William Henry Roll

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They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them. --Laurence Binyon,"Ode of Remembrance"

I have gathered a posie of other men's flowers, and nothing but the string that binds them is mine own. --Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

Documenting your family history is a lifelong pursuit, a task of pleasure and research that is never completely finished.

Not to know one's ancestors, is to be a tree without roots, a stream without a source. --Kung-fut-se

The wind whispers through the trees, recalling words and dreams and memories of those who left us long ago. --Unknown

St. Basil of Caesarea, born about 330 A.D., said, "A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love."


This website was created the old-fashioned way; it has been hand coded.

keep calm

The Caledonia and the Darien Disaster
Bought and Sold for English Gold

The Rising Sun

The Rising Sun: Flag of the Company of Scotland
Trading to Africa and the Indies

The story of the ship Caledonia is inextricably entwined with the loss of Scotland's nationhood, largely a result of the failed Scottish Colony of New Caledonia on the Isthmus of Darien, now Puerto Escoces (Port Scotland), on the Caribbean coast of Panama. The venture is referred to as the Darien Scheme or the Darien Disaster. The ship also carried many immigrant Scotch families to New York and New Jersey.

Robert Burns

Robert Burns 1759-1796

Such A Parcel Of Rogues In A Nation

Such a Parcel of Rogues in a Nation is a Scottish folk song whose lyrics are taken from an eponymous Robert Burns poem of 1791. It derides those members of the Parliament of Scotland who signed the Act of Union with England in 1707, contrasting their treachery to the country with the tradition of martial valor and resistance commonly associated with such historic figures as Robert the Bruce and William Wallace. It has continued to be associated with Scottish nationalism and also been referenced in other situations where politicians' actions have gone against popular opinion.

The lyrics obliquely reference a colonization project that became known as the Darien Scheme, an unsuccessful attempt by the Kingdom of Scotland to become a world trading nation by establishing a colony called "Caledonia" on the Isthmus of Panama on the Gulf of Darién in the late 1690s. As the Darien company was backed by about a quarter of the money circulating in Scotland, its failure left the nobles and landowners—who had suffered a run of bad harvests—almost completely ruined and was an important factor in weakening their resistance to the Act of Union. Although the scheme failed, it has been seen as marking the beginning of the country's transformation into a modern nation oriented toward business.

Burns’s spirited denunciation of the “rogues” who sold Scotland for English gold refers of course to the Scottish commissioners who voted for the Union of 1707, some of whom were said to have been bribed. The poet is not the ostensible speaker, since the latter describes himself as having “an auld grey head.” And whatever Burns’s patriotic sympathies, he was, after all, latterly employed by the British Government as an exciseman but that was of course in order to make a living not an affiliation to or approval of the British Govt. The melody and lyrics were published in volume 1 of James Hogg's Jacobite Reliques of 1819 (no. 36), p. 56 and p. 57 .

Source: Wikipedia: Such a Parcel of Rogues in a Nation.

Such A Parcel Of Rogues In A Nation
Robert Burns, 1791

Fareweel to a' our Scottish fame,
Fareweel our ancient glory;
Fareweel ev'n to the Scottish name,
Sae fam'd in martial story.
Now Sark rins over Solway sands,
An' Tweed rins to the ocean,
To mark where England's province stands-
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

What force or guile could not subdue,
Thro' many warlike ages,
Is wrought now by a coward few,
For hireling traitor's wages.
The English stell we could disdain,
Secure in valour's station;
But English gold has been our bane-
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

O would, or I had seen the day
That Treason thus could sell us,
My auld grey head had lien in clay,
Wi' Bruce and loyal Wallace!
But pith and power, till my last hour,
I'll mak this declaration;
We're bought and sold for English gold-
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

Hogg, James. The Relics of Jacobite Scotland, Volume 1 of 2, printed between 1819 and 1821, from National Library of Scotland. JPEG, PDF, XML versions.

The Isthmus of Darién, Panama

The Isthmus of Darien, Panama
The red dot identifies the harbor of New Caledonia

Caledonia Bay

Caledonia Bay, the harbor of New Caledonia
The town of New Edinburgh is the lighter area in the center.

