Dr. David Ramsay
Father of American History
By Lee K. Ramsey
From the Ramsay Report June 2010
David Ramsay, son of Ulster Scot emigrants, James Ramsay and Jane Montgomery, was born 2 April 1749 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where his father was an obscure, backcountry farmer.
Known primary for his work in the field of medicine and as an American Revolutionary War patriot, David Ramsay is less known for his writings and contributions to American history. He was a 1765 graduate of Princeton, and prior to his graduating from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1773, he supported himself as a teacher.
As a physician, Dr. Ramsay quickly established his practice in Charleston, S.C. where he served in the state legislature, and soon became a leading voice for American independence.
His July 4, 1778 Independence Day oration at St. Michael's Church in Charleston is
believed to the fist delivered in the United States. He served as a delegate to the
Continental Congress for two terms, 1782-
During the Revolutionary War, Dr. Ramsay served as a field-
During the war, Dr. Ramsay collected much material for its history, and among his voluminous writings came his History of the American Revolution (3 Vols.), which was the first comprehensive account of the Revolution, and also his History of the Revolution in South Carolina, as well as his biography on the Life of George Washington, and a History of South Carolina from its Settlement in 1670 to the Year 1808.
Following the Revolutionary War, Dr. Ramsay re-
Dr. Ramsay brought to his marriage with Martha one son, John Witherspoon Ramsay (1783-
Frances was the daughter of Dr. John Witherspoon, (John Witherspoon was born at
Gifford, a parish of Yester, at East Lothian, Scotland, as the eldest child of the
Reverend James Alexander Witherspoon and Anne Walker,a descendant of John Welsh of
Ayr and John Knox.He attended the Haddington Grammar School, and obtained a Master
of Arts from the University of Edinburgh in 1739. He remained at the University to
study divinity.) president of Princeton, 1768-
Dr. David Ramsay and Martha Laurens had met while Dr. Ramsay was attending to Martha's father during his last illness at Charleston. Martha's father never made a complete recovery from his incarceration in the Tower of London, after his capture at sea by the British in 1780.
Dr. David Ramsay and Martha Laurens married at Charleston 23 Jan 1787, and they had
11 children. Among Martha Laurens Ramsey's many talents, she was instrumental in
preparing their sons for college, and assisted her husband with his literary work.
Martha Laurens Ramsay also maintained a personal diary, which provided a window
into the many dimensions her life as a colonial American woman and which has been
brought to light in Joanna Bowen Gillespie's book, The Life and Times of Martha Laurens
In an ironic twist of fate some four years after Martha's death, Dr. David Ramsay was killed in Charleston 8 May 1815, when he was shot by a demented patient whom he had treated. Among his many contributions, Dr. David Ramsay was also instrumental in establishing the Medical Society of South Carolina
The then current Earl acted a Signatory to the capitulation of Quebec to General Wolfe.
Dean Ramsay Edward Ramsay, one of the more popular church figures in Edinburgh’s
history, was born in Aberdeen In 1793. He spent much of his boyhood on his great-
In 1824, Ramsay moved to Edinburgh where he became curate of St George’s in York Place. This was followed in 1830 by his appointment as minister of St John’s. Princes Street, a position that he held until his death. In addition, he was made Dean of the Diocese of Edinburgh in 1841.
Dean Ramsay involved himself in a wide range of activities. He was elected a Fellow
of the Royal Society of Edinburgh In 1828 and, although his only contribution to
its proceedings was a memoir of his close friend Thomas Chalmers, he became Vice-
As a man of the church, Ramsay was notable for his unsectarlan outlook; he consistently advocated (with eventual success), the removal of the barriers separating the Scottish Episcopalian and English churches, and his theological sympathies lay with the evangelical movement, rather than with the high church. As a preacher he was both practical and eloquent.
Ramsay provided the best of company on social occasions. His endless fund of anecdotes
formed the basis of the work that was to earn him his widest reputation, ‘Reminiscences
of Scottish Life and Character’, published in 1858. During his lifetime, that book
ran to twenty-
‘The Dean’, as he was affectionately known, outlived his Canadian wife, Isabella,
but his house In Ainslie Place continued to provide a home for her nephews and nieces,
along with his brother, the retired Admiral Sir W. Ramsay. Dean Ramsay’s death in
1872 was greatly mourned; his congregation placed a commemorative tablet Inside St.
