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History of Ryegate, Vermont
Chapter III


INCHINNAN, formerly called Killinan, one of the smallest parishes in all Scotland, lies on the, south side of the Clyde, about mid-way between Glasgow and Greenock. It is separated by the river, which a little below becomes an estuary, from Old Kilpatrick, through which pass several lines of railway and the Forth and Clyde canal.

On the east a small river called the White Cart separates it from Renfrew, and a narrow burn divides Inchinnan from Houston and Erskine. Paisley, Dumbarton, Johnston, Kilmalcolm, and a number of smaller places from which the members of the company came, are from eight to fifteen miles distant in different directions, north and south of the Clyde.

Inchinnan seems to have been selected as the place of assembly because of its central location and accessibility. Although situated on the Clyde, in the near vicinity of some of the largest cities in Scotland, Inchinnan is a very retired place, and its population, which in 1770 was about 300, has hardly doubled in a century and a third. The land is low and very level and large portions are overflowed by unusually high tides. The climate, although damp, is very healthy, and the soil, a rich loam, is carefully cultivated, the annual rent averaging £2 sterling, or about $10 per acre. Dairying and the raising of horses are the principal pursuits; the chief crop is hay, with an average of four tons to the acre. Inchinnan has no manufactures and was never the scene of any important event; its only mention in the annals of Scotland is that it was the place where the unfortunate Earl of Argyle was taken prisoner in 1685.

It is a very ancient town, and the name implies "The Island of the Rivers." Its history is traced back to the 6th century, when the first Archdeacon of Glasgow established the Christian religion there, not far from the year 590 A. D.

In 1158, King Malcolm IV. granted the lands to the Stewart family. In 1511, one of the Stewart noblemen became the second Earl of Lennox and received a charter or grant of land, which included the parish oF Inchinnan. The title became extinct in 1672, and the lands reverted to the Crown in 1680. Charles II. granted the lands to his natural son, whom he made Duke of Lennox and Richmond, which by purchase became the property of the Blytheswood family in 1737. The present

Lord Blytheswood is Lord Lieutenant of the County of Renfrew, and is the owner of nearly all the parish of Inchinnan. Portions of the lands, as well as certain of Houston and Erskine, are the property of the Douglas family.

The parish church of Inchinnan has a very interesting history. The patronage was granted by King David I. to the Knights Templars, a military order, whose headquarters were at Jerusalem, and who were sometimes called the Red Cross Knights. This grant was made about 1153. This Order had a branch at Greenend, and owned large tracts of land. Their church was at Inchinnan; the Knights were buried under the church which was founded about 1100, and stood till 1828, when it was taken down. This Order took a prominent part in the Crusades, and its members became so wealthly and powerful that they excited the fear and envy of the King of France and the ecclesiastics of Rome, who united to suppress them and confiscate the Order. Their lands in Renfrewshire were given to the Knights of St. John, who were displaced in their turn by the Hospitallers, a Catholic order. These lands and religious titles were united by purchase and grant with the crown lands in the present Blytheswood family. This history is here given because nearly all the first settlers of Ryegate came from these parishes, thus held, and the narrative is taken from "The Church and Parish of Inchinnan," by Robert McClelland, and published in 1905. Mr. McClelland is the minister of the Parish of Inchinnan.

From the letters, recently discovered, which were written to James Whitelaw by his father in Scotland, it would seem that the project of forming a company for the purpose of purchasing and settling land in North America had been discussed during several years in different parishes of Renfrew and Lanark shires. It appears also that several meetings of the associates were held before any plan was decided upon and that they solicited advice from persons who had traveled in America. On the 1st of February, 1772, the first decisive step was taken, and at successive meetings the articles of association were considered and elaborated till they were reduced to writing, and at a meeting of the company held at Inchinnan, Feb. 5, 1773, they were approved and adopted.

The preamble to the regulations then and there agreed upon is as follows:

"Having some time ago formed ourselves into a society or copartner-ship for purchasing lands in any of His Majesty’s Dominions in America: That the major part of the Company shall direct where they can be got most commodious for the purposes after mentioned, and having each of us advanced certain sums of money toward carrying the intended plan into execution, and having had several meetings with each other there anent, it was unanimously condescended and agreed upon that the following rules and regulations shall be the stated fundamental rules and regulations of the said Company, or Society. Subject nevertheless to be altered or amended as circumstances may require, as shall be thought proper by two-third parts of the partners, which rules and regulations we the subscribers hereby bind and oblige ourselves, our heirs and successors to observe and inviolably perform to each other in all time coming."

