Donald Seaton in Pitdornie


James Stobie's map showing Over Pitdornie and Nether Pitdornie (Tombea)

Pitdornie is situated on the hillside south of the river Garry between Trean of Strathgarry and Ardtulichan. There were two settlements: Over Pitdornie; and Tombea (Tombeith) which was also called Nether Pitdornie. Ardtulichan was considered to be in Blair Atholl parish, but the two Pitdornies were in a detached part of Moulin parish. However, families moving to Pitdornie from a settlement in Blair Atholl parish or Dull parish would ignore this inconvenience and revert to their 'home parish' for marriages and baptisms, so entries can appear in several OPRs.

Pitdornie was a 2 merk land which belonged originally to the Stewarts of Tulloch (this is the Tulloch opposite Blair Castle and not the settlement of the same name in Glen Errochty). Donald Stewart, 5th of Tulloch, is thought to have died during the 1715 Jacobite Uprising. His eldest son, Alexander, was acknowledge as heir to the land in 1722 and promptly sold it to John, the Duke of Atholl the following year, reserving a life-rent for himself. In 1738 James, the Duke of Atholl signed a contract of wadsett with Alexander Stewart for the land of the two Pitdornies which seems to have been redeemed in 1757. So, before 1757, there appears to be no lists of tenants for Pitdornie.

The Factors of the Atholl Estates always kept detailed records and three tenants of Pitdornie in 1757 were Donald Robertson, Donald McLauchlan and Donald Seaton. The east part of Pitdornie was farmed by Donald Seaton while Donald McLauchlan was tenant of the west part, and Donald Robertson had the tack (lease) for Tombea. Donald Seaton married Janet Stewart, 10th July 1773 and the Banns of Marriage were called in the parishes of both Blair Atholl and Dull.

Dull OPR, 10th July 1773
Donald Seaton in this parish and Janet Stewart in that of Blair Athole gave up their names (in order to marriage).

The Blair Atholl OPR is more informative, recording that Donald Seaton lived in Pitdornie and that Janet Stewart came from Carrick, which is at the head of Glen Fincastle but virtually overlooks Pitdornie. It must be assumed that these are the same Donald Seaton in Pitdornie, and not Donald, son of Donald in Pitdornie, as there are no other likely marriages for a Donald Seaton in the Dull OPR at an earlier date. If this is so, then Donald would have been born around 1730 and married in his early 40s.

Donald Seaton and his wife appear to have had only one child. Of course there may have been others who were not baptised for one reason or another, but there is no evidence for any surviving children.

Dull OPR, 11th May 1774
John, son to Donald Seton and Janet Stewart in Pitdornie was baptised.

Donald Seaton probably died in 1785 as his name disappears from the tenant list, and would have been about 55 years old. Nothing more is known about him, except that he probably had a brother Alexander.

Alexander Seaton in the parish of Dull and Helen Stewart in the parish of Logierait married 27th July 1760, and a daughter was born to them at Dundavie, Glen Fincastle and baptised as Susan, 13th June 1763 (Dull OPR). Alexander Seaton and Helen Stewart moved to Toldunie in Glen Fender where, probably, their daughter Janet was born. However her name does not appear in any of the OPRs.

The Testament Dative and Inventory of Helen Stewart in Toldunie, registered at Dunkeld in 2nd January 1776, does not say exactly when Helen Stewart died, but she was already a widow. Her only daughter and presumably only surviving child, Janet, inherited 3 3s Sterling in the form of a bill (an IOU) payable by David Nocle (Nichol) senior in Methven which had belonged to her mother who, in turn, had inherited it from John Stewart, her brother germain (i.e. same parents), a soldier in Montgomery's Regiment.

This bill which should have been repaid in March 1758 was still unpaid and, with unpaid annual interest at 4%, was now worth 5 8s Sterling. Janet Seaton was still a minor, and the testament explains that the unpaid debt was being pursued by her Tutor and Administrator in Law, Donald Seaton in Pitdornie. The title of Tutor was given to the guardian of an orphan, who would normally be the orphan's uncle.


George Setton in Pitdornie

When Donald Seaton's name disappears from the tenant list and is replaced by that of G. Seaton (presumably George Seaton). George cannot be an unrecorded son from this marriage as he would be no more than 10 years old, and much too young to take on a tenancy. George Seaton held the tenancy until 1817, but his identity in uncertain. However, in 1797 there were two Seaton marriages which may hold a clue.

Donald Moon in Wester Balrobie and Cecil Setton in Pitdornie, Dull parish, married 7th February 1797 (Blair Atholl OPR)
George Stewart in Invervack and Mary Setton in Pirdornie, Dull parish, married 27th June 1797 (Blair Atholl OPR)

Firstly, there is no baptismal record for either girl in any of the OPRs for Blair Atholl, Dull, Moulin and Logierait. Secondly, both of these forenames are rarely used in Blair Atholl parish. Of the 2,300 female baptisms from 1718 up to this date, only 12 were given the name Mary. So, when a George Seaton, with connections to Blair Atholl, has a daughter baptised as Mary, outside of the parish and about 20 years before the date when Mary Setton in Pitdornie married, the number of coincidences leads to the conclusion that this is the same George Setton.