John’s and his eight-
American Revolution Patriot
William Ramsay and his wife Anne had eight children and probably occupied the house only a short time before moving into a larger home. Like so many of Alexandria's founders, Ramsay was a hardworking, resourceful Scotsman who became very involved in trade and civic affairs. He served as town trustee, census taker, postmaster, member of the Committee of Safety and, according to tradition, Colonel of the Militia Regiment. He was highly respected by his fellow citizens and received many honours during his lifetime. Anne McCarty Ramsay was also a patriot and is reported to have been praised by Thomas Jefferson for having raised over $75,000 in funds to support the American Revolution. When Ramsay died in 1785, his close personal friend George Washington walked in his funeral.
9th Earl George Ramsay, succeeded him in the family titles and estates. Earl George was the school and college companion of Sir Walter Scott, who held him in high and affectionate esteem. On meeting with the Earl in the evening of life, after a long separation, Sir Walter mentions him as still being, and always having been, ‘the same manly and generous character, that all about him loved as the Lordie Ramsay of the Yard’ (the playground of the Edinburgh High School).
The Earl served with great distinction in the West Indies, Holland, and Egypt, and in the Spanish Peninsula, where he commanded the Second Division of the British army; and at the battle of Waterloo. He attained the full rank of general, was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Bath, was one of the general officers who received the thanks of Parliament, and was created a British peer by the title of BARON DALHOUSIE OF DALHOUSIE CASTLE.
In 1816 he was appointed to the government of Nova Scotia; and, in 1819, he succeeded
the Duke of Richmond as Captain-
The Earl died in 1838, in the sixty-
Earl George married, in 1805, Christian, the only child of Charles Broun, of Coalstoun, in East Lothian, the representative of a family, which had flourished in Scotland since the twelfth century. With this lady the Earl received a good estate and an heirloom besides, with which the welfare of the family was in old times supposed to be closely connected. This palladium was an enchanted pear, which came to the Brouns of Coalstoun through the marriage of the head of the family early in the sixteenth century to Jean Hay, daughter of the third Lord Yester, ancestor of the Marquis of Tweeddale. According to tradition, this pear had been invested with some invaluable properties by the famous wizard, Hugo de Gifford, of Yester, whose appearance is so vividly described in Sir Walter Scott’s poem of ‘Marmion.’
One of his daughters, it is said, was about to be married, and as the bridal party
was proceeding to the church he halted beneath a pear-
This precious pear was given by the third Lord Yester to his daughter on her marriage
to George Broun of Coalstoun, and at the same time he informed his son-
Sir Walter Scott stays at the Castle.
10th Earl James Ramsay born April 1812 Dalhousie Castle appointed Governor General
of India at the age of 36 years, from 1847 to 1856 and was eventually made Marquis.
He is accounted the creator both of the map of modern India, through his conquests
and annexations of independent provinces, and of the centralised Indian state. So
radical were Dalhousie's changes and so widespread the resentment they caused that
his policies were frequently held responsible for the Indian Mutiny in 1857, one
year after his retirement. Early career Dalhousie was the third son of George Ramsay,
the 9th Earl of Dalhousie. His family had traditions of military and public service
but, by the standards of the day, had not accumulated great wealth, and, consequently,
Dalhousie was often troubled by financial worries. Small in stature, he also suffered
from a number of physical infirmities. Throughout his life he derived energy and
satisfaction from the thought that he was achieving public success in spite of private
handicaps. After an undistinguished career as an undergraduate at Christ Church,
Oxford, he married Lady Susan Hay in 1836 and entered Parliament the following year.
From 1843 he served as vice president, and from 1845 as president, of the Board of
Trade in the Tory (conservative) ministry of Sir Robert Peel. In that office he handled
a number of railroad problems and gained a reputation for administrative efficiency.
He lost his post when Peel resigned in 1846. In the following year he accepted the
new Whig ministry's offer of the governor-
When Dalhousie arrived in India in January 1848, the country seemed peaceful. Only
two years earlier, however, the army of the Punjab, an independent state founded
by the religious and military sect of the Sikhs, had precipitated a war that the
British had won only with great difficulty. The discipline and economy enforced by
the new Sikh regime, sponsored by the British, aroused discontent, and in April 1848
a local rebellion broke out at Multan. This was the first serious problem faced by
Dalhousie. Local officers urged immediate action, but he delayed, and Sikh disaffection
spread throughout the Punjab. In November 1848 Dalhousie dispatched British troops,
and, after several British victories, the Punjab was annexed in 1849.Dalhousie's
critics maintained that he had allowed a local rebellion to grow into a national
uprising so that he could annex the Punjab. But the commander in chief of the British
army had warned him against precipitate action. Certainly, the steps Dalhousie eventually
took were somewhat irregular; the uprising at Multan had been directed not against
the British but against policies of the Sikh government. In any event, he was created
marquis for his efforts. Brought to Britain the "Koh-
(worth a wee look) Thanks to M Chadha Dalhousie India