PHOTO ABOVE: View from Doon Hill near Dunbar, Scotland looking east towards the North Sea. Site of the Battle of Dunbar 3 Sep 1650. The photo was taken by Kirsten Fredrickson in July 2015 and shared with her permission.

Published: 7 March 2013
Updated/Edited: 17 May 2016

Here’s tae the heath, the hill and the heather,
The bonnet, the plaid, the kilt and the feather.

You have found the web/blog site for the Scottish prisoners of war from the Battle of Dunbar on 3 Sep 1650 and the Battle of Worcester on 3 Sep 1651. No, that is not a typo, the battles did take place on the same day, just one year apart. These are two of the battles fought during the Third English Civil War (1649-1651).

The Battle of Dunbar took place in Dunbar, East Lothian, Scotland. The Scottish army commanded by David Leslie fought against the English Parliamentarian forces under Oliver Cromwell. The Scots were defeated and thousands of Scottish soldiers were taken as prisoners of war. They were forced to march to Durham Cathedral where they arrived on 11 Sep 1650. Many died and were buried in mass graves while at the cathedral. Eventually, approximately 150 of the survivors were deported from England in November 1650 to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, arriving in Charlestown (now incorporated into Boston) in December 1650. They were indentured into hard labor and after their six to eight year stint, the ones who survived, bought land, married, and settled down to rear families. Many of them have thousands of descendants now living throughout the United States.

Recent archaeological finds near Durham Cathedral have confirmed that Scottish prisoners of war were buried in mass graves. See: SPOWs in the News

The Battle of Worcester took place in Worcester, Worcestershire, England. It was the LAST battle of the English Civil Wars. The Scottish Royalists under “ Charles II attempted to forcefully regain the crown, in the fields a little to the west and south of the city, near the village of Powick,” from Wikipedia. The Scottish Royalists were defeated and thousands were taken prisoner. About 272 of them were exiled to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1652, there is some speculation that some, if not most, of these prisoners were actually taken to the Virginia Colony as well as Barbados. They also served six to eight years each and many of them lived to own land, marry and rear families. There are also thousands of their descendants living today in the United States.

This web/blog site is an effort to bring together the known facts of these prisoners. They left their Scottish homes for war, never expecting that if they survived the battle, they would never see their homeland again.

By working together, we hope to knock down some of our brick walls. One of our main goals is to eventually discover the birthplaces of our Scottish ancestors in Scotland. We will be using the usual research practices to do so, as well as a Y-DNA study. It is essential that you also join us at our Scottish War Prisoners Yahoo Group where we can answer your questions, put you into contact with more information, and perhaps help you find a new cousin.

Slàinte! (to your) Health!
~Teresa (Hamilton/Pepper) Rust, Founder/Owner and Super Admin

Scottish Prisoners of War Yahoo Group
Y-DNA Study

Co-Administrators of this site:
~Tod Robbins
~Elizabeth (Bowe) Boggs

Administrators of the DNA Study:
~John Cleary – Lead Administrator
~Elizabeth (Bowe) Boggs
~Teresa (Hamilton/Pepper) Rust

Inside Durham Cathedral June 2011 on a privately arranged tour!

Inside Durham Cathedral June 2011 on a privately arranged tour! Courtesy of Teresa (Hamilton/Pepper) Rust.



95 Responses to Welcome!

  1. nancy bauer says:

    Teresa….the website geni,com “Scots Prisoners and their Relocation in the Colonies 1650-1654”
    included 3 men who worked at the Great Works sawmills who are not on your list….one, David Hamilton is on your John and Mary list and his family sheet at ancestry.com says that is how he arrived. The other two, however, James Barry and John Taylor are not on the J & M list. State. in their genealogies they came on the Unity.. They stayed on, settling in Berwick. Does that make your 150 Scots?. Check it out!
    Elnathan .Dunckley was not a Scottish prisoner as you note but must have come on the Unity either as a passenger as French concluded, or .possibly, a crew member who came on the Unity from London on its return trip and stayed,

    • We do have a James Taylor on the Unity list, he is #135 maybe he was this same John Taylor, James and John are common names that could have been easily mixed up by transcribers… By adding James Barry to the Unity list that would make 150…I need to check it out more. As to Elnathan Dunckley, I will pass this info. on to his descendant to further investigate. Thank you for your helpful information!! 🙂

      • Myron Smith says:

        I am also very interested in John Taylor – he is one of my ancestors. I strongly suspect that the “James” Taylor listed on the prisoners list at the Lynn Iron Works was actually John Taylor. On that 1653 list was also a Peter Grant. By 1655 John Taylor was living in Unity Parish (now Berwick) and just one house away was a Peter Grant. One final piece of very suggestive evidence is the fact that the Gen. Dict of ME and NH does not list any “James Taylor”, but it does well describe this John Taylor of Berwick.

