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The Grafton Press
THIS WORK IS
Bebtcateo to tfje Jflemorp of
ELLEN ELIZABETH STERLING
Daughter of Alfred Wolcott and Elizabeth ( Jewett )
Mack; born in Brooklyn, Pennsylvania
September 6, 1835; died in Gaines
New York, March 24, 1904
Origin and Antiquity of the Name 11
How the Name has been Spelled 15
Arms of the Family 17
The Stirlings of Scotland. The Ancient Stirlings of Cadder,
Sheriffs of Stirling. The House of Stirling of Keir, Dun-
blane, Perthshire 23
The Cadder Line 30
The Keir Line 35
The Stirlings of Craigbarnet and Glorat, Milton of Campsie,
The Stirlings of Glorat 99
The Stirlings of Ardoch, Parish of Muthill, County of Perth 118
The Stirlings of Garden, Parish of Kippen, County of Stirling . 125
The Stirlings of Kippendavie and Kippenross, Dunblane,
The Stirlings of Ballagan, Parish of Strathblane, County of
The Stirlings of Law, Portnellan and Edenbarnet, Parish of
Old Kilpatrick, County of Dumbarton 1-17
The Stirlings of Drumpellier, Lettyr, Balquharage and
The Stirlings of Faskine 168
The Stirlings of Mansfield, County of Ayr, and of Larbert,
County of Stirling 173
Stirlings, Barons of Auchyll, Stirlings of Herbertshire,
Parish of Port, Stewarty of Menteith, County of Perth . 176
The Stirlings of Ester Braiky, Parish of Kinnell, County of
The Stirlings of Glenesk, County of Forfar 182
The Stirlings of Tullyduffy or Tulyduvy, County of Forfar . 184
Stirling of Fairburn, Ross-Shire 185
Some Miscellaneous Scotch Records 187
The Sterlings of Ireland 193
The Sterlings of England 196
The Geographical Use of the Name 210
Chronological Index of Emigrations to America 212
William Sterling of Hungar's Parish, Northampton County,
William Sterling of Haverhill, Mass., and of Lyme, Conn., and
his Descendants 241
Arms of Stirling of Cadder Frontispiece
Albert M. Sterling facing 10
Stirling Castle from Raploch facing 12
Stirling; Castle and the Field of Bannockburn from the Cemetery facing 16
Distant View of Stirling Castle and the City of Stirling . . . facing 20
Bridge over the Forth, Stirling, on the Road to Keir 23
Cadder House facing 30
Dunblane Cathedral before Restoration and the River Allan,
Burial Place of the Early Stirlings for Several Centuries . facing 32
Dunblane Cathedral from the Northeast, before Restoration . facing 36
Dunblane Cathedral from the Southwest, after Restoration. . facing 40
Choir and Nave, Dunblane Cathedral, after Restoration . . . facing 46
Tower of Cambuskenneth Abbey and Tomb of King James III facing 48
House where King James III was assassinated, Whins of Milton facing 50
Keir House, Home of Captain Archibald Stirling facing 56
View from the Terrace, Keir House facing 62
The Library, Keir House facing 70
Lecropt Church, Keir Estate, Present Burial Place of the Stir-
lings of Keir facing 80
The Churchyard, Clachan of Campsie facing 88
Dumbarton Rock and Castle facing 92
Craigbarnet House, the Home of George H. Miller-Stirling . . feeing 94
The Offices, Craigbarnet, erected in 178.5 facing 96
Arms of Stirling of Craigbarnet 98
Glorat House, Home of Sir Charles E. F. Stirling, Bart .... facing 100
Old Glorat Seals 101
Courtyard, New Mill Farm, Glorat Estate facing 108
Bencloich Farm, Glorat Estate facing 112
Glorat House, East Front 116
Arms of Stirling of Glorat 117
Garden House, Home of James Stirling facing 124
Kippendavie Lodge 129
Kippenross House, Home of John A. Stirling facing 130
Tablet to Members of the Kippendavie Family in Dunblane
The Village of Kippen facing 136
Cambusbarron, Stirling Castle in the Distance facing 140
Arms of Colquhoun-Stirling of Law 152
Muiravonside House from the Front facing 158
Muiravonside House, Home of John Stirling facing 166
Raploch facing 174
Fairburn House, Home of Major William Stirling facing 184
Gargunnock facing 188
The Hamlet of Eastville, County-seat of Northampton Co., Va. facing 228
View of Lyme, Conn., from Candle wood Ledge facing 255
Tombstone of William Sterling facing 260
View of the Older Portion of the Sterling City Cemetery 263
The Sterling City Cemetery facing 264
The Millpond at Sterling City 269
The Captain Daniel Sterling House facing 270
View West from near the Captain Daniel Sterling House,
Sterling City 272, 273
The Captain Daniel Sterling House from the Site of the Old
The Captain Daniel Sterling House from the South facing 276
Tombstone of Captain Daniel Sterling 285
