“Virtutis Gloria Merces”

William Robertson of Kindace, Gentleman (c1620-1709) came from Scotland to Williamsburg, Virginia before 1705, when he was named as one of the directors of the settlement. He was descended from the Robertsons of Struan, chiefs of the Robertsons (called Clan Donnachaidh, or “Children of Duncan”).

One branch of William Roberston’s descendants migrated west through the counties of Henrico, Cumberland, Franklin and Bedford.

James Roberson (c1785-1835) lived briefly at the Watauga Settlement in Tennessee before 1805, then settled at Cumberland Gap in Lee County before 1820. He owned land on both sides of the Powell River, and operated an inn there. James died in 1835. His widow and children left Virginia. According to tradition, they went first to Georgia, then to Oklahoma. However, I find no record of them until they reached the Platte Purchase in northwestern Missouri in 1839.

During the Civil War, public opinion in Missouri was violently split between the Union and the Confederacy. Northwestern Missouri saw much guerrilla activity on behalf of the Confederacy. James’ son Rufus Morgan Roberson was a slave owner and Confederate sympathizer, yet after the Civil War (1868) his daughter Rachel Jane Roberson married Union veteran William John Horne. Their descendants went west to Nebraska, Oregon and Washington.

Were They Cherokees?

The Robersons are said to have been a Cherokee family, If so, the connection must have been in the period immediately before the Civil War. James Roberson’s parents Thomas and Naomi (Wade) Robertson were not Cherokee, nor was his wife Catherine Helvey (although she had been mistress of Cherokee trader Nathaniel Barron prior to their marriage), although, like the Cherokee they were Confederate sympathizers. Tradition says that James’ widow and children came west on the Trail of Tears in 1838, but again, I find no record of them between 1835 and 1839. The Cherokee connection was apparently through Rufus Roberson’s wife Elizabeth Lomax, whose mother seems to have been Cherokee. The Trail of Tears tradition must belong to the Lomax family, not to the Robersons.

Were They Pawnees?

My genealogy correspondents seem to be aware that William Horne’s wife was Indian, but none of them have had any further information except to attribute his nomadic life and extreme poverty to her influence. According to the tradition current my branch of the family, Rachel Roberson (1847-1944) was Pawnee, the adopted daughter of Rufus and Elizabeth (Lomax) Roberson. She is said to have had a brother Thomas Roberson, as well as a sister who married a Lakota man. That marriage is said to have been the origin of the connection between our family and the Lakota tribe. I have found nothing to support this tradition, and nothing to contradict it. Rufus Roberson lived only a few miles from Pawnee territory and from the Nemeha Half-Breed Tract across the Missouri River. He and his wife were childless, except perhaps for Rachel. Moreover, the census records seem to show that she was not their daughter. I have found no evidence of the brother or sister she is said to have had, except a magazine clipping of a picture of a Lakota boy in traditional dress on which my father wrote, “This is the grandson of Rachel Horn’s sister.” I am inclined to accept the Pawnee tradition, but doubt that it will ever be confirmed.

Coat of Arms

Robertson of Struan: Gules three wolves’ heads erased Argent armed and langued Azure. Crest: A dexter arm and had erect holding a regal crown all proper. Supporters: Dexter, a serpent; Sinister, a dove, the heads of each encircled with rays. Compartment: A wild man chained. Motto: Virtutis Gloria Merces. Slogan: Garg’n uair dhuisgear. Badges: Dluth Fhraoch (Fine-leaved Heath), An Raineach mhor (Bracken).

Robertson of Kindace Tartan
Robertson of Kindace Tartan

Lineal Genealogy

1. Duncan, Earl of Strathclyde (c920-?).

2. Duncan, Mórmaer of Atholl (c949-?).

3. Crínán, Lord of the Isles (c980-1045). He married Bethoc of Scotland (c984-?), daughter of Malcolm II, King of Scots, and Ælfgifu.

4. Duncan, King of Scots (c1005-1040). He married Sibyl of Nothumberland (c1014-1040), daughter of Björn Ulsiusson, Earl of Mercia.

