Hugh was born during the height of the Jacobean wars. Bonnie Prince Charlie, son of the now deceased King James, continued his father’s quest for the throne. In 1746, when Hugh was only four years old, Prince Charles marched his army of 5,000 Scots through the moors of the highlands against the duke of Cumberland. The battle lasted only an hour, with the Scots losing to the duke’s 9,000+ men. Thus ended the Jacobite cause, and ended the need for clan armies who had been extremely loyal to their clan chiefs and lairds. This is about the time that the landowners found that raising sheep was a lot easier and more profitable than renting houses, and so began the Clearances and the influx of Highlanders into Ayrshire.
Hugh was a farmer in Straiton Township [parish of Kirkoswald, county of Ayrshire] when he married Sarah McLounan, [no marriage record located] daughter of John McLounan and Annabelle McKie. Sarah was the second of seven McLounan children, born on Dalkairney Farm in Straiton, Ayrshire.(14) The Delcairney Farm is a dairy that still exists in Kirkoswald, Ayrshire today (2014). Random trivia: Kirkoswald takes its name from Oswald, a Northumbrian King of the Heptarchy [several Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in the early middle ages that later united to make up the Kingdom of England] who built a church on the site of the burying grounds beside the village - in gratitude, it is said, for a victory he had obtained there. Also nearby, upon the property of the Earl of Cassillis, are the ruins of the famous castle of Turnberry - birthplace of Robert the Bruce.
In a document dated 1855, Straiton Township was described as a “small village composed of two rows of low thatched buildings and a small row of a similar appearance at right-angles with the main section. The houses are generally in bad repair, and are all the property of Sir D. H. Blair. There are in it a post office, inn, two smaller public houses [pubs] and a victualler’s shop [pub owner’s office].” In reading all of these maps and documents, it’s quite evident that only a handful of Scots actually owned the land. It’s a constant reminder that a common farmer would never in a million years be able to own his own farm. No wonder the idea of land ownership in the Americas was so enticing. It was a dream that could never be realized in Scotland.
When naming their children, particularly before the mid-nineteenth century, Scots regularly followed a fairly well adhered to practice, as shown in the list below. Although not always the case, this naming systems does help when trying to match together present and previous generations. And it explains why they all share the same names throughout many generations.
Scottish Naming System 1st son: named for his father's father 2nd son: named for his mother's father 3rd son: named for his father 1st daughter: named for her mother's mother 2nd daughter: named for her father's mother 3rd daughter: named for her mother
While Britain was fighting those crazy American colonists overseas, trying to hold on to her claim, Hugh and Sarah were starting a family back home in Scotland. They had at least four children – John (1770-?)(15), James (1772-?)(16), McClymont (1780), Ann (1793-?)(17) and/or Hugh (1793-?)(17). [See birth record for the "and/or" explanation] - named after (in birth order) Hugh’s grandfather, Hugh’s father, Sarah’s maiden name, Sarah’s mother’s maiden name, and last but not least, Hugh’s name. Around the time that Ann and Hugh Jr. were born, Hugh Sr. and Sarah worked on a farm in an area called Laigh Drummuskin, which loosely translated from Gaelic means “a ridge overlooking a river valley.” In 1797-1798, Hugh owned two horses, and took care of two others. He paid duties (taxes) on a total of four horses.(18) On March 8, 1838, Hugh was 86 when he died of consumption (tuberculosis).(19)