Use the Join us button to contact others, via our discussion list, who may be researching your interests.
Please consider donating to the web site: use the Donate button.

The following Wills are registered in the Commissariat of Hamilton and Campsy and were sent to the compiler December 11, 1934, by Sir Algernon Tudor-Craig, K. B. E., of Culleton's Heraldic Office, Ltd., 2 King Street, St. James's, London, S. W. I.:


It will be noted that in these wills, written earlier than the date of the purchase of Torrence House by the Stewarts in 1650, the spelling was Torrence or Torrens.

The Torrences evidently emigrated from East Kilbride, Lanark, going down through Ayr and Wigton.Note 14-3

When Mr. Jared Sidney Torrance visited Ireland, some years ago, he inquired of a number of Torrens, (he said they all spell it so now), if they knew of any Torrances in Scotland. He was told, "Oh, ther's a wurruld of Torrens doon aboot Ayr."

Just why this or that Scotch Torrence, Torrance, or Torrens left Scotland for Ireland, cannot be positively stated. All family records on Scotland and Ireland between 1630 and 1663 are most meagre. Tradition says they fled because of religious persecution, and also as soldiers in armies sent from Scotland to fight in Ireland where many remained.14

The Scotch testaments, heretofore quoted, show the following-named Torrences: John, Mungo, Alexander, Abraham, James, Robert, William, Marion, Janet, and Mary. The same names appear at a later date, in Ireland.

In the Muster Rolls of Ulster, Ireland, in the years 1630, 1641, and 1642, for all counties, which give names of able-bodied men, fit to bear arms, and forming a fighting force, are the names of John Torrence and Mungo Torrence. These records, found in the British Museum, London, under ÷Muster Rolls of County Derry," are as follows;

The foregoing are from the Muster Rolls of the fighting forces against the rebels in 1641-42. Those in Donegal were called Laggan Forces, under the command of the Stewarts. They were mostly Scotch. Bishop's Court was in Downpatrick, county Down. Newtowne is in Donegal.

There can be no doubt but that John Torrence and Mungo Torrence, the latter being a very uncommon name, came from Lanark, Scotland, to Ireland, with others of this name, and were the progenitors of the Scotch-Irish-Ulster Torrences, Torranees and Terrences.

The following wills and deeds were secured by Mr. S. W. Kernohan, genealogist, of Seaford, Park Road, Belfast, Ireland, in the year 1918-19 15

He was employed by Mr. Jared Sidney Torrance, of Torrance, California, author of The Descendants of Lewis Hart and Anne Elliott, published in 1923, and elsewhere referred to.

Derry Testaments

Alexander Terrence of Carnroe, County Londonderry, yeoman.

To Marion my dearly beloved wife, £20 to be put to interest for her life, and at her decease said £20 to be equally divided to Archibald Terrence (his) childer. Also to my dearly beloved wife 2 acres of plowed land and two cows, grass and rent free yearly for her life.
To my son John Terrence, £10.
To my son Hugh Terrence, £10.
To my grandson, son to John Terrence, Alexander, fillie coult.
To Mary Terrence, 2 Roues. (or Houes?)
I desire and give to John Scot his bond bill to him.
To my son Archibald Terrence Note 16-1 , what remains of debts, bills and bonds due me and all other goods and chattles, he to pay my debts, rents, and funeral charges. Appoint my son Archibald Terrence sole exor and leave him all my rents and tenements to be by him freely possessed.


Witness whereof, 2 November. 1716





Probate gtd, 29 Aug. 1717, to Archibald Terrence, the exor, before Ad: Jenkin, Sur.

Indorsed: Carnroe - Alexander Torrence's last Will, 1717.

