Person:William Gass (3)

Facts and Events
Name[1] William GASS
Gender Male
Birth[2] 1667 Annan, Dumfriesshire, Scotland
Reference Number Janet ? THOMSON
Death[1] 1749 Dornock, Dumfriesshire, ScotlandButterdales
Other[1] Buried Near son Nicholas's grave in Dornoch Churhyard towards South East corner
Other[1] Probably descended from Andrew of Gask (abt 1430-1500) originally of Perthshire
Reference Number? 813

Probably the descendant of ( Mathew Gask a relative of Anderw Gass who killed the Master of the Maxwells, in revenge for the judiciary execution of a cousin. Celtic cross stands by the road at Merkland Kirkpatrick- Fleming as a monument to Maxwell) Andrew of Gask the originator of the name in Dumfriesshire who came from Perthshire with the Murrays of Tullibardine

The Origin of the Family Name In the 13th century the massive land holdings of the powerful Murray clan of Tullibardine included Trinity of Gask, located near Edinburgh in the Parish of Perathshire. Our ancestors trace to this period. They represented the ancient Murray family, and more than likely were men-at-arms from Gask and rated as "bonnet lairds'--meaning they held land by the feudal method of bearing arms for their superiors. In the 14th century some of the Murrays of Gask moved south to Dumfriesshire. There our Perthshire forebears "of Gask" also settled and became cross connected, at least by legal implication, to three powerful Border clans--the Murrays, Carruthers, and Irvings. In 1438 the name Andrew of Gask appears as Rector of Rampatrick, embracing the present Parishes of Dornock, Gretna, and Kirkpatrick Fleming. His signature exists as witness to a transcript of a Murray Cockpool Charter. The Merkland Cross stands today in memory of the eldest son of Lord Maxwell who was sworded by Matthew Gask in 1484 in revenge for the hanging of a cousin. William and David Gask witnessed a land grant on July 3, 1532 involving the Curruthers and later, Gask the Elder, signed a document dated June 23, 1541. Scores of legal Gask signatures survive these early times and all have been documented. Sometime before the 16th century, the Dumfriesshire Gasks agreed to 'lowlandize' the name to Gass. John Gass, and others in Tordock are recorded in the Commissariat of Dumfriesshire in 1626. The Dornock Parish tombstones reveal the early spelling as 'Gafs'--the old method of showing the double S. Today the evidence is conclusive. The name was originally Gask and only the descendants of William Gass (1667-1749) and those who claim descent from a Dumfriesshire source are related and are descended from our common forebear, ANDREW of GASK, who lived in the 1420 period. It has been said that the world is divided into two nationalities--Scotsmen and those who wish they were Scotsmen. The claim is not easily proved for it was not until 1855 that the Scots were compelled to record births and deaths. Very few Scots today, particularly along the Border, can trace their forebears beyond the mid 1800's. It is both unusual and historically satisfying that we are able to authenticate the history of our family of American Gasses directly back for ten generations and the name even further. It must be remembered that the English-Scottish frontier is and was the dividing line between two of the most energetic, aggressive, talented, and altogether formidable nations in human history. Between the two countries there existed centuries of terrible and prolonged violence. By the 16th century, robbery and bloodshed was a systematic way of life. The Border people literally lived on a battlefield. Feuds with the English, as well as between families and clans, were long and deadly. But the constant strife bred a hard and self-reliant people. For centuries Gass families farmed and fought in this beautiful Dumfriesshire Border country along the Solway shores. The name was highly respected. Gasses were men-at-arms, farmers, teachers, doctors, religious leaders, and many held important public offices. The name appears in most every burial ground in the Dumfriesshire area, as well as on Scotland's oldest map. Distant relatives are prominent in the area today. The rugged Border country was indeed the land of our forebears, and the ancestral roots go deep in the ancient Scottish soil.

