Friday, April 30, 2010

The Melville Scots

The Melville Scots of Fife

The Melvilles, originally from Normandy, settled in 12th century Scotland and gave their name to the lands of Midlothian and Fife.

The name originated from the barony of Malaville or Malleville in the Pays de Caux in Normandy. Guillame (William) de Malleville accompanied William the Conqueror to England and fought at the Battle of Hastings. Like many of major Scottish families, the de Mallevilles came to Scotland with King David I when he returned in 1124 after 30 years spent at the English court. They were granted lands in Midlothian, outside Edinburgh by King David.

Read more of this fascinating history:

The family seat is Glenferness in Nairn. Melville Castle in Lothian, the original family home, was rebuilt by the Dundas family who took the title "Viscount Melville" although they have no connection with the Melville line.

The castle is now Melville Castle Hotel

Clan crest over the entryway of the castle

The Descendants of John Melville (Melvin) of Leuchers Parish, Fifeshire, Scotland

First Generation:

John Melvin was born in 1652 in Leuchers Parish, Fifeshire, Scotland. About 1675 he married Hanna Lewis in Malden, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts. Hannah was the daughter of John Lewis and Mary Browne and was born in 1655 in Malden, Massachusetts.

John Melvin is first mentioned in Charlestown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, recorded as a "taylor". He served as a private under Captain Joseph Sill in the company which joined that of Captain Thomas Henchman and marched to Patchouge (now the southeasterly part of the town of Worcester, Massachusetts), and camped for a night in a large wigwam which had been very recently occupied by a band of hostile Indians. The next morning the companies marched back to Hassanamisco and there separated, the captain and part of the men tramping on to Marlborough, and then on November 16 to Springfield, where 39 of the men were left as guards.

As John Melvin's receipt was dated November 30, 1676, he must have quitted his company at that date. On September 23, 1676, he signed another receipt for pay for services under Captain John Cutler whose company had served under Captain Thomas Henchman at Hassanamisco. January 3, 1681, John Melvin, "taylor", bought from Matthew Smith, for 38 pounds, a house and land in Charlestown, Massachusetts. On October 25, 1684, John Melvin, "taylor," and Robert Melvin, carpenter, each paid his first rate as a member of the Scots Charitable Society of Boston, a charitable organization founded for the purpose of assisting distressed prisoners who were shipped by the English government to America after the disastrous battle of Dunbar, Scotland, where the Scotch were defeated. John Melvin's subscriptions to this Society went on until May 4, 1696.

In 1691 John Melvin made another purchase of lands, and later bought or sold other lands. About 1696 he removed to Concord, Massachusetts and on April 3, June 3, and July 3, 1701, he sold lands in Charlestown, Concord, and Malden. Later John deeded thirty acres of meadow and upland in Concord to his son David. In one of the deeds the name is spelled Melville. John Melvin's will was drawn August 18, 1726, in Concord.

John Melvin died in Concord, Middlesex Co., Massechusetts on August 21, 1726, "in the 74th year of his age," as stated on his gravestone. .....Genealogical and Family History of the State of New Hampshire, Stearns, Whitcher and Parker, Vol. II, Lewis Publishing, New York, 1908. p. 667. He was buried in Charleston, Middlesex Co., Massechusetts.

Hannah Lewis was admitted to full communion in First Church, Charlestown, MA 30 Jan 1680. (NEGHR vol 23 pg 438 ) "January 30, 1681: Hannah Melvyn, ye wife of Jno. Melvyn, admitted to full communion in this church." (First Church was the State Church, or the Congregational Church, now the United Church of Christ.) Hannah died on 23 May 1696 in Charlestown, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts.

John, Hannah and son Jonathan are buried in
 Old Hill Burying Ground in Concord.

Second Generation:

Jonathan Melvin, (John) was born 29 May 1688 in Charlestown, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts, and on 28 Feb 1714 in Concord, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts, married Sarah Hartwell, daughter of Ebenezer Hartwell and Sarah Smedley. Sarah was born 28 Jul 1694 in Concord, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts. Jonathan died on 13 Feb 1737 in Concord, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts. Sarah died before 26 Jan 1769 in Worcester, Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Sarah was also married to Elisha Smith.

Here lies the Body of Mr. Jonathan Melven who died February 13th 1737 in the ___ year of his age. Job XIV 12: So man lieth down, and riseth not till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be railed out of their sleep.

Third Generation:

Ebenezer Melvin, Capt. (Rev War), (Jonathan, John) was born 10 Nov 1725 in Concord, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts, and in 1751, married Susanna Densmore, daughter of Thomas Dinsmore. Susanna was born 8 Jul 1727 in Bedford, Massachusetts. Ebenezer died after 1790 in Hollis, Groton Co., New Hampshire and was buried in Hollis, Groton Co., New Hampshire.

