A family History









In writing this genealogical document tracing our Cleland ancestors back from Albuquerque, NM in 2003 to about 1230 in Scotland, I need to acknowledge several sources for the information. James Cleland of WaKeenee, Kansas who urged me to go forward with the research on our branch to tie us into other branches of the tree, and provided Clann Cleland history, maps and much support.  As James said, “If you are a Cleland, you are related to every other Cleland.”  James also directed me to an Internet source, William Clelland of Lesmahagow, S. Lanarkshire, Scotland.  William is a wealth of information on the Clelands answering all my questions and always leaving me with the rejoinder to “ask me another”. Through William I got information on where to purchase published documents on the Clelands (Seven Centuries in The Kneeland Family by Stillman Foster Kneeland in 1897, and The Ancient Family of Cleland compiled from the records of John Burton Cleland published in 1905).  William also provided me with a copy of Kirkintilloch Blairlin District and the Cleland’s, by Harry Cleland in 1934. I also will use documentation researched for me by the British Ancestors, and information on Lanark, Scotland, and New Monkland, Lanark Scotland gleaned from The Statistical Accounts of Scotland, a web site hosted by Edinburgh University which provides accounts of Scottish life from the 18th and 19th century. The Latter Day Saints web sites as well as their Family History Library in Albuquerque, the Raton Daily Range, Scotlands Black Diamonds, Not Many Noble, F. Stanley’s Raton Chronicle and of course relatives and memory (sometimes failing me) provided much of the information. 


At one point in the lineage I make a great leap of faith supported by circumstance and hunches but not by irrefutable fact. I was tempted but did not attempt to follow other branches created by brothers, sisters, husbands and wives, but for the most part focused on the direct lineage leading to Albuquerque. This document or what ever it turns out to be should be considered a work in progress and I am ever amenable to changes that add substance and fact and life to the works.


As noted in the preface of Burton’s book “Still it must be remembered that we all are, in great part, what our forbears made us…”


And what of these forbears named Cleland.  I am sure that each of you has been called Clelland, Celand, Kneeland, Kneland, Kneilan, MacClellan, Clellan and other monikers that appear to have nothing to do with Cleland.  Rest assured, they are all relatives of yours. The first recorded spelling was Kneland or Kneiland, which some scholars believe was derived from the German “knecht” (the same word as “knight”), a servant. One interpretation is that a Knechtland would be one who for his land served the king in peace or war, which would be apropos for the Cleland Clann.


The first chief of the Clann was Alexander Kneland, a prelate of the Church of Kilspendis, who married the aunt of Sir William Wallace. Upon the death of his father Adam Wallace, who was killed fighting the English at the first battle of Loundon Hill, young Wallace and his mother resided with his Aunt and Uncle Alexander Kneeland. William received his early education and love of liberty at the knee of his uncle.  Indeed it is recorded that Alexander Kneland impressed upon his children and William.


 “Verily I say unto you, liberty is the best of things: never live under a servile yoke.”


 It is from this point in time (mid thirteenth century) that we begin our journey. I will try to account for the name changes when and as scholars have identified them.


From the marriage of Alexander and Margaret, came James (“the 2nd of that ilk”). James naturally was instilled with the same love of liberty and hatred for the English that the prelate had instilled in William Wallace. In fact he was present at most of the exploits of Wallace: the second battle at Loundon Hill in July, 1296 where Wallace avenged the death of his father; the battle of Stirling on September 13, 1297; the battle of Falkirk on July 22, 1298. He also sailed with his cousin and assisted in the sea battle with and taking prisoner “Thomas of Longueville” commonly called the “Red Rover”.  After Wallace was betrayed and executed, James and his kinsmen continued their fight for Scotland’s freedom.  Freedom for Scotland was won on June 24, 1314 at the battle of Bannockburn when James and his young son John joined forces with kinsmen and Robert the Bruce, and defeated the English. James was seriously wounded in this battle.  For his loyalty and good service, the King gave him several lands in the Barony of Calder (now Lanarkshire).  James was succeeded by his eldest son John.


John (“the 3rd of that ilk”) as previously noted, fought with his father at the Battle of Bannockburn and continued to fight the enemies of Scotland.  John’s career was ended on October 17, 1346 when the reigning monarch David II mounted a disastrous attack on the English at Durham.  John and David II (Robert the Bruce’s son) were taken prisoners. He was succeeded by his eldest son, John, who is noted as “the fourth of that ilk” in the Seven Centuries in the Kneeland Family but not in the Ancient Family of Cleland


John (the 4th of that ilk”), actually recorded as Kinieland, was severely wounded while leading a band of Scotsmen at the battle of Poitiers in 1357, which led to the Treaty of Berwick in October 1357. This treaty was named after the town of Berwick, which is situated on the border between Scotland and England, and arranged for the release from captivity of David II in return for a large ransom to be paid to Edward III of England. I have to believe that the involvement of John (fourth of that ilk) would be in hopes of the return of his father.  I have no information that John the third of that ilk was released with David II. John the fourth of that ilk was succeeded by his son John. Again, Kneeland’s book has it noted but Cleland’s book is silent on “the fifth of that ilk”.


John (the 5th of that ilk”) was involved in the conflict at Harlow, May 17, 1412.  Kneeland rests his case for this Kneland being the fifth on the fact that the name is John Kneland of that ilk meaning John Kneland who resided at Kneland.   Since no one could occupy this property except the heir, and the date is in the right time scale, it follows that this must be John Kneland (“the fifth of that ilk”). After four Johns being the chief of the Clann, William succeeded John.


William (“the 6th of that ilk”) was one of the witnesses to a charter to the lands of Watson in 1445 from Lord James Somerville to Sir William Baillie of Hoprigg.  He is also mentioned in reference to his son James marriage to Janet Somerville, the youngest daughter of Lord Somerville.  It is at this point in time that the name Cleland/Cleilland is first noted.  The charter that was witnessed by William stated “William Cleland of Clelandtoun”, and the marriage reference states “…he marryes his youngest daughter Janet upon James Cleilland, sone and heir to William Cleilland of that ilk”.  James succeeded his father and became “the 7th of that ilk”.


