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Letter from JST to J W Kernohan

October 14, 1920

Dear Sir:-

Your letter of the 22nd September came to hand on yesterday. I was very
much interested in its contents.

Having carried the investigation as far as you have and agreeing with you
that something still may be discovered which will let in a flood of light
upon the data already obtained, I think it wise to continue the searching
as exhaustively as possible andmake me your final report not later than
the 15th of December.

I have a work on genealogy practically completed, which will contain
upward of five hundred pages, and I expect to have the data all brought
down to that date and any vital records thereafter will not be included,
and I wish to have the book published as soon as the data up to that date
can be properly incorporated. This will give you about six weeks from the
receipt of this letter, and I hope you will be able to quite completely
exhaust the searching during that time.

I think I can make use of some photographs which you sent. As I suggested
in a previous letter, I will appreciate it very much if you will write
out some kind of introductory article upon the Torrance family generally.
I have understood that originally the Torrances came from County
Stirlingshire in Scotland; that they fled that country on account of
religious persecutions, and went over to Ireland where freedom of
religious worship was permitted. Something also of the character of the
tenure under the land was held in those days would be of interest. It it
were possible to obtain one of the old indentures under which some of the
Torrances held their land, it would be most interesting and instructive.
If it is a fact that some of the lands now occupied by some of the
Torrances at Mayoughill has been held for several generations of the same
family, that would also be very interesting.

I would have been most pleased sand certainly have paid the cost thereof
if the family of Hugh,husband of Eleanor, could have been traced back to
Scotland, but it would seem from the paucity of records that such a tree
could not be constructed. There is at the present time a world of
Torrances in and about Edinburgh and in the Burns country. There is a
town named Torrance not far from Edinburgh, and there is a castle

In Fairbank's "Crests of Great Britain and Ireland", Plate 19, Crest 3,
and Plate 82, Crest 18, represent two Torrance coats of arms. On one
there are three boat oars and upon the other a bull's head, with the
motto "I saved the king".

The following quotation is from Burke's "Armory": "It is well known how
hard pressed Robert Bruce was by the English until after the death of his
terrible foe, Edward I, and the accession of the imbecile, Edward II, of
Caernam - afforded him an opportunity of rallying his adherents and
entering upon that career of success which resulted in the crowning glory
of Bannockburn, but previous to this, while wandering with a few
followers as a hunted fugitive on the islands in the Western portion of
Scotland, he on one occasion was pursued so closely that he would most
inevitably have been killed had it not been for the timely aid given by
two men of the name of Torrance, who by rowing him in their boat across a
firth, enabled him to escape the search of his enemies." The allusion to
this service is obvious both in the arms and motto.

I heard the tradition years ago that the coat of arms with the bull's
head was bestowed upon some Torrance who rescued the King from an attack
by an enraged bull.

The following is from Burke's "Visitation of Seats", Second Series, Vol.
2; "Torrance in the county of Lanark, the seat of Miss Stewart. Torrence
House is situated in the Parish of East Kilbride, ten miles distant from
Glasgow. There was on the estate a very ancient residence which was
reduced to ruins two hundred and fifty years ago, and of which nothing
now remains but the foundation." Close adjoining is an ancient holly tree
which covers an area of 30 feet in diameter and which has long survived
the mansion it was intended to adorn. The name Torrance is derived from
Tor a little hill or artificial mound of earth situated a quarter of a
mile from the house. It is a hundred yards around the base and 20 yards
of ascent. The area on the top is oval. The present mansion was build in
1605 when the estate belonged to the Hamilton cadets of the Duke's
family. It was originally a square twice of considerable height, and has
been made by the additions and improvements of the family of Stewart both
commodious and handsome. The situation is high and commands an extensive
and beautifully diversified prospect. The ancient portion of the house
stands on the center and there are two buildings on each side attached to
the central towers which gives an appearance of considerable extent. The
adjoining banks of the run Aildee contain a great variety of natural
beauty. Sixty years ago they were set out in serpentine walls which bring
into view their beautiful cascades, purling streams, rugged rocks and
distant landscapes. These walks are connected by a neat wooden bridge
thrown over the center. But the improvements in the estate of Torrance
have not been confined to the immediate vicinity of the mansion house and
the banks of the run. Improvements of a hundred years ago Col. Stewart
replanted extensively."

"From time immemorial the estate of Torrance belonged to an ancient
family which derived its name from the historical possessions. At length
the last Torrance of that ilk died without male heirs and his daughter
and heiress carried the estate to a branch of the ducal family of

"John Hamilton, fourth lord of ?? had a younger son - Thomas Hamilton of
Davugakr. He married a daughter of Douglas of Lochlenn, ancestor of the
Earl of Morton, by whom he had two sons, James, ancestor to the great and
wide spreading branch of Raploch, now represented by Baron Thomas, who by
marriage with the ancient family of Torrance of that ilk became
proprietor of this estate and founded the family of Hamilton of Torrance
which continued to possess those lands for 200 years.

