Select Innes Surname Genealogy

Here are some Innes stories and accounts over the years:

Innes House in Morayshire

Innes House was built between 1640 and 1653 on the barony of Innes by Sir Robert Innes, the 20th chief of clan Innes.  The oldest part of the house dates to the 15th century when it appeared on early maps as Innes Castle.

Innes House has been called "the tall white house of Innes.”  It is indeed a fine clean-cut stone mansion at the end of a mile-long driveway.  The house still stands, having recently been restored and renovated.

Father Lewis Innes's Prayer Book

Father Lewis Innes, a priest of the Catholic church, was one of three Innes of the family who held the office of Principal of the Scots College in Paris and were connected after James II's downfall with the exiled House of Stuart at St. Germains. 

Lewis was particularly close to James II and it is thought that he was the author of the life of James that was later compiled.  Lewis himself died in Paris in 1738.  Among his possessions then was an antique silver case given to him by James II and a portrait of Bonnie Prince Charlie as a young boy. 

Lewis’s Prayer Book, dated 1685, has been preserved.  Family deaths were recorded there by his family, including: 
  • November 28, 1686 – James Innes, his grandfather  
  • February 28, 1744 – Thomas Innes, his brother  
  • April 29, 1752 – George Innes, his brother  
and, by Mary Innes, a much later member of the family:
  • February 11, 1780 – James Innes, her grandfather  
  • September 15, 1808 – Alexander Innes, her uncle  
  • November 27, 1815 – Lewis Innes, her father  
Alexander Innes was a man of great determination who stayed at his post at the Scots College at the height of the French Revolution.  He was imprisoned and sentenced to be guillotined, but was saved because of the death of Robespierre on the day he was due to be executed.

Sir Hugh Innes at Lochalsh

Wealthy Elgin sheep farmer Sir Hugh Innes bought Lochalsh in the NW Highlands in 1801 and, six years later, had the land mapped out.  Tenant evictions started almost immediately.  People were initially moved to coastal crofting settlements such as Ardnarff and Portachullin.  Soon the population there started to decline as emigration proceeded in earnest. 

Plockton is a former crofting village in the area, known today as the Jewel of the Highlands.  But the history of the village belies its quaint appearance today.  It had been built by Sir Hugh Innes after he had cleared his estates of tenants. He had encouraged the displaced crofters to fish.  But the herring soon deserted the shores.  Plockton became known in Gaelic as Baile na Bochdainn - the village of the poor.

What Gilbert Innes Left

Gilbert Innes never married, but was said to have had 67 illegitimate children from scores of different women.  There was a poem, apparently found in the trunk of a courtesan, which detailed his fathering of "67 bastards" and went on to state: "The acts of his whoredom are written in the parish chronicles of Scotland." 

One of these children, Robert Innes, wrote this missive to his purported father: 

"You drove me out of your house like a dog and told me you were no earthly connection to me.  I know not for a certainty that you are my father, but God knows and recollect that you must die and then the certainty will be known.  But recollect that without repentance there is no remission of sin. Get your soul pardoned and then you will be happy." 

Gilbert’s sister Jane did give Robert Innes some money to set up a boatyard in Leith.  He was so grateful that he named a boat and his youngest daughter after her. 

When Gilbert died in 1832, Jane inherited his estate.  When she died seven years later, there were many claimants to the fortune.  There was a brother Thomas, for instance, who had moved south to the Welsh borders.  When he married there, the registrar had a problem with his name and Thomas Innes became Thomas Hennis.  Many of his descendants ended up in the Forest of Dean.  However, the money eventually went to William Mitchell, a descendant of his eldest sister Isobel.

Reader Feedback - From Innes to Hennis

came across your website in my family history research and am very interested in the story concerning Thomas Innes who moved to the Welsh borders and ended up changing his name from Innes to Hennis because the registrar had a problem with his name. 

One branch of my family originates from the Forest of Dean and I have been able to trace this branch back to Thomas Hennis. I have found a record of a marriage between Thomas Hennis and Mary Jenkins in 1752 and I believe my four times great grandmother was Alice Hennis (Thomas and Mary’s daughter). 

There has always been a story in the family that we were distantly related to the Innes family and an old relative who has since passed away told a tale of the ‘lost' Innes fortune which ties in with the piece on your website. 

I would love to know the origins of this piece and whether or not there is any evidence to support the story that the Thomas Hennis mentioned was indeed originally Thomas Innes.

Laurie Brown (

Innes in Jamaica

William Innes was a London merchant involved in the slave trade and had plantations in Jamaica.  He died in 1795 in London and left no Innes descendants.  His plantations in Jamaica were left to George Mitchell, a son-in-law. 

There were Innes in Jamaica at this time.  The Kingston parish churchyard in Jamaica contains the following stone and inscription: 

“Beneath are deposited the remains of: 
George Innes, who was killed in a duel on November 9, 1784, aged 22 
William Innes, who died on July 11, 1791, aged 19 
Peter Innes, who died on June 17 1801, aged 34 
Hugh Innes, who died on October 6 1803, aged 40. 
Gentlemen much respected, they were the sons of the late Alexander Innes Esq. of Aberdeen.  This stone is inscribed to their memory by their afflicted mother.” 

Apparently Alexander Innes and his father had borrowed money to start up a new venture in Jamaica.  But the business fared badly and Alexander had died young. 

Then there was a Daniel Innes, owner of the Mount Grace plantation in Hanover from 1798 to 1817.  It was reported that Mrs. Mary Innes died at Mount Grace in 1830 at the great age of 110 years (some reports have it as 120).

The Funeral of Major Innes

Major Archibald Innes died in Newcastle, NSW in 1857, a much respected man despite the straightened circumstances of the latter years of his life.  It was said that his funeral was attended by almost every one of note in the district and by many from a distance.  The places of business were closed and the appearance of the town testified to the popular respect entertained towards the deceased. 

As the deceased was a very old colonist and filled a high position in another sphere in times past, a short notice of his connection with the colony was given in the local reports: 

“Major Innes arrived in this colony in the year 1821 with his regiment the 3rd Buffs.  When that regiment subsequently proceeded to India he retired from the army, having about that period suffered from a tedious illness during which his life had more than once been despaired of. 

He afterwards became police magistrate of Parramatta but resigned that appointment and settled down as a squatter at Port Macquarie.  For many years subsequently he was distinguished by the vastness of his operations in pastoral pursuits.  By him many of the most valuable squattages in the northern districts were first occupied.  During his residence at Lake Innes he was distinguished by the princely hospitality which is still widely remembered, all who came within its influence being entertained with a liberality and elegance of style not often equaled in the colony. 

When that "nipping frost" came which then blighted so many fair prospects in this colony, Major Innes suffered in common with others.  Most of his extensive property was made the sacrifice of a panic which spared no one. 

For the last four years Major Innes has held the appointment of police magistrate at Newcastle, where his kind and obliging manners and painstaking discharge of his duties gained him the regard and respect of the citizens.  He has latterly suffered from a fatal disease under which he sank on Saturday last."

The Innes House in Los Angeles

The housing boom in the Angeleno Heights suburb of Los Angeles began in the mid-1880’s with the construction of a number of majestic new Victorian homes in this new neighborhood.  Among the Midwesterners who bought houses there were Daniel and Kate Innes from Kansas.  Daniel’s shoe store prospered downtown and his family had become one of the first Blue Book families of Los Angeles. 

The Innes House was built on Carroll Avenue in 1887.  Daniel and his family occupied the house for over thirty years until Daniel’s death in 1918.  The house was designated an LA city landmark in 1971 and has been used as a backdrop in many TV series.

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