Here are some Pettigrew stories
accounts over the years:


Reader Feedback – Pettigrew, An Alternative Derivation

is an alternative alternative derivation for the name Pettigrew, that
is derived from pie de grue, meaning “crane’s
foot” (i.e. one with long legs).  It
may not look like Pettigrew at first – until you hear it
pronounced.  Then
it’s a dead ringer.

This alternative theory doesn’t require one to
explain why the “it” was inverted to “ti”, and it explains
why many early versions of the name were spelled with a “d.”

It would be great if you guys at least put the
alternative theory on your page.  If
Pettigrew truly means small growth, then so be it.   But if it doesn’t, it’s a
little bit
of humiliating etymology.

David B.
Pettigrew (

The Pettigrews and the Hamiltons

have often been linked to or named in conjunction with the Hamiltons,
Anglo-Norman family who became major landowners in Lanarkshire.  Perhaps a Pettigrew ancestor arrived in
Lanarkshire from England as a follower of the Hamiltons.
There certainly was a connection in
subsequent centuries.

  • Thomas
    Pettigrew, the
    senior Scottish herald, married Katherine Hamilton, who was the sister
    Patrick Hamilton, the first Scottish Protestant martyr (burnt at the
    stake in
    St. Andrews in 1528). Katherine and Patrick were niece and nephew of
    the Earl
    of Arran and great grandchildren of King James II.
  • One
    of the main ‘planters’ who brought
    Scottish settlers across to county. Down in the early 1600’s was a
    Hamilton from Ayrshire.  He acquired land
    at Killyleagh where Pettigrew families were to settle.
  • In 1655 Thomas Pettigrew was recorded in the
    Register of the Great Seal in 1655 as a portioner (i.e. small
    landowner) in
    Shettleston on land owned by James Hamilton of


The Pettigrews of Dyesholm and Malcolmwood

aged 33, left his cottage at Dyesholm one morning in January 1800
to marry
Jane Pollock, aged just 17.  It was a
later William Pettigrew, his grandson, who moved his family up the hill
from Dyesholm in
1860 to the family farm at Malcolmwood above the Calder river.  He
had married
Betsie Imrie on Christmas Eve 1858 at Auchterarder in Perthshire where
she had
been born out of wedlock.  Their marriage
was to produce seven sons and five daughters.

1865 Jane Pettigrew wrote a poem about the beauty of this area which
began as

Dyesholm, sweet
Thy lowery haunts I love to roam,
Thy woods, thy glens, thy mossy
Sweet Dyesholm I love thee well.”

only one of William’s sons,
John, stayed at home.  William departed for
America, Robert and Andrew for Australia, and Alex, Jimmy and Dick for
New Zealand.


and Pettycrews in Ireland

Pettycrews were recorded in Ireland in the mid-18th century:


Hugh Pettycrew Belfast 1742 Belfast merchant who died that
John Pettycrew Co. Down 1760’s innkeeper in Ballynahinch
John Pettycrew Belfast 1765 Belfast linen draper who died
that year
Richard Pettycrew Co. Down 1770 horse breeder in Ballyallely
Robert Pettycrew Co. Down 1773 flax mill owner in Gransha
James Pettycrew Co. Down 1779 breeched maker in Drumalig,
accused of murder

was a tenant on land near Lisburn in county Down in the late 18th
century.  He died in 1806.
His eldest son Joseph emigrated to America in

Petticrew family were
long-term farmers in Boardmills, county Down.
Their first may have been Robert Petticrew, born in 1777,
Elizabeth Wilson in 1803, and died in 1849.
Joan Petticrew of this family has been its historian.

Petticrews have been optometrists in Belfast
since 1887, one of the longest-established family practices in the UK.


James Pettigrew
and the Indians

James Pettigrew bought a farm in what was known as the flat section of
Abbeville district on the Little river in South Carolina.
But an outbreak among the Cherokee Indians three
years later forced all those who had settled there to abandon their
and seek safety in the Huguenot fort of James Noble.

At that time James Pettigrew had become very
religious and this may have saved him and his family from Indian attack.  He was so strict in his observance of the
Sabbath that he allowed no cooking to be done on that day.
One Sunday his family averted being massacred
along with all the other inhabitants of the village. The
story goes that the Indians, upon seeing
no smoke coming from his chimney, presumed the home to be unoccupied.


