Mary Grieve's Forebears

All this information comes with my grateful thanks from my recently discovered cousins Carolyn Grieve, from the USA, and Andrew Grieve, from Scotland.

Mary's father was
John Grieve

John Grieve, was born in May 1747 in Selcoth, Moffat.

On 3rd July 1768, two months after his 21st birthday, John took the tenancy (or tack, as it was called) of Macma (Mackmaw) Farm, at a rent of 180 per annum. This was an extremely high rent in those days, such as would normally have been paid by a wealthy tenant. It may well be that his namesake - his grandfather, John Grieve, a prosperous farmer at Ericstane, near Moffat - was giving him financial backing.
At that same time, John joined with his father, Walter, and his Uncle Thomas, Walter's younger brother, in the tenancy of Waterhead and Dunscore Farm. John must have felt confident and secure.

These feelings did not last.

That winter, they suffered a great loss of sheep, and were given a reduction in rent of 15. The following summer, in August 1769, John's father, Walter, died.
John was 22.

The Sheriff Court Records show that John now began to face many financial difficulties. Shortly after his father's death, he was taken to court by a labourer from Moffat, one James Jackson, to whom his father had owed money. John was finally obliged to pay up.

It is likely that he had to give up the tenancy of Macma in 1771, but by the 27th of March 1775, he owed arrears of rent (27:5:11) to the landowner, the Marquis of Annandale. Later that year he moved to farm at Craighousesteads, but his financial worries continued to pursue him.

The owner of Craighousesteads, David Richardson, sued him for 6, a relatively small part of the rent for 1776.

By 1780 he had moved again - this time to Whitcastle. In September that year the Sheriff Court ordered him to pay 24:14:0 to a Thomas Wilson.
On that same day in court he was told to settle his debt with his Dumfries lawyer, Robert Ramsay. Poor John did not seem to be able to manage money as well as his forebears did.


In 1769, the year his father died, he married Mary Johnston at Kirkpatrick Juxta, Beattock.
The Kirk Session's Accounts Book notes that he had paid 2, the standard fee for a marriage proclamation in Kirkpatrick Juxta. The entry shows, however, that the Parish Clerk had allowed his concentration to wander. He wrote:
"Rec'd at the proclam: of John Greave & Thomas Chalmers - 2."
This appears in the Accounts Book at the very end of 1769. Too close to Hogmanay?


John and Mary had nine children:

Janet Grieve, baptised as Jennet on 16th December 1770.
Walter Grieve, born on 9th May 1773, later to become a Brigadier General in the United States Army.
Mary Grieve, my great great great grandmother, born in Hutton, Dumfriesshire, about 1776.
Robert Grieve, born in 1777.
Robert's son, James Johnston Grieve, became Member of Parliament for Greenock.
John Grieve, born about 1783. Grace Grieve, born in the 1780s, and emigrated to the United States.
George Wilson Grieve, who did not marry.
James Henry Grieve, born about 1795, and emigrated to the United States.
William Grieve, born in Moffat in 1795, and emigrated to the United States.

John's father was
Walter Grieve

Walter Grieve, was born on 2nd March 1721 in Eskdalemuir, Dumfriesshire.

Early in 1745, 23 year old Walter, from Ericstane Farm, near Moffat, and 19 year old Janet Murray had a natural child, a son they named Robert, who was baptized in Moffat on 25th January 1745.
As was the custom in those days, Walter, before the birth, and Janet, afterwards, were obliged to appear in church for three Sundays in succession to stand on the stool of repentance before the congregation, to be rebuked by the minister, and then absolved. The Kirk Session of Moffat was particularly strict.

1745 was an eventful year for Walter at Ericstane. In November, a company of Bonnie Prince Charlie's Highland army spent a night there, and "marched in good order into Moffat the next morning."

Two years later, Janet found she was pregnant again. Once more, they had to stand in the kirk and profess their repentance. By this time, however, Walter had acquired the tenancy of Selcoth Farm, some five miles up Moffat Water valley. Since he had all this distance to come to reach the church, he was allowed to appear on two Sundays only. He had to repent three times however. On 12th April 1747 he stood on the stool twice in one day - at the morning and at the afternoon service.

