Charles Moffat was born on 01 April 1804 in Eccles, Berwickshire, Scotland, the son of Charles Moffat and Jane Bowhill. (The 1881 census taken at #13 Oliver Crescent, Hawick shows Charles’s birthplace at Lauder, Berwick., but all other censuses show Eccles.) He was a farm laborer or gardener. The International Genealogical Index shows that he married Margaret Watson on 08 Jan 1839 at Smailholm. The Smailholm parish records show “10 Feb 1839. Marriage Charles Moffit (sic) and Margaret Watson having produced marriage lines dated Coldstream 08 Jan 1839 had their marriage confirmed by the session.” Coldstream was where irregular marriages often took place, but nothing is known of the nature of this marriage. Charles Moffat died on 07 July 1887, age 84, at 5:30 AM at 13 Oliver Crescent, Hawick, Rox., of senile decay. He was buried in Wilton Cemetery (Hawick), parochial section, on 08 July 1887.
Margaret Watson, born 08 May 1815, at Smailholm was the daughter of Alexander (one source says Archibald) Watson, farm servant, and Alison Hope, who died 25 May 1837 at Smailholm. They were married on 10 Aug 1800 at Crankshaws, Berwick. The Watson family was comprised of:
- John b/c 07 Nov 1801, Eccles
- Isabella b/c c1804
- Margaret born 08 May, christened 04 June 1815, Smailholm
- Andrew b/c 02 Jul 1817, Smailholm
- Alexander b/c 06 Sept 1819, Smailholm, imbecile from birth. Died in Hawick and buried in Wilton Cemetery 24 Nov 1888, age 79. If 79, then born 1809.
- Christina and Thomas, twins, born 18 Oct 1823, Smailholm.
(Note big gap in family from 1804-1815.)
Margaret Watson Moffat died less than two months after her husband Charles. She died on 29 Aug 1887 at noon, age 72, of senile decay, at 13 Oliver Crescent, Hawick. She was buried in Wilton Cemetery on 31 Aug 1887.
Charles and Margaret Moffat had ten children:
- Alison, born 28 Sept 1840, christened 15 Nov 1840, Smailholm, died in infancy.
- Thomas, born 02 May 1842, chr. 09 June 1842, Smailholm, emigrated to Michigan 1868, died 22 June 1911, Saginaw County, MI. No issue.
- Alison, born 10 Mar 1844, chr 07 Apr 1844, Smailholm, emigrated to USA in 1892, died 01 Feb 1926 of uterine cancer, age 81, buried in Spring Grove Cemetery, Andover, Massachusetts.
- Alexander, born 14 Dec 1845, chr 18 Jan 1846, Smailholm, emigrated to USA in 1869, died 06 Apr 1888, Tittabawasee Twnp, Sag. Co, MI.
- Charles, born 30 Sept 1847, chr 01 Nov 1847, Smailholm, died 15 Oct 1909 in Melrose District Asylum of TB and Bright’s disease,
- Archibald, born 15 May 1849, chr 24 Jun 1849, Smailholm, died 13 Feb 1859, of typhus fever. Buried in Smailholm churchyard.
- Jane, born 27 Jun 1851, chr 03 Aug 1851, Smailholm, emigrated to USA in 1892, died 12 Jan 1923, cerebral hemorrhage, age 65, buried in Spring Grove Cemetery, Andover, Mass. (Dates do not add up.)
- Andrew, born 03 Apr 1853, chr 08 May 1853, Smailholm, died 04 Mar 1938, Hawick of senile myocardial degeneration and acute cystitis.
- George, born 27 Dec 1854, chr 28 Jan 1855, Smailholm,last noted in 1861 Census. Nothing more known.
- Margaret, born 03 July 1858, unknown chr, Smailholm,emigrated to USA in 1892. Death date unknown.
Note: Birthdates from Parish Records, Smailholm, christening dates from IGI records, Andrew’s birth date from his birth cert# 10 280534, census records, cemetery records, death certificates. IGI records show MOFFIT.
