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Thomas Tait

Thomas Tait[1]

Male 1815 - 1891  (76 years)

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  • Name Thomas Tait 
    Born 25 June 1815  Kirkpatrick Durham, Dumfriesshire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 3
    Gender Male 
    Alias/AKA Thomas Tate  [4
    Immigration 15 November 1851 
    • from Scotland aboard the “Junior”
    Occupation 1841-51: blacksmith  [5, 6
    Residence 1841: Well St, Dumfries, Dumfrieshire; 1851: Enterkinfoot, Dumfriesshire, Scotland  [3, 7
    Died 25 September 1891  Foster Twp., McKean Co., Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Buried Bradford, McKean Co., Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I70896  Clan Moffat Genealogy
    Last Modified 22 August 2007 

    Father Joseph Tait 
    Mother Agnes Learmount 
    Family ID F14854  Family Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family/Spouse Elizabeth Moffat,   b. 1813, Moffat, Dumfriesshire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 8 January 1885, Bradford, McKean Co., Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 72 years) 
    Married 6 March 1840  Moffat, Dumfriesshire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  [8, 9
    • proclamation in KirkPatrick-Durham22 Feb 1840
     1. John Brown,   b. about 1826, Edinburgh, Edinburghshire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location
    +2. Joseph Moffat Tait,   b. 30 May 1841, Kirkpatrick Durham, Dumfriesshire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 4 August 1912, Rochester, Olmsted Co., Minnesota, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 71 years)
    +3. Elizabeth Tait,   b. January 1843, Durisdeer, Dumfriesshire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. after 1930  (Age ~ 88 years)
    +4. Agnes Tait,   b. about January 1846, Durisdeer, Dumfriesshire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. November 1903, Bradford, McKean Co., Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 57 years)
     5. Marian Tait,   b. 14 March 1847, Durisdeer, Dumfriesshire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1922, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 74 years)
     6. Jannet Tait,   b. 1850, Durisdeer, Dumfriesshire, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. about 1918  (Age 68 years)
    +7. George Findlay Junior Tait,   b. 11 November 1851, At Sea Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 11 September 1922, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 70 years)
    +8. Thomas Adam Tait,   b. 1855, Bradford, McKean Co., Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. before 1918, Columbus, Franklin Co., Ohio, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age < 62 years)
    +9. Jane Anne Tait,   b. 17 February 1857, Bradford, McKean Co., Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 29 September 1899, Bradford, McKean Co., Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 42 years)
    +10. Isolean Tait,   b. about 1879, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. after 1931  (Age ~ 53 years)
    Family ID F49479  Family Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 6 March 1840 - Moffat, Dumfriesshire, Scotland Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend Address Cemetery Farm Town Parish City County/Shire State/Province Country Region Not Set

  • Notes 
    • Although Lizzie Tait Gallaher does not say so explicitly, Joseph and Thomas Tait are apparently brothers, who married sisters Isabella and Elizabeth Moffat, as is apparently confirmed by census and marriage data.

      Thomas’s occupation during the time of the 1841 and 1851 Scotland censuses was listed as "Black Smith"

      Information provided by Agnes Margaret Colegrove Fraser in 1989.:

      Came from Moffat, Scotland. Wife from Moffat, Scotland. Were probably married in Scotland. Believed to have died in Bradford, PA area and buried at Bradford Cemetery. Was a farmer and Blacksmith.

      Military status unknown


      Arrived from Moffat , Scotland, November 18, 1852 [actually arrived in NYC aboard the Barque “Junior” November 15, 1851 according to the actual passenger list] at Foster Brook and built a Blacksmith shop where they lived until the [house?] was built in 1853 (presumably). The house has been altered but is still standing in 1959. The following children were born before immigrating: Joseph, Elizabeth, Agnes, Jeanette with George being born on the ship.

