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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Reid

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[This information is from Vol. II, pp. 670-672 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.]

As with the aborigines of America, the origin of the early inhabitants of Britain, or the British Isles, is a matter of speculation, although some writers claim that an analysis of the language of the Celts seems to indicate that they were of Indo-European origin, or the descendants of very early immigrants from India. This theory is applied to all of the languages of the aborigines of Europe. It is interesting, however, to note that this does not apply to the dialect of the American Indians. Although philologists and antiquarians have found traces of a similarity in the dialects of the Esquimos and Aztecs, Iroquois, Algonquins and other aborigines of America, not a trace has been found to connect these dialects with the Indo-European nations.

During an early period the highlands of Scotland were inhabited by barbarians who were called Caledonii, a race divided into clans, and living in rude fortresses built of earth and stone situated upon the crest of hills, and again, in fortified caves, or caverns. These fortresses seem to have been constructed for protection against each other, rather than for safety from a foreign foe. The Caledonii are described as a wild half-clad hardy race, and warlike in the extreme. Later we find these primitive tribes or clans called Picts. The home of the Caledonii is said to have been north of the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde.

We find the name of Scotto-Irish applied to two clans of the great Celtic family who found their way into Ireland, and were called Dalriads. These clans are said to have established themselves in Ulster. In A. D. 503 the Dalriads, or, as they were afterward called, the Scotto-Irish, formed a colony under the direction of three sons of Erc, (Lorn, Furgus, and Angus), in the territory of the Caledonii, near a headland now known by the name of Cantyre, in Argyle, and across the North Channel from the extreme north end of Ireland. The Dalriads appear to have embraced Christianity before they arrived in Argyle, but do not seem to have attempted its introduction among the Caledonians. However, in A. D. 563, St. Columba, "a monk of high family descent, and a cousin of Scotto-Irish Kings," erected a monastery on a very small island lying in the Scottish Sea off the west coast of the mainland, and known in poetry and history as Iona.

It is about this time that we find the term Caledonians changed to Picts, and read of the Pictish kings and the Scotto-Irish kings, until in A. D. 843 a Scotch-Irish king ascended the Pictish throne as Kenneth, son of Alpin, and the name of Picts lost to history, and we have in its place the names, Scots and Scotland, while the name Caledonia covers the whole of Scotland as with a blanket, and the aboriginal Irish designated as Celts, and the Scots as Gaels.

It is said that the family name of Reid in Scotland comes from a family or clan which bore the patronymic of Rua, or the Red Barons — probably a predatory band, as they were called "the Red Robbers," and the name Rua, in the course of continuous centuries becoming Reid. If this be true, it may be that an infinitesimal drop of the blood of Kenneth of Alpin, the first Scottish King of Scotland, is still in my veins.

The foregoing is from the pen of a Reid, an accomplished writer, who adds, in a personal note to the editor of this work, some words which are well worth preserving: "I have made the above record to assist in keeping in my mind the early names of my Scottish ancestry, rather than for information to the reader; but, whether I am a Celt or a Gael, a Pict or Caledonian, or just a plain every-day Scotchman; or whether I am a descendant from a Red Baron or a Scotto-Irish or Pictish king, will ever remain a mystery. Nor do I care much. Being born in America, of Scotch parentage, of law-abiding and God-fearing people, is a sufficiently good ancestry for me."

(I) Edward Reid, of Speddock, Scotland, married Jane Barber. Children: Edward, William, James, John, Robert, Susannah and Agnes.

(II) Edward (2), son of Edward (1) Reid, was born in Speddock, Scotland, and came to America in 1818. He married Maxwell Dalrymple, a cousin of the Earl of Dalrymple. Children, James and Jane, born in Scotland, the others in Amsterdam, New York:

  1. James, married Lura Bartlett; children: Edward M.; Jay; Mary, married John Teller De Graff, and had two children — Edward Teller, married Anna V. Taylor, and Luella, married David C. DeGraff.
  2. Jane, married, 1850, John Dingman; died without issue.
  3. Edward A., married Catherine Stewart; children: Jennie, Elizabeth, Archibald, Edward, James Morrison.
  4. Alexander, lived and died at Schaghticoke, New York; had one child, Edward James, died at Minaville, about 1907.
  5. William, see forward.
  6. Hugh Gordon.
  7. Agnes, married Sebastian Gunsalus.

