Category Archives: McKenzie

Rev. Hugh MacKenzie – Biography

Hugh Ross MacKenzie (1798-1860) was the brother of my 3x great-grandmother Barbara Ross MacKenzie.  I knew that he was a minister in Inverness, Scotland and that he had also worked as a missionary in Nova Scotia.  He returned to Scotland where he died on 31 Jan 1860 of a heart ailment [defective mitral valve].

Today I found a wonderful biography with many details of his life in the Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae, a reference which gives the succession of ministers in Scotland parishes.  Hugh is found on page 466 of Volume 6.  This was his entry (lightly edited):

HUGH ROSS MACKENZIE, appointed to St. Mary’s of Inverness, Scotland in 1848, was born in in Ross-shire, Scotland on the 20th May 1798.  He was the son of John MacKenzie (catechist in parish of Nigg, Ross-shire), and Isabella Ross.  He was educated at the University of Edinburgh, and licensed by the Presbytery of Hamilton.  He was an assistant at Harthill, and ordained by that Presbytery in August 1831 for service in Nova Scotia.  He was appointed by the Glasgow Colonial Society to Wallace, Cumberland County, Nova Scotia, where he laboured from 1832 to 1840.

He married on the 8th April 1833 [in Nova Scotia], Hectorina MacLean Skinner (born 27th Sept. 1809, died 7th May 1883), daughter of James Skinner, M.D. of Pictou, Nova Scotia, and Elizabeth McCormick.

He was minister at Lochaber, Antigonish County, Nova Scotia from 1840 to 1844.  Admitted [as minister] to Tongue, [Highland,] Scotland on the 11th Sept. 1844.  Presented [as Minister of St. Mary’s, Inverness, Scotland] by Queen Victoria 8th April 1848, and admitted [to same] on 8th June 1848.  Rev. MacKenzie died on the 31st of Jan 1860.

St.Mary's, Inverness, Scotland

St.Mary’s, Inverness, Scotland

He and his wife had the following children:

James Skinner, minister of Little Dunkeld, born in Nova Scotia, 14th Jan. 1834.

Isabella, born 19th June 1835, died 12th July 1836.

John, coal merchant, Inverness, born 16th March 1837, died July 1873.

Isabella, born 29th Jan. 1839 (married Dr C. Deane), died Hawthorn, Australia, 12th Sept. 1923.

Eliza-beth, born 21st Feb. 1841 (married Dr Gill), died at Canterbury, Australia, 16th July 1919.

Margaret Ross, born 18th March 1843 (married Rev. Van der Straaton, London), died Aug. 1878.

Hugh Butler Gallie, coffee planter in Ceylon, born 1st May 1846.

Sally Mitchell, born 21st May 1848 (married Marcus Van der Straaton, Government Railways, Ceylon), died 28th
July 1917.

Hector, born 28th Dec. 1851, died in Australia in January 1901.

[Per Gregg’s History of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, 330.]

Hugh McKenzie - Bio

Hugh MacKenzie – Bio

The afore-mentioned “History of the Presbyterian Church in Canada” by William Gregg has a short entry on Hugh with some additional details:

In the year 1831 the Rev. Hugh MacKenzie was appointed by the Glasgow society to proceed as missionary to a settlement in Wallace, in the county of Cumberland, Nova Scotia.  He was a native of Ross-shire and a licentiate of the Presbytery of Hamilton [Scotland], by which presbytery he was ordained in August 1831.  In the following month he sailed for Nova Scotia, but the ship in which he sailed was driven back by a severe storm, and he remained during the winter months with his friends in Scotland.  He left the next spring, and arrived in Nova Scotia in May, 1832.  In his field of labour he had two stations, distant from each other nine miles, at which he preached in English and Gaelic with great acceptance.  Among his hearers were some old men and women who, til his coming, had heard only one sermon in twenty years in a language they could understand.  From 1832 to 1840 he continued to labour in Wallace and neighbourhood, and then removed to Lochaber, in the county of Antigonish.  He afterwards returned to Scotland, and became minister, first of Tongue, and then of the Gaelic Church, Inverness. [pages 329-330].

John MacKenzie and Isobella Ross

Still very much neck-deep in my Scottish ancestors.  I think it was the haggis I ate last week.

I recently wrote about Dr. Alexander Forrest (1806-1875) my 3x great-grandfather who was born in Cambusnethan Parish, Lanarkshire, Scotland.  His wife was Barbara Ross MacKenzie (1805 – 1880).  She was born in Nigg Parish, Ross-shire, Ross and Cromarty, Scotland, in a place called Culnauld.  Culnauld was a former estate.

MacKenzie Clan Tartan

MacKenzie Clan Tartan

The “History of the Munros of Fowlis” by A. Mackenzie, notes:

The estate of Culnauld, parish of Nigg, was bequeathed to Andrew Munro (??-1580) by his father.  He was granted “half of the lands and town of Nig, and half the alehouse and its croft, with the keeping of the place and Manor of Nig.”

The careful reader may note that the Munro family and the Forrest family would go on to have quite a close relationship.  It’s possible it had its roots long ago in Scotland.

Barbara’s parents were John MacKenzie and Isobella Ross.  John was a weaver.  I was able to find several birth records for John and Isobella in the Scottish National Archives.  The first record showed the births of three children, Hugh, Margaret, and John:

McKenzie & Ross Births, Culnauld, Nigg Parish, Ross and Cromarty, Scotland

McKenzie & Ross Births, Culnauld, Nigg Parish, Ross and Cromarty, Scotland

Hugh MacKenzie lawful son to John McKenzie, Weaver, Culnault & Isobella Ross his spouse, born 20th May 1798.

Margaret MacKenzie lawful daughter to John McKenzie, Weaver, Culnault & Isobella Ross his spouse, born 19th March 1800.

John MacKenzie lawful son to John McKenzie, Weaver, Culnault, & Isobella Ross, his spouse born 29th June 1803.

The next child was Barbara Ross:


Barbara Ross McKenzie birth record

Barbara Ross MacKenzie, lawful daughter to John McKenzie, Weaver, Culnault & Isobella Ross his spouse, born 3rd Jun 1805.

Unfortunately, the John MacKenzie born in 1803 must have died in infancy, because the next child born was also named John MacKenzie:

John McKenzie Birth Record

John McKenzie birth record

John MacKenzie lawful son to John MacKenzie, Weaver, Culnault, and Isobella Ross, his spouse, born 16th March 1809.

There is a birth record listing a child, John L.S. MacKenzie born in Cromarty Parish [i.e. not Nigg Parish] on 17 Oct 1814 and baptized on 19 Oct 1814.  The father, John MacKenzie, is listed as a “mason” [i.e. not a weaver], and the mother is “Isobel Ross” [i.e. not Isobella], so I’m skeptical about it.  It’s possible John changed professions, but it seems unlikely.  I’ve removed this entry from my tree, but I’m mentioning it here to be thorough.

John McKenzie birth record

John McKenzie birth record

There is a census from 1841, Nigg Parish, which lists a John MacKenzie and his wife Isobella.  John is listed as weaver (actually some kind of loom worker), but the birth dates for him and his wife are not realistic if one considers that their first son was born in 1798.  It says John was born in 1783 and Isobella in 1886, which would have made them 15 and 12 when their first child was born. Still I’ll include it to be thorough in case they were giving younger ages for some reason.  Again, the careful reader will notice the Duff family living next door.  Intriguing.

Nigg Parish Census, 1841

1841 Census, Culnaha, Nigg Parish, Ross and Cromarty, Scotland