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Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario
Kenneth Urquhart


KENNETH URQUHART is numbered among the old settlers of the County of Kent and comes of notable old North of Scotland ancestry, the family records being easily traced to Thomas Urquhart, the great-great-grandfather of Kenneth Urquhart, of Chatham.  This ancestor lived and died in Scotland, little dreaming that any of his kindred would later find a home across the stormy sea.  He had a son, John, the great-grandfather of our subject.  The grandfather, who bore the name of Kenneth, also passed his life, like his ancestors, in Scotland.

John Urquhart, son of Kenneth and father of our subject, was of a more adventurous spirit.  Born in Scotland in 1776, he suffered his son John to emigrate to Ontario in 1837, and in 1841 followed, dying in Chatham township in 1856, at the home of his son, Kenneth.  In 1806 he married Henrietta McKenzie, daughter of Kenneth McKenzie (whose wife’s name was Munro), granddaughter of John McKenzie, and great-granddaughter of Alexander McKenzie.  To this marriage were born the following children:  John, who settled in Chatham township in 1837; Alexander, deceased, who was a farmer in Dover township, County of Kent; Mary who resides in the County of Kent, advanced in years; Ann, deceased; Kenneth; and Janet, Mrs. Roderick Ross.  The mother of this family survived until 1864, dying at the home of her daughter, Janet.

Concerning the earlier ancestors of this family, the following appeared under the heading, “The Clan of Urquhart:”

Badge:  Lus Leth an-t-Sambraidh. – Wallflower, Gillyflower.

The following historical sketch of the Clan Urquhart, of which Mr. Kenneth Urguhart, of this city, is a member, will be of interest.

This clan most probably takes its name from the district so called in Inverness-shire.  There are several charters to persons of the name in Robertson’s Index.  Among them, one to Adam Urquhart, under David II (1340-70), of the lands of Fohestery, in Buchan, cum Fortyre:  one to Ada Urquhart, of Combathie, given by Hugh Ross; another to the same; and one charter under the same monarch “confirmans concessum per Willelmum Comitum de Ross,” of certain lands dated at the castle of the Lord of Urquhart, 4th July, 1342, and among the witnesses was Adam de Urquhart.

In 1449 a Thomas Urquhart was Bishop of Ross.  In 1463 a Helen Urquhart, daughter of Sir Thomas Urquhart, of Cromarty, by his wife a daughter of Lord Forbes, was married to James Baird, of the Baird family.

In some accounts of the battle of Pinkie, 1546, it is stated that there fell seven sons of Sir Thomas Urquhart, of Cromarty.  If so, their names are not given in the Douglas “Baronage”.

The last Dean of Rorss in 1585 was Alexander Urquhart.  He was deprived of his post in that year, and the rents bestowed upon Robert Munro, of Foulis’s son Hector. 

In the Roll of Landlords in 1587, John Urquhart of Craigfintry, and Culbo, appears as guardian to his grand nephew, afterward the eccentric and learned Sir Thomas Urquhart, of Cromarty.  John, called the Tutor of Cromarty, built Craiston Castle about the years 1604 and 1607.  He married the heiress of Seton of Meldrum.

Sir Thomas Urquhart, of Cromarty, if he did not reside in the parish of King Edward, seems to have taken an interest in it; for the inscription on the massive silver communion cups shows that they were a joint present from him and John Urquhart, of Craigfintry, the former name of Craigston.

In the army of Gustavus Adolphus, under date of 1626, we find Col. John Urquhart, of Cromarty, “a valiant soldier, expert commander and learned scholar.”  In 1649 the castle of Inverness was nearly demolished by Sir Thomas Urquhart, of Cromarty, and other cavaliers.  He was one of the most quaint writers of the seventeenth century, and is chiefly known as the translator of Rabelais.  He was knighted by Charles I at Whitehall and accompanied the Scottish army to Worcester in 1651.

In 178 the Laird of Cromarty and Alexander Urquhart, of Newhall, were Commissioners in Parliament.  In 1680 there were complaints laid before the council  against his kinsman, Urquhart of Meldrum, commanding a troop of the King’s Horse.

Mary, daughter and heiress of William Urquhart, of Craigston, married William Pollard, and their son Francis Pollard-Urquhart, now has Craigston Castle.

Captain Beauchamp Colclough-Urquhart, of Meldrum and Blyth, Aberdeenshire, is, we believe, present head of the family.

Kenneth Urquhart, who bears his grandfather’s name, was born in Lochbroom, Scotland, January 3rd, 1819, and came to Ontario in 1841.  For some years prior he has been clerking in a general store in Ullapool, Scotland and he embarked in the same line in Chatham, carrying it on for a period of thirty-eight years, since which time he has lived retired from activity.  For a number of years his home was located on Victoria Avenue, but in 1887 he erected his handsome residence on Lacroix Street, where he and his wife enjoy every comfort grateful to those in advancing years.  Mr. Urquhart is one of the capitalists of Chatham, a member of the Chatham Loan & Savings Association, and a stockholder in the Chatham Gas Company.  In political sentiment his is a Reformer.

In 1844 Mr. Urquhart was united in marriage with Miss Barbara McCaig, who was born in 1826 in Argyllshire, South End, Scotland, a daughter of John and Catherine (McNaughton) McCaig.  Mrs. Urquhart’s grandfathers, Neil McCaig and John McNaughton were both men of prominence.  It was in 1842 that John McCaig, with his wife and family settled in Harwich, County of Kent, and engaged in farming.  They had the following children:  Neil, Barbara, Margaret, John, Duncan, Catherine, Mary, Archiband and Catherine.  Both John and Duncan are farmers in Harwich Township.

Mr. & Mrs. Urquhart have devoted their lives to each other, no children having come to divide their interests.  At the age when many people are considered old both retain every faculty, and in appearance seem much younger than the family records tell.  They are valued members of the First Presbyterian Church.  They are among the most highly esteemed residents of their city.


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