      The following information is adapted by Alaric Faulkner from reminiscences of Lizzie Tait Gallaher, Notes of Stella Fox Beam:

      Thomas Tait was born in 1815 Dumfries, Scotland and died on the family farm in Bradford, PA in 1891. He gave all his earnings to his father until he was 25. He was a gunsmith and blacksmith by trade. He married in 1840 to Elizabeth (Betty) Moffat.

      Elizabeth was working at a minister's home when she met Thomas.

      Her wedding dress was a low-necked short-sleeved tan merino, matched with silk stockings with flowers on the sides, and suede slippers the color of the dress . The dress was made over later for the oldest daughter (Elizabeth Gallaher [Gallagher]).

      Betty and Thomas lived at Dumfries a time, apparently with Thomas’s family. Joe, the oldest son, was born in Joseph Taits’ home. Tom’s mother, Agnes, liked Betty more than any of her other daughters-in-law.

      The second child Elizabeth [Lizzie] was born in Enterkinfoot, Dumfriesshire Scotland --20 months younger than Joe. Then came Agnes (two years later), Marian, Janet, all born in the same house in Enterkinfoot.

      The house in Enterkinfoot was a large stone house with a thatched roof which they had rented. Lizzie remembers certain details from her childhood: a big fireplace for cooking, four-poster beds with khaki colored damask curtains, a round tea table, and a chest of drawers with mirrors. But there were no rocking chairs. Outside there was a garden where they apparently kept bees.

      Thomas was a good provider, good at his trade, and was able to do a good buisiness with the local farmers. He visited with Sandy Turnbull’s family at Sanquhar some six miles away and other uncles lived there. The family went to church in Durisdeer, two miles away.

      Thomas adopted John Brown, a young man in his teens, from some charitable institution about seven years after his marriage. John helped in the shop and was treated like a son, and was sent to school.

      Thomas invented an air gun and used it successfully for a short time when it burst in hand--causing him to lose one thumb and making the other thumb stiff. His doctor wanted to take off arms to shoulders as they were "poisoned." But the Duke of Dumleinrick's [Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry, at Drumlanrig Castle near Sanquar] sent his doctor to examine him, and this doctor saved his hands. Thomas had done considerable work about the castle for the Duke.

      It was about two years before Thomas could work, and his brothers David and Joseph came to run the blacksmith shop until he recovered. Betty's sister Belle Moffat also helped out with the family.

      Lizzie, who was eight at the time, had vivid memories of the trip family’s trip to America, and it is included here in its entirety.

      William Tait wrote back to Scotland of all the timber here and of the broad, fertile prairies and the plentiful opportunities for blacksmithing: making bear traps, canthooks, etc. He wrote that there were lots of people here, and sawmills on both sides up and down the creeks. As he noted, all lumber and shingles were shipped down the river to Cincinnati in the flood time of spring on log and lumber rafts, and that the wives often went down the rivers with their husbands to shop at Cincinnati.

      So Thomas Tait decided to come to America. John Brown, his adopted son, had run away with $100 Thomas was saving to come to America, but he came back and was forgiven and was brought to this country along with the rest of the family.

      His sister Jannet Turnbull came down from Sanquhar to help him get ready. She varnished the chairs, etc. to sell at the "roup" as they called a household auction. She also helped bake up food for on board ship. For food for the trip. They had cheese, tea, honey, dried meats, oatcakes, and all kinds of baking that would keep. The fine china, blankets, etc. were all packed in fir chests. The relatives all came to bid them goodbye. The children all went to the burn (creek) to wash their faces and make them healthy.

      When all was ready for the ocean voyage the family went to Jannet and Sandy Turnbull's for a short overnight stay before leaving bonnie Scotland. After bidding them goodbye they started by train to Glasgow where they were to take the vessel "The Martha's Vineyard" to New York.

      After seeing the vessel with its low decks and dirty appearance, Thomas decided to look about for another passage. He met an Englishman by the name of George Turner who happened to be the captain of the boat "Junior" that was headed for America. That boat could not leave for two weeks because of necessary repairs, but Thomas decided to wait for it. The captain told them that he and his family could go on board and stay till the time of sailing and join the captain's wife and two children who were with him on the boat. So on board they went.