The rules and regulations which follow are very formal, and fill fifteen closely written foolscap pages in the "Journal of the Proceedings of the Scotch American Company of Farmers." Any one who undertakes to follow their antique legal phraseology, the words and phrases which are now obsolete; its endless repetitions and involved style, will probably understand less of their meaning at the end than before he began. Their general tenor can be summed up in a few sentences.

After specifying the purposes of the organization, its officers and their respective duties, they proceed to declare that the joint stock of the Company consisted of 400 shares, whose value appears to be £2. 10s., sterling, each shareholder having one vote, and if the purchaser of £10 in stock, two votes. The funds of the Company were to be deposited in some bank in Glasgow, under the direction of the "Precess," (President) and Board of Managers. The Company was to send two men to America, who were called Commissioners, empowered to purchase a suitable tract of land, which they were to lay out in lots corresponding to the number of shares held in the company and the smallest sums paid. A map or plan of these lands was to be transmitted to the Company in Scotland. They were to lay out a portion of the tract as a town (i. e., village) divided into lots 40 x 100 feet, with sites for storehouses, markets, churches, schoolhouses, and other public buildings. All who took lots in the town site were to build houses upon them within ten years. The commissioners were empowered to clear lands and erect public and private buildings and provide accommodations for settlers, till they were able to build houses for themselves. They could clear a space on each lot and erect dwellings on them, these expenditures of the Company to be repaid before a deed was given.

Any of the Company who had been reduced to poverty by shipwreck or other calamity were to be aided from the general funds, till they could care for themselves. With practical good sense they provided for the settlement of difficulties, and regulated the financial concerns of the colony, and the form of government to be set up somewhere in the region known as North America. With true Scotch prudence they directed the settlers to conform their local government to the laws and customs of the province where they should settle.

It is to be observed that this was in no sense a religious colony; nothing in its regulations confined citizenship to the adherents of any sect or creed. With wisdom these projectors of a new commonwealth in America, in their deliberations upon the banks of the Clyde in far-off Scotland, left untouched and unmentioned all its domestic relations. They only contemplated the planting of a colony in America whose members should be supported by a common bond of inter-dependence and where provision was made for the unfortunate.

It is interesting to consider what changes time has wrought with these anticipations. The Scotch American Company long ago ceased to exist; the "city," so carefully laid out on "Fairview," has no existence now even on paper; all that was formally prescribed in these closely written pages long ago gave place to the customs of New England, but the spirit which animated the founders of the town in that old day is here still. All the changes of one hundred and thirty-five years have not materially altered the character of the town, and within the present year a well known clergyman declared at a public gathering that the only parts of Scotland he had ever visited were Ryegate and Barnet.

The commissioners selected were James Whitelaw of Whiteinch in the parish of Govan, and David Allan of Sandylands in the parish of Inchinnan. Mr. Whitelaw was then twenty-four years of age, was well educated and had acquired a thorough knowledge of the art of surveying. He became Surveyor-General of Vermont, and one of the best known men in New England. He wrote much and his style is a model of clearness and precision. From his journal and letters we have nearly all that is known concerning the early days in Ryegate.

David Allan was ten years older, arid appears to have been a man of excellent business judgment, sound sense and considerable experience in the valuation of lands. The journal of their travels in search of a suitable tract in which to settle a colony, is given in the following pages.

