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The Origins of the Name

The meaning of the name does not seem to be known, but it first appears in Scotland in the fourteenth century, when a William Sharp is recorded as a tenant of the Earl of Douglas in 1376. In 1439, a Patrick Sharp was recorded in the Aberdeen Burgh records. The name is nowadays fairly common all over Scotland.

Our Sharp Ancestors

Our earliest known Sharp ancestors emerge from the shadows of history in the parish of Cruden, about twenty miles north of Aberdeen, in the mid eighteenth century. It appears that there were possibly at least five adult siblings living in or around the parish at that time, although it is not known who their parents were. These supposed siblings were Patrick (also known as Peter), George, Mary, John and Elizabeth. It is likely that they were born around the 1720s and 1730s. Patrick is our direct ancestor and his life is described below.

George is first recorded in 1748 when he lived at Mill of Auquharney in Cruden and he was still there in 1758. His wife's name is not known, but she may have been Margaret Bean, who married a George Sharp in the nearby parish of Tarves in 1744. George and his wife had at least five children - Jean, born 1748, Elizabeth, born 1750, Mary, born 1752, John, born 1754 and Margaret, born 1758, all at Mill of Auquharney. George died at Mill of Brogan in the adjacent parish of Slains in 1794 and is buried in Cruden kirkyard. Because of the names of his two known residences he may have been a miller.

Mary married Alexander Grant in 1761 and they probably had at least six children - Margaret, born 1760, Alexander, born 1762, John, born 1763, James, born 1765, Peter, born 1767 and Mary, born 1768. The first two children were baptized in Slains and the rest in Cruden. Mary senior died at Auquharney in 1798 and is buried in Cruden kirkyard.

Nothing is known of John, except that he was a witness at the baptism of George's son John in 1754, and was probably his brother.

Elizabeth married William Aberdein in 1757 and they went to live in Logie Buchan parish, having at least four children - Marjory, born 1758, Elspet, born 1760 and twins Jean and Mary, born 1762. Elizabeth died in 1797 at Auchleuchries in Cruden and is buried in Cruden kirkyard.

Patrick Sharp

It is not known when Patrick was born, but in 1748 he married Janet Hay at Cruden. Patrick and Janet had at least five children while living at Uppermill of Cruden, near the village of Hatton, where Patrick may have been the miller. The children were Margaret, born 1752, Andrew, born 1754, Elizabeth, born 1756, John, born 1758 and Jean, born 1762. It is not known when Patrick and Janet died but he was still alive in 1785, when he witnessed the baptism of his daughter Elizabeth's son Alexander. Patrick was also known as Peter, the latter name being used in his son John's baptism record.

Of Patrick and Janet's children, nothing further is known of Margaret and Jean. Andrew married Barbara Ligertwood and their life is described below.

Elizabeth married Alexander Hay in 1781 at Cruden, their marriage also being recorded at Slains, where Alexander came from. They went to live at Mill of Forvie in Slains, where Alexander may have been the miller, and had five children there.

John married Jane Brodie in 1795 at Old Machar, and they also went to live at Mill of Forvie. John and Jane had at least one child.

Andrew Sharp (b 1754)

Andrew Sharp was born in 1754 at Uppermill, Cruden and in 1786 he married Barbara Ligertwood, the daughter of John Ligertwood and Margaret Sangster. They set up home at Mill of Brogan in the adjacent parish of Slains, where Andrew may have been the miller. Andrew and Barbara had at least three children there, William, Andrew and George.

William was born in 1788 and may have married Christian Jameson and had one child. William went to live at Waulkmill of Auchmacoy in Logie Buchan parish with his younger brother Andrew, where they may have been the millers.

Andrew was born in 1791, married Ann Clubb in 1824, and their life is described below. George was born in 1793, but nothing further is known of him.

It is possible that Barbara died some time after George's birth as there is no further record of her. Andrew senior, however, was still alive in 1796.

Andrew Sharp (1791-1832)

Andrew was born in 1791 at Mill of Brogan, Slains, the second child of Andrew Sharp and Barbara Ligertwood. In 1824 he married Ann Clubb at Logie Buchan, the daughter of Margaret Manson, her father's Christian name being unknown. After their marriage they lived in Logie-Buchan parish, where Andrew was a farmer, although the name of their farm is not known. They had five children - Barbara, Mary Ann, George Cruden, David Cruden and Andrew.

