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Manitoba History: Who was the Father of Robert Logan of the Red River Settlement?

by Cynthia Sweet
Cedar Falls, Iowa

Number 52, June 2006

This article was published originally in Manitoba History by the Manitoba Historical Society on the above date. We make it available here as a free, public service.

Please direct all inquiries to webmaster@mhs.mb.ca.

The identity of the father of Robert Logan (d 1866) of the Red River Settlement (later Winnipeg), has heretofore been unknown. Scholars have speculated, based on the little information available (son of a West Indies planter), that Robert Logan was born in Scotland, the West Indies, or Montreal. The papers of the Logan Family in the collection of the Archives of Manitoba [1] offer nothing beyond speculation by grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Robert Logan as to his heritage and place of birth. Even his exact birth year has been unknown, with estimates ranging from 1773 to 1778.

Robert Logan, c1860s.
Source: Archives of Manitoba, Personalities - Robert Logan, 1976-83, N13197.

The birth date, place, and parentage of Robert Logan of Red River Settlement can now be authoritatively stated. Robert Logan was born September 1778; baptized 3 June 1781 at St. Thomas in the East Parish, Jamaica, [2] the son of Robert Logan (hereafter called Sr.) who died by 6 October 1826 at Egham Lodge, Cheam, Surrey, England and a “free mulatto” woman named Anne Stitcher (Stitches).

Baptized two quadroon infants sons to Mr. Robert Logan Overseer at Phillipsfield by Anne Stitcher a free mulatto woman at Dalvey. Name Robert Logan age two years & 9 months. Name Thomas Logan age about 6 mos. [3]

Robert was the first of six known children born to Robert Logan (Sr) and baptized in this parish. The others were Thomas Logan (natural son of Robert Logan and Anne Stitcher), born December 1780; baptized 3 June 1781, St. Thomas in the East Parish, Jamaica; [4] Nathaniel Logan (son of Robert Logan and his wife – her name is not given), born 5 April 1788; baptized 18 October 1788, St. Thomas in the East Parish, Jamaica; [5] Catherine Logan (daughter of Robert Logan and his wife), born 13 March 1790; baptized 14 July 1790, St. Thomas in the East Parish, Jamaica; [6] Isabella Logan (daughter of Robert Logan and his wife), baptized 28 January 1795, St. Thomas in the East Parish, Jamaica; [7] (referred to later by her married name of Isabella Dobinson); and Robert Logan (son of Robert Logan and his wife), baptized 5 September 1797, St. Thomas in the East Parish, Jamaica. [8] (At first glance it seems odd that Robert Logan (Sr) would name a second son “Robert” considering his first son Robert (born 1778) was still alive. However, the first child named Robert was a quadroon, born out of wedlock.)

Robert Logan (Sr) lived in Jamaica from at least 1773 to 1797 as reflected in Jamaican baptismal records and in correspondence contained in the Slebech Papers in the collection of the National Library of Wales. The first letter in this collection which mentions Robert Logan, dated 14 July 1773 at Pleasant Hill, Jamaica, was written by James Wright on the occasion of his dismissal from his post and subsequent replacement by Robert Logan. [9] The following year, Robert Logan reported from Pleasant Hill on 12 June 1774 to Nathaniel Phillips in London as to the crops and goods he had shipped to Philips and the prospects for the next crop. [10] On 30 April 1795, Robert Logan wrote from Port Morant, Jamaica to Nathaniel Phillips in London, “in a case of the outmost distress.” [11] Logan had purchased the plantation Arcadia a few months previously, using credit he thought was available to him. He soon found this was not the case, and wrote Phillips requesting help in refinancing, although help was not forthcoming. [12] Logan obviously obtained a loan elsewhere, as Arcadia was part of his estate when he wrote his will.

Sketch of Robert Logan’s house and mill at Point Douglas, 1860.
Source: Archives of Manitoba, Red River Settlement 6-1, N10116.

The Royal Gazette (Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies), published on 2 February 1793, contains a list of passengers leaving the Island, which included, on 1 February 1793, Robert Logan, of St. Thomas in the East. [13] That this is either Robert Logan (Sr) or (Jr) can be deduced from parish records and the will of Robert (Sr) in which he stated the location of his farm, sugar plantation and mansion house in Jamaica, as St. Thomas in the East. In his letter of 30 April 1795, Robert Logan (Sr) refers to having been in England prior to purchasing Arcadia, but no date is given.

