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Background to the connection between Ludovick Grant and the Cherokees

A few years ago Jerry Maddox, an independent researcher in Georgia USA, approached the Clan Grant Society of the UK to ask about the background of Ludovick Grant, well known in pre-Revolutionary Carolina as a trader with the Cherokees. At that time there was much misinfomation on the internet - particularly promulgated on and behalf of Donald Robinson, the self-styled "Oukah".

While we had no information readily to hand, we were able to direct Jerry first of all to the English National Archives at Kew where he was able to secure a copy of the record of the court decision sparing his life and sentencing him to transportation to the Americas. This record showed that Ludovick had been born in the parish of Fyvie (Aberdeenshire). We were then able to direct him to the Local Studies section of the Aberdeenshire Library Service where further details could be elicited coutesy of the generous assistance of staff there..

Subsequent to this Jerry produced a book "The Legacy of Ludovick Grant" published by Authorhouse in 2007

Unfortunately the early history of the Clan Grant is incorrect and Jerry half-misidentified Ludovick`s early years details. But nevertheless by reproducing much of the surviving correspondence - especially between Ludovick and the Governor of Carolina, we get a good insight not only into his character but also of the politics of the day.

Initial efforts to make contact with the Cherokees did not yield results, but Jerry was kind enough to persist in offering suggestions and the result of following these up was the opportunity for Lord Strathspey to meet with a senior representative of the Cherokee Nation on the occasion of his attendance at the Stone Mountain Games in Georgia in October 2008. This in turn led to the liaison which has resulted in the planned visit to Scotland by a Cherokee delegation, inter alia, to attend the 3rd International Grant Gathering in Strathpsey in August 2010.

Family Background of Ludovick Grant - the Scottish persepective

The Old Parish Register for Fyvie recognises a Ludovick Grant born in 1688, the natural (ie illegitimate) son of Alexander Grant, the miller of Creichie. A 1695 poll of the parish shows a Ludovick Grant, son of William Grant, the Laird of Creichie and Katharin Gordon, his wife. He had two brothers and a sister. We noted above that Ludovick Grant was a "gentleman" and for this reason we may dismiss as candidate the miller`s illegitimate son.

Deep Background of Ludovick`s family

(i) Old Grant histories (particularly the Birkenburn MS) tell us that the Grants of Creichie descend from the Grants of the 1st house of Ballindalloch. We may usefully start our story with Sir Duncan Grant, 12th in the roll of Chiefs of Clan Grant and the first to be designated "of Freuchie". He was born around 1410x15. His wife, who was probably born around 1420, was probably a daughter of the Leslie Earl of Rothes. The marriage was childless for some considerable time, but at length - sometime after 1450 - she bore him twins, the story of whose birth is worth recounting. As labour progressed a hand and then a lower arm appeared. At that point a red ribbon was tied around the baby`s wrist - but then the wrist withdrew back into the womb and it was the other baby who was born first. Sir Duncan determined that the one who was actually born first would be called John (after his own father, Sir John Roy Grant) and would become the heir apparent: to inherit by primogeniture (and hence he was designed "Younger of Freuchie". The second son (who had the ribbonned wrist) was to be called Patrick. His father did well by him - providing him with the very considerable estate of Ballindalloch, but All the time Patrick felt as if he had been cheated of his birthright. In his youth, John Grant, younger of Freuchie, had an illegitimate son, whom he called Duncan after his father, by a lady`s maid in the household (whose name is now lost to us). This Duncan was to become the founder of the "Clan Donnachie" branch of the Grants whose initial territorial designation was "of Gartinbeg" (because this Duncan was installed in the farm of that name) and from whom stem the Baronets of Dalvey (the second house of Dalvey), including the current Representative of the Clan Donnachie Grants, Sir Patrick Grant of Dalvey, Bt.