  2. Jeanne Paxton Fisher says:

    What do you know about Duncan Stuart? Interesting! Thanks.

    • Jeanne, Are you a descendant of Duncan Stuart?
      Duncan Stuart died on 30 Aug 1717, about 100 years old; he married Ann Winchurst; she died 9 Jul 1729; they had TEN children; Four lasses and Six laddies; Duncan lived in Ipswich, Essex, MA in 1656, then moved to Newbury, MA in 1659 and then to Rowley, MA in 1680; he was a ship’s carpenter. Three of his sons had sons, so all surname descendants are though those sons: James b 1664 in Newbury, Samuel b 1672 in Newbury and Ebenezer (b 1676 in Newbury) Stuart/Stewart. SEE: Centennial History of Harrison, Maine

      • jane danforth says:

        hello Teresa..I am a descendant of Duncan Stuart and his son Ebenezer Stuart…I am trying to find out where in Scotland Duncan is from and his family..what would DNA studies show?..thank you Jane

      • Peg Plummer says:

        I’ve been trying to prove my family connection to Duncan Stewart for a while now. He was never a ship builder. He was a farmer who was a tenant of one of the Dummer Family when he lived in Newbury (the land is now the Caldwell Farm Estates). After he moved to Rowley he was able to buy and sell land in Massachusetts and in the Maine Province.

    • Michele says:

      My Stewart line is from Duncan’s son James then thru his daughter Hannah. She married Samuel Trask from Salem who moved to Freetown, Maine. Duncan’s line goes back to the Stewart’s of Appin.

  3. Suggest you join this group if your father did DNA test. Only way you might find a match in Scotland and a guide to where in Scotland the family originated. Very very unlikely to find paper records of his parentage.



  4. jeanne p. fisher says:

    I am a descendant of Archibald Stuart who came to Va. in mid 1700s. There may be a connection to Duncan,but I am unaware of it.

  5. Laura says:

    If I’m reading correctly, you said your husband was a descendant of Duncan Stewart. Is he a Stewart (ie direct descendant)? Has he had a genealogy DNA test done? I’m interested to see if my Rowley Co Mass Stewarts match that line at all.

  6. jeanne p. fisher says:

    There must be some mistake here. I am a descendant of Archibald Stuart.

  7. Jeanne, I think we have two conversations going on here. To what mistake are you referring?

  8. Hi, I’m a descendant of Elnathan Dunkley, and would appreciate any information on him. I’ve been trying to figure out how he ended up on the Unity with Scottish Prisoners. Was he Scottish? If he was, where was he from? If he wasn’t, where was he from? I’ve dead ended on my research with him and anything from Britain would be appreciated.

    • Please email me offlist and I will be able to give you some information about this. Teresa Rust at read2befree@yahoo.com

    • sorrynameinuse says:

      I too am a decendantof Elnathan Dunckley. My records show that he was indentured in Dedham, Ma. to( Anthony Fisher, Sen.) I belive that he was a prisoner and will research further. Family history had said that Elnathan was put on the ship by an uncle so the uncle could inheirit the family estates in Scotland, but I have not found any thing to back this up.

      Nancy Bauer, what do you have that says he was not a prisoner?

  9. Joe Bissett says:

    I am the FTDNA administrator for the Bisset(t) surname. My line is from Aberdeen and we have 5 “cousins” identified through Y-DNA matching. One is a descendent of my GGF’s older brother.

    I also conduted some research for a friend on ELNATHAN Tarte. I believe that the overwhelming preponderance of given name use of Elnathan was in NW Shropshire, if that is any help.

  10. Dave Michnal says:

    I was looking at the Dunbar Prisoners list and comparing it to research re my ancestor Fennel Ross and I noticed a correlation. The Dunbar Prisoners list has a John Ross, Finlay Ross, and Gilchrist Ross…and research indicates that there were three possible brothers Ross called Fennel Ross, John Ross, and Killcross Ross living in Ipswich, MA as indentured servants in the 1650s….I think they must be the same men. Thoughts?