A very important attribute should be noted at this point.  As James Cleland of WaKeenee, KS said:


“One thing Cleland men have always known, a good wife brings strength to the Clann.  They chose wives from among the most powerful families in Scotland, Somerville, Douglas, Hepburn, Hamilton, Robertson, Stewart, Muirhead, Henderson, Aytoun and Campbell.”


James Cleland became (“the 7th of that ilk”) upon the death of his father William.  As noted in Somerville’s “Memorie of the Somerville”, the 2nd Lord Somerville “marryes his youngest daughter Janet upon James Cleilland, son and heir to William Cleland of that ilk.” Nisbet in his “Book of Heraldry, of 1722”, confused James with William for he stated “…was descended William of that ilk who in the reign of James III, married Jean, daughter of William Lord Somerville.  From them branched Cleland of Faskine, Cleland of Monkland, and Cleland of Gartness.” as well as continuing Cleland of Cleland.  The important thing to remember was not the confusion of the name, but that this marriage resulted in the formation of other notable branches of the family.


 It is at this point that the Clelands of Albuquerque follow a path other than that of the Chiefs. However, for the sake of completeness I will briefly list the Chiefs before I return to our journey to Albuquerque.


William Cleland (8th of that ilk) was a missing Chief until John Burton Cleland using logic and research found the missing chief in the “Memorie of the Somervilles”.  The reference was an anecdote involving misinterpretation of a letter sent by Lord Somerville to his lady Dame Marie Baillzie concerning the King, who was a guest of Lord Somerville. In response to Dame Baillzie’s request William Cleilland, of that ilk, led a band of 200 Scots to save Lord Somerville. Cleilland is further mentioned as of that ilk and as Lord Somerville’s nephew in an article about the nuptials of the son of Lord Somerville with the half sister of Archibald Bell-the-Cat.


Alexander Cleland (9th Cleland of that ilk) was killed at Flodden in 1513.  The reference stated that  “Alexander Cleland of that ilk with his cousin William Cleland of Faskine were both killed fighting valiantly for their king in the fatal battle of Flowden 1513…”


James Cleland (10th Cleland of that ilk) married a daughter of Hepburn of Bonnytown.  The reference stated “James Cleland of that ilk, an eminent man in the time of King James V. whom he frequently attended while hunting, …married a daughter of Hepburn of Bonnytown, descended of the Earl of Bothwell, by whom he had his son and successor Alexander.”  In the Memorie of the Somervilles the “Laird of Cleilland” is mention in 1517 as being one of the gentlemen assembled to pay honour to Hugh Lord Somervilles second wife, Lady Janet Maitlane.


Alexander (11th of that ilk).  “Alexander Cleland of that ilk, eminent for his loyalty on behalf of Queen Mary: he married Margaret, a daughter of Hamilton of Haggs by whom he had William his son and successor.”


William Cleland (12th of that ilk) married Elizabeth Stewart, the sister of Walter Stewart, the first Lord Blantyre. Elizabeth was the daughter of Sir John Stewart of Minto. William was the chief from 1597-1608.  In 1572 he was charged with being guilty art and part in the murders of Darnley and two Regents.  Now, as every student of Scottish history knows Lord Darnley, Queen Mary’s second husband, was murdered at Kirk o’Field in February 1567.  The house was blown up and Darnley was dead, NOT by the explosion but strangled and left in the garden.  William Cleland and his brother Arthur were accused in court with this affair.  The charges against the Clelands were unproven.


James Cleland (13th of that ilk), who succeeded William in 1608 married Mary Somerville, daughter of Sir James Somerville and is the last recognized Chief of the Clan.  His eldest son, Alexander died a year prior to James and the grandson was in his minority.  The grandson sold the estate of Cleland, to his uncle James the second son of James (13th), who had assumed the title “of that ilk”, which caused dissention among the Clann.  It should be pointed out however, that this dissention was probably not the only factor that resulted in the Clann being broken, since Scotland itself was in tumultuous times.


As witnessed by the above, it is evident that the Clelands, bloodied by battle for Scotland’s freedom, were closely aligned with powerful as well as royalty. This all changed along the way, the Clann became leaderless, the various families branched off from the main line, the turmoil Scotland found herself in, and the opportunities opening up in North America, (Canada and the USA) and Australia all lead to the loss of power that was enjoyed by the Clelands.


So we will continue to follow the Cleland line from James (the 7th of that ilk) to the road that I believe leads to Albuquerque. 


From James branched the Clelands of Monkland (headed toward New Mexico) in the late 16th century or early 17th century.  I pause here to briefly describe Monkland mostly by paraphrasing and quoting from the Statistical Account of Scotland – 1799.


Monkland originally belonged to the Monks of Newbattle, but about 1640 Monkland separated into two parishes New (or East) Monkland and Old Monkland.  East Monkland is situated in the Middle Ward (as opposed to the Upper and Lower Wards) of Lanarkshire and is the most northerly parish in the county. The district is flat but is above sea level, about 2000 ft. The northwestern part of New Monkland is best for farming.  The middle and east parts are of a mossy soil and in early seasons yield good crops of oats, potatoes and other warm weather crops but mostly oats.  The parish in general is enclosed with ditches and hedges of white thorn. Glasgow is only 10 miles away and provided a ready market for the crops.


The parish had, of course, a church of about 1200 parishioners, a schoolhouse, a manse and a churchyard dike. There were two schools in Airdrie, but they had no schoolhouse nor salary. Apparently, teacher’s salaries or lack thereof, was an issue in the 1700’s as they are today.  “The emoluments of these offices, though trifling, are better than the salary, but the whole is shameful pittance in so wealthy a parish; and it is a disgrace to the country that so useful a body of men are, in Scotland, so poorly provided for in general and calls loudly for redress.”


