This page conforms to the XHTML standard and uses style sheets. If your browser doesn't support these, you may not see the page as designed, but all the text is still accessible to you.


Bringing the heritage of Schenectady County, New York to the world since 1996

You are here: Home » Families » HMGFM Home » Lithgow

Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:

Index to All Families | Index to Families by County: Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren, Washington

Go to previous family: Relyea | next family: Geiger

[This information is from Vol. IV, pp. 1607-1608 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

This is an ancient family of Scotland, famed for its scholar artists, men of letters and ministers. A noted member of the family, William Lithgow, born in Lanark about 1582, eldest son of James Lithgow, burgess of Lanark, and Alison Gahame his wife, published in 1632 a collected edition of his travels under the title of "The Totall Discourse of the Rare Adventures and painefull Peregrinations, of long nineteen yeares Travayles, from Scotland to the most Famous Kingdomes in Europe, Asia and Affrica." He was educated at Lanark grammar school and acording to Sir Walter Scott was "bred a tailor." He seems to have started his travels at an early age. He says "neither ambition, too much curiosity, nor any reputation I ever sought, did expose me to such long peregrinations and dangerous adventures past" — but, that "underserved Dalida wrong." From Paris on March 7, 1609, he set out on the first of the three journeys of which he gives an account in his "Totall Discourse," where he claims that his "payneful feet traced over (besides my passages of seas and rivers) thirty-six thousand and odde miles, which draweth neare to twice the circumference of the whole earth." It was on the second of his journeys, while passing through Spain, that he was thrown into prison in Malaga as a spy and severely tortured. He was released by the intervention of the English consul there and the English ambassador at Madrid backed by a division of King James navy. On his arrival at Datford, fifty days after leaving Malaga, Lithgow was carried to the court at Theobalds and exhibited his "martyred anatomy" to the whole court, "Even from the King to the Kitchen." At the king's expense he was sent twice to Bath, where he recovered his health although his left arm and crushed bones were incurable. Early in 1622 he was sent to Marshalsea prison for a long period for assaulting in the presence chamber Gondomar, the Spanish ambassador, whose empty promises of redress for his sufferings at Malaga had exasperated Lithgow beyond endurance. In 1624 he preferred a bill of grievance to the House of Lords, which he daily followed for seventeen weeks, without result. In 1627 he left the court for Scotland, traversed the Western Isles and was "kindly entertayned" in Bodick Castle by James "Marquiss of Hamilton." In 1637 he left Scotland mounted on a "galloweigan nagge" for another journey to Russia, but instead went to Breda publishing a volume on his return. In 1643 he again left Scotland, embarking at Prestonpans for London. "In all which deserted way between Forth and Gravesend wee found only three ships, two Scotsmen, an Norwegian, and one of the royall whelps lying at anker in Aermouth." He published his last work in 1645. From this date all trace of him is lost; the date of his death and the place of his burial are unknown, though there is a tradition that he died in Lanark and lies buried in the churchyard of St. Kentigern there. It is from the same Lithgow family that David C. Lithgow, of Albany, descends.

(I) Robert Lithgow, of Lin Lithgow, Scotland, the first of the name of whom we have knowledge, married and had children:

  1. Gilbert, a teacher of Stevenson, Scotland;
  2. James, a designer;
  3. John, a potter;
  4. William, of further mention;
  5. Elizabeth and
  6. Janet.

(II) Rev. William Lithgow, son of Robert Lithgow, was born in Alexandria, Scotland. He was a graduate of the University of Glasgow; became a minister of the Church of Christ and has been continuously in the active ministry for the past thirty years, and is still preaching (1911), although eighty years of age. He married Catherine, daughter of Robert and Elizabeth (Corcoran) Cunningham and granddaughter of Alexander Cunningham, a soldier of the Crimean war. Children: Elizabeth, Gilbert, David C., of further mention, Robert, Jessie (or Jesse), Catherine, Margaret, John, William.

(III) David Cunningham, son of Rev. William and Catherine (Cunningham) Lithgow, was born in Glasgow, Scotland, November 12, 1868. His preparatory education was obtained in the Glasgow public schools supplemented by a course at Glasgow Technical College. Having artistic talent and desire he became a pupil at the Haldean Academy of Art, at Glasgow, where he pursued his studies until 1887, when he went to London and enrolled as a student at Kensington School of Art under Sir Frederick Leighton. After completing his studies he came to the United States in 1888, establishing himself in New York City, where he remained until 1890. In that year he came to Albany where he opened a studio and still continues (1911) in landscape and portraiture. He is a member of the Albany Club and a charter member of the Albany Art League. In religious faith he is a Baptist. He married, February 10, 1890, at Altamont, New York, Amelia, daughter of Edward and Augusta (Crounse) Kenholts, both old Albany county families. Child,

  1. Millie, born November 4, 1900.

Go to top of page | previous family: Relyea | next family: Geiger

You are here: Home » Families » HMGFM Home » Lithgow updated March 30, 2015

Copyright 2015 Schenectady Digital History Archive — a service of the Schenectady County Public Library