Monday, October 1, 2012

The Kirkpatrick Family

Edna Claire Kirkpatrick Mott.
My mother's family was always into family history and no branch was more talked about than that of the Kirkpatricks.

My grandmother was Edna Claire Kirkpatrick, and her father was Louis Dillard Kirkpatrick (1873-1951). I knew my grandmother well - indeed, when I was a child she lived with us until her death in 1973. I did not know my great-grandfather Kirkpatrick except through family stories - which in many ways made him more real than many of my living relatives.

The Kirkpatrick line (of Sumner County and Wilson County in Tennessee) was far and away the best documented part of my family. I own the family bible of my great-great-great-grandfather, Anderson Kirkpatrick (1805-1887). It includes information back to his father, John Kirkpatrick (1770-1808). From that point on the family is well documented with various letters, slips of paper, and many photographs from the late 1800s on. One of the most interesting things is the small stash of Civil War letters. The family had been in Tennessee for several generations - thus the Kirkpatricks were with the Confederacy.

I'd had a mild interest in genealogy since I was a kid and had become the self-appointed family historian, but a much deeper interest in genealogy kicked in after my mom died in 2004. I think I was looking for a way to strengthen my connections to the past, as the present felt so fragile.

Anderson Kirkpatrick and Emmaliza Moss Kirkpatrick.
I quickly found several long-lost Kirkpatrick cousins, and with the internet I was able to push the Kirkpatrick family line back several generations beyond my great-great-great-grandparents, Anderson Kirkpatrick (1808-1887) and Emmaliza Moss Kirkpatrick (1812-1874), seen in the photo at right.

My oldest verifiable Kirkpatrick ancestor at this point is Alexander Kirkpatrick, born 1650 in Watties Neach, Dumfriesshire, Scotland. His son, also an Alexander Kirkpatrick (1685-1758), moved from Scotland to Belfast, Ireland, around 1725 and in 1736 he immigrated to America. He arrived in New Castle, Delaware, but he and his family settled in Mine Brook, New Jersey. This Alexander Kirkpatrick, the immigrant, is my seventh great-grandfather.

I will be sharing much more information on the Kirkpatrick family in future posts: the American Revolution, slavery, the American Civil War, how the family got land in Tennessee, and how my great-great-grandparents moved to Texas shortly after the Civil War. And how, via our Kirkpatrick ancestors in Scotland, the family connects to Robert the Bruce and the royal families of Scotland and England.

I wish my great-grandfather Louis Dillard Kirkpatrick could have lived to know so much about the family. He loved history with a passion!

My great-grandfather Louis Dillard Kirkpatrick, circa 1949.


  1. I just thought I tell you about a new Kirkpatrick Research and Sharing site I'm developing.

  2. I am from this same line. I am from Samuel Allen, the older brother of your Anderson. He was the only Kirkpatrick that stayed in Orange Co. North Carolina. I have our tree back to about 300 AD. I can send it to you if you would like.

    I went to Closeburn in Scotland this past summer, our "cousin" Maria now lives in the castle and they offer tours. I have photos of our Alexander's name on the Closeburn family tree. Email me at if you would like to receive a copy.

    My name is Kelli Kirkpatrick

  3. Hello, I am also of the North Carolina Kirkpatricks, who then apparently moved to Chester County Illinois, though it's not clear when or how that happened (sometime in the 1800s)! I've been trying to go back further than Alexander Kirkpatrick, born in 1650, but things are beginning to get fuzzy. I appreciate you sharing your journey. I'll check back for updates. Thank you!

    Larissa Naylor

  4. Alexander Kirkpatrick, Jr. was my ninth great-grandfather, which I believe would make us sixth cousins, twice removed. I don't have it in front of me, but I'm pretty sure we have a Moses Kirkpatrick in our line as one of Alex's descendants. This was cool to find; thank you!

  5. Some of the Kirkpatrick from Wilson County/Sumner County obviously owned slaves in my family,I was born in 1947 and my grandfather did farm business with a Jim Kirpatrick, that I do remember as a child, I think my great great aunts husband came from this environment back in the 1800's, so I am asking If their is any slave records from this time,that anyone is aware of concerning this family.

    1. That is / for a email reply. Robert Brown on FB(Bible logo pic)


  6. Great Blog entry on your Kirkpatrick Family Connections. I thought I would pass on to you that the reference to "Watties Neach, Dumfriesshire, Scotland" is based upon misinterpretation of the actual location of "Wallaces House, Dumfriesshire, Scotland." Watties Neach is not to be found anywhere in Scotland. I can send you the information on this location and how it was shown to be Wallaces House if you would like it.
    Thanks again for this good recounting of your family's history.
    John Kirkpatrick

  7. I would love to have scanned copies of the family pages from the Bible you mentioned. I cam trying to find and post as many Kirkpatrick Bibles as I can (to help other researchers). Contact me at

  8. I am also a distant cousin. My 4th Great Grandparents were Anderson A Kirkpatrick 14 February 1808 – 14 January 1887 & Ann Emmaliza Moss
    1 February 1812 – 31 August 1874 . Their son William Henry Harrison Kirkpatrick
    18 October 1840 – 8 September 1908 went West to Wise, Texas. Thank you for posting the photo!

  9. Hello there. My name is Jeremy. My wife is a decedent from the Sumner County side of the Kirkpatricks I'm finding out about their deep history here and I'm completely intrigued with their history. Was hoping someone in the family would see this and would like to help me learn more.

  10. I saw your site and looked at the information. Your Alexander seems to be in my tree as well. Coincidence: if all is correct Alexander 1685-1758 is also my 7- great grandfather. My grandfather was Thomas Kirk Patrick who lived and died in Coshocton, Ohio. His Father was Thomas B. Kirkpatrick

  11. Looking at more recent info for my husband's line. Alexander Kirkpatrick m. to Catherine Ralston.


  13. My great-great grandmother was a Kirkpatrick. While she looked nothing like Emmaliza, my mother certainly did. I'm glad you posted the photo.