Alexander Stewart in Knockgarry, Factor to John Stewart, 8th of Bonskeid

Cnocgharie (Knockgarry)

A map of the area around Knockgarry, showing Balchapel, Balinloin and Croftcarnach

Considering that Alexander Stewart became Bonskeid’s most trusted man, it is frustrating that nothing is known about his parentage. The first mention of Alexander Stewart comes from his marriage to Margaret Stewart in 1736 which is recorded in the Dull OPR. Unfortunately the Blair Atholl OPR, which usually provided more background information, did not record marriages before November 1743.

"Alexander Stewart in Blair Atholl parish and Margaret Stewart in Fincastle, Dull parish, married 12th April 1736. Witnesses: John Stewart and Neill Stewart" (Dull OPR)

Assuming that Alexander was aged between 25 and 30 years when he married, he probably was born 1706-1711. Likewise, assuming that he followed the traditional naming of children, his eldest son, Charles, was named after Alexander’s father.

After their marriage Alexander Stewart and his wife were farming at Balchapel of Borenich where their first child, Janet, was born, 10th February 1737, but things were about to change.

John Stewart, 8th of Bonskeid’s eldest son and heir, by his first marriage to Amelia Stewart, was John Stewart, younger, of Bonskeid who was living at Knochgarry (Cnocgharie) of Borenich at this time. This may have been the traditional residence for the heir of Bonskeid, as the 1705 ‘List of the Duke of Atholl’s Fencible Men’ mentions Donald McMartin in Borenich as being the servant to Bonskeid’s son.

John Stewart, younger, was alive at the end of December 1739 as he lent £200 Scots to Charles Stewart in Laightown of Duntaulich, and this bill is listed in his Testament, Dunkeld Commissariot, October 1740.

“Item: two hundred pounds, contained in a bill payable to the defunct, accepted by Charles Steuart in Laightown of Duntaulich dated 22nd December 1739, payable at Martinmass 1740”.

However the Dull parish OPR for 30th January 1740 reads:

“Charles son to John Stewart, younger, of Bonskeid and Isobel Stewart, both deceased, was baptised. John Stewart, elder, of Bonskeid, sponsor. Witnesses: John Stewart of Balnakeilly and Robert Stewart, younger, of Fincastle”.

To have lost both parents within 5 weeks is extraordinary and some sources have tried to link the two deaths with the destruction of Bonskeid House by fire. However there is no foundation for this hypothesis as Bonskeid House was burnt down in the aftermath of the failed ’45 Jacobite Rising and, in any case, the couple were living at Knockgarry, not Bonskeid House. Isobel Stewart may have died at childbirth, despite this being her sixth child, but the death of her husband remains unresolved.

Whatever the reason for his death, it was essential to settle his estate quickly for the benefit of his six children: John; Patrick; James; Charles; Jean and Sophia Steuarts. Alexander Stewart in Borenich was given this task and produced an inventory which, along with the testament dative, was recorded at Dunkeld in October 1740. It is highly unlikely that John Stewart of Bonskeid would have entrusted such a responsibility to one of his tenant farmers. It needed someone who was respected in the community and was literate, being able to read, write and calculate. This suggests that Alexander Stewart either was a kinsman or the son of one of the other local gentry.

The inventory comprises the livestock, household plenishings and farming equipment, valuing each but not as the outcome of a roup, where the buyer would be identified. Presumably this is the inventory for Knockgarry and as it mentions bedding, furniture, timber and stored food, there is no suggestion of a recent fire at Knockgarry or any other similar disaster. One can also gauge the size of Knockgarry as there was room for 3 feather beds and bolsters (head rests), as well as a chaff bed (presumably for the farm servant in an adjacent building).

The inventory shows the financial state of John Stewart, the younger, and it gives the impression that he was acting as a ‘banker’, but not just for his father’s tenants as it mentions local people on the Atholl and Faskally estates.

