 

I would begin our personal arms with Michael, Sr. with a full silver shield as ‘First of Our Line’. He was, however, the fifth-born son from a second wife of his father. Subsequently, his cadence marking would have been relevant to his status and I am not sure what they would have been. Starting over with the base-shield, then, makes it easier and he did found a new dynasty in Canada.

 

In our direct line, Michael, Jr. was his fourth-born son and, following Scottish heraldry, he would have been granted a border colored ‘gules’, or red. This red-bordered shield with the blue rampant lion on silver would have remained constant for his eldest son, Harris Edgar, with my father, John Leonard Creighton, following suit as his first-born. Beyond this, cadency gets much more complicated for sons of sons, each of my brothers and I would have had slight changes based upon tradition and Scottish laws with the exception of my oldest brother, John, Jr. and his first-born son. Our lion, though, might look not quite so ‘rampant’ as in past generations. Age and many travels would have blunted his teeth and talons; even the dragon crest might have lost some of its fiery bluster, thus, A Lion in Winter.

 

As for my sister Susan and me, we came at the end of the family ties that connected us with the Scotch-Irish ancestors. We knew only that our grandmother Ada and her sister Bessie Creighton were French-Mackenzies from Prince Edward Island. I don’t think that either one of us had ever heard of New Brunswick or of Sussex, until we grew up. Dad was always a PEI Canadian. He was so proud, in his sixties, to finally obtain his U.S. Citizenship. He made us all read his vow to relinquish claim to “Queen and Country”.

 

I see both my sister and myself as almost afterthoughts to family history. Dad was 37 when brother Ben was born. The end of the war in 1945 probably brought visions of finally getting out of the endless slump. John, Jr. was grown to maturity, as was Virginia. He and my mother began planning to buy a real farm away from the city in what was hoped to be another post-war boom. My emergence on the scent shortly before moving to Loudon must have been a shock.

 

Note: The rest of the story comes directly from the Poore book, Eastwind Westwind; it chronicles our family from this time forward.  I will reproduce it not as a direct quote, but as an ongoing part of this overall story, beginning in 1945, at war’s end.


CHAPTER: 58                         DIAMOND HILLL (Editorial Excerpt)

 

The long and bitter war finally ended. Sylvia kept newspaper clippings of key events and battles, pocketing them away in the secret compartment of the dining room buffet, where she kept her lace tablecloths. A plan was loosely laid to get the family out of the cramped conditions of the East Concord houses, late in 1945. There had actually been two consecutive houses, one larger than the other, located not far apart near the school. East Concord had been good to them, for the most part, allowing John, Jr. and Virginia a stable home environment while they went through their adolescence and entered high school. John, at 17, had developed such tight bonds with his East Concord schoolmates that he would choose to build a house and raise his children there. Virginia, as well, had developed into a pretty 15 year old who balanced schoolwork with her home duties and helping in raising Dan, Bea, Perley and Ben. She watched with growing interest as her older brother gravitated toward the Lamora Farm by the river. She knew that his main attraction was the Lamora daughter, Virginia.

 

How many of you have ever taken the time to weigh the affects of words and actions? We all go about our daily lives interacting with others, but have you thought about how the simplest statements can cause far-reaching ripples in the world around us? If you look deep enough, you will find that sometimes your very life balances on the brink of decisions made before you were born.

 

The winter house hunting had brought not one, but two possible locations. Len favored the closest, which was 10 miles away in Loudon Village. The road led from their house past Ernest’s boarding home on Oak Hill Road. At the Baldwin Farm, the road dropped down into the Soucook River Valley. The house in question was well built and included an attached shed and horse barn; it even had the town’s old blacksmith shop in the rear of the property, but what Sylvia found lacking, was land. The entire ‘farm’ was just over ¾ acres.

Sylvia’s first choice was a more substantial farm, west of Concord, on Diamond Hill Road. This area was rich in scenic beauty, with large open fields and rolling hills. The Diamond Hill Farm also had a substantial house and barns, but best of all, it contained over 10 acres of land. Sylvia loved this location; it reminded her of Bert’s farm in Candia, but on a smaller scale. There was a fruit tree orchard, pastureland and plenty of space to plant corn and vegetables. With the six children, she knew that this farm offered the best opportunities. Even in cost, the Diamond Hill Farm was the best deal. It was selling for $4,000. The smaller, village-bound farm in Loudon would cost $4,700. Another reason Sylvia wanted this house was that it had a bathroom and possibly hot running water.  In her entire 41 years with Len, she would only have had a bathroom for six months of that time.