  11. LauraDove S says:

    My ancestor is John Neal. There is also an Andrew Neill and I’m wondering if they are related? John later had a son, Andrew, who married Catherine Furnish (undoubtedly dau. Of William Furnish, also a prisoner).
    Any information can help!
    I wld like to join the DNA project as well (I looked at their website), but will need to ask my brother for a sample. . .

  12. Robin Moore says:

    Hello to everyone…just found the site while looking up more info on my ancestor William Munro (Monroe). Even though no one can prove his name was on the passenger list, it is generally accepted that his was the one with the first name missing on the passenger list. I have done my Family Finder DNA test and would be glad to share those results even if they don’t help much. I would also be glad to share my genealogy and family history with anyone who is interested. I would also be interested in talking to any of the Stewart/Stuart descendants too as I am a Stewart as well! I do have a lot of data that I would be willing to share so if anyone is interested, let me know! I am SO glad I found this site! I am also related to John McCoon who was on the same ship as William Munro and can provide info on him. I believe I am blood related to John, but am still putting that part of my tree together after suffering two major computer crashes and losing much data….. its okay tho…. I am finding it again and more! So glad to be here!!

  13. Hello! I just found your blog. and the Scottish prisoners site. I am a descendant of John Maccoon, who is on the French List. He worked at the Saugus Iron Works and later owned land in MA and RI. Does anyone know if there is a group working on his history and descendants?
    I am also possibly a descendant of the John Clark on the list, and probably William Thompson. Those surnames intermarried in the next generation and I am working on sorting it out.

  14. Marion Belle Steele Gonzales, 11416 Parakeet Circle, Leesburg, FL 34788 says:

    I have traced my Moody ancestry back from my grandmother Addie Belle Moody to Clement Moody and am looking for more information on Clement Moody. Very interesting that his father may be Ingraham Moody and NOT Caleb Moody….

    My lineage from Clement, 1661-1729:
    Philip, 1697-1769 Kingston, NH.
    Daniel baptized in Kingston, NH 1727 and died in Unity, 1796.
    Josiah, 2nd born c 1755-1809, died Unity, NH.
    Elias born Unity, NH 1771-1856, buried Newport, NH.
    Jonathan, born in Unity, NH 1801 and moved and died in Claremont, NH 1883.
    George Washington Moody, born 1845 Claremont – died 1918 buried in Claremont.
    Addie Belle Moody, 1875-1940

  15. David Law says:

    I am a descendent of John Law (Born 1635 in Scotland) of Acton,MA he shows up there around 1655. We believe he was brought to the colonies as a prisoner of war from the Dunbar or Worcester battle. I cannot find any documentation proving or disapproving he was a prisoner of war. I am willing to become part of the DNA project to see if this belief is correct.

  16. Through ancestry.com, I’ve traced on my mother’s side (Furbush) to a William Furbush, born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland in 1631, making him about 19 during the Battle of Dunbar. I’m having trouble finding family history before him but there seems to be record that he came to the colonies and settled, and passed away in Kittery, Maine. Any help would be great, thanks!

  17. Jim & Mary Way Gallivan says:

    Hi, Mary’s 9 G Grandfather is George DARLING b. abt 1615 bp East Lothain, Sct. d 1693 dp Salem, Essex Co. MA. He m. Katherine ? 31 Mar 1657 in Lynn, Essex Co. Ma. I do not have her death date. We have no info on when or how he came to MA Colony. Would love to be able to prove that he is the Geo. DARLING that you referenced.
    Please advise next step.
    Thank you

  18. Paul says:

    Hello, I am a descendant of Edward Grant b. 1632/37 . He is on several lists as a ship carpenter on the “John and Sarah” arrived in Boston 1652. I am looking for his kin and or ancestors. I have yet done DNA. My Grandfather was the last male Grant from my line to Edward.