Later John married Muriel, daughter of the laird of Macintosh and by her he had a son whom he called John, probably born around 1475. This John had red hair and was to develop a talent for poetry - for which reason he was later to become known as "John Grant the Bard Roy". There is considerable irony in the fact that John Grant, younger of Freuchie died in 1482, before his father. On Sir Duncan`s death in 1485, Patrick Grant of Ballindalloch assumed control of the estates as "Tutor" of his nephew. [This is a term of formal significance in Scots Law: Patrick had legal control of all the affairs and we know that John must have been under 14 years of age.] Patrick took up residence in Castle Freuchie (known after 1694 as Castle Grant) and increasingly took the view that he had every right to be Laird of Grant. This scared John`s maternal grandfather who took John away to Dunachton to complete his education. Some time later it was only with some difficulty and after something of a "stand-off" that Patrick gave up his pretensions and withdrew to Ballindalloch Castle, allowing John to take up his rightful position as Laird (probably just before 1500). Patrick added to his own estates by purchase and was still alive in 1532.

(ii) A completely false tale propounded by Donald Robinson aka "The Oukah" claims that Ludovick Grant was one of the Baronets of Dalvey. While this is demonstrably untrue, it is possible (but I think quite unlikely) that Ludovick DID descend from house of the FIRST Grants of Dalvey - who were cadets of Ballindalloch. We do not know the name of Patrick Grant of Ballindalloch`s wife, but he had several children. The eldest of these was called John (perhaps as an acknowledgement of his twin brother`s status as heir to the Chiefship), who was to inherit the Ballindalloch Estate. His second son he called Patrick and on him was settled the farm/estate of Dalvey - so this Patrick was the first of the "first Grants of Dalvey". He had obtained a charter for this estate from Patrick the Bishop of Moray before 1537. At this point we may curtail an exhaustive discussion of the lineage by saying that several subsequent generations inherited and managed the estate until Robert Grant, with the agreement of his son and heir, sold the estate in 1680 to a John Campbell who quickly (1682) sold it on to James Grant, then the Younger of Gartinbeg (whence, subsequently, the Baronets of Dalvey). When Robert sold Dalvey he purchased an estate called Dunlugas rather north of Turriff in Aberdeenshire. We have no information as to why he did this - but some element of it may have to do with the fact that a collateral branch (of the (1st) Dalvey family?) had already made the move to Creichie, on the same road between Aberdeen and Banff. The pedigree charts in Sir William Fraser`s "Chiefs of Grant" (1883) are extensive, but he naturally had to draw a line somewhere - and so we see little of "cadets of cadets of cadets" as this family was with respect to the chiefly line.

Background of Creichie

The history of the Barony of Creichie is as yet undetailed. There are several places called "Creichie" (variously "Crichie" and "Craichie" etc.). The name itself is Pictish in origin and means "boundary burn" (cf Gaelic "Creich" boundary and Pictish "-ie" burn): in this case it refers to a particular burn - the one just East of Easter Creichie Farm which runs through the Den of Creichie to the Ythan) - which served as part of the boundary of an estate, in this case greater Fyvie. [The name Fyvie is also interesting and has defied historians up to now. Perhaps it is a demonstration of temerity that I aver that the name means "the Whortleberry burn" (cf Gaelic "Fibh") and refers to the burn which serves the Loch by Fyvie Castle before finding its way into the Ythan. The name Ythan itself takes its name from "talking", so might be understood as the "babbling brook". This too is Pictish and NOT Gaelic.] My impression is that greater Fyvie was part of the huge area called "The Garioch" [1297 "Garvyach", probably meaning "the field (area) by the rough burn"; unfortunately many of the water courses in the core area of the Garioch (South of the Urie and West of Inverurie) have been renamed, so some research would be required to identify the burn from which the area takes its name, but I am tempted by the Rushmill burn.] which was confiscated by Malcolm III around 1058 from the Mormaer of Mar, perhaps because he had supported King MacBeth. All these lands (the Garioch) were, therefore, available to be parcelled out to his favourites or to people he thought would be useful there. The bulk of the land was retained as the "Lordship of the Garioch" - but parts could be alienated at any time. Because parishes were formed largely from pre-existing land holding units it would seem likely that Creichie was still part of the Fyvie estate at the time of Kind David I (d1153). The geography implies that one or two bits (particularly to the South East) were added to the parish of Fyvie at some stage (presumably before 1153). Just when Creichie became alienated from the rest of Fyvie is still not clear, but there are records showing it passing from hand to hand and even being divided. Latterly it appears to be the Urquharts of Meldrum who had the major influence. Indeed it seems that it was due to the profligacy of one of these that it became desirable to sell Creichie, probably sometime in the period 1650 - 1680, William Grant, son of William Grant of Conglass (see below). The latest information we have suggests that the Grants acquired Creichie in the 1640s. It is highly desirable that a record of this purchase be found, possibly in the Register of the Great Seal.

