Maps, Ships and Architecture


The Exact Succession of Wemyss/Weems from the First Earl (31) Sir John Wemyss to F. Carrington Weems II and his Descendents, proving that we Houstonian and Texan Weemses and our immediate relatives descend from the noble family of Wemyss in Scotland and we are entitled to enjoy the titles and honors of our noble family.

Wemyss Castle (click individual photo to enlarge)

(31) Sir John Wemyss of that ilk, First Earl of Wemyss (1622-1649).

John Wemyss (31), the second born, but eldest surviving son of Sir John Wemyss (29) of that ilk by his second wife, Mary Stewart, was born about the year 1586.  In 1604, he was provided by his father in the lands of Methil, the charter of which was given under reversion, and bore that the grant was made from the laird’s affection to his lawful son, and because he had hitherto got no portion of his father’s moveable goods, lands, or annuities.  But, the death of his elder brother in August 1608, without issue made John Wemyss (31) heir-apparent to the family estates, in which he was infeft on 15th of May 1610, after being served heir to his brother on the 17th of the previous month.  As fair of Wemyss, he was frequently associated in transactions affecting the estates with his father, who ratified, in 1614, all the steps taken in regard to his succession.

In or about the year 1609, John Wemyss (31) married Dame Jean Gray, eldest daughter of Patrick, Lord Gray, and in the close of that year had a new grant of the barony of Methil to him and his wife.  This barony included, besides the lands of Methil, those of Hill and Pirny, the superiority of Caldcoits or Innerleven and half of Kilmux, and the office of bailie of the river Leven, which among other dues, yielded to the holder every ninth salmon caught in the stream, and entitled him to hold courts, appoint inferior officers, and deal with delinquents.

The young laird was knighted before 25th of June 1618, as he is then designated Sir John Wemyss (31), friar of that ilk, knight.  The Honor was probably conferred on the occasion of King James’s visit to Scotland in 1617, when he made a progress through Fife and elsewhere.  Sir John Wemyss (31) is still called “younger” in August 1620, but before June 1622 his father died, and he succeeded to the entire control of the estates.

(32) David, Second Earl of Wemyss (1649-1679)

On the death of John First Earl of Wemyss (31) his only son, David, Lord Elcho (32), succeeded as Second Earl, and enjoyed the title and the estates for thirty years, during one of the most stirring periods of the Scottish history.  This nobleman possessed great energy of character, which he displayed both in public and private affairs.  In his earlier days he participated in the struggles connected with the national covenants in the reign of King Charles the First.  He lived under the Commonwealth of Cromwell, and he witnessed the Restoration of King Charles the Second.  During these successive governments, he took an active part in the civil, military, and ecclesiastical business of the country.  He was regular in his attendances in Parliament and Council, and in the General Assembly; while in his military capacity he had to cope with the great Montrose in one of his brilliant battles.  The energies of Earl David (32) were not; however, confined to the affairs of the nation, stirring and exacting as these were.  He took a great personal interest in the management of his extensive landed estates, and in the development in the mineral wealth with which they abounded.  He was thrice married, and had a large family of sixteen children.  Ten of these were sons, and they all predeceased their father.  His third wife was the most distinguished of his patrimonial alliances, being sister of the Duke of Rothes.  They were equally matched in the respect that the earl had two wives before her, and she had two husbands before him.  She was the common ancestress of the three noble houses of Leven, Buccleuch and Wemyss.  To her may be directly attributed the creation of the life rent title of Earl of Tarras for one of her sons-in-law while she was very active in arranging the Restoration of King Charles the Second.  Tradition points to the very part of the dining room in Dalkeith House where the resolution was finally arranged by General George Monck, who was then custodian of the little Countess of Buccleuch, the elder daughter of the managing mother, who for good deeds done for Charles the Second, received from him an annual pension of 500 pounds sterling.

David, Earl of Wemyss (32), left a manuscript journal of diary, in which he recorded many of the events of his life, from the year 1634.

He was born on the 6th of September 1610, and in his seventeenth year, while young laird of Wemyss, he married the honorable Anna Balfour, daughter of Robert, Lord Burleigh.  Earl David (32) himself states in his diary that the marriage took place at Falkland, the residence of Lord Burleigh, on the evening of the 4th of February 1627.

(48) Sir James Wemyss, First Baronet of Bogic and Third Baronet of Wemyss, 1672-1707

Sir James Wemyss (48), eldest son of David Wemyss of Balfarge (47), was carefully educated by his uncle Sir John Wemyss (46), to whom he succeeded.

