Did the Hannay Surname Originate in Anwoth?

A new potential source for the Hannay surname has been noted within a medieval document. In The Hannays of Sorbie, 4th Edition (p. 5), Stewart Francis and Frank Lawler note that Robert de Veterponte gave the church and lands of Lesser Sowerby to the church in 1240.

Cardoness Castle in Kirkcudbrightshire

The document conveying this property is described in the POMS (Persons of Medieval Scotland) database as follows:

Robert de Vieuxpont [i.e., Veterponte; the spelling of the name varied as you will see throughout this article] has given, granted, and by his charter established, to Dryburgh Abbey, in free, pure and perpetual alms, to the increase of the church of Little Sorbie (WIG) which he bestowed on them, the land in the said villa [township or community, i.e. Sorbie village] which extends in length by the little cross which is situated in the western part of the church, towards the old road which descends from the land of William de Anewith from the east of the said villa.

Source: Document 3/590/16 (Dryb. Lib., no. 73) , https://www.poms.ac.uk/record/source/5498/ as viewed on April 15, 2020.

This description of the document thus indicates that William de Anewith was a neighbor to the east of Robert de Vieuxpont, and to the east of the community of Sorbie. This corresponds very well to the location of Sorbie Tower.

The original source of the record is in Latin, and is transcribed as follows:

Omnibus Christi fidelibus etc. Robertus de Veteri ponte salutem. Noverit universitas vestra me divine pietatis intuitu dedisse concessisse et hac presenti carta mea confirmasse Deo et ecclesie sancte Marie de Driburgh et fratribus meis canonicis ibidem Deo servientibus et servituris in liberam puram et perpetuam elemosinam ad incrementum ecclesie de minore Sowrby quam eisdem caritative contuli totam terram illam in dicta villa que se extendit in longum a parva cruce que sita est in occidentali parte ecclesie ville prenominate usque ad antiquum rivulum illum qui descendit de terra Willelmi de Anewith ex orientali parte predicte ville et que in latum se extendit a publica et antiqua via ex australi parte dicte ecclesie existente usque ad parvam crucem illam que sita est in aquilonali parte prefate ville sicut terram illam presatis canonicis coram probis hominibus perambulare et mensurare feci. Tenendam inperpetuum pro salute animarum patris mei et matris mee et pro salute anime mee et uxoris mee et pro salute omnium antecessorum et successorum meorum adeo libere quiete et plenarie et honorifice sicuti aliqua elemosina in toto regno Scotie ab aliquibus viris religiosis liberius quietius plenius et honorificentius potest teneri vel possideri. Ut hec autem mea donatio libera perpetuum robur firmitatis optineat presenti scripto sigillum meum apponi feci. Testibus. 

Confirmacio capituli Witernie super minore Sowrby in proprios usus.

Source: John Spottiswood, Liber S. Marie de Dryburgh, Registrum cartarum Abbacie Premonstratensis de Dryburgh (Bannatyne Club, Edinburgh, 1847) Document 73 p. 54, https://ia800207.us.archive.org/32/items/libersmariededry00bann/libersmariededry00bann.pdf as viewed on April 15, 2020.

I have no academic knowledge of medieval Latin personally, but have used online tools, primarily Google Translate to arrive at the following rough translation:

To all the faithful etc. from Robert De Vipont, greetings: Know that I have with divine piety conceded that the present charter confirms before God that, to the church of St. Mary, Driburgh, and my brothers canons there serving the same God, in a free and perpetual charitable gift for the growth of the Church of Lower Sowrby, I present the whole of that land in the said community, from a small cross, which was situated in the west part of the church of the aforesaid town, even to the ancient stream which came down out of the land of William of Anewith on the eastern side of the aforesaid town, to which it extends, and from the ancient road on the southern side of the church cross to the northern part of the aforementioned community. To be held in perpetuity, for the salvation of my soul and the souls of my father and mother and for the salvation of the souls of me and of my wife and for the salvation of all my predecessors and my successors, as freely and honorably as any religious alms can be throughout the whole kingdom of Scotland can be committed. This is my gift which I deliver with the assurance of my seal. Witnesses.

Confirmation of the capital Witernie (Whithorn) the lower Sowrby for their own use.

This seems to agree with the POMS characterization of the William de Anewith land being to the east of the town of Sorbie. Could Anewith be a predecessor to the Hannay surname?

Consider the attestation to the Ragman Rolls in 1296 by “Gilbert de Hannethe” and  “Gilbert de Annethe,” both of whom are described as “del counte Wyggeton” (the county of Wigtown).

Source: Instrumenta Publica Sive Processus Super Fidelitatibus Et Homagiis Scotorum Domino Regi Angliae Factus, A.D 1291-1296 (Bannatyne Club 1834) p.145-146, https://deriv.nls.uk/dcn23/7981/79811991.23.pdf, as viewed on April 15, 2020.  

These two names were written by clerks who were using French, the language of the Ragman Rolls and certain English legal proceedings of the time, hearkening back to the Norman roots of the English monarchy.