Tombstone of Jacob Sterling 293
The John Sterling House from the Rear, built about 1740 . . facing 302
Foundations of the Old Mill, Sterling City 305
The Captain Samuel Sterling House from the Front 327
The Captain Samuel Sterling House from the Rear 329
Home of Captain William Sterling, from the Front 338
The William Sill House 339
The Captain William Sterling House from the Re?r 341
Tombstone of Captain William Sterling facing 342
Tne Sylvanus Sterling House 348
The Captain Abijah Sterling House 351
James Sterling 378
Mrs. Ruth' (Sterling) Atwell 380
General Elisha Sterling (from a miniature) facing 394
Judge Ansel Sterling facing 400
Adaline Wheelock Sterling 431
Alphonso Sterling 454
Judge Lord Sterling facing 468
Oliver Lord Sterling 479
David Sterlin 484
William Sterlin 485
Captain John W. Sterling facing 534
John W. Sterling, LL.D facing 554
Gtfje Sterling #enealosp
IT has been the effort of the Compiler of this work to make it a
general history of the family as well as a genealogical record
of certain of its branches. In so doing he has sought infor-
mation from every source, has consulted many hundred reference
works in the great libraries of the country, has traveled through-
out the Eastern States from Maine to Virginia, searched original
records in obscure places, employed professional assistance where
necessary and has aimed to leave no fragment of information re-
specting the early generations of the Sterling family in America
Besides following the descent of its most clearly defined and
eminent lines he has endeavored to show the distribution of the
family over the Earth, with particular reference to America, and
has displayed all the evidence which tends to corroborate the be-
lief that nearly all if not all those who properly bear the name
Stirling, Sterling, or Starling to-day are descended from one
stock. He is impelled to this conclusion through lack of evidence
to the contrary and from the fact that in every instance where the
effort has been made to trace the various existing lines to their
source sufficient foundation has been established to warrant the as-
sumption that there was but one point of origin.
Of the half-hundred coats-of-arms granted the Stirling-Ster-
ling-Starling family the majority, thirty-nine in fact, bear the
emblem of Stirling of Cadder, the three buckles upon the shield.
It does not follow that the remainder, whose arms do not present
the buckles, were of distinct origin.
While among the very earliest generations there appears to
have been a probable dual source, or possibly a third, the evidence
goes to demonstrate that but one line was perpetuated.
The place of origin of this family was at or in the immediate
vicinity of Stirling, in Stirlingshire, Scotland, and the time — the
2 THE STERLING GENEALOGY
beginning of the twelfth century. At this date family names were
first coming into use among the Scots. Prior to this, they were
little known, men being designated as of their estates or as of the
towns in which they lived, as the sons of their fathers or members of
their respective clans. It will be seen that the Stirling race and
its descendants derive their name from the fact that the founder
was of Stirling. Many Scotch family names are compounds of a
christian name with the prefix Mac (meaning son of) or the affix,
son, as: MacDonald, son of Donald, MacGregor, son of Gregor,
MacPherson, son of Pherson, etc., and Donaldson, son of Donald,
Davidson, Johnson, et cetera.
More significance is often attached to the varying use of the
i, e, and a in the spelling of the name, whether Stirling, Sterling,
or Starling, than is justified. The use of these different vowels
has no bearing on any theory of an individual origin for each of
these forms. In Scotland, the name has been spelled in every con-
ceivable way during the eight hundred years of its history ; at
present, however, and for one hundred and fifty years or so, the use
of the i has been universal and where found outside of Scotland
usually indicates a close relationship with the family in that
The e has been used by the Irish family throughout its exist-
ence, since the Scotch Covenanters first crossed over into Northern
Ireland, during the first half of the seventeenth century. It is
also the prevailing form adopted throughout America by the de-
scendants of the many emigrations from England and Ireland to
this country since 1635.