William Pettigrew’s Family

William Pettigrew, the son of James
Pettigrew in South Carolina, gave the following account of his family
around the year 1800.

“As you wish to know something of the
origin of your family I will give you as good an account as I

My great
grandfather left France for the sake of his religion in the time of
King Louis
XIV and was an officer in Cromwell’s Army.
He had two sons, John and James.

As to John, we have very little account
given of him.  James married Martha
Moore, a Scottish lady.  He settled in
Ireland and was an officer in King William’s army at the Battle of the Boyne in
1690.  After the peace he was given a tract
of land
of 300 acres in county Tyrone
what was called the Blackwater where he lived and died.
He had seven sons and two daughters.

James, my
father, had a classical education, but never went to college.  In his 18th or 19th year he married Mary
Cochran, the daughter of Captain George Cochran who lived at a place
called the
Grange.  After having four children, he left all of
his friends
and came to America in November 1741.  He
landed at New Castle.

My father became acquainted with Dr. Franklin who wished
him to study physic which he declined.
He got a tract of 300 acres on March Creek in Pennsylvania where
lived until it was broken up by the war in 1755.  Shortly after
defeat he sold his land
for 80
pounds and removed into Virginia and Lunenburg Old Court House, renting
land.  There I was
born in

After staying there three or four years we removed to
Granville county in
North Carolina where he bought 300 acres of land.  Then,
hearing a good account of Long Cane, my
father sold out and set out in October 1768 for South Carolina where we
landed after some
three weeks traveling.”


James Pettigru’s Epitaph

tombstone of James
Louis Petigru bore an epitaph so impressive that it was said that
Woodrow Wilson, attending the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, requested
the epitaph be sent to him.  The simple
marble headstone had the following words:

at Abbeville, May 10, 1789,
died at Charleston, March 9th, 1863.
Jurist, orator, statesman, patriot.

times will hardly know how great a life this simple stone
commemorates.  The tradition of his
eloquence, his wisdom and his wit may fade; but he lived
for ends more durable than fame.  His
eloquence was the protection of the poor and wronged.
His learning illuminated the principles of law.

the admiration of his peers, in the
respect of his people, in the affection of his family, his was the
place.  The just mead of his kindness and
forbearance, his dignity and simplicity, his brilliant genius and his

by opinion, unseduced
by flattery, undismayed by disaster, he confronted life with antique
and death with Christian hope. 

In the
great Civil War he withstood his people for his country.
But his people did homage to the man who held
his conscience higher than their praise.
And his country heaped her honors on the living, his own
righteous self
respect sufficed alike for motive and reward.

Nothing is here for tears, nothing to wail or knock
the breast, nothing
but well and fair, and what may quiet us in a life so noble.”


The Pettigrews of Fayetteville, Arkansas

came from North Carolina, by way of Georgia, Kentucky, and Missouri, to
Arkansas in 1825 where he settled with his wife Sarah just outside
Fayetteville.  He got active in politics
was elected to the Arkansas Legislature in 1840.  He
found there a friend and ally in the
lawyer William Reagan who was to be a mentor for his son James.

James Pettigrew studied law under Reagan and
became his law partner.  He also married
Reagan’s eldest daughter Allie and began to dabble in politics.  In 1859 he was the sheriff for Washington
county and he started a pro-Confederate newspaper The
with the politician Elias Boudinot.

With the outbreak of hostilities in 1861
Pettigrew enlisted in Company K of the Confederate army and ended the
war as
Colonel.  Arkansas saw much of the
fighting during the war, including the Battle of Prairie Grove
in 1862.  Allie wrote regularly to her
husband during the war years.  Her
letters, which have been preserved, talked about the lack of food and
on the home front, the burning of homes, and Federal foraging.

When the war was over Pettigrew and Reagan returned
to their Fayetteville law practice.  His
wife Allie died of smallpox in 1871.  He
survived, married another of Reagan’s daughters, and was elected mayor
Fayetteville.  In 1875 he started another
newspaper in Fayetteville, The Arkansas

Pettigrew died in a hotel in Waco, Texas in 1886.  A
coroner’s inquest listed the cause of death
as alcohol poisoning, although obituaries in the local papers reported
that he
died of a fever.  His body was shipped
back to Fayetteville to be buried in Evergreen cemetery.

Return to Pettigrew Main Page

Leave a Reply