These clerks undoubtedly did their best to negotiate the mix of Gaelic, Brittonic, Germanic and Scandinavian spellings they encountered in much of Scotland. The spelling Anewith is not native to either French or Latin. In Latin, the letter W does not exist. It was first used by scribes writing old English in Latinized characters, replacing the runic letter Wynn (Ƿ) in old English.

Source: Latin Language (Lingua Latina),  https://www.omniglot.com/writing/latin2.htm as viewed on April 15, 2020.

In French, the letter W is used solely in loan words from other languages; it was not added to the French alphabet until the 19th century.

How Is W Pronounced in French? See https://www.thoughtco.com/french-pronunciation-of-w-1369605, as viewed on April 15, 2020.

The letter H in French is always silent.

Source: French Pronunciation of the Letter H, https://www.thoughtco.com/french-pronunciation-of-h-1369563, as viewed on April 15, 2020.

Given these circumstances, it is not hard to understand how Anewith might have been spelled without a W by the scribes, and the addition of an H would not change the sound. The scribes thus got the basic consonant sounds, other than the H and W, correct with their spelling of Anewith as Annethe and Hannethe.

Well prior to the time of the Ragman Rolls, the language of the common people in southwest Scotland was Gaelic.

For at least 600 years, between the tenth and the sixteenth centuries, Galloway was a Gaelic speaking land. Although both the beginning and the end of Gaelic Galloway are uncertain, that Gaelic was the language of the kingdom of Galloway established by Fergus in the early eleventh century, and was still the main language of the Douglas lordship of Galloway at its end in 1455, is indisputable.

Source: Alistair Livingstone,  GAELIC IN GALLOWAY: PART ONE – EXPANSION, Transactions of the Dumfriesshire and Galloway Natural History and Antiquities Society,  3rd Series Vol. 85 p. 85 (2011), http://www.dgnhas.org.uk/tdgnhas/3085.pdf as viewed on April 15, 2020.

This may help to explain further change to the name Anewith. In Gaelic, th is pronounced as an h is in English today.

Source: Mark Jackson, The Unofficial Guide to Pronouncing Gaelic, https://cuhwc.org.uk/page/unofficial-guide-pronouncing-gaelic as viewed on April 15, 2020. With both the W and TH sounds gone, Anewith becomes Aneih, pretty close to Hannay.

The name Anewith appears in several other medieval records. The only other person found who is identified with a surname of Anewith is a Henry de Anewith, who was a witness to the conveyance of an interest in animals stolen by a knight. The witness occurred at Westminister, and the theft occurred on land near Baulking, England.

Source: Berkeley Castle Muniments, John de Neubir and Sir Gerard de Insula, knight. Sat. after St. Mark, 14 Edw. I, BCM/B/1/2/5, April 27, 1286, http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/e10ec87e-a8b5-4d2a-af26-07b49ec7c1e4, as viewed on April 15, 2020.

There is a more telling reference to Anewith in Scottish records, however. In his Ph.D thesis, Richard Oram discusses one potential settlement of a Norman in Galloway, at Anwoth, as follows:

David, son of Terrus, is one of the more problematical members of the group. He appears to have been lord of part of Over Denton in Gilsland (42) in eastern Cumberland, quite removed from Uhtred’s area of knowledge in Allerdale. He received the lordship of Anwoth in the hilly district to the west of the river Fleet, the parish church of which he bestowed on his overlord’s favoured monastery of Holyrood. (43) Evidence for his activities in Galloway are otherwise slim; he appears on only one other occasion in surviving documents, as a witness to Uhtred’s grant of Lochkindeloch to Richard, son of Troite. (44) David’s son, Nicholas, was a witness to the same charter and itis probably his son, also Nicholas, who as lord of Cardoness, the caput of Anwoth, makes his appearance in possesion (sic) of the estate in the early 13th century. (45) Another descendant may have been a certain William de Anwoth who was holding land near Sorbie in Wigtownshire in c. 1220. (46)

Source: Richard D. Oram, The Lordship of Galloway, Ph. D. Thesis, St. University of St. Andrews, 1989, https://research-repository.st-andrews.ac.uk/bitstream/10023/2638/3/RDOramPhDThesis.pdf, as viewed on April 15, 2020.

Footnote 43 in this paragraph references a document in the Holyrood records. The transcribed Latin record spells the name Anwoth as Anewith.

Source: Lord Francis Egerton, Liber Cartarum Sancte Crucis. Munimenta Ecclesie Sancte Crucis de Edwinesburg, Document 49, p. 38 (Bannatyne Club,  1840), https://archive.org/details/libercartarumsan00bann/page/38/mode/2up/search/anewith, as viewed on April 15, 2020.

Note that I have not attempted a translation of the Latin in this document; however, the word Anewith is clear in the transcribed text.

