2000 News Article

More Stirling Ancestral News
Today Clan Stirling Online spent the day back at the Mitchell Library going through records of the Stirlings of Keir, Garden, and Glorat in the archives room once again.

Most of the day was spent reading the correspondence between various Stirling family members separated by economic circumstances in Scotland after the disaster of 1746 following Culloden.

Times were anything but easy in Jamaica during this time frame. Not only were there political pressures and issues, most rightly so, there were also poor crops and earthquakes during the summer. Little did our Stirling ancestors know that things would soon get worse. Later that year a huge hurricane severely damaged the island.

James Stirling, nephew of William Stirling of Northwoodside, summed it up best in a letter to Archibald Stirling of Keir in Aug. 1766.

"You will see how precarious our lives and fortunes are in this country and what good reason I have to wish to be at home again. On the 11th of June we had several more severe shocks of an earthquake beginning about midnight & continued near three hours."


Just as I was packing up to leave, the archivist asked me what I was researching. When I told him, he quietly informed me that there were several boxes of William Stirling's account books and diaries that are NOT IN THE CATALOG BECAUSE THEY HAVE EXTENSIVE WATER DAMAGE.

We discussed the importance of these documents to the family organization and I provided my SRO pass and credentials (thank goodness I've had them all these years) After some review they committed to working on the documents. I will be able to review them the next time I am here.

I also reviewed financial records that revealed the name of William's debtor in Philadelphia and that the amount was over 7,000 pounds. That was a staggering amount of debt, one that William Stirling didn't resolve until he sold the property in Jamaica in 1781.

James in another letter to Archibald commented on the financial conditions on the island - (27 Aug. 1765)

"I am in great expectation to hear that Willy had taken a wife & made himself & friends happy but am sorry to find that is not so, in my last I mentioned the great debts that still remain due on the estate which can't be a good prospect at present owing to the prodigious distress that this country is in for want of money and credit. To add to the misfortunes the sugar falls short..."

"The extent of the debt in north america which amounts to upwards of 7,000 pounds. I had hoped to find that William had taken a wife it will be a shocking if his temper grows worse on matrimony, but I hope the young lady will reform him. I wish he had a dryrun for a few months in this country to sweeten his temper and still let him know the troubles of the world. I observe what you say about the mortgage and your remarks are just, but I can't be asked now."


Also I spent more time with the Napier book today. Bless his heart, the author Mark Napier goes into a lot of detail about the State jobs our ancestors held. Did you know that when the king of Scotland went to England, and Mary Queen of Scots tried to go to Stirling castle and collect her son (James VI of Scotland & I of England), the person guarding him was none other than Sir Archibald Stirling of Keir, who refused to give him to her? The book is out of copyright, so I plan on scanning about 60 pages, and posting it in the library as an excerpt. I will get copies here, and complete it after I get home.


I also met with a local historian today that received a grant to document all the local families in a database (Family Tree Maker) He has several Stirling lines that have been prepared from OPR ( Old Parish Records ), and other sources. He has offered to provide them to us to add to the family pages sections.


Tomorrow it's off to the Tartan Weavers. For those you waiting for kilts and other materials, more information should be posted tomorrow.