The Darien Scheme

England had virtually cut Scotland off from world trade. Scotland was anxious for its own world empire. The first Scottish attempt at colonization in the Americas is often called the Patterson Expedition. William Patterson, one of the founders of the Bank of England and the first Governor of New Caledonia, had said that, "Darien would be the door of the seas, the key of the universe, reducing by half the time and expense of navigation to China and Japan, and bringing peace to both oceans without the guilt of war."

The plan was to cut a road through the Panamanian jungle, link the Pacific and Atlantic and set up a trading post on the coast of Darien. This was a good idea, but New Caledonia was not a hospitable place. The colony failed miserably.

As a result of the financial fiasco caused by the failed colony, Scotland lost its nationhood and was forced into union with England in return for compensation to individuals who had lost fortunes. About 1707 the poet Robert Burns referred to the Scotland's entry into the union as "being bought and sold by English gold."

The ship Caledonia

There were two ships named Caledonia. The Caledonia that sailed under the command of Robert Drummond, and is the ship referred to here. Caledonia was an old name for Scotland. The other ship was the Ann of Caledonia, originally named the Anna, purhased for the Darien Company in New York by Thomas Drummond, brother of Robert, and sailed back to New Caledonia.

The Caledonia was one of the five ships in the glorious First Darien Expedition Fleet in 1698. Near the end of her usefulness in 1715, she had been a ship for prisoners expelled by the British government to the American Colonies for political reasons. She was old and leaking badly. Not worth repairing, her planks worm-eaten in the tropics, she was blown ashore in a gale at Perth Amboy, New Jersey.

"It is said that in 1855 in the Amboy bay might still have been seen the remains of an old ship named the Caledonia, which had been commanded by Robert Drummund. Ancestral tradition widely handed down in the Anderson family says that Capt. John Anderson commanded the Caledonia: this, of cource, may have been at a different time from that in which he commanded the Unicorn in the Darien expedition. Dr. Arch. Alexander says in his Log College p. 103, 'This congregation owed its origin to some Scotch people who were cast on the Jersey swhore; the vessel Caledonia, in which they sailed, having been stranded on our coast.' Possibly because of the old and unserviceable condition the Caledonia was deserted presumably in 1715, and a storm breaking its moorings to the Amboy warf, it drifted away to its wreck. Some people have still preserved relics in the shape of canes &c., made from the timbers of this old vessel. It is supposed that this ship brought emigrants from Scotland as early as 1685, and it is a matter of history that it bore to New Jersey many Scotch families about 1715."

Symmes, Frank Rosebrook. History of Old Tennent Church. Cranbury, N.J. : G.W. Burroughs, printer, 1904, p. 13.

The voyages of the Caledonia before, during, and after the Darien venture - partially reconstructed passenger lists

Names bolded the first time mentioned were immigrants. The hyperlinks point to the Roll Family Database at WorldConnect.

1682 - The Caledonia sailed from from Glasgow, Scotland to New York City.

Passengers included William Hogue (or Hoge), his future wife Barbara Hume, and her father Sir James Hume (died on ship), and her mother Mrs. Hume (who died on the ship).

William Hoge, distinguished in state and church, came to America in 1682, He was the son of Sir James Hoge of Scotland, who lived in Mussleburg near Glasco. On board the Caledonia, the vessel that brought him over, was a family named Hume, consisting of a father, mother and daughter. They were Presbyterians, leaving Scotland to avoid the persecution.

The Humes were from Paisley, Scotland. The father was a knight and a Baron. Both mother and father died during the voyage to America, leaving their daughter in the charge of William Hoge, who placed her with relatives, the Johnsons, in New York City, while he decided to make his home in Perth Amboy, New Jersey on land owned by a Scotch company, at the head of which was Gov. Berkley, and of which he was a member.

Kendall, Hazel May Middleton. The descendants of William Gregg, the Friend immigrant to Delaware, 1682: from which nucleus disseminated nests of Greggs to Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina. Anderson, Indiana: H.M. Kendall, 1944, pp. 26-28. Note: This is a link to download the whole book in PDF format.

John LaRoue or LaRoux, with members of his family including sons John LaRoue, and Matthew LaRoue; and a relative Matthew La Roue, who married onboard to Margaret Dor

Among the various families of this name to settle early in the vicinity of Staten Island was John LaRoue or LaRoux who, with several members of his family (including his sons John and Matthew), arrived from Glasgow, Scotland, in the ship Caledonia, in 1680. The ship, driven by storms into Raritan Bay, New Jersey, eventually went ashore, it is said, at South Amboy. The relationship of the various members of the La Roue families on this ship has not been definitely established, but it is known that Matthew La Roue, ancestor of this branch of the LaRue's, was onboard and married, during the voyage to America, Margaret Dor. The similarity of names among the children of these first families is very strong evidence of their close relationship, and their descendants became the principal families of this name in the United States, allied by marriage to many early Colonial families in New York and New Jersey.