The a was in universal use in the American colonies down to the
beginning of the nineteenth century, when it was gradually super-
seded by the e.
Two branches in the United States still retain this earlier form.
In England the a has excluded the other forms altogether, save
where the bearer of the name has been closely related to the Scotch
or Irish families. It has been claimed that Starling has an entirely
distinct derivation than Stirling or Sterling, taking its origin
from the bird of that name, but this is doubtful. Where coats-of-
arms have been granted members of the Starling family in Eng-
land, the shield has borne the emblem of the Scotch family, — the
It will be shown that most of the family, at an early date, used
this spelling, or a contraction, without the final g and it is sur-
mised that it was so because of the broad Scotch pronunciation of
In considering the origin of the family, it is found that the
authorities who have made a study . the subject have not reached
a common verdict as to the first known to bear the name. William
Fraser, in The Stirlings of Keir and Their Family Papers, issued
in 1858, differs from other historians in claiming, on seemingly
indisputable authority, that Walter de Striuelyng was the pro-
genitor of the early Stirlings, while William Playfair, in British
Family Antiquity, London, 1811, John Riddell, in The Stirlings
of Drumpellier, Edinburgh, 1860, and Joseph Bain, in his work,
The Stirlings of Craigbarnet and Glorat, issued for Sir Charles
E. F. Stirling, Bart., in 1883, all demonstrate, on equally good
evidence, that Toraldus, Vicecomes de Stirling, was the founder
of the family.
There has been no effort in this work to undertake the probably
impossible task of harmonizing these conflicting opinions or of
establishing which of the two is the more entitled to be admitted.
Both are given as they appear in the works above mentioned, from
which all our knowledge of the Scotch family is derived. It will be
found, however, that these authorities arrive at a common ground
in the third generation, as is shown in the following table:
Walter de Striuelyng. 1. Toraldus, Vicecomes.
Peter de Striuelyng. 2. Willl\m "filius Thoraldi."
Sir Alexander de Striuelyng. 3. Alexander.
John de Striuelyng. 4. Sir John de Strivelyn.
and so following.
From the third generation these diverse authorities proceed
with practically no disagreement save over the representation of
this ancient stock, commonly denominated the " Ancient Stirlings
of Cadder," premier house of Stirling. This honor has been
4 THE STERLING GENEALOGY
claimed for the present houses of Keir, Glorat, and Drumpellier,
and the individual claims have been vigorously championed in the
three histories of these lines, which were written primarily with the
object of demonstrating the right of the heads of these houses to
the representation they claim. With this dispute, which has ex-
isted for a century, this work has nothing to do.
An immediate descent from the house of Stirling of Keir and
through them, from the Stirlings of Cadder, was claimed for
William Sterling, of Haverhill, Massachusetts, and Lyme, Connect-
icut, with whom and with whose descendants this work is mainly
concerned, William's descendants representing the largest body
of the name in America.
This avowed connection was said to have been established by
Dr. Alexander F. Sterling of New York City, who devoted con-
siderable time to looking up the family's history and who traveled
extensively throughout Scotland and England during the 70's.
Taking as a basis the line of descent given in The Stirlings of
Keir, he supplied a connecting link through English residence
with William Sterling of Haverhill.
Copies of this document, called " Copy of the Register of the
Stirlings of Keir, on file in the National Library at Glasgow,
Scotland; also on file in the Public Library at Boston, Mass.,
and the Astor Library, New York," have been quite generally
circulated among some of William's descendants and it has seem-
ingly been accepted as being authoritative and as demonstrating
the right of adoption of the Keir coat-of-arms by these descend-
ants. This "Register" is given herewith:
Walter de Streverlying born 1130.
Had three sons,
Alexander de Streverlying born 1160.
Peter de Streverlying born 1165.
John de Streverlying born 1166.
Sir Alexander de Streverlying
Had eight sons; the eldest
Sir William de Stryvelyne, Knight,
Had three sons; the eldest,
Lukas, was the first heir of Keir, born 1215.