Barbara was born in 1825 and married Alexander Marr in 1849. They had at least two children - Anne, born 1851 in Logie Buchan parish and George, born 1854 in Foveran parish, before Barbara tragically died in childbirth in 1856. Alexander remarried in 1866, his second wife being Mary Laing, with whom he had at least four children. Their youngest known child, Barbara, born 1873, married George Sharp, the son of David Cruden Sharp, i.e. Alexander's first wife's nephew (see below).

Mary Ann was born in 1826 in the manse of Logie Buchan, although the family presumably did not live there. In 1847 she married William Deans and their life is described below.

George Cruden was born in 1828 and was named after the minister of the parish, the Rev. George Cruden. George was still alive in 1841, but nothing further is definitely known of him. He was, however, possibly the George Sharp who in the 1881 census for Portsea, Hampshire, was described as aged 53, prison guard, born Scotland.

David Cruden was born in 1829 and was given his middle name after the minister. In 1859 he married Catherine Leith and their life is described below.

Andrew senior took on the tenancy of Tillyfour farm in Foveran parish in 1831 or 1832, but tragically he died in 1832 at the age of only 41. His wife Ann continued to run the farm of 58 acres, her son David later becoming the tenant. Ann died of a stroke in 1869, aged 78, and is buried with her husband in Logie Buchan kirkyard.


Grave of Andrew Sharp & Ann Club

Mary Ann Sharp (1826-85)

Mary Ann was born in 1826, the second child of Andrew Sharp and Ann Club. She was born in the manse of Logie Buchan, although the family presumably did not live there. In 1847 she married William Deans, the son of William Deans and Margaret Duncan, and they went to farm Bridgefoot of Tillery farm in Foveran parish, where they remained until at least 1881. They had at least eight children - David, born 1848, Margaret, born 1850, William, born 1852, Andrew, born 1854, Thomas, born 1856, Duncan, born 1858, Ann, born 1866 and Edward Ranken, born 1870, all in the parish. In the 1881 census, William junior was living at home and working as a tailor, while Andrew, Thomas, Annie and Edward were also still living on the family farm. Mary Ann died in 1885 of a stroke at the age of 59, and her husband William had died by 1897. The tenancy of the farm was taken on by their son Andrew, who remained unmarried, but by 1901 the rest of the family had left Bridgefoot. He was still farming Bridgefoot in 1905. In 1897 Duncan married his first cousin Mary Ann Sharp, the daughter of his mother's brother Andrew (see below). Nothing is known of the other children.

David Cruden Sharp (1829-1904)

David was the fourth child of Andrew Sharp and Ann Club and was born in Logie Buchan parish in 1829, the exact place not being known, although his father was a farmer. In 1831 or 1832 the family moved to Tillyfour farm in the adjacent Foveran parish, and his father died there soon afterwards in 1832. His mother continued to run the farm, David eventually taking over the tenancy, and living there the rest of his life. In 1858 he and Catherine Leith, the daughter of James Leith and Mary Kemp of Chance Inn farm in the neighbouring parish of Belhelvie, had a son, David. They married the next year and went on to have twelve children - David, Mary Ann, Catharine, Rachel, Barbara, Andrew, James, Elspet, George, William, Amy Clark and Isabella Leith. The lives of most of their children are described below.

David died in 1904 at the age of 74, having suffered from heart disease for several years. He left an estate of £429-13-9, the equivalent of as much as £150,000 today. Catherine went to live latterly with her son William in Aberdeen, where she died in 1925 at the age of 88. David and Catherine are buried in Logie-Buchan Kirkyard.

Grave of David Sharp & Catherine Leith


Andrew Sharp (1831-1901)

Andrew was born in 1831 in Logie Buchan parish, the fifth child of Andrew Sharp and Ann Club. By 1851 he had left home and was living with William Walker and his family at the Mill of Minnes, Foveran, while working as a carter. By 1869 Andrew was back in the family home at Tillyfour and is described in his marriage certificate as a grain merchant when he married Margaret Marr, the daughter of Alexander Marr and Mary Burr of Udny. Andrew and Margaret set up home in Aberdeen and while living there between 1870 and 1875 had at least three children - Mary Ann, Andrew and Margaret Chrystall. By 1881 the family had returned to the countryside and was living at the small village of Udny Station in Foveran parish, where Andrew continued his grain merchant's business, and also farmed a croft of 7 acres. By 1884 they had moved to the nearby Cultercullen farm. Andrew died of pneumonia in 1901 at the age of 70.

