History is genealogy amplified. To its members the family story is as important and as interesting and as necessary as is the knowledge of the history of a people to the finished scholar or to the statesman or to the legislator. Pride of ancestral pedigree is an important element of patriotism. The value and inspiration arising from a knowledge of a sturdy and intelligent ancestry have been recognized since early civilization.
The Ewings of whom I write are scions of a most intelligent, patriotic and properly aggressive stock. Far and near the Ewings, spreading into all civilized lands, have furnished an unusual number of trusted leaders and successful captains of industry. I would not leave the impression that I believe all our Ewings are great people or important leaders. One of our name once wrote me that all the Ewings he knew preferred to leave leadership and great industrial responsibility to others. Certainly, there are exceptions. I have met a few of our blood who were positively “cranky;” and a few others who thought all the virtue and all the brains the exclusive patent of their immediate branch, in fact, confined to but few of that branch! A very few have been found who entertain a sickly sentiment regarding family lineage. All such, I am fully satisfied, are the decided exceptions. What I mean is that, a comparatively recent common ancestry considered, our family in general have made good in an unusual and very pleasing percentage. What I hope to impress is that the foundation stock is of the best; and, therefore, that each for himself or herself may build in greater confidence. My hope is that this knowledge will inspire the individual to the highest, purest, sanest living in all the worth-while spheres of his or her life.
Not only is the foundation stock good; in later generations the blood is creditably manifest. There are, a common ancestry considered, many Ewings of our stock in the United States; there is quite a large number in Canada; considerable numbers are in Australia and New Zealand; some worthy representatives of the family are in South America, and yet other favorably known and long-established Ewing families are here and there, go where one may. “The Scotch Ewings have wandered far and have generally been successful and splendid citizens,” remarked a widely traveled and extensively read Englishman to me recently So I have found. As a class they are respected and happily reputable.
These statements are made upon the evidence of those not related to us. For instance, of the much proof upon this point, the widely known genealogist, Spooner, in his Historic Families of America, says:
It is noteworthy that all the Ewing families of America have been distinguished for patriotism, and most of them have been characterized by both civic and military attainments.
Mr. R. D. Buford, long one of the most widely known and best-loved men of Bedford County, Virginia, who, for nearly seventy-five years knew one branch of the Virginia family, of which I particularly write, in a letter to me says:
I have a very high opinion of all the stock I have known,” and then affectionately refers to the Bedford branch, saying “the dear old Ewing family that years past helped to give character and standing to the people of this good county, has no member left in this section.
Thus I might quote of all the branches contemplated by this study:
Of the Ewings generally, “or of many of the name, it may be said that they are essentially inspirers of men,” says Frances M. Smith in a published study of our family; continuing, “Of magnetic manner, intense earnestness and boundless enthusiasm, their summoned ‘Forward!’ and their cry ‘To Arms!’ move men to action, dispel discouragements and blaze the path to high achievement.” This is representative of most disinterested appraisements.
On the paternal side, as intimated, we are Scotch. During the earlier days our ancestors were Scotch upon both paternal and maternal sides. After the branches became established in America the men more or less intermarried with other stocks, particular the English of more direct Saxon ancestry. But to this day the characteristics of most of the American families are Scotch. This is strikingly noticeable when considered with reference to the Ewings who yet live in the old homeland, or with the descendants of those who helped to populate Ulster, Ireland, and who are there today.
These family characteristics, traditions, scattering bits of general historical mention, Bible data, tombstone inscriptions, and much other very satisfactory evidence, conclusively show, notwithstanding the lack of a complete and general family history, our descent from an old and most honorable and once powerful Scottish clan.
The origin of that clan and of the name and some account of the earlier days in Scotland and subsequently in Ireland, I believe I am enabled to give correctly. But I attempt, as will readily be seen, no general history and no extensive genealogy of the Ewings. Were such a work possible, it would be a most interesting family document, and would show, by an unusual number from a common ancestry, an amazing contribution to the progress of all branches of business, learning, industry, art, science, the professions, government and Christianity.
The genealogical inquiries here presented directly concern only the descendants of the immigrant ancestors who founded Ewing families which we distinguish as those of the Virginia counties of Bedford, Prince Edward, Montgomery, Wythe, Rockingham and Lee; and some of the families of West Virginia; those of Cecil County, Maryland; those whose ancestors settled in Ohio when it was Ohio County, Virginia, and those of that part of early Pennsylvania which bordered Cecil County, Maryland. Members of those families in pioneer and subsequent days spread widely into Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, Illinois, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Missouri, California, and other States. There is incidental mention of other families founded by immigrants, closely related to the immigrant ancestors of the families specifically mentioned, who settled in Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere.
It is said that at an early day a John Ewing, who after reaching America lived a while in Cecil County, Maryland, founded a family near what is now Winchester, Frederick County, Virginia. John G. Ewing, of the Hon. Thomas Ewing family, as we shall see, tells me he has much data regarding the descendants of that family. I have been able to obtain little reliable information of that branch. As Mr. Ewing means to publish his information, naturally he reserved his discoveries.
The purpose has been to present more of the historical aspect than a complete genealogy, but the effort is made to give enough of the genealogy of the families particularly involved to enable living descendants to determine each his or her line. In many cases more of the present generation would have been given had the information been at hand. Of the thousands of letters of inquiry sent to many Ewings during the past fifteen years, comparatively few were answered. Too, the costs of publication and the necessarily limited field of sale wisely could not be overlooked.
The purpose considered, a condensed yet reasonable comprehensive study of early Scotland, England, and Ireland down to ancestral emigration is given the better to enable us to follow the origin of our clan and the genesis of our name; and to deepen our appreciation of the material of which we are made. This part of the work should appeal to all Ewings of Scotch ancestry.
We shall find that our clan unit long antedates the kingdom of Scotland. Hundreds of years before Kenneth McAlpin, in 843 A. D., brought the wild Picts into subjection and founded the kingdom of Scotia, the great corner-stone of what became the kingdom of Scotland in the twelfth century, the earliest forms of our family name differentiated our ancestors. Ours is one of the oldest of the Scotch clans. The clan breaks into the light from the prehistoric times. Back amid the fog of those ruder and semi-civilized days it is difficult to trace all the movements of our earliest semi-historic forefathers, and it is not always easy to determine fact from fiction. But we find much of interest and importance concerning the habitat, the manners, customs, political and religious views of the clan in general and of conspicuous members in particular during remote as well as later periods; and we can follow in a general way our ancestral footsteps as from time to time the clan forged onward, a mighty unit in the evolution of the later Scotch nation, out into days when the clan unit became lost in the greater unit of a powerful people into which some of the best racial stocks of earth have blended.
Therefore, for the benefit particularly of the Ewings who belong to the branches of the family about which I particularly write, the facts of this little record have been gathered that the knowledge of an intelligent and splendid ancestry may be an inspiration to our higher living and aid to the best citizenship.
Page last updated 13 October 2008.