Archibald Torrence of Carnroe, Parish of Ahadowey, County Londonderry, yeoman- Note 16-2

I bequeath £20 to my eldest Son David, who is now abroad, if he returns and demands it within 7 years, till which term I allow it to be put at interest and the yearly interest to be equally divided among my three daughters, Janet, Mary, and Marion, and if said David returns not in said term of 7 years, I appoint said £20 equally among my said three daughters to the survivor of them.
To my son-in-law, William Archibald, and his wife Elizabeth, my eldest daughter for their children's use, £20.
To my son-in-law, Samuel Millar, and his wife Janet, for their children's use, £25.
To my second son, Alexander, (if he in person demand it within 7 years,) the sum of £50.
To my daughter Mary, if my executor and overseer thinks she deserves it, £60.
To my daughter Marion, if my executor and overseer thinks she deserves it, £50.
My horses, BlackCattle sheep, all household goods and furniture, together with my lease of Carnroe, and all corn, standing or cut to be sold by public sale by my executors and out of proceeds: I bequeath to my cousin, Alexander Torrence of the half town or Mullahinch, £12.
I bequeath to the Rev. John Elder of Rusky, £2.
The overplus, if any, to he disposed of as my exor and overseer thinks fit.
I order my exor and overseer to divide the £50 above bequeathed to my son Alexander among my surviving children as they think fit and "if he returns not to demand it in seven years," as above mentioned.
I appoint and order all money in hand or that shall be got of debts or for goods and chattels to be lodged in my cousin David Snell's hands.
I appoint my cousin Alexander Torrence, aforesaid executor and the Rev. John Elder, aforesaid, overseer.

(Signed) Archibald Torrence

In Witness whereof, 3 June 1748:
Da. Snell
John Spence
Charles Dempsey (educated hand)
Probate gtd. at Derry, 10 Aug. 1748 before John Torrens.
Indorsed: 1748, Aghadowey, Arch'd. Torrens Will.

Alexander Torrans of Mullahinch, parish of Aughadowey, County Londonderry, farmer:-Note 16-3

To Ann, my dearly beloved wife, the sum of £80 to be paid her by my two sons, James and Alexander, at £10 a year till the whole be paid; also her bed, chest of drawers, and at her decease the chest of drawers to my son Alexander.
To my eldest son, James, the sum of £40 and £5 to his son Alexander.
To my youngest son, Alexander, £30.
To my son-in-law Hugh Henery and his wife, my eldest daughter, Ann, £20, and £5 to their son Alexander.
To my son-in-law, Samuel Heslet and his wife, my youngest daughter Elizabeth, £20, and £5 to their son Alexander.
To my eldest daughter's child Ann, £5.
To my sister Margaret Hunter £2.
To my brother's son, Robert Torrans, £2.
To my sister's son John Anderson's child Archibald, £2.
To my beloved wife 12 guineas to pay funeral Charges.
To my son James all my wearing clothes.
To my youngest son Alexander all my goods, horses, cows, and household furniture, save one cow to my son James, and if James survives Alexander, at Alexander's decease, my son James to have the clock.
If there be anything over after above "bequeathments," it is to be divided at the discretion of my exor and overseer, and if my effects come short, the legacies to abate in proportion.
Appoint my son James Torrans sole exor.
Appoint John Karr of Droghat and Alex. Torrans overseers. In witness whereof, 31 Dec. 1770-
Wilam Torans (Signed) Alex. Torans (a scrawl)
James Waller
Robert Patterson
John Kerr
Probated 20 Feb. 1771, to exor, before "Thos Torrens."
Indorsed "Aghadowey, 1771, Alex. Torrens' Will."

Reg. of Deeds, 248-198-159-737. Derry
Reg. 21 April 1766 by Paul Torrence.Note 18-1

Lease and release dated it April 1766, the release between John Torrence, of Ballynacran, county Londondery, of the one part and Paul Torrence, also of Ballynacran, son of the said John of the other part, whereby John Torrence in conson of £48-10-0, sold to Paul Torrence the one fourth part of the Townland of Ballynacran aforesaid which he, John, holds from Right Hon. Henry Lord, Visct. Cunningham by lease of lives renewable for ever. To hold to Paul Torrence at the rent therein mentioned. Covenant that said granted premises should be enjoyed by X, "Ann Torrence," otherwise the wife of said John and by James, son of said John, during their lives and afterwards the premises to be the property of Paul Torrence.


Thomas Moore

John O'Bryn of Carriclare

John Martin of Crindiealin, Londonderry, farmer.

