Drumderfit Loban/Logans

Highland Loban/Logan families: Drumderfit line

Drumderfit farmhouse (2011).  © Copyright Stuart Logan and licensed for reuse under  Creative Commons Licence CC  BY-SA 2.0, originally posted, along with other photos of the area, at https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2455249.

The Lobans of Drumderfit are, according to history, the original Highland Lobans, having settled into the farm at Drumderfit after the disastrous rout in 1372.  The succession of tenants has been traced with difficulty up to the late 16th Century,  and we will not here get into the disputes over the names and succession. Malcolm Lobban (2008 book pdf here) looked into this and made some corrections to the tree proposed by Major G.J.N. Logan Home (History of the Logan Family, 1934), but the early days remain unreliable almost to the point of fictional.  The earliest reliable record is of Robert Loban/Logan (1704–1780), m. Isobel Forbes.  The definitive source for this family is Cynthia Sweet’s 2011 Logan Families of Ross & Cromarty.  She is fairly confident from documentation that Robert had three siblings, Alexander Logan (Loban), Ann Loban and Colin Loban.  In the chart below, I have added the supposed parents, known only as A. [probably Alexander] Loban and wife “L.M.C.” (or I.M.C.?) so that I could attach the siblings.  Major Logan Home declared that this Robert was the 35th of Drumderfit, but this cannot be right. If the battle was in 1372, then down to this Robert, say in 1724 when his predecessor died, is 352 years, which if divided into 35 generations is only 10 years per generation.  From the 35th to the 42nd (Robert N.C. Logan, who inherited the title in 1953) is seven generations over 223 years, or 32 years per generation, about what we would expect.  Stuart Logan’s essay on the inaccuracies in Logan-Home’s work, published in the Highland Family History Society Magazine is reproduced here.

My chart was developed by starting with a gedcom file for Robert (1788) Logan on the Pre1800Logans group, adding from Ancestry hints, and cross checking with Cynthia Sweet’s book.  I may have picked up errors from the hints, and would like to hear if any family members find any errors or can add branches that I missed.  Many of the details below, except for the Natty Logan and Robert James Logan branches, are from Sweet. A large version of the tree, where the names are readable, is posted here. You may also be able to access my working tree on Ancestry.com and the copy of the gedcom (as of 5 Aug. 2020) in the  Pre1800Logans groups files.

Of the four siblings, only Robert is known to have had many generations of descendants, and thus the first branch is between his two sons, Robert Logan (b. Drumderfit ca. 1748, d. London 1844) , m. Eliza McKenzie [Sweet, pp. 21–64], and Thomas Logan (c. 1750–1807) [Sweet, pp. 65–131].  Sweet deduced that Robert 1748 was “probably” a son of Robert 1704, but no baptism record has been found. A large part of the tree shown depends on whether this deduction is correct. From him forward, the Manitoba line is well doumented.  Often these families had many daughters and few sons, so that there seem to be relatively few male lines coming through to the present day. The daughters of earlier generations are traced in detail in the cited chapters of Sweet’s book.

Family tree of the Drumderfit Loban/Logan line as far as I have been able to trace it (see text). Chart by C.S. Lobban. The chart shows 7 generations, the last of which mostly died in the early 20th C., but as with any tree some generations go faster. Also the apparent branches change at each generation, some dying or daughtering out, new ones forming. Click to enlarge images (up to twice).

1.   Thomas 1750 = Catherine Fraser / Margaret Fraser branch is the  Chief’s branch, inasmuch as Thomas inherited the title rather than his older brother (see Robert c. 1748, below); it has no further branches. Thomas was Tacksman at Drumderfit.  Drumderfit passed to his son Robert Logan (1793–1873) [Sweet 2011, pp. 114–122], who appears to have been the last Tacksman at Drumderfit. During the Highland Clearances, Tacksmen, or tenant farmers, were driven out. By 1851 Robert-1793 was living in Inverness, working as a banker, but was still officially tacksman at Drumderfit. He was also a banker in London.  His son,  Robert Logan (1847–1929) joined the Indian Civil Service and married Susan Constance Mathias  in Nagpur, on the road to Nagode, India; she was the daughter of a Major-General in the Indian Army. After their return to Britain, Susan published a book called Everyday Life, about regimental life in Indian and England [fide Sweet: 119; I could not find this online]. Their son in turn, Robert Hector Logan (1877–1953), was born in India but educated in England and served in the Boer War and the First World War in East Africa,  decorated with an O.B.E.  Maj. Logan Home [cited by Sweet, p. 120]  declared that “Upon his father’s death in 1929 [Robt. Hector] succeeded his father as 41st Chief of the Logans of Druimdeurfit.”  (See calculation at top of page.)  The hereditary title of Chief would have passed in 1953 to R.H.’s son Robert Nigel Crawford Logan (b. 1921, London), but we have not been able to determine whether this man married and had children. If he is still alive, he just turned 99.