      The family consisted of eight members at that time, father Thomas, mother Betty who was pregnant, John Brown, Joe (nine), Elizabeth (eight), Agnes, Marian and Janet. It was in November 1850 [actually 1851] that they landed in America. A new sailing vessel, in starting from dock alongside of the "Junior" crashed into the "Junior" and damaged it so that they had to wait for repairs again. Thomas was sorry he had not engaged passage on that boat, but as it happened it never reached America on that trip for the storms were too much for it and it came back to port later a wreck.

      The Junior was then making its first trip to America. It had previously been in the China tea trade. All of the family were seasick except Joe.

      As the passengers were coming aboard there was an Irishman and his buxom daughter with the baby in her arms--a wizened baby with its unmarried mother. He told her to take care of the child, and that it might be a blessing to her yet. Bidding her goodbye he left. She went down to the steerage leaving the baby there in her berth and came up and sat on deck. Later on she kept leaving it there crying until the captain ordered her down to care for it. Still she neglected it and starved it. Its cries could be heard above the waves in the night. The sailors named it "the water rat." It died before reaching America, the sharks following the ship for days before its death. The child was buried at sea.

      There was a stowaway. The head sailor had her put in a hogshead--his sweetheart. When went out to sea she made her appearance. A tall, nice looking American, he an Englishman. The first boat sighted after that was hailed and the two were sent back for punishment. He was an important part of the crew, but passengers were called upon when help was needed.

      The Captain's daughter was thirteen. She became engaged to a young man coming to New York to seek his fortune, named Elgin.

      Another death occurred on board--a child 9 months old. When it was buried at sea the mother was frantic. She wanted the captain to wait for land. She was on the way to America to meet her husband, a man named Mackenzie.

      A whale was sighted on the Sabbath morning during services. All were frightened but the captain gave orders for all to sit perfectly still and soon the whale departed. They also caught a sea horse--half fish with the head of a horse.

      After seven weeks of sailing, on sunshine and storm, the birds first told of land for birds landed on the ships--tired out--to rest. The captain was afraid so many would come as to sink the ship, but no such catastrophe happened.

      Thomas ate no supplies from the ships stock. He threw his ration overboard so no one else would get them stale going back. His family ate of their own supplies and used their own bedding and dishes. Their damask curtains were all hung for privacy. Thomas did all the cooking for the family on board. He made taffy, etc. to please the children. The captain also gave him permission to put a swing on deck for the children.

      All did not go smoothly--the second mate and the cook had a fight. The second mate had his thumb bitten off by the black cook--half way across. Punishment was meted out to them.

      There were several storms but the worst was one about halfway across that lasted nine days. The foremast creaked--the goats and chickens were drowned. The people kept to their beds. The men waiting on the women and children. Only a few dim lights were kept in the halls for fear of fire. Thomas put a hook at the back of his [pregnant] wife Betty’s bed so she would not roll out--a strain to stay in.

      Three days before landing a little new arrival came to the Tait family--a boy. The captain wanted him named for him--George. A man on board wanted his name also given him--Findlay--and he promised to send him to college when the time came. So the baby was named George Findlay. The captain also wanted "Junior" the name of the ship, to be given. Then Junior was added and the baby later christened George Findlay Junior Tait.

      Landing was celebrated by a big feast on board. The supplies had held out well but the water was stale and undrinkable and had to be replenished by rainwater caught from the sails. Each one went ashore and purchased what they were most hungry for. The captain's daughter chose a keg of pickled pigs' feet. Thomas bought fruit and a roasted ham.

      A dance followed. Agnes and Elizabeth [the narrator] were the only two children who knew how to dance. All the children in Scotland went to dancing school; if you were not dancing by the age of twelve you were very backward. The Highland Fling, incidentally was considered vulgar.

      Thomas’s brother James Tait lived in New York and met the boat with a carriage and the family all went to his home in New York City. Betty, very tired after her labor was literally carried out of the boat.