On September 22, 1920, Mr. Kernohan wrote to Mr. Jared Sidney Torrance:

Since my last letter to you, I visited the country along the Bann River. Motored out to the Vow Graveyard, near Finvoy, County Antrim. This picturesque old spot above the river should appeal to the American descendants as a kind of Mecca. The natives insist that they brought their dead across the Bann in boats from "The Derry," as it was termed. Here was found a very old stone, much disintegrated. Having equipped myself with rubbing paper, chalk and camera, I am enclosing the rubbings and photographs.

The photographs alluded to are reproduced in Mr. Jared Sidney Torrance's work. The inscription spoken of was as follows:

Here lyeth the body of Huey Tornce
who departed this life July 22, 1712.

Next to this stone was one reading:

Here lyeth the Body of 111n Torrans

boo dsised the 3 of November 1727.


The first name on this second tombstone was almost entirely eroded, but there were four letters in it, ending with 'n'. It may have been Jean

Returning to the Scotch record of Mungo Torrence: His name first appears in Scotland, Brownhill, in the Barony of Avondale, county Lanark, and later, this very unusual name appears in Ireland, along with that of John Torrence, both from Scotland, and now in Ireland. Also in Ireland are the names Alexander, Abraham, James, Robert, William, Marion, Janet, and Mary. All of these were found in Scotch wills, and later in those of Ireland.

As elsewhere stated, authentic Irish records are scarce, particularly for this period. Fortunately, those here used were secured some fifteen years ago, in the Public Records Office in Dublin: The Hearth-Money Rolls of 1662-1669, the Synod of Ulster Records, the Protestants' Householders' List, Marriage Licenses, Land Indices of County Derry 1708-1786, and the Register of Deeds.

The name of Alexander Torrence was in Hairmyers, Parish of Kilbride, Lanark, Scotland, in 1672. The will of Alexander Terrence (his mark), of Carnroe, on the Bann River, Londonderry, Ireland, dated Nov. 2, 1716, was "Indorsed-Alexander Torrence." His wife was Marion, his daughter Mary, and his sons, Archibald, John, and Hugh.

The will of Archibald Torrence, son of the above Alexander Torrence, was dated June 3, 1748, at Carnroe, a part of Aghadowey, county Londonderry, Ireland. When the will was written, his eldest son David "was abroad," as was his second son, Alexander. What was meant by "abroad" is not known, but the will of one David Torrence, of York County, Pennsylvania, is of record in the Probate office of that county, Book A, page 21, dated September 14, 1750: Therein, he left the land and improvements on which he lived, as well as land in Marsh Creek, to be sold, and the proceeds to be divided, 1/3 to his wife, 1/3 to his son John, and 1/3 to his daughter Sarah, "although she is not yet baptized, it being my will and desire, she be called that name." He expressed the desire that his son John be under the care of his sister Ann Linn and not be bound, hoping she will have him schooled. It was his will and desire that his wife and youngest child live with "my brother Thomas James." He constituted his brothers Archibald and Thomas James to be sole executors. Letters testamentary issued February 15, 1751, qualified Archibald Torrence as executor and stated Thomas James will not act. A record in the Land Office, Department of Interior, 19 Harrisburg, Book for Washington County, credits an Alexander Torrence with 96 acres of land, April 3, 1789. There is no documentary proof that this citation refers to a son of Archibald Torrence, but it affords strong presumptive evidence of the relationship and apparently does not connect with other known lines. Another Alexander Torrance, born 1749, is found in Vermont. (See later pages)

The will of Archibald Torrence, of Carnroe, who bequeathed to his "cousin Alexander Torrence, of the half town of Mullahinch, £2.", and made him his executor, is a matter for consideration, as is the will of this "cousin Alexander Torrans," of Mullahinch, a part of the Parish of Aghadowey, County Londonderry. The signature was a scrawl, signed Alex. Torans. It was endorsed Torrens. This offers another example of the variant spelling of the name. In this one document it is Torrans, Torans, and Torrens. Before leaving this particular will, attention is called to the bequest, "To my brother's son Robert Torrans £2.", as it will be referred to in establishing a connection between the two families.