Oram also cites in footnote 46 the document noted earlier which places William de Anewith’s land next to Robert Veteripont in Sorbie parish. Oram speculates that William may be a descendant of David son of Terrus, whose other descendant became Lord Cardoness at Anwoth. To date, I have found no indication that William was a descendant of David of Terrus. The Wigtownshire Charters, the source for David son of Terrus also having property in Gilsland, Cumberland, say the following about him:

Amongst these Anglo-Norman settlers was one David, son of Terri, who was lord of Over Denton in Gilsland. To him Roland (Lord of Galloway 1185-1200, ed.) must have granted Anwoth and what is now the Cardoness Estate. Indeed, his descendants or successors adopted the name de Cardones. David is the only settler who may be said definitely to have held by ward relief and marriage. His mote-The Green Tower mote on the Boreland farm-and perhaps his memorial cross an Anworth (sic) Kirk are still to be seen. At some unknown date before 1450 the estate passed to the McCullochs, who held by the same service as late as 1528. The fee stretched from the Fleet to Kirkmabreck. David, as patron of a moiety of Over Denton, granted that church to Lanercost and followed it with a gift of the church at Anwoth and the chapel of Culenes to Holyrood abbey.

Source: Vol. 51, 3rd Series Publications of the Scottish History Society, R.C. Reid ed., Wigtownshire Charters, xxiii (Edinburgh 1960), https://digital.nls.uk/scottish-history-society-publications/browse/archive/126819135#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=4&xywh=-854%2C0%2C3357%2C2755 as viewed on April 15, 2020.

The records for David, son of Terri, regarding the Gilsland property may be published now in Todd, John M., ed. (1997). The Lanercost Cartulary (Cumbria County Record Office MS DZ/1), Surtees Society. I have not been able to review them. Gilsland is very close to Hadrian’s Wall, near its midpoint.

Oram suggests the possibility that William de Anewith was a descendant of David, son of Terrus, an Anglo-Norman knight and the patriarch of the de Cardoness estate. In another paper, it will be shown that the largest group of Hannay related surnamed participants with a common ancestor in the middle ages appear to descend, on male lines, from men who had been in the British Isles and Ireland since the Neolithic era. There are many ways this could happen despite the origin of the family name coming from an Anewith family that was of Anglo-Norman background. Adoption of surnames when male ancestral lines end is not uncommon. Note also that McCulloughs were successors to the de Cardoness estate in the 14th century. The McCullough family has YDNA matches to apparent Hannay descendants.  These issues will be discussed further in a later paper. At this time, it is fair to say that the Anewith/Anwoth origin thesis is plausible and should be evaluated further.

The Chief, Professor David Hannay, comments:

Concerning Anwoth, the only connection I know of, is that my grandfather, Col. Frederick Rainsford-Hannay of Kirkdale, lived with my grandmother at Cardoness in the parish of Anwoth, after her only brother was killed in the first World War.

The description of Sowrby (which may or may not be our Sorbie) states that:-
“an ancient stream which comes down out of the land of William of Anewith on the eastern side of the aforesaid town”.

This strongly suggests that the land of William of Anewith was at least near to the Sowrby mentioned.  Anwoth is a former parish 30 miles from Sorbie. The old ruined church there is early 17th century and the nearby Cardoness castle is 15th century. I do not think there is a connection between Anwoth in Kircudbrightshire and Sorbie in Wigtownshire.

John Buchan and the Hannay Name

John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir (1875-1940) and Governor-General of Canada from 1935 to 1940, was a Scottish novelist and politician whose most famous creation was his hero Richard Hannay.  In fact, Robert Powell, who played the character in the 1980s television series based on Buchan’s books, was made an honorary member of the Clan Hannay Society.  Powell is also said to have worn on occasion a Clan Hannay tie.

How did Buchan come to choose Hannay as the name of his protagonist in The Thirty Nine Steps and its sequels?  Those who have read the book — or seen one of the film adaptations — will note that a good part of the action takes place firmly in Hannay country: Galloway. Was the author a friend of a Hannay? Had he visited the area as a young man?  The action of the book quickly moves from London to Scotland when Hannay needs to go into hiding after witnessing a murder.

“A train left St Pancras at 7.10, which would land me at any Galloway station in the late afternoon.”

The Thirty Nine Steps, Chapter II.

As Hannay works his way west from Dumfries to evade his pursuers, Buchan describes a natural landmark East of Newton Stewart.  He proceeds cross-country with the intention of doubling back by train to throw them off his trail.

“Over a long ridge of moorland I took my road, skirting the side of a high hill which the herd had called Cairnsmore of Fleet.”

The Thirty Nine Steps, Chapter III.

Jumping off the train somewhere between Cairnsmore and Dumfries, he stays at an isolated inn, where he asks the innkeeper to cycle to Newton Stewart to deliver a message.

“‘Now I’ll tell you what I want you to do,’ I said. Get on your bicycle and go off to Newton Stewart to the Chief Constable.”

The Thirty Nine Steps, Chapter III.

Almost all of the rail lines in Galloway have since been torn up, but at the time the book was written, the Portpatrick and Wigtownshire Joint Railway would have run between Newton Stewart and Castle Douglas, right along Hannay’s route.

Friends and Neighbours

So how does any of this information from the text of The Thirty Nine Steps shed light on Buchan’s decision to use the name “Richard Hannay”?  Furthermore, why did Buchan choose Galloway, of all places?  And why this particular part of Galloway?  Clan Chief Professor David Hannay states:

“John Buchan used to stay at Ardwall with the McCullochs, with whom he was friendly. At the time my grandparents were living in the next door property and it was said that John Buchan took the name of Richard Hannay from them.”

