James Easton and Agnes Thomson

The Easton family history effectively starts with James Easton and his birth family. James’ father was George Easton, and his mother was Agnes Bowie. James was probably born before 1774, assuming he was at least 16 years of age for the first recorded event in his life which was the birth of his first child. James married Agnes Thomson sometime before 1790 when their first child was born. It was from those birth registrations that the names of James’ parents was derived. Nothing more is known of his father George Easton other than that he is recorded as a Portioner for those events. A portioner, according to various definitions, is:

  • The proprietor of a small portion of a larger piece of land;1
  • Owner of land, previously divided amongst co-heirs;2
  • Portioner is not an occupation, but an old Scots legal term for one who possesses part of a property (usually land) which had originally been divided amongst a number of co-heirs. Therefore it strongly suggests a degree of kinship with other portioners.3

James and Agnes’ children were recorded as follows:

  • George Easton, born on 21 March 1790 in Lilliesleaf, Roxburgh, Scotland.
  • Isobel Easton, born on 27 December 1792 in Lilliesleaf, Roxburgh, Scotland.
  • James Easton was born on 27 May 1794 in Lilliesleaf, Roxburgh, Scotland.
  • Agnes Easton was born on 10 February 1796 in Lilliesleaf, Roxburgh, Scotland.
  • Maney Easton was born on 10 February 1796 in Lilliesleaf, Roxburgh, Scotland.
  • Thomas Easton was born on 6 November 1799 in Lilliesleaf, Roxburgh, Scotland.4

It would appear that all the births were registered on the same day:

GROS Baptism Registrations
GROS Baptism Registrations
General Records Office of Scotland

All the events for the Easton family occurred in the area of Lilliesleaf, an area in Roxburghshire which in turn is part of the area called the Scottish Borders:

Lilliesleaf Parish is situated in the north east of the County of Roxburgh being bounded on the north by the Parish of Bowden, on the east by the Parish of Ancrum, on the south by the Parishes of Minto and Wilton and on the west by the Parishes of Ashkirk and Selkirk. Lilliesleaf, along with Ancrum, Crailing and Eckford, is now part of the Ale & Teviot United parish.5

The following map shows the location of Lilliesleaf in relation to Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland.

Lilliesleaf in Roxburghshire, Scotland
Google Maps

Agnes, the daughter of James and Agnes Easton, has proven difficult to trace, as there are two marriages of an Agnes Easton in Lilliesleaf in the time range that suits. The first is for Agnes Easton who married Robert Laurie on the 10 July 1818 at Lilliesleaf, Roxburgh, Scotland. Robert and his wife Agnes, also known as Nancy, Easton, had six children that have been traced, although the names of those children do not fit with the established names for this family (and they don't follow the traditional Scottish naming pattern).6 Another Agnes Easton married James Dryden on the 5 January 1821 at Lilliesleaf, Roxburgh, Scotland.7 No baptisms have been traced from that event, but the family does appear on the 1841 census and the children's name are Agnes, Ann, James, Isabella, Thomas, Gilbet and Herriot. Those names do match the names used in the Easton family, and to some extent follow the traditional Scottish naming pattern.

James and Agnes' daughter Isobel Easton married Peter Oliver. A proclamation of marriage Isobel Easton and Peter Oliver was issued on 22 December 1818 in Lilliesleaf, Roxburgh, Scotland.8 A second marriage proclamation was also issued for Isobel (this time as Isabella) and Peter for the location of Cavers, Roxburghshire, Scotland on 7 February 1819.9 Isobel and Peter would have three children in Scotland. The is a page devoted to Isobel Easton and Peter Oliver.

James and Agnes' son James Easton married Harriet Rutherford on 10 March 1823 in Lilliesleaf, Roxburghshire, Scotland.10 James Easton's marriage is also listed as occurring on the 16 March 1823 at Ancrum, Roxburgh, Scotland.11 James and Harriett would have five children that have been traced. There is a page devoted to James Easton and Harriett Rutherford.

It is believed that Maney Easton may have married a George Rutherford sometime around 1824, although no marriage registration has been found. The name Maney appears to be unique to this branch of the Easton family, and a George Rutherford and his wife Maney Easton are known to have had five children in Minto, Roxburgh, Scotland.12 There is a page devoted to Maney Easton and George Rutherford.

Thomas Easton married Mary Waldie on the 3 November 1826 at Lilliesleaf, Roxburgh, Scotland.13 Thomas and Mary would have seven children that have been traced. There is a page devoted to Thomas Easton and Mary Waldie. The fate of James Easton and Agnes Thomson remains unknown at this time. The fate of their children is told in their separate sections. James Easton and Agnes Thomson now have hundreds of descendants throughout the USA, Australia and New Zealand. It is purely conjecture, but it may have been the conviction of their son in-law Peter Oliver for sheep stealing that started the various waves of migrations undertaken by their descendants.

  • Their daughter Isobel Easton emigrated to Van Diemen’s Land (VDL) in 1830 to join her husband Peter Oliver.
  • Their son Thomas Easton emigrated to VDL in 1855 with his family of seven children.
  • Their grand-daughter by James Easton, Agnes Easton, emigrated with her uncle Thomas.
  • Their grand-daughter by Maney Rutherford (nee Easton), Helen Rutherford, emigrated to the USA in 1872.
  • Their grand-daughters by Maney Rutherford (nee Easton), Isabella Rutherford and Agnes Rutherford, emigrated to the Tasmania in 1856.
  • Their great-grand-sons by Maney Easton, John Burns and James Easton Burns, emigrated to Tasmania in the 1870s.
  • Their great-grand son James Kerr Easton, son of James Easton and Isabella Kerr, emigrated to Tasmania in the 1890s, and then to New Zealand.
Easton Family Overview
Easton Family Overview
Image Provided by John Horton