Six Other Connected Families
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Six other families have strong connections within the Bell and Armstrong family trees. See below for some information regarding their history and connections.

1. Sutherlands 2. Calverts 3. Johnstones
4. Thom(p)sons 5. Carstairs 6. Howatsons (Hewitsons)

1. The SutherlandsSutherland Crest

The Earldom of Sutherland is claimed to be the oldest in Britain.  The Sutherland clan derive their name from the territory known as Sudrland by the Norsemen who had conquered much of the Scottish mainland north of Inverness.

Members of the Sutherland family connected to Bells and Armstrongs in Australia include Betsy Sutherland,  Betsy's son by her first marriage, Alexander Thompson, her mother-in-law Ann Sutherland, and possibly Robert and Joseph Sutherland.    

Betsy Sutherland was born in Clyne, Sutherlandshire and married in Kildonan, Sutherlandshire to her first husband, Thomas Thompson, who was born in Loth, Sutherlandshire.
Interestingly, her second husband, Alexander Armstrong, whom she married in Victoria, was born in Kildonan, Sutherlandshire.

Detailed history of the Sutherland Clan (Scots Connections Website)

The Highland Clearances in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, forced mass migration from the Highlands to the coast, the Lowlands and abroad. Click here to read of the Kildonan Clearances.

Map of Highland Clan areas (912kb)

See In Victoria / The Sutherlands for more information.

 

2. The Calverts

John Calvert 1770 - 9 September 1846, of Dumfriesshire 
    m. Janet Rogerson 6 Dec 1771 - 1818, of Dumfriesshire
    had 8 children, eldest of whom was Mary Calvert
Mary Calvert 1797 - ????, of Annan, Dumfriesshire
    m. Lewis Bell 1793 - ???? m.14 Aug 1818, of Todholes, Dumfriesshire
    had 8 children, eldest of whom was George Bell, of Middlebie Hall and The Broats

The middle name "Calvert" recurs through several generations, including...

Mary Calvert Bell, 1866 - ????, daughter of Robert Lewis Bell, of Mt. Mercer, Victoria 
Mary Calvert Bell,1896 - 1971, daughter of Lewis Bell, of Alma, Booligal, NSW
Annie Calvert Bell, about 1920, daughter of Robert Thomas Bell, of The Broats, Dumfriesshire
John Calvert Bell, 1861 - 1937, son of James Bell of Woolbrook, Victoria

See In Victoria / The Calverts for more information.

 

3. The JohnstonesJohnstone Crest

The Johnstones were a powerful Border clan which held the central lands of Annandale. Whenever there was a Borders battle, the Johnstones were never far away.  The first person recorded with this name was John Johnston, who, in 1174, gave his name to the land in Annandale, Dumfriesshire which he had been granted.  He had a son Gilbert, whose name appears in records from 1194.  Gilbertís grandson was Sir John of Johnston, a knight of the county of Dumfries.

One of Lewis Bell's (b.1853) brothers, Robert Thomas BELL (b.1871) of The Broats, Annan, married Jane Johnstone (b.1881). All but one of Robert Thomas' children stayed in Dumfries; however, one son, Alan Victor Bell, moved to Australia at age 20, and married his cousin, Janet Bell (daughter of Lewis Bell b.1853). 

Another brother of Robert Thomas and Lewis Bell was Angus Bell. Rumour has it that both Robert and Angus wished to marry Jane Johnstone, the housekeeper, but that R.T. won the day. Angus married his first cousin, Sarah Bell, daughter of William Bell(chr.21.06.1827 Dornock)

A detailed history of the Johnstone clan (Scots Connections Website)

 

4. The Thom(p)sons    

The Thomson name is found most in central Scotland.  In Ayrshire in 1318, there was a John Thomson  who led part of Edward Bruce's invading army in Ireland on behalf of Robert the Bruce. The MacThomases supported King Charles I and the Marquis of Montrose but Montrose was defeated. The chief approved of the stable government brought about by Oliver Cromwell. After the Restoration of King Charles II,  the clan drifted apart. Some clansmen moved to the Lowlands and changed their name to Thomson or Thomas.

James Thomson (1700-1748) was a poet who is remembered now for writing "Rule Britannia". Robert William Thomson invented the pneumatic tyre in December 1845 and scientist and inventor William Thomson, born in Belfast, became associated with Glasgow University and became Lord Kelvin, giving his name to the measurement of temperature "Kelvin". 

William Thomson (Lord Kelvin)                                          

While there may be no family relationship between the Bells / Armstrongs and William Thomson, Alexander Stewart, who was to marry Jean Armstrong in 1884, studied under his tutelage at Glasgow University in the 1870's.    

William Thomson's name recurs in Victorian grazing history with the invention of ship refrigeration allowing mutton to be exported from Australia and New Zealand to Europe in the 1880's. Inventor James Harrison (also the first editor of the Geelong Advertiser) developed an ice-making factory in the Geelong area in 1852, and attempted to export meat unsuccessfully in 1875. Soon after, Sir William Thomson and a Joseph Coleman produced a ship-borne machine that could produce low temperatures using what was known as the Bell-Coleman method. In 1879, shipments of frozen meat were successfully exported.

Dr. Alexander Thomson MLA (b.1800 Aberdeen) was an early settler in the Melbourne / Geelong area. He was an MLC 1852-4, and an MLA 1856-61, and was also Mayor of Melbourne. He leased "River Station" Port Phillip, in partnership with William Armstrong during the 1840's.

There are many connections between the Armstrong and Thomson families in Sutherlandshire.