From: "Carolyn & Jim Goss" 63 Cedar Ridge Boulevard, Quispapsis, New Brunswick, Canada "Robbie Wilson" 23 Broomhill Avenue, Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland Subject: Gass History Date: Monday, March 12, 2001

Genealogy of John and Rebecca Gass of Macomb Co., MI, Together With: a SHORT ACCOUNT of THREE PRECEDING GENERATIONS TRACED BACK BY The AUTHOR from Records FOUND in SCOTLAND, By HERSCHEL R. GASS MOBILE, AL, MAY 10, 1918.

PREFACE At the family reunion in Romeo, MI, in August, 1916, I was authorized to write a genealogy of the Gass family, of Macomb Co., MI, of which John Gass and his wife, Rebecca McGregor, constituted the ancestral head. To gather the necessary information for this from so large a family called for no small amount of patient and persistent effort, but it has been far from being an irksome task. It was a pleasure in the search for information to come again in touch with the old associates of our youth and renew the friendships of former days. It has been the purpose in preparing this work, to get as complete and concise information as possible regarding each member of the family, and to place his name in the genealogical plan where it belonged and could be readily found. The residence of every descendant has been given as far as it was learned, and, also his occupation if it was known. A brief historical sketch has been written of many of the members of the family, especially of the older ones, according somewhat to their standing and reputation. It will be observed that this account is more extended in some cases than in others. Not from any intended slight or partiality, but because it seemed more appropriate and justifiable. In fact, there was more to say regarding some of them, and the writer had a fuller knowledge of their affairs and a closer acquaintance with them. I imagine that no exceptions will be taken if it is said that none among them may be reputed is renowned or great. Hence there are no brilliant biographical sketches to record. Few people in this world become highly distinguished. Heaven has decreed, however, that there is a niche for all to occupy, and that he who fills it to the best of his ability will receive the reward he merits. This is a truism as applicable to the family as it is to the world at large, but all are not cast in the same mould. As to our own family group, most of them seem to have discovered their own peculiar niche and per-formed their part in the world's work. But as one star differeth from another star in glory, so among them there are to be found persons of varying degrees of aptitude and ability. Some have acquired a knowledge that has gained them positions of influence and responsibility; others have prospered in the accumulation of wealth and plenty. Some, less fortunate, have not realized their highest ambitions, but are by no means failures in life's battle. A few, easygoing and of feeble aims and aspirations, seem content to drift with the tide and trust to luck to make both ends meet. All have had the way blazed for them, however, to a life of virtue and industry, and few there are who have departed from it. As an after thought, a genealogical diagram of the McGregor family, of which Rebecca McGregor,. The wife of John Gass, was a member, has been inserted in the latter part of this book. It is not presented as complete, but only to such an extent as a brief inquiry and the author's own limited knowledge could make it so. It is hoped that this little volume will do its bit to unite us more closely into one common brotherhood, as well as to show our relationship with each one of the six generations recorded here, which now number 766 direct descendants of John and Rebecca Gass. No doubt errors and omissions will, be found in these records but the required information had to be secured from many sources, and the time was short for its accumulation. I trust that the mistakes found will be few and pardonable, and whatever excellence the book may possess that it will meet the expectations of those who receive it. I take this opportunity to acknowledge my appreciation of the ready response given by those called upon for information, some making special effort to aid me in gathering the data required for this work. I am also indebted to the late Sidney M. Whitcomb for material assistance received from the records that he kept of the Gass family for a period of more than forty years. With these few thoughts, this memorial booklet of the Gass family is submitted with a wish for its kindly reception, and in the hope that it will refresh our memories of those generations who have gone before, and unite us in stronger bonds of friendship to those who still remain, and to others yet unborn. HERSCHEL R. GASS Mobile, AL, April 5, 1918.