The census records show that the family moved about, and also that some of Margaret’s siblings lived in the household of Margaret and Charles on and off.
Mainberry Smailholm, Rox. 1841 Census film # 101928
Name Age Born in county
Charles Moffat, head 35 no
Margaret Moffat, wife 25 yes
Alison Moffat, dau 8 mths yes
John Watson, bro/law 39 no
Isabella Watson, sis/law 36 no
Alexander Watson, bro/law 21 yes
Thomas Watson, bro/law 17 yes
Christina Watson,sis/law 17 yes
In 1841 people were enumerated wherever they were at the moment - not necessarily at home. Note that birthdates and census ages do not always coincide.
Women, especially single women, sometimes “lowered” their ages a bit. Families were large, and it was hard to keep track of ages. ( The Alison in the 1841 Census was the one who died in infancy.)
Smailholm 1851 Census film #103762
Mainberry (street name?)
Margaret Moffat head married 35 yes
Thomas Moffat son 8 yes
Alice Moffat dau 7 yes
Alexander Moffat son 5 yes
Charles Moffat son 3 yes
Archibald Moffat son 1 yes
John Watson bro/law 50 no ( Eccles, Berw)
Husband Charles was evidently absent for this census.
Earlston 1861 Census film # 103910
Old Mainberry page 7 Enumeration # 1
Charles Moffat head 56 Ag lab. Born Eccles, Berw.
Margaret Moffat wife 45 Smailholm, Rox
Thomas Moffat son 18 Smailholm
Alison Moffat dau 17 Smailholm
Jane Moffat dau 9 Smailholm
Andrew Moffat son 8 Smailholm
George Moffat son 6 Smailholm
Margaret Moffat dau 2 Smailholm
John Watson bro/law 59 Eccles, Berw.
Isabella Watson sis/law 57 Eccles, Berw
Alexander Watson bro/law 41 Smailholm
Christina Watson sis/law 37 Smailholm
By 1861 Archibald had died. Alexander and Charles might have been working elsewhere. They do not appear in the Moffat household again.
Earlston, Berw. 1871 Census Film # 103971
# 9 Redpath
Charles Moffat head 67 laborer born Eccles, Berw.
Margaret Moffat wife 55 Smailholm
Margaret Moffat dau 12 scholar Smailholm
Christina Watson sis/law 48
Alexander Watson bro/law 50
By this time Thomas and Alexander had emigrated. Was George working elsewhere? What about the others?
Jane reappears in the 1881 Census by which time the household of Charles and Margaret lived in Hawick at # 13 Oliver Crescent. (Vol. 789 Book No.19 page 26)
Hawick 1881 Census
Charles Moffat head 77 retired gardener Lauder, Berw. (all other
Census records show Eccles)
Margaret Moffat wife 65 Smailholm
Alexander Watson bro/law 56 imbecile from birth,unmarried,Smailholm
Christina Watson sis/law 52 wool powerloom unmarried, Smailholm
Jane Moffat dau 25 weaver, powerloom, single, Smailholm
Margaret Moffat dau 22 weaver, unmarried Smailholm
About four years shaved off Jane’s age, or error in transcription.
Christina/e Watson evidently emigrated with her nieces Alice, Jane and Margaret to the USA in 1892. On the ship’s (“Austrian”) list, her age is given as 64.
In the 1900 Census Christine Watson born 1830, age 70, is living with her three nieces at Hyde Park, Norfolk, MA. I could not find her in 1910 Census.From burial records we know that Alexander Watson, retired gentleman, died 24 Nov 1888 at 13 Oliver Crescent, Hawick, age 79. His age fluctuated too!
Children of Charles and Margaret Moffat
Alison born 1840 was 8 months old in the 1841 census. There is no further reference to her. She evidently died before 1844 when the second Alison was born.