Andrew and Ann's first daughter Mary Ann was born in Aberdeen in 1870 and in 1897 she married her first cousin Duncan Deans, the son of William Deans and Mary Ann Sharp, her father's sister (see below).

Andrew and Ann's second child Andrew was born in 1872, attended Aberdeen Grammar School and later Aberdeen University, where he graduated M.A. in 1891. He went on to study medicine, but tragically he died in 1896 at the age of 24, supposedly of heart disease.

Their third child Margaret Chrystall was born in 1874 in Aberdeen. She remained unmarried and in 1901 was living with her elder sister Mary Ann and her family in New Milton, Hampshire, when she registered her father's death. In 1909 she died at Brighton, also on the English south coast, at the age of only 34.

Mary Ann Sharp (1870-1959) and Duncan Deans (1858-1938)

Duncan and Mary Ann were married in 1897 and were first cousins, Duncan being the son of Mary Ann Sharp and his wife being the daughter of Andrew Sharp. Mary Ann senior and Andrew were brother and sister, their parents being Andrew Sharp and Ann Club. Duncan was born in 1858 at Bridgefoot of Tillery, Foveran, where his father was the farmer. As a young man, he went to live and work in London, and in the 1881 census he is found working as a draper's assistant and living in a hostel for young men in Marylebone Lane adjacent to Oxford Street. This was run by Marshall & Snelgrove's department store for their employees. Soon after this Duncan went to live in South Africa, where he was in business, though the nature of it is not known. He was obviously successful, for after about 12 years he returned to Aberdeenshire and was able to purchase the farm of Upperton of Gask, Turriff. It was while farming there that he married his cousin Mary Ann Sharp in 1897. Soon after marrying, Duncan and Mary Ann moved to the south coast of England, though the reason for the move is unknown. They set up home at New Milton, Hampshire, where Duncan is described in the 1901 census as a retired farmer. Later that year they had a daughter, Winifred Margaret. A son Maxwell Duncan was born at nearby Lymington in 1907. Some time after 1911 the family returned to Scotland, where they settled in Banchory, Kincardineshire, living first at Norwood House and later at Beech Hill. Duncan died in 1938, aged 80, and Mary Ann eventually went to live with her daughter Winifred in Aberdeen, where she died there in 1959 at the age of 88.

Winnie was a very clever girl and graduated from both Aberdeen and Cambridge Universities, She obtained the degrees of M.A. and B.Sc. at Aberdeen, before continuing her studies at Newnham College, Cambridge, where she graduated B.A. and M.A., mathematics being her speciality. On leaving university in 1925, Winnie worked for a couple of years as a teacher of mathematics and physics at the County Secondary School for Girls, Harrow, Middlesex, before moving back to Scotland in 1927 to take up employment with the publishing firm of Blackie in Glasgow as assistant to the science editor. While in Glasgow she lived with her brother Maxwell in Strathbungo. In 1945 she returned to Aberdeen where she worked at the Commonwealth Bureau of Animal Nutrition at the Rowett Institute, where she remained until her retirement in 1966. On her death in 1990 at the age of 88, her estate, including a small volume of personal papers and many books of local studies interest, was bequeathed to Aberdeen University.

Maxwell also studied at Aberdeen University, where he obtained degrees of MA (1928) and LLB (1931). After qualifying in law, he went to Glasgow to work as a legal assistant with a firm of solicitors. While in Glasgow in the 1930s, he lived with his sister Winnie. During the Second World War he worked for the Ministry of Information in London, and remained there after the war, working for the Ministry of Housing & Local Government. When he retired he returned to Scotland, where he settled in Edinburgh. An enthusiastic amateur violinist, he was secretary of the Edinburgh Society of Musicians. In 1983 Maxwell died in a tragic accident while attending a concert at the Barbican Centre in London. During the interval, he was looking at paintings near the stairs, lost his footing, and fell down. He never regained consciousness. He was aged 76. Maxwell's papers were also bequeathed to Aberdeen University.