There are also connections between the Bell and Thompson families in Dumfriesshire. George Bell (b.1819), of The Broats, Dumfriesshire, married Agnes Thompson of Tulliesfield. His children were William, Lewis, John, George, Marius, James, Letetia, Margaretta, Robert Thomas and Angus. A letter dated 1903 from Harrogate England, from Agnes Bell (neť Thompson) to her grand-daughter, Mary Calvert Bell in Australia, is reproduced at this site. George Bell died in the 1890's, so possibly she stayed with or visited her son, Angus and his family.  

 

5. The Carstairs

The Carstairs name originates from the village Carstairs, SE of Glasgow.. In the late 13th Century, the Stewarts were given a large amount of land surrounding St Andrews by the then king. The Earl gave the land to his secretary, a priest named Thomas de Carstairs. He had no children, so brought in family members from the village to take up farms.  

The strategic position of Carstairs is evident. In Roman times there was a large camp at the Carstairs village site, commanding the important military routes to London, Lanark and Ayr. In Norman times there was a fortified castle at Carstairs. Today Carstairs is a common name in the Fife area as well as the Glasgow area.

Robina Carstairs was the daughter of Robert Carstairs of Abbotshall, Fife. Presumably, she and her sister Margaret, migrated to Australia with their sister Euphemia and her husband, George Russell, shortly after their father's death.

Robert Carstairs died on 19th May 1852 after a long illness. He was a farmer at Balwearie in Fife (138 acres under crop). Balwearie was leased from Colonel Robert Ferguson of Raith. His eldest son John was a farmer at Elland Hall, Yorkshire in 1852.  His second son James Leslie was the first Trustee & Executor. James Leslie was resident at Balwearie in 1852.  Other Trustees were: Reverend William Reid, John Drysdale Esquire of Kilrie, George Lewis farmer of Boglilly. The original Will was written in 1847 when James Leslie was resident in England.
Children mentioned by name in the Will were:
        John Carstairs
        James Leslie Carstairs  
        Mary Anne Drysdale
        Amelia Reid
        Anna-Bella Carstairs
        Euphemia Leslie Russell
        Margaret Carstairs
        Robina Carstairs
        (Daughters Mary, Christina and Elizabeth Carstairs deceased prior to their father's death)

Extract from the testament (abridged):

At Balwearie 25th May 1852, after the funeral of the deceased Mr Robert Carstairs assembled the following members of his family: Mr James Leslie Carstairs, Mrs Mary Anne Carstairs or Drysdale wife of John Drysdale of Kilrie and the said John Drysdale, Mrs Amelia Carstairs or Reid wife of the Revd William Reid Minister of Kettle, Mrs Euphemia Leslie Carstairs or Russell wife of George Russell of Golfhill Victoria and the said George Russell both presently residing at Balwearie, Miss Margaret Carstairs and Miss Robina Carstairs both residing at Balwearie and the said William Reid, the foregoing Trust Disposition and Codicils having been read over in presence of the parties. Mr James Leslie Carstairs stated that owing to the long illness of the deceased the management of his affairs had devolved upon him.....and after payment of debts and obligations there would remain a deficiency of nearly £1000. Mr James Leslie Carstairs undertook to pay  the debts and obligations, and to maintain his unmarried sisters during the remainder of the lease (of Balwearie) in conformance with his father's instructions, provided that he was put in possession  of the property left by the deceased and the other members of the family renounced all in his favour. The members of the family present considered and unanimously agreed.

Apparently, Robina Carstairs (b.1834 d.1924) who married Robert Lewis Bell (b.17 May 1834-Dornock,Dumfries,d.1881) was related to the a Carstairs family member who founded the Carstairs whiskey business in America. However direct evidence is not available at present.  

The Carstairs in Scotland and Australia   See family tree and information

6. The Howatsons

In Scotland    Many Howatson families lived in Dumfriesshire. The Bell and Howatson families shared a close family and business relationship in Dumfries and in Australia.  

Jean Calvert(b.1796)  married John/George Hewitson of Potstown. Jean Calvert was the sister of Mary Calvert, Lewis Bell's(b.1853) grandmother. See Calvert Family Tree.

According to the Hewitson Census 1851, reproduced below, James and Lewis Hewitson were born in the Parish of Middlebie, Potsdown, in 1835 and 1843 respectively. 
 

PARISH OF MIDDLEBIE     POTSDOWN        1851 Census

NAME

RELATIONSHIP TO HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD

MARITAL STATUS AND AGE

PLACE OF BIRTH

OCCUPATION

George HEWITSON Head of Household Widower, 64 Eskdalemuir, Dumfries Farmer of 160 acres
Janet HEWITSON Daughter Unmarried, 28 Tundergarth  
David HEWITSON Son Unmarried, 30 Tundergarth
James HEWITSON Son 16 years Middlebie
Lewis HEWITSON Son 8 years Middlebie  
 

In Australia    Lewis Bell Howatson and James Howatson (note the different spelling) migrated to Victoria, probably not long after the 1851 census. Presumably, they were sponsored by one or more of their cousins: James, John and Robert Robert Lewis Bell, all of whom were living in Victoria. James Howatson purchased the Mt. Derrimut property after 1875 from the Morton brothers who had established it as a pedigree Shorthorn cattle enterprise. 

Lewis Bell Howatson was the owner of a 76 000-acre western NSW property lease named "Wanga Mana". 

Their second cousin, Lewis Bell (b1853), was the executor of James Howatson's will. 

The Howatson family lived nearby the Armstrongs and Bells in Melbourne, and Mrs. (Sarah?) Howatson frequently wrote to Annie Bell during WW1, sometimes from "Burnswark" or "Killearnan" in Toorak, Melbourne.

See Correspondence        See Western Land Leases, NSW    See Properties for pictures of family at Mt. Derrimut

 Last updated: 1 June 2008