 The poor in the parish were few, however, “no place in the country is more pestered with vagrants and gypsies, as there is neither work-house jail, nor resident magistrate in the parish…but as this office is generally filled by the most ignorant and worthless, they are become a nuisance instead of a benefit.”


Coal and ironstone was, or could be found, almost in every farm. Excellent smithy coal, and blind coal for drying grain and malt was mined at Airdrie.  Because of the superior quality, it was carried 20 miles and upwards around the country.  This degree of transportation of coal in the late 1700 speaks well of its quality. Apparently Monkland had several mineral springs and one, Monkland Well was at one point in time an in place for the “gay and fashionable”, but was frequented only by the poor and lame in 1799.


Airdrie was the only town in the parish, consisting of 300 persons in 1760. In 1789 there were 1100 and in 1792 there were 1762 “souls” in the town and suburbs. Besides dissenters there were 1300 persons above 8 years of age. Besides the farming and mining, the residents were gainfully employed in the distillation of malt spirits, brewing of ale, candle making, and iron founding.  It was pointed out that the malt spirits were of a particular fine quality and flavor, being shipped throughout Scotland, to America and the West Indies with only a small quantity used within the parish. 


The morals of the inhabitants of the parish were much better than could be expected, especially because of the want of magistrates.  “None born in the parish have ever suffered either corporal or capital punishment.”  This statement struck me as being carefully worded and left the impression that if you weren’t born in the parish, you had better be very careful of your actions.  The people, in general, were “hospitable and sober with dissipation only to be found among a few of the lower rank”. The health of the people was very good and “Many persons now living are above 80 years of age and 3 near 100” out of a population of 3,560.  The most fatal disease there as well as the rest of the world at the time was smallpox–inoculation had not yet become general.


Recalling that the Clelands of Faskine, Monkland, and Gartness were descended from James the 7th of that ilk, we will continue on the Road to Albuquerque hop scotching across Lanarkshire, into Midlothian and back and across the Atlantic to Philadelphia and points west, in the 500 years between 1452 and 2002.


“(Unknown) Cleland (the first generation of Faskine) was the brother of William the 8th of that ilk, but evidently didn’t do anything notable to require mention in any source documents. However, he did have a son to carry on the Clelands of Faskine.


William Cleland (the second generation of Faskine) married Margaret Hamilton, but was killed along with his cousin Alexander Cleland (the 9th of that ilk) in the battle of Flodden, fighting valiantly for their King.  The battle of Flodden came about when England’s King Henry the VIII, invaded France on behalf of the papacy, and English attacks had been made on Scottish ships. James IV of Scotland, was married to Henry VIII sister and a treaty of friendship existed between the two countries but Scotland also had an alliance with France.  James IV immediately declared war on England  and amassed 20,000 Scotsmen.  The battle was a disaster for Scotland at the town of Flodden.  Although the English losses were heavy, the Scots dead numbered between five and ten thousand.   Among the dead Scots were dozens of lords, al least ten Earls, some abbots, an archbishop, King James IV and at least two Clelands. 


Before he was killed, William Cleland and Margaret Hamiliton had at least four children.  John, who became the 3rd of Faskine, Oswald, Gavin, and George who become the lst of Glenhoofe.


We will follow the path of George, since I believe, that the Albuquerque Clelands descended from this linage.


George, 1st of Glenhoofe, married another Margaret Hamiliton.  It is probable that Margaret was in some way related to John Hamiliton of Kirkley, who had received a grant of Glenhove (Glenhoofe), and other parts of the Monkland estate belonging to the Abbey of Newbattle. George (1st) died relatively young.  The Clelands were not proprietors of Glenhove until 1562, when the charter was signed by the abbot of Newbattle granted land to “Margarete Hammiltoun, relicte of George Cleland”and thereafter to George, her son, his heirs and assignees.  

George, 2nd of Glenhoofe, at about age 50, became heir to the estate upon the death of his mother about 1577.  The original charter to the land was granted “cum tenentibus” which literally means the “husbandmen” were tied to the soil, to be disposed of with it.  However, serfdom had disappeared and the only privilege that came with the words “cum tenentibus” was the right it gave the landlord to the free services of his tenants at certain specified times in every year–not serfdom but free labor. George, 2nd of Glenhoofe, was caught up in Scotlands trouble in 1568-1570.  Monkland was dominated by the Hamiltons.  When Queen Mary escaped form Lochleven, the head of the Hamiltons raised the standard on her behalf; and George and his brothers hastened to join the army to fight for the Queen as she tried to head for safety in her Dumbarton Castle.  But her half-brother, Lord James Stewart, anticipated her move and moved his better-trained army to cut her off.  The battle lasted only forty-five minutes, but resulted in the Queen fleeing to England and her supporters also fleeing.  Hamilton and his supporters including the Clelands were declared outlaws until a general pardon was granted them three years later.


George, 3rd of Glenhoofe, came into possession of Glenhove about 1622, at about 45 to 50 years old, since he was of legal age in 1595. He was not as flamboyant as his father and was unmarked by any incident worthy of note. He did father a son, James, and a daughter Agnes, whom we shall pay particular note.  George, 3rd, prior to his death conveyed Glenhove to his son James, retaining “twa yairds” in Drygate of Glasgow. This property was probably connected to the manse of Stobo, which at one time belonged to Cleland of Faskine and was transferred by him, to George Cleland of Glenhove.  Meanwhile, George’s daughter Agnes married a John Cleland, who resided in Badenheath in the position of head-bailie on all the Earl of Kilmarnock’s land.  In 1649, King Charles II granted the manse of Stobo to John and Agnes Cleland, reserving for himself the right to one chamber and a stable in the back of the manse, and the liberty of walking in the attached gardens whenever he visited Glasgow.


About here the murky waters of lineage become even murkier.


