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W T Laird's 1888 Letter from the Laird Family Association Database

From: uralaird@juno.com
To: LAIRD-L@rootsweb.com

For those new to, or didn't see the original posting, I forward this letter from my LAIRD collection. The letter in its entirety. I know nothing of the writer,
or any of his descendants. It was sent to my g grandfather, and saved all
these years. Hope it helps someone.
Barry Laird Cornell
N. Canton, Ohio

Dec 31st 1888

Geo. F. Laird Esq.
Kingston, New Mexico

Dear Sir:

I received your letter of Nov. 26th from Canton Ohio, in reply to mine of former date enquiring [sic] if you was the Geo Laird who has been mourned by his people, in Scotland, as dead, and who would be a full cousin to myself.

That, dear sir, was my reason for writing you, and which I explain, as in this age of sharpers you may be inclined to believe I meant to practice some game of confidence on you. If ever you entertained any idea I had any sinister motive you must dispel it, and thus establish confidence between us.

In my former letter to you I think I mentioned somewhat as an introduction. I came from Scotland nearly five years ago with the intention of going to western Texas to invest in the stock business, stopping here, the land agents talked me into buying and I invested in property here. My oldest brother John, who was a practical chemist, and assayer in London England wrote me to look out a location for him in this country. I did so. He came here about 18 months ago, and has a druggist business here. He married here, while I enjoy single blessedness. He is 41, and I 29 years of age, both total abstainers .

My Grandfather John Laird emigrated from Scotland in 1860, and died two years ago in Postville Wisconsin aged 102 years. My Grandfather on Mother’s side died about the same time aged 98. He was a Waterloo veteran.

My people are still living and reside in Aberdeen, Scotland. My brother John who is here with me, while he was in England by chance unearthed the real history of the Laird family, and which had remained previous unknown to us.

We had an idea that we belonged to some good stock, as our Grandfather had told our family that the land he owned in Aberdeen had been in the family from very remote ages. This land I believe is owned by the Earl of Aberdeen. The instance relating to the finding out the true genealogy of our family is an interesting one, and which will no doubt interest you. My brother John was for several years the manager of a large drug and assaying business in Shrewsbury England, and was while there the incident I speak of took place. While enjoying a half holiday by the bank of the Severn alone, the daughter of Sir H Harnage (whose father owned the adjacent land,) was fishing in the river, by accident this girl fell off the log
she was standing, and as my brother heard her cries, she was
disappearing. Being a good swimmer he immediately swam to her rescue and after reaching shore carried her to a farm where she was cared for.

From that day none stood higher in the estimation of the father or daughter as he. The girl and my brother finally became engaged. The father who was also a commissioner in the national Heraldric Office, and had access to all manuscripts of families there, set to investigating the family history, as evidences pointed to my father becoming his future son in law. From there we got the family history, and through him was redeemed the family crest and arms, which had lain in Chancery for nearly 500 years. Our family after examination proved themselves to belong to the main stem of the Laird family, and the British government through this gentleman at great expense, allowed us the original crest, arms, and motto of the original
family and which my brother still retains. I may here mention , the girl I speak of suddenly died in France, and thus never filled her engagement, while the father remembered my brother sustantially.

In your recent letter you say you do not know much of your family origin, and as you ask me to inform you I have wrote the above remarks in length so that you may realize I do not inform you on heresay
[sic] but on truth and facts, and which I am able to sustain. By your letter I see evidences that I believe you to be a gentleman, or I should certainly not trouble myself about writing this long account of your family history, and which information we believe alone to possess. After receiving your letter I informed my brother , and he immediately gave me access to the facts which I impart to you.

(Family Origin)

The origin of the Laird family is very ancient. The earliest record of which is found in Saxony in Germany, and where the family was known as ‘Hlawford’. and also held the position as Counts among the Aristocracy of Saxony. Count Hlawford had about 4,000 retainers, or fighting men, and had four castles or strongholds, his principal castle, which he made his permanent home was on the banks of the Elbe. He had 15 vessels manned by hardy sailors, and thus with these on sea, and his soldiers on land, he soon possessed himself of immense territory. This was about the year 1,000. In the year 10, 15, [sic] he set sail on one of his expeditions, and
encountering heavy storms he was driven on the shores of the eastern
coast of Scotland, near a small Caladonian
[sic] town whose inhabitants were of Pictish origin of the name Aberdour. Most of his vessels were destroyed, or rendered unseaworthy, so much so, that he had not the means of going to sea again, also most of his men were drowned. All that remained was himself, his wife, four sons, and two daughters and 100 retainers out of 4000 which left Saxony.