ANCESTRY In writing the genealogy of John and Rebecca (McGregor) Gass it has been deemed best, as an introduction to the subject, first to follow the family line back from the American starting point and give a brief sketch of our early Scotch ancestry so far as their history could be learned. The knowledge that the first generation of the Gass family in America had of those from whom they descended was scant and fragmentary. Their traditions told us That John Gass was the son of William Gass, who was born at Northfield, near Annan, Scotland, January 10, 1727, and that he married a distant relative by the name of Eleanor Gass, born at Guileland; May 25, 1735. Also that they migrated to America in 1773 with their family of six children, the youngest, an infant, dying at sea. After a long ocean voyage of many weeks by sail, they landed in New York City, and proceeded to Delaware Co., NY, locating at Kortright, a little hamlet forty miles west of Lexington, Greene Co., NY This is about all that was handed down to us regarding William and Eleanor Gass1 previous to their coming to America. Beyond this, the family history had been lost in the receding centuries. It has been the desire of some of the later descendants, the writer being one of go back still farther and learn more of our distant Scotch ancestry. The opportunity to gratify this desire came to me on a trip to Europe in 1907. The thought of tracing one's lineage back to unknown generations and establishing a kinship with distant relations whom I had never seen or heard of, was luring and forceful. Feeling that it may be of interest to others to know how the search was begun and prosecuted, I will venture to relate here the story of following the line back several generations, and scraping the acquaintance with a host of Scotch cousins of a common ancestry. To find a starting point, I first wrote to any Man by the Name of Gass at Annan, Scotland, stating what little I knew of William and Eleanor Gass1, as related above. The letter was delivered to an old gentleman by that name, and he directed me to Mr. Nicholas Gass of Kirkpatrick, to whom I subsequent1y wrote. In his reply, the writer could trace his ancestry back to his great-grandfather, and only as far as we could to William and Eleanor Gass1 but he thought by going back one generation further we would come together, and I was cordially invited to visit him on my anticipated trip to Europe. Arriving in London a year later on this trip, I wrote him from there, stating when I would reach Kirkpatrick. He and a brother met me, on arriving at the station, and drove to their beautiful homestead a mile away. In expectation of the arrival of their guest, supper had been put upon the table, and the three ladies of the house were dressed and ready to greet their American cousin. It was easily supposable that two of them were the wives of the two gentlemen, as all were introduced as Gasses. During the meal, however, it came out that they were all brothers and sisters and none of them had ever been married. Asked if there were any more, I was informed that three brothers and a sister lived on a farm nearby, and none of these, too, ad ever taken upon themselves the vow to serve and obey? I now found myself with kindred spirits, and was made to feel at home in this pleasant household. We were one of a kind. In the group were no "two souls with but a single thought, two hearts that beat as one. All had withstood Cupid's wily ways, and were immune to matrimony. They were a genial and joyous family, and demonstrated that matrimony was not necessarily the ~ One plus ultra to happiness. Both the father and the grandfather of this family had preceded them upon this farm, the latter having at first leased a part of it about a hundred years before, was subsequently purchased ,and the present owners have added to it until the farm now contains 620 acres of valuable land. It is called Raeburnhead. All farms here seem to have a name and designate a person's location closely the name of his home is given: as, Northfield was the farm on which William Gass was born in 1727; and Williamwood the place where his father died in 1746, as will be shown later. Here we are on historic ground. Three miles to the South lies the English border, the dividing line being the Solway Firth coming in from the west, and a little stream called the Liddell flowing into it from the East, and having its origin near the Eastern coast. Here many battles were fought between the Scots and Britons before their countries were united. Near here Mary, Queen of Scots, was apprehended on her flight to England and held a captive until her execution eighteen years later. No doubt many of our ancestors engaged in these frequent feuds and conflicts, for it is known that they have lived in this part of Scotland many centuries. A Doctor Gass in Liverpool informed me that the name was found in every part of Dumfries County and that all were akin. The country here is beautiful and productive, and the people industrious and thrifty. The land slopes gently to the shores of the Solway Firth from the North, and across its shimmering surface in the smoky distance can be seen the Cumberland Mountains of England rising gracefully and gently from its shores on the South. This was the land of our forefathers, and such were their environments. Here they lived and enjoyed the pleasures of peace and prosperity, and here they endured