The Hannays of Rusko, Gatehouse

The Hannays of Rusko, Gatehouse

     The origins of this family are obscure, but they appear to be descended from John HANNAY in Skeog, near Whithorn in 1712 and was probably a descendant of the HANNAY settled in Broughton as early as 1520. He had a son, John in Skeog, of whom we know nothing. However, this second John`s son George was a Baillie and Burgess of Whithorn.

     George HANNAY was a wright and lived till early in the 19th century. He married Grizzel MARTIN 11 Dec 1741 in Whithorn. She died Sept. 22 1786 aged 73 yrs. They are both buried in the Whithorn Churchyard. The stone is inscribed as follows:

"This is the burying place of Baillie George HANNAY Burgess of Wythorn and Grizzel MARTIN, Spouse. Here also lies Robert HANNAY their son who died Dec 1757 age 8 months. Here also lies the above mentioned Grizzell MARTIN, who died 22 Sept 1786 aged 73."

They had issue:

  • Agnes HANNAY abt 1746 Rusco. m Alexander CONNING.
  • Jean HANNAY abt 1748 Rusco (no records)
  • John HANNAY abt 1752 Rusco. (a seafaring man)
  • Alexander HANNAY abt 1753 in Rusco.
  • Andrew HANNAY, abt 1755 Rusco, in 1789 he joined his younger brother Robert in Jamaica.
  • Robert HANNAY abt 1757 Rusco. died Dec 1757 age 8 months.
  • William HANNAY abt 1750 Rusco. died March 14 1753, age 3 years.
  • Robert HANNAY abt 1760 Rusco (of Rusco).

Alexander HANNAY son of George HANNAY and Grizzel MARTIN was apprenticed in 1765 to Anthony McGUFFOCK in Whithorn who bore witness to his faithfulness, capability, honesty and good character. Alexander emigrated to New York in 1774 in a ship with 300 people which took eighty days to do the voyage. He thought they were over crowded; but during the crossing they spoke to a vessel from Londonderry to Philadelphia with 590 aboard. He could not find work in New York and went to Norfolk, Virginia, where he obtained employment in building.

     Alexander seems to have left the States and went to Jamaica to join his younger brother Robert. His will made in the parish of St. Andrew, County of Surrey in 1794, left bequests to his father, to Agnes and Jean his sisters, to John and Andrew his brothers and the residue to "My dearly beloved brother Robert" his sole executor.

Robert HANNAY, of Rusco, son of George HANNAY and Grizzell MARTIN, born 1760, was bound apprentice to Alexander LILLIE in Whithorn in 1777. At some date after 1780 he emigrated to Jamaica where he is found later in the parish of Vere, County of Middlesex. Where he was joined by his elder brothers Alexander and Andrew. In 1796 Andrew returned home by the "Active" from Milk River to Lancaster. Robert must have returned in 1797, for in 1799 he bought Rusco from Johnstone HANNAY (no relation) of Kirkdale Rusco Farms, consisted of Upper and Neither Rusco, Oronockenoch, Callside, Killeon Mill, Pulcree, Halfmark and Woodhead. They are located in the Parish of Anworth, Kirkcudbrightshire.

     Robert married Janet KERR, daughter of John KERR of Stranrear on April 28, 1806. She was born 1779. Robert had made quite a fortune in his building business in Jamaica, and was now able to settle down to a quiet life.

His father left him Bruce Hall near Whithorn, which in a letter of Sept. 1812, he states he has no intention of selling. He certainly looked after the rest of his family. In 1836 he finally sold Bruce Hall to provide an annuity for the daughters of his sister Agnes (Mrs. CONNING). Robert died in 1836 and his wife in 1850.

They had issue:

See also Researcher's note #1

Robert KERR HANNAY, who succeeded to Rusco, was the son of Robert HANNAY and Janet KERR, born Feb 3 1807. He served as D.L. and J.P., and was an industrial magnate. (see also Researchers' note #2). He married Bridget SMITH, daughter of Thomas SMITH of London Jan 24 1834. Bridget was born March 5 1809. Robert KERR HANNAY died at Springfield, Ulverston Sept 30, 1874. Bridget died at Ulverston April 20 1879. They had issue:

Return to Descendants of Robert HANNAY and Janet KERR

Bridget Smith HANNAY, dau of Robert KERR HANNAY and Bridget SMITH, was born Aug 6 1839 and married Harry TAROUDIN of an old Hugennot family, who settled in England. He was a solicitor in London, and d 1873. Bridget died March 19 1895. They had issue:

  • Gabriel TAROUDIN b 1869 d 1878
  • Robert Hannay TAROUDIN b 1871
Return to Descendants of Robert KERR HANNAY and Bridget SMITH

