The Jameson Family History

The Edinburgh - Scotland Connection
It is said in the family that we come from the Highlands of Scotland and the Campbell Clan. Also, that we are related to the Duke of Argyll, although what is actually known is ONLY that our earliest proven ancestor, David Jameson matriculated at the University of Edinburgh Medical School, graduated abt 1738, and immigrated to America abt 1740.

Individuals with the name "David Jameson" are known to have been born in Ayrshire around the assumed approximate DOB for David Jameson of 1715. Ayrshire is part of the ancestral home of the Campbell clan and the various Dukes of Argyl. As "Jameson" is a fairly common name in Scotland, there is probably little significance to these facts.

A stronger case can perhaps be made that we come from the Gunn clan (see in the Sutherland area of the Highlands or even the Stewart Clan (see

- (possible Templar connection? See the background on the Prince Henry Sinclair and Sir James Gunn's Expedition to America in 1398.)

The name originated from a Norse personal name "Gunni" (which means "war"). The first Gunni came to Caithness at the end of the 12th century when his wife inherited land there from her brother who was Jarl (Earl) of Orkney. Gunni's wife was descended from St Ragnvald who founded the St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall. Gunni's Viking grandfather had been killed in 1171 on a raid on Dublin. Orkney, Shetland and Shetland were still part of Norway at this time.

Although Ottar, a descendant of Gunni, is known to have lived around 1280 and is the assumed progenitor of the Gunn chiefs, the first chief of the clan to be recorded with certainty was George Gunn who was the coroner of Caithness in the 15th century. He was known as "Am Braisdeach Mor" or "the great brooch-wearer" from his insignia as coroner. He had a castle at Clyth on the east coast of Caithness. A number of separate lines of Gunns became established in Braemore (known as the Robson Gunns), Killearnan, Kildonan and also the Caithness Hendersons and Williamsons.

There is evidence that at the end of the 14th century Sir James Gunn accompanied Sir Henry Sinclair, Earl of Orkney, to North America, nearly one hundred years before Christopher Columbus.

The Gunns became established in the highland areas of Caithness and they were frequently in conflict with the clan Keith. The source (excuse?) for the feud was said to have been when Dugald Keith, who had been spurned by a daughter of Gunn of Braemor, surrounded her home, killed a number of the inhabitants and carried her back to Ackergill Castle. She then threw herself from the tower there rather than submit. There were frequent battles over the years with considerable loss of life. Towards the end of the 15th century a "battle of champions" was agreed with twelve horsemen on each side. But the Keiths turned up with two men on each horse and slaughtered the Gunns. Among the dead were the chief and his four sons who were killed despite taking refuge in the chapel of St Tyr. The grandson of the murdered chief was the first to hold the title "MacSheumais Chataich" (son of James of Caithness, his father). The feud was finally settled in a formal Treaty of Friendship - in 1978.

In 1586 the Sinclair Earls of Caithness and the Gordon earls of Sutherland agreed a pact to destroy the clan Gunn and in order to strengthen their position Gunn of Killearnan married the sister of the chief of the clan Mackay. However, the lands of Killearnan were not lost through battle but by debt. They later obtained land at Badenloch and tried to establish themselves with all the accoutrements of a Highland chief.

In the 17th century, Sir William Gunn who was a brother of the Robson chief, rose to be a battalion commander in the service of the king of Sweden and then fought for King Charles I who gave him a knighthood in 1639. He later married a German baroness and became an imperial general in the Holy Roman Empire.

The Gunns did not become involved in the 1715 Jacobite Uprising and when Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standard in 1745 the Gunns fought on the side of the Hanoverian government. The Gunns suffered greatly as a result of the Highland Clearances in the 19th century and many emigrated or were forced to move to other areas of Scotland. The direct line of the chief ceased in 1821 but there are moves to prove the genealogical credentials and to have a new chief declared by the Court of the Lord Lyon.

In modern times the novelist Neil M Gunn wrote many books based on his childhood on the coast of Caithness.

The Gunn clan motto is "Aut Pax Aut Bellum" which means "Either peace or war".

Surnames regarded as septs (sub-branch) of the Gunn clan include Enrick, Gallie, Gaunson, Georgeson, Jameson, Jamieson, Kean, Keene, MacComas, MacCorkill, MacCorkle, MacIan, MacKames, MacKeamish, MacKean, MacManus, MacRob, MacWilliam, Mann, Manson, Nelson, Robinson, Robison, Robson, Ronald, Ronaldson, Sandison, Swan, Swanson, Will, Williamson, Wilson, Wylie.

Gunn is still one of the top twenty surnames in the Highland region of Scotland according to the General Register Office.