Robert Logan (Sr) returned to England by 1815 when he purchased a home called Little Fosters in Egham, Surrey, from Isabella Blathwayt. This seems to be the same home Robert Logan referred to as Egham Lodge in his 1826 will, and which he bequeathed to his daughter Isabella Logan Dobinson. Her husband, Joseph Dobinson sold Little Fosters in 1865 to Henry Worms, who in 1871 sold it to his father, Baron de Worms. [14]

The will of Robert Logan (Sr) of Egham Lodge, Surrey, was written 1 August 1826, and entered into probate 6 October 1826, in London.15 In it, Robert Logan (Sr) mentions his wife Eliza, to whom he bequeathed, among other things, £500 sterling to be paid within six months of his decease, all his wines and liquors, all the plate, household table and bed linens, china, and earthenware in the house, his carriages and horses, as well as an annuity of £1,000 deductions, to be paid every six months, beginning six months after his death. In addition, he gave his wife the right to occupy or use his dwelling house at Egham, Surrey, called Egham Lodge, and use of the furniture, and the garden pleasure ground and land belonging to it, a piece of land called Runnymede, (as long as she paid all taxes and kept the premises in necessary repair), and all and everything except cash bank notes and securities for money.

He bequeathed to his daughter Isabella, wife of Joseph Dobinson, after the death of his wife, the right to occupy his messuage (a dwelling house with outbuildings and land), including the gardens, pleasure grounds, and lands, providing she paid all the taxes and kept it in repair.

He bequeathed to his granddaughter Isabella Dobinson (“the second daughter of my daughter Isabella Dobinson”), and her heirs when and if she reached age 21 or was married, Egham Lodge, subject to the use of the lodge by his wife and daughter. If his granddaughter Isabella died before reaching age 21 or if she married without the consent of her parents or guardians, then Egham Lodge was to go to the daughter of his daughter Isabella who first reached the age of 21 or married with consent. If none of Isabella’s daughters reached the age of 21 or if all married without consent, then Egham Lodge was to go to whichever son of Isabella first reached age 21, other than Logan Dobinson.

To his friends, John Cargill of the Parish of St. Thomas, Eastern Jamaica; Lucas Barkly, London; Henry Davidson, the younger, London; Thomas Rawdon Ward, of Englefield Green, near Egham, Surrey, and David Dick, Glenshiel Estate and their heirs, he bequeathed his messuage farm and lands in Egham parish called Rusham, for their use during the lifetime of his daughter Isabella Dobinson, trusting that they would pay the issues and profits of the messuage to whomever and in whatever manner his daughter Isabella directed, or failing directions from her, that they would pay the profits to her directly, for her use only with no meddling from her husband Joseph Dobinson and free of his debts, contracts and engagements. After Isabella’s death these same men were directed to hold the messuage in trust for Isabella’s oldest son, Logan Dobinson, if he should reach 24 years of age. If he did not live to 24, then any other of Isabella’s sons would inherit.

To these same men Robert Logan left his plantation, or sugar work, called Arcadia, his farm called Cedar Grove, and his mansion house and lands called Airey Mount, all situated in the Parish of St. Thomas in the East in the Island of Jamaica, and the lands, slaves, cattle, utensils and chattels belonging thereto, trusting that they would sell and dispose of such as quickly as possible after his decease. The profits from these sales and all his personal estate he bequeathed to each of his daughter’s children who reached their majority or were married with the consent of their parents or guardians.

In smaller bequests, Robert Logan left £100 to Miss Sylvia Edgar; £50 to Miss Mary Ann Timperon, daughter of Joseph Timperon, Esq.; £100 yearly to Miss Mary MacEachan; and £100 each to John Cargill, Lucas Barkly, Henry Davidson the younger, Thomas Rawdon Ward and David Dick. These five men and his daughter Isabella Dobinson were named executors. [16]

In a codicil added 1 August 1826, Robert Logan bequeathed “to my natural [17] son Robert Logan, now or late of or near Red River in America and in the service or employment of the London Bay Company, the sum of two thousand pounds to be paid within six calendar months after my deceased with interest at five percent.” [18]

This codicil to the will of Robert Logan (Sr) offers additional proof of the parentage of Robert Logan of Red River Settlement and the will itself corroborates the only previously known information about his father, i.e., that he was a West Indies planter.