In Mayoughi1l, Parish of Aghadowey, Londonderry, authentic records show there a Hugh Torrance,Note 20-1 born 1685, died 1779. This Hugh Torrance was the ancestor of Mr. Jared Sidney Torrance, of Torrance, California. Carnroe, Mayoghill, Cahney, and Mullahinch are all in the Parish of Aghadowey, Londonderry. They are small and close together. The Torrances named, lived in these places. That they were related, will be shown.

Hugh Torrance's wife was Eleanor. His children were Martha, Mary, Hugh, Thomas, Robert, and Jean. In as much as Robert, his son, is the only Robert of record, as of this time and place, it is believed that he is the devisee of Alexander Torrans, of Mullahinch, "my brother's son Robert Torrence, £2." It would then follow that Robert's father, Hugh Torrance, was a brother of Alexander Torrans, of Mullahinch. There was a Hugh Torrance on the Preeholders List, in Cahney and Culnamen, Parish of Aghadowey, Londonderry, in 1663. He was cited in Sessions of July 20, 1714, to appear concerning some action, possibly a religious matter, at Bishop's Court. This Hugh Torrance, in this same Parish and County, at this time, must be the father of Hugh Torrance (1685-1779), of Mayoughill. Combining these facts, Hugh Torrance, mentioned in 1663, would be father of both Hugh Torrance20 (1685-1779) and Alexander Torrans, of Mullahinch (Will 1771). Also, Hugh Torrance (1663) was a brother of Alexander of Carnroe, whose will is dated 1717, and whose name is that found in Lanark, Scotland, in 1668.Note 21-1 .

This connection of the Scotch Torrences with those immediately following them in Ireland seems clearly shown. No person under the various forms of the name Torrence is known to have been in Ireland prior to about 1630.

As previously stated, the earliest mention of the name is that of Mungo Torrence in Capt. Collin Wachap's Company, at Bishop's Court, near Downpatrick, in county Down, in the Muster Rolls of Ulster, in 1630. On the same date, John Torrence is recorded in Barony of Raphoe, county Down.Note 21-2 These two names again appear in the year 1642, showing Mungo Torrence in Capt. Wachap's Company, as having enlisted 22 April, 1642, in county Down, and John Torrence, mustered in, August, 1642, at Newtowne, a place representative of Newton-Cunningham, in county Donegal.

Mungo and John Torrence, as well as others of the name, went from Scotland to Ireland, doubtless to take part in the troublesome events that led to the "Massacre of 1641"; after which they remained and raised families.Note 21-3

Londonderry County lies between counties Down and Donegal. The whole of Ireland embraces but 32,531 square miles. Londonderry is about twenty-five miles from north to south and twenty English statute miles from east to west. Distances are short. For example, Ballykelly, the chief town in Tamlaghtfinlagen, where Torrences lived, is but eight miles from Dungiven, where other Torrences lived. From Dungiven to Antrim is about ten miles. From Dungiven to Aghadowey, about nine miles. The Bann River, as well as Loughs Foyle and Neagh, made transportation by water quite possible.

The many records of Torrences in Ireland, from 1663, and later, indicate that many of them went there from Scotland because of the barbarities during the reign of Charles II, who died February 2, 1685.

From the above, it will be noted that these Torrences are scattered over the various parishes and counties in Ireland. Inter-marriages and changes incident to occupational needs doubtless caused this, as well as their desire to move elsewhere to improve their condition, which was far from desirable. In the period following the above, these references are found:

Sergeant Hugh Terence, from the Bann RiverNote 22-1 , on the Londonderry side, took part in the Williamite Campaigns and fought in the Siege of Londonderry in 1689. The Dublin Public Records show his name in an Exchequer Bill, February 1705, and that he served in Capt. William Moore's Company, under Col. Thomas St. John. This Bill will be given later.

Thomas Terrence of Dungiven appears in an Exchequer Bill, 20 July, 1717, and will be taken up later. This branch of the family, as well as many others, changed the spelling of its name to Torrens.