Immediate Family Background of Ludovick Grant

The courts records of the Process of Adherence taken out by his wife call Ludovick the "younger of Creichie" - ie implying that he was the eldest son (and this despite the fact that he was listed only 3rd of the three brothers in 1696). It is not surprising that there should be two Grants, probably born about the same time bearing the name Ludovick - for that was the name of the Clan Chief at that time. [He was the one who was so powerful and on such good terms with King William III and Queen Mary as to have had his lands made into a Regality (1694) giving him even more powers over everything that went on there than he had had before.] Despite the chief being firmly opposed to episcopalianism (discussed below) it would be no surprise to find loyal kinsmen calling their children Ludovick. His brothers were called William and James. William was the name of the father of the family and James the name both of Chief Ludovick`s father and of his second son. [Chief Ludovick`s heir was Alexander - but the mysterious disappearance of Alexander Grant, the miller of Creichie may have been due to a falling out, one result of which being that the name would have been in disfavour.]

In 1736 we find a court record in which Ludovick Grant is sued in absentia in a "Process of Adherence". This suit was successful - the court issued an instruction that Ludovick should behave like a proper husband to his wife. In those days it was rather infra dig. that a woman should seek a divorce, but if she had successful in a process of adherence and that court ruling had not been observed then no stigma would be attached to subsequent divorce proceedings. In the record of this action we learn that Ludovick married a Margaret Redman (variously Reidman) in 1710 and for five years lived with her as man and wife in her house in the Canongate, Edinburgh. This marriage was, however, "irregular" for the celebrant was John Barclay. He had been born in 1641 and graduated MA from St Andrews University in 1671. He was deprived of his living in Cockburnspath in 1689 for not reading the proclamation of the Estates and not praying for William and Mary. In 1706 he was accused of performing irregular marriages. He died in 1711 in Calton, Edinburgh. It may be that it was this irregularity which prompted so many witnesses at the process of adherence, to come forward to assert how they had behaved as any other married couple over the period 1710-1715.

But in 1715 he disappeared and, according to several witnesses was never heard of again. The marriage date of 1710 could be taken to imply that Ludovick was born c1688/9. We are very lucky that when she died in 1750, Margaret Reidman left a will. From that and other documents we discover that before she married Ludovick she had been married to George Bethune - a Writer ("Writer to the Signet", one class of lawyer) who had died. This gives some margin to the date of Ludovick`s birth - no later than 1689, but possibly several years earlier. The sole executor of her will was her daughter (so "executrix") Mary Bethune. Like her mother she is described as a "merchant". Not enough is known about her, but it is surely remarkable that the one (Cherokee) child of Ludovick that we know about for sure (one or two more daughters are variously alleged) was also called Mary (born before 1710 and hence aged 40+ at the time of her mother`s death).

As we have seen, Ludovick`s father was the Laird of Creichie; he was there in 1695 and the Jacobite Cess roll of 1715 shows him still there at that date. But Creichie was bought by the Haddo Estate in 1722 . Unfortunately the Estate Office no longer has any record of this acquisition, but it should be somewhere in the Register of the Great Seal (RMS: Registrum Magni Sigilli). We have established that William Grant had been bankrupt for much of his time in Creichie, but that he stayed there until his death around 1720. . It would be very helpful to know his wife`s family background and why William became bankrupt.