"His descendant in the fifth degree was Matthew Hamilton of Torrance, who
by a daughter of the ancient family of Muirhead of Lathope (niece to
Hamilton of Bothwellbaugh who assassinated the great Morton) had two
sons, James who carried on the line of Torrance and Archibald ancestor to
the family of Hamilton of Westbourne which is now the sole representative
of the house of Torrance. From Hamilton of Westbourne is descended Mr.
Hamilton Dunelus of Dudding and in the female line Admiral Sir Charles
Napier and Mr. Hamilton Grey of Carntown. The descendants of James
Hamilton of Torrance, the elder brother of Westbourne continued for three
generations when they became extinct and Westbourne carried on the line.
Previous to their extinction they had sold the estate of Torrance about
the middle of the 17th century. Besides Westbourne, the families of
Hamilton of Aihenhead and Hamilton of Woodhall were cadets of Torrance.
From Woodhall is descended Sir James Hamilton of the county of Monayhan.
The estate of Torrrance which had continued to descend in a direct line
first of the Torrances and secondly of their representatives, the
Hamiltons, was purchased by the scion of a race no less ancient nor
noble - James Stewart, younger son of Sir Archibald, etc. James was the
ancestor of Andrew Stewart of Torrance, guardian to James George 7th Duke
of Douglas - 8th Duke of Hamilton. The property is now in the possession
of Miss Stewart. The youngest daughter, Charlotte, in 1830 married Sir
John Harrington in the county of Rutland by whom she has a son and

The foregoing constitute all of the reference to the ancient family of
Torrance which I have thus far been able to obtain. If there are any
other references to the family,  I do not know of them, but would be
exceedingly obliged if any other references exist, to be advised of them.

My principal object in having the search made in County Derry and
contiguous thereto was to connect up the different lines of Torrances now
living in this country. The emigrant ancestor of one of these lines,and I
think the largest line now in the United States, was Aaron Torrance, who
married Susanna Finley in 1750. His descendants state that he came from
the North of Ireland, but do not know the exact locality. They had
i.   Col Joseph
ii.  Samuel
iii. John
iv.  David

Many of the Torrances migrated and settled in Eastern Pennsylvania. They
probably were covenantors originally in Scotland, and some of the
emigrants to Eastern Pennsylvania were covenantors still after arriving
in this country, History records that between 1665 and 1685 thousands of
the Scotch fled from Scotland and settled in County Derry and county Down
to escape penalties imposed for non-compliance with the Royal edicts
respecting religious observance. The whole North of Ireland became a
refuge for despised Protestants and condemned covenantors who evidently
preferred to abandon their native Tor rather than go back to the solemn
league entered into by the Scottish people. On the 18th century there
arose new differences of opinion in regard to religious liberty and
freedom of conscience between these same people and the Government. The
family of Penn held out at this time inducements to such persons,
encouraging their coming to America, This was the reason so many of the
Scotch-Irish came in by way  of Philadelphia and settled in Eastern
Pennsylvania. Afterwards there was trouble between the Penns and these
people which was the occasion of the departure from Chester, Penn,. and
Chambersburg, in the same state, in various directions. and their
settling in the North, West and |South. At one time or other I know that
three of the emigrant ancestors of the Torrance family lived at Chester
Penn., which is evidence, although not proof, that they all came from the
same locality in Ireland. Included in these emigrants is Sergt. Hugh and
also Robert Torrance. In one of the Irish letters, copies of which I sent
you, written by Hugh Torrance, he alludes to the fact also that John
Torrance, son of Jean, eldest daughter of Hugh and Eleanor, at one time
lived in Chester (near Philadelphia).

So far as the family crest is concerned, it has been the habit of many
American people to make use of it regardless of their right to do so.
Strictly speaking, I suppose that the coat of arms could only be used by
the immediate family of the person on whom it was bestowed and not by the
family generally having the same name. The New England Historic
Genealogical Society rather discourages the display of coats of arms in
any way or form because of the fact that generally speaking the person
using a cost of arms in all probability has no legal right to do so. It
is only interesting to mention the coat of arms and state the act that in
the remote past some one of the family had in some manner distinguished
himself and been honoured in this manner. It is in the spirit of
ostentation only that anyone in this country makes any particular use of
these insignia.

When you have completed your work, I would also be pleased if you will
briefly catalog such facts as you have accumulated, which in any wise or
manner are connected of record with the ancestors or the descendants or
collateral relatives of Robert Torrance, husband of Eleanor.

I am sending you herewith enclosed London Exchange for 10, and upon your
final report will remit whatever balance may be due you for your work and

Appreciating fully the painstaking work which you are doing for me, I beg
to remain

Your very cordially

J S Torrance

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