It is believed by Harry Cleland in his 1934 documentation of the Cleland of Blairlin District that Agnes and John had a son named George, and this George became Cleland the 1st of East Blairlin. Although he does have a disclaimer saying “…we cannot now prove the connection by documentary evidence, it is very probable that George (1) was descended from the Clelands of Glenhove.”, he does offer some credible circumstantial evidence to support his position.  I will adopt his premise as correct and use it as we continue towards Albuquerque.


George, 1st of Blairlin, was conjectured to be the “tacksman” of East Blairlin and that its many small holdings were sublet by him to other tenants. He and Margaret Paul had two sons, George and Alexander, and a daughter Jean, but little else is known about him.   The wife Margaret preceded George in death. She dying prior to 1674 and he about 1684.  Apparently Alexander was the rowdy one, with his affairs twice occupying the attention of the Privy Council. His escapades are interesting, but rather than divert from following our lineage, I will go to George (2nd of East Blairlin).


Little is known of George (2nd).  He was married to Agnes Muir, who died about the same time as George’s mother, for both of their wills were recorded on the same day. It is possible that an epidemic or the plague was the cause of their deaths. William Cleland, mentioned as a resident in East Blairlin in 1688, is supposedly George (2nd) and Agnes’s son. 


Now William (3rd of East Blairlin) advanced the family from the position of tenants to that of proprietors. When The Earl of Kilmarnock was disposing of his barony of Medrox, William purchased some of the land in East Blairlin, directly acquiring the farm Clayslope and partnering with others for purchase of East Blairlin.  William married Elizabeth (Elspeth) Watson and lived at Clayslope until he moved to Muirhead.  William and Elisabeth, had one son, James, and four daughters: Christian, Margaret, Marian, and Jean.


James (4th of Blairlin) succeeded his father and was married twice.  According to tradition the first wife was Annie Linn, however records indicate that James married as his first wife, Agnes Telfer.  I therefore claim that Annie Linn, was one of the first participants in the witness protection program and was given the name of Agnes Telfer.  Whoever this lady may be, she and James had three children, two daughters and a son, William who inherited East Blairlin.  James then married Bethia Riddell, who had George, John, Henry, Matthew, Bethia and James. While we will follow the life of William, note the name Riddell, for it will pop up again.


William (5th of Blairlin) inherited from his father only one “half-merkland” of East Blairlin but he probably farmed a similar portion left to his brother, George.  George preferred to be a mason in Port Glasgow rather than a farmer and in 1775 decided that he would never return to farming and transferred his interest in the land to William.  At the death of his stepmother Bethia the land in Clayslope was sold leaving only William as the sole representative in the Blairlin district.  William married Margaret Riddell in 1764 (I told you it would pop up again) a niece of his step mother.  Their children included Ann, Bethia (died young), James, Thomas, Bethia, Margaret, William and John.


Now here is where you must take the great leap of faith.  Using the same logic previously used by Henry Cleland in establishing George (1st) of Blairlin.  I have worked our lineage back from the present to a point in 1791, where a Thomas married a Jean Millar in 1791 and based on the following, claim the Thomas of William Cleland and Margaret Riddell to be our Thomas.


  • It is the conclusion of my consultants, William Clelland of Scotland and James Cleland of Kansas, that our linage leads to Blairlin, since there were a lot of marriages in Blairlin between the Clelands and Riddell, and Cleland and Browns which is reflected in our pedigree charts.

  • Thomas of William and Margaret was born in 1772 but there is no documentation showing his marriage, death or any other pertinent data.

  • Our Thomas’s records are also vague stating that he was born about 1766, with no indication of how this date was determined.  He was married in 1791 at the age of 19 at the earliest, or 25 at the latest.  My gut reaction is that no date of birth was shown on the marriage record and someone decided that 25 was his probable age.

  • There is a marriage of a Thomas Cleland to Margaret Riddell in 1757, which may throw a wrench in my theory, but I’ll try to run down if there is a connection.


    Now our Thomas is the first recorded collier (coal miner), that I have noted in my research, and sometimes in Scotland, and William Clelland, of Lesmahagow will argue this point, becoming a coal miner was not always of free will, but sometimes as a punishment.  It was noted in the Statistical Account of Scotland for the Monkland area during this period that “none born in this parish suffered either corporal or capital punishment.” Nothing was said about performing services to others as a form of punishment.  The vagueness of the records on Thomas, leads me to believe that something happened to force him into coal mining. This is probably a moot point, since I will not be able to verify it or disclaim it.  But it does make for interesting conjecture, even if it should be proved false, for we do know that our ancestors came from Blairlin and the track to Blairlin is true.


    At this point I want to insert some data on coal mining in Scotland delved from two publications, Scotland’s Black Diamonds, by Guthrie Hutton, Published by Stenlake Publishing in association with the Scottish Mining Museum, and Not Many Noble by Robert Aiken.  These two publications helped me put coal mining in Scotland in perspective and should provide you an understanding of the factors that shaped our lives.


    Up until the Clelands of Blairlin, we see landowners associated with the rich, powerful and royalty, now we will see another side of the Cleland history.  There is a common saying in the coalfields of Scotland about miners being born on the wrong side of the blanket.  This is where we find our ancestors.   The mining pits were no vocation but an inevitable outcome of being born into a mining home, with no money, no prospects of betterment and little chance of breaking the mould of family history.