Firstly he was holding £69 Scots in ready cash (i.e. silver coins) which was a large amount of money considering that a good horse or a young cow was worth £10. Secondly he was holding bills (promissory notes) on behalf of his father in a Factorial role:

“Item: by bill granted by Charles Steuart of Invervack to Donald McLauen in Runmore, and endorsed by him to Bonskeid, dated 7th March 1730, nine pounds eighteen shillings, for which he obtained a decreet (warrant) the foresaid bill granted for meall due at Michaelmass or Martinmass 1740”

Basically, Donald McLaren in Runmore had an old IOU from Charles Stewart of Invervack which he signed over to John Stewart, elder, of Bonskeid in return for a promise that he would be given its value in oatmeal at the end of September or mid November.

In addition he was making short-term loans to individuals and groups of people:

“Item: thirty-two pounds thirteen shillings four pence per bill (granted) by Patrick Robertson of Trinafour dated 30th June 1739, payable Martinmass 1740.

Item: forty pounds per another bill granted by Patrick Robertson of Trinafour to the defunct of same date, payable Martinmass 1739.

Item: (bill granted) by John Murdoch in Shierglas, Malcolm McGregor there, Donald Cameron in Cuiltvuick, John Steuart in Tombuie and Patrick Steuart in Balnauld of Borenich, the sum of about twenty eight pounds”.

The last entry is interesting as the places mentioned are not close together, and there is no obvious connection between the people, so why were they needing to borrow money jointly?

At the end of the inventory there is a ‘list of the rents owing to the defunct’. So it would appear that John Stewart, elder, had given his son the rental income from some of the settlements close to Knockgarry.

“Item: by John Steuart, farmer in Croft, of his rent, crops, 1739, £7 4s 8d
Item: by John Steuart, in Balnaloan, £16 3s 4d
Item: by Alexander McGlashan, there, £14 6s
Item: by Alexander Steuart, in Balchaple, £11 12s”

Croft would be Croftcarnach, Balnaloan or Laightown later became known as Miltown of Borenich, and Alexander Steuart in Balchapel was the inventory writer himself.

Alexander Stewart’s second child, Margaret, was born 15th August 1743 but the Blair Atholl OPR just says at Borenich, so the family may still have been at Balchapel, but by January 1745 they had taken up residence at Knockgarry where their third child, Elspeth, was born 1st June 1746, and by this time Alexander Stewart in Knockgarry was Bonskeid’s trusted Factor.

As banks did not exist in Blair Atholl parish the Session protected some of their ‘Poor Fund’ money by giving it to John Stewart, 8th of Bonskeid. He paid annual interest on the principal (capital) which could be dispersed to the needy, and the Kirk Session minutes record this happening.

"The Session approved the Minister to draw a precept (warrant) upon Alexander Stewart in Knockgharie, Factor to Bonskeid, for 5 merks Scots, to be equally divided betwixt Patrick Robertson in Balnald of Borenich and Donald Stewart in Seomairban (Chamberbane), and upon a receipt of 5 merks more, to grant a discharge to Bonskeid of all bygone annual rents (interest) for that bill". (Blair Atholl Session Minutes, 6th January 1745)

"A precept was drawn upon Alexander Stewart in Knockgarry on Bonskeid's behalf to give to Donald Stewart in Seomuirban (Chamberbane), 2½ merks Scots as part payment due by Bonskeid's bill for Martinmass last 1745". (Blair Atholl Session Minutes, 1st June 1746)

"Alexander Stewart in Knockgarry, manager to Bonskeid, paid 22s 6d Sterling to the Session for the annual rent on the principal sum of £23 16s Scots, due by Bonskeid, per bill, since Martinmass 1736. Moreover he paid the odd 16s of the principal, and renewed Bonskeid’s bill for £23 Scots payable at Martinmass 1749". (Blair Atholl Session Minutes, 29th November 1748)

"A precept was drawn upon Alexander Stewart in Knochgharie on behalf of Patrick Robertson in Croftcarnach for 2½ merks Scots, in part payment of the annual rent due by Bonskeid to the Session at Martinmass last". (Blair Atholl Session Minutes, 12th March 1749)

Alexander Stewart’s last child, Robert, was born 8th June 1755 but the family was in Knockgarry up until about 1800, but which time the farm was being run by Alexander’s eldest son Charles. The Blair Atholl Kirk Session minutes for 21st December 1760 show that John Stewart of Balnakeilly had taken over as the Factor for the Bonskeid Estate. The same minutes for 11th January 1761 mention that Alexander Stewart in Knockgarry was asked to intervene in the dispute between Alexander Stewart in Croftcarnach and Katharine Robertson in Tomintianda.