The Chief’s grandparents were Frederick and Dorothea Hannay, who lived at Cardoness.  As you can see from the map below, none of places listed above are very far from each other.  One can easily imagine Buchan becoming familiar with the surroundings — and the neighbours — during his visits with the McCullochs.  And the rest, as they say, is history!

George Washington Hanna

Pioneer and Town Father, 1817- 1890

George Washington Hanna was born in White County, Illinois, on November 20, 1817. He was the third son of George Hanna and Mary Melrose.

His most notable achievement was founding the city of Waterloo, Iowa.

George Hanna and his wife, Mary departed Illinois for Iowa in May of 1845.  Their transportation was two yoke of oxen and a wagon.  They also had a few head of cattle. On July 1, 1845, the party reached the east side of the Cedar river at a point which would later become the town of Waterloo.  When his young wife, Mary, saw the site selected she looked across the river to the bluffs sprinkled with oak and maple and made her prophetic statement to her two young sons, “This seems to be the river of life and over yonder is Canaan.  Let’s cross over.  Boys, if you live long enough, you will see a fine town grow up in these hills.”

Hanna plotted out land for his farm on one of hills where the city library stands today.  There were no settlers in the area for the next five years.  There were no roads, only uncleared trails.  At that time, they thought what would be Black Hawk county would only support one hundred people.  No one dreamed of Waterloo as it is today with a population of 67,934. 

In February 27, 1851, George Hanna was elected justice of the peace and performed the first marriage.  He donated his land to the city for the dam, mill and school house.  Much later his house and land were donated to build a library.

Mary Hanna, wife of George Hanna

George Hanna was one of the original settlers and founders of Waterloo.  He led other settlers Charles Mullan and John H Brooks to their new home in the west. In later years he lived in comparative retirement upon his farm above the city on the Cedar Falls road.  This was the perfect spot for the old pioneer to watch the city grow.

Hon. James R. Hanna, Educator Politician and Entrepreneur

Born in Genesco, Illinois on June 12, 1866, James Hanna was the son of James Steele Hanna and the brother of Frank Willard Hanna.  At nine years old his mother died and the family moved west to the cattle country of Western Nebraska.  At thirteen James R Hanna began earning his own living.  He was employed as a farm labor in Jackson township and worked in construction of the trans continental railroad in western Iowa.  At eighteen he secured a teaching certificate and taught for 4 years in clay and Jackson townships.

In 1890 James entered Highland Park College where he earned a B.A degree in 1892. He did special work in Harvard College in 1893 and received  a master of arts degree in 1899. He also taught Greek and Latin for a number of years. In 1905 he was made head of his of English department at Highland Park College and Dean of the liberal arts college.

In 1910 he entered the mayor’s race as a reform candidate and was elected for three consecutive terms for his honesty and integrity.  He built a new city hall, wrote a building code for the city and revised the structure of government to the commission form of government.  When he ran the first time he felt the city government was corrupt and took his cause to the people preaching honesty and fairness. The current mayor speaks of him often and considers him a role model. He also chaired the first city plan campaign.

After his run as major he became President of the Iowa Bank and was responsible for a lot of small business starting in Iowa.  His farm is where the current Adventureland is today in Altoona. He built an air strip where he used to fly dignitaries into Des Moines. Mr. Hanna distinguished himself for his stand against dishonesty and political affairs. The Honorable James R. Hanna died in 1931.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day 2018

Greetings Hanna/y/h/ey cousins, with a Happy St. Patrick’s Day to those of us who trace our ultimate Sorbie lineage back through an Irish branch.  Interested in finding out more about your Scots-Irish connections?  Here are some resources to get you started…

The Hannahs of Hannahfield

Miss Margaret Hudson originally produced this Historical Paper in 1974

It sounds like the title of an old Anna Neagle film or a novel by Thomas Armstrong. In fact, there was really only one Hannah of Hannahfield, and this paper is as much an attempt to show the fascination of tracing family history, as it is a story of the Hannahs of Dumfries. This, I hope, will encourage others to try to find out more about their own branch of the Clan. As you will know, in recent years there has been an increasing interest in genealogy and family history. My own interest only dates back a few years, when retirement allowed me time to take up research. I heard of our Clan Society from a Hannah cousin and he lent me a copy of the family tree, which had been prepared m support of a petition to the crown in 1870 by our great grandfather for the return of the property in Dumfries called Hannahfield.

Hannahfield Hall near Dumfries (Click to zoom)

I already knew of this and had spent a short holiday in SW Scotland, when I discovered the family grave in St Michael’s Dumfries and tried to locate Hannahfield in the area of the Kingholm. The first Hannah on the family tree was John, born in the 17th century. He had two sons, one of whom was baptised at Penningham in 1696. This is the first place mentioned and thereafter only places of burial are noted. These two sons each had among other children, a son and he two cousins Alexander and Robert who married sisters Rachel and Agnes Blount. Of the two families, Alexander’s at one time went to Huddersfield and Robert’s to Dumfries.

