Select Waugh Surname Genealogy

Here are some Waugh stories and accounts over the years:

Waughchope and Waugh

There are two Border place-names Wauchope or Wauchopedale, one in Dumfriesshire and the other in Roxburghshire (Wauchope means “foreigner” and Wauchopedale “valley of the foreigner).”  Neither of these places was apparently ever held by the Wauchopes or Waughs.

Wauchope Castle was located southwest of Langholm in Dumfriesshire, along the north side of the Wauchope Water.  It was an early stronghold of the Lindsay family and was built shortly after Sir John Lindsay was granted Wauchopedale in 1285.  The Lindsays, close associates of the Wauchopes, held Wauchopedale for the most part until 1707. 

Wauchope Tower was to be found by the Wauchope Burn and Wauchope Forest in Roxburghshire close to the English border.  It stood on former Wauchope property (the other Wauchopedale).  But it was the Turnbulls, in possession in 1530, who probably built the tower. 

There were prominent Wauchope families in Midlothian (Niddrie-Merschell), Roxburghshire (Edminstone), and Aberdeenshire (Castle of Leys).  Early Waughs were probably Wauchopes.  Robert Waugh of Heap in Roxburghshire who rendered homage to the English King in 1296 was probably the Robert de Wauchope who also rendered homage.

Waughs in England and Scotland in the 1881 Census



Dr. Alexander Waugh

There were two Dr. Alexander Waughs in the family, but of very different temperaments.

The first Dr. Alexander Waugh was born in 1754 in East Gordon in Berwickshire where his father was a farmer.  He licensed as a minister in Edinburgh.  But it was in London where he practiced that he made his name as a powerful preacher and campaigner against slavery. 

He died in 1827 and was remembered with great affection by his congregation: 

“Dr Waugh was perhaps one of the most amiable men that ever existed.  His character was pure and spotless; his benevolence unbounded; his philanthropy unqualified.  His manners were mild, gentle, and highly prepossessing and his piety sincere and ardent and wholly without any portion of that gloominess which has been erroneously believed to belong to heart-felt religious feeling.  So far from this, he was lively, cheerful, and humorous, and delighted in innocent mirth and raillery.

To those of his countrymen who came to London, his house and table were ever open; and his advice, counsel, and assistance in furthering their views, always at their service.  His kindness in this way indeed, he carried to an almost blameable extent.” 

Two generations later, the Waughs had moved to Midsomer Norton in Somerset and Dr. Alexander Waugh, a surgeon, was a man of a completely different character.  He was described as follows by a later Waugh of his family: 

“Dr. Alexander Waugh was a repulsive, red-faced little fat man who would drunkenly smash ornaments in the hall, scream at the servants and flagellate an Irish setter with an ivory-tipped whip.  If a wasp should settle on his wife's forehead; instead of brushing it off, he would squash it with the ivory tip so as to ensure that she would not escape the sting."  

A Story Attributed to the Rev. Dr. Alexander Waugh

Dr. Waugh was staying in Plymouth and one hot summer evening in August he went out after dinner to sit by the sea.  There he found an old fisherman waiting for the tide to go out and fish, and they sat together and talked for a long time.

They stayed so long that they heard the church clock strike midnight.  They both counted the strokes and to both of them it seemed to strike thirteen.  “Well”, said the old fisherman, “I’ve lived here forty years or more and I’ve never heard that old clock strike thirteen before. The tides turned so I’ll be off.  Goodnight Sir”.  Dr. Waugh then went home and retired to bed.

A week or so later, he woke up in the night and though he heard a voice saying: “Go to Launceston – go to Launceston”.  He said to himself; “I must have bad indigestion. What have I had for dinner?” and went back to sleep again. A second time he was awakened by a voice saying “Go to Launceston” and again a third time.

So in the morning he went to Launceston where the coach drew up at the village inn.  Dr. Waugh got out, not knowing exactly why he had come.  He asked the landlord, “Is there anything special going on at Launceston now?” “Only the assizes, Sir”, said the landlord.

So Dr. Waugh went to the court where the Assizes were being held. There he saw the old fisherman in the dock accused on that night in August when they had both sat by the sea.Dr. Waugh at once said, “My Lord, I beg to be sworn”, and he went into the witness box and gave evidence that he was sitting with the fisherman all that evening at Plymouth.  He particularly remembered they were there until midnight as they had both though the church clock had struck thirteen.  He had made a note of the date in his diary.  And the old fisherman was acquitted

Alexander Waugh's Fathers and Sons

Alexander Waugh’s book, Fathers and Sons: The Autobiography of a Family follows the male relationships through five generations of Waughs - starting with the author's great great grandfather Alexander Waugh, known in the family because of his sadism as "The Brute." 