NOTE. The "Bond of Association for the Company" was signed by the following persons: William Houston, in Craigend; David Smith, farmer in New-mains; David Allan, farmer in Sandylands; William Hall, Freelands; William Blackwood, farmer in Boltone; John Young, servant to William Hall of Free-lands; Matthew Killock, in Old Mains; William Neilson, wright, in Gateside; John Hall, tenant in Barsale, Agnes Hall, in Barsale; Duncan McKeith, flaxdresser in Gateside, all in the Parish of Inchinnan; Donald McKenzie, James McCaie, Norman McDonald, Alexander McDonald, Donald Sutherland, John MeKey, James and Alexander McPherson, and Alexander Grant, quarriers; James Henderson, wright; John and Lewis McEwens, labourers; James Blackwood, smith; William Blackwood, smith; and William Blackwood, servant, with John Whitehill, all in Inchinnan, and Lewis McEwan, Innkeeper at Bridge of Inchinnan; Robert Semple, farmer, and Hugh and John Semple, residenters, both in Mossend in the parish of Kilbarchan; James Allison, servant to Lord Semple at Bishops-town; John Wilson, servant to William Craig, in Ditch; Jean Hall, tenant in Longhaugh; John Blair, servant to the said Hall; John Ritchie, smith in Longhaugh; William Craig, farmer in Ditch; Jean Napier, spouse, and Jean Bryden, daughter of David Bryden of Kilmaken, residing in Freelands; James Neilson in Calside; William Lang, farmer in Inglestone; John Hamilton, servant to Isabel Clark in Richiestone; William and James Kings, and James Glassford, farmers in Portoun; Alexander Jack, grieve to Lord Blantyre; William Graham, servant to William Glen in Ferry; Walter Alexander, farmer in Kiltoun; John Laird, cooper in Cartimpan; James Laird, in Cartimpan; William Clark, wright in Dryknows; Alexander Craig, servant to Rev. Walter Young, Minister of the Gospel at Erskine; John Waddel, mason in Slateford; Nicol Cowan, servant to Mr. David Bryden in Freeland; William Neilson and John Walker, farmers, and Hugh Gardner, smith, all in Glenshinnock; Archibald Taylor, cooper in Kilts; John Cooper, son of James Cooper, farmer in Milhill; Tohn Whitehill, smith in Erskine, and James Laird at Millbank, all in the Parish of Erskine; William Semple, farmer in Brickhouse; John and William Donalds, Agnes and Mary Burnside, residenters, and Robert Burnside, farmer, all in GavinSbUrn: John Donald in Laigh-Gavinsburn; James Donald of Burnbrae, and Robert Watson, mason, all in Kilpatrick Parish; Andrew Baird, merchant; John Tennant, maltman; John Gardner, mathematical instrument maker, and Robert Arthur, merchant, all in Glasgow; Alexander Symes, gardner, and William Dunn, residenter, both of North Kenmuir, in the Barony Parish of Glasgow; Thomas Campbell, workman; John Allen, weaver; Matthew McGown, merchant; Robert Blackwook, bleacher, and William Blair, weaver, in Paisley; William and Alexander MeKeys, quarriers at Stanley in the Parish of Paisley; William Tassey, farmer in Halehouse; John Graham, servant to James White; and Thomas Young, in Chappleshill, all in the Abbey Parish of Paisley; Robert Orr, farmer in Hardrigg, and John Wilson, farmer in Blackholm, both in the Parish of Kilmalcolm; John and Andrew Arthur, farmers in Boaghall; and John Brskine, farmer, in Raillie, all in the Parish of Kilallen, William Stewart, schoolmaster in Houston; Robert Brock and John Paterson, farmers at Barns of Clyde; Walter and Matthew Roben, farmers at Third-part-Miln; Alexander Paterson, farmer in Drumry; Joseph Edmond, miller at Wheatmiln; William Kerr at Militown; George and William Moriston, farmers in Kilbanie; Matthew White, farmer in Garneland; John Malcolm, farmer in Townhead, Drumrie; David Ferry, clothprinter at Dalquhurn; Walter McLea, residenter at White Crook; Angus McKellar, dykebuilder at New Kilpatrick; Thomas White, farmer at Whitehill in East Kilpatrick; John Cross, Senior, miller at Braediesholm Miln, and John Cross, Junior, at Braehead, both in Old Monklanci; Thomas Weatherspoon, farmer in Shirrel; William Russell, smith in Cornbrae; Michael Thompson, weaver in Haining; William Reid, residenter in Atherstone; John Selkirk, weaver in Brae; John Jack of Patpnswells; John Scot, bleacheI~ in Hillheadsholni; William Kirk, weaver there;. James Whitelaw, land surveyor in White Inch in the Parish of Govan; Peter Craig, farmer in Boghouse in Neilstone Parish; James Jackson, farmer in Eastwood Parish; Alexander Barnhill, brewer; James Watson, merchant; William Fulton, Alexander McPherson, merchants; John Wallace, grocer; John Menzier, bookbinder; Andrew Killock, cooper; Robert Nairn, writer; John Lang, brewer; Robert Lang, residenter, Alexander McLish, sailor, and Duncan Ritchie, porter, all in Port Glasgow; James Nicol, cooper in Greenock; John Dennie, maltman in the townend of Dumbarton; John Jarnison, farmer in Cloagh in the Parish of Inverkip; John McKenley, miller at Bonhill; John McKenley, farmer in Twomarkland of Bonhill; William Smith, smith at Cameron of Bonhill~ and McKenley at Miliburn of Bonhill.

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