    From 1606 to 1799, Scotland had a law in place that had the effect of making colliers, salters and coalbearers–slaves. They could not leave their work without written authority-which was unlikely to be given- and they were regarded as having stolen their bodies if they left without permission.  Anyone enticing them away from their employers would be heavily fined.  Vagrants could also be forced to work in coal mines or salt pans.  Colliers were seen as a race apart.  They were bound for life to a dirty, dangerous, unpleasant job sometimes to a hard master, working underground for long hours.  Almost permanently dirty, some lived in towns along with other people, but many lived in isolated communities in often squalid housing.  They paid no taxes and received some money as well as payments in kind, like coal and candles.  These conditions drew few recruits so the industry relied on a system called “arling”.  This system would have parents pledge their children’s future work to the coal owner in return for money.  Basically, selling them into slavery.  Children worked in the mines at a very early age, and the more working children a man had, the more coal he could win.  One miner’s recollection of the system:


    “ I was yoked to the coal work at Preston Grange when I was nine years of age. Even if we had no work on the colliery…we could seek none other without a written license and agreement to return.  Even then the laird or the tacksman selected our place of work, and if we did not do his bidding we were placed by the necks in iron collars called juggs, and fastened to the wall, ‘or made to go the rown’.  The latter I recollect well, the mens hand’s were tied in face of the horse at the gin and made to go backwards all day.”


    Now the first recorded Cleland collier was born about 1766 and married in 1791. This was prior to the law of 1799, which freed the miners from slavery.  However, the law did nothing to improve the working conditions of the colliers. In 1840, Parliament set up the Children’s Employment Commission, to report on conditions of women as well as children from all over the country. In the west of Scotland, they found that women no longer worked underground. But the farther east they went, the facts were much different. Lanarkshire is central Scotland, with Blairlin in the extreme northeast corner of the county, so it is probable that some of the following recollections recorded in the report applied to that area.

    BROTHERS JOHN AND THOMAS DUNCAN 10 & 11 RESPECTIVELY (Boys who worked as trappers-boys that sat for hours in the dark, opening and closing ventilation trap doors to allow the tubs of coal to pass.)


    “Where I sit is very wet.  We never change our clothes nor go to school, but we go to the kirk (church) sometimes when we have clean clothes.”


    “I open the air-doors for the putters from six in the morning ‘till six at night.  Mother calls me up at five in the morning and gives me a piece of cake (oatcake), which is all I get ‘till I return.  There is plenty of water in the pit; the part I am in comes up to my knees.”



    “Would not have gone so early to work but father died of the black spittle, he was off work twelve months before death and spit his lungs up all as black as ink; he was not fifty years old.

    After father’s death mother sent younger brother and two sisters below.

    My two sisters were sair (sore, greatly) horrible crashed by stones falling from the roof; their bowels were forced out and legs broken, and both died soon after.”


    JANET CUMMING – age 11, bears coals – Mid-Lothian:

    “ I gang with the women at five and come up at five at night.  I work all night on Fridays, and come away at twelve in the day.  I carry the large bits of coal from the wall face to the pit bottom, and the small pieces called chows in a creel.  The weight is usually a hundredweight.  I do not know how many pounds there are in a hundredweight but it is some weight to carry.  It takes three journeys to fill a tub of 4 cwt.  The distance varies as the work is not always on the same wall, sometimes 150 fathoms, whiles 250 fathoms.  The roof is very low and I have to bend my back and legs and the water comes frequently up to the calves of my legs. I have no liking for the work, father makes me like it.  I never got hurt, but often am obliged to scramble out of the pit when bad air is in.”


    ELLSPEE THOMSON – age 40, coal bearer, New Craighall Colliery, Inveresk, Mid-Lothian:

    “I wrought all my life, till a stone, 14 months ago, so crushed my leg and right foot, below ground, that I could no’ gang.  If women did not work below the children would not go down so soon and it would better for them, as they would get more strength and a little learning.  Can say to my own cost that the bairns are much neglected when both parents work below for neighbors, if they keep the children, they require as much as women sometimes earn and neglect them.  The oppression of the coal-bearing is such as to injure women in after-life and few exist whose legs are not injured, or haunches, before they are 30 years of age.  Has known many women leave for service but for want of proper intruction have not been able to hold to the places: the liberty women have unfits them for restraint.  Thinks colliers’ daughters full as virtuous as other women, only their habits are so different from being taken down so early, especially as collier men think the lassies need less education.  The hours children are wrought is much too long; many work 15 hours, none less than twelve.  I do not know any women that have much suffered from the bad air but most of the men begin to complain at 30 to 35 years of age and drop off before they get the length of 40.”


    From this point forward, little is documented about the Clelands that progressed to Albuquerque, except that most if not all were colliers, but the lineage is well defined.


    If you accept my leap of faith, noted above, the Thomas Cleland of William Cleland and Margaret Riddell, becomes the first of many Thomas Cleland, colliers, on the path to Albuquerque.  At this point I’ll start numbering of the Thomas’s to eliminate some confusion. Thomas (1) married Jean Milar in Stonehouse, Lanarkshire on July 2, 1791.  This marriage produced four children, Margaret in June of 1792, twin girls Helen and Isabel in November 1794 and Thomas (2) on 22 January 1797 in Stonehouse.


    Thomas (2) married Lillas Brown the daughter of James Brown and Marion Struthers, about 1821. This marriage produced four children. James was born 1822, Ann in 1826, John in 1828 and Archibald in 1834.  Thomas (2) died May 21, 1858 at age 61 of senile debility and was buried in the Parish Churchyard in Stonehouse.  Lilias died less than 2 years later on February 3, 1860 of general debility and is also buried in the Parish Churchyard in Stonehouse.  For some reason Thomas (2) and Lilias did not have a son named Thomas, but our lineage continues through James.


    James was born about 1825 and married Ann Riddell the daughter of Thomas Riddell and Ann Thompson.  This marriage was a very prolific one producing seven children, Hugh for whom I have no record of birth, only that he was the informant for his father’s death, Thomas (3) born November, 1847, Lillian born in 1856, John in 1858, Archibald in 1861, William in 1864 and Marion in 1868. James was also a collier in his early years but a storekeeper at the time of his death on August 31, 1879. The cause of his death at age 54 was Phthisis (TB). His wife Ann was of sturdier stuff, bearing him the seven children and living until June 7, 1899 when she died of heart disease at age 70.


    Now we are back to Thomas.  Thomas (3) was born in November 1847 and married Margaret McGinnies on the 18th of June 1867.