Thomas, 1842-1911, was the “best known “of Grandpa’s “Moffat” aunts and uncles ; in fact, he was the only one whose existence was known before considerable research. Thomas was born on 02 May 1842 in Smailholm, Rox, Scotland. From ship’s passenger lists on ancestrylibrary, I found that Thomas arrived in New York on 09 June 1868 from Glasgow, age 20, born about 1848, on the “Iowa.” He settled in Michigan in Tittabawasee Township where he farmed. The 1871 Tittabawsee Tax records show that Thomas owned the south half of NE _, Sec. 11, 80 acres. Value $400.00.Personal $40.00. Total taxes $15.90. More than likely he was the first of his Moffats to be a landowner. I could not find him in the 1870 Census. In the 1880 Michigan Census Thomas Moffatt (sic) was “born <1842> in Scotland, 38 years old, farmer, single, white, living in Tittabawasee Twnp, Saginaw Co, Michigan in the same household as his younger brother Alexander Moffatt(sic) who was listed as head of the household by one transcriber, but the original records do not say which brother, if either, was the head. The 1890 Census for Michigan was not available.
In the 1900 Michigan Census (ED 77, sheet 5), Thomas, 58, laborer, was enumerated with William and Margaret Love in Titta., Sag. Co. as a naturalized citizen. The 1910 Census lists Thomas Moffat, head, 68, emigrated 1868, with his own income. Living with him is his nephew, Andrew Moffat, (my grandfather), 24, farm laborer, at Titta Twp, Sag Co., MI. Unfortunately the date of Andrew’s emigration cannot be read. I believe he came to Emerson, Manitoba, and then went to his uncle’s in Michigan, but have not bene able to verify that.
Thomas never married. The death record shows that Thomas Moffett (sic) died 22 June 1911, age 68, residence Saginaw City, retired farmer, parents unknown, of dilstalism (sic)of heart. He is buried in Pine Grove Cemetery north of Freeland, MI. The inscription on his tombstone says simply “Thomas Moffat 1842-1911. His obituary referred to two sisters in the East, that being the first clue that there were other siblings in the USA; the nephew referred to would be Andrew Moffat, my grandfather.
After Grandpa Andrew Moffat left Scotland, he eventually came to live with his Uncle Thomas . Both men were good friends of the Turner family. (Herb and Irene Turner were good friends of my mom and dad.). There was evidently some dispute over Thomas Moffat’s estate which was valued at $1850.00 real estate and $1500.00 personal. His belongings included lots in Freeland, lumber, stove, clothes, tools, trunk,bed and more. My grandfather, Andrew Moffat, apparently applied to administer the estate, but two of Thomas’s sisters, Alice and Jane, living in Andover, Mass, contested his right to be administrator. My suspicion is that they considered their brother to be quite well off, and they, or their lawyer, wanted to be certain they got their share. I cannot follow the chain of events, but the court records from Saginaw suggest that there were various administrators and resignations and appeals It would appear that Thomas left his estate to his nephew Andrew Moffat, but that Thomas’s siblings (Alice, Jane and Andrew ) got some money as well; the estate was not settled until Jan 1914. Alice Moffat got $32.26 as did her sister Jane ; Andrew Moffat,, Sr. in Scotland, got $17.34. What Grandpa got I cannot determine, but the lawyers likely did well. As far as I can tell from court records, the real estate had to be sold to pay the debts and lawyers, and so there was not much left for anyone.
My dad had his Gt Uncle Thomas’ shot gun and his gold watch. Curtis Harren now has the shotgun and Craig Doidge has the watch.
Alison #2, 1844-1926 was born in Smailholm. She was 17 in the 1861 Census, and I could not find her in Scottish records again.