Due to the paucity of records of this period, it has not been possible to identify the exact relationship between these Torrence-Torrance-Terrances in Ireland, at this particular time, with those of the Scotch, having more or less similar names, just preceding them.

A search for connecting wills and evidence was again made in Ireland in 1934. It was disclosed that during the troublesome times ten years previous, particularly at the Four Courts in Dublin, Note 22-2 all of the records for three or four hundred years were destroyed, including all records of land purchases and mortgages.

This leaves approximation of consanguinity to a careful observance of dates and the recurrence of given names in original and printed sources, together with letters and traditions, though the latter cannot be greatly relied upon.

An example not only of deduction but fact, is to be gathered from a Will in Derry, Ireland, and another in Mecklenburg, North Carolina, as follows:

Derry Will:

Abraham Torrance of Ballymecran - To my brother Paul Torrance, all my title and interest to one quarter of Ballymecran, with all houses, goods, and chattels thereunto belonging, which I leave in possession of said Paul Torrance and William Torrance, my brother, together with all my other goods and chattels whatsoever now belonging to me, only said Paul Torrance to pay to my father and mother 5/5 and to my brother George Torrance 2/8/ i/2 and to my brother William Torrance aforesaid 2/8/ i/2-

Appoint Johnathan Martin of Carrowmenaught and Solomon Martin of Colmore, Exors.

Abraham Torrance

Witness whereof, 3 Aug. 1763.

John Perry

Adam Gatt

John Martin

Probated gtd Sep. 8, 1773 to Paul Torrance, brother to the testator, Abraham Torrance . . . in said Will named. (The exors. having renounced) before T. Torrens.

Indorsed 1773 Abraham Torren's.

Mecklenburg, N. C., Will:

In the name of God, Amen. The 26th day of November 1768, I, Abraham Torrence, being in a weak state of body and in perfect memory, calling to mind my mortality, do make this my last will and testament. I commit my soul to God, who gave it to me, and my body to be burried at the discretion of my friends. First of all, I bequeath to my brother Hugh thirty pounds and one pair of silver buckles, four shirts. After all my just debts are paid I bequeath to my brother Paul my whole estate. To my brother George, one shilling sterling. To my brother William one shilling sterling.

I constitute of this last will and testament, John Baird and David Miller Executors.

(Signed) Abraham Torrence (seal)

Witness-Hugh Torrence.

The will of Abraham Torrence was probated in Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, N. C., in 1768, and recorded in Book D, page 26. Signed-Lester Wolfe, C.S.C., September 28, 1936.

Thus it is clear that Abraham Torrence, before leaving Ireland, made his will there in 1763; that he came to America, went to Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, where he died sometimes in the year 1768. His will was probated in Ireland 3 August, 1773.

The foregoing pages have shown that the origin of the Torrences-Torrances was in Scotland; that, because of religious and other persecutions, and through enlisting in the Scottish armies, they went to Ireland, where they participated in the Siege of Londonderry and the Battle of Boyne, the former being in 1689 and the latter in 1690.

Notwithstanding the English were defeated, they would not let their conquerors alone. They became jealous of the thrift and efficiency of the Scotch and Irish in Ireland as they developed into trade rivals. To overcome this, the English imposed strict and heavy trade restrictions upon their products, such as linens, cattle and meats. Some articles were not allowed to be imported into England at all, while others had prohibitive tariffs attached. These conditions, added to the unsatisfactory laws covering the allotment of lands and land rents, caused much dissatisfaction and unhappiness.

About this time, William Penn and others offered attractive inducements for settlers to locate in America. Certain Scotch-Irish had already done so and written letters home giving glowing accounts of the land of Promise, Peace, and Plenty, as America was said to be.

These Scotch were, by instinct, pioneers. They wanted freedom. They did not care what kind of land they possessed, because they were hardy, industrious, ingenuous, and capable. In coming to America, some brought their household goods, while others scarcely anything but their will-to-do.

The earliest mention of a Torrence in connection with America is found in Charles A. Hanna's Scotch Martyrs, page 252, "Banished to America out of the Parish of Evandale - Andrew Torrence - 1679." It is more than likely that he, as well as hundreds of other Scotchmen seized without trial and banished to places like the Barbadoes, did not live to see land.