Robert and Agnes had a son, John born in 1761 who became owner of the Hannahfield estate [also known as Ladyfield West]. He died unmarried and it is his brother Alexander who is my ancestor. John was born at a time when economic conditions in Scotland were improving and the country was enjoying peace for the first time in centuries. Agriculture, industry and transport systems were developing. Literature, art and architecture were flourishing and many Scots made fortunes in the colonies. John was one such and owned an estate in Jamaica called Hannah’s Town. According to the book ‘Memories of St Michael’s’ he amassed a fortune in the West Indies. It has been suggested that he might be the originator of the Antigua farthing token coin in 1836 – attributed to Hannah & Coltart – but Antigua is a long way from Jamaica and there is nothing to suggest any links.

My great grandfather, another John, did succeed to the Jamaican property, but according to the petition, had to wait seven years before he received any rents. I do not know how long he enjoyed these rents, but through business reverses he lost the property, which (I quote) “was a further disappointment to the petitioner.” These reverses may have been in the woollen trade in Huddersfield or in Jamaica itself. In 1846, five years after my great grandfather inherited the Jamaican property, the Sugar Equalisation Act was passed in Britain as part of the Free Trade Policy, which eventually abolished all protective duties, which favoured the colonies. Rum, coffee and other exports were involved and in 1847 a commercial crisis in Britain also contributed to the ruin of the plantations. I do not know what type of plantation Hannah’s Town was; research continues.

We know more about the Dumfries property and its loss to the family. Part of it called Kingholm, was bought from the burgh in about 1827, at a time when the Council was in financial difficulties. Another part of the property had the attractive name of ‘Cherry Trees’ but its doubtless proud owner changed the name of the whole estate to Hannahfield. He apparently always said that he intended a Hannah to live there after his death and his only relative of that name was his cousin (a few times removed) – my great great grandfather. He did however, have a nephew, his sister’s son Thomas Wood, and it was he who inherited under Scottish Law when John died at the age of 80 without leaving a will. Thomas Wood had no children and at the death of his widow in 1868 the property passed to the Crown. Kingholm was the place where the traditional competition by the Trades for the ‘Silver’ Gun given by James VI was held and the burgh was anxious to regain this historic site. They petitioned Queen Victoria to re-grant them the land and this was in 1873. The Hannahfield monument in St Michael’s Churchyard described in the Memorials as a stately modern (i.e. in the 1870’s) monument in the Grecian style’, commemorates all these people, including John’s parents, Robert Hannah and Agnes Blount.

It is interesting to see that Thomas Wood’s brother James was buried at Kingston, Jamaica at the age of 19, and one surmises that he was there on his uncle’s business. Some of the Blount family, cousins of the Hannahs also died in Jamaica, according to the other monuments.

Now I turn to the Hannahs of Huddersfield. The first Hannah who appears to have lived in Huddersfield was another John, who also died unmarried. He was a son of Alexander Hannah and Rachel Blount and was born in 1758. We know nothing of why he went to Yorkshire but it would seem that he was joined by his nephew, yet another John, (the same John who was promised the Hannahfield property). The latter’s father, Alexander, was buried at Manchester and some of his family at Blackburn, so perhaps the two brothers both entered the textile trade – one in wool and the other in cotton. 11 A trade directory for 1845, when he was 48, shows John Hannah & Company, Woollen Cloth Manufacturers and Merchants, and the petition referred to him as head of one of the “oldest established firms in Huddersfield.” I have an album, which belonged to his wife Margaret, showing their address as Bay Hall,  Huddersfield. I imagined this to be a mill owner’s mansion and when I saw the name mentioned in a book about Huddersfield I wrote to the author to make enquiries, as I intended to visit the town. He replied that four or five families now live in the original house but it may have given its name to the surrounding district. In fact, when I did visit there I found it difficult to picture it as a complete house, as it appeared to be a conglomeration of odd buildings and a far cry from what I had imagined.

There used to be a painting of this mid-Victorian couple in my grandmother’s home in London – a forbidding – looking pair, especially John – or so they seemed to me as a child. These, together with a much more interesting picture of an earlier Hannah – a man with red hair and holding a document bearing a seal – had to be abandoned when I inherited them. It was wartime and we had other things on our minds. They would never have fitted into a modem flat anyway. My Hannah grandfather died long before I was born, so that I was never able to ask him – even had I been interested then – who the man was. I also own a silhouette, which could be of the same man. On the back is written Mr Hanay (one n and a y) but no trade label showing the artist. This started my interest in silhouettes and, from seeing others in an identical style, I am almost certain this was by William Bullock of Liverpool. To be more accurate, the artist William Alport, who rented a studio in Bullock’s Museum there. The subject could be one of the three Hannahs – all born around 1760 – if it was John Hannah of Hannahfield could he have been in Liverpool en-route from/to Jamaica? My guess is that it is of Alexander Hannah who lived either in Blackburn or Manchester.