Quite unexpectedly I found Alison (aka Alice) age 36, est birth 1856, in the Boston Passenger Lists, 1891-1943, on ancestrylibrary.com. She, along with her sisters Jane and Margaret and Aunt Christine Watson arrived 28 June 1892 in Boston from Glasgow on the “Austrian.” The parents of Alice, Jane and Margaret both died in 1887, and then apparently the sisters got enough money scraped together to emigrate. Whether their intent was to join their brothers in Michigan or not, is not known. Perhaps they intended to stay in Massachusetts where they could get employment as weavers in the mills. In the 1900 Census Alice Moffat is listed as head, 46,born Mar 1854 in Scotland, single, white, immigration year 1875, 25 years in US. ( The immigration info seems to be wrong.)Alice, along with her sisters Jane, 38 and Margaret, 35 and Aunt Christine Watson,70 were living at Hyde Park, Norfolk MA. In 1910 Alice Moffat, 56, born c 1854, was living at Andover, Essex, MA. The original image of the census shows Alice, head, emigrated 1891, dressmaker. Her sister Jane, 46? also emigrated 1891, was a weaver. Charles Moffat, their nephew (Grandpa’s brother), who emigrated in 1909, was 21 and worked as a rubber worker? in a rubber shop. I did not find Jane in the database, but rather on the original image. No sign of Margaret or Christine; the former may have died or married, but regardless, she was not mentioned in Thomas’s will or obituary in 1911. Chances are that Christine Watson was dead by 1910. In the 1920 Census Alice Moffatt (sic) was enumerated in Andover, Essex, MA., age 67, boarder, white, no profession or occupation.
Again I could not find Jane in the database, but I found her in the actual records when I viewed them. She was 59; no occupation
When Howard Vasold was checking the records of Thomas Moffat in Saginaw, he found the obituary which said Thomas had two sisters living in the East. Howard checked the
court records which said that these sisters were Alice and Jane who were living in Ballardvale, Mass. We had had no idea that there were any of Thomas’s siblings in the USA. ( Margaret was not mentioned in Thomas’s will). When their brother Thomas died, a Boston lawyer by the name of Joseph Burns wrote to the probate court in Saginaw Co., and said he was acting on behalf of Alice and Jane Moffatt(sic) who were maiden ladies in very poor circumstances. He said they were both very advanced in years, and though honest and industrious, they had a hard time to get along, and thus he wanted their interest in the estate to be very carefully guarded. They objected to the appointment of my grandfather Andrew Moffat as administrator, and suggested he had kept them in the dark about the condition of the estate. Eventually Alison got $32.26. A series of letters and e-mails to personnel in Andover, Mass., revealed that the Moffat sisters worked in the mills as weavers and that they spent their last years in the poor house. They were spinsters. Alison died on 01 Feb 1926, age 81, of uterine cancer, and she is buried in the Spring Grove Municipal Cemetery in Andover, MA. As far as I know, there was no communication between her and Grandpa .
Alexander, 1845-1888 was the second son of Charles and Margaret Moffat. He also emigrated to Michigan ; most likely he was the Alexander Moffat, who arrived 05 Nov 1869, in New York, est birth year 1847, age 22, left from Glasgow on “Cumbria”, travelled steerage class. I could not read occupation, but it was not farmer. Quite by chance, Howard Vasold, when photographing Thomas’s gravestone in Pine Grove Cemetery north of Freeland, MI, noticed Alexander’s gravestone which reads, “In memory of Alexander Moffat, a native of Roxburghshire Scotland who departed this life April 6, 1888, in the 39th year of his age (?) I did not find Alexander in the 1870 Census,but in the 1880 Michigan Census, Alexander Moffatt (sic), was born in <1846> in Scotland, he was 34, a farmer, single, head of household, parents both Scottish. Thomas lived with him in Titta Twnp, Sag Co. The original document does not say he was head ; a transcriber must have added that just because Alexander’s name was listed first at same dwelling and family number as Thomas.
