One of our distant McCrillis cousins emailed me this week with additional information on our McCrillis ancestors. His email follows:
Hi folks. My name is Maury McCrillis. I'm the last of the Scots Gaelic speaking McCrillises and a direct descendent of Robert, our ancestor who served in the Revolution. My great uncle Herbert O. McCrillis wrote the seminal genealogy of the McCrillis families in America, an early copy of which I still make reference to for those interested in our early history. I'm happy to report that your information about Robert is spot-on accurate. Robert's father, as you say, was Daniel. Daniel's two other brothers were John and David. Our original progenitor, their father, was also named John. The original John came from Aghadowey (pronounced AHK-ah-doo-ee), having relocated from Scotland, likley Dumbartonshire, in or around 1690 following a Covenanter defeat at the Battle of Bothwell Bridge. He and the sons arrived at Nodle Island, Boston, in 1726 and about 20 years later build what is the original homestead, which still stands on McCrillis Road in Nottingham, NH. Anyone interested in more details about our early history can contact me at email@example.com.
Le Dùrachdan, Muiris (Maury)
I've written to Maury McCrillis asking for more information on our McCrillis ancestors and will pass the information along when it arrives.
In Maury's email he mentioned "a Covenanter defeat at the Battle of Bothwell Bridge.." I did a bit of research on the Battle of Bothwell Bridge and will share in today's post.
We begin with a Relationship Chart so you can see how we are related to John McCrillis.
John McCrillis (1675 - 1743)
is your 7th great grandfather
Son of John
Son of Daniel
Son of Robert
Son of John Kenney
Daughter of Joseph E.
Daughter of Isabella Denora
Daughter of Vesta Althea
Violet married Walter Mattson
Luella, Linda, John and Marvin
One interesting side note, my research shows that our 7th Great Grandfather, John was born in Londonderry, Ireland. The email above clearly states that he was born a Scotsman and possibly a Covenanter. Regardless, it is clear that the McCrillis family came from Scotland to Ireland around 1690 and then to Boston in 1726.
Simply stated, the Covenanters were those people in Scotland who signed the National Covenant in 1638. They signed this Covenant to confirm their opposition to the interference by the Stuart kings in the affairs of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland.
The Stuart kings harboured the belief of the Divine Right of the Monarch. Not only did they believe that God wished them to be the infallible rulers of their kingdom - they also believed that they were the spiritual heads of the Church of Scotland. This latter belief could not be accepted by the Scots. No man, not even a king, could be spiritual head of their church. Only Jesus Christ could be spiritual head of a Christian church.
This was the nub of the entire Covenanting struggle. The Scots were, and would have been, loyal to the Stuart dynasty but for that one sticking point, and from 1638, when the Covenant was signed, until the Glorious Revolution - when Prince William of Orange made a bloodless invasion of Great Britain in 1688 - a great deal of suffering, torture, imprisonment, transportation and executions would ensue.
King Charles I had introduced the Book of Common Prayer to Scotland in 1637 to the fury and resentment of the populace. He declared that opposition to the new liturgy would be treason, and thus came about the Covenant.
There followed a period of very severe repression. Ministers with Covenanting sympathies were "outed" from their churches by the authorities, and had to leave their parishes. Many continued to preach at "conventicles" in the open air or in barns and houses. This became an offence punishable by death. Citizens who did not attend their local churches (which were now in the charge of Episcopalian "curates") could be heavily fined, and such offenders were regarded as rebels, who could be questioned, even under torture. They could be asked to take various oaths, which not only declared loyalty to the king, but also to accept his as head of the church. Failure to take such an oath could result in summary execution by the muskets of the dragoons, who were scouring the districts looking for rebels.
The persecutions became more frequent and cruel on the Restoration of Charles II in 1660. As time went on more and more ordinary folk became involved, and skirmishes and battles took place against Government troops. In 1678 the Government raised an army of 6,000 Highlanders, who had no love for the Presbyterian lowlanders. This army swept through the west and south of Scotland, looting and plundering. They remained for many years, quartering themselves on the already impoverished Covenanters
Taken from http://www.covenanter.org.uk)
The Battle of Bothwell Bridge. Sunday 22, June 1679.
At the close of the half-hour, or, as some reports say, before it, the royal troops opened fire upon the bridge. They had planted three cannon behind a parapet that had been thrown up during the cessation from fighting, but their firing was too high, and went over the heads of the Covenanters, who, with their one piece, replied so effectively that they killed several of the Royalists and drove them from their guns. David Leslie shouted after them as they fled, "Would they fleg for country fellows?" but still they ran; and the cannon would have been taken had not the barricade on the bridge barred the way for bringing them over.
New troops were brought up and renewed the attack, but still without success--the three hundred bravely defended the bridge. For three hours they stood unflinchingly. The reinforcements they sent for to Hamilton Moor never arrived; their ammunition ran short, and messengers were despatched for more, when the answer came that there was none to spare, and that they must retire to the main body on the moor. "With sore hearts" they withdrew, for they felt that the bridge was everything, although Hamilton believed it was wasting time to defend it, and that the best course would be to let the enemy form on its south side, and then drive them into the Clyde.
They fell back in good order, and the royal troops at once crossed the bridge and formed upon the moor. When Rathillet and his brave companions retired to the main body he found them, he says, well drawn up, and very hearty, and all ready to march down upon the enemy. For the moment their divisions had ceased, "and every one seemed to encourage the other." Wyck's picture of the battle presents them as drawn up in eleven different squares, with six standards, two detachments of horse, one cannon, and a body of skirmishers in front. All appeared in a measure prepared, as they assured Hackston, for a battle "with hand strokes," when, just as they had begun to advance, a cry got up, which ran from company to company, that their leaders, who seem largely to have been friends of Welch, had disappeared.
To some extent the report was true, for Paton and Cleland were then doing their best to find officers to take their place. But there was no time to reason, for while the cry was running through the army, the horse, under Weir of Greenridge, made a movement of their own from the centre to the front of the left wing. The officer in command ordered them out of the way, but they cried out that they would not, as they had been placed where they had been to be cut off, and then, as if struck with some sudden madness of fear, they wheeled about, 140 horse, dashed through the left wing, broke it in pieces, and carried it away in their flight.
At that moment the cannon of the Royalists began to play, and their line made an advance, but there was no fighting; only 15 men were slain on the field of battle. The panic on the left wing spread to the right, and it speedily fled in like manner, Sir Robert Hamilton among the foremost, "leaving the world to debate," says one who was there, "whether he acted most like a traitor, coward, or fool." The royal troops, that stood in awe so long as there was any opposition, at once advanced when they saw their opponents flee without fighting, and eagerly gave chase, and slew nearly 400 of the fugitives as they fled before them. No quarter seems to have been given, save to 1200 who surrendered in a body and who were later imprisoned in Greyfriars' Churchyard.From The Martyr Graves of Scotland by J. H. Thomson, 1875. [adapted]