Source: Bullard, Edgar J., Bullard and Allied Families, Detroit: Private publisher, 1930, p. 90.

William Gregg

In 1682 William Gregg sailed from southern Ireland with other Quakers from northern Ireland to Perth Amboy, New Jersey. They settled in Upland, now Chester, Pennsylvania, later moving down the Delaware River to settle near the Brandywine Creek. He was granted 200 acres in one of William Penn's principal manors, Rockland Manor, in 1683, and 400 acres on January 26, 1684. Here he built a log cabin, which he called "Strand Millas." He died at the age of about 45 and was buried on his own land in Christiana Hundred, New Castle, Delaware.

Source: Kendall, Hazel May Middleton. The descendants of William Gregg, the Friend immigrant to Delaware, 1682: from which nucleus disseminated nests of Greggs to Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina. Anderson, Indiana: H.M. Kendall, 1944, pp. 19-21.

His neighbors were Henry and Thomas Hollingsworth, Thomas Woolasten, George Hog, William Hoge [See above], John Hussy and William Dixon.

Source: Kendall, Hazel May Middleton. The descendants of William Gregg, the Friend immigrant to Delaware, 1682: from which nucleus disseminated nests of Greggs to Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina. Anderson, Indiana: H.M. Kendall, 1944, pp. 26-28.

1685 - The Caledonia sailed from Scotland to Perth Amboy, New Jersey.

Henry W. Young descended from Scotch Ancestors. During a period of persecution occurring in the reign of King Charles the second, about a hundred men that had been spared the sword were put on the Caledonia, an unseaworthy old craft that leaked so badly that it was evident expectation that all on board would go down, ere they were out of sight of land. But a competent man was chosen Captain, and by dint of constant bailing a kind of Providence brought the ship safely to Perth Amboy, New Jersey, in 1685.

Source: Biographical and Genealogical History of Morris County, New Jersey, Vol. 1.  New York : Lewis Pub. Co., 1899, p. 48.

1697 - The Caledonia was rebuilt and launched at Lubeck.

The Caledonia was launched during the second week of March, 1697, at Lubeck, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany.

Source: Prebble, John. The Darien Disaster: A Scots Colony in the New World, 1698-1700. New York: Holt, Rinehart, Winston, 1968m p. 86.

First Expedition

The First Darien Expedition Fleet the "Patterson Expedition" sailed from Leith, Scotland.

1698, 17 Jul - The First Darien Expedition sailed from Leith, Scotland.

The colonists embarked on five ships, three 500-ton ships and two others, the Caledonia, Dolphin, Endeavor, St. Andrew, and Unicorn. Aboard were 1,200 colonists. The fleet arrived at Caledonia Bay, New Caledonia, 2 Nov 1698.

The Caledonia, which had been launched at Hamburg, but was probably already an older ship, was under the command of Robert Drummond, who later commanded the Speedy Return. The colonists founded the settlement New Edinburgh, and Fort St Andrews.

One quarter of the settlers were lost to disease and misfortune, discouraged and not able to adjust to the the tropics. they left for Scotland via New York on 20 Jun 1699. Only one of the five ships, the Caledonia, and 300 of the 1,200 that had left Scotland would return. Some of the colonists had stayed in New York.

Passengers included
James Christie

James Christie, born in Scotland in 1670, presumably at St. Ninians, Stirlingshire, on October 9, 1670; died at Schraalenburg (now Dumont), New Jersey, April 16, 1768; supposed to be the second son of John Christie and Anna Ramsay, of Stirlingshire, and a member of the family of Christie, which first appeared as a surname in northern Scotland in the 12th Century and in the southeastern counties in the 15th Century, that acquired "the lands and barony of Canglar, commonly called Charterhouse, in the parish of St. Ninians;" joined the ill-fated Darien Expedition, organized by William Patterson, the founder of the Bank of England, and sailed from Leith, Scotland, in the Caledonia, for the Colony of New Caledonia, Isthmus of Darien, July 26, 1698; sailed from the Isthmus of Darien in the Caledonia, June 18, 1699, for New England, en route back to Scotland; arrived at New York, August 3, 1699, and resolved to remain in the American colonies; settled at Schraalenburgh (now Dumont), New Jersey; married at Hackensack, New Jersey, September 18, 1703, Madeleine des Marets, 1684-1749.