2.  Robert  ca. 1748 = Eliza McKenzie.  Robert Logan was born about 1748, if he was 19 in 1767 [Sweet, p. 264], and died in Surrey, England in 1826. He was the firstborn son of Robert Logan (Loban) (b. 1704), but lost his right to become Tacksman at Drumderfit when at age 19 he became embroiled in a dispute that ended up with him being declared infamous, which meant that he could no longer hold title or own land. Thus the succession fell to his younger brother Thomas (see 1 above).  The affair concerned a fiercely contested Fortrose municipal election and the full story is told by Sweet (pp. 264–266). Having been disgraced, Robert cashed in some favors to become an overseer of a sugar plantation in St. Thomas in the East, Jamaica owned by a Nathaniel Phillips of London. He went there about 1773, and later managed to buy his own plantation, Arcadia, about 1795.  During this time he had a liaison with a free mulatto woman (i.e., a former slave, with one white parent), Anne Stitcher, that resulted in two sons.   It is not clear when or why he left Jamaica, and whether he first went to Montréal, Québec, with his two sons, but we do know that the elder son joined the North West Company there in 1801 (see below).  By 1815 Robert was in England, where he bought a house in Surrey.  He had taken at least one trip to England in 1793–ca 1795, and perhaps others, as by 1788 he had married Eliza McKenzie in England, with whom he had four children, of whom only one daughter survived to marry. In a codicil to his will, Robert bequeathed “to my natural son Robert Logan, now or late of or near Red River Settlement in America and in the service or employment of the Hudson Bay Company, the sum of two thousand pounds….”  That would now be worth about  £138,700. Genealogy also in Mothers of the Resistance 1869–1870.


Robert Logan (1778–1866), Manitoba. Source: Archives of Manitoba, Personalities – Robert Logan, 1976-83, N13197. http://www.mhs.mb.ca/docs/mb_history/52/loganfather.shtml

Robert Logan (1778–1866) [Sweet, pp. 28–32], who joined the Red River Settlement in the Territory of the Hudson’s Bay Company, was one of the pioneers of what became Winnipeg, Manitoba. He was a quadroon, i.e., quarter Black. In 1801 Robert joined the North West Company in Montréal. It is not known what he was doing from 1801-1806, but from then until  1814 he was Architect and Clerk in Charge at their Sault Ste. Marie post.   During this time he began to live with Mary, a  Saulteaux Native American, and they started having children in 1810. [On the American side of the river, “In Sault Ste. Marie nearly all the traders married or cohabited with Indian women or women of mixed blood. Traders learned quickly to marry into important Ojibwa and Ottawa families.” (Source) However, in the Canadian outposts the attitude was much different, but the North West Company made an exception for Robert.]   While they were at Sault Ste. Marie, the War of 1812 broke out and in 1814 American forces sacked and destroyed the North-West Company’s warehouse on the Canadian side of the Sault [source].  Subsequently Robert was recruited by the Hudson’s Bay Company and served at several posts (see record below) before retiring in 1819 to Lord Selkirk’s Red River Settlement (in Assiniboia), where he was appointed sheriff.  On 13 Jan. 1821 he married Mary, who was baptized that day; by then they had six children.  His children with her were defined as Métis, a group that played a role in the formation of Manitoba (see historical context, below*).  Robert was a very successful settler. In 1825 for £400 he bought the remains of Fort Douglas, Lord Selkirk’s windmill and additional land from Selkirk’s estate.  By 1839 Robert, widowed, had remarried to widow Sarah Ingham, who had come from England to the Red River Settlement as a teacher’s assistant in 1833. (Many more details of his life and sketches of his house and windmill in Cynthia’s Sweet’s essay establishing who his father was and in the essay by Dr. Ross Mitchell, link at top of paragraph. There is also an account of his life in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography.)

Hudson’s Bay Company Archives Biographical Sheet for Robert Logan. Reproduced by permission of Archives of Manitoba. Original source at https://www.gov.mb.ca/chc/archives/_docs/hbca/biographical/l/logan_robert-a.pdf

*Brief historical context: “In 1818, Britain and the United States agreed to establish the 49th parallel as the official border and assign that portion of Rupert’s Land south of the parallel to the United States.  Rupert’s Land was ceded to Canada in 1869 and incorporated into the Northwest Territories. The Métis of the Red River valley, seeing their concerns ignored by the new authority, launched the Red River Rebellion under Louis Riel, and established a provisional government that named the area as Manitoba. Negotiations between the provisional government and the Canadian government resulted in the passage of the Manitoba Act which created the Province of Manitoba [a very small square of land at first; Saskatchewan and Alberta had not yet been separated from Northwest Territories] and provided for its entry into Confederation in 1870.”