Winifred Deans

David Sharp (1858-1935)

David was born in 1858 at Chance Inn farm in Belhelvie parish, the first child of David Cruden Sharp and Catherine Leith. His parents married the following year and lived at Tillyfour farm, David senior's family home. In 1884, David junior married Jane Harris and by 1890 they were living at Tillery farm in Foveran parish, where David worked as a farm servant. By 1892 they had moved to Auchloon farm in the same parish. David and Jane had at least two children - Henry, born 1890, and Alexander Marr, born 1892. At some point the family moved to Aberdeen, where David found work as a water inspector. He died in 1935, at the age of 77.

Henry married and had at least one child, but nothing more is known of him. Alexander married Jamesina Milne and became the Northern Co-operative Society's grocery manager. The couple were tragically killed in 1953 in a motor accident at Johnstone Bridge in Dumfriesshire.

Alexander Marr Sharp

Jamesina Milne

Henry Sharp

Mary Ann Sharp (1860-1953)

Mary Ann, the second child of David Sharp and Catherine Leith, was born in 1860 at Tillyfour, Foveran and in 1882 she married James Murray, the son of George Murray and Christian Reid of the parish of Chapel of Garioch. After their marriage Mary Ann and James lived in the cottar house of Tillyfour, while James worked for his father-in-law. Eventually James took on the tenancy of Laighs of Cannahars in Belhelvie parish, where they were living in 1910. Later they moved to West Craig farm at Udny. James and Mary Ann had seven children. James died in 1914 and Mary Ann went to live with her daughter Chrissie and her family. She died in 1953 at the age of 93 at Old Wester Echt farm, Dunecht. James and Mary Ann are buried in Newmachar New Cemetery. (For more information on their children, see "The History of the Murrays").

Catharine Sharp (1861-1955)

Catharine, known as Kate, was born in 1861 at Tillyfour, the third child of David Sharp and Catherine Leith. She married John Argo Minto, a farmer, in 1888. After their marriage, they farmed at Pettymuck in Udny parish. They had three children there - Jeannie, born 1889, David Sharp, born 1891, and Catherine, born 1895. They then moved to the nearby West Craig farm, where John was born in 1898. John junior served in the Gordon Highlanders in the First World War, and was sadly killed in France in 1917. By 1911, the family had moved to Ardmore, another farm in Udny, where John senior died in 1922. Jeannie married Harry Duguid, a farm overseer, in 1919, and is last known of in 1972 at Lynhurst, Harvieston, Kinneff, Kincardineshire. David married Jeanie Johnstone in 1920 and is last known of at Little Haddo, Newburgh, Foveran in 1959. Catherine married Joseph Whyte Argo, a farmer, in 1923, and they are also believed to have gone to live in the Harvieston area. At some point, Catharine went to live with her daughter Jeannie at Harvieston, where she died in 1955 at the age of 93. Catherine and John are are buried in Udny Green Cemetery.

Rachel Sharp (1862-1959)

Born in 1862 at Tillyfour, the fourth child of David Sharp and Catherine Leith, Rachel married George Crevie, the registrar for Foveran parish and they lived in the village of Newburgh. Rachel and George had no children. In her later years, Rachel lived with her widowed younger sister Elsie in Torphins, before they both returned to Newburgh, where they lived in Clifton Cottage. Rachel died there in 1959 at the age of 96, and is buried in Foveran kirkyard.

Barbara Sharp (1865-1873)

Barbara was David and Catherine Sharp's fifth child and was born in 1865 at Tillyfour, but tragically died of meningitis in 1873 at the age of only 8. She is buried with her parents in Logie Buchan kirkyard.

Andrew Sharp (1866-1929)

Andrew, born in 1866 at Tillyfour, was the sixth child of David and Catherine Sharp. In about 1890, he left Aberdeenshire and found work as a prison warder in Glasgow. In 1892, he married Annie Laing, the daughter of John Laing and Ann Wood of Fintray, Aberdeenshire. They were married in Perth, though the reason for their wedding in that town is not known. Andrew eventually became the head warder of Duke Street Prison and later Barlinnie Prison, both in Glasgow. Andrew and Annie had two children, Andrew, born 1893, and William James (known as Jim), born 1901. Following his retirement from the prison service in the 1920s, Andrew worked as a house factor's clerk. He was a member of the Barony Church in the city centre, where he served as an elder. In 1929 he died of appendicitis in Glasgow Royal Infirmary, aged 62. Ann went to live with her son Jim and his family in Jordanhill in Glasgow, and died in 1955 at the age of 88.

