Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Five Brothers of Margaret Wilson - "Martyr of the Solway"


This is a famous painting of Margaret Wilson, by John Everett Millais She was drowned in May 1685 in the rising tides of the Solway Firth, near Wigtown in south west Scotland. I've just discovered that her four older brothers - William, Robert, Samuel and John - all fled the "Killing Times" in Scotland and came to Ulster in an open boat in 1684.

- William Wilson (died 1721) married an Elizabeth McIlroy
- Robert Wilson married, and had a daughter called Margaret
- Samuel Wilson married a Martha Kirkpatrick in 1732
- John Wilson (born 1660 or 1666) brought with him an oak chair and chest, and was at Carrickfergus on 14th June 1690 to meet William of Orange (and the 15,000 troops that came with him). John was given lands at Rashee, near Ballyclare.*

* The following information was also sent to me: "..."The Wilsons were an impeccably Protestant family of the middle sort who traced their ancestry back to a John Wilson who was reputed to have arrived at Carrickfergus, Co. Antrim, in the suite of King William III in 1690. Wilson almost certainly arrived in Ireland earlier, and there are lots of Wilsons in the vicinity before 1690, but it was socially more superior to claim an association with William of Orange than for the family to be mere ‘Planters’." - from the biography of Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson, CIGS, by Keith Jeffery

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Her younger brother, Thomas Wilson, (died 1734 at Penninghame, Wigtown) witnessed her martyrdom, and he left Scotland for Holland where he joined the Williamite army in Flanders. He was later stationed at Edinburgh Castle. (nb - William laid seige to the Castle from 18 March 1689 - 13 June 1689)

News of Margaret's drowning must have reached Holland, possibly via Thomas, for when William of Orange wrote his Declaration to the People of Scotland (dated 10 October 1688) William specifically mentioned barbarities such as the destroying of poor people by 'hanging, shooting, and drowning them without any form of law or respect to age and sex'.

(thanks for the information on this post are due to Willie Drennan, Jack Greenald and Gordon Lucy. See the self-published booklet "Margaret Wilson the Martyr - a Genealogical Account of the Wilson Family of Penninghame Parish" by John G Wilson of Kilwinnet. Published by House of Kilwinnet Publications, Colmonnel, Ayrshire, 1998. Visit http://www.wilsonofkilwinnet.com/

8 comments:

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX said...

Hi Mark
I have my family tree which goes back to the Wilsons through the (Sir Samuel) McCaughey line.I would be keen to get a copy of the book you mention. Could you tell me where I could get a copy?

Mark Thompson said...
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beverley said...

Hi
My grandfather was Samuel James Wilson who was born in New Zealand but his father James Wilson was born in Carrickfergus I would love to have a copy of the family tree that goes past the generation that left Ireland - Regards Beverley McNally

beverley said...
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beverley said...
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Mark Thompson said...
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Jfox said...

I am a descendant from the Wilson line that left for the United States and were some of the first settlers in New Hampshire. I have a copy of the family genealogy that traces the line back to Margaret and has detailed accounts of the family record up until my fathers generation. I would be happy to share the information. Feel free to contact me in regards to the Wilson genealogy at jewelzthefox@yahoo.com

Jfox said...

I am a descendant from the Wilson line that left for the United States and were some of the first settlers in New Hampshire. I have a copy of the family genealogy that traces the line back to Margaret and has detailed accounts of the family record up until my fathers generation. I would be happy to share the information. Feel free to contact me in regards to the Wilson genealogy.