Thomas HANNAY was born June 8 1841, son of Robert Kerr HANNAY and Bridget SMITH. Thomas succeeded to Rusco and was a J.P. He was an iron master at Ulverston in Lancashire, with his sons, and started his first blast furnaces at Barrow in Furness. There was some considerable trouble and legal wrangling over this firm and Thomas was forced to sell Rusco in 1878 to settle various debts. He married Nov 15 1886 to Elizabeth MacDOWELL, third daughter of the Rev. Peter MacDOWELL of Alloa. Thomas HANNAY died Nov 30 1916. They had issue:

  • Prof. Robert Kerr HANNAY Dec 31 1867 in Glasgow m Jane Ewing WILSON
  • Anne Morris HANNAY b Feb 10 1869 m Matthew LOAM
  • Peter MacDowell HANNAY b Mar 26 1870 m Margaret Witherspoon REED
  • Mary Bird HANNAY (M.D.) b Apr 8 1871, an eminent Doctor.
  • John MacDowell HANNAY b Nov 28 1872, m Viola WALKER (went to Calif. USA)
  • Thomas HANNAY b Dec 1 1873, m Frances Stuart KING. (Thomas went to East Africa as a missionary in 1913, and died there Feb 7 1914.) No children.
  • George Niven Kerr HANNAY b Mar 9 1876 d Sept 23 1880.
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John HANNAY, son of Robert Kerr HANNAY and Bridget Smith, was born May 17 1843 and attended Edinburgh Academy (1858-60), married for his first wife Mary Georgiana Sophia RODWELL, who died after the birth of their first son in 1882. The child did not survive. John married for his second wife Helen SLAVIN. John died Aug 16 1904, and was an iron merchant. They had issue:

  • Guy HANNAY b 1888
  • Gertrude HANNAY b 1899
  • Gladys HANNAY b 1902
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George KERR HANNAY was born July 19 1848, son of Robert Kerr HANNAY and Bridget SMITH. He attended Edinburgh Academy 1858-1863 and was an iron merchant in Ulverston. He married Harriet Alice PARK in Rampside, Furness Oct 15 1879 and died Aug 10 1893. They had issue:

  • Dorothy May HANNAY (Lady CUNNINGHAM) born 1881 at Ulverston. She married John Henry Dacres CUNNINGHAM. (Fwd)
  • Nivin Kerr HANNAY was born in 1880, immigrated to Canada in 1897, married in 1910 and had at least one son, Clayton Winston HANNAY who passed away July 14 1996.
  • Robert HANNAY was born in 1883 at Ulverston and married Miss DICK.
  • Harriet HANNAY who died young.
  • Kenneth HANNAY born in 1888 at Ulverston and died in 1943. He married Amy Florence and had issue: Colin HANNAY.
  • George KERR HANNAY was born 1891 and married Bessie THORSETT in 1891 and had issue: Kenneth John Kerr HANNAY born 1927 m Thelma LUEVY in 1949.
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Prof. Robert Kerr HANNAY, son of Thomas HANNAY and Elizabeth MacDOWELL was born in Glasgow Dec 31, 1867. He was a great Scottish Historian, and for the latter part of his life Historiographer Royal for Scotland in succession to Professor Rait. He was educated at Glasgow University, from whence he went to University College at Oxford. He was very much interested in family history, and was the author of several books. He married Jane Ewing WILSON Sept 19 1899, second daughter of Rev. John Stewart WILSON, D.D., New Abbet, Galloway and niece of Dr. John BROWN and descendant of the Rev. Ebenezer ERSKINE. Jane was educated Girthon College, Cambridge and London University. She was a J.P. and prominently known for her social work.

Prof. Robert KERR HANNAY died March 19 1940, Jane died Apr 14 1938. They had issue:

Return to Descendants of Thomas HANNAY and Elizabeth MacDOWELL

Peter MacDowell HANNAY, son of Thomas HANNAY and Elizabeth MacDOWELL, born March 26, 1870. Educated Edinburgh Academy 1887-8, married Margaret Witherspoon REED, daughter of Peter Reed of Glasgow, and emigrated to the U.S.A. and resided at La Jolla, California. Peter MacDowell HANNAY died in 1943. They had issue:

Return to Descendants of Thomas HANNAY and Elizabeth MacDOWELL

Commander Robert Stewart Erskine HANNAY was born Aug 16 1900, son of Prof. Robert KERR and Jane WILSON. Educated Edinburgh Academy 1911-1917. Entered the Royal Navy and was a midshipman on H.M.S. "Iron Duke" March 19, 1921, transferred to H.M.S. "Renown" in 1930 and retired in 1932. During WW II he was recalled to the Navy and was employed at the Boon Defense Department of the Admiralty. He received Companion of the Distinguished Service Cross O.B.E. in 1942 and was promoted Commander. Robert married Helen O`Hagen MORTON. Robert entered his Father in Law`s firm Ceinture Fabrics Ltd. where he was a director till his death March 25, 1956. They had issue:

  • Beatrice Margot HANNAY
  • Robert Alastair HANNAY
  • Ian Morton HANNAY
  • Margaret Jeans HANNAY
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Dorothy May HANNAY was born in 1881 at Ulverston, dau of George Kerr HANNAY and Harriet Alice PARK. She married her first cousin John Henry Dacres CUNNINGHAM, KCB, GCB, who was born at Demerara, British Guiana on Apr 13, 1885.

