Following is a letter written by my great grandfather William James Cromartie about his grandfather William Cromartie. It was reproduced from a pamphlet entitled The William Cromartie Family that the McCulloch Press published in August 1946.
July 13, 1894
Your letter has been received and I am glad to see someone interested in the history of our family, wish I knew more of our ancestors.
To begin with, Grandfather (William C.) was born in Scotland May 1, 1731. Tradition says that he was entitled to an earldom but had to leave the country at the time of the downfall of the “Stuart House.” He then went to sea and followed that life for several years. Then comes his voyage to this country and romantic marriage. The captain of the ship he came over in was much in love with a beautiful young lady who did not return his affection, some way the captain got her on board his ship, probably to look over it, and set sail, then would have forced her to marry him but our grandfather took her part and of course married her afterwards. They finally settled here on South River and had one son, William, Jr.; born to them September 10, 1765, who served in the Revolutionary War. (It must have been the latter part of the war.) His first wife lived only a short time. On April 22, 1766, he married Miss Ruhamah Doane, an English lady then living in Boston. To them were born 12 children, four boys and eight girls. The boys settled here within a few miles of each other⎯the girls married and some moved to other states. William Cromartie, Sr. died Sept. 21, 1807. His last wife (Our grandmother) was born October 31, 1745 and died Dec. 26, 1813. All of the above dates are taken from the records of William Cromartie Sr.’s Bible, which I have in my possession. The present generation your wife I suppose knows as much about as any of us. They are scattered all over the United States.
Jules Vernes in his “Tour of the World in Eighty Days” speaks of Brigadier-General Cromartie of the Army of India. Probably you could get some interesting facts by reading Hugh Miller’s “Scenes and Legends of Cromarty,” written in 1885, it is said that Hugh Miller’s father was a Cromartie.
Grandfather founded South River Presbyterian Church and was a zealous Presbyterian. He was not a hunter although this country was full of wild animals he was not known to shoot but one deer and that was in his field.
The Cromarties have made good citizens and have done their share towards increasing the population of this country.
Now, I hope these notes will be a benefit to you in your undertaking, and I will speak for several copies of the History.
Wishing you much success in this work, I am.
W. J. Cromartie
Tonya Cromartie, David Cromartie, Sam Cromartie, and Kimberly Cromartie Horwedel at the William Cromartie Cemetery in Bladen County, North Carolina
I have published three historical novels and three thrillers. They are listed under Sam Cromartie on barnesandnoble.com, Nook, Amazon, Kindle, Xlibris, and Apple iBooks. They may also be found at my website, www.samcromartie.com. The titles are as follows:
Good Fortune’s Curse
An Innocent Lie
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Our ancestor, William Cromartie, came from the Orkney Islands, which rise from the sea just north of the northern coast of Scotland at the same latitude as Juneau, Alaska. They were ruled by Norway until the fourteenth century when Denmark took control of Norway. In 1486 James III of Scotland received them as part of a dowry when he married a daughter of Christian I of Denmark and Norway.
The first Cromartie recorded there was John O’Cromartie about 1450. We believe he took the last name from his original home on the Black Isle of Scotland. Most of the family on the Orkneys spell the name Cromarty with a y.
I explored the islands in September 2000 and visited St. Peters Church in Eastside, South Ronaldshay. It sat on a hill overlooking a rocky beach. William probably attended that church as a child. There were many Cromartys in that cemetery.
The islands have a rich history extending back over 5,000 years. The Standing Stones of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar rival the Stonehenge of England. Since I was there, a mysterious temple complex has been unearthed called the Ness of Brodgar. National Geographic August 2014 contained an extensive article describing the high walls and the buildings they surrounded. I hope to return someday and see it firsthand.
The Standing Stones of Sternness
I had my DNA checked by ancestry.com. The results were as follows:
36% Europe West
34% Ireland (includes Scotland)
22% Great Britain
3% Iberian Peninsula
<1% Finland/Northwest Russia
The Cromartie Reunion scheduled for this weekend in North Carolina has been cancelled due to Hurricane Matthew.
The Cromartie Reunion is scheduled for Sunday October 9, 2016 at the South River Presbyterian Church in Bladen County, North Carolina with registration beginning at 10:15 in the morning and the program at 11:00 followed by a catered lunch. RSVP for the lunch to Ann Butler at 910 395 0326 or to Sara Honeycutt at firstname.lastname@example.org. The church is on the north side of state road 210 about one-and-a-half miles southeast of the intersection of 210 and US 701.
William Cromartie built his house near the bank of the South River in Bladen County, North Carolina about 1760. The frame structure contained seven rooms, two of which were upstairs. There was also a kitchen made from logs, a spinning house, milk house, smoke house, log barn, and potato house. William’s son John inherited the house and in 1824 moved it and the other structures to higher ground about a half mile to the southwest by rolling them on logs using oxen. He also expanded and remodeled it. It burned in 1924. Robert Samuel Cromartie M.D. built a new house on the site. This presently unoccupied house sits on a hill on the west side of highway 701 just north of highway 41. The marker for the William Cromartie cemetery is located on the opposite side of highway 701.
I just received my DNA results from Ancestry.com. The results are as follows:
Europe West 36%
Great Britain 22%
Iberian Peninsula 3%
Finland/NW Russia <1% Great Britain and Ireland overlap with Scotland.
Most of the Cromarties in the United States are descended from William Cromartie and Ruhamah Doane. Ruhamah Doane was descended from Henry Howland (born in England 1565 and died 1635 in England). They had three sons who came to the colonies: Arthur, John and Henry. According to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they had a number of prominent descendants.
Henry Howland was born 25 Nov 1604 in Huntingdonshire, England and died 17 Jan 1671 in Plymouth, Mass. He sailed to Massachusetts in 1624. His descendants include Ruhamah Doane, Richard Milhouse Nixon (37th President of the United States), and Leslie Lynch King Jr. who changed his name to Gerald Ford (38th President of the United States.
Author Howland was born about 1610 in Cambridge, England and died 30 Oct 1675 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Winston Churchill (Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during WWII) was his descendant.
John Howland was born in 1592 in England and died about 23 Feb 1671 in Plymouth Massachusetts. He came to Massachusetts on the Mayflower in 1620. He is ancestor to Joseph Smith Jr (founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and Franklin Delano Roosevelt (32nd President of the United States).