It is noteworthy that of the six children baptized in the Parish of St. Thomas in the East, only two were named in their father’s will, i.e. Isabella and Robert. Although burial records in the Parish do not record the deaths of the other children, it is possible that the other four children died before 1826.

Identifying the ancestry of Robert Logan (Sr.) of Egham Lodge, Surrey, England and Jamaica has also been a matter of speculation. In a 1934 letter to his uncle Alex Logan, [19] Douglas Waugh indicated his interest in connecting Robert Logan (Jr) with the Logans of Restalrig. The Logan name is an old one in Scotland, said to be of Celtic origin. The accepted history of the Logan Clan is that it spread from Ireland into Scotland at a very early date, and there divided into two main branches, the Logans of Restalrig in the South, and the Logans of Druimdeurfit, in the North.

The Logans of Restalrig have been studied in detail due to their connection to the Gowrie conspiracy, and subsequent forfeiture of their estates, and will not be further discussed here. The Logans of Druimdeurfit are not as well known, and it is to this family that Robert Logan (Sr) is connected.

Sketch of the first windmill at the Red River Settlement, belonging to Robert Logan, circa 1860.
Source: Archives of Manitoba, Red River Settlement 5, N13831.

R. R. McIan, in his Clans of the Scottish Highlands, [20] gives the traditional history of the Highland Logans thus:

It seems impossible to arrive at anything satisfactory respecting the history of the Ceanncinnidh, or head of this race, previous to Colan Logan, heiress of Druimanairig, who married Eachuin Beirach, a son of the baron of Kintail, who died at Eadarachaolis, about 1350, leaving a son, Eanruig, from whom are derived the sliochd Harich, or those of the race in the island of Harris. Although by the “courtesy of Scotland” a person marrying an heiress takes her name, yet the celtic law, or patriarchal rule, does not give him the chiefship, which, like the salique law which prevailed in France, excludes the “regimen of women.” It would therefore appear that the Logans left wester, and moved towards easter Ross, the chief settling in Ardmeinach, since called Ellan dubh, or the Black Isle, and although they have always been highly respected and enterprising in farming and commercial pursuits, they afford an instance of the loss of a considerable landed inheritance, and in a great measure of the original strength of patriarchal influence.

The Logans of Druimdeurfit [21] on the Black Isle did lose a considerable landed inheritance. Druimdeurfit was in the hands of the MacKenzies by 1720 [22] and owned by the MacKenzies of Kilcoy by 1805 when Thomas Logan, then head of the family, was called “Tenant of Druimdeurfit.” [23] As tenant farmers, the Logan family continued to work the estate well into the 20th century.

Thomas Logan (tenant of Druimdeurfit) was born about 1750 at Druimdeurfit and died in 1807, probably at Druimdeurfit where he was living in 1805. He is buried at Kilmuir Burial Ground on the Black Isle, [24] as are his three wives. He was the father of ten children who can be identified from birth, death, marriage, wills, or burial records. After the death of Thomas Logan in 1807, his brother Robert Logan (Sr) of Egham Lodge, Surrey, gave £500 to Colin MacKenzie of Kilcoy (later Sir Colin MacKenzie), to be paid as life rent to two of the daughters of Thomas Logan. The terms of the bond were such that if neither of these women left more than one living child, the money would be divided between them and two other daughters of Thomas Logan. The identification of Robert Logan (Sr) as a brother to Thomas Logan, is based on the will of one of these women, Thomas Logan’s daughter Margaret Logan Gollan. She stated in her last willsterling free and clear from all taxes, charges and and testament dated 2 May 1862 at Gollanfield, Parish of Petty, Inverness, Scotland, that she was owed £500 Sterling by a bond dated 6 April 1820 [25] from Sir Colin MacKenzie who by such “granted him to have received from Robert Logan Esquire of Egham Lodge, Surrey, my Uncle the sum of Five hundred pounds Sterling for behoof of the persons herein mentioned and thereby bound and obliged himself, his heirs, Executors and Successors to pay the said sum of Five hundred pounds Sterling to me the said Margaret Logan otherwise Gollan in liferent …” [26]

The legacy of Robert Logan (Jr.) as one of Red River’s prominent settlers is widely known and celebrated. Now that his birth place and the identify of his father has been established, his descendants may also claim their heritage as part of the Highland Logan Clan, the Logans of Druimdeurfit on the Black Isle.

