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. –
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
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
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.