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Dumfries To America

Dumfries To America

Annandale Valley, carrying the River Annan from Ericstane in the north to Moffat in the south. The name can be found in Minnesota, New York, New Jersey and North Virginia. Birthplace of Gabriel Johnston (1699- 1752) who became Governor of North Carolina

Bladnoch Village 1m south west of Wigtown. Birthplace of John McArthur (1823-1890) who emigrated to America as a child and became the most noted architect in Philadelphia. He designed and constructed Philadelphia City Hall, Lafayette College and several hospitals.

Dumfries Large town on the River Nith, 60m south east of Glasgow and 29m north west of Carlisle. It is often referred to as "Queen of the South" due to its close proximity to England. Robert Burns, the famous Scottish poet, lived in the town from 1791 until his death in 1796 and many Burns related places of interest are found here. The name is also found in Virginia. Birthplace of Archibald Gracie (1755-1829) who founded the firm of East India Merchants and was President of the St. Andrew Society of New York, Bill Hay, sales director and chief announcer with WMAQ Radio, Chicago and Robert Dickson (1765-1823) who emigrated first to Canada before settling in USA. He became a fur trader and married the sister of a Sioux Indian Chief.

Ecclefechan Small town 5m north of Annan and birthplace of historian and essayist, Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881). Birthplace of astronomer William Harkness (1837-1903), whose family emigrated to America in 1839. He became Executive Officer of the Transit of Venus Commission in 1882 and was later Astronomical Director of the Naval Observatory.

Gretna Village 8m east of Annan with the village of Gretna Green, famous in former times for its runaway marriages, lying just to the north. The name can be found in Louisiana.

Irvine An ancient parish in Annandale, now part of Kirkpatrick-Fleming, and a village 6m south east of Ecclefechan. Nearby is one of the caves associated with Robert the Bruce. Birthplace of Henry (Harry) Eckford (1775-1832), the American naval architect. He emigrated first to Quebec in 1790 and then settled in New York in 1796. From 1800 he became famous for building strong and speedy sailing ships. In 1820 he was appointed Naval Constructor at Brooklyn Navy Yard and in 1822 he built the famous steamship the "Robert Fulton" which made the first successful steam voyage to New Orleans and Havana.

Kirkbean Village near the Solway Firth, 11m south of Dumfries. Birthplace of Dr James Craik (1730-1814) who emigrated to America, where he became a friend of George Washington and, as Physician General, organised the medical service in the American army. He was Washington's physician in his last illness. Birthplace also of the more famous, John Paul Jones (1747-1792), whose father was a gardener at Arbigland House. He is regarded as the founder of the US navy. He died in Paris on 18 July 1792 and his remains were finally returned to USA in 1905 but it was not until 1913 that he was finally interred in a magnificent tomb at Annapolis Naval Academy. There is a museum of his life and times at Kirkbean and the gardens of Arbigland House are open to the public.

Kirkcudbright Small town on River Dee at the head of Kirkcudbright Bay and 33m east south east of Newton Stewart. The ruins of MacLellan's Castle, a 16th century mansion, can be found near the main square. Birthplace of Robert Lenox (1759-1783), who emigrated to America with his two brothers, David and William, just before the outbreak of the Revolution. He became one of the greatest merchants of his day. David (d.1828) was a noted revolutionary patriot and also a successful Philadelphia merchant.

Moffat Small town on River Annan, 19m north east of Dumfries. Famous as a Spa town in the 18th century. The main street, said to be the broadest in Scotland, has a fountain surmounted by a ram, erected in 1875 as a reminder of the importance of sheep farming to the local community. The "Grey Mare's Tail", the highest waterfall in the region, is located near Moffat. The name can be found in Colorado. Birthplace of John Greig (1779-1858), who emigrated to America in 1797. He became a lawyer and practised in Canadaigna, New York. He was also President of the Ontario Bank, 1820-1856 and Vice-Chancellor of the State University of New York, 1845-1858. Also the birthplace of Andrew Little who landed in Boise with only his collie dog and his suit of clothes. He settled in Caldwell, Idaho where he built a very successful sheep farming business and soon had made his fortune. He became known as the "Sheep King of Idaho" and was also referred to as the "Andrew Carnegie" of western life.

Sanquar Small town on the River Nith, 10m north west of Thornhill. The world’s oldest Post office is found here, having been in use since 1738. Birthplace of Edward Kerr (b.1842.), founder of the Laurenceville Bronze Company of America in 1891.

Stranraer Town and port at the head of Loch Ryan, 23m west of Wigtown. There is a ferry service from here to Larne in Northern Ireland. Birthplace of Alexander McGaw (1831-1905), famous bridge builder and builder of the pedestal for the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbour. Also the Birthplace of Thomas C. MacMillan (b.1850) who emigrated to USA with his parents in 1857. He began his career as a newspaper reporter, correspondent and editor on the staff of the "Chicago Inter-Ocean" from 1873-1895. He later became Clerk of the US District.

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