Among other relics, there is a fob seal with the Hannay coat of arms and a set of coachman’s buttons bearing the crest. I believe these belonged to Alexander Hannah, born 1823, and that it was his wife who had them made. It was the thing in Victorian days to be able to produce a family coat of arms, but of course these Hannahs were not armigerous. In Margaret Hannah’s album there are some examples of fine penmanship of the 1830’s. I had owned it for a long time before I noticed the signature – J Craik on one page. This name seemed familiar and on rereading a book on Dumfries dated 1832, which belonged to her son Alexander, I found that a Mr Craik taught penmanship at the Academy. Perhaps this means that the Huddersfield Hannahs visited Dumfries. There are many place names in the album, which Margaret Hannah must have taken on her travels, such as Kendal, Matlock and Lytham, but not Dumfries. Such are the small clues, which tantalize us. Margaret Hannah must have been musical, or perhaps it was politeness, which made one contributor to the album write a typical Victorian poem “To Mrs Hannah,” containing the verse “Then raise the voice thou favour’d one And others please as thou pleas’d me Thy varied song when thou art gone Will still be sweet to my memory.”

I turn to the album again for sad news – the last entry is by Robert Bell, (perhaps the Reverend Bell) and dated 1868. It says “Succour and hope – words affectionately offered to Mr & Mrs John Hannah and their only son in their season of deep and long continued trial” and then follows some verses. As John died in 1869 it may refer to his illness. When I visited Huddersfield I was able to see a notebook kept by Isaac Hordem, cashier of the Ramsden Estate in the 19th century. A brief entry in 1877 said, “Hannah’s property purchased.” You will remember I mentioned the Blount family and part of their family tree was included in the Hannahfield petition to show that the petitioner was a cousin to John of Hannahfield on both male and female sides. Some place names on this intrigued me – particularly “Stay the Voyage.” Through our Clan Society I had obtained a copy of the Galloway family Place Names from its author Dr Russell, so I wrote to him asking if he knew of this place name. He did not, but wrote to the Dumfries Standard with my query. This produced someone who went to the paper’s offices with a Blount family tree about 3 to 4 feet square, which mentioned the places I had asked about – all except “Stay the Voyage.” As it gave his address I wrote to him and in our subsequent correspondence he had produced some interesting old papers belonging to the Blount family dating back to 1705. What interested me is that the family tree was also inscribed “Hannahfield Succession referred to in a petition to the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty’s Treasury in 1870.” Not only that, but the house in which he lives in Dumfries is called Hannahville and was built by John Hannah in, it is believed 1880. Here is yet another John Hannah who does not belong to my branch. Perhaps one of our members can claim him? I should be interested to know.

Courtesy of David Hannah

A Hannay recollection of Drummaston, Whithorn from 1896

Eighty Years Ago, “and on”

by Mrs Marjorie Hannay Meredith, Cones Cottage, 88 Old Woking Road, West Byfleet, Weybridge, Surrey – circa 1975

This is a little tribute to Galloway, my Grandmother’s home county – her Drumaston [Drummaston] home at Whithorn. I was born in Dover in February 1896 – a very unpromising baby! Even my loving Grandmother, (born Mary Hannay of Drumaston), who came from Newcastle-on-Tyne, to see her first grandchild, had grave doubts as to whether I should survive and tried to console my mother – “I don’t think you’ll rear this one, dear”, and the general opinion was that I resembled a tenpenny rabbit. Not to be defeated by any premature baby, as soon as she was able to travel, my mother (Mary Hannay-Thompson) took me off to the Old Home at Drumaston, and there the miracle happened.

The fine balmy air, “the good cow’s milk” and rest for my mother, did it aided by the constant care of two devoted Great-Aunts. “Aunt Miller” and “Aunt Minnoch” took over, and for two months we were nursed and cared for. My father, (John Hannay Thompson) wrote in his diary in May 1896. “Lell and Baby returned today, both looking so well and bonnie; I can hardly believe it”. In later years, we spent a summer holiday at Drumaston every second year, till I was twelve, and I remember much of those visits.

The house was a whitewashed typical Galloway farmhouse. It was T-shaped, with the traditional plain front, and in ‘tail’ were the children’s play room and stable. The three upstairs bedrooms facing the front had dormer windows, the first in the district. (People were afraid of windows being blown-in by storms, and they used to come to see “the upstairs room” and then went home and tried them out too!). (The house looks much the same now, with the addition of a handsome porch. The tail of the T is now a ‘milking parlour’ for Ayrshire Creameries). The garden is, as I remember it (but it felt bigger in those days!) and the big apple tree had to be cut down. It had got very old and infirm, but long ago the apples must have been very potent. I remember some boys coming to spend the day, and they gradually disappeared. I asked Aunt Minnoch where they were and she said “upstairs in the big spare room bed with sore tummies – too many green apples!” The paths in the garden are still bordered with yellow “butter and eggs” plants in the spring. Here my parents did their ‘courting’. The kitchen was the largest room in the house and a very busy place as there were many to cook for. In those days the farmhands had a midday meal in the kitchen, (the practice is now discontinued as wages are higher). The food was plentiful and simple – though I think I was especially favoured in the dining room with pink ‘Blanc Mange’ of which I had six helpings. This happened on my last, at twelve years old visit. “The Aunts” of course did all their own stillroom work, jam and bottling etc. They put pears down in brandy wine – we won’t ask how they got it! “Watch the wall my darling, as the gentlemen ride by!”

