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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Moir

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[This information is from Vol. II, pp. 774-775 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 family is native to the county of Stirling, Scotland, where they are numbered among the landed gentry. The family estates lie in Lecke, Stirling county. The name is a noted one in both Scotland and England, especially in the learned professions. Dr. David MacBeth Moir was a famous physician and the author of many essays and serious verse. He wrote a history of medicine and did a great deal of important literary and scientific work in addition. He died in 1851, and has a statue erected to his memory in Musselburg. George Moir was professor of belles lettres in the University of Edinburgh, 1835-40; professor of Scots Law, 1864-65; sheriff of Ross and Cromarty, 1855-58; sheriff of Stirlingshire, 1858-68. He was the author of The Appellate Jurisdiction of Scotch Appeals, 1851; Magic and Witchcraft, 1852; and Principles of the Law of Scotland. John Macrae Moir, educated at Aberdeen University, was famous in London journalism. He edited the Illustrated Times three years, and was secretary of the Scottish Corporation. He was first editor of the People's Magazine, and a non-conformist minister, Barrister M. T., and often acted as deputy judge in the lord mayor's court, and figured largely in public life and in letters. The founder of the family was Robert Moir, of Lecke, Stirling county, who married, in 1769, Ann, daughter of Charles Stewart, Esquire. The intermarriages of the Moirs in the United States show that the result is a blending of the blood of many of the oldest families of the state, representing England, Scotland, Holland and France. The Lansings, Schermerhorns, Winnes and De Forrests are all names that have an early and lasting connection with the founding and development of the Hudson-Mohawk Valleys. With the De Forrests is added the strain of much-prized Huguenot blood from France, while the Moirs furnish the Scotch-English strain that always makes for thrift, energy and progress. The Dutch families mentioned have left records in every generation that are the proud inheritance of their twentieth-century descendants.

(I) John Moir was born in Alva, Stirling county, Scotland. He came from a family of intellectual, educated men and women, and from his early school days showed that he possessed the family talents. He entered the University of Glasgow, where he had the advantage of being associated in class with a number of brilliant men who later became famous, notably among them Dr. Eadie, of the Presbyterian church. He took high rank in his class and was graduated with honor. He adopted teaching as his profession and became well known and highly esteemed as an educator, a man of deep learning, and a public speaker. His scholarly, highly-cultured mind seemed above the sordid consideration of money getting, and despite his good positions the rearing of a family exhausted his resources. When his children grew up and married, some of them emigrated to the United States, where he resolved to join them. He had all the honors of his profession and stood in the highest rank, and had been honored by his fellows with the degree of F. E. I. S. He was an elder of the Presbyterian church, and was prominent in the councils of that denomination. He enjoyed the personal friendship of one of the most eminent divines, Rev. Dr. Thomas Chalmers, and treasured an autograph letter, written about 1842, from the doctor expressing his appreciation of an address of welcome delivered by Mr. Moir at a reception tendered Dr. Chalmers. He married, in Scotland, Celia Murray Thompson, of Stirling, and had seven children. To be with them, and largely for their sakes, he broke the ties that held him to his native land, and with his wife and the youngest child sailed for the United States on the ship "Caledonian," afterward wrecked on Cape Cod. They settled in Schenectady, New York, in 1862, where the father, John Moir, died in 1873, followed three days later by his pious and devoted wife, Celia. Children, all born in Scotland:

  1. John (2), settled in Liverpool, England, where he died; he learned the trade of a foundryman, and became an iron master of that city; he married and had issue.
  2. Mary, married Robert McLean, who after the death of his wife came to the United States and settled in Schenectady, where he died.
  3. Lillias, married, in Scotland, Robert Riddle; they came to Schenectady in 1854, where Robert became superintendent of the Roy Shawl factory, then a very prosperous line of manufacturing; they both died in Schenectady, leaving issue.
  4. James, settled in Waterford, Ireland, where he established an iron foundry and business; he married there, and died leaving a large family.
  5. Jane, came to the United States and lived for a time in Massachusetts; she died in Schenectady; she married John Jarvie, a woolen manufacturer of that city.
  6. David, was the first of the family to come to the United States; he learned the trade of foundryman in Scotland, and prior to 1850 came to the United States and settled in Newark, New Jersey, where he established a foundry and after a prosperous business career died leaving a wife and children.
  7. Robert Thompson, see forward.