Source: Huidekoper, Frederick Louis. The American Ancestry of Frederic Louis Huidekoper and Reginald Shippen Huidekoper, 1930, Reprint, Geneva, Switzerland: Imprimerie Albert Kundig, 1931, pp. 22-23.

The first Christie in America was James who came to this country in August, 1699, after a disastrous expedition to found a colony in Panama. James Christie sailed from the port of Leith in the summer of 1698 on the ship Caledonia, which was one of five ships. Included were the St. Andrew, Unicorn, Endeavor, and the Dolphin. This fleet was called the Patterson Expedition, which was attempting to found a Scot's colony in the Isthmus of Darien, now Panama. James was the son of John Christie and Anna Ramsey. He married 18 Sept., 1703, at Hackensack, N. J., to Magdalena Demarest the daughter of John Demerast and Jacomina de Ruine, French Huguenots who settled in the Schraalenburg area. James was a farmer and taught school. James and Magdalena had 13 children, the first generation of Christies born in the New World.

Source: Maszalec, Edward T. The Christies of Northern New Jersey. Online access to this book is restricted, you must be in the Family History Library, a partner library, or a Family History Center to access it.

1st and 2nd Expditions

The routes of the first and second expeditions and the retreat

May 1699 - The Second Darien Expedition left Scotland.

When they arrived 30 Nov 1699 with 1000 persons, Captain Thomas Drummond was waiting for them at deserted New Edinburgh on New Caledonia Bay with the ship Ann of Caledonia, which he had purchased at New York. The second fleet was welcomed by four hundred lonely graves.

3 Aug 1699 - The Caledonia sailed from the New Edinburgh, New Caledonia to New York, abandoning the Colony of New Caledonia.

Passengers included
James Christie (See above.)

Aug 1699 - The Caledonia was at New York.

1699. 878. xi. Copy of memorial of the Scotch gentlemen come from Caledonia for leave to purchase provisions for 200 men for 10 or 11 weeks. Signed, Sam. Vetch, Roht. Drummond, Tho. Drummond.

Minute of Council of New York, Aug. 5, 1699. 1 7). Same endorsement.

878. xii. Extract of letter from the L.G. of New York to Lord Bellomont, Aug. 7, 1699. On Friday, the Caledonia, 60 guns, arrived. Forced to leave their settlement by famine and sickness, they divided equally among their three great ships. This ship was bound for Boston, where Drummond the Captain was acquainted. Contrary winds, the weakness of their men and scantiness of provisions forced them to put into Sandy Hook. They brought 300 and odd men out of Caledonia and have thrown 103 overboard, and the rest are so weak from pure fatigue and famine, having been forced to short allowance only of salt provisions since they left Scotland, they are not able to get up their small bower anchor. They have no money, so I desire you will let me know how far tho law will allow the barter of stores. Their miserable condition is enough to raise compassion. The other two ships he left in the mouth of the bay, not being able to get out to sea, the wind blowing four months in the year directly north into the Bay. They are bound for the first port they can fetch for refreshment in order to Scotland, but this Capt. seems to be in pain for them, and believes the French will be soon in possession of their forsaken fortification, they not having time or not having been able to demolish them. Aug. 14. Here is another Caledonian arrived, lost his masts and half-starved; he has thrown over 150 men since he came out.

Source: Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, America and West Indies, 1699. Also Addenda, 1621-1698. London: Mackie and Co. Ld., 1808, p. 476.

While the Caledonia was at New York with the evacuated colonists, The Second Darien Expedition Fleet sailed from Scotland with four relief ships and 1,300 settlers. They had left a scant 12 days before news would arrive from New York that the colony had been abandoned.

Aug 1699 - The Sinking of the Unicorn at Perth Amboy

... The colony, a third of whom had already died of flux or fever, or exhaustion and starvation, decided to abandon the project and turn homeward.