( See )

Possible connection to
*David Jamesone 1614?* courtesy of Ian Lloyd Jameson of France.
; and possibly we are also directly descended from two of King James I
(1424-1437) of Scotland's two illegitimate sons.

"King James and his mistress, Janet Gunn, had two sons, who held the
name of* *_*JAMESONE*_. They were ship owners and mariners at
*Aberdeen.* King James gave them the task to arm their ships for an
expedition against Norwegians, Pirates and others of the King's Enemies,
which at that time had infested the North Coast of Scotland. They were
both successful in their expedition and did good service for the
country. In acknowledgement of this, King James I was pleased to grant
them the Jameson Family Armorial Bearings."/

_*For a shield:*_ three anchors divided by a Fesse wavy;

_*For a Crest:*_ A Roman Galley armed with sails spread with flags and
displayed proper.

_*For a Motto*__:_ /*Sine Metu Ad Littora Tendit*/. (Without fear he
defends the coast).

The two *JAMESONE *brothers subsequently split up and the eldest adopted
the first part of the motto - /*Sine Metu.*/ The younger brother adopted
the second part of the motto - /*Ad Littora Tendit.

_*JAMESON or JAMIESON or JAMISON*_ name from Aberdeen and Alloa Scotland
and Co. Dublin and Co. Galway Ireland

Mackearmish, MacSheamuis: a Gallicised form of the name *JAMESON*

In 1804 *JAMESON* was the most frequent used Surname.

*JAMESON*, Alloa, Co. Clackmannanshire Scotland MS Pedigree deposited in
the Lyon Office Edinburgh. (This document, apparently, no longer exists)



Some likely, but unsubstantiated, Scottish relatives are as follows:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Robert Jameson

Robert Jameson

"Professor Robert Jameson (1774-1854) was a Scottish naturalist and mineralogist, born in Leith, near Edinburgh, in July 1774. As Regius Professor at the University of Edinburgh for fifty years, Jameson is notable for his advanced scholarship in natural history, his superb museum collection, and his tuition of Charles Darwin. Darwin attended Robert Jameson's natural history course at the University of Edinburgh in his teenage years, learning about stratigraphic geology and assisting with the collections of the Museum of Edinburgh University, then one of the largest in Europe. At Professor Robert Jameson's Wernerian Natural History Association, the young Charles Darwin saw John James Audubon give a demonstration of his method of using wires to prop up birds to draw or paint them in natural positions. Robert Jameson was also the great-uncle of Sir Leander Starr Jameson, Bt, KCMG, CB, British colonial statesman.

Early life

Robert Jameson's early education was spent in Edinburgh, after which he became the apprentice of a surgeon in Leith, with the aim of going to sea. He also attended classes at the Edinburgh University, studying medicine, botany, chemistry, and natural history. By 1793, influenced by the Professor of Natural History, John Walker (1731-1803), he had abandoned medicine and the idea of being a ship's surgeon, and focused instead on science, particularly geology and mineralogy.

Jameson was, as a result of this new focus, given the responsibility of looking after the University's Natural History Collection. During this time his geological field-work frequently took him to the Isle of Arran, the Hebrides, Orkney, the Shetland Islands and the Irish mainland. In 1800, he spent a year at the mining academy in Freiberg, Saxony, where he studied under the noted geologist Abraham Gottlob Werner (1749 or 1750-1817).

As an undergraduate, Jameson had several noteworthy classmates at the University of Edinburgh including Robert Brown, Joseph Black, and Thomas Dick.

Regius Professor, Natural History, University of Edinburgh

In 1804 he succeeded Dr Walker as the third Regius Professor of Natural History at Edinburgh University, a post which he held for fifty years. During this period he became the first eminent exponent in Britain of the Wernerian geological system, or Neptunism, and the acknowledged leader of the Scottish Wernerians, founding and presiding over the Wernerian Natural History Society [1] in 1808 until around 1850, when his health began to decline, together with the fortunes of the Society. Jameson's support for Neptunism, a theory that argued that all rocks had been deposited from a primaeval ocean, initially pitted him against James Hutton (1726-1797), a fellow Scot and eminent geologist also based at Edinburgh University, who argued for uniformitarianism, a theory that saw the features of the earth's crust being caused by natural processes over geologic time. Later on in life Jameson renounced Neptunism when he found it untenable and converted to the views of his opponent, Hutton.