LUKAS DE STRYVELYNE
Had six sons. Four were knighted.
His eldest son
William. He was heir of Keir,
He took the name of
Sir William Stirling, heir of Keir.
Had five sons,
One of these, John, was a Baron.
His eldest son,
Sir Archibald Stirling, heir of Keir,
Had six sons; the eldest,
He was not knighted.
Had eight sons. The eldest,
Sir John Stirling, knight and heir of Keir,
Had three sons. The eldest,
Sir Archibald Stirling
Had seven sons. The eldest,
Was heir of Keir but was not knighted.
His eldest son,
John Stirling, Sir William's son and heir,
He was not knighted.
James Stirling, John Stirling's eldest son,
James became a baron in
Had ten sons. The eldest,
William Stirling. Became heir of Keir but
was not knighted. Had three sons; the
6 THE STERLING GENEALOGY
Had five sons. The eldest,
George, born 1593.
The second son was James born 1599.
He left Keir and went to Hertfordshire, England. He changed his name
to Sterling. (Note: "James claimed that he made the change in his name
because he was an Englishman and desired his name to be the same as the
purest silver of his country, namely, Sterling Silver.")
Had three sons. The eldest,
John, born 1620.
John was knighted and came to New Eng-
land in 1652.
James Sterling's second son was
David, born 1622,
in Hertfordshire, England.
Came to New England and settled at Charles-
town, Mass. He had several sons, one of
William, born 1632.
Was born in Charlestown, Mass., removed to
Haverhill, Mass., in 1677, and eventually to
Lyme, Conn., in 1703. And so on.
This document, of which the Compiler has seen a number of
copies, is sadly inaccurate. There is scarcely a statement
in it which is in harmony with the undoubted historical truths
clearly defined in " The Stirlings of Keir " and the other author-
ities mentioned, and it would be entirely unworthy of even
passing mention had it not been so generally distributed and
accepted as authentic.
First: It may be stated that while the Astor Library of New
York contains a copy of " The Stirlings of Keir," presented to it by
William Stirling of Keir, afterward Sir William Stirling-Maxwell,
Bart., of Keir and Pollok, in 1858, the Compiler has found no copy
of the book in the Boston Public Library and, so far as he knows,
that in the Astor is the only one in America. The Boston Library
does possess a copy of The Stirlings of Drumpellier, by John
Riddell and in the Baltimore Public Library is a copy of The
Stirlings of Craigbarnet and Glorat, by Joseph Bain. A copy of
this latter work is owned by David Stirling Forbes, of
Second : It will be observed by comparing this " Register ' !
with the descent of the Keir house as clearly shown in Mr. Fraser's
work, that there is scarcely one statement which harmonizes with
the facts. The line of descent down to 1630, from Walter, is
through: Peter, Alexander, John, Sir William, John, William,
Lucas, Sir William, Sir William, Sir John, Sir James, and Sir
Archibald, who died May 17, 1630. It is difficult to determine who
the John Stirling of Keir, born 1561, father of the James Sterling,
who is stated to have settled in Hertfordshire, England, could have
been. There were Sterlings in Hertfordshire at the time this
indeterminate James is stated to have gone there. They had been
there, too, for over sixty years at least, before James is stated to
have been born.
These Hertfordshire Stirlings appear to have been of Scotch
origin and closely related to the Keir family, as their coat-of-arms
is identical with that of the Stirlings of Bankell, an estate belong-
ing to Stirling of Keir and given a younger son in 1614. (In 1755
Alexander Stirling, afterward fourth Baronet of Glorat, was mayor
of St. Albans, Hertfordshire.)
John and David Sterling did come to America, sailing from
Gravesend, the Port of London, November 8, 1651, and arriving at
Charlestown, Massachusetts, May 12, 1652. They were Scotch
prisoners of war, sent thither by Cromwell. There has been found,
after careful and exhaustive research, no other mention of John
and David in America than the record of their landing at Charles-
town. The " Register " further states that David Sterling, born,
by its own declaration, in 1622, was the father of William Sterling
of Haverhill, born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, in 1632, when
David had, according to its own authority, reached the mature
age of ten years.