He built a large Castle on the edge of a cliff 150 feet from the waters edge. (This Castle is now in ruins although the foundations stand. I have seen it) At that time game of all kinds were plentiful, and they spent their time hunting, and fishing. As time went on he made war on the natives, and being successful he soon acquired large tracts of land. He was known among the natives as Laird, or Lord of the Manor, or estate. I could go on and recapitulate the history of the family down to the time of Covenanters, but it would take a small volume to rehearse the adventures and vessisitudes
[sic] of the family. So in that case I will curtail the account and mention that the year 1600 which was then about the most troublesome times in Scotland, part of the family (for the family was then in three divisions) fled to the north part of Ireland, the head of which branch was named David.

The other branch under James went to the south of Scotland, to a place called Galloway, while the other or oldest or main stem John remained in the place of their origin, Aberdour. Of this stem we claim our origin, and to this section of the family alone do the British government allow the right of holding the crest and arms. The David part of the family emigrated to North Carolina, U. S. in or about the year 1730, and thus you can see distinctly you belong to a branch of the old and genealogical stem, although of a younger branch.

You understand the honors, and rights, always belong to the oldest, or principal stem of any family. One scion or branch of the same family, but on your side, was an Admiral during the American war of independence. During this war he must have amassed considerable wealth so much so that in the year 1785 he bought the large estate of Strathmartin in Scotland and which lands was in the hands of his son David Laird the last time I was through there before I left home. A member of the Laird family was the Birkenhead shipbuilder who built the Alabama, and raised such a racket between this country and Britian.
[sic] His son is at present member of Parliament for Birkenhead. This Congressman Jas Laird of Nebraska, who is at present dying I am unable to say of what stock he is. You will now see from what I have explained evidences are that you belong to a good branch of that noble and aristocratic family of which we all should feel proud.

From History I understand their land was confiscated as they took an active part in rebellious war and piracies. This however is no degradation to us. The crest and family arms are little use to any of us as we have to work for a living, but then on the other hand they are the substantial evidences we belong to an ancient family of no mean origin. So now dear Sir I feel you will cherish and enjoy this account of the Laird family. If ever you should go to Scotland, and circumstances occur I could go along. I would take pleasure in showing you very interesting evidences of the Laird family, and I think a trip of research and pleasure would well pay you. I intended visiting the south west some time ago, but circumstances are I can not do so for some time, I am however negotiating for a good situation in San Diego, Cal. which I expect to go to in April, that is if nothing better turns up and I get my property sold here. If I should go west I should very much like to stop off at Kingston and see you on my way through. I like this country
[scratched through] state well enough, but I believe a young man can do better in the west if he notices himself and attends to business. If you have a N. M. newspaper which you would kindly wish to send I should be glad to receive.

So now as I have given you all the information, abbreviated, I can, and as it is getting bedtime I will conclude with hopes of sometime meeting you. So with the wish this may reach you in good health and that the New Year may be happy and prosperous to you, I remain

Yours very sincerely
W. T. Laird




The College of Arms,

London, E.C.4.

Dear Mr Laird,

           Thank you for your fax of 12 September addressed to the College of Arms which has been passed to me as Officer in Waiting.

I am afraid that I can find nothing here to support the story contained the letter of 1888 of which you sent a transcript. There is no such position, or anything like it, as a "commissioner in the National Heraldic Office". A coat of arms and crest does not lie in Chancery. The Chancery Courts never had anything to do with heraldry.

          I have searched our official records here and there is no pedigree of Laird recorded here in this century or the nineteenth century. There has been no grant or confirmation of arms to any person named Laird in this century or the last 50 years of the nineteenth century. I did not search back any further than that.

         The possibility remains that one of the heralds here might have undertaken genealogical research on the Laird Family the resulting pedigree was not entered into the official records here. But certainly no right to arms or crest was established.

Yours sincerely, 

1888_L1.jpg (5450 bytes)
D.V. White

Rouge Croix Pursuivant