Select Ramsey Miscellany
accounts over the years:
- Ramseys and Ramsays Today
- Dalhousie Castle
- The Ramsays of Auchterhouse
- The Ramsays of Kildalton
- Ramsey House in Knoxville
- A Ramsay Reunion in Finland
Ramseys and Ramsays Today
Dalhousie castle (sometimes called Dalworlsey)
in a strategic spot overlooking the Esk river some eight miles south of
Edinburgh. The castle has been there
since the 12th century. The drum tower,
the oldest part of the current structure, dates to the mid-15th
other parts arefrom the 17th century.
The walled garden was designed about 1800.
The English have had a
presence there. Edward I stayed there in
1298 on his way to fight and defeat the Scots at the Battle of Falkirk. Sir Alexander Ramsay withstood a six-month
siege by English forces led by Henry IV in 1400. And
Oliver Cromwell used the castle as a base for
his invasion of Scotland in the 1650’s.
The Ramsay family continued to retain
ownership of the castle until 1977. It
has functioned as a luxury hotel since 2003.
The Ramsays of Auchterhouse
of Auchterhouse in Forfarshire (now Angus) on the east coast date about
1250. Blind Harry wrote that “Sir John Ramsay of Austerhouse”
William Wallace when he landed at Montrose from Flanders in 1303, but
report may not in fact have been true.
Malcolm Ramsay was the hereditary sheriff of Forfarshire in the late
century. However, the male line died out
two generations later. The last of the
line Margaret married James Stewart, brother-in-law to James II, in 1466.
The Ramsays of
Ramsay – always known in the
family by the old Scots abbreviation of Kirsty – was a
redoubtable woman who had rescued the family finances when Robert,
her eldest brother and father of John, let slip from his loose grasp
malting and distilling business built up by his father, Thomas Ramsay,
and grandfather Ebenezer Morrison on the island of Islay in Argyllshire.
It was said that these Ramsays
were an independent lot, possessed of flaring though
not sulky tempers; proud of their lineage, descended from
Dalhousie and kin to the Stirlings, Morrisons, Erskines, Grahams,
earlier generations they
had suffered for the Reformed Church in Scotland and fought in the army
Covenant. Later in
1747 they had
followed the Rev. Ebenezer
Erskine in the
split of the
Secession Church and later still, in 1843, they were to walk out of the
Assembly of the Church of Scotland to assist in the founding of the
Ramsay, the youngest
son in a family of seven, was born in 1815,
months after the Battle of Waterloo. To the
end of his
days he retained a vivid memory of watching – as a small child from the
of one of the tall Stirling houses in Edinburgh – the
hanging in Scotland.
father having departed for Canada, he spent much of his youth with his
grandfather at Craigforth. He later
involved himself with family affairs at Islay.
Times were hard for his tenants and in 1862 he arranged for 400
to emigrate to Canada, in many cases paying for their steamship ticket.
One of his descendants later wrote:
does not record
landlord who, in addition to following the course of adventure of his
in the New World, actually crossed the Atlantic to learn for himself
of their progress. Happily
he found that they, as a result of their unfaltering faith, invincible
and unremitting toil, had built for themselves pleasant and comfortable
cleared much land which yielded bountiful crops, and were, on the
happy and contented people. The
warm welcome cordially given him by those who at one time were his
testifies to the ingratiating qualities which characterized this
Ramsey House in Knoxville
Ramsey House was built in 1797 by Knoxville’s first
builder, Thomas Hope, for Francis Alexander Ramsey. The home was
Tennessee pink marble and blue limestone. It was known at that time as
finest home in Tennessee.
The Ramsey family was one of the first families to
settle in the Knoxville area. Colonel Francis Ramsey was a
founding trustee of Blount College, now the University of Tennessee. He died in 1820. The
house passed to his eldest son William
who was the first elected mayor of Knoxville and the Secretary of State
for Tennessee. Another son, Dr. J.G.M.
an early history of the state The Annals
of Tennessee, took over the house in 1840.
At the time of the Civil War, the
Ramseys fled Tennessee for South Carolina and sold the house. Dr. Ramsey did return in the 1870’s and
regretted the house’s decline. However,
building did survive and has been restored to something like its
Reunion in Finland
1904 Sir William Ramsay
came to Stockholm from Glasgow in 1904 to receive the Nobel Prize for
chemistry. As he was walking through the
streets of Stockholm, he stopped at a window of a bookstore as the name
caught his eye. The book was entitled Fran
Barnaar till Silverhar
(from childhood years to silver hairs) and it was by Anders
Ramsay. He wrote to the author and subsequently came for a visit
with his wife
three years later.
Ramsay family mobilized all of its hospitability. A
member of the Swedish family stood waiting
in Stockholm. From that point onwards,
the plans to see a lot of Finland were instantaneously transformed into
to see a bit of Helsinki and a lot of the Ramsay family. A room
reserved but Sir William and his wife only had time to sleep and eat
there. The Finnish Ramsays were at their summer houses and the days
travelling from one to another.
Sir William and his wife departed, no fewer
than seventeen Ramsays stood on the docks waving goodbye.
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