He was a great loyalist and invariably attached to the interest of the Royal family, but negligent of his private affairs, and a very bad economist, whereby he greatly encumbered his paternal estate.  Upon the death of David, second Earl of Wemyess (32), anno 1679, without living male issue, Sir James Wemyess (48) became the undoubted male representative of our noble family, and by the old investitures would have succeeded both to the estates and honors of Wemyss; but, Earl David (32) thought it proper to alter them; and by resignation, having transferred all upon his youngest daughter (33) and her heir-male, in prejudice of Sir James (48) and her oldest sister.  Margaret(33) succeeded accordingly.  Sir James Wemyss (48), the heir-male, received the Nova Scotia Baronetcy conferred on his predecessor, 29th of May 1625 which now devolved on him because Earl David (32) never had the destination changed, as he did for the earldom.  Sir James (48), on the death of the second Earl (32), became the THIRD BARONET OF WEMYSS, with a remainder to his heirs-male and assignees whatsoever.  He and his posterity, because of this, ever after carried the arms of Wemyss simple as well as the Nova Scotia Baronetcy.  In addition, he received from the second Earl the hereditary chieftain and Lairdship of the Clan MacDuff which has been traditionally the Wemyss family clan.

Sir James Wemyess (48) married a second time about 1700 to Elizabeth Loch, the sister of Doctor William Lock, who was a large land holder in the colony of Maryland at that time.  Elizabeth Loch died about 1722 in Chester in the colony of Pennsylvania.

The children by his second wife Elizabeth Loch were:

Williamina Wemyss born in 1704.  She was named by her father to honor William the third who had died in 1791.  She immigrated with her mother and two brothers (David and James) to Chester, Pennsylvania with her uncle, Doctor William Loch, sometime between 1715 and 1720.  In 1722, she married William Moore of Moore Hall at Chester, Pennsylvania.  They had twelve children, five boys and seven girls.  The children’s names were: Rebecca, William, Williamina, John (who died within his first year), John II, Rebecca II, Thomas William, Margeret, Mary Ann, Francis, and James Wemyss Moore.  Williamina Wemyss-Moore died December 6th, 1784.  She and her husband are buried at Saint David’s or Radnor, Episcopal Church, Chester, Pennsylvania.

David Wemyss (61) was born in 1706 of whom more will be said later.

Dr. James Wemyss who was born in 1707 went with his brother first to Chester, Pennsylvania and then after 1734 to Maryland.  He studied Medicine under the instruction of his uncle Dr. William Loch.  He married twice.  His first wife was Sara Parker and his second wife was Mary (Wheeler) Crompton.  He died in 1781 with issue by both wives.

(61) David Wemyss/Weems

(61) David Weems, the eldest son of Sir James Wemyss, the first Baronet of Bogie (48) and Elizabeth Loch, his second wife, immigrated to America along with his older sister, Williamina, and his younger brother James sometime between 1715 and 1720.  There were reasons why this family decided to immigrate.  One was the great difficulty in Scotland during this period is due to the Jacobite Uprising in 1715.  David Weems married two times.  His first wife was Elizabeth Lane by whom he had seven children.  His second wife was Esther Hill by whom he had twelve children.  David died in 1779.  His last will and testament included only the children from his second married.  The reason for this is unknownThis means that all of David’s (61) estates, and property went to the children of his second married to Esther Hill.  Since it would not be unreasonable to expect that David (61) was aware that he had some claim on the estates and titles of his father in Scotland, his last will and testament showed, in addition to his own estate, that it was his wish that whatever claim he might have in Scotland to his father’s estates would also be left solely to the descendants of his second marriage as well.  Since the eldest son of this married was Richard Weems, the descent of the title has passed on through him.

David (61) and the rest of the family lived in Chester, Pennslyvania until the death of William Loch, Elizabeth Loch’s brother, when both David (61) and his brother James moved to Maryland.  In 1722, Williamina married William Moore or Moore Hall, a very influential Tory family in Philadelphia.  The historical records seems to indicate that the terse that was paid on the marriage of Williamina to William Moore came from William Loch as part of the inheritance which he had promised to her.

After the death of William Loch, David Weems (61) moved to Maryland and occupied the plantation Marshes Seat (Marshall Seat, Marches Seat) on Herring Bay.

David Weems (61) married first Elizabeth Lane in about 1724.  They had seven children of whom four survived to adulthood.  Elizabeth Lane died in 1738.  David (61) married a second time, Ester Hill; on the 5th of August 1742.  From this marriage they had twelve children, or which six survived to adulthood.  Ester Hill died 29th of April, 1776.  David Weems (61) died the 5th of May 1779.

The children of David Weems (61) by Ester Hill were:

Richard Weems (62), the eldest son of David Weems (61) and Ester Hill, was both March 10th, 1740.  More information to follow.