5. Maelmuir, Mórmaer of Atholl (c1035-?).

6. Madadh, Earl of Atholl (c1085-bef 1152).

7. Malcolm, Earl of Atholl (c1126-1189/98).

8. Henry, Earl of Atholl (c1175-bef 1211).

9. Conan de Atholl of Glenerochy.

10. Ewen FitzConan de Atholl of Glenerochy. He married Mary de Tullibardyne, daughter of Convalt, Lord of Tullibardyne.

11. Angus de Atholl of Glenerochy.

12. Andrew de Atholl of Glenerochy.

13. Duncan de Atholl of Glenerochy.

14. Robert de Atholl of Glenerochy.

15. Duncan de Atholl of Ranagh.

16. Robert de Atholl of Struan (c1485-?), 8th Laird of Glenerochie, and 1st feudal Baron of Struan. He married Margaret Stewart (c1487-?), daughter of John, Earl of Atholl, and Eleanor Sinclair. [re-check this]

17. Alexander Robertson of Struan (c1480-c1506), 9th Laird of Struan (formerly Glenerochie), and 2nd feudal Baron of Struan. He married Isobel Stewart (c1483-?), daughter of John, Earl of Atholl, and Eleanor Sinclair. [re-check this]

18. John Robertson of Muirton (c1500-c1540), 1st Laird of Muirton. He married Margaret Crichton (c1498-bef 1546), daughter of Sir James Crichton of Crichton, and Katherine Borthwick.

19. Gilbert Robertson of Muirton (c1520-aft 1570), 2nd Laird of Muirton. He married Jonet Reid (c1515-?), sister of Robert Reid, Bishop of Orkney.

20. David Robertson of Muirton (c1540-aft 1600), 3rd Laird of Muirton.

21. William Robertson of Muirton (c1560-1599), 4th Laird of Muirton. He married Isobel Petrie (c1565-?).

22. Thomas Robertson (c1592-1686), a merchant and Baillie of Edinburgh. He married Jean Jeffrey (c1598-?).

23. Rev. William Robertson (c1622-?). He married Katherine Kirkwood (c1650-aft 1700).

24. Thomas Robinson (c1658-1692), a planter in Henrico County, Virginia. He married Elizabeth (c1666-1691).

25. John Robertson (c1688-1768), a planter in Cumberland County, Virginia. He married Tabitha Jones (c1690-bef 1767), daughter of Edward and Mary (Field) Jones.

26. Thomas Robertson (1719-1798), a planter in Franklin County, Virginia. He married Jane Magdalen LeGrand (1719-1798), daughter of John and Catherine (Fleming) LeGrand.

27. Thomas Robertson (1735-1807), a planter in Franklin County, Virginia.


28. James Robertson (c1775-?). He married Catherine (c1780-?). Perhaps identical with James Roberson (c1775-1835), a farmer in Lee County, Virginia. He married Catharina Helvey (1781-1851), daughter of Henry and Susanna (Gale) Helvey.

29. Rufus Morgan Roberson (c1811-1897), a farmer in Holt County, Missouri. He married Elizabeth A. Lomax (1814-1895), daughter of Asahel and Betty Jane (?) Lomax.

30. Rachel Jane Roberson (1847-1944). She married William Steven Horne (c1832-1896).

More Information

2 thoughts on “Robertson”

  1. Justin,
    I descend from Patrick Henry’s parents and grandparents, notably Alexander Henry and Jean Robertson, said to have been descended from the Robertsons of Muirton and Struan. I have seen numerous genealogies, but little to no documentation. I suspect some of it is correct, as most are very similar, but often the dates don’t add up and there is no documentation where the information comes from. I have seen a line in Burke’s and “Americans of Royal Descent”, but again, no documentation. Wondered if you had come across any documentation of the line presented in your Robertson descent from Robert de Atholl of Struan through Rev. William Robertson (c. 1622)? or any connection to Patrick Henry’s family. (I note you have Robert de Atholl being younger than his son Alexander.) Thanks for any insight

  2. Don’t know if you are still using this site, but believe your jean Robertson might be in the family of John Robertson c1642. This John had a son named Thomas & a daughter, I believe was your Jean Henry.
    Believe this the same family as my Robertson’s. But, can’t connect. I believe that my lineage is in the Rev. William Robertson #23. But not through Thomas ( #24 ) that is listed in Justin’s post, but another son of Rev William Robertson????

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