[We now regard as irrelevant a William Grant who died in 1732, leaving a will (written on February 28th 1732 and executed (ie he had died in the meantime) on March 10th the same year). At this time he was living at Ardfork, a farm just a few miles South of Old Meldrum. His wife at that time was an Isobell Taylor. In his will he makes gifts to three sisters and their husbands: Agnes Grant, married to James Thomson (in Old Meldrum?) Margaret Grant, married to Thomas Simpson in Old Meldrum, and Elspeth Grant married to Robert Benzies in Pitgavenie. There is no mention either of any children. This farm had a history also - of having been a source of alms. While it is quite likely that this William was a realtion of the Creichie family, he could not have been a member of it. There is (?yet another) William Grant in this area who had a brother, Thomas, who lived in Turriff, but we have no specific reason to suppose him still to be alive at this time. American sources claim that Ludovick had "cousins" who went to Boston and the Caribbean, so there is more research to be done here?.]

Ludovick also had a sister Anna. In 1700 she married, as his second wife, William Hay MA who was cited in 1707 on the "List of Ministers who have not complied with the present church government". He was cited for complicity in the 1715 Jacobite rebellion. So the religious adherence was a matter common to the family as a whole. [Anna`s marriage in 1700 places her birth in the period 1680x85 and this in turn makes the birth of her father William`s sometime before 1660, making him possibly 60+ at death.]

The Religious connection

We have seen above already the way in which religious adherence was a major factor. No only was this generally the case in Scotland, but specifically in the local area we may see how there were immediate influences: throughout the period in question (1685-1717) the minister at Fyvie was George Dalgarno - himself an Episcopalian - so perhaps this is how the seed was nurtured. Meanwhile James Seaton, Lord of Fyvie, had had his lands forfeit by 1689 for his Jacobite sympathies.

William Grant as Laird of Creichie

We should understand that Creichie was a substantial estate and William a substantial personage. In the late 1600s Scotland was in dire financial straits and so efforts had to be made to squeeze money out of the population. This was done by means of a Poll Tax - and for this purpose a "poll" (in effect a census) had to be taken. We are very lucky that one such poll was conducted late in 1695, published in 1696. The poll for the Parish of Fyvie has been reprinted by the Aberdeen and North East Scotland Family History Society. From this we may gather both the extent of the Creichie estate and something of the Grant family.
First we should note that William Grant, the laird was one of those with principal responsibilities for conducting the census.
[Secondly we should note in passing that Alexander Grant and his son were nowhere to be seen.]
Thirdly we should note that all in all, the household, including farm workers and other tradesmen amounted to over 30 not including the children. And there were ten other farms on his estate.
In 1700 he was an Assiser (a Juror) along with a Walter Grant of Arndilly (inter alia) in the Banff Sheriff Court trying a case for the Chief of Grant.

Earlier Generations

Ludovick`s father was William Grant of Crichie. Before they obtained Creichie the family lived at Conglass (a farm on the road to Huntly just outside and now being absorbed by Inverurie) which it would seem that they obtained in 1624 from the Urquharts of Meldrum. The first Grant laird of Conglass would appear to be a John (John would have been the name of the Chief when this man was born). [William Urquhart of Craigston advises of this and that it is recorded in the Register of the Great Seal, but so far the entry has eluded us.]
William had a son Walter. In turn Walter had a son William. William`s father was William Grant of Conglass (by Inverurie) William`s father was Walter Grant of Conglass. There was a William Grant of Conglass, a church elder in Inverurie whose second wife (m. before 1633) Elizabeth Leslie of Balquhain was excommunicated in 1660 (she described as "as an elderly lady") for popery. This suggests that Elizabeth was born sometime before 1600, as does the age of her siblings (including Count Leslie). She was married before - as he must have been. We noted above that Ludovick`s father was born c1660 so we may cast previous generations roughly like this:

William`s father born c 1637
His father born c 1612
His father born c 1590.

The man born in 1615 is surely too young to have married a woman born before 1600 and far too young to have acquired Conglass in 1624. Moreover it would appear that his name should be Walter. Thus it would appear that it would have to have been his father who bought Conglass from the Urquharts of Meldrum in 1624, when aged about 34. It seems that he married Elizabeth in later life - ie she was not Walter`s mother. This is problematic. Perhaps John was not the father but the elder brother of William (c - see below). Moreover one source says they were both excommunicated in 1668 - which seems a little difficult to digest.