 

By the beginning of 1946, Sylvia and Len battled back and forth. I really know next to nothing about this incident, but I have always wondered why Dad did not want the Diamond Hill Farm. As for the Loudon location, I cannot see how he could have even begun to compare the two. Both being as stubborn as mules, however, they stood their ground. I am sure that John Jr., Virginia, Dan and Bea offered their opinions as well; it must have been a fun household that winter. The only thing that I can think of, when Sylvia finally gave in and accepted the Loudon home over the bigger farm, was alcohol.

 

Sylvia had not touched a drop for thirteen years, ever since the devastating fire at Uncle Edgar’s. Len, on the other hand, drank more and more as the years progressed. He was now 44 and far from being the freewheeling musician of the 1920’s. His mother had continued to remind him of how successful Edgar, Harold, Ruby and Doris had made their lives, his brother Ernest had even gone overseas during the war. He had never progressed beyond the railroad yards on the B & M; he had little advancement to look forward to there. Having wasted half of my life to drinking, I can relate to his dilemma.

 

The Diamond Hill Farm should have been obtained without a second thought. Sylvia, as a non-drinker, had no trouble seeing the obvious, but Len’s reasoning had become distorted with time. He felt old and worn out. Ada’s incessant harping on his station in life forever damaged his sense of self-worth. He knew better than anyone what he was capable of attaining, if he wanted to, but he had made a stand, years ago, to remain in New Hampshire, for Sylvia’s sake.  His father, who he had once admired, had become a complete nut case, wandering the Vermont Mountains with a beard down to his knees. The depression, pouching deer and skinning muskrats to feed his family had left Len beaten. I honestly feel that he was afraid to buy the bigger farm, too much was expected of him; he would probably fail there as well.

 

He saw Loudon as a safe and familiar place, much like the small villages of Grafton County. The house was just beyond the village and river, being the second lot from the corner of State Route 106 and School Street. All of the adjoining lots had once been large farms, but the fields that once went deep into the Broken Grounds had long since grown back to pine forest. He knew that the small rear yard could be converted into a sizable garden for Sylvia and there were outbuildings for livestock. The Broken Grounds was where he had hunted and trapped for 20 years and best of all, Loudon was where his drinking buddies were located.

 

Len had been familiar with the town of Loudon since before he met Sylvia, where he played at the Wild Rose Farm on Loudon Ridge. In 1946, the old speakeasy remained a hangout for the old gang, a place to quench the thirst and play music and poker.

 

With a heavy heart, Sylvia began packing to move to Loudon. They had purchased the property. Lester had left for Florida, alone. This left her even more distraught. To make matters worse, after three miscarriages in eight years, she found that she was pregnant once more. Now she, like Len, began to ponder the odd twists and turns of her own life, 39-years-old and another baby to feed; where would it all end?....................

 


CHAPTER: 59                         PINE ISLAND (Editorial Excerpt)

 

In many ways, it had already ended, but with endings, come new beginnings. A very close-knit family of eight travelled the back road between East Concord and Loudon. Dust billowed from the rear of neighbor’s pickup trucks, helping the Creightons move. John Jr. had graduated from Concord High School the previous year and now worked with Len at the railroad yards. Virginia, at 16, was just beginning to attend Concord High, but Dan, Bea, Perley and Benny would be integrated into Loudon’s rural 8 grade school system. After living within walking distance of Eastman Elementary for years, the younger children were not keen on moving.  

 

As for the village and town of Loudon, Sylvia neither loved, nor hated it. It, like any other between Kittery and Montpelier, could best be described with a single word: Cousins. This is what separated Sylvia from her husband. He, being a Canadian import (he remained a resident alien until the 1960’s), had little historical connection to the region. Although his parents moved to New Hampshire when he was very young, he was raised near the Vermont border with only Uncle Silas’ children as close relatives. As the son of immigrants, he was forced to fight his way into the rural New England culture. Sylvia, as we now are well aware, was related to just about every old family along the Merrimack Corridor. The only real change that had occurred was a town border. Loudon, only 10 miles from adjoining East Concord, became an extension of what she had recently left behind, town gossip.