(II) Robert Thompson, youngest child of Professor John and Celia Murray (Thompson) Moir, was born in Scotland, and in 1862 was brought by his parents to the United States. He was well educated in his native land, and in the United States took a course at Eastman's Business College, Poughkeepsie, New York, where he fitted for practical business. In Schenectady, he began his mercantile life in company with C. N. Yates, purchasing from John Gilmore a book and stationery establishment, which they carried on three years, when Mr. Yates retired. Mr. Moir continued to successfully conduct the business until 1899, when he retired. His keen, appreciative mind is richly stored with the lore of books and memories of foreign travel, to which he has devoted several years. He has visited nearly all the countries of the world, not as a sight-seeing tourist, but as a serious investigator and traveler. He is a lover of books, and as much at home in the world of literature as in the world of travel and adventure. He is a member of the Presbyterian church, which he served as deacon and trustee for many years. He is a Republican in politics, and a member of the Masonic order, affiliated with St. George's lodge. His social clubs are the Mohawk and Golf. He married, in 1878, at Schenectady, Catherine De Forest, born in Schenectady, daughter of Martin and granddaughter of Jacob De Forest, of Rotterdam, Schenectady county, New York. Martin De Forest, born 1811, died 1889, was for many years agent for Hon. D. D. Campbell, of Rotterdam. He married Elizabeth Margaret, daughter of Bartholomew Schermerhorn. She was born on the homestead in Rotterdam, where she resided until her marriage. She died in Schenectady, in 1897, in her eighty-fifth year. She was a member of the Reformed church. Of their five children, two only grew to maturity:

  1. Mary, married Charles N. Yates, whom she survives; and
  2. Catherine, married Robert Thompson Moir.

Jacob De Forest, grandfather of Mrs. Moir, was born in Greenbush, Rensselaer county, New York, May 28, 1771, died in Rotterdam, June, 1854. He married Anna Lansing, February 2, 1784; children: Cornelia, Jacob, Tennetta, Sarah and Obadiah L. They removed to Rotterdam in 1807, and soon after his wife died. He married (second) Mary Wiley, July 30, 1808; children: Anna, John, Martin and James. The De Forest family, who were of Huguenot descent, came to America in 1620 and settled on Long Island. The founder of the family in America was Jesse De Forest, a grandson of Melchior and Katherine (Rostiau) De Forest of Avesnes, France. Jesse De Forest, after an adventurous career, sailed with an expedition to plant a colony in South America, and was never again heard from. He left in Leyden, Holland, where they had been driven by persecution, a wife, Marie (Du Cloux) De Forest, and two sons. Isaac De Forest, younger of the two sons of Jesse, is the common ancestor. He emigrated to America in 1636. He was born at Leyden, Holland, in 1616, and after his arrival in New Amsterdam he married, in 1641, Sarah, daughter of Philippe Du Trieux (Truax). The same year Isaac built a dwelling and tobacco house on his plantation at Harlem. In 1643 he opened a tobacco wareroom on the "Strand," now Pearl street. He became a "Great Beugher" of the city, and a man of wealth and influence. He had ten children, three of whom died young. Philip De Forest, the seventh child, married, January 5, 1676, Tryntje, daughter of Isaac Kip, and removed to Albany, New York. He served as high-sheriff, and died 1727, having sons Isaac, Jesse, Johannes, David and Abraham. David, fourth son of Philip De Forest, was born September 8, 1700. He married Abigail Van Aalsteyn, November 8, 1718. He had sons Philip, Martin and Jacob, who had adjoining farms at North Greenbush, Rensselaer county, opposite Albany. Martin, the second son, baptized May 14, 1724, married Tanneke Winne, and had eleven children, of whom Jacob De Forest, grandfather of Mrs. Robert Thompson (De Forest) Moir, was the tenth. With Jacob De Forest the family became seated in the town of Rotterdam, Schenectady county, from whence the parents of Mrs. Moir removed to the city of Schenectady, where she was educated, married, and now resides. Robert T. and Catherine (De Forest) Moir have no children.

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