Select Edgar Surname Genealogy

Here are some Edgar stories and accounts over the years:

The Edgars Departing Wedderlie

An apocryphal story was told of the departure of the Edgars of Wedderlie from their ancient inheritance after falling on hard times. 

“The auld laird and leddy drove out in their carriage and four horses at mid-day; but the young laird (their only child) was broken-hearted at the thocht o' leaving the auld place and he waited till the darkening; for he said the sun should na shine when he left his hame." 

The preserver of this anecdote was a very aged woman named Eppy Forsyth who died about 1840.  She remembered seeing the young laird riding down the avenue alone and she said: “it was a dark nicht when the last Edgar rode out of Wedderlie."

John Edgar the Fugitive

After the defeat at Cullodon in 1746, John Edgar arrived, a fugitive, at Keithock; and by a curious coincidence sought the protection and aid of the very same farmer who, thirty years before, had facilitated the escape of his uncle. To his surprise he was told that he should be accommodated with the identical clothes in which his relative had found safety.  A kind-hearted Presbyterian minister who was proceeding to Edinburgh generously allowed the fugitive to ride behind him as his servant. 

At length he succeeded in reaching London.  After many unsuccessful attempts he gave up the idea of escaping to the Continent as all the ports were being strictly watched.  He therefore determined on joining his uncle Thomas who had emigrated to New Jersey in 1725.  Accordingly, without difficulty, John Edgar embarked on a vessel for America. 

They were scarcely halfway across the Atlantic when they were chased by a French privateer.  Everyone else on board hoped to escape.  But John Edgar had other thoughts.  When they were ultimately captured, he declared his predicament to his captors and, after being carried into a French port, he was immediately released.  He proceeded at once to Paris where he found many of his Forfar neighbors and later joined his uncle James in Rome.

Edgars of Riddings in Cumberland

An Edgar family was long established at Riddings in Cumberland.  Two tombstones in Arthuret churchyard, bearing the lion rampant within heraldic shields, have inscriptions for the following Edgars: 

  • David Edgar, died in 1654 aged 53; and his wife Ann Edgar, died in 1676; and, with Ann, David Edgar, died in 1691 aged 53, presumably her son.  
  • and William Edgar, born in 1791 and died in 1869  
Agnes Armstrong, descendant of the famous "Kinmont Willie" of ballad fame, married a David Edgar of Riddings.  They had a son, David Edgar, whose eldest son, David Edgar, was described in 1865 as a mariner.

Edgars from Ireland to Canada

The story in the family is that Charles Edgar came to Quebec in about 1818 with his two sons, James and Robert.  They cut down sufficient trees to build a ship, filled it with lumber, and sailed it back to Ireland. There, they sold the lumber, including the ship, and used the proceeds to make their way back to Canada with the rest of the family.  Around 1820, Charles bought acreage from Charles Wesley at Wesley’s Point near Lancaster in Ontario. 

Son James was apparently struck down and killed by a freight train as he walked down the Grand Trunk track near his home.  He was quite deaf and didn’t hear the approaching train.

David Edgar's Early Days in Australia

David Edgar was the first of the Moffat Edgars to come to Australia. He left Leith in Scotland on the North Briton and arrived in Australia in late 1838.  After working on several properties in the Portland Bay district of Victoria, he took up some squatter licenses there in 1842 and purchased an interest in the Bush Inn - where he was to stay for the next seven years. 

John Dunmore Lang wrote of his visit to the Bush Inn in 1846 as follows: 

“After a bumpy journey by mail coach, we were therefore ready for light refreshments on reaching our first halting place at a Bush Inn, kept by a respectable Scotsman by the name of Edgar some twenty miles north of Portland.  A Bush Inn in such a situation is a sure fortune to a man of steady habits and I should say that Mr. Edgar is, in a worldly point of view, a thriving man." 

David prospered and was responsible for encouraging and helping a number of other Moffat Edgars to come to Australia.

Sir Edward Edgar

A Canadian by birth, Sir Edward Edgar made his first fortune by organizing big hydro-electric combines. Coming to London, he carried through even larger deals in cotton, iron and steel, and shipbuilding. 

For him finance was always a game.  As he said on one occasion, "the greatest game in the world, this fighting with millions at stake."  He will long be remembered as a big gambler.  When he was flush with money, he showered costly gifts upon his friends and his hospitality was unbounded.  But he did no real service in return for the immense sums of money which he took from the public. 

In the post-war boom he made more than one fortune.  But he suffered huge losses as well. 
A day came when his luck turned and in 1925 he was unexpectedly declared bankrupt.  The City of London had not forgotten his ill-advised boasting during the years of plenty and it did not forgive nor forget Edgar. 

The shock to his credit proved too great and he was henceforward a spent force.  He was obliged to give up his home in Park Lane, and his country house in Thetford.  Sir Edward said of the City of London in a moment of insight: 

"If you win you're marvellous and you will have friends standing in a queue a mile long.  If you lose, it means facing the punishment - or death." 

This prophetic pronouncement was made by Edgar in 1927 when he learned that his one time friend and associate Jimmy White, had poisoned himself after a deal had gone bad. 

Broken in health and utterly disillusioned, Sir Edward Edgar, the “man with a load of millions,” passed away in a tiny cottage in the Buckinghamshire village of Chalfont St Giles in 1934.  His only son had been killed in a motor accident.  So there was no heir to the baronetcy which he had received in the height of his power.

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