 

The Bluebloods of New England society, such as the Cabot and Saltonstall families, were famous for their selective pecking order. Their combined pedigrees were well known by all. In the towns and villages, the same held true for the lesser families. They naturally fell into groupings regulated by family descent (and income level), from the first families of the 17th century. Loudon was no different. It dated back to the early 1700’s and the Indian wars, with the majority of the old settlers being from Essex County, Massachusetts. The oldest family in Loudon was the Batchelders, descended from Rev. Stephen Bachiler of Hampton. Sylvia was well aware of her Loudon ‘Cousin Ring’. There was the banker, Jim Hackett and the schoolteacher, Mrs. Marston.  Hager, Brown, Cate, Chagnon, Fiske, Muzzie, Willey, Lamprone, Dirth, Neff, Cunningham, Mackenzie, Chesley, Paquin, Buzzell, Dow, Downs, Barnard, Maxfield, Mulkhey, Maynard…she was related to the whole town in one way or another. With this knowledge came the realization that she knew many family secrets, best kept unspoken. Grace Matallis tried to bring some of these stories to light with her book “Peyton Place” and spent the rest of her life in lawsuits.

 

To understand Loudon, you must have a rudimentary knowledge of how New Hampshire gossip works. It had risen to a fine art over the centuries and had certain etiquette applied to it. The advent of the three-party telephone line had brought it to its ultimate form and just three houses up the street, was the gossip headquarters of Loudon Village. It was the Mildred Cate-Dorothy Downs sector.

 

Mildred and Dot lived on opposite sides of School Street; no one could pass without their knowing about it. Similar sectors were positioned all over Loudon and extended out into the farm country on Loudon Ridge. Only on the outskirts of town and society (the shanties of Coopersville or the ‘swamp dwellers’ or muskrat trappers in the Bee Hole), did things go on unnoticed. The routine went something like this:

 

“Dot? This is Mildred. I just got a call from Mrs. Avery in East Concord that there’s a new family moving into the house down by the Hager’s. ‘You know anything about it?”

 

“Aye up,” said Dot (this is usually pronounced Ay-yunt, with a silent ‘n’, spoken often as three rapid words, the first ay-yunt spoken with a sharp inhale, the second and third following immediately with diminishing exhales…), Bertha Mulkhey just called me, the Potter’s saw them go by. I hear its Ernest Poore’s sister, Sylvia.”

 

“You mean that blind man who lives in the old boarding house by Turtletown Pond? Why, your not talking about the Creightons are you?” Mildred couldn’t wait to get Dot off the phone (of course, half the town was listening in by this time) to call her sister, Georgie, who lived next door.

 

You have to have a map to show it correctly, but Mildred Cate and her husband John lived on the north side of the street, directly across from the Downs’ house (Dot’s husband, Harlan Downs, was chief of the voluntary fire department). Just east of Mildred was the farmhouse of her sister Georgia and her husband Ni (Adiniram) Chesley. Ni Chesley worked with Len Creighton on the railroad. Ni’s neighbor to the east (and adjoining the new Creighton Lot) was John Cate’s brother, Hi (Hiram) Cate and his wife Jessie, who was Loudon’s Town Clerk. Directly across School Street from them, Dan and Mynah Reardon owned a smaller house, but it was still a farm. All of these farmhouses were a stone’s throw from Sylvia and Len’s new house.

 

Like Indian scouts, the homeowners along Oak Hill Road from East Concord to Loudon phoned in their sightings to Dot or Mildred, who relayed the news on to others all over town. By the time Sylvia and Len hit the intersection of School Street and turned east past the two-room schoolhouse, every window had a face (or two) pressed to the glass, discreetly hidden behind lace curtains. As the Creighton moving party pulled into their new dooryard, everyone in the township knew of their arrival. The youngsters, Perley and Benny hit the dirt running, chasing chickens that had escaped from a crate, which fell off a truck. Sylvia corralled the rest to begin unloading the vehicles.

 

Sylvia, Len and the children had traveled many hard roads together. As a family unit, they had helped one another survive one of the most difficult times of the twentieth century. All in all, it should have been a good time of life, being much like when Erie and Margaret Poore moved into Hooksett Village, after most of their kids were grown. But as Sylvia supervised the unpacking, she looked ahead to at least another 18 years of child rearing. She would be almost 60 by then.

 

The house was not unlike that of the original Poore homestead in Newbury. The living room, downstairs bedroom and two upstairs bedrooms formed the core of the original 1742 colonial home. It was originally 24 feet square, the same as John and Sarah Poore’s. In the center was the old central fireplace, now bricked in and unused. A very steep and curving, narrow stair wound up behind the fireplace from a tiny entryway off the front porch. A later addition included a large dining room-kitchen, separated by another dual fireplace, bricked in like the first. Above it was a low attic, accessed from the upstairs bedroom. To the kitchen was added a small pantry. The house ‘as is’ contained no modern sink, only a small electric pump. The well in the front still had the old hand pump, which Sylvia would soon remedy. The large two-story barn had once stood alone, but had been attached to the kitchen by a shed, making the whole affair a rather long and narrow home. There was no other indoor plumbing. There was a women’s outhouse in the shed and two more, for the men, in the barn. One was for summer and the other for winter. Wood burning stoves provided both heat and cooking.