Perhaps having left Ericstane, where his father was tenant, and having become a tenant farmer in his own right, he was now able to support a wife. At any rate, he married Janet in Moffat on 28th December 1746. Their second son, John was born five months later.
For some reason, Janet did not appear before the congregation for quite some time after John's birth. She was allowed to wait until Christmas Day 1748, New Year's day 1749, and was finally absolved from the scandal on 8th January 1749.

Walter and Janet had at least five children:

Robert Grieve, their natural son, born about 1745 in Moffat. At the proclamation of his marriage to Janet Brown, he was described as a well carrier.
John Grieve, my great great great great grandfather, born in 1747. Like his younger siblings, he was born at Selcoth Farm, near Moffat.
William Grieve, born about 1749.
Margaret Grieve, born about 1753. She was baptised on 3rd March 1753 at Selcoth.
Helen Grieve, born about 1755. She too was baptised at Selcoth, on 3rd April 1755.

By 1757 they had probably moved to Kirkpatrick Juxta parish. The following year, Walter successfully sued one Samuel Marchbank of Kirkpatrick Juxta for 2:15/- due since 21st October 1757. He was not to know that in 1801 his grand-daughter, Mary Grieve (my gt gt gt grandmother), would marry Samuel Little, whose grandfather was a Samuel Little from Kirkpatrick Juxta. It may, of course, be pure coincidence.

In 1768, with his brother Thomas, he took the tenancy of Waterhead and Dunscore farm in Hutton Parish, Dumfriesshire, for nine years. In 1769, however, Walter died. He was 48.

Walter's father was
John Grieve

John Grieve was born about 1693. He was 16 when his father died in 1709. He prospered, and lived - remarkably, for a man born in the 17th century - to the considerable age of 84.

For many years he was tenant, with his partner Robert Moffat, of the 5\8 of Ericstane which belonged to the Marquis of Annandale. The Annandale Estate papers give details. Each farm is listed, with a note of its rent, stock, value, and what sort of tenants it has.
Written between 1718 and 1723:

ARICKSTONE: John Grieve and Robert Moffat, tack (= tenancy) from 1716 to 1737, paying 266:13:4 (Scots) and one long carriage (=they had to supply peat to the Marquis). Both are in good circumstances, especially John. They have 50 soums of sheep (= the amount of pasturage that would support a cow or proportionate number of sheep) worth 300, 2 horses (24), 9 acres of arable land (54), 10 dargues (= a day's work) of hay, plus the long carriage, valued at 4.

This made a potential total of 432 per annum.

On 29th May 1715, John married Margaret Martin in Moffat. Margaret was about five years older than John, having been born about 1688. She may have been related to James Martin, younger, in Crofthead, who was an Overseer of Poor in Moffat Water District.
(According to the List of Persons in Moffat in 1741, John, too, was an Overseer of Poor, but in Annandale.)

John and Margaret had at least six children. All of them, except Thomas, were born at Ericstane.:

Margaret Grieve (1719 - 25th October 1799)

Walter Grieve, my great great great great great grandfather.

Thomas Grieve, who was baptised in Moffat on 19th April 1724, and died in Moffat on 26th December 1811, aged 87. He was buried with his parents, his second wife, Janet, and their daughter Margaret.
On 8th December 1754, Thomas found himself in trouble with Moffat Kirk Session. He is told:

"That his behaviour to his wife in not living with her was what gave great offence in this parish. That the Session therefore judged it their indispensable duty to enquire into his behaviour. After this, Thomas being heard at length as to the causes and reasons why he had abstracted himself from her, and the Session having weighed and considered these, judged then no wise suficient to remove the scandal, and came to this resolution that while circumstances continue so unfavourable with respect to Thomas's character, they cannot consistently with their duty admit him to the table of the Lord."

By 17th June 1766, he was being rebuked again by the kirk - this time for ante-nuptial fornication with his father's servant Janet Henderson. He and Janet were exhorted to repentance, and dismissed. Their son, Walter, was born three months after the marriage.

1774 was a bad year for Thomas and Janet. Two of their children died within six months of each other - Robert, aged 11 months, and Thomas, aged 4.