    Margaret McGinnies is our mystery lady. Margaret was born to William McGinnies, a mason, and Agnes Wood in Galston, Ayrshire, Scotland in July, 1848.  So say information on the marriage certificates and the death record, however there is no record of her birth, her father was dead at the time of her marriage and her mother was Agnes Bryce at the time of Margaret’s death. Despite detailed search by The British Ancestor and search of the LDS records by myself, we have not been able to find any records of Margaret, Ann or William McGinnies, nor Mary McGinnies (probably a sister) who was a witness at Margaret’s wedding.  Now McGinnies is an Irish name and some thought is given that Agnes and William were Irish, moved to Scotland where Margaret was born.  Obviously, she looked like Maureen O’Hara.


    To Thomas(3) and Margaret were born ten children five of whom died at birth or young. The other five were William born January 4, 1869 (died in Gallup NM in 1925), Thomas (4) born August 19, 1874, Hugh born August 15, 1876, Annie born July 23, 1878, twins Mary and John born October 4, 1880 (Mary died in Ontario CA in 1950). 


    Margaret McGinnies Cleland died October 20, 1881, eleven days after the death of her son John (the twin of Mary). I do not know the cause of John’s death but Margaret’s death record shows cause of death to be Pyaemia (10 days), Congestion of the lungs (1 day). I understand Pyaemia to be pus producing microorganisms in the blood.  So Thomas (3) was a widower with five children ranging from 1 year to twelve years old.


    Thomas (3) raised the children by himself for almost two years, when he married Christina Wood Brown, a widow whose husband James was killed in a coal mining accident in 1879.  Christina also had five children ranging in age from 3 years to 14 years old at the time of their marriage. So what does a collier and his new bride do. Of course, they have two more children, Christina in 1885 and John in 1886, then pack up and set sail for the USA and the good life.  They sailed from Scotland aboard the SS Hibernian and landed in Philadelphia, PA on May 4, 1887.  Surprisingly, Thomas (3) is not listed with the family of thirteen Cleland/Browns.  I’m still trying to figure that one out.


    The family headed to the coalmines in Iowa–What Cheer, Iowa to be specific, where Archibald was born to Thomas (3) and Christina on January 18, 1889.  Thomas (3) applied for citizenship on July 23, 1892 and was granted citizenship on September 3, 1906. The Cleland/Brown connection also grew stronger when William Cleland, son of Thomas, and Beatrice Brown, daughter of Christina Brown married in Foster, Iowa on September 22, 1890.


    The Cleland/Browns moved on.  To the coal fields in Southeastern Kansas and Southwestern Missouri.   Hugh Cleland took a bride on November 17, 1898 in Stippeville, Kansas when he married Maggie Wilson, an English lady born to John Wilson and Mary Ann Cardwell. Not all was lost since John Wilson’s father was born in Scotland. Again, it was impossible to track Maggie Wilson’s birth or the marriage of her parents. It is known that the family of five; John, Mary Ann, Maggie, sister Susannah, and brother John immigrated to the USA in 1884 on the SS British Crown arriving in Philadelphia on September 22.


    Hugh took his bride to Vernon, Missouri where Mary Ann was born in 1899, and William was born in 1901.  Hugh and family headed back to Kansas where John was born in Curranville on April 23, 1903, and Hugh was born in Edison on June 9, 1916


    Since Raton plays such a significant part of the Clelands life, I’ll borrow heavily from Father Stanley’s “Raton Chronicle” and the Raton Range to describe the town. The present city of Raton was not always named Raton, but derived its name either from the mountain pass in northeastern New Mexico that currently separates New Mexico and Colorado, or from the shape of the high peak east of Raton whose crest is rodent shaped.  The Comanches were probably the first to come over the pass and called it “Chuquirique” because of the great number of rodents found in the mountain pass. The interest in the southwest for profit and expansion created the Santa Fe Trail and indirectly, Raton. 


    In 1878 George Pace opened a store in the West room of the Willow Springs Ranch house and petitioned for a post office at Willow Springs, which was granted and Pace was named postmaster. Pace shortly afterward moved south to Otero, or Raton might be Willow Springs today.  It was really the railroads that defined or founded Raton in 1879 when the pass was opened up to rail traffic and the name of Raton came into being because of the Raton Peak, the Raton pass and the daily utterance of the railroad men coming over the pass.


    Before Raton became established, coal was found in 1868, in the area around Yankee (not far from where the mining camp of Surgarite was founded), which at the time of my youth was mined as small family operations, and boasted the best dancing in or around Raton; but coal mining was not the prime mover of the town at the time. In the 1870’s, railroad officials formed a Townsite Company and negotiated with the Maxwell Land Grant Company for a deed of 320 acres (a plot of land west of the railroad, three blocks wide and four blocks long. Cimarron had a larger plot.  As Raton boomed in the following months, the plot was substituted for one that accommodated forty three blocks.  The East Side of Raton was known lovingly as either Buena Vista, Chihuahua, or East Side.  A portion of it later became known as Stringtown, where the Romiti side of our family resided.  Buena Vista had an image. “Buena Vista in this vicinity is the Sodom and Gomorrah of this county and if it doesn’t rain fire and brimstone in that locality, it is not because the measure of immortality is empty.” 