In short then we may conceive Ludovick`s paternal line thus:  








acquires Conglass 1624

William (c) 



m. (2?) Elizabeth Leslie of Balquhain




of Conglass

William (b)



of Conglass


William (a)


1 Mar 1732

m. Katherin Gordon (c1658- aft. 1715)




- -

[We should enter the caveat, however, that if Dr Bruce Durie is correct in considering a possible elder sister Elizabeth (presumably already married in 1695) then considerable changes would have to be considered to the putative dates.]


The fact that in 1688 the miller at Crichie (an important post collecting multures (a compulsory tax levied on all corn ground) for the Laird etc.), was also a Grant could be taken to suggest that he was a relative - possibly a brother or a cousin, but, because he was not there in 1695, that this close working relationship was relatively new and did not work. [Of course it is also possible that he just died, but if so, why was not the other Ludovick mentioned in the poll?] However this is still not tight enough for us to be sure which William actually acquired Creichie - it could have been William (a) as a young man in say 1681 (presumably his father acquired it and placed him there). Or maybe his father, William (b) actually acquired it for himself sometime between becoming "William Grant of Conglass" and his son coming of age (so sometime after 1660 - suppose his father had died relatively recently?.). Our latest hunting suggests that Creichie was acquired in the 1640s by William Grant - but something is not ringing true.

Working forwards from the Grant Ballindalloch Cadets

At this point we may look to the pedigrees set out in Sir William Fraser`s "Chiefs of Grant" (1883) to consider candidate fathers for this William, born in or around 1590. We may suppose this William`s father to have been born c1565. We may note immediately that Patrick Grant, 2nd of the 1st Grants of Dalvey was married in 1565 (so we may presume his birth c1544). He had a brother Thomas, mentioned in Fraser`s pedigree as being a "boarder in Aberdeen" on his father`s death in 1576 (so b.c1560?) - and clearly far from old enough to have sired two children by 1565! There is no obvious way of interpolating this line into that of the Ballindalloch pedigree, never mind attaching it to any individual mentioned by Fraser.

One idea may be worth following up - but this would exclude a Dalvey connection altogether. The fourth son of Patrick Grant, 1st of Ballindalloch, was a Master William Grant - ie he entered the church. A rough birth date for Master William would have been some time before 1530. While he would not have been able to marry before the reformation (1560), there is no obvious reason why he should not have done so more or less immediately afterwards. His eldest brother John was killed in 1559 in a quarrel with the Grants of Carron. This would give a plausible basis for a son born c1565. That this Master William was less than fully committed to the church may be implied by Fraser`s reference to him witnessing charters for the Chief of Grant and, more particularly, acting as a notary (ie in a professional legal capacity).


1. Ludovick the 2nd Baronet of Dalvey died in 1701; Ludovick, described by Fraser as the 4th Baronet (but Sir Archie Grant of Monymusk would say 5th), brother of Sir Alexander resigned Grangegreen in 1755 and died at Moyhall in 1790. Neither of these could be the Cherokee trader.

2. Ludovick Grant the trader may have been from the "Grants of Dalvey" - but if so this was the 1st not the 2nd House. This would resolve the apparent contradiction between claims about Dalvey emanating from America and assertions about Ballindalloch from Grant Chroniclers.

3. Ludovick Grant would have had no inheritance as his father was bankrupt.

4. It may be that Ludovick felt able to marry the Cherokee girl because he could claim that his Edinburgh marriage was irregular and so technically illegal.


We take this opportunity of thanking those outwith the Society who have been so helpful in our search so far:
Judith Legg at Old Meldrum Library HQ has gone far beyond the call of duty in digging out material first for Jerry Maddox and then for us.
William Urquhart of Craigston has expended considerable time and effort going through his archives.
Lord Aberdeen and his factor Mark Andrew have been very helpful with Haddo Estate papers.
Rev. Allan MacLean of Dochgarroch without whom we would not know anything about the Episcopal clergy.

The Clan Grant Centre Trust