Katharine Robertson and her father had originally lived in Croftcarnach of Borenich but had moved to Tomintianda when Alexander Stewart, a neighbour in Croftcarnach, had been paying too much attention to Katharine Robertson. The neighbour was a married man with a large family, but this did not stop him from visiting Katharine Robertson's house in Tomintianda at what were considered inappropriate hours. The upshot was that the girl became pregnant and named Alexander Stewart in Croftcarnach as the father, which he strongly denied before the Session.

11th January 1761: “Katharine Robertson in Tomintianda appeared before the Session, along with Alexander Stewart in Croftcarnach. She persisted and he denied as previously minuted. The said Katharine Robertson alledged that Alexander Stewart in Croftcarnach commissioned Alexander Stewart in Knockgarry to speak to her in order to stop her from insisting in her accusation against him. The said Alexander Stewart in Knockgarry appeared and owned that said Alexander Stewart in Croftcarnach came and desired him to go to her upon said message. He asked him if he would impower him to offer her anything in order to desist, upon which Alexander Stewart the alledged delinquent said he would give her nothing. The said Katharine Robertson allowed the said declaration of Alexander Stewart in Knockgarry to have the same force, as if emitted on oath”.

The last reference to Alexander Stewart seems to be in the testament of John Stewart, elder, 8th of Bonskeid who died 20th October 1767, where Alexander Stewart and others were demanding repayment of a large amount of money which had been lent to Bonskeid.

“In payment to the said Alexander Stewart in Knockgarry of five pounds two shillings and six pence Sterling contained in the defunct's accepted bill to him dated the twenty-first day of March 1763 years, payable at Martinmass then next.

In payment likewise to the said Alexander Stewart of six pounds six shillings Sterling for the defunct's other bill to him, dated the thirteenth day of March 1765 years, payable at Martinmass then next.

In payment also to him of seven pounds ten shillings six pence Sterling money per the defunct's third bill to him, dated the fifteenth day of April 1766 years, payable at Martinmass then next.

In payment to him of twenty-seven merks Scots money contained in the defunct's fourth bill to him, dated the eight day of November 1763 years, payable at Martinmass then next, deducing seven pence paid thereof, marked on the back of the said bill”.


(Generation 2) The Children of Alexander Stewart and Margaret Stewart in Knockgarry of Borenich

Name Born Married Date Residence Died
Janet Feb 10 1737 . . Balchapel d.
Margaret Aug 15 1743 . . Borenich d.
Elspeth Jun 1 1746 . . Knockgarry d.
Christian 1748? John Stewart
in Balchapel
Mar 10 1774 Balchapel h.
Charles Jan 28 1750 Marjory Stewart
in Ardtulichan
Nov 19 1773 Knockgarry h.
Patrick Sep 17 1752 Jean Stewart
in Kirkton of
Feb 15 1776 Miltown of
Robert Jun 8 1755 Cecilia Stewart Feb 8 1786 Chamberbane
and Nova Scotia
h. ~1804
w. 5 Mar 1848


(Generation 3) The Children of John Stewart and Christian Stewart of Balchapel

There is no baptismal record for Christian Stewart, only the OPR marriage entry dated 10th March 1774 which links her to Knockgarry. However there is no evidence that Alexander the Factor was sharing Knochgarry with another Stewart family, and servant girls would be identified by their father's residence, not where they were employed.

Name Born Married Date Residence Died
Alexander Aug 20 1775 . . Balchapel d.
Donald Aug 9 1778 . . Balchapel d.
Patrick Feb 4 1784 . . Balchapel d.
Robert Sep 14 1786 . . Balchapel d.
James Dec 19 1790 . . Balchapel d.