William James (Jim) married Jane Carruth in 1937 and they went to live in Essex Drive, Jordanhill, in the west end of Glasgow. They had one son, James. James senior worked as a fire insurance surveyor and died in 1971 at the age of 69. Jane was still alive in 1986. Of his elder brother Andrew nothing is known after 1901, and he may have died young.

Andrew Sharp

James Sharp (1868-1907)

Born in 1868 at Tillyfour, James was the seventh child of David and Catherine Sharp. He died in 1907 at Ladysmith, South Africa, at the age of 38 and is commemorated on his parents' gravestone at Logie Buchan. The circumstances of his death are not known, but it is possible that he remained in South Africa after serving in the Boer War. The 2nd Battalion of the Gordon Highlanders, the infantry regiment of the north-east of Scotland, fought at Ladysmith.

Elspet Leith Sharp (1871-1961)

Elspet, known as Elsie, was the eighth child of David and Catherine Sharp, being born at Tillyfour in 1871. She married James Gordon Stewart, a wealthy Calcutta merchant, after his divorce from his first wife, and they lived at Newburgh House in the village of Newburgh in Foveran parish. Elspet was 27 years younger than her husband and they had no children, although James had two daughters by his first wife, as well as two illegitimate daughters. James died in 1909, leaving the huge sum of £10,226, and Elsie left Foveran to live firstly in Aberdeen, then in the 1920s she went to live with her widowed elder sister Rachel in Torphins, before they both returned to Newburgh. Elsie died at Clifton Cottage there in 1961 at the age of 90 and is buried in Foveran kirkyard.

For the story of James Gordon Stewart's eventful life click on his name.

George Sharp (1873-1945)

George was born in 1873 at Tillyfour, the ninth child of David and Catherine Sharp. As a young man he worked as a farm servant before joining the Renfrewshire Police in 1892. Later that year he transferred to the Kinning Park force. After five years he was promoted to sergeant. In 1904 he married Barbara Marr, also from Aberdeenshire, and the daughter of Alexander Marr by his second wife Mary Laing, his first wife having been Barbara Sharp (see above). In 1905 Kinning Park was incorporated into the City of Glasgow and George became a member of the Glasgow police force. After this his promotion continued and he became an inspector, then a lieutenant and finally a superintendent. His activities included suppressing the gang warfare prevalent in Glasgow in the 1920s. He retired in 1932. George and Barbara had three children, Albert George, born 1906, Amy Marr, born 1907 and Gordon Leith, born 1913. George died in Glasgow in 1945, aged 72, after which Barbara returned to Aberdeen with Amy and Gordon. Barbara died there in 1954. Albert is believed to have gone to live in Blyth, Northumberland, while Gordon qualified as a dentist. At some point he went to Nigeria, where he married Mary Anne Theresa Neary. They later returned to Scotland, where Gordon became a dentist in Aberdeen. He died in 2002. In 1949 Amy married David Wallace, who had been a next door neighbour in Glasgow, and died in Aberdeen in 1979.

George Sharp


William Sharp (1874-1930)

Born in 1874 at Tillyfour, the tenth child of David and Catherine Sharp, William married Elspet McDonald and at first became a farmer before settling in Aberdeen and finding work as a waterman. William and Elspet had no children and looked after William's mother following his father's death. William died of septicaemia in 1930 at the age of 56, an infection in his arm having led to blood poisoning. He left an estate of £3,369, a very considerable sum, approximately equivalent to £500,000 today.

Amy Clark Sharp (1876-1953)

Amy was born at Tillyfour in 1876, the eleventh child of David and Catherine Sharp. In 1906 she married James Davidson, a garage owner, and they went to live in the Spital, Aberdeen. They had two children, Catherine and James. Amy died in 1953 after breaking a leg, aged 76, her husband having already died.

Isabella Leith Sharp (1878-1964)

The twelfth and last child of David and Catherine Sharp, Isabella, known as Bella, was born in 1878 at Tillyfour. In 1917 she married Charles Rennie, a coal carter in Macduff, Banffshire, and they had two children. Bella was a widow by the time she died in Chalmers Hospital, Banff in 1964, at the age of 86.

© Robert James Carson 2003. All rights reserved.

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