After a stormy and disastrous voyage, unable to limp on to Scotland, the Unicorn dropped anchor at Perth Amboy on August 14, 1699. In a report to the Directors in Scotland, dated December 1699, William Patterson, who had traveled north on the Unicorn, wrote: "we arrived at Sandy Hook, near New Yorke, the 13th and at New Yorke the 14th of Aug. last under God, owing the safety of the ship and our lives to the care and industry of our Commander, Captain John Anderson,: [5. Nat. Lib. Edinburgh, Scot. Darian Ms.] Paterson had been very sick and crazed by fever when the ship put in at Perth Amboy, New Jersey; and it is possible that he thought it had anchored in New York, or he may have miswritten.

The Company's Unicorn was in such bad condition that it could not sail farther and was left in the care of Captain John Anderson at Perth Amboy. [6. N.J. Archives, Vol. 4, pp. 179-80.] Finally it sank there and is believed still to lie at the foot of Fayette Street. Parts from it had been stripped off to repair the Caledonia, another ship of the Company, which sailed in November of that same year for Scotland.

Captain Anderson took up residence in East Jersey, and on Dec. 25, 1701-2, at the home of Col. Lewis Morris, Tintern Manor, married Anna Reid, daughter of the Surveyor General of the Provinve and Margaret (Millar) Reid.

Genealogies of New Jersey Families: Families A-Z. pp. 104-105

9 Oct 1699 - The Caledonia sailed from New York to Scotland.

30 Nov 1699 - The Second Darien Expedition arrived at New Caledonia.

Alexander Shields, a minister with the Second Expedition on board the Rising Sun in Caledonia Bay on December 25, 1699, wrote to Rev. Robert Wyllie in Scotland.

Our passage hither was very prosperous for the weather, but in other respects tedious and miserable. Our company very uncomfortable, consisting for the generality, especially the officers and volunteers of the warst of mankind, if yow had scummed the Land and raked to the borders of hell for them, men of lewd practises and venting the wickednesse of principles: for these things God was provoked to smite us very signally and severely with a contagious sickness which went through the the most part and cutt off by death about sixty of us on our ship and near a hundred on the rest of the fleet, the most since our departure from Montserrat. I cannot with this send you a particular list of the dead because I have not gathered them yet but the most lamented by the better part of us were Mr Alexander Dalgleish, minister, the Laird of Dunlop, Capt. Wallace engineer, and several others of the best sort. The means contributing to the encrease of this sickness and mortality were our too great crowds in every ship, straitening and stiffling one another, our chests of medicines ignorantly or knavishly filled and as ill-dispensed by our chirurgeons [surgeons], our water in wooden bound casks very unsavoury and unclean, our beef much of it rotten, many things redundant which were useless and many things needful wanting. It is a wonder of mercy that so many of us escaped and that at length we arrived at our part in safety tho in great sorrow three weeks agone by November 30. We had heard at Montserrat the colony was deserted but did not believe, tho some of us feared it all along. Arriving at this bay, we found the nest was flown. The ground that was cleared was all grown up again with Mangroves. The little fortification standing waste their batteries and huts all burnt doun (which some said was done by a Frenchman, others by an Englishman) and nothing of shipping there but two little sloups from New England and New York . . . They told us the Colony had deserted the 20th of June last for sickness (having destroyed themselves by working excessively on the fortifications) and for fear of want of provisions, that the St Andrew with her men was gone to Jamaica and the Unicorn and Caledonia to New York . . .

Source: "Shields' Letters," Wod. Qu. XXX, 252-253.

Arms of the Scottish Company

Arms of the Scottish Company Trading to Africa and the Indies.
The Latin text translates as: Wherever the world extends, united strength is stronger
Source: Sp Coll Spencer f51.

9 Mar 1700 - The Third Darien Expedition departed Scotland.

11 Apr 1700 - The survivors of the Second Expedition sailed out of Caledonia Bay for Scotland.

16 Jun 1700 - The Third Expedition arrived at Caledonia Bay.

Margaret of Dundee formed The Third Darien Expedition. Captain Patrick MacDowall found the Spanish in possession of New Edinburgh, and was forced to flee to Jamaica. This was the end of hope for New Caledonia.

2 Jan 1709 - Will of seaman aboard the Caledonia.

Daniel Sinclair

Among the wills in the Scottish archives is that of Daniel Sinclair or St. Clare. The will states he was a seaman aboard the ship Caledonia. The will is dated January 2, 1709.