the horrors and hardships of war. Amid these beautiful surroundings, William and Eleanor Gass1 had their home at Scotsfield, and from this home they migrated to America in 1773. I was informed by my friend that no dukes or earls or titled names would be found among the Gasses of Scotland, but that they belonged to that sturdy class of yeomanry at forms the backbone of the country. My informant also stated that he had never heard of but one person bearing the name who had ever disgraced it by a disreputable life or a criminal deed. This was in the case of one George Gass and a rival in a love affair over a woman. A quarrel ensued and the rival was shot and killed by a bow and arrow in the hands of the said George. Riding one day with my friend along the road to Ecclefechan, the home of Thomas Carlisle, the place where the tragedy occurred was pointed out. A monument had been erected by the friends of the unfortunate lover on the spot where he fell. It stands in a field not far from the roadside where the victor stood and hurled the fatal dart to avenge his injured feelings. I suggested to my host that the crime could not be considered so very dark and dastardly since all is said to be fair in love and war. At any rate, the stain should have faded from the family escutcheon ere this as the crime was committed before the use of fire-arms which dates back to about the time of the discovery of America by Columbus in 1492. This was an excellent and unusual record for so large a family; but I informed my friend that his cousins across the water bore the ear-marks of their Scotch descent, and had a record equally as clean and remarkable as the one he had given me of those on that side of the sea. - - -, What is written above may seem to be a digression from the ancestral line I started out to follow, but the story is closely connected with the lives of our forefathers, and it gives us a better understanding of that part of Scotland in which they lived. It also creates a keener interest in the discovery of those distant relatives who were found to be our long forgotten sires. To begin the ancestral search, Mr. Nicholas Gass first took me to Gullieland to see the house where Eleanor Gass was born in 1735. It was a small one story stone building, with a slate roof. The occupant had lived there twenty-nine years, and invited me in when informed who I was. The house stood as it did when our maternal ancestors first saw it, and showed little deterioration on account of its age. Proceeding a half mile farther, we came to Northfield, the place where William Gass was born in 1727, this was a two-story structure and well preserved. I asked admission and was invited in. I was now beneath the very roof that sheltered my great-grandfather when his eyes first saw the light of day, and I stood upon the old flagstone floor, now worn and undulating, which his feet had trod 180 years before. I had heard of this Northfield home since my childhood, and dreamed of some day seeing it. This day the dream came to pass, and curiosity was satisfied. It still stands unchanged through the passing years, and still surrounded by the sacred memories of our distant forefathers. From, here the drive was made on the way home to the Cemetery of Dornock parish in which our forbears lived. It was a plot of ground containing three or four acres, and was densely populated. This was the real ancestral hunting ground, and so many headstones bore the family name that they confused the search. After going through the Cemetery and reading many obscure inscriptions, we arrived at the southeast corner. Here were two graves enclosed with slabs at the sides and ends, and covered with a slab that bore the inscriptions, but these were hidden beneath the moss that had grown over them. I suggested that Gasses might have been buried here, and getting a sliver of stone the moss was removed, and to our surprise the inscription read: Nicholas Gass of Williamwood, born 1689, died March 31, 1746, aged 57 years. Beneath was the name of his spouse, Jean Wightman. Here is where we come together, my friend remarked, and he said that it confirmed what his grandfather had told him when a boy, that his grandfather's name was Nicholas, and his great-grandfather's was William. Also that an old uncle, John Gass, had gone to Nova Scotia a great many years ago, and never returned. The moss was next removed from the slab of the other grave, and on it was inscribed the name of William Gass of Butterdale, who was born in 1667, and died in 1749, aged 82 years. This corroborated the grandfather's story related above. Beside one of the waves was a headstone that had fallen flat upon the ground, and it was covered with a thick sheet of moss. Stripping this off, there appeared the following inscription: John Gass of Gullieland died ". This was an unexpected discovery, and I felt assured that this man was the father of my great-grandmother, who was born at Gullieland. Doubtless, he had put this stone there while living, leaving the blank space to be filled in after his death, but having died faraway from there, or for some other reason, it had never been done. It was learned afterwards that this theory was correct, and that he was the uncle John Gass mentioned above (Nova Scotia). I now felt that we both stood by the graves of our common ancestors, and the only thing required to prove it was to show that Nicholas Gass and his spouse, Jean Wightman, whose