In dismissing the assertions of this " Register " it may safely
be said that its claims, as stated, are entirely without foundation
and utterly impossible and there is no shadow of proof yet dis-
8 THE STERLING GENEALOGY
covered upon which a connection can be made for William Sterling
with the House of Keir.
The Compiler fully believes that William of Haverhill and Lyme
was a descendant of the early Scotch family of Stirling or Strivel-
ing, but in what way may possibly never be determined. His par-
ents were probably obscure people, the product of one or several
generations resident in England not far from London, in the
vicinity of which there were at that time a number of colonies
of Sterlings or Starlings.
A family of similar name, but assumedly of distinct origin,
was the Danish Sturling, some of whose members were among
the earliest settlers of Iceland.
There are many Sterlings in America, and presumably else-
where, who are not properly of the name. Some are the descend-
ants of Holland Dutch emigrants whose names have been cor-
rupted from their original form to that of Sterling. The first
of these Dutch settlers, whose progeny, now bearing the name
" Sterling," are scattered throughout the United States, was
Nicholas Ster, born in the Province of Guelderland, Holland, in
1663, who came to America in 1696 and settled eventually in the
Mohawk Valley, State of New York, where many of his descend-
ants of the names of Sterling, Staring, and Starin yet live. His
grandson, Judge Heinrich Staring, an officer of the Revolution,
has a large number of descendants throughout New York State
and the West, all of whom are of the name of Sterling.
There are many Sterlings in Eastern Pennsylvania, probable
descendants of Hans George (Esterle and Christoff (Esterlin, and
possibly others, who arrived in Pennsylvania, September 30, 1743,
on board the ship Robert and Alice, Hartley Cussack, commander,
from Rotterdam, last from Cowes. 1 Many of the Pennsylvania-
Dutch Sterlings were soldiers in the Rebellion.
Descendants of the Hollanders, now called Sterling or Star-
ling, may possibly be found in England. In support of this
theory it may be quoted from the records of the Dutch Church,
Austin Friars, London, that on December 31, 1605, Jasper Ster-
1 Rupp's Collection of Thirty Thousand Names of Immigrants in Penn.,
1876, pp. 164-5.
lincx was married. This may have been one origin of an English-
Considering its antiquity, the Stirling-Sterling family is not
a large one as compared with some others of a contemporaneous
origin. This fact is most clearly shown by consulting the direc-
tories of cities throughout Great Britain and the United States.
It will be found that in many the name appears but once or twice,
if at all, and seldom more than ten or a dozen times. That other
families are so much larger may be due in some measure to their
having had several sources of practically distinct origin, while
the Stirling-Sterling family, as assumed, sprang from one.
There are few English-speaking families unconnected with the
Royal houses of Scotland and England whose course of descent
through so long a period is as clearly defined as that of Stirling
Representatives of this race are scattered throughout the
world, mainly, of course, in English-speaking countries: Great
Britain, Ireland, the United States, Canada, Australia, India,
New Zealand, and South Africa.
Many years ago a member of the Scotch family settled in
Germany, where his descendants yet live. In 1870 one of these,
still retaining the name of Stirling, was a solicitor at Strassburg.
Some of the family are resident in Spain: there is a Spanish
General Sterling. The Secretary of the first President of the
Republic of Cuba was Colonel Ernesto Fons Sterling, a Spaniard.
The Compiler regrets that the lack of financial support for
this work has not permitted a more exhaustive research along
some lines. Undoubtedly an examination of early records through-
out England would throw considerable light upon the connection
of the family there with that of Scotland and in some instances
might show conclusively the relationship.
Nothing has been left undone to secure copies of all the
records relative to the earlier emigrants to America, but many
obscure points regarding their origins in Great Britain and in
Ireland and considerable valuable data respecting some of the
lines of their descendants could, without doubt, be established
by an extended search of records abroad and in some out-of-the-
way places in a half-dozen Eastern States.
10 THE STERLING GENEALOGY
All possible care has been taken to avoid errors of fact, but
undoubtedly some appear. The Compiler disclaims responsibility
for all these, as much of the material herein shown has been
gathered through correspondence, and the personal equation of
some eight hundred correspondents is to be reckoned with. In
receiving the record of the same family from two or more sources
he has often found himself supplied with conflicting statements