Ebenezer served in the French War, 1757, was a captain in Hollis and removed 1770 from Hollis to Groton. He removed from Groton to Plymouth 1790. 

Fourth Generation:

Ebenezer Melvin, Jr., (Ebenezer, Jonathan, John) was born 28 Dec 1752 in Hollis, Hillsboro Co., New Hampshire, and on 20 Feb 1777 in Hollis, Hillsboro Co., New Hampshire, married Joanna Bayley, daughter of David Bailey and Rebecca. Joanna was born 30 Jan 1758 in Hollis, Hillsdale Co., New Hampshire. Ebenezer Jr died on 16 May 1825 in Groton, Grafton Co., New Hampshire and was buried in Groton, Grafton Co., New Hampshire. Joanna died on 22 Feb 1820 in Hollis, New Hampshire and was buried in Old Graveyard, Groton Co., New Hampshire.

Excerpt from "Palmer Groups", by Leavitt:

" Ebenezer Melvin resided on his father's homestead farm and owned and managed a saw mill in Groton, Grafton Co., New Hampshire. A granddaughter now living (1901 5) in Plymouth, New Hampshire, says that her grandfather was a very devout and religious man and that, when a little child and he was living at her father's home, she used to stand by his door where she was attracted by the sound of his voice as he poured forth such fervid prayers, long and marked by such beauty of faith as to deeply impress her childish mind, as he plead for the spiritual welfare of his children in the home of her mother, where his last years were passed."

Fifth Generation:

Nathan Melvin, (Ebenezer, Ebenezer, Jonathan, John) was born 26 Oct 1779 in Groton, Grafton Co., New Hampshire, and married Sukey Jones. According to census records, Nathan was in Groton Twp, Grafton Co., New Hampshire in 1810; Louisville, Jefferson Co., Kentucky in 1820 and 1830. He does not appear in an 1840 census; however his widow Margaret Melvin is listed in Jefferson Co., Kentucky (Louisville). He also married on 26 Apr 1827 in Jefferson Co., Kentucky, Margaret Erwin, Mrs.. Bond states Mrs. Margaret Erwin is widow of ____ Erwin, and of lawful age. Married to Nathan Melvin by MG of the Presbyterian Church, Blackburn VDM . No children of this marriage in these records.

Sixth Generation:

Lucius Melvin, (Nathan, Ebenezer, Ebenezer, Jonathan, John) was born 8 Jul 1809 in Groton, Grafton Co., New Hampshire, and on 10 May 1833 in Nelson Co., Kentucky, married Catherine Rentch, daughter of Michael Rench and Mary (Polly) Patrick. Catherine was born in 1810 in Kentucky. Lucius died about 1858 in Nelson Co., Kentucky. Catherine died after 1870 in Kentucky.

Seventh Generation:

Nathan L. R. Melvin, (Lucius, Nathan, Ebenezer, Ebenezer, Jonathan, John) was born 18 Sep. 1835 in Bardstown, Nelson Co., Kentucky, and on 13 Jan. 1861 in Hodgenville, LaRue Co., Kentucky, married Elizabeth Gollaher, daughter of Benjamin Austin Gollaher and Mary "Polly" Price. Elizabeth was born 14 Jan. 1831 in LaRue Co., Kentucky. Nathan L. R. died in Nov. 1908 in LaRue Co., Kentucky and was buried in Pleasant Grove Cemetery, LaRue Co., Kentucky. Elizabeth died on 4 Jun. 1898 in LaRue Co., Kentucky and was also buried in Pleasant Grove Cemetery, LaRue Co., Kentucky. Elizabeth had a prior marriage to George P. Redman who died in 1860.

Notes for Nathan L. R. Melvin:

Birth and death dates: Civil War Pension Record, National Archives. Marriage: Pension Record, LaRue Co. Kentucky. Married in presence of T. Price and J. Barnett. George Price signed as security. Burial: Tombstone in Pleasant Grove Cemetery, Larue Co., Kentucky; Military: Civil War Union Sgt. Co E 37th KY, Vol. Mounted Inf. Religion: Received by experience at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in 1860. Residence: 1850 Nelson Co., 1860 Larue Co., 1861 4 miles from New Haven. Occupation: Farmer

From Civil War Pension record: Occupation: Laborer in 1904. Description: Height: 5'7", florid complexion, dark hair, hazel eyes. Enlisted at Hodgenville 10 Aug 1863, in the Union Army, at Lebanon. He was a Corporal in Co. E, 37th Ky. Infantry and was promoted to Sergeant. Nathan contracted cold from exposure while in the service, which was followed by fever and then chronic diarrhea. He was honorably discharged on December 29, 1864. He returned home to farm near White City. He was treated for his physical problems by Dr. Jesse Rodman until the doctor died in 1875. He was then treated by Dr. M. Wilkinson of New Haven, Dr. Hugh Rodman of New Haven, and Dr. J. M. Young of Hodgenville. He filed for pension, and obtained his pension in the early 1880's. He signed his name to his pension papers. Prior to service: resided on head waters of Knob Creek in Larue Co near N. A. Rapier's, four miles from New Haven for 22 years. Nathan L. R. Melvin drew a pension of $6 and $12 a month for military service.