But it wasn’t all work! Neighbouring friends always came to see us, and be paid return visits – which were always for the whole day. We set out in the morning in the Victoria, arriving in time for home made wine for the ladies, and seed cake for me (which later I always detested), but there always seemed to be heaps of strawberries everywhere. I know nothing of the cold windy winters and to me it was always a land literally flowing with milk and honey, and the breezes were always balmy. There was a wagonette in which ‘The Uncles’ and other grown-ups went to dances, especially soon after the harvest (my mother could remember going to dances at Castlemilk (Wigg). The Dinnans shore near St Ninian’s Cave was rather far off, but ‘the horse’ took us and I can remember my mother and grandmother (and me) paddling together on the sandy beach. A fishing boat had come in, and a fisherwoman sold us mackerel, literally out of the sea. They had hardly been in her creel! She must have been glad to see us, as I never saw a soul in sight (where now in summer there is a Tourist invasion). The Doctor and the Minister were great friends and allies.

We went to ‘Worship’ in the Presbyterian Church. This is “Covenanters Country”. The Laird at Kirkdale would vote and worship with the Establishment, but the younger sons went their own ways and staunchly upheld the Kirk! My Grandmother and “The Aunts” were all expert needlewomen and I wonder now, how they saw to make the lovely things they did by lamplight. Everyone seemed to be able to play the upright piano, and I well remember my Grandmother playing and singing “The Bluebells of Scotland”. You could almost hear them tinkle! They did not sit up late and short ‘Worship’ closed the day. This was Whithorn as I knew it and when I visited it last year found little changed. The family (Lindsays) who bought Drumaston when the “Old Aunts” died (both nearing 100 years old) are still there, and Mr Lindsay is still farming and Mrs Lindsay sews! Their sons like the Hannays of previous generations went to Glasgow University, and the eldest son came back as a farmer. In the Aunts hey-day the boys had to go to Carlisle on ponies, and there join the train for Glasgow. They both took a bag of meal! The pattern of life is basically the same, but fewer young people remain. There are other worlds for them to conquer, as there always were – but Galloway is still there to revisit, and to keep memory green.

Excerpted from a 2003 Historical Paper by the Clan Hannay Society, with thanks to Mrs Marjorie Hannay Meredith and Clan Constable David Hannah

Hanna’s Town


Robert Hanna (1738-1786) was born in Ulster, Norther Ireland. After emigrating to America, he lived in York Co., Pennsylvania, in early colonial years.

He served for the 10th Regiment, Pensilvania in the American War of Independence (also known as the American Revolutionary War).

Robert Hanna founded Hanna’s Town, Westmoreland Co., Pennsylvania, in 1773. Hanna’s Town acted as the first Seat of Westmoreland County and hosted the first English courts west of the Allegheny Mountains. The town was an refuge for travelers, settlers, and those seeking justice and order in the often chaotic environment of the western Pennsylvania colonial frontier.

Hanna’s Town was an important center for the recruitment of militia for the western campaigns against the British in Detroit and their Indian allies. In one of the final battles of the war, Hanna’s Town was attacked and burned on July 13, 1782, by a raiding party of Indians and their British allies. The town never recovered, and the county seat was moved to Greensburg in 1786.

Hanna’s Tavern


Westmoreland County, PA, USA










Frank Willard Hanna, Educator, Engineer, Inventor

My grandfather died one year before I was born.  He was bigger than life.  My grandmother, Frances Hanna, told me all the stories.
Francis Willard Hanna was born on September 16, 1867 near Geneseo, Illinois.  He as the son of James Steele Hanna and Harriet Rouse Hanna.  He grew up on the trail to Nebraska.  When he was three years old the family went through Altoona, Iowa and stayed for a while.  There his mother died of pneumonia when Frank was three years old.  His father planted corn with an axe handle.

The Hannas traveled to Nebraska where the five Hanna children lived in a sod house.  At fourteen, Frank was purchasing cattle in the west and teaching in a county school house to make ends meet.

At twenty-six, he entered Highland Park College in Des Moines, Iowa.  He earned his degree while working his way through college.  After graduation, he stared as a professor at Highland Park College and became Dean of Engineering.  There was a saying at the college, “that anything done by a Hanna is done right.”  His two brothers also attended Highland Park.   In earned his BS in 1894, Masters in 1898 and CE in 1902.  He was a member of the faculty from 1894 to 1903.

During the summer of 1900, Frank W. Hanna traveled to Europe making studies of schools and engineering structure the Governor of Iowa,

In 1901, he married Frances Gore and started a job with the US government as a hydrographer in the US Geological Survey with headquarters in Chicago, Illinois.  He was responsible for stream gauging and power investigations in the upper Mississippi Valley and the Great Lakes region.