(Generation 3) The Children of Charles Stewart and Marjory Stewart of Knockgarry

Alexander's son Charles married Marjory Stewart on 19th November 1773. She was the second eldest daughter of Donald Stewart and Grissel Robertson in Ardtulichan. All of the children, with the exception of Donald, were born at Knockgarry. Donald seems to have been born at Uchdnanetaig which is next to Knockgarry, so it is possible that the family were there on a temporary basis while Knockgarry was being rebuilt. The other oddity is that Elisabeth's birth is recorded in the Logierait OPR, but clearly states that the family were from Knochgarry in the parish of Blair Atholl.

Name Born Married Date Residence Died
Alexander Jul 8 1775 . . Knockgarry d.
Donald Oct 29 1776 died in
. Uchdnanetaig d. by 1784
John Nov 3 1778 . . Knockgarry d.
Margaret Aug 10 1780 . . Knockgarry d.
(Peter jnr.)
Jun 29 1782 Christian Stewart May 15 1807 Tulloch Farm,
Lot 34, PEI
h. 16 Jul 1843
w. 8 May 1869
Donald Nov 7 1784 Christian Moon 1808-09 Warren Co.,
New York
h. 24 Jul 1864
w. 15 Jun 1878
Elisabeth Oct 19 1788
(Logierait OPR)
. . Knockgarry d.
Robert Jan 3 1791 . . Knockgarry d.
Duncan Mar 19 1792 . . Knockgarry d.


Donald Stewart and Christian Moon in Warren Co., New York

All the available evidence suggests that Donald Stewart emigrated to Canada in September 1808, together with Christian Moon. The passenger list of the brig 'Clarendon' shows passengers 28 and 29 as Christian Moon, 22 year old spinster from Blair (Atholl), Perthshire, and Donald Stewart, 24 year old labourer from same place. The ship sailed to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, from Tobermory, but the Perthshire emigrants probably travelled to Oban and were then ferried out to Tobermory. It is strange that they did not get married in Blair Atholl, with their friends and relations, before emigrating. Peter Stewart, his wife Margaret Cameron and three of their younger children were on the same ship. They were the in-laws of his brother Patrick (Peter) .

The Blair Atholl OPRs show only two Christian Moons of roughly the correct age. One was the daughter of John Moon and Christian McIntyre, 16th November 1784, but this Christian married John Stewart, farmer in Clunemore and died in Blair Atholl, 15th October 1864. The other was the daughter of Alexander Moon and Marjory Gow, 13th February 1784. This would fit with Christian's second son being baptised as Alexander, and her descendants claiming that she was the seventh of twelve children and was born at Rindow, both of which are correct.

Alexander Moon in Kincael and Marjory Gow in Rindou, married 11 Jan 1770. Kincael or Ardkencall was just to the north of Old Blair village and is shown on James Stobie's map of Perthshire (1783) but disappeared when Balinloan farm was built. Rindou (Raondou) may have been in the same area of Glentilt. Marjory appears to have been the daughter of James Gow and Ann Stewart in Raondou, born 6th May 1749.

George Moon is known to have been a mason as well as a farmer, and it is quite likely that his son Alexander was likewise employed. It would certainly help to explain why the family moved so often. Margaret and George were born at Kincraigie in Glen Fender, Duncan was born at Nether Campsie in Glentilt, John was born at Blairuchdar, a second John, Janet and Christian were born at Raondou, James was born at Riechapel in Glen Banvie, while the last four, Thomas, Alexander, Charles and Marjory were all born at Riechlachrie which is situated at the top of Glen Bruar.

Donald (or Daniel) Stewart's eldest son was baptised as Charles, which is one of the lesser used names in the parish. This, together with his age at the time of his emigration to Canada, seems to link him to Knockgarry which is where his descendants believe that he initially lived as a gamekeeper, presumably for the Bonskeid estate.

Donald Stewart and Christian Moon probably married in 1809 and by 1810 had moved to Thurman in New York State, later to be known as Warrensburgh. It is said that relatives already lived in that area, but no details are known at present. All of their six children were born in Warrensburgh, but three of them died at a relatively young age and are buried in the North Caldwell cemetery near Lake George, each having a separate monumental inscription.

Margaret, daughter of Daniel and Chrystean Stewart died August 29th 1849 aged 37 years.