      Comments on Lizzie’s account by Alaric Faulkner:
      Elizabeth Tait Gallaher’s account of the details of this ship is extraordinarily accurate, judging from the passenger list of the Barque Junior! The Junior arrived from Glasgow to New York Harbor on November 15, 1851 (not 1850). The passenger list was signed by the ship’s master, who was indeed named George Turner. Passengers included Thomas Tait (36) blacksmith, Mrs. Elizabeth Tait (36), Joseph Tait (10), Elizabeth Tait (8), Agnes Tait (5), Marion Tait (Female, 3), Janet Tait (9 mos) and listed with them John Brown (20). No mention is made of the birth of George Findlay Junior Tait. The master’s daughter was Mary Jane Turner, and was aged 16, not 13. Her intended was possibly fellow cabin passenger Thomas A. Hogan (36); there was no passenger “Elgin.” The babies who died on board were Ellen Miller (1 m) the starved “water rat” and daughter of Elisa Miller (18, Irish), and Agnes Cunningham (2 m), daughter of Mrs. Jane Cunningham (26, Scotch, not McKenzie as Lizzie remembered). The name of Margaret Collin (23, Irish) is crossed off, and she may have been stowaway who was put off the ship along with the first mate. Others, whose names were crossed off the list may never have sailed: Peggy McGeddingen [?] (40) and her 4 m old son John. There was no passenger by the name of Findlay, so he may have been someone they met in New York.

      From Donahoo, George P., “Pennsylvania — a History...” [Biographical Sketches] Lewis Historical Publishing Co, New York & Chicago, 1926, p. 349. [with corrections by Alaric Faulkner]:
      Francis Harry Fox [Harry Francis Fox] married, July 7, 1877, Jane A. Tait, daughter of Thomas Tait, a native of Scotland, and a blacksmith by trade, and Elizabeth (Moffett) [Moffat] Tait, also born in Scotland. Mr. Tait came to the United States in 1851, and first settled in McKean County, and later at Foster Brook, where he at first engaged in farming, and then drilled the first two oil wells at Foster Brook, Foster Township. His family were pioneers in this section, and they sold lumber and honey, and in order to dispose of their goods, they went down the Allegheny River to Oil City on a raft. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Tait are:
      1. Joseph, deceased. 2. Elizabeth, widow of Thompson Gallagher [Gallaher], and the only member of the family now residing at Bradford. 3. Agnes Snyder, who died at Marion. 4. Jeannette. 5. George, deceased, born at sea. 6. Thomas, Jr., deceased. 7. Jane Ann, died September 29, 1899, who married Francis H. Fox [Harry Fox].

      In 1841, Thomas Tait was living with the large extended family of his Adam Moffat parents-in-law on Well St in Moffat. Perhaps his wife is not listed because she was giving birth to Joseph Moffat Tait at the time.
      1841 Scotland Census
      Name: Thomas Tait
      Age: 25
      Estimated birth year: abt 1816
      Gender: Male
      Where born: Dumfriesshire, Scotland
      Civil parish: Moffat
      County: Dumfriesshire
      Address: Well Street
      Occupation: Black Smith
      Household Members:
      Name Age
      Margret Carmichael 2
      Mary Carmichael 35
      Thomas Carmichael 15
      Elizabeth Halliday 65
      Sophia Halliday 70
      Margret Hyslop 5
      Charles Menin 25
      Adam Moffat 60
      Elizabeth Moffat 55
      Isabella Moffat 15
      Thomas Tait 25
      Marton Taylor 5
      Mary Taylor 10
      Medeine Taylor 35
      Nancy Taylor 2

      1851 Scotland Census
      Name: Thomas Tait
      Age: 35
      Estimated birth year: abt 1816
      Relationship: Head
      Spouse's name: Elizabeth
      Gender: Male
      Where born: Kirkpatrick Durham, Dumfrieshire
      Parish Number: 823
      Civil parish: Durisdeer
      County: Dumfriesshire
      Address: Enterkinfoot
      Occupation: Blacksmith
      Household Members:
      Name Age
      John Brown 25
      Agness Tait 6
      Elizabeth Tait 35
      Elizabeth Tait 8
      Jannet Tait 1
      Joseph Tait 9
      Marrion Tait 4
      Thomas Tait 35