    This is not to say that the West side was always prim and proper.  One occasion that should be mentioned occurred in 1882, when partners in a local saloon, Bank Exchange, located at what is now the 100 block of 1st Street, fought a duel within the saloon.  The duelists’ bullets hit every thing in sight; glasses, skylight, the watersystem and it is believed that one even hit one of the duelists, Gus Mentzer. Mentzer, the initiator of the duel, fled the scene. There happened to be a deputy sheriff (who ran another nearby saloon, Little Brindle) took charge.  Patrons of the bar formed a posse for the deputy…and the chase was on. Gus escaped the posse but returned to the Bank Exchange to demand a drink.  Bullets flew again, again Gus escaped. This time to a switch engine that was left running, Gus was spotted at the same time he spotted and shot Hugh Eddleson in the esophagus. The switch engine was in neutral and working the throttle did not move the engine. S. H. Jackson, the deputy’s brother-in-law, closed in on Gus and was shot dead with a bullet to the gut. Gus was out of bullets and the crowd stormed in and subdued him.  Now Eddleson was a partner of the Justice of the Peace, Harvey Moulton, who had heard that his partner had been shot, stormed down to the Little Brindle and demanded that Gus be handed over to him to be hung for his crimes.  Another deputy, who had been called into service to guard Gus, refused to hand him over to the JP, and shot Moulton to prove his point.  Moulton however had his gun out and before he fell dead put a bullet in the deputy’s stomach. And away goes Gus, loose again. He escaped to a butcher shop and pleaded to William Fick, the owner to hide him.   Now William had other ideas and grabbed a rope left by a customer who had led his pig to the butcher shop for slaughter and threw it to the mob that now crowded his shop.  They placed the rope around Gus’s neck and led him to the corner of First Street and Clark Avenue where the Raton Bank was located, and was strung up over the bank sign.  And came crashing down.  The weight of Gus could not be supported by the sign. A youngster was boosted up the post where the sign had rested and reattached the rope to the post and Gus was strung up again.  This time it worked and Gus remained hanging until the next morning.  He was removed before the passenger train arrived.  Seems as if hanging bodies make poor public relations. 


    The reason I felt it necessary to iterate this story, is that about 50 years later, a gentlemen named John Cleland and his wife Bertha Romiti, took up residence at 232 North First Street, about ¾ block down from the hanging site.


    Raton was a frontier town and had all the problems that a frontier town could have, but the founders were also visionaries and in 1916 built a state of the art county high school, a library was erected catty corner from where the John Clelands lived, several newspapers came and went.  At one point Raton had 39 schools, mostly private for singular studies, i.e. music, dancing, sewing etc and the town survived, boomed, and continues to this day as a quiet northern New Mexico town. One of the businesses causing the boom and later the bust was coal mining.  The Raton coal mine fields sprouted mining camps, Yankee, Sugarite, Blossberg, Swastika, Brilliant, Gardner and further south Van Houten, Koehler and Dawson.


    The Clelands followed the coal mining and sometime between 1916 and 1920, the Clelands moved to the Land of Enchantment Raton-New Mexico.


    Since Thomas died in Raton in December 1916, I believe that he and Christina accompanied his eldest son, William Cleland, and her eldest daughter Beatrice Brown Cleland to Raton.  William Cleland and Sons were beer agents according to the Raton City Directory of 1917.  After the death of Tom, Christina returned to Arma, Kansas, to live with one of her Brown children. Christina died on March 17, 1919 and is buried in Mt Olive Cemetery in Pittsburg, Kansas. Thomas is buried in the Fairmont Cemetery in Raton, but not in the perpetual care section.


    In the 1920 census, Hugh Cleland and family were recorded as living at 822 South Fifth Street in Raton. Hugh and his son William were working as coal miners, while John was a grocery salesman.  In 1930, Hugh, Maggie, John, and Hugh were residing at 428 Park Avenue. Mary Ann had married Bill Ashley, a railroader, and lived on Savage Avenue, and had two children, Hugh (Buddy) and Margaret.  Hugh and Maggie’s other son, Bill, was working on the railroad bridge gang in French, New Mexico at the time. He married Alice Fisher in 1939 and had three children David, Roy and Sheldeen before he died in April 1944. Alice took the three children to Kansas City, Kansas in order to support them. Hugh graduated from Raton High School in 1934, married Jony Williams of Trinidad, Colorado and sired four children Bruce, Richard, Roger and Barbara Sue. John married Bertha Romiti on March 5, 1933 and our story will continue with them.


    Maggie Cleland, died in 1934, of nephritis leaving Hugh a widower, who died in 1942 of throat cancer, probably caused from his pipe smoking. Hugh and Maggie are both buried in the family plot in Fairmont Cemetery in Raton.  Hugh’s grave does not have a marker.  The family’s plot includes Hugh, Maggie, their son William, daughter Mary Ann and her husbands William Ashley and Wayne Turner, and Roger Cleland, son of Hugh and Jony Cleland, who died at age 18 of nephritis.


    In about 1921-1922 John was sort of introduced to his future wife Bertha Romiti.  While delivering groceries in Stringtown driving the open truck, John was struck square in the eyes by a well aimed chunk of horse dung.  Bertha, about 8 or 9 years old, bragged to her friends that she was going to hit the driver of the truck with the dung and proceeded to do so.  John braked the vehicle but by the time his eyes cleared the street was empty.  He never knew until after they had been married awhile that Bertha was the culprit.   Years later, they were formally introduced at a dance when Bertha was dating John’s older brother Bill.  Sparks (not dung) flew and John married Bertha on March 5, 1933. 


    They took up residence for a while with Mary Ann and Bill Ashley, who converted the upstairs at 444 Savage for John’s and Bertha’s living area.  John Hugh Cleland was born at this home on March 25, 1934.  Shortly after, the John Clelands move to 232 First Street (down the block from the hanging site) where William Joseph Cleland was born on March 31, 1936. Bertha’s mother and brother Aldo had died in 1929 and 1930 respectively.  The costs of the funerals and the slowdown in mining operations caused Guiseppe to lose his house on Buena Vista.  John and Bertha opened their doors and the upstairs for Guiseppe.  He lived there until he was killed by a hit and run driver in 1936, six months after the birth of William J.


