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Mini Biographies of Scots and Scots Descendants (S)

I have included only the opening intrduction to the book on the Strathee family in Canada. This book has been updated with all descendents by several members of the family and has been reprinted since the original edition. If anyone is interested they can contact me at

THE HISTORY of the STRATHDEE FAMILY (1961 edition)


This is the second edition of the Strathdee Family History (references to jobs etc. are at the date of publication aprox 1960).The text has been changed where we have added members to the family of George Strathdee and Lily Wivel but the rest is coppied directly from the book. Anyone wishing to have changes made or additions to the family should forward them to Reg Rumble, PO box 697 St.Mays, Ont N4X 1B4

Since the first edition was printed in 1953 the names of two generations preceding have been obtained for which we are indebted to Edna Smith of Cairo, Ontario, who has corresponded with James Duncan, present owner of the Strathdee homestead, "Blackmuir", in Scotland. it is interesting to know that James Duncan is a direct connection, having married Mary Strathdee; also a niece of his, Mary Strathdee McEwan, on the adjoining farm, "Bankhead", who is now a pen pal of Edna's. from them she has also received photos of relatives and pictures of Blackmuir farm and other interesting mementos. The following are insets of the farm and house on same.

Blackmuir farm is located about six miles from the town of Keith and half way between Aberdeen and Inverness, being sixty miles from either one. It is a small farm of eighty or ninety acres.  As you see by the picture, it is hilly sort of land. We are told it was really mostly hillside and moss. It took hard work for many generations to turn it into productive ground. There was never much cash to spare. They did not have all the good things their descendants have, but they were hard, steady workers and the Blackmuir bairns had a fairly happy childhood. their early training stuck to them. As much education as possible was the order of the day. Botriphnie was the parish; Drummuir the railway station; Banff the shire (Banffshire), and Keith was the market town always attended.

Philip Duncan, who visited here in Canada on the Junior Farmers' exchange, is a nephew of James Duncan and his mother is a daughter of the late James Strathdee. Philip remarked at the reunion in his honor, that if we went to Scotland he couldn't get as many Strathdee's together there as he met here.

The connection has been traced back to William Strathdee who married Elspeth Kew at Botriphnie on August 29, 1745 ( three generations in Scotland).

The name "Strathdee" means--Strath is the land drained by the river, and Dee is the river Dee.

It may be of interest that there is no Strathdee tartan. Of course they are eligible to wear the tartan of other family connections. They recommend we use the MacDuff tartan.

John Strathdee was far from a strong youth and a change of climate was considered advisable. Emigration to Canada had begun. George was a pickle steady and sure, ready for anything. Bettie, anxious for adventure and wanting to get to Canada, married Alexander Bremner.

One morning in 1841, three carts started from Blackmuir. John Strathdee, his wife Jane Edward's and son Alexander in the first one with as many comforts as possible. Bettie Strathdee, her husband, Alexander Bremner, and George Strathdee in the second vessel and the crossing took almost eight weeks. They settled on a farm, Lot 20, Con. 5, Downie Township, Perth County.

George did not like such level land and went to Dorchester where it is more rolling. When Elsie Cumming Phillips, a daughter of Elspeth Strathdee, visited Canada, she remarked how like Blackmuir his farm was.

Bettie Strathdee and her husband settled on fifty acres adjacent to John's.

In 1892, Martha Strathdee, a daughter of Alexander Strathdee, came to Jersey City, N.Y., and later to George Strathdee's home, Dorchester. She married John Armstrong Mossop, a native of Dorchester, and they lived in Hamilton, London and Toronto.

Some years ago it was felt that it would be a good thing to have a gathering of all the Strathdee clan. The first reunion was held at Lakeside in 1922. It proved to be a success and it was unanimously voted to make it an annual event.

The picnics are held the second Saturday in June; usually in Stratford or London park; has been in St. Thomas and Exeter and sometimes in private homes.

In 1930 reunion in St. Thomas park, was outstanding. Margaret Allen from Glasgow, Scotland, was present and also Anne Strathdee Meehan, from Persia.

The family history was begun by Jennie Strathdee of Dorchester, continued to 1953 by Hannah Pringle and to 1961 by Lillian Billington with hope and confidence that future generations will keep up the record to hand to posterity.

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