Janet Grieve, baptised at Ericstane on 22nd October 1727.

Jean Grieve, baptised at Ericstane on 30th June 1731.
On 29th April 1753, Jean married Alexander Wightman, a tenant farmer at Recleuch. This may be the Alexander Wightman who was also a well-known Moffat clockmaker. He was also very successful at conducting roups (sales by public auction.)

Grizel(?) Grieve, baptised at Ericstane on 4th December 1734. She died in January 1790 at Nethermill, Moffat.

At the age of 65, John took a nine year lease of the neighbouring farm of Auldhousehill. He was too old to work the two farms himself, so made an arrangement with a Robert Murray, for Ericstane, and a David Tweedie, for Auldhousehill. The transfer entry is to be found in the Annandale Minute Book for 1759 - the Curator of the estate was now Lord Hopetoun. The landowner, the Marquis of Annandale, had become insane.

At the age of 75, on 3rd July 1768, John took a nine year lease of Mackmaw, in Hutton parish, for 180. That November, his wife, Margaret, died, aged 80. John died nine years later, at the age of 84, and was buried with Margaret in Moffat.

In the Old Kirkyard, the inscription reads:

To the Memory of John Grieve, late tenant in Arickstone, who died 15 October 1777 aged 84 years. Also in Memory of Margaret Martin, Spouse to John Grieve in Arickstone, who died 8 November 1768 aged 80 years. Also Thomas Grieve, their son, who died at Moffat 26 December 1811 aged 87 years. Also Janet Henderson, his spouse, who 31 December 1824, aged 92 years. Also Margaret Grieve, their daughter, who died 27 September 1848 aged 73 years.

John's father was
Walter Grieve

Walter Grieve, my great great great great great great great grandfather, was born in 1669.
In the Poll Tax Records for Ettrick, November 1694, a Walter Grieve was shown as a servant to Thomas Laidlaw at Redfordgreen. Walter, however, was no ordinary servant. He paid the same amount of tax - 28/- - as Thomas Laidlaw. He may have been more of a partner.

Also at Redfordgreen was a Mag (Margaret?) Laidlaw, a servant who paid tax of 14/-. Despite the surname, Mag cannot have been Thomas Laidlaw's daughter, as she would have been charged at only 6/- and would not have received wages.

Margaret Laidly (or Laidlaw?) was born about 1662. Walter and Margaret probably married at Ettrick in October 1693. They had the following children:

John Grieve, my great great great great great great grandfather, born about 1693.
Robert Grieve, whose wife, Janet Hendrie, died at Recleuch in May 1750, aged 58.
Walter Grieve, born about 1700. Walter married Janet Johnstone, from Corehead, a neighbouring farm to Ericstane.
Isobel Grieve. In 1722, Isobel and her husband, John Ewart, took the Test (Oath of Loyalty to the Crown.)

Their father, Walter Grieve, died on 28th February 1709, aged 40. He was buried in the Old Kirkyard, Holm Street, Moffat. At that time, Walter held the tenancy of Ericstane (then called Arickstone.)

It was in the Old Kirkyard that John Graham of Claverhouse ordered the inhabitants of Moffat to take the Test Oath in 1685. Claverhouse had been sent to Scotland in 1678 with orders to enforce conformity to the established church. It was through his relentless repression of the Covenanters that Claverhouse earned the name " Bluidy Clavers".

Walter's widow, Margaret, lived on until 1750. She died at the age of 88.

According to Moffat Kirk Session Records, a Robert Moffat (Margaret's son John's business partner?) gave 12/- for his proclamation of marriage with Margaret Laidlaw - on 18th September 1709 - six months after her husband's death!

There were complications. On 12th November 1710, Margaret denied a rumour of her fornication with Robert Moffat in Ericstone. She claimed that Robert had promised to marry her. Robert declared that she had freed him from this promise. Margaret denied this - she had never freed him, she never would.

Two months later, on 21st January 1711, Robert paid 2:2/- to stop his marriage to Margaret Laidla in Erickstone.

Walter's father may have been
Robert Grieve

Robert Grieve, born in the 1640s(?), was tenant at Midghoop, Ettrick.