      The Federal census of July 9, 1860 lists Thomas “Late” [=Tate = Tait] (45. farmer) born in Scotland, living in Bradford, PA., with real estate valued at $750 and personal estate of $331. With him are his wife Elizabeth (45) born in Scotland, son Joseph, (19) b. in Scotland, daughter Elizabeth (19) b. in Scottland, SON Marion (13) b. in Scotland, Janette (11) b. in Scotland, son George (9) born in Scotland [on the boat actually], son Thomas (5) b. in PA, and daughter Jane (3) b. in PA. Next door are nephew Adam Tate and family, wife Mary, Julia A. and Wm. Q.V. Also living next door is 15-year old Truman Snyder, future husband of Agnes Tait. Also Living next door, indexed in Bradford on the census, are the large families of James McMurrey 51, and Robert McMurrey (24) QV.

      The Federal census of 1870 lists Thomas Tait (55. farmer) b. in Scotland, living in Bradford, PA., with real estate valued at $2000 and personal estate of $600. With him are his wife Elizabeth (55, Keeps House) b. in Scotland, daughter Marion (22, at home) b. in Scotland, Janette (20, at home) b. in Scotland, son George (18, at home) born in Scotland [on the boat actually] Thomas (15, at home) b. in PA, Jane (13, at home) b. in PA. Snyder, Foster and McMurray families apparently lived close by, and all would intermarry.

      The Federal census of 1880 lists Thomas “Tate” (64. farmer) suffering from “Rheumatism” b. in Scotland, living in Bradford, PA. With him are his wife Elizabeth (64, Housekeeper) b. in Scotland, daughter “Jeanette” (30, at home) b. in Scotland, son George (28, Laborer) born in England [on the Brig “Junior” actually] and daughter “Mary” [Marian] (32, at home) b. iin Scotland. Also living with them are August Nelson (18, Servant) who was a laborer, Oslyn [Isolean] Tate (2, adopted daughter) b. Penn (no info on parents birthplace. Also living with them in a separate “family” is Ramsey Asher (41, laborer) who was born in New York, Father in Maryland, Mother in Vermont. Next door are Harry and Jane Fox and their son Thomas., , , , , , , , , , [3, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16]

  • Sources 
    1. [S1398] GEDCOM file from file “AdamMoffatDesends”, submitted by Alaric Faulkner.

    2. [S1368] Family Member - Michelle Ann Robinson [Fox].

    3. [S1370] Scotland Census, 1851.

    4. [S1330] US Federal Census, June 1, 1880, Bradford/Foster, PA.

    5. [S1368] Family Member - Michelle Ann Robinson [Fox], Scottish Census.

    6. [S1370] Scotland Census, 1841, 1851.

    7. [S1370] Scotland Census, 1841.

    8. [S1386] International Genealogical Index.

    9. [S1387] Moffat Dumfrieshhire Scotland Marriages and Deaths 1709-1854, proclamation in KirkPatrick-Durham22 Feb 1840.

    10. [S1362] Reminiscences of Elizabeth Tait Gallaher -- Notes of Estella Fox Beam.

    11. [S1371] Barque “Junior” Glasgow, Scotland to New York, NY, 15 November 1851, Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild, transcribed by Debbie McCarrell, Nov. 15, 1851.

    12. [S1354] Family Member - Carole Alley Sims - Majer Colegrove Genealogy.

    13. [S1372] Barque Junior, arrived from Glasgow to New York Harbor on November 15, 1851.

    14. [S1363] Donahoo, George P., (Lewis Historical Publishing Co, New York & Chicago, 1926).

    15. [S1330] US Federal Census, 1860, [Indexed for Otto] Bradford, PA.

    16. [S1330] US Federal Census, June 1, 1880, Bradford and Foster, PA.

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