When I first became interested in genealogy I knew very little, especially on my Sutherland side. A query I posted on Roots Web and a reply from Carol McIntosh Small opened the door to a flood of information, pictures and a number of third and fourth cousins. The cousins all wanted to know, “Who was your William Sutherland’s father?”
One cousin had heard stories that William Sutherland, born about 1750 in Scotland, had 13 children. They had only been able to find seven children from William and his wife Catherine Mackay. My William appeared to be his grandson, with his parents being another William Sutherland and Christina McLeod. He was thought to be one of six children. Then, we all received an email saying, “Guess what?” There was only one William Sutherland and he had two wives, hence the possible 13 children.
If one just looked at birth dates, William wouldn’t be expected to have fathered these 13 children. The first was born about 1779 and the last around 1827. In fact, William was around sixty when he married Christina McLeod and started his second family. He was almost eighty when his last child was born!
Unfortunately, before his second family was grown, William, old and frail was unable to work. His mind went and he couldn’t manage his affairs. He had been a stone mason and had worked the land in Inchverry as a tenant for more than 50 years. He was behind on his rent and was to be expelled from his land and removed from his cottage.
In April of 1833, his wife Christina, with the help of Rev H. McKenzie sent a petition for the consideration of the Duchess of Sutherland, pleading for time to catch up on the arrears. It stated, that if they were removed from their home, she and her young children would be forced to beg to survive.
William had always been an industrious and honest man who had never been in debt. Not only had he raised the seven children from his previous marriage, who were all educated and in various trades, but he had also raised many of his brothers and sisters after their parents died. They were now in other parts of the world and either could not help or were “forgetful of their duty”. Christina had expected to receive help from William’s brothers in Aberdeen and his son by his first marriage in England but no help arrived.
There was another petition, August 14, 1834, stating that their oldest son William, now 17, was finishing his apprenticeship as a shoemaker in Inverness. He would begin working in Tongue in the summer of 1836. As everyone needed shoes and he was a sober and hard working fellow, he would probably do well and would be able to support the family, manage the lot and pay the rent. In the meantime, they hoped the Duchess would allow them to remain on the land and to keep a little summer meal.
The Duchess responded August 20, 1834, “The petitioner’s arrears will be given up upon condition of the petitioner’s son assisting him in the future.” Their son William did looked after the family until he left for Canada in 1845. His younger brother Donald, then also a shoemaker was left in charge.
Further research by the cousins turned up two more children born to William and Christina. Although a William wasn’t a child of William and Catherine there was a John so the 13 children have become 15.
National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh: Sutherland Estate Papers, Dep. 313/2461 Papers found by Margaret Walker and passed on to the cousins..
Small, Carol A. The McIntoshes of Inchverry. Denfield, Ont.: Maple Hurst, 2008. Print.
Personal communications from Karen Sutherland Pahia, Nancy Sutherland Grieg, Carol McIntosh Small and Paul Worth.
WILLIAM SUTHERLAND was born abt. 1750 in Tongue, Sutherlandshire, Scotland. He married CATHERINE MACKAY. She was born abt. 1755. He then married CHRISTINA MCLEOD. She was born in Tongue, Sutherland, Scotland.
Children of WILLIAM SUTHERLAND and CATHERINE MACKAY are:
JOHN SUTHERLAND, b 1779
MARGARET SUTHERLAND, b. Abt. 1783; d. April 06, 1873, Tongue Sutherland Scotland.
ELIZABETH SUTHERLAND, b. Abt. 1789.
GEORGE SUTHERLAND, b. Abt. 1790; d. Bef. 1851.
HELEN SUTHERLAND, b. Abt. 1794; d. June 04, 1846, Mt. Thom, Pictou Co., Nova Scotia, Canada.
BARBARA SUTHERLAND, b. July 04, 1794.
GRACE ANN SUTHERLAND, b. January 05, 1800; d. September 12, 1889, Strangeways, Australia
Children of WILLIAM SUTHERLAND and CHRISTINA MCLEOD are:
CATHERINE SUTHERLAND, b. Abt. 1810, Tongue Sutherland Scotland: d. January 23, 1858, Rhitongue, Tongue, Sutherland, Scotland.
ISABELLA SUTHERLAND, b. Abt. 1814, Tongue Sutherland Scotland; d. June 22, 1897, Heddon Bush District, Southland, New Zealand.
WILLIAM SUTHERLAND, b. 1816, Sutherlandshire, Scotland; d. August 12, 1887, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
JOHAN SUTHERLAND, b. Abt. 1818; d. November 12, 1901.
HUGHINA SUTHERLAND, b. Abt. 1820; d. August 09, 1909, Inverpolly, Ross and Cromarty, Scotland.
JANET “JESSIE” SUTHERLAND, b. Abt. 1825, Tongue, Sutherland, Scotland: d. March 20, 1924, Ullapool, Lochbroom, Ross and Cromarty, Scotland.
DONALD SUTHERLAND, b. Abt. 1826, Brae Tongue Sutherland Scotland; d. May 04, 1895, Brae Tongue Sutherland Scotland.
ROBERTINA SUTHERLAND, b. Aft. 1827, Tongue Sutherland Scotland: d. June 25, 1917, Coldbackie, Tongue, Sutherland, Scotland.
His son William was my great great grandfather. A story about William’s wife Elizabeth Mowat, can be found at https://wordpress.com/post/genealogyensemble.com/3293
2 thoughts on “Thirteen Children”
Robertina Sutherland (born 1830) was my 3rd great-grandmother
Hi Michelle, It is good to hear from another cousin. Most of my contacts descend from Donald, Robertina’s older brother. Her father was really old when she was born. Have you found her birth certificate for 1830?