Margery, daughter of Daniel and Christiann Stewart died April 9th 1847 in the 30th year of her age.

John, son of Daniel and Christian Stewart died October 29th 1833 aged 15 years.

In 1857 Donald Stewart and Christian Moon, together with their sons Alexander and James, moved to Woodward's Bluff, Prophetstown, Whiteside Co. Illinois. Their son Charles and his family remained in Warrenburgh, where he married Cynthia W. Ellis, born 31st December 1817.

Charles Stewart and Cynthia Ellis had a daughter Frances who died 15th April 1844 aged only 1 year and 1 month. Mary L. died 26th October 1854 aged only 13. Their daughter Harriet M. (born 3 Jun 1845) married Miles Warren Bowen. She died 5th May 1925. Buried in the Cameron cemetery, Warren Co.

'Portrait and Biographical Album of Whiteside County, Illinois', Chapman Brothers, published 1885 gives the following information:

"James Stewart, farmer, residing on section 29, Prophetstown township, is the owner of 240 acres located on the section. He was born in Warrensburg, Warren Co. N.Y. April 28, 1830. His father, Daniel Stewart, was a native of Scotland, a farmer by occupation, and in the year 1809 he emigrated to Prince Edward Island, and the following year, 1810, he came to New York. He died in Prophetstown township, July 24, 1864, aged 79 years, 8 months and 23 days. The mother of Mr Stewart, whose maiden name was Christiann Moon, was likewise born in Scotland and died in Prophetstown township, this county, June 15, 1878, aged 94 years and 4 months. They had six children, only two of whom survived: Alexander, a farmer in Henry County, this state; and James.

Mr Stewart is the youngest of his parents' family and was reared on the home farm in the State of New York, alternating his labours thereon by attending the common schools. In 1858 he came to this township with his brother Alexander and their parents. He and his brother bought 80 acres of land, the same being a part of the farm on which James now resides. they farmed it together and subsequently purchased 80 acres more in partnership. In 1879 James bought out his brother, and has since added to his home estate 80 acres additional. he also owns 40 acres of woodland in Henry County, five miles distant from his present residence. He is engaged in general farming and stock-raising, and has a dairy consisting of 16 cows and usually keep a number of hogs.

Mr Stewart was united in marriage in Troy, N.Y., May 28 1857, to Malvina Ellis, born in New York, August 7, 1822. They have three children: Henry, born April 29 1858; Charles, born October 1 1862; and Fred, born July 25 1865. The mother of Mrs Stewart is deceased, and her father resides in Johnstown, N.Y., aged 94 years".

There is a memorial to Daniel Stewart and Chrisyean (Christian) Moon in Minson cemetery, Illinois. There is another one to James Stewart and Malvina Ellis. The obituary to James Stewart is as follows:

"James Stewart died at his home, Sunday, February 10, 1895, at the age of 74 years, 9 months, 12 days. Death came to his release after suffering from pneumonia. He was one of the oldest settlers around Leon. He came to this place from New York and since has been a faithful tiller of the soil. He leaves a fond wife and three sons to mourn the loss of a husband and father. Many friends join in sympathy with the bereft family".


The Children of Donald Stewart and Christian Moon in Warren Co., New York

Name Born Married Date Residence Died
Charles Mar 14 1810 Cynthia W. Ellis ~1840 Warrensburgh h. 14 May 1864
w. 6 Jun 1889
Margaret 1812 unmarried . Warrensburgh d. 29 Aug 1849
Alexander 1814 unmarried . Henry Co.,
d. after 1885
1817 unmarried . Warrensburgh d. 9 Apr 1847
John 1818 unmarried . Warrensburgh d. 29 Oct 1833
James 18 Apr 1820 Malvina B. Ellis 28 May 1857 Prophetstown,
h. 10 Feb 1895
w. 22 May 1914


The Children of James Stewart and Malvina B. Ellis in Prophetstown, Illinois

Name Born Married Date Residence Died
Henry Orville 29 Apr 1858 . . Prophetstown d.
Charles 1 Oct 1862 . . Prophetstown d.
Freddie 25 Jul 1865 . . Prophetstown d.


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