  19. Ginny Laramee says:

    I am a descendent of Duncan Stewart and I am wondering if Alexander Stewart was Duncan`s brother. I believe they came over on the same ship. There also appears to be a question of Duncan`s wife`s maiden name. Is it Winchurst or Winchester? Does anyone know who of Duncan and Anne`s children relocated to Maine? Any information would be appreciated. Thank you,Ginny

    • Hi, Ginny! My husband is also a descendant of Duncan Stuart. Please join our Scottish War Prisoners Yahoo Group where you’ll meet other desc. of Duncan and can get some help with your questions. scottish_war_prisoners-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

      • Ginny Laramee says:

        I have joined this group with Yahoo. How do I view or post my questions? Do I need to set up a Yahoo email? Thank you, Ginny Laramee

        • Just send a message to: scottish_war_prisoners@yahoogroups.com
          I would suggest starting by introducing yourself and your immigrant ancestor and then let us know what kind of information you are seeking. ~ Teresa

        • Marion Belle Steele Gonzales, 11416 Parakeet Circle, Leesburg, FL 34788 says:

          This comment is in general and not necessarily for Ginny Laramee, but for anyone interested in replying to me. I, too, am not familiar with yahoo and would just like my replies to go to my email address below, marionbgonzales@hot mail.com even though I have a yahoo account I don’t go there often. I am a descendant of Clement Moody and have come to a dead end in my ancestry research as to who his father really was, Caleb Moody or the Scottish POW Ingraham Moody??? Does anyone have any further information on this mystery or evidence linking Clement to either Moody family tree? Any Moody family members who would like to get in touch with me would be nice, see how /if we fit in each others family tree. Thanks, Marion Belle Steele (grand daughter of Addie Belle Moody who married Fred Gilbert Steele).

          • I will pass your information on to the Yahoo Group researchers for Ingraham Moody. Hopefully, someone will have an answer for you. 🙂

          • Marion Belle Steele Gonzales, 11416 Parakeet Circle, Leesburg, FL 34788 says:

            Thanks, I appreciate it. Also wondering how the DNA works? I am on ancestry now and I know they offer DNA testing, too… Would a DNA test help prove if I am in the Scottish POW Moody line? Is one DNA test all you need from any source? Price/cost? Thank you for any help! 🙂

    • Michele says:

      I descend from Duncan’s granddaughter who married Samuel Trask from Salem. They moved to Freetown Maine

  20. daverindy says:

    Other information on this prisoner can be googled.
    I’m interested in learning more about where Daniel was born and raised in Scotland. And proof of same.
    Daniel Robinson was born in Scotland in 1627 to Richard and Mary.1 The first mention of him in America is found in the Suffolk Deeds recorded in 1652 by Edward Rawson a Massachusetts Bay Colony clerk. Daniel Robins was captured at the Battle of Worcester in September of 1651 and banished to New England on the ship John & Sara. The ship carried approximately two-hundred and seventy-four Scottish prisoners of war destined for New England to be sold as indentured servants to ironworks, sawmills, merchants and plantation owners. Traditional Robbins family history gives the possible place of service for Daniel Robinson as New Haven Colony with the Foote family.

    The correct spelling of Daniel’s Scottish surname is unknown. Primary documents for Daniel Robinson in New England were located and examined. The records show his name as Robinson, Robison and Robbinson. Daniel Robinson was unable to write; therefore the spelling of his name was left to the discretion of the recorder. After Daniel Robinson migrated to New Jersey, he was known as Daniel Robinds/Robins.

    The original handwritten New Haven Vital Records indicates Daniel Robinson and Hope Potter were married by Mr. Gilbert on February 10, 1663/4. Hope was the daughter of William and Frances Potter. The original baptismal record for Hope Potter from The First Church of Christ at New Haven Connecticut was also extracted and carefully examined. This record reveals Hope’s baptism occurred “ye 19th 10th month 1641” or December 19th, 1641. At this time the Old Style Calendar was used and the 10th month was December.

    The births of Daniel and Hope’s first two children, Mary and Daniel are recorded in the New Haven Vital Records. When England opened land in New Jersey for settlement, Daniel, Hope and their two children migrated from New Haven to Woodbridge, New Jersey. According to Woodbridge Vital Records, their third child daughter Lydia was born in Woodbridge on July 25, 1668. Daniel Robins purchased 17 acres of land at Woodbridge on October 15, 1669 and another 173 acres on March 18, 1669/70. He served the Woodbridge community as tax collector, constable and overseer of highways. Nine of the eleven children of Daniel & Hope were born at Woodbridge. The exact date of Hope’s death is not known. On November 7, 1695, Daniel Robins bought 500 acres of land on Chestnut Brook near Clarksburg in Monmouth County, New Jersey. Soon after, he settled on this land. The will of Daniel Robins of Crosswicks in Monmouth County was written on June 22, 1714 and probated August 18, 1714. Source: Robins, Robbins of New Jersey, pg #6 by John W. Taylor, Jr