John Lidderdale was born at Melrose on July 9, 1713, and more than usual is known about him as he was enterprising. The family estates had gone, so he ventured overseas to Virginia, there he married in 1738 Elizabeth, daughter of William, a cadet of the Robertson of Struan family, who arrived in Virginia circa 1700, becoming clerk to the council of Virginia dying in Williamsberg on 27th January 1739 when Secretary of the Colony (Legislative Journals of the Council of the Colony of Virginia, Vol.2, p.893).
John became a merchant in Williamsburg, returned and settled in Bristol between 1748-50. He moved to Camberwell circa 1760. Later he purchased Castle Milk, Dumfries, executing a deed of Taillie on 7th August, 1769. He died at Carlisle on the 13th 1777 and Elizabeth his wife on the 4th March of the same year at the same place having been born at Williamsburg, Virginia, on the 17th January, 1721/2.
To quote from Johnston's "The Scottish Clans and their Tartans":
"The Robertsons of Struan," says Skene, "are unquestionably the oldest family in Scotland, being the sole remaining branch of the Royal House which occupied the throne of Scotland during the eleventh and twelfth centuries."
Returning to John, Latimer's Annals of Bristol, Eighteenth Century, page 462, quotes from Bonner's Bristol Journal for 8th January 1785. In that issue an "old Bristolian" professes to specify the fortunes left by eminent local merchants and traders deceased "within these fifty years who had but small beginnings but died rich." The list begins with fortunes of £150,000 and includes John Lidderdale's £50,000. There is a further reference to him on page 472. An extract from the Bristol Gazette for March 1787 states "Many leading merchants have resided in the plantations for the purpose of gaining experience before commencing business in Bristol .... The principal tobacco importers between 1730 and 1740 were Alderman King, Mr. Innys, Mr. Chamberlayne and Mr. Farrell, all having resided in Virginia. They were succeeded by Lidderdale, Farmer and others who had also resided there."
Here is an extract from the will of John Lidderdale 1778 (Register 20 Hay). Will made 29th April 1777, will proved 21st January 1778 by William Robertson Lidderdale of Castle Milk, Dumfries, now residing in Carlisle.
Sister Margaret gets £20 a year.
Niece Maria, daughter of my late brother Thomas Lidderdale £50.
Nieces, daughters of my late brother James Lidderdale £25.
Son Thomas £5000 for purchasing promotion and other purposes.
Son William Robertson is residuary legatee and executor.
Lieutenant-Colonel Lawrence made the extract but did not record the value of the estate.
Dr. Robert (1835-1908) said that Elizabeth Robertson was reputed to have been a considerable heiress, but there is reason to believe that, owing to the American revolt, John's and his wife's property was not realised. There was also trouble with an agent soon after William Robertson succeeded to the property.
John and his wife had numerous children, seven in all, all boys, only two of whom grew to maturity. It is a pity that a family, wanting males to carry on the name, lost so many.
On the walls of the family burial enclosure in Galtway Kirkyard are tablets to the memory of the following members of the family mostly buried there.
- JOHN LIDDERDALE of Castle Milk, son of David of Torrs, died 10th August 1777, aged 64.
- His son WILLIAM ROBERTSON LIDDERDALE died 8th July 1814., aged 69.
- THOMAS youngest son of John Lidderdale of Castle Milk, Dumfries, who died at Ambergis Bay [Ambergris Cay] of Honduras, 28th December 1777 [should be 1799] aged 39.
Source: Robert Halliday Lidderdale, An Account of the Lowland Scots Family of Lidderdale, 1950.
March 30, 1743. JOHN LIDDERDALE, GENT, 864a, (p.221) Brunswick Co., N. side Meberris R., bounded by a.c. of david Bray & Butler Herbert, flatt Rock Cr. & Beaverpool Cr. (p.222). (Virginia Land Patent Book 21, Pages 1-674, 1743; Virginia Genealogical Society Quarterly, vol. XXVI, no. 3, August 1, 1988).
March 1, 1743. JOHN LIDDERDALE, 296a, (p.7) Brunswick Co., S. side of Crooked Cr. (p.8). (Virginia Land Patent Book 22, 1743-1745, Pages 1-361). (Virginia Land Patent Book 22, Pages 1-361, 1743-1745; Virginia Genealogical Society Quarterly, vol. XXVI, no. 4, November 1, 1988).
February 18, 1744. (p.796) ALEXANDER SPALDING and JOHN LIDDERDALE, 16,993a, Brunswick Co., both sides of Little Roanoake and Wards Fork. bounded by Richard Wards upper c. on Wards Fork, Picture Br. (p.797) the Ridge bet. Brunswick Co. and Ameilia, Dawsons ipper off c. (p.798) Thomas Williams's line, John Austin's line (p.799). (Virginia Land Patent Book 23, Pages 567-904, 1743-1745; Virginia Genealogical Society Quarterly, vol. XXVII, no. 2, May 1, 1989).
Source: Virginia Genealogical Society Quarterly
After the death of Thomas Lidderdale in the West Indies, the representation of the family passed to David Lidderdale of Torrs, and his descendants. By his marriage already mentioned, he had issue-
John, born in 1713, died in 1777.
Thomas, married and had issue, Maria, who died unmarried.
James, predeceased his brother John, married, and had issue,
Thomas, who died unmarried.
----, who married --- Hutton, and had issue,
---, who married --- Roebuck.
---, who married --- Brown.
Eleanor, married Walter Pringle, St. Kitts, West Indies, grandson of Sir Robert Pringle of Stitchel, Roxburghshire, and had issue,
Anne, married John Dairymple, whose son James became fourth baronet of Hailes.
John succeeded his father David in the representation, and became the owner of Castlemilk, Dumfries-shire. He married in 1738 Elizabeth (who died in 1777), daughter of Robertson of Struan, Perthshire, and had issue, of whom survived,
William Robertson, died in 1814.
Thomas, born in 1760, married, of whom hereafter.
Several other sons who died in infancy.
Source: P.H. McKerlie, History of the Lands and Their Owners in Galloway, 1878.
John Lidderdale's Last Will and Testament was written on April 29, 1777, and recorded on January 21, 1778, in London. The will names as beneficiaries sons William Robertson Lidderdale and Thomas Lidderdale, sister Margaret Lidderdale, and niece Maria Lidderdale.
Source: English Origins, PCC Wills Index (http://www.englishorigins.com)
Obituary Prior to 1800 (as far as Relates to England, Scotland, and Ireland), Compiled by Sir William Musgrave, 6th Bart., of Hayton Castle, Co. Cumberland, and Entitled by Him "A General Nomenclator and Obituary, with Referrence to the Books Where the Persons are Mentioned, and Where Some Account of Their Character is to be Found."
Lidderdale, John, of Castle Milk, Scotld. 19 Aug 1777. (G.M. 459.)
Angus P. Robinson posted the following on the Rootsweb.com Dumfries-Galloway Mailing List on October 22, 1998 (http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/robertson/1998-10/0909087208):
Several years ago I ran across info on William Robertson's sister, who married John Lidderdale. Her husband imported slaves that were sold at public action on the east coast. He returned to Scotland before retiring with considerable cash. He was, supposedly, rather poor before getting into the slave trade.
Minutes of House of Burgesses for 1739-40 shows his will leaving the bulk of his estate to his daughter, Elizabeth, a minor, and her husband, John Littledale, according to a previous agreement.