The earliest Torrences or Torrances to come to America, of whom records are available, were the descendants of Sergeant Hugh Terence, whose name so spelled first appears in an Exchequer Bill Note 24-1 in the Public Records Office in Dublin, dated 18 May, 1705, as follows: 24

The Plaintiff was William Taggart who claimed that on 19 Oct. 1703, Edward Crowley and Walter Rush, in their own behalf and in behalf of several sargeants, corporals, drummers, and sentinels belong to the Regiment commanded by Colonel Thomas St. John, agreed that he should go to London with letters of attorney and instructions to manage and solicit the proportions of arrearages of pay due them on the English Establishment for their services during the late War in Ireland.

That, the plaintiff journeyed to London where he thoroughly inspected and found the debentures due the Regiment.

That, he addressed himself to the Queen, and afterwards to Parliament. He consulted the commissioners in London and brought to Ireland the copies of the accounts.

That, on 14 Feb. 1704, Capt. Wm. Moore, one of the Captains of said Regiment, and Sergeant Hugh Terance and James Brattan, two of Capt. Moore'sergeants, in Moore's Company, knowing of the Plaintiff's transactions, Came In person to see him and acquainted the Plaintiff, they could get no more for the arrear for their company than £60-4-0 and that they were sensible of the plaintiff's pain and charges, which they were willing to reward according to the agreement. That their company had been wronged. . .

This group of men lived in Londonderry, Ireland, and had participated in the Siege of Londonderry in 1689. It is most probable they also saw service at the battle of the Boyne in 1690, as these were the two memorable battles which were the climax of "the late War in Ireland."

Children of Sergeant Hugh Terence1

as shown by family records Note 25-1 , (it is quite possible there were others), were three:
  1. ¶ 2. Albert Torrence2 married twice; had issue.
  2. ¶ 3. Hugh Torrance2 married three times; had issue.
  3. ¶ 4. James Torrance2 married; had issue.

Albert Torrence and Hugh Torrance came to America, while James remained in Ireland. The three sons, who each became the head of families, will be treated in their order with names of their descendants. Thus, all. descendants of Albert Torrence will be given in extenso before those of the younger brothers. The spelling corresponding to that used by the different individuals so far as can be ascertained.

Before outlining the more personal history of Albert Torrence and his family, it seems appropriate to touch upon the two periods of large emigration from Ireland and Scotland to America. The first took place from 1718 to the middle of the century. The causes were, among others, that the Scotch were discriminated against in matters of religion, as they were Presbyterians. At this time, the Bishop's party in the Irish Parliament, which was ruled by the Episcopal, or State church, enacted many unjust laws. Presbyterians were deprived of their right to hold office in Ireland and were required to pay tithes in support of the25 Church of England and its clergy. Marriages were prohibited except when performed by ordained priests, either Roman or Anglican. Marriages performed otherwise were annulled. The children of such prohibited marriages were declared illegitimate. Also oppressive tariffs were imposed on Irish linens and woollens in favor of English-made, and rents raised to confiscatory degree.

The second large emigration came after 1771. The greater part of Ireland was owned by a comparatively small number of proprietors, who rented their land to others, on long-term leases. In 1771, the leases of the Marquis of Donegal expired, and upon renewal, they were largely advanced in price. This act, added to the before named abuses, caused much resentment and dissatisfaction, and within a comparatively short period, one hundred vessels carrying about twenty-five thousand persons left Irish shores for America. Most of these were Scotch-Irish Presbyterians who landed principally at Newcastle, Delaware, and in Pennsylvania. From these landing places, many followed the Cumberland and Virginia valleys, down to the Carolinas, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

Albert Torrence and his family came with the first emigration while some of the Torrences who settled in Rowan, Mecklendurg, and Lincoln Counties, North Carolina, followed in the second.26

Part 1 Top of page Part 3

Page Information

Torrence and Allied Families Written by Robert McIlvane Torrence, published 1938
Document URI:
Last modified: Mon, 10 Oct 2022 09:05:23 BST
© 2000 - 2023 Richard Torrens.