At the tender age of 15 John passed into the H.M.S. Britannia as naval cadet. After initial training there he served as a midshipman for three years from June 1901 in the cruiser Gibralter, flagship on the Cape of Good Hope Station and for this service he was awarded the South African War Medal. In Oct 1905 he was promoted to Lieutenant. He served as assistant navigator in Illustrious as well as the gunboat Hebe, and the cruiser Indefatigable in the West Indies, the minelayer Iphigenia in home waters. In 1920 when the new battle-cruiser Hood was commissioned, CUNNINGHAM was appointed to her as navigator and as a squadron navigator of the battle-cruiser squadron. In 1923 he was appointed Master of the Fleet in the Queen Elizabeth, flagship of the Admiral Sir John de Robeck. John was then promoted Captain in 1924. In 1962 he was living at 52 Westminster Gardens, Marsham Street, Westminster and died at Middlesex Hospital, St Marylebone, London on December 13, 1962. Dorothy May (HANNAY) CUNNINGHAM died at Carylls, Faygate, Horsham, Sussex Sep 1 1959. They had issue:

  • John Kenneth Hutt CUNNINGHAM b 1911 at Erpingham. He became a Fire Brigade Chief.
  • Richard Louis CUNNINGHAM, Lieutenant RN, killed in submarine P33 on Aug 20, 1941.
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Patrick MacDowell HANNAY s/o Peter McDowell HANNAY and Margaret Witherspoon REED, married Elizabeth MOORE. Patrick is a designer for the North America Aircraft Corporation and was responsible for the design of the Saber Jet Fighter.

Return to Descendants of Peter McDowell HANNAY and Margaret Witherspoon REED


  1. It is recorded that a few members of a Scottish HANNAY family moved to Ulverston and Pennington in the 1840`s.

  2. Before Robert KERR HANNAY came to settle in Ulverston he was a J.P. and D.L. of the Stewarty of Kirkcudbrightshire, a Captain in the Galway Militia, and a Commissioner of Income Tax. This shows that he was not altogether indebted to Iron Ore and Pig Iron for the social position in Furness, for his ancestry was a very long one. In Furness he joined in partnership with Mr. Schneider in 1853 and it ended in 1866. The first furnace they erected in Barrow was opened in 1859. The firm Schneider, HANNAY & Co. became amalgamated with the Barrow Hematite Co. in 1866.

    It is recorded that during Mr. HANNAY`s residence in Ulverston he was beloved by every one who knew him. Many poor home has been cheered by the unostentatious charity of Robert HANNAY. Robert HANNAY was an Alderman on the first Town Council of Barrow and at one time he had 85,000 pounds worth of shares in the Barrow Hematite Co.. Many, very many, have been assisted, not knowing the source from whence the assistance came.

    Mr. HANNAY took a keen interest in all local affairs. He was a member of the Ulverston Local Board from its foundation until his death. He was elected member of the Board of Guardians until he was made a County Magistrate, which rendered his future election unnecessary. There was no public institute, social or religious, which had not his support.

    He retired from business with a princely fortune and he was said to have invested largely in the Iron Trade for his two elder sons.

    Bad times set in and his generosity was imposed upon until the crash came, when his investment in Scotland Furnaces went bankrupt. One of his friends wrote that when it became known that he was a ruined man, he had the sympathy of the whole town, rich and poor alike, the pang of many being that they were powerless to assist him.

    This calamity hastened his end. No one knew what he suffered; they could only judge by the anxious and haggard face and the gradually wasting form. Everyone in Ulverston felt they had lost a near and dear friend, when they were told in September 1874 that Robert HANNAY was dead.

    He was a man of sterling moral worth. As a County Magistrate, and in all the relations of his useful and amiable life, as one on every account held in the highest respect, Mr HANNAY had a place in public esteem amongst the gentry of Furness, and by all who knew him, unsurpassed by any of his contemporaries. In Ulverston he lived at Springfield, a Mansion above the Station which later became a Hotel and is now the center of a small estate occupied by flats and houses for some of the better off in the town.

Return to Various Recorded Early Hannay Families