Eighth Generation:

Michael R. Melvin, (Nathan, Lucius, Nathan, Ebenezer, Ebenezer, Jonathan, John) was born 6 Jun 1871 in LaRue Co., Kentucky, and on 24 Dec 1892 in LaRue Co., Kentucky, married Edna A. "Eddy" Metcalf, daughter of Silas Jefferson Metcalf, (Civil War Veteran) and Mary E. Cundiff. Edna was born 28 May 1874 in Athertonville, LaRue Co., Kentucky. Michael died after 25 Oct 1914 in Jefferson Co., Kentucky at the age of 42 years. Edna was also married to Albert Smithson and Thomas Jesse Price. No children from those marriages.

Children of Mike and Edna Melvin:

Bessie Elizabeth, Charles Walter "Bud", Ruth Bell, Susan Marie, Florence Polly, William (died in infancy), and Myrtle Maxine.

Notes on Mike and Eddy, what we know.....

On June 19, 1908 all the children from this marriage, except Bessie, William (deceased) and Myrtle, were removed from the home by juvenile court and placed in the Louisville Industrial School to be cared for. Myrtle was placed there on November 29, 1913. Mike deserted the family and Edna did not have sufficient means of support. Later, in 1913, Mike, who could not be kept away, was put in jail for drunkeness and beating his wife. Edna was in the hospital, because of these injuries, when Myrtle was taken from the home and placed in the School. Bessie, the oldest, was working at a tobacco factory. Susan had been discharged in August 1912 to the care of her mother. She also returned on Nov. 29, 1913 and remained there until January 1919, when she contracted Influenza and then Pneumonia. Susan died 21 Jan. 1919 while still in the care of the School.

Microfilm roll #7018153 Series L 2938 & L 2935 - Jefferson Co. State Archives Center Department of Human Services - Accession No. M1994-605. "Individual History Book Index - White Females #5 1903 - 1911" pages 136, 137, 138 and "Individual History Book - White Females #6 1911 -1921" pages 39, 40, 41, and 74.

Ninth Generation:

Florence Polly Melvin (Michael, Nathan, Lucius, Nathan, Ebenezer, Ebenezer, Jonathan, John) was born 12 Jun 1903 in Larue Co., Kentucky, and died 12 Mar 1989 in Ocala, Florida. She married (1) Harvey J. Moore, 10 Oct 1922 in Larue County, Kentucky, son of Cornelius Moore and Emily Farmer. He was born 28 Oct 1903 in Jackson County, Kentucky, and died 23 Jan 1930 in Louisville, Jefferson Co., Kentucky. She married (2) Elza Chandler Scott, 11 Apr 1931 in Hamilton, Ohio, adopted son of Ottway Scott and Mary Arnold. He was born 14 Sep 1895 in Grant Co., and died 01 Jun 1969 in Tampa, Hillsborough Co., Florida and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Jefferson Co., KY. She married (3) Louis George Hartwein, 11 Nov 1972 in Louisville, Jefferson Co., Kentucky, son of Louis Hartwein and Anna Planje. He was born 12 Nov 1897 in Missouri, and died 21 Mar 1979 in Fort Myers, Lee Co., Florida.

With Florence Polly the Melvin name "daughters out" for our family. Mike Logsdon, her grandson and the father of my children, is the handsome guy to the right sporting the Melville Tartan Kilt and the Prince Charlie jacket. -------->

The Melville clan has two mottoes - "Pro rege et patria" which means "For king and country" and "Denique coelum" which means "Heaven at last".

The names Melvin and Melville are one in the same; as is Robert and Bob, or Jim and James. The name Melville was vulgerized during the Scottish Reformation period. The Scottish Reformer Andrew Melville wrote his name as Melvin and Melville on the same piece of paper.



  1. Lisa, (Per April 30th blog post)I have a number of Concord people, and have been to the cemetery many times (only two towns away). Thanks so much.

  2. You are welcome Barbara! Isn't it just beautiful in snow?

  3. I am interested how John Melville born 1651 is related to other ancestors going back?

    1. I wish I could answer that Sharon, but at this time I simply can't. There may be others out there who have taken this line further back.

  4. I see you show my 6th great aunt, Susannah Dinsmore was married to Capt.Ebenezer Melvin, so that would make us cousins. Would you share your source for your info on Susannah Dinsmore and her father Thomas. I can share my info on Thomas if you like.

    John Steele,. Davis CA

  5. Oh yes, my email address is jcsteele53@

    John Steele