Clues to the 17th century Maxwell family of Hills in Kirkcudbrightshire

Through the Dodds side, and then Somner, and Veitch, and Logan, my ancestral tree reaches the Maxwell family of Hills in Kirkcudbrightshire. This family descended from the Maxwell Lords of Caerlaverock, and I was able to piece together a lot about my 17th century ancestors from various historical records. My Maxwells were cousins of the Logans they intermarried with: a Logan daughter married John Maxwell younger of Hills, in 1624, and their son and daughter married a Logan sister and brother, the youngsters’ first cousins. But I was able to find out much more about the family, very unexpectedly, in a trip a few years ago to the Scottish Genealogy Society Library in Edinburgh.

Initially my husband and I were looking in parish registers etc. for other branches of our family. And then I started looking in the large collection of published family histories that the library holds. And to my amazement I found Walter Jameson McCulloch of Ardwall’s self-printed A history of the Galloway families of McCulloch. This was exciting because the McCullochs of Ardwall had inherited the Maxwell of Hills estate, through the female line. And opening up the book I found masses about my ancestors.

I have photocopies here of some of the pages from the book, but will only give a few details. But it gives a taste of the type of information in there.

The Logan of Burncastle family had a lot of deaths of fathers at a young age, including George Logan in 1645. This resulted in his children John and Isabella being assigned to a tutor, their uncle-by-marriage, James Logan, second husband of their aunt Elizabeth Logan who had firstly married John Maxwell younger of Hills. This meant that the two Logan youngsters and their Maxwell cousins would often be together, and became very close. But they also had to contend with a wicked stepfather / uncle, James Logan, who seems to have tried to disinherit his wife’s son Edward Maxwell (very young) of Hills. Edward’s cousin young John Logan of Burncastle managed to outwit the uncle, through the courts, became the sole owner of Hills, which he then assigned to his cousin Edward, who by this time was married to John’s sister Isabella Logan. John Logan himself would marry Edward’s sister Agnes Maxwell, and that’s the line I descend from.

The Maxwell of Hills family eventually died out in the male line, and was succeeded by a McCulloch descendant. They also inherited a family bible, described in the relevant will as a ‘gilded bible’, which originally belonged to George Logan of Burncastle’s parents-in-law, Ludovick Fowler and his wife Jean Cathcart, who married at Edinburgh in 1622. The bible has Ludovick and Jean’s initials worked into the cover, in gold and silver thread. The McCulloch book says it was passed down in the family at Ardwall, but I’m unsure if it’s still there. I do remember reading of what looked like the same bible now being held in Dalbeattie Library.

About vivdunstan

Academic historian, genealogist, former computer scientist, and Doctor Who fan.
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