Ann Weems was born March 29, 1742 and she died as an infant.

Williamina Weems was born February 19, 1744 and she died 1744.

Susan Weems was born March 4, 1745, and she died October 16th, 1805.

David Weems was born February 22, 1747, and he died March 1747.

David Weems was born December 7, 1750, and he died at birth.

David Weems was born August 8, 1751, and he died January 22, 1820.

Williamina Weems was born 3rd of January, 1754 and she died November 26, 1783.  Wife of Doctor Joseph Mudd.

Ester Weems was born 19th March 1756 and she died 21st March 1856.

William Weems was born March 7, 1758.  He took his life with Laudanum.

Mason Locke Weems was born October 1, 1759 and he died in Beaufort, South Carolina, on May 23, 1825.  The Parson, George Washington and the Cherry Tree.

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By the time the reader has arrived at this point in this book, he may wonder what is the point I am trying to make, if any, in regard to the Wemyss/Weems family.  Anyone familiar with both families, the one of Wemyss in Scotland and the one of Weems in America, recognize the fact that somehow there has been only grudgingly recognized that the two families in question are related.

The underlying purpose of this book is to show that the American Weems family are part of the mainstream of the family genealogy In fact, if it were not through an accident of history, we would spell our surnames in America Wemyss rather than Weems.  If one reads this book carefully, it is quite plain that of the three historical main branches of the family, one (the Baronetcy) has been well established and recognized in America for at least four generations.  Any American who’s ancestry goes back to either David, James or Williamina, who came from Scotland in about 1718, is part of the same family of Scotland that is so proud of its ancestry for more than 900 years.

It should be noted that the reason that David and James Wemyss/Weems chose to spell their surname Weems is for a very simple reason.  The traditional spelling of the family through David the Second Earl of Weems was always some variant of Weems.  It has been shown to be Weems, Weims, Wemis, Weimes.  The Lord Lyon shows David the Second Earl, when he registered his coat of arms in 1673, as either Weems or Weymes.  The surname was changed to what it is today, Wemyss on the marriage of Margaret Countess of Wemyss to Sir James Wemyss of Burntisland.  This change occurred because Countess Margaret changed the spelling to Wemyss since it was now her married name.  After 1700, it now became fashionable for other branches of the family to change the spelling of their surnames to Wemyss.  The International Genealogical Index clearly shows specifically in the case of the Baronetcy that Sit James of Bogie changed the spelling of his name about 1700 from Weems to Wemyss.  In fact, it can be shown that David of Balfarge, the father of Sir James or Bogie spelled his name Weems.  This is the reason why both David and his brother James, when they arrived in Americam, chose to use the ancient spelling of the names (Weems), whereas their elder sister, Williamina, used the Wemyss spelling instead.

The main reason why Chester, Pennsylvania was so attractive especially to Elizabeth Loch was the desire to make a good marriage for her daughter Williamina.  This was accomplished in 1722 by the marriage of Williamina with William Moore of Moore Hall.  In order to accomplish this, it would have required two things.  First Williamina had to have come from an important family.  As a Baronet’s daughter, she always included the title of “Honorable” before her name, as recognition of her nobility, for the rest of her life.  And second, she or her family had to have the financial resources to have paid the terse that was the custom in those days.  It is also apparent that her uncle William Loch, made this possible.

I have tried to cast light on several new facts that heretofore have not been understood.  Specifically, I have identified the Scottish antecedents of the American Weems family.  Secondly, I have given a comprehensive history of the two Baronetcies in the family.  Thirdly, I have shown how the various spellings of the family name came about.  Fourthly, I have shown the relationship between the Weems family in America and the Wemyss family in Scotland.  And, finally I have traced the various coats of arms through the family history.  One final point about the derivation of the name Williamina.  Williamina was named after William the third.  This was done by Sir James of Bogie in recognition of his great devotion to the King.

It, therefore has been the purpose of this research to illuminate the various relationships that have existed between the main branches of the great and historic Wemyss family.

One final note in regard to the Clan MacDuff which is the Scottish Clan in which the Wemyss family is the senior branch.  One page 108, with regard to Sir James Wemyss (48) and page 117 with regard to Sir John Wemyss-Kesler (69) there are references made about the hereditary Lairdship of the clan.  Since these are the only two references in this regard, it must be made clear that this hereditary honor has been passed down from baronet to baronet from Sit James Wemyss (48) to the present.  In fact, the MacDuff chieftainship has followed the ancient coat of arms of the Wemyss family through history.  There has been no references to the chieftainship of Clan MacDuff in the discussions of each of the Baronets, but these omissions were made to make the text of this book easier to follow.

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