names were carved upon this old moss-covered tomb, once lived at Northfield, where my great-grandfather, William Gass1, was born in 1727. This was the missing link, which was found afterward at Edinburgh. On arriving, later, in this city, I called at the registrar's office and asked for the birth record of Dornock Parish. The first entries were made in 1710. I followed down the list to 1727 to find the name of William Gass, who was born that year, but it did not appear, and it looked as if the trait was lost. A few pages further on, however, was found the name of Mary Gass, born to Nicholas Gass and Jean Wightman at Northfield in 1729. During the four following years, Elizabeth and Eleanor Gass were born there to the same parents, according to this record. The only thing now required to remove all doubt was to trace them to Williamwood, where they died. Reading the record still further down, I found the following:- õ739, James and Jean Gass, twins, children of Nicholas Gass and Jean Wightman, born in Williamwood. Witnesses: Will Black, John Willkine. This was conclusive evidence that Nicholas Gass of Northfield was the father of William Gass1, our great-grandfather, and the same person whose grave we found in Dornock Cemetery, and that in him my friend and I had found a common ancestor. The name of Eleanor Gass did not appear in the list of births, but in the baptismal record it was found that a Helen Gass, daughter of John Gass and Rosina Irving, was baptized at Gullieland, June 25, 1785. There was no doubt that this was my great-grandmother, Eleanor, who was born at Gullieland a month before, and that John Gass, whose name was on the fallen headstone in the Cemetery, was her father. It was learned later that Helen and Eleanor were interchangeable names with the Scotch. Since writing the above, I have received from Mrs. Martha (Gass) Rood, of Lapeer, MI, some historical data regarding the Gass family, and much of it goes to corroborate what has been written in the preceding pages as to the ancestry of William and Eleanor Gass. She is the daughter of Nicholas Gass3, whose father was also named Nicholas, and who was the brother of John Gass, our ancestral head for this family history. From traditions and fragmentary records of theirs, which she has, we get glimpses of the movements and occupations of these distant relations. We learn that John Gass of Gullieland later lived at Seats-field, and was a corn merchant there. He carried cargoes of grain in his sloops over the Solway Firth to the Cumberland coast of England and the nearby ports of Scotland. Mrs. Rood has an old memorandum book of his, from which is copied the following entries: õ753, John Gass of Scotsfield, his book. Workington, January 16, 1765. Then received from John Gass the sum of "6 4s 8d for freight of the sloop Nancy by M. Bowtherd Wems. - - Another of same date: There received from John Gass the sum of "6 4s 8d for freight of the sloop Nancy by Wm. Roe. A family tradition has it that he lost a sloop cargo, which ruined him financially, and that he went to America and never returned. This coincides with a previous statement that an uncle John Gass went to Nova Scotia many years ago and never came back. It may also account for the space being left blank on the fallen tombstone of John Gass in Dornock Cemetery. Another family tradition was that the large farm that William Gass secured on the banks of the Schoharie River, and occupied until his death was granted to him by King George III, of England, for guarding a pass in the Catskill Mountains. Children of William and ELEANOR GASS The names of the children of William and Eleanor Gass who came to America with them were Jane, Irving, Nicholas2, Isabel and Margaret, born in the same order, as follows: 1760, 1762, 1764, 1767 and 1770. Their son, John Gass, was born in New York, as will appear later. Jane Gass married John Egbertson, to whom three children were born, Jacob, Susan and Eleanor. Irving Gass married Lambert Houk, and to them two children were born, Richard and Eleanor. Afterward, she married Justice Artman, and by him had two children, Justice and Eliza. As is known the descendants of these persons have generally remained in that part of New York. Nicholas Gass Married Anna McIntosh, and had five children, only two of whom were known to me, Nicholas3 and Lambert. The former settled in Lapeer Co., MI. His wife was Almira Whitcomb, and his children Martha, Barber and Romain. The only one of these now living is Martha (Gass) Rood, previously referred to, but several of his descendants live in that part of the state. Lambert Gass lived in Michigan during the Civil War, near Davis, but returned to Greene Co., NY. His son, Samuel N. Gass, married Rhoda A. Gass, the daughter of John Gass, Jr., and Margaret Gass. Isabel Gass married Thomas McMicking. They lived in Canada, below Niagara Falls, near the Brock monument. They had ten children and numerous grandchildren. Some of the descendants still reside there. Margaret Gass married James Pixley. He was present at the massacre by the Indians at Wyoming, Pennsylvania, and with a small party made his escape over the mountains, and came to the Catskills, where he met his wife. They settled on a farm between Lockport and Brockport, NY, and had several children, one being named William, and another James2. Some of their family still resides there. Others are now living at Swartz Creek, Genesee Co., MI.