Notes

1. Archives of Manitoba, Microfilm rolls M398 and M399.

2. Parish Register, St. Thomas in the East, Jamaica, Vol. 1, p. 162. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, Microfilm #1291700.

3. Parish Register, St. Thomas in the East, Jamaica, Vol. 1, p. 162. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, Microfilm #1291700.

4. Parish Register, St. Thomas in the East, Jamaica, Vol. 1, p. 162. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, Microfilm #1291700.

5. Parish Register, St. Thomas in the East, Jamaica, Vol. 1, p. 194. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, Microfilm #1291700. Baptized an infant son of Mr. and Mrs. Logan at Airy Mount named Nathaniel born 5 April last.

6. Parish Register, St. Thomas in the East, Jamaica, Vol. 1, p. 202. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, Microfilm #1291700. Baptized an infant daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Logan of Airy Mount named Catherine born 13 March last.

7. Parish Register, St. Thomas in the East, Jamaica, Vol. 1, p. 216. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, Microfilm #1291700. Baptized at Air Mount the infant daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Logan named Isabella. Sponsors Martin McEachern, Esq. and by proxy Mrs. McLeod and Mrs. Fraser.

8. Parish Register, St. Thomas in the East, Jamaica, Vol. 1, p. 227. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, Microfilm #1291700. Baptized at Airy Mount the infant son of Mr. and Mrs. Logan named Robert, born [blank] Sponsors Lewis Cuthbert, Martin McEachern, Esq. and Mrs. Logan.

9. Slebech Papers. National Library of Wales, Reel 2, #8951.

10. Slebech Papers. National Library of Wales, Reel 2, #8952.

11. Slebech Papers. National Library of Wales, Reel 10, #9240.

12. Slebech Papers. National Library of Wales, Reel 10, #9241.

13. Jamaican Family Search website. <jamaicanfamilysearch.com/Samples/g2-02-93.htm>

14. F. Turner, Egham, Surrey: A History of the Parish under Church and Crown. Egham: Box & Gilham, 1926, p. 143 - 144. Transcription from Barry Wintour, Curator to the S. A. Oliver Collection, University of London Library Depository at Egham, Surry, England, e-mail message to author 30 September 2005.

15. National Archives, Public Record Office, England, Catalogue Reference Prob. 11/1719.

16. National Archives, Public Record Office, England, Catalogue Reference Prob. 11/1719.

17. The use of the word “natural” suggests that Robert was born out of wedlock, which indeed his baptismal record reflects.

18. National Archives, Public Record Office, England, Catalogue Reference Prob. 11/1719.

19. Archives of Manitoba, Microfilm rolls M398, #219.

20. R. R. McIan, The Clans of the Scottish Highlands. Hong Kong: Webb & Bower (Publications) Ltd., 1980, p. 74 - 76.

21. Druimdeurfit was originally called Druim-na-clavan, but as a result of a tragic battle the name was changed. “Little indeed is known of the Logans as a Highland clan, but that little is tragic enough - so tragic as to have brought about the change of the name Druim-naclavan, the height on which the stronghold of the chiefs was built, to Druim-an-deur, the ‘Ridge of Tears.’… It was as a result of this battle that the name of Druim-na-clavan, the seat of the chief, was changed to Druim-an-deur, the Druimdeurfait of the present day.” (George Eyre-Todd, The Highland Clans of Scotland. London: Heath Crawton, 1923, Vol. 1, p. 200 - 201. )

22. National Archives of Scotland, GD23/4/102. “Discharge by Robert Ross, collector deputy of the crown rent of Ross, to John McKenzie of Highfield of £151 7s 4d Scots as price of victuals and mails due from said John’s lands of Drumderfit [Drumderfit, Knockbain pa.,co. Ross], crop 1720.”

23. Edinburgh Weekly Journal (Edinburgh, Midlothian Co., Scotland), 22 May 1805, p. 168.

24. Alexander Gillies, Monumental Inscriptions Kilmuir Burial Ground, Black Isle. Inverness: Highland Family History Society, p. 10.

25. National Archives of Scotland, RD5, 184, p. 691 - 696.

26. Inverness (Scotland) Sheriff Court, Ref. SC29/44/13.

Page revised: 29 December 2015

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