George Seton and Grizel Fergusson, both in Dull parish, married 15th March 1774 (Dull OPR), and there are two girls baptised in Edinburgh to parents of the same name: Mary, 7th November 1777 (Edinburgh OPR); and Anne, 13th February 1780 (Edinburgh OPR). So Mary would be nearly 20 if she married in 1797, which would fit.

14th February 1780 (Edinburgh OPR)
George Seton, chairman, (and) Grizel Fergusson his spouse, New Kirk parish, a daughter born 13th current named Anne. Baptised in church.

Sedan chairs were the 'taxis' of that period and were carried by two men. There was very little skill involved, just strength, so a strapping lad from the countryside would find this a worthwhile occupation to earn a bit of money. There are no further baptisms relating to the couple in Edinburgh after 1780 and George became tenant of Pitdornie in 1785, which once again fits.

Assuming that this is correct, then Cecil was another daughter of George Setton and Girzel (Grace) Fergusson, and probably was born in Edinburgh where such records were not kept as carefully as in the rural parishes. However, there is one piece of information which does not readily fit: the Minister of Moulin's census of 1820.

In this census Cecilia Seaton, wife of Donald Moon is described as being aged 52 years, and consequently would have been born around 1768, six years before George Seaton and Grizel Fergusson married. There is no indication that this George Setton had an illegitimate child at that date, and the only George Seaton who had an illegitimate child, did so 15 years earlier and married Janet Stewart in Lude. The Minister of Moulin's census was compiled over several years, but the ages of the Moon children are all fairly accurate. The Minister probably checked the childrens ages, as related by the parents, against the baptismal entries in the OPR, but of course he could not check Cecilia's age if she was born in Edinburgh. If she said that she was 52, he would have to take her word for it. In all probabilty she was born in 1775 or 1776.

As previously stated the Dull OPR provides no information about the origin of George Setton, merely that he was living in Dull parish at the time of his marriage. There are only three known George seatons in the area at this time. One married to Christian McMillan (Kirstian Millan) in Balmhuillin-beg of Glen Fincastle, one who was a servant to Lude and a third who was the son of Duncan Seaton and his first wife, Christian Stewart, in Coille Bhrochain. As an education guess the last of the three is the most likely. Thomas Robertson, his brother-in-law, was living at Trean of Strathgarry on one side of Pitdornie, while his brothers James and Peter lived at Ardtulichan, on the other side.


The Children of George Setton and Grizel Fergusson in Edinburgh and Pitdornie

Name Born Married Date Residence Died
Cecilia ~1775
Donald Moon 7 Feb 1797
Wester Balrobie h.
Mary 7 Nov 1777
George Stewart 27 Jun 1797
Easter Invervack h.
Anne 13 Feb 1780
. . Edinburgh d.


Donald Moon and Cecilia (Cicel) Seaton

Blair Atholl OPR, 7th February 1797
Donald Moon in Wester Balrobie and Cecil Setton in Pitdornie, Dull parish, (married)

Donald and his wife had six children, all of them born at Wester Balrobie, between 1897 and 1810

The Minister of Moulin carried out his own census of parishioners over a five year period from December 1820, and by that time the remaining members of the family were living in Orchil-more in Moulin parish.

Name Status Age Occupation Comment
Donald Moon head 58y farmer
Cecilia Moon wife 52y
Ann Moon dau 16y
Alexander Moon son 12y
Janet Moon dau 10y


The Children of Donald Moon and Cecilia (Cicel) Seaton in Orchil-more

Name Born Married Date Residence Died
Margaret 12 Dec 1797 Alexander Seaton ~1819 Orchil-more h. 5 Mar 1865
w. before 1826
Christian 25 Dec 1800 Alexander Logie 2 Dec 1826
Little Dunkeld
Errol? h.
w. 1868
John 17 Aug 1802 . . Wester Balrobie d.
Ann* 5 Apr 1807
. . Wester Balrobie d.
Alexander 7 Aug 1807 . . Wester Balrobie d.
Janet 6 Mar 1810 . . Wester Balrobie d.

* The baptismal record for Ann Moon was not entered into the OPR until after December 1810 and as it notes that she was born 5th and baptised 8th April, this cannot refer to 1807. Probably, she was born in 1805.


The Children of George Stewart and Mary Seaton in Easter Invervack

Name Born Married Date Residence Died
Ann 30 May 1798 . . Easter
John 30 Apr 1800 . . Easter
Angus 4 Mar 1802 . . Easter
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