His son Arthur reacted against his childhood to wallow in sentiment, so smothering his eldest son Alec with love that he bred a ferocious resentment in Alec's brother Evelyn.  "I think these patterns will have been repeated in thousands and thousands of families," said Alexander.  "You've got a bully and sadist (the brute) who produces someone who does the absolute reverse – to spoil and indulge.” 

One of the things Alexander’s book tried to do was to redress the myth of Evelyn Waugh as a horrible father - a myth that his son Auberon did much to encourage in his autobiography Will This Do?  Notoriously, Bron claimed that Evelyn after the war had made all his children sit round and watch while he scoffed their banana rations with cream and sugar. 

However, when Bron was in hospital after a near-fatal machine-gun accident in Cyprus and his survival seemed uncertain, he lodged with his bank a letter to be sent to Evelyn in the event he should predecease him.  It began: "Dear Papa, just a line to tell you what for some reason I was never able to show you in my lifetime, that I admire, revere and love you more than any other man in the world." 

It was a dictum of Auberon Waugh that if enemies did not present themselves, it was important to go and seek some out.  And the Waughs were nothing if not good feuders. 

Evelyn persecuted throughout his fictional career his undergraduate history tutor CRMF Cruttwell, whom he accused of sodomizing dogs.  Bron laid about Jimmy Goldsmith, spent four decades persecuting Quentin Crewe who had reviewed his first novel unkindly, and attacked the Australian journalist John Pilger who "was so terrified of my father that he used to blanch at the sound of his name."

Edwin Waugh, Dialect Writer

Edwin Waugh might have passed his life in relative obscurity if his early years were anything to go by.  He was born in Rochdale in 1817 and apprenticed there as a printer.  He married in 1847, but this marriage was not a success.  He became addicted to snuff and alcohol and they had money problems.  His wife left him and he and Mary were to separate permanently in 1855. 

But 1855 was to be an important year for him in other ways.  He wrote and published his first book of prose, Sketches of Lancashire Life and Localities.  The next year he wrote what is possibly the most famous dialect poem in the world, Come Whom to thi Childer an' Me, for the Manchester Examiner and for which he was paid one guinea.  Thousands of copies were sold as penny broadsheets and this brought him instant fame.  In 1857 he wrote Poems and Lancashire Songs, which some have classed as his best dialect poems. 

As a writer he would spend much time at Fo' Edge Farm east of Edenfield.  The farm is now derelict.  But nearby there is Waugh's Well that was dedicated to him in 1866.  Some have maintained that his surname should be pronounced “Woff,” rather than the “Waw” of Evelyn Waugh.

The Waughs of Litchfield, Connecticut

The Waugh homestead in Litchfield has been in family hands from 1718 when John, the first of the Waughs, arrived.  Township records show Alexander Waugh marrying Elizabeth Throop in Litchfield in 1766.  Families of her name continued to live near what was known for 170 years as the Waugh farm. 

Alexander Waugh and Thomas, his elder brother, distinguished themselves in the Revolutionary War.  Thomas was said to have saved the life of General Marion. 

“Thomas saw a soldier taking aim at his General and said to himself: ‘A man as brave as Marion, who can live on potatoes and salt, is too good to be shot by a sneaking Redcoat.’  The aim was taken at General Marion.  But the musket of Thomas Waugh laid the Redcoat low.” 

For this act of bravery Thomas was at once promoted.  However, he was killed soon after. 

His hat survived and it appeared at an 1878 exhibition of Revolutionary War relics at Washington's Headquarters on the Hudson.  The hat was a Continental shape, turned up on one side, with a large rosette fastened where the side turned up.  The hat bore the name of Thomas Waugh and hung in a glass case with other souvenirs of the War.

Richard Waugh, Mayor of Winnipeg

Richard Waugh was the mayor who introduced playgrounds to Winnipeg. 

In 1907 as chair of the Parks Board, he had tried to convince the council to begin to develop American-style playgrounds.  "Small areas of land fitted with amusement paraphernalia.  Skilled instructors with the highest moral training," he argued.  City Council refused. 

A year later a model playground was set up at Central School funded by an $800 grant from the Manitoba branch of the Canadian Council of Women.  It proved a big success.  Seven playgrounds were set up in 1909 and, by 1920, 20 playgrounds were operating. 

Waugh was elected mayor of Winnipeg in 1912.  These were Winnipeg's glory days with civic growth and prosperity at an unparalleled rate.  Waugh proved a popular mayor.  He is remembered today through Waugh Road in Winnipeg. 

But he found that his stint as mayor became an intolerable burden on his private business life.  His partner Thompson Beattie who had run their business had perished on the Titanic.  Waugh had to return to private life to rescue his real estate and law business.

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