Ramsay, John

Birth Name Ramsay, John
Gender male
Age at Death unknown


The story of the Ramsay family of Prince Edward Island was recounted by some of their grand and great grandsons, and a number of PEI local histories agree on the following: John Ramsay (b. abt.1728), his wife Margaret Taylor, their six sons and two Ramsay nephews, arrived at Malpeque from Argyleshire, Scotland aboard the Annabella in 1770. A letter written by his grandson Charles said the Annabella had about 80 immigrants; John had paid for passage for 11 people, and that he had been granted 200 acres in Lot 18.

John and Margaret settled at Princetown, however, it was not the completed town they had seen on maps.

John Ramsay's date of birth is sometimes given as October 11, 1728, but this is the date that the parish records start. His birth was not recorded after that date, so somewhere along the line the date of birth "before October 11 1728" lost the word before.

Family researchers have not been able to find a marriage record for John Ramsay and Margaret Taylor, but this was not unusual at this time and place in Scotland. The book Cavendish and its People had a different name for John Ramsay Sr.'s wife, Mary Shuman. While there are no marriage records for either Margaret or Mary, there are baptismal records that support Margaret Taylor being the correct name of his wife.

Their sons were said to be Donald, John, Neil, Archibald, Angus and Malcolm; the nephews were Malcolm and Edward. Baptismal records for the children of John Ramsey and Margaret Tayler say that they were from Ugadale, or Laigh Uggadell/Ugadale Beg, or Low Ugadale a small village northeast of Campbeltown in Scotland. Donald, baptized 1748, was the earliest record, followed by Neil, Archibald and Angus. Baptismal records were not found in the parish of Campbeltown, Scotland for John and Malcolm. Some family histories assume that they must have been born after the family's arrival on the Island. But as is always the case with missing records, there are a number of possible reasons: John may have had a first marriage, they were baptized in a parish where the records were lost, or John and Margaret weren't married at the time their first son was born.

There was no passenger list for the Annabella, but it is recorded that all of the families on it lost their belongings when the ship was wrecked when it neared Prince Edward Island. They received help from the French settlers and native peoples living in the region; without this help it is unlikely they would have survived the winter. (The names of the Annabella passengers was constructed by later researchers - Charles Ramsay said that some of the immigrants were Macneill, Matthews, Taylor, Macarthur, Macdougald, Macintosh, Carr, Henry?, Ramsay and others)

Charles Ramsay said that in 1771, the family moved to the north side of Malpeque Bay, in Lot 13. He wrote, "For the next ten years the hardships trials and difficulties of the pioneers of Prince County can be better imagined than described."

Concensus seems to be that:
Donald married Mary MacMillan, who had also emigrated on the Annabella; they settled at Low Point, Lot 13 - in his account, Charles Ramsay said that the eldest son married before leaving Scotland;
John Jr., nicknamed "the Yankee", married Catherine McKay, and settled in Lot 16. He served during the American Revolutionary War, 1775‑1783;
Neil married Mary Cole, settled at Shipyard Pt., Lot 18 (later Hamilton);
Archibald (1756‑1839) married Helen Montgomery (1768‑1853) in 1788, resided at first in Princetown and afterwards at Beech Pt., Hamilton, Lot 18;
Angus went to the Thirteen Colonies - nothing more is known about him; and
Malcolm (1757‑1841), married Margaret Murphy (1759‑1839), settled at Shemody, Lot 16, and Lot 17. He was nicknamed "Moccasin Mac" because of his habit of wearing moccasins in the colonial legislature to which he had been elected.

A John Ramsay received government grants in Princetown in 1787. The government grants to John Ramsay in 1794 could have been him or a son.

In 1792, a letter to the Lieutenant Governor was signed by the following Ramsays: Neil, Archibald, Edward, John, John Jr., Malcolm Jr., another John and a second and third Archibald. This might be an indication that Angus had left the Island by that date.

In his report of his trip across Lot 13 in 1793, Robert Gray's map had two Ramsays in that lot, Donald and Malcolm.

Ramsay families in Prince County in the 1798 census were:
In Princetown, Archibald (7 people), John (5 people), Edward (6 people)
Lot 13 - Widow Ramsay (9), John Ramsay (4 people)
Lot 16 - Malcolm (9 people)
Lot 18 - Neil (9), Malcolm (8)

It is generally assumed that John Ramsay and Margaret Taylor had died before the 1798 census of PEI.

The 1824 rent roll for Lot 13 included the following Ramsay household: Donald, an old settler with 90 acres; John Ramsay, father of Donald, and Donald, son of John; Michael Ramsay. By 1846, the roll included George Ramsay; Alexander; Donald Jr., William; Donald; Donald; David.

In 1847, Ramsay's in Lot 14 were Elizabeth (widow), John and Neil.

In 1851, Donald, Dugald, Neal R., Edward Jr., Malcolm, George, and John Ramsay were involved in the formation of the Princetown Royalty Presbyterian Church.

Taken from: Lot 16 and its People, Cavendish and its People; Malpeque
Pathways to the Present, Hamilton PEI, by Earle Lockerby; Along the North Shore by Clinton Morrison; Past and Present of PEI; Launched; research by descendants who went to Scotland to look at land and church records.


Pure speculation!

There was a John Ramsay married to Elspeth Kilkeson in 1734. This would be a John Ramsay born around 1710?

John Ramsay of Campbeltown, Argyll, Scotland and Elspeth Kilkson/Kilkison/Gilkison had children baptized from 1735-1743.

Janet bap. 1735
Agnes bap. Feb 1737
William bap. 1738
Katharine b. May 1740
John bap. 1743

Is it possible that this is the same John who married Margret Taylor? There is no overlap. That would mean John would be a man of about 60 at the time the Annabella sailed for Prince Edward Island - not impossible.



Event Date Place Description Sources
Birth before 1728 Scotland    
Death before 1798 Prince Edward Island, Canada assumption, based on the 1798 census  


Relation to main person Name Birth date Death date Relation within this family (if not by birth)
Father Ramsay, Donaldabout 1758
         Ramsay, John before 1728 before 1798
    Brother     Ramsay, Malcolm


Family of Ramsay, John and Taylor, Margaret

Married Wife Taylor, Margaret ( * + before 1798 )
Name Birth Date Death Date
Ramsay, Angus
Ramsay, Jenat Janet
Ramsay, Donald - Lot 13April 1798
Ramsay, Neil Neill - Lot 18before April 1812
Ramsay, John “The Yankee”about 1750about 1804
Ramsay, Archibald - Lot 18about 1755March 17, 1839
Ramsay, Malcolm “Moccasin Mac” - Lot 16 &17about 17571841
Ramsay, Janetabout 1760before 1766