The death record says Alexander died of stomach cancer, and that he was 41 years, 3 months, 21 days. IF he was born in 1845, then he must have been 42 years old when he died. In Jun 2003 Hazel Crammond found reference to Alexander Moffat among a list of former Hawickans who died in the USA between 1879 and 1889 in a recent issue of the Borders FHS mag. That source said Alexander died at Freeland,MI and that he was 41 and that he was the second son of the late Charles Moffat of Oliver Crescent, Hawick. It may be that my dad’s brother Alexander Thomas Moffat was named for his two gt uncles in Michigan, but I do not know that for sure.
Charles,1847-1909, was the fifth child of Charles and Margaret. He was three in the 1851 Census and did not appear again until Howard Vasold found reference to Charles in Thomas’s court records. At first Charles was listed an an heir, but then some letters back and forth to Scotland determined that Charles had died on 15 Oct 1909. Given that date, Hazel Crammond then found Charles’s death certificate at New Register House in Edinburgh. Ref. RD 799/1 Entry 62 Melrose: Charles was 63 when he died; he was a vagrant, formerly a soldier. (single) . He died at 10:40 AM in the district asylum at Melrose of pulmonary tuberculosis and Bright’s disease which he had had for a few years.
Archibald, 1849- 1859, died of typhus fever after about five weeks of being ill at Mainberry, Smailholm, where he is buried in the churchyard. He was just 9 _ years old.
It was friend Joyce Wood who found the record of Archibald’s death.
Jane, 1851-1923, was last “seen” in Scotland in her parents’ home in the 1881 Census. She was a powerloom weaver. She emigrated to Massachusetts with her sisters Alison and Margaret and Aunt Christine Watson in 1892. (See Alison Moffat above)
She worked, assumably as a weaver in Marland Mills, Andover. Like her sister, she ended up in the poor house or almshouse. She also got $32.26 from her brother Thomas’s estate. Jane died 12 Jan 1923 of cerebral hemorrage, age 65, and is buried in Spring Grove Cemetery, Andover, MA. IF Jane was 65 in 1923, she was not born in 1851. If she was born in 1851, she was not 65 when she died. In the 1861 Census, she was 9; she was not listed in her parents’ home in 1871; in 1881 she was 25. In 1920 Census Jane was 59. Jane must have had trouble with math!
Andrew 1853-1938 was my great grandfather. See special section for him and his wife Agnes.
George Moffat was born in December 1854. He was six in the 1861 Census. There is no further sign of him. He was not listed as an heir to Thomas’s estate in 1911, so may have been dead by then or his location was unknown. As of June 2005 George is the only member of the family whom I have not been able to trace at all.
Margaret Moffat, born 1858, was the last of the ten Moffat children. The last located reference to her in Scotland was the 1881 Census when she was 22 years old and a weaver. I then found her on the passenger list of the “Austrian” when she landed in Boston on 28 June 1892 with her sisters Alison and Jane Moffat ( see above ) and her Aunt Christine Watson. She was enumerated with them in 1910 where it shows she was born July 1864, and that she was 35, and a weaver in a mill. She too lost a few years somewhere. I could not find her anywhere in the 1910 Census, and she was not mentioned in Thomas’s will and consequent dispute . She was likely dead or possibly married.
As far as is known about the offspring of Charles and Margaret Moffat, only Andrew Moffat 1853-1938 had any offspring, although we cannot be sure about George and Margaret. IF the others had any children, they were born out of wedlock. Of Andrew’s children, only his son Andrew 1885-1946 had any children. In turn, Joseph 1913-1991 had only two girls; Agnes had two boys and two girls, but it would appear that with the death of my father, Joseph, that this line of Moffats died out as he was the last male “Moffat” in the line.
- Morman researcher early 1980s
- Dorothy Simpson
- Parish records, censuses, birth and death certificates,passenger lists
- Hazel Crammond, secretary of Clan Moffat UK & Eire
- International Genealogical Index
- Court records from Saginaw
- Court records from Andover Massachusetts
- Cemetery records in Hawick; Andover, Mass; Saginaw County, MI
- Howard Vasold
- Marion Doidge
11 Mar 2004; revised 20 June 2005
Compiled by Marion Doidge