Source: ScotlandsPeople. (Registration required)

1715 - The Caledonia sailed from Inverness, Scotland and wrecked at Perth Amboy.

... It is said that in 1855 in the Amboy bay might still have been seen the remains of an old ship named the "Caledonia," which had been commanded by Robert Drummund. Ancestral tradition widely handed down in the Anderson family says that Capt. John Anderson commanded the "Caledonia:" this, of course, may have been at a different time from that in which he commanded the "Unicorn" in the Darien expedition. Dr. Arch. Alexander says in this "Log College" p. 103, "This congregation owed its origin to some Scotch people who were cast on the Jersey shore; the vessel Caledonia, in which they sailed, having been stranded on our coast." Possibly because of the old and unserviceable condition the Caledonia was deserted presumably in 1715, and a storm breaking its moorings to the Amboy warf, it drifted away to its wreck. Some people have still preserved relics in the shape of canes, etc., made from the timbers of this old vessel. It is supposed that this ship brought emigrants from Scotland as early as 1685, and it is a matter of history that it bore to New Jersey many Scotch families about 1715...

Source: Symmes, Frank R. History of the Old Tennent church. Second Edition. Canbury, N.J.: G.W. Burroughs, printer, 1904, p. 13

Passengers included
John Brecount (He may have boarded the Caledonia in New England.)

John Brecount m. Bethia Fitz-Randolph, born 20 September 1695/7. Notes for John Brecount: Removed from Scotland in the "Caledonia" to New Jersey in 1715, settled at Woodbridge.

Source: First Settlers of Ye Plantation of Piscataway and Woodbridge, Olde East New Jersey, 1664-1714, Part 2, Vital Statistics, Piscataway and Woodbrigde, Page 233. FHC Film #673270. iv. NOTE: The quality of the information in this source is highly variable, therefore take this cum grano salis.

Frederick Buckalew (He may have boarded the Caledonia in New England.)

The Buckelew family is of Scotch extraction, their progenitor in America having been Frederick Buckelew, a Scotch emigrant, who fled from his native land to avoid religious persecution. He sailed from Inverness, Scotland, in 1715, on the ship Caledonia.

Source: Clayton, W. Woodford, Ed. History of Union and Middlesex Counties, New Jersey with Biographical Sketches of many of their Prominent Men. Philadelphia: Everts, 1882, p. 812.

Benjamin Jennings, who came with seven relatives (Family tradition indicates they may have boarded the Caledonia in New England.)
Joseph Jennings; Zebulon Jennings; Jacob Jennings; Benjamin Jennings, Jr.; Jonathan Jennings; John Jennings; and David Jennings

The American ancestor of this branch of the family, often called the New Jersey branch, is not certainly known although they are credited with having come from Suffolk Co., England. There is a family tradition to the effect that this ancestor was a Benjamin [Jennings], who came in the ship Caledonia with his seven sons, but that the ship was wrecked near the coast of Perth Amboy, and the "seven brothers" were scattered and were never reunited. The log book was found or saved and is preserved in the New York Records. There is no record of the list of passengers landed, but tradition speaks of the "seven brothers", naming them as Joseph, Zebulon, Jacob, Benjamin, Jr., Jonathan, John, and David. Although they are called "brothers," many think their relationship is not so close, some of them being not nearer than cousins.

Source: White, Lillie Pauline, Jennings, Davidson and Allied Families, Seattle, WA: Sherman Printing & Binding Co., 1844, page 7. 269 pages, 23 cm.

Relating to the "Caledonia," sometimes called the "Mayflower" of New Jersey, Thomas O. Crane, a former resident of Rahway, given to antiquarian research, who died at an advanced age, has left the following written narrative:

"I had this morning, April 28, 1818, from James Crane, who had it from Alderman William Miller, a pious man, a millstone-cutter, who lived to a great age, was well acquainted with Stephen Crane, one of the first of the name who came to this town (Elizabeth Town), and related it to said Miller.

"In the reign of ____, when the Protestants were persecuted by the Papists, a number in the west of England and Wales resolved, if they could, to escape to the wilds of America. The wreck of the ship "Caledonia" lay sunk at the shore. Some of the proprietors and others concerted a plan and agreed to raise her and to fit her for the voyage. With the help of two pumps and several hundred buckets they freed her of water and stopped the leak, and fitted her out in the night-time; and one hundred and thirteen went on board and set sail in the night-time for fear of detection, and in the morning Providence so ordered it that a thick fog arose between her and the land so that they escaped. They had fair winds and weather all the passage till they arrived on the shoals of Amboy, when she leaked so that the pumps would not free her, and she sank, but all escaped safe to land and dispersed among the Indians. Stephen Crane with others settled at Elizabeth Town. He has a man of note and one of the first Associates. He married a Danish woman with red hair, by whom he had several children."

