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The Scottish Nation

CORSAN, (now Carson) the surname of a family which once possessed the estate of Meikleknox in Dumfries-shire. The first of their ancestors in Scotland was an Italian gentleman of the Corsini family, who came to this country with an abbot of New Abbey, or Dulce Cor, in Galloway, about the year 1280. Sir Alexander Corsane was witness to a charter by Archibald the Grim, earl of Douglas, superior of Galloway, to Sir John Stewart, laird of Gryton, of the lands of Calie. The charter is without a date, but it must have been before 1400, as the earl died in that year. The principal family of Corsan was designed of Glen, which, in the reign of James IV., passed with Marion, daughter and only child of Sir Robert Corsan of Glen, by marriage to Sir Robert Gordon, who thereupon styled himself of Glen, and on the death of his elder brother at the battle of Flodden was afterwards designed of Lochinvar. Of that lady descended lineally the barons of Lochinvar and viscounts of Kenmure. [See KENMURE, viscounts of.]

      Sir John Corsane, an early cadet and next heir male of this family of Glen, settled at Dumfries, and had a lineal succession of heirs male for 18 generations, all of the name of John. Some of their brethren were ecclesiastics, particularly Dominus Thomas Corsanus, designed perpetual vicar of Dumfries, in a charter granted by him for some church-lands in Dumfries dated in 1408.

      In the reign of King James VI., John Corsan, 13th in descent from the said Sir John Corsan, was provost of Dumfries, as appears from an inscription on his funeral monument erected by his son. He was commissioner in parliament for that burgh in 1621, when the five articles of the Perth assembly received the sanction of law. He was provost of Dumfries 45 years, and died in 1629, aged 75 ˝ years, and was buried with eleven of his grandfathers. He m. Janet Maxwell, one of Lord Maxwell’s family, who bore him several children. One of his daughters, Marion, was married to Stephen Laurie of Maxwelton, ancestor of the Lauries, baronets, of Maxwelton. His eldest son, John Corsan, advocate, married Margaret Maxwell, one of the daughters and coheiresses of Robert Maxwell of Dinwoody, a branch of the family of Maxwell, by whom he had John his heir, who predeceased him, leaving a son, who succeeded his grandfather; Helen, and several others. With his wife he got the lands of Barndennoch, and in consequence was sometimes designed of that place. He died in 1671. He was provost of Dumfries about the time of the civil wars; and when that burgh was attacked by the royalists, he was, with others, a considerable loser. It is said that a third part of the burgh of Dumfries belonged to him, and there were at one time many old houses in the town which bore the arms of the family, some of them quartered with those of the families into which he and his predecessors had married. The family ended, in February 1721, in a daughter, Agnes Corsan, the wife of Mr. Peter Rae, minister at Killbride. Her mother was of the family of Maxwell of Tinwald. Mrs. Rae had twelve children, Her eldest son, Robert Rae, assumed the name and arms of Corsan, on succeeding to the estate of Meikleknox. The Corsans of Dalwhat, in the parish of Glencairn, belonged to an elder branch of the same family. The name, which has been corrupted into Carson, is very prevalent in Dumfries-shire. Of the learned Dr. Carson, rector of the High School, Edinburgh, a native of that county, a notice is given ante.

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