Migration to AMERICA

This closes the ancestral part of the history of the Gass family as sketched for this genealogy, down to the youngest son of William and Eleanor Gass, viz: John Gass, whose name stands at the head of the following genealogical record of the Gass family of Macomb Co., MI. In the preceding pages a short account was given of the emigration of William and Eleanor Gass from their home at Scotsfield, Dumfriesshire Shire, Scotland, to America; of their landing in New York City after a long voyage, and proceeding from there 100 miles or more into the country to Kortright, a little village in Delaware Co., NY. Here for a time they established their home, and here the subject of this family history, John Gass, the youngest child of William and Eleanor Gass, was born February 17, 1776. The newcomers stopped here for three or four years, and then went to Athens1 on the Hudson, near Catskill to reside. They remained but a short time in Athens, and then moved to the western part of Greene Co., NY. residing first at Windham, and then at Prattsville. Finally, a permanent abiding place was found in this same county, in the township of Lexington, on the banks of Schoharie Kill River now called Jewett Center. Here they secured several hundred acres of land on both sides of the Schoharie, just east of its junction with the East Kill Creek. In this wild mountain fastness of the Catskills the parents made their future home, and here they reared their large family and spent the balance of their days. A small plot of land upon this farm was set apart for a family burying ground, and in this little Cemetery tombstones now mark the last resting places of William and Eleanor Gass, and many of their posterity. Tradition tells us that King George III granted this tract of land to William Gass for his guarding a mountain pass nearby. I made an effort to verify this, but without success. It fell to the lot of the youngest son, John Gass, to look after the old folks in their declining days, both living to the advanced age of nearly four-score years and ten. He remained on the old homestead for nearly sixty years, and there laid to rest his parents when they died, and there raised a large family of his own. Life was up-hill business in this little valley of the Catskills in every sense of the word. Along the river flats were small areas that were capable of being cultivated, but on the mountain side the soil was so scarce among tile barren rocks that vegetation grew up from the crevasses feeble and scant. Not so with humans, however. The species seemed to increase and flourish amid the surrounding poverty. The Gasses got a good start here for the race, for on the banks of the Schoharie all of the first and many of the second generation of John Gass had their beginning in the early days of the last century. Whether it was the favorable environments, the pride of posterity, or the fashion for large families or not, the injunction to multiply and replenish the earth was faithfully kept in those primitive times.

Do you know Matthew Barrie? 24 Charles St. Annan Dumfriesshire DG12 5AJ Scotland September 5 2000.

Dear Marjorie Krieg, Thank you for your letter regarding information on the Gass family, but unfortunately I have no knowledge of the Irish branch of the family which you seek. What I do have is some history of the family name and also the American branch of the family. In the early 13th century the territorial owners of Trinity Gask Parish in Perthshire were known as of Gask. At this stage in history surnames were not commonly used, and the landowners used the territory as their designation such was the family of Gask. The heiress to the landholder of Gask married Earl Gilbert of Strathearn, and history records that by this marriage the Murrays of Tulliebardine obtained the lands of Trinity Gask, which they held for centuries. Research showed that the name Gass was originally Gask, and an old Dumfriesshire will had the name Matthew of Gask as a witness and it appears certain that all the Scottish

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