Source: Clayton, W. Woodford. History of Union and Middlesex Counties. Philadelphia: Everts & Peck, 1882, p. 290.

John Gaston and his family; Joseph Gaston; John Gaston; William Gaston; Alexander Gaston; Mary Gaston, her husband James Cauldwell, and their son William Cauldwell

John Gaston emigrated from France to avoid religious persecution. He was a Hugenot. He went to Scotland and then to Ireland to live with his sons John, William, and Alexander. They sailed from Scotland with four other families. The Gaston, Mount, Rue, Rew, and Davidson families sailed from Inverness, Scotland on the ship Caledonia, under the command of Captain John Anderson in 1715.

Source: Mackenzie, George Nonbim. Colonial Families of the United States of America, Baltimore, Maryland: Seaforth Press, Genealogical Publishing Co., 1912, Vol. III, pages 175-176.

Mount family

Davidson family

Duncan McCoy, and his son Gavin McCoy

Thomas Talmage married Mary, daughter of Captain Goyn McCoy, a Scotchman who had come to America in the Caledonia early in the 18th Century. The ship was wrecked off Perth Amboy, but all on board were saved.

Source: Somerset County Historical Quarterly, Vol VII, Somerville, New Jersey: Somerset County Historical Society, Publishers, 1918, p. 262, footnote 6. This journal is not of the highest quality of research.

Nathaniel Manning

Nathaniel Manning is said to have belonged to the family that came to Perth Amboy in the Caledonia from Scotland in 1715. He received his medical education under the tuition of the "Faculty of Philadelphia;" he presented testimonials from them as to his proficiency in medicine when he joined the State Medical Society in 1767. He first practiced in Metuchen and was considered an able physician. He graduated from the College of New Jersey in 1762, and is noted in its catalogue as a clergyman. In 1771, being about to leave the province, he applied to the State Society for a certificate of character as a physician, which was granted. He went to England in 1771 and was soon afterward ordained by the Bishop of London for Hampton Parish, Virginia. In 1775 he was its incumbent.

Source: John P. Wall and Harold E. Pickersgill, Eds. History of Middlesex County New Jersey 1664-1920, Volume I, New York And Chicago: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc., 1921, p. 260.

There is a tradition which May or May not be true, that they came over in the old ship Caledonia, the wreck of which, for many years, was seen on the shore at Perth Amboy, by some who are yet living. It is said that, driven by persecution, the Ilslys, with other dissenters, were compelled to flee from their homes, which were either in England or in the north of Scotland, and were allowed by their enemies to depart only because they embarked on the unseaworthy Caledonia, which was confidently expected to founder at sea and engulf the sturdy heretics. But, lo! they came safely into harbor! Before they landed, however, the Dutch captain proceeded to bind them over as servants to the planters in the vicinity, according to custom, until certain real or fancied debts in the old country had been discharged. A Mrs. Ilsly, filled with indignation, seized a bar of iron and, flourishing it over the captain's head, declared with emphasis that she and the rest had fled from tyranny at home to find quiet in the new land; and that she would not submit to slavery right on the borders of freedom. The doughty captain was cowed by the determination of the brave woman, and saved his head by landing his passengers without the indentures having been executed.

Source: Dally, Joseph W. Woodbridge and Vicinity. New Brunswick, N.J.: A. E. Gordon, 1873, p. 38.

Year of voyage not identified

Abraham Burbanck; John Burbanck; and Peter Burbanck; and
two sisters

Abraham, John, and Peter Burbanck and two sisters, came from the Netherlands, Holland, in the ship Caledonia. The vessel was partly wrecked on the passage, and the sisters were lost. The brothers landed in New York in the latter part of the Seventeenth century, and Abraham settled on Staten Island.

Source: Morris, Ira K., Morris's memorial history of Staten Island, New York, Vol. II. New York: Memorial Publishing Co., 1898, p. 60.