    After the death of his wife, Maggie, Hugh and his son Hugh lived alone at 428 Park Avenue until Hugh the younger married Jony Williams.  After the marriage of Hugh and Jony, the John Clelands and two boys moved in with Hugh, the elder, on 428 Park.  Grandpa Hugh was a true Scotsman, independent and crusty, with a love of family, Scotland, his adopted country-the USA, and the Democratic Party.  His only disappointment came when he found out that he was not a naturalized citizen of the USA and applied for citizenship ten months before his death.  I can only assume that he thought that when his father became a citizen, it included his children.  At any rate, not being a citizen did not stop him from voting.  One thing that Granpa Hugh did was to assure that his children did not continue as coal miners, although his son Bill briefly worked the mines before going with the railroad.


    The year 1944 was a hallmark year.  John and his brother Hugh were working at Payne’s Grocery Store; and after the owner of the drug store (next door) was stricken by a heart attack and carried out, Payne agreed to sell the store to John & Hugh.  The deal was consummated and ownership switched from Payne’s Grocery to Cleland’s Grocery and Market on February 29, 1944.  Twenty days later- March 20, 1944 Diana Lynn was born.  Things remained relatively calm, until the late 40’s early 50’s, when coal mines around the area began shutting down, money got tighter, tempers flared and an irreconcilable rift between John and Hugh over missing money resulted in John taking over the business and the family split apart. (It seems that siblings arguing and splitting up is a Cleland trait, at least three Clelands I spoke with at “Th’ Gathern” in WaKeeny, Kansas had split with their sibs). The closing of the mines and uncollectable accounts (groceries on credit), caused the store to go bankrupt in 1953.  John, Bertha, and Diana moved to Gallup, NM where John and Bertha were both employed by the California Super Market.  They moved to Tucson, Arizona in 1958, where John’s health worsened and to Albuquerque, NM in 1967.  John died in 1973 and is buried in Sunset Memorial Cemetery in Albuquerque.  Bertha is 89 and lives in an assisted living home in Albuquerque.


    John, the younger, graduated from Raton High School in 1952 and joined the Air Force in 1954 after a brief stint in college. Leaving the Air Force in 1958, John finished college at the University of California in Las Angeles. He married Irene Rice and they have two children: Karen Sue and John Vincent, who is married to Maria de la Garza. John had a successful career with the LA Times, and he and Irene retired to Albuquerque, N.M.



    In 1958, John, Bertha, and Diana moved to Tucson, Arizona where Diana graduated from high school and the University of Arizona  and married Otto Schumacher, also a U of A graduate.  They moved about the Southwest and Northwest, finally settling down for good in Spokane, Washington, where Diana is a Medical Technician and Otto the owner of Western Mining Engineering.  They have three girls, Jill, Robyn, and Erin and grandchildren Dylan and Lyndsi Streeter, courtesy of Jill and Steve Streeter.


    William finished high school at Raton, and joined the Marine Corps in 1954.  In 1958, he began college at New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, New Mexico, where he met and married Sally Lynne Cline Espy in 1961.They were blessed with two children from Sally’s previous marriage William Marion and Veva Helen. They all moved to Tucson, where Bill graduated in 1962; and all moved to Albuquerque as Bill joined the Atomic Energy Commission.  The marriage produced Lori Lynne and was balanced out by the adoption of Joseph Henry. William M. married Kricket Robbins and has two children William Robbins and Kaleen Helen. Veva has two children by her first marriage to Ed Filmer: Sabrina Kay; who married Matt Kernahan and has a son Ethan James, and Shawn Marie.  Veva is now married to Dann Hanstad.  Lori married Kevin Barton and had three boys Shane, Dustin (who died at age 9), and Dillon.  Joe is married to Nancy McLain. 


    At this juncture, I wrap up for now the Clelands’ journey to Albuquerque. Not that it is over by any stretch of the imagination but provides a starting point for the Clelands’ journey to …




I have attached copies of The Ancient Family of Cleland and Blairlin District and the Clelands.  If you want any other documents I may have let me know.










While it was not my intention to deviate from the linage leading to the descendants of John Cleland, I believe it appropriate to now take another path:  That of William Cleland, son of Hugh and Maggie and brother of John.


William Cleland was born in Vernon, MO on April 21, 1903.  Like all the Clelands of this branch, Bill was destined to be a coal miner.   He is shown in the 1920 census as being a coal miner in Raton.  However, either at the urging of his father or because he got fed up with the coal mining industry, he went to work on the Santa Fe Railroad. He is shown in the 1930 census as being in French NM (about 18 miles  south of Raton) working with the Building and Bridge crew.  Bill was short in stature but long in hard work and ambition and became foreman of the B&B crew.


On January 4, 1939 Bill married Alice Fisher of Kansas City and had three children: William David born January 27, 1940, Roy George born November fourth, 1941 and Margaret Sheldeen born August 7, 1943.  While for the most part, the family lived and moved from work site to work site in a boxcar suitable to the foreman of the bridge crew, they did live for a while on North Third in Raton.   The marriage was short lived; Bill died on April 27, 1944 leaving Alice a widow with three small children to raise.  Alice and her three children moved to Kansas City, Kansas to find work and be close to her relatives. She married Harry Jones and died in 1997.


David served a tour in the Marine Corps married Cindy L. Pearl on October 5, 1962 and died February 4, 1973.   They had a daughter Shelly Darlene in 1965.  David also raised two step children Sheila and Danny Cain.   Shelly married Steven Kegeler and lives in Michigan.


Roy graduated from high school in 1959 married Linda Sue Asher August 26, 1961.  They were divorced in 1970 but the marriage produced three children : Peppi born June 4, 1962, died July 13, 1969; Roy Curtis born September 27, 1963, married Cindy and have two children Samantha and Whitney; and Julie Roxanne born March 24, 1969, married Tom Novak and had three children, Nicholas, Adam and Ashley.  Roy married Delmarie Doerschlag on November 6, 1971.  Roy died March 29, 2003 and Delmarie resides in Albuquerque.


Sheldeen married Dennis Perkins and raised five children: Alice Mary, Roy Lee, Dennis, Debbie and Harold.   Sheldeen and Dennis continue to live in Kansas City, Missouri.