Shedden Genealogy


There were three movements of Shedden families into Argyle. The original Sheddans probably were settled in Kintyre around 1650 when the Duke of Argyll encouraged a number of the Ayrshire gentry to set up plantations there in order to develop his estates and bring a strong Protestant presence. The Sheddans almost certainly came from the Beith area and their Kintyre descendants retain the older spelling of the name. One of the most prominent of these Ayrshire gentry was Gavin Ralston of that Ilk, who had estates in Beith parish.

The earliest Sheddan entry in the OPR and IGI registers is dated 1673 and there are numerous birth and marriage entries up to 1855. Unfortunately it is not possible without dates of death and/or subsidiary data to construct family trees from these entries. Most of the descendants of these Sheddans have left Kintyre.

The next movement started with James Shedden (b 1807 in Kilwinning, Ayrshire, a son of John Shedden and Martha Wylie), who took over the Barr Inn at the foot of Glen Barr, Kintyre. He married Mary Bennie at the Barr Inn in 1855 and had 12 children by her. The family lived in Up! Auchadadine, Glen Barr. On Mary's death he married Margaret Scott in Campbelltown in 1862 and had by her four more children. All four of Margaret's children died in Kintyre as did four of Mary's children, but the other eight of Mary's children emigrated to New Zealand where they married and died. These children were:

  • Margaret (b 1833 Kilwinning, died 1904 NZ) m Wm McCorkindale in 1956 at Killean
  • Martha (b 1834 Kilwinning, died 1915 NZ) m Neil Bruce in 1858 at Barr
  • John (b 1840 Kilwinning, died 1910 at Wainourd NZ) m Janet Bruce (sister of Neil Bruce?)
  • Mary (b 1842 Kilwinning, died 1888 NZ) m Sinclair Williamson in 1865 at the house of James
  • Sheddan in Tokomairiro NZ
  • David (b 1844 Kilwinning, died 1925 NZ) m Ann McPhail in 1874 in NZ
  • Jane (b 1846 Kilwinning, died 1871 NZ) m James Taylor
  • Jannet? (b 1848 Kilwinning, died 1876? NZ)
  • Robert (b 1849 Kilwinning, died 1901? NZ) m Mary McColl

David arrived in New Zealand in 1862. He worked for a time at Vaihola and then drove a team for Messrs. Herbert & Co. in Lawrence before starting a team of his own. At Moa Flat, near Ettruck, he met and married Ann McPhail in Dunedin in 1874. Soon after marrying, David and his wife moved to Tapnui where David's brother, Robert, joined them. There the brothers entered into the carting business, mostly in the Molyneux Valley. David began contracting when the carting business became slack. This was continued until the homestead section at Manse Bush, Sheddan Road, Tapanui, was broken in. Carting then took second place to farming. His grandson continued to farm there and the family may still do so.

David, Robert and John had arrived in New Zealand before the main party of immigrants and had been able to find suitable land on which to build small sod cottages to house the families until more permanent homes could be built. The party included Neil Bruce, his wife and family, Robert Mcara Matthew Stewart, Sinclair Williamson, and William, Malcolm and Archibald McCorkindale with their wives and families.

It is not known when Robert met Mary McColl but after marrying they moved to Vaikaka Valley. He began farming there at least by 1882 and in that year had 194 acres freehold. Robert was probably dead by 1901 for it is recorded that Sheddan's Freehold Company started dredging for gold in 1901 at the lower boundary of the late Mr R Sheddan's farm. Other dredges operating about 1903 were the Sheddan's "Rex" owned by the late Mr Sheddan and Dr Truby King.

Margaret and William arrived in New Zealand in 1867 and settled on 52 acres at Havelock (Vaitahuna), initially in a two-roomed house built by David, who had bought the land for them.

Mary and her husband, Sinclair, farmed just a few miles east of the township of Vaitahuna, moving there sometime between 1887 and 1870. Most of their children were recorded as being born at Murray's Flat, Vaitahuna.

The four children of Mary Bennie who did not go to New Zealand were:

  • John (bc 1831 Kilwinning?, died 1902 Campbelltqwn) m Flora Dallas in 1855 at Barr
  • William
  • Elizabeth (bc1853) died in 1941 at Killean. (single)
  • Alexander (b 1855 Killean and Kilchenzie) (single)

John's children were :

  • John, innkeeper, (b 1856 Killean and Kilchenzie) m Barbara Cochrane
  • Mary (b 1857 Killean and Kilchenzie)
  • James, cabinetmaker, (b 1859 Killean and Kilchenzie) m Elizabeth Curdie in 1884 at Campbelltown
  • Robert Dallas, housepainter, (b 1863 Killean and Kilchenzie) d at Cathcart (Glasgow) in 1915 (single)
  • Flora Dallas (b 1863 Killean and Kilchenzie) m Andrew Hamilton

The third movement came from my great-grandfather John Shedden (b 1800 Lochwinnoch), who moved from Lochwinnoch, where he had been a flesher and innkeeper, to become a farmer at Corran . He took over Corran farm at a rental of 140 p.a., with allowance for improvements, from Whitson 1841. Corran lies near the shore of West Loch Tarbert close to the village of Clachan. John died in 1854 and the farm was vacated. By then his eldest son, John, had left for Glasgow and his daughter, Margaret had left home (having married Alexander McArthur in Tarbert in 1844), Second son Thomas (married in 1850 to Janet Boyd) removed to Partick (then outside the city of Glasgow) to become a dairyman. Third son Hugh (married in 1862 to Marion Chalmers removed to Lochwinnoch where he took over the Wheatsheaf Inn (his Father's public house). Nothing is known about the fourth son, Alexander./ The fifth son, George (married in 1842 to Elizabeth Colville) removed to Glasgow where he worked as a joiner. The younger daughter, Elizabeth, died young.

Further north in Kintyre the death of Hugh Shedden, builder, in 1890 at age 58 is recorded. He lived on Argyle Street, Oban and was a son of Hugh Shedden, farmer and Marion Steel. He was born in 1832 in Stevenston, Ayrshire and married Margaret Gilchrist (bc Lochgilphead) in Glasgow in 1857. His children were Marion (Margaret? b 1858 in Glasgow), Hugh (b 1861 in Glasgow), Jane (b 1864 in Kilmore and Kilbride), Euphemia Mary (b 1868 in Glasgow) and James Stevenson (b 1871) in Glasgow).

Hugh (b 1851) died 1936 at Lochgilphead. He was a retired postmaster but he was also a noted gaelic poet. I think he was the founder of the London Gaelic choir.