 

To this house came the accumulated wealth of the Poore past. Sylvia had been able to salvage some furniture from her parent’s farm before George Seavie sold it, but much had been taken (by family or neighbors) after Bert and Susie left it and moved to Penacook. She and Len chose the downstairs bedroom, where the set once owned by Erie and Margaret was placed. The headboard of the bed was of dark wood, but the dresser and commode were beautiful blond-colored wood-veneer pieces, intricately carved and detailed. Packed away in an old trunk were Erie’s Civil War sword, his discharge papers, Bert’s diary, Joseph Poore’s pewter powder flask from the French and Indian War and Samuel Poore’s continental currency from the American Revolution.

 

Sylvia altered the kitchen by herself. She owned her own carpentry tools and tackled the old room. She put in a sink, brought in piping from the well, installed a pump underneath and installed cabinets and shelving for the pantry. Behind the stove went the old ironing board, made by Sam Poore in 1784 for Anna Bridges, still much in use. This small room also contained Sylvia’s wringer washing machine, a large cook stove and a small drop-leaf table with two chairs. It was also the main entry to the house and as such, became the mudroom, complete with coat rack. With the stove going night and day all year long, the kitchen became the favored room for everyone.

 

The dining room received Bert and Susie’s leafed table with eight matching chairs, with Len occupying Bert’s wing chair with the broken back, damaged during the fight between Ernest and his father 30 years earlier. With this table and chairs was a matching china hutch and large Victorian Buffet, which was the most elaborate piece of furniture in the house. From the frame of its ornate mirror to the glass-balled lion’s feet, the old piece held everything from lace doilies to homemade jellies and jams. Every section of exposed wood was carved with scrolls, lion’s heads and mythical creatures. Resigned to her fate, Sylvia set up housekeeping and unpacked her iris bulbs from their sand-filled boxes. Planting them in the front of the house, she announced to the neighborhood that she was here to stay. For all I know, these tender flower bulbs (or their ancestors) also went back to the time of Samuel Poore.

 

The upstairs became the abode of the six children (five really, John Jr. was 19 and gladly willing to flee the nest). Virginia and Beatrice took the room with a door. The four boys claimed what had once been an open loft, with the old chimney rising up through the ceiling at the stair railing. As they matured one by one, these two rooms would become their point of departure to an adult life.

 

Things finally settled into their proper locations. Len, happy to have a new home to tinker with, began his garden and set up his beehives in the back yard. Sylvia, heavier and heavier with child, set out her iris and lily bulbs and planted petunias and geraniums. The kids worked the ranch, herding chickens, ducks, rabbits and goats and soon began exploring the surrounding territory. Relationships began to occur with the neighbor’s children. By summer’s end, Carol Chesley and Andrew Downs were at Sylvia’s house more than they were at their own homes, playing under the elm and maple trees in the front yard as Len pulled out his kitchen chair and struck up an old Irish fiddle tune.

 

Thus began this 22-year-love affair with Loudon. As crickets chirped and nighthawks flew past the moon, Len’s violin sang out over the trees to reach deep into the Broken Grounds. Sylvia, sitting beside him, had to smile. Perhaps his insistence on taking this small house instead of the Diamond Hill Farm had merit after all, but only he knew the reasons back then. Approaching 50 and with another baby on the way, I believe that he needed the peace and solitude that Loudon offered. He had spent half of his life in these woods; he knew them better than any other man. The six older children, who had moved so much in their short lifetimes, could not appreciate it as he did, except for Virginia, who still lives there. He knew that the next child (and any that might come later) would grow up here and perhaps learn its secrets. Natural barriers to an outside world assured that all would be safe, if they wanted to be. The Soucook River flowing to the Merrimack was the eastern door, the expanse of the Broken Grounds, with beautiful Pine Island Brook meandering through it held the south, Oak Hill barred Concord’s encroachment and the swamps of the Bee Hole blocked the northern reaches. This one tiny portion of the township of Loudon became Len’s personal island, where he shut out the world. It was his Pine Island.

 

By November, it was apparent that Sylvia was having a hard time with her 11th pregnancy. Virginia, who had helped midwife her younger brother when she was eight, did not feel comfortable helping this time. After 14 years of giving birth at home, Sylvia chose to have this baby in the hospital. On November 28, 1946, James Harris Creighton was born at Concord’s Margaret Pillsbury Memorial Hospital.

 


CHAPTER: 60      &