(II) William, son of Edward (1) Reid, was born in Speddock, parish of Holywood, county of Dumfries, Scotland, November 12, 1779. He was the first of the family to come to America. He sailed from Greenock on June 1, 1802, landed in New York City on August 8, following, after a voyage of ten weeks in a sailing vessel. He went direct to Amsterdam, New York, partly by sloop, partly afoot. He was probably attracted to that locality by Scotch settlements previously made at Galway, Broadalbin, Perth and Johnstown, and engaged in teaching "On the Rocks," in the vicinity of what afterwards became the Tunis I. Van Dervere estate. He accumulated considerable property by his industry, and was considered a wealthy man for those early days. He was librarian of the first library in Amsterdam, and was justice of the peace for many years.

He married, February 1, 1806, Sarah, daughter of Elisha and Sarah Arnold, whose other child was Benedict Arnold, married Mary Bovee. Children of William and Sarah (Arnold) Reid:

  1. Marian, born December 7, 1806, died March 3, 1835; married, June 8, 1826, John B. Borst.
  2. Minerva, born June 21, 1808, died June 27, 1833; married, April 26, 1833, Merritt Bates.
  3. James Benedict, born November 19, 1810, died March 20, 1862; married Jane E. De Graff.
  4. Darwin E., born September 9, 1812; married, 1835, Elizabeth Kingsbury.
  5. Alexander, born August 29, 1815, died October 22, 1815.
  6. Louisa Jane, born August 16, 1820, died September 3, 1872; married, September 20, 1844, Orin David.

Mr. Reid married (second) Chloe, daughter of Dudley Smith, of Galway, New York. Children:

  1. William Edward, born July 1, 1836, died August 11, 1837.
  2. William Maxwell, born June 8, 1839; see forward.
  3. John Warren, born August 2, 1843, died May 23, 1846.
  4. Myron White, born October 22, 1845; married Sarah Kellogg; one son, William Kellogg Reid, married Mabelle Putnam; no issue.

(III) William Maxwell, eldest child of William (1) and Chloe (Smith) Reid, was born in Amsterdam, New York, June 8, 1839. He received his education in Amsterdam Academy, and engaged in mercantile business. He was the founder of the Amsterdam Board of Trade, was its first president, and remained in that position for seventeen years. At the beginning of this connection he came in touch with many plans for the benefit of the people of Amsterdam, notably the securing of a city charter in 1885; the organization and successful advancement of the Amsterdam Hospital, of which he has been a trustee for many years; the rebuilding of St. Ann's Church, and other praiseworthy enterprises. He has also long served as a trustee of the Children's Home.

Mr. Reid's principal distinction, however, is as an author. At the age of fifty, having some leisure, he became interested in the early history of the Mohawk Valley, and also in the general history of the Aborigines of North America. Embued and obsessed with this theme, he wrote for a local paper a series of articles called "Hollender Letters." With this as a beginning it was easy to compile a book entitled The Mohawk Valley; Its Legends and Its History. Soon after the publication of this book The History of the Terrible Mohawks was published serially, after which followed The Story of Old Fort Johnson. He also wrote a History of St. Ann's Church and Queen Anne's Chapel. At this writing Lake George and Lake Champlain is in the hands of the publishers, to be issued in May.

Mr. Reid assisted in organizing the Montgomery County Historical Society. He is a member of the American Historical Association, the New York State Historical Society, the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society, and trustee and corresponding secretary of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. He is also a member of Artisan Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, and of the Fort Johnson Club, and a member of the Masonic Club. He is senior warden of St. Ann's Church, Amsterdam.

Mr. Reid married, June 8, 1859, Laura L. McDonald; children:

  1. James McDonald, born June 8, 1860; married Carrie Nettle; one daughter, Laura Pauline Reid.
  2. Emma Maria, born July 22, 1862, died December 5, 1862.
  3. Bella Louise, born August 4, 1864, died February 18, 1866.
  4. Carrie Christine, born September 8, 1869; married, August 15, 1901, Frazier C. Whitcomb.
  5. Maxwell Charles, born March 15, 1872, died November 22, 1877.
  6. Augustus Clark, born October 8, 1874.

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