As a teacher, Jameson was remarkable for his power of imparting enthusiasm to his students, and from his class-room there radiated an influence which gave a marked impetus to the study of geology in Britain. Though Charles Darwin apparently found the lectures boring, possibly on account of his youth (Darwin was then only 16: Jameson was 52, and had been a professor for 22 years) the course nevertheless introduced Darwin to the study of geology. The detailed syllabus of Professor Jameson's lectures, as drawn up by him in 1826, shows the range of his teaching. The course in zoology began with a consideration of the natural history of human beings, and concluded with lectures on the philosophy of zoology, in which the first subject was Origin of the Species of Animals. (The Scotsman, 29th Oct., 1935: p.8)

Over Jameson's fifty year tenure, he built up a huge collection of mineralogical and geological specimens for the Museum of Edinburgh University, including fossils, birds and insects. By 1852 there were over 74,000 zoological and geological specimens at the museum, and in Britain the natural history collection was second only to that of the British Museum. Shortly after his death, the University Museum was transferred to the British Crown and became part of the Royal Scottish Museum, now the Royal Museum, in Edinburgh's Chambers Street. He was also a prolific author of scientific papers and books, including the Mineralogy of the Scottish Isles (1800), his System of Mineralogy (1808), which ran to three editions, and Manual of Mineralogy (1821). In 1819, with Sir David Brewster (1781 - 1868), Jameson started the Edinburgh Philosophical Journal [2] and became its sole editor in 1824.

He died in Edinburgh on 19 April 1854. A portrait of Robert Jameson is housed by the National Portrait Gallery in London, and a bust of him is in the Old College of the University of Edinburgh. Robert Jameson was the uncle of Robert William Jameson, Writer to the Signet and playwright of Edinburgh, and therefore also the great-uncle of Sir Leander Starr Jameson, Bt, KCMG, British colonial statesman."

Robert William Jameson

"Robert William Jameson, WS (1805–1868): A Writer to the Signet in Edinburgh, Town Councillor, newspaper Editor, poet and playwright, Robert William Jameson was the father of Sir Leander Starr Jameson, South African statesman and prime minister, and the nephew of Professor Robert Jameson of the University of Edinburgh. Born in Edinburgh in 1805, Robert William was the son of Thomas Jameson, a wealthy shipowner, merchant and burgess of the city of Edinburgh, as recorded in Colvin, Vol. 1: 1-2 (1922). Colvin writes of Robert William's father and grandfather, both of whom were named Thomas Jameson, that:
"These Jamesons came, so the tradition goes, from the Shetland Islands; and both their origin and their crest, a ship in full sail, with Sine Metu for motto, suggest that they once followed a seafaring life. But they had been long settled in Leith and Edinburgh." (Colvin, 1922, Vol.1:1).
In 1835, Robert William Jameson married Christian Pringle, daughter of Major-General Pringle of Symington and his wife Christian Watson. The Jamesons had eleven children, of whom Leander Starr was the youngest, born on February 9, 1853.
Having first pursued a career as a Writer to the Signet in Edinburgh, Robert William's interest in journalism was recognised by his Whig friend and patron the Earl of Stair, who in 1954 made him Editor of the Wigtownshire Free Press, the headquarters of which was based in Stranraer, to which the family moved from Edinburgh, remaining there until 1860.
Robert William was a radical and free thinker, author of the dramatic poem Nimrod, published in 1848 and of the play Timolean, a tragedy in five acts, published and performed at the Adelphi Theatre in Edinburgh in 1852. Timolean, inspired by liberal anti-slavery views of the era, was popular with audiences and ran to a second edition within the first year of publication. In 1854 Jameson published the novel The Curse of Gold.
Writing for The Scotsman in 1922, W.Forbes Gray observed of Robert William Jameson that:
"There was probably no better known man in Edinburgh in the earlier part of the last century than Robert William Jameson, W.S., the father of the South African statesman whose biography is reviewed in your columns to-day. When the agitation for Parliamentary and municipal reform was at its height, Jameson, who was a sturdy Radical and a violent opponent of the Corn Law, ranged himself alongside of Adam Black, and was able as well as indefatigable in his advocacy of the policy of the 'clean slate'. Lord Chancellor Campbell considered Jameson the best hustings speaker he ever heard. Jameson was prominent at most of the public meetings of that time, and when the citizens of Edinburgh gave their feelings over the rejection of the first Reform Bill by the House of Lords, Jameson was one of the speakers at a mass meeting in the King's Park, attended by about 50,000 people. He was also an ardent municipal reformer, and was among those chosen at the first election of the reformed Town Council of Edinburgh. In 1835 Councillor Jameson opposed a proposal that the College Committee of the Town Council should supervise the teaching given in the University."
Robert William and his family moved to Chelsea and Kensington in London in 1861, where he died in 1868.


Colvin, I. (1922) The Life of Jameson: in Two Volumes. London: Edward Arnold and Co.
Forbes Gray, W. (1922) Sir Starr Jameson's Edinburgh Ancestry, The Scotsman, Tuesday, 24 October, 1922, page 6. Available from the Archives of The Scotsman."




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