In 1905, he joined the Reclamation Service and worked respectively as designer, project supervisor and consultant engineer until 1721.  Projects included the Roosevelt Dam in Arizona, the Arrow Root Dam in Boise, Idaho and a dam in Hanna Wyoming.

During his stay with the Reclamation Service h also travelled back to Iowa, bought farm land in Ankeny, Iowa and designed the water tower for the small community.

Among the important works connected with his position with the Reclamation Service was designing of the Pardee Dam on the Mokelumnce River in California.  He was described by his colleague as being unassuming and soft spoken.  He had little to say about himself but a lot to say about engineering.
Hanna’s next project was the Soldier Settlement Investigation Northern Division.

Next came one of his biggest projects in 1921.  He was named General Manager of the Canada Land and Irrigation Company, co.L.T.D. In Medicine Hat, Alberta.   He was the administrative head of a sixteen million dollar irrigation company with 530,000 acres of Land and many head of cattle, horses, sheep and hogs.

In 1924, Hanna was hired by Mr. Davis as engineer of hydraulics and design for the Mokelumne Project.  He designed a big job in Alberta, Canada and designed the Pardee dam in California which is the tallest dam in the United States at the time.  Mr. Davis was very happy with his work or as one officer put it. “Hanna designed every project in the Mokelunme Project.”  Hanna is a technical genius as well as an administrative leader.  His technical knowledge was gained perhaps by intensive research while attending Des Moines University and later dean of the college.”

Mr. Davis appointed him general manager, East Bay Municipal Utility District in 1929.  He had 850 employees under him.  He headed a 13 million dollar concern doing a gross business of 4,700,000 per yearn selling water to nine counties of the East Bay Utility District.

In 1934, Frank Hanna retired in Ankeny, Iowa where he had begun his career in civil engineering.  He turned over the management of the farm to his son to begin writing a book called Designing of Dams by Hanna and Kennedy.  He was appointed to the corn alcohol board by Henry Wallace.

One evening, he received a call from Mr. Davis.  He had read the book on the design of dams.  The crew was having trouble setting the pilings for the Golden Gate Bridge and would Mr. Hanna come back to San Francisco.

Frank W. Hanna died suddenly at his home in Webster City in 1944.  At the end of his career he had a larger biography in Who’s Who in America than Franklin D. Roosevelt.

It was said that he was the one of seven men in the United States that understood and could keep up with Albert Einstein in Mathematics.

1900- Logical Methods in Arithmetic
1913- Tables for Reinforced Concrete
1913- Measurement for Irrigation Water
1913- Irrigation in Agriculture
1919- The Agricultural Value of Peat Soils
1931- The Design of Dams, co-author


Angle Multimeter
Irrigation Water Meter
Stop and Release Valves
Source:  Who’ s Who in America 1932-1933

John Hanna (1752-1832) – Pioneer and Patriot

John Hanna

Pioneer and Patriot

1752 to 1832


John Hanna was born in Derry County, Ireland in 1752 A.D. He was the son of Thomas Hanna born in 1720 in Lesararh Loch Ulster, Ireland.  John Hanna came to Boston in 1776 with two indentured servants when he was 18 years old.  His background was military, He had been a soldier in North Ireland fighting the English, and so he joined the militia with Captain John Hinkson’s Company and ended up in Northern Pennsylvania.  John was described as a man about 5 feet 8 inches in height, neatly compact with small feet, black hair, fair skin and blue eyes.

There was a fateful meeting between Henry Trout and John Hanna.  Henry was a French Huguenot with a wife and children.  He happened to meet John Hanna arriving at the foot of Chestnut Ridge on the northwest side of Jacobs Creek.  Henry came upon a small company of men, singled out a man by the name of John Hanna as one he could trust.  Trout told John the story of his predicament.   “I am a stranger in this land with one shilling in my pocket.”  Hanna’s reply was prompt, “I’d advise you to invest that shilling in whiskey and treat those men.”   The advice was carried out at once.  John Hanna said that he should meet the company at the next day in the morning, “You will learn something of my sympathy for you.”

The next morning, the company of men built a small cabin for Henry Trout and his wife and family.  Henry and John became fast friends and John married a Trout daughter, Elizabeth Miller, in 1789 at West Newton, Pennsylvania.  Hanna bought a 400 acre farm with Henry trout and had a very long-life and many children.  He sold horses to the continental Army, navigated a flat boat full of corn to New Orleans and made numerous trips across the trackless mountains for supplies.

John Hanna carried with him over the mountains a lot of Continental money found in an old trunk a century later.  The money included much of his earnings during the Revolutionary War. Some documents found in the trunk showed evidence that he had furnished supplies to the Revolutionary army.  These being withdraw drafts in his possession signed by the quarter master.  The Continental paper was the size of a business card.  The engraving was poorly executed, the denominations printed in the corner and the conditions of redemption in the middle.

John Hanna lived to be 80 years old.  One son, Robert Hanna was his seventh child, born in 1806.  He married Priscilla Hamilton who was a direct descendant of John Alden and Alexander Hamilton.  The Hannas were well thought of in the community and one of the important families in Pennsylvania.