Six other families have strong connections within the Bell and Armstrong family trees. See below for some information regarding their history and connections.
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.
Detailed history of the Sutherland Clan (Scots Connections Website)
Map of Highland Clan areas (912kb)
2. The Calverts
The middle name "Calvert" recurs through several generations, including...
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)
history of the Johnstone clan (Scots Connections
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
to the Hewitson
Census 1851, reproduced below, James and Lewis Hewitson were born in the
Parish of Middlebie, Potsdown, in 1835 and 1843 respectively.
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.
Last updated: 1 June 2008