Two of Robert’s sons from his first marriage outlived him and established  four lines, three through Thomas Logan (1812–1892) and Tom’s second wife Mary Anne Dease (2A–C), and one line through William Logan (1820–1867) and his third wife Kotoki (Lena) Menard (2D). There are records in the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives for three other sons: Nathaniel Logan (1832–1858), who worked for them in the Red River District from 1849 until his death; Robert Logan (1818–1879), who worked for them 1841–1848 in the  Columbia District; and Kenneth Logan (1825–1859), who worked for them from 1841 at various outposts in the west, briefly joined the California gold rush in 1849, rejoined the HBC in various British Columbia posts, married Susan MacGillivray in 1850 and then returned to the Red River Settlement, where they both died on 1 Mar. 1859 (as stated in probate documents), cause unknown.
A fifth branch (2E) stems from Robert’s second wife, Sarah.


2A. William 1842 = Jenny Thomas branch stayed in Manitoba.


2B.  Robert James 1846 = Marie Norris branch.  Robert James Logan (1846-1919), m. Marie (Maggie) Norris  moved to Alberta and were pioneers in Tofield.  The story of them and their eldest son John Robert was told in Tales of Tofield and is copied with permission to this website here.   Their son   Alexander (Sandy) Logan (b. 1878 in Edmonton) died  in WW1 of nephritis in a field hospital in France 6 Mar 1917  (no further explanation given). Their grandson via John Robert, William Robert Logan (b. 1898 in Tofield) also died in WW1, killed in action 9 Apr 1917 in the Battle of Vimy Ridge.


2C.  Nathaniel E. 1853 = Sarah Henri branch  settled in Alberta.

Portion of homestead patent for Natty Logan, 30 Mar 1889.

Robert’s grandson, and Robert James’ brother Nathaniel Edward (“Natty”) Logan (1853–1928) also moved to Alberta when in 1889 he was granted a homestead near what is now Morinville, Alberta.  The land, as described in the patent shown above (see explanation), was 156 miles west of the Saskatchewan border and 336 miles north of the Montana border: i.e., northwest of Edmonton.

Sarah and Natty Logan. Image originally posted to Ancestry.com by jacquescarriere7.


2D. Charles Robert 1863 = Bertha Wohlfarth branch (Wisconsin).  William Logan (1820–1867) had moved to Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin by 1850 when he married Theresa Cole. She died in childbirth in 1853 and in 1856 he seems to have married Elizabeth Gauthier, but nothing is known of her, and they had no children together. In 1860 he married Nathalay Menard. Their son Charles Robert Logan (1863–1944) had many children but all the sons died in infancy.


2E.  Alexander 1841 = Maria Lane branch.  From Robert’s second wife, Sarah Ingham, these descendants stayed in Manitoba; it is actually a generation younger than the William 1842 line because of the age difference between the two half-brothers.  Alexander (“Sandy”) stayed in Winnipeg looking after his mother until her passing in 1886.  He was an Alderman and was elected was mayor four times, in 1880, 1881,  1883 and 1884. He played a large role in bringing the transcontinental railway through Winnipeg,  thus assuring its future development.  There is an extensive biography of him in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, which notes at the start that “By both birth and marriage Alexander Logan was a leading member of Winnipeg’s commercial and social élite. His father, a prominent merchant and office holder, owned the land on which the business section of early Winnipeg developed. Through his marriage in 1864, Logan became tied to the wealthy Bannatyne and McDermot families.” However, regarding his career as mayor, the authors conclude that, “He was neither an outstanding man nor an exceptional mayor. His chief claim to fame was his personal popularity. His ‘boosterism’ bred a strong pride in community accomplishment, and it is this facet of his career which deserves recognition.”

Haplogroup FT75933 for the Highland Loban/Logans (new, May 2021)

As of May 2021, we have results from four Highland Logans who are all related in a haplogroup presently identified as  FT75933, with a most recent common ancestor (MRCA) born about 1500.  Clearly, we are not back to the origins of the Drumderfit line,  but the Y-700 DNA results do show that two closely related groups,  Urray and Kilcoy Loban/Logans (FT387200), are related to the Drumderfit line (FT29112) in the provisional diagram below. The Kilcoy line is described here.  From the date of the Urray/Kilcoy MRCA, just before the written records of the two branches, it is likely that they were as closely related as first cousins or even brothers. These four people are part of  Limb 3 in the Logan DNA Project. Jim Logan’s analysis of the whole of Limb 3 shows that there are two more samples in the branch,  which I hope to get upgraded to Y700. This will expand the structure shown here, in particular as one is evidently more closely related to #21 than to #19  and this will likely pull #21 out of the Drumderfit line, i.e., those with a known or highly probably genealogical connection to Drumderfit.  I am also looking for a new donor from the Drumderfit line.  The genealogy of #21 does not show a clear geographic origin because the family moved around Scotland from generation to generation, eventually emigrating to Ireland and then on to the USA.  You can compare this diagram with what we developed for the Lowland Loban/Lobban group here.

Highland Loban/Logan relationships known so far from Y700 SNP analysis (May 2021).


Page by Christopher S Lobban, based on writings of Cynthia Sweet with thanks to Cliff Logan and with a nod to Morrissette “Morrie” Killian. Posted  3 Aug. 2020, last revised 27 Jan. 2022.