Jonathan Combs

The ancestor of Jonathan Combs, it is said, came from Scotland, in the old ship Caledonia, which brought the first emigrants from the land of stern Presbyterianism; they seeking a home in the wild conntry from the intolerance of Papal and Episcopal power and persecution.

Source: Bergen, Teunis G., The Bergen Family, New York: Bergen & Tripp, 1866, page 174.

Alexander Laird

Alexander Laird, the pioneer ancestor of the Laird family in this country, emigrated to America, making the voyage in the sailing vessel Caledonia. He came from the county of Fife in Scotland, and made his home in Englishtown, Monmouth county, New Jersey, where all his descendants in a direct line have been born. Among his children was a son, William.

Source: Lee, Francis Bazley, Ed. Genealogical and Personal Memorial of Mercer County New Jersey, Vol. 1. New York, Lewis Publishing Company, 1907, p. 310.

Robert Balnaves

One of the those to travel to Darien was Robert Balnaves, a steward's mate onboard the ship Caledonia. His brother James was appointed executor for his estate in 1707. He may have sailed with the first expedition.

The End of the Caledonia

Eodem die. Gay and others contra Arbuckle. The famous ship Caledonia, built for our trade to the colony of Darien, being exposed to roup, was, in 1707, bought by William Arbuckle merchant in Glasgow; who afterwards entered into a contract with Captain Braeholt a stranger trader, whereby he sells him the said ship for £2500 Sterling; but in case of not payment at the day prefixed, there is a resolutive irritant clause, that the property of the ship shall return to Arbuckle again...

Source: Fountainhall, Lord John Lauder. The Decisions of the Lords of Council and Session, from June 6th, 1678, to July 30th, 1712. Vol. II. Edinburgh: Printed for G. Hamilton and J. Balfour, M,DCC,LXI (1761), p. 673.

Lying in shoal water, nearly in front of the brick-yard of Mr. Hall, are the remains of a vessel which used to be much resorted to, and may still be, in consequence of their harboring numbers of fine fish.

The vessel Caledonia, and her name has become very generally known, and ­ it may be said - reverentially spoken of, from her having borne to New Jersey many Scotch families immigrating from Scotland during the troubles that agitated that country in 1715. She was commanded by Robert Drummond, and, for some cause not now known, the captain and crew deserted her while lying at the wharf at Amboy, and, a storm rising, she broke from her moorings and drifted to the spot mentioned. It is probably that she was an old vessel and unseaworthy, which will account for no measures being adopted for her preservation.

This view of the case is confirmed by the fact that in a despatch of Lord Bellamont to the Board of Trade, in the New York Colonial Papers, dated October 20, 1699, a ship named Caledonia is mentioned as having made voyages between Scotland and America (He says that "When the two Scotch ships, called the Caledonia and the Unicorn, came to New York, they were in miserable conditions, having lost great number of people on their voyage from Caledonia by famine and sickness") and, if she were the same vessel, of which there is every probability, it is not surprising the laps of sixteen years should have rendered her no longer serviceable. There are several relics of the old vessel in parts of the State, in the possession of those who claim descent from those she brought to our shores.

(There are many fabulous stories current relative to the vessel and her passengers, possessing as much foundation in truth as the assertion of an old negro woman in Amboy; who was wont to date the advent of a certain old citizen as corresponding with the arrival of "Ham and Colombo [Columbus] in the old Caledonia.")

Source: Whitehead, William A, Contributions to the Early History of Perth Amboy, Appleton & Co., 1856, pages 265-266.


Barber, James Samuel. A History of William Paterson and the Darien Company, 1907.

Burton, John Hill, Ed. The Darien Papers: Being a Selection of Original Letters and Official Documents Relating to the Establishment of a Colony At Darien by the Company of Scotland Trading to Africa and the Indies. 1695-1700, Vol. 90. Edinburgh: Bannatyne Club, 1849.

Insh, George Pratt, The Company of Scotland Trading to Africa and the Indies, London & New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1932, octavo, 343 pages, frontispiece and 4 other illustrations, 4 maps. Rivera Library, University of California at Riverside, call number: F2281.D2 I58.

Prebble, John, The Darien Disaster; A Scots Colony in the New World, 1698-1700, New York, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1968. 366 p. illus., coat of arms, maps, 22 cm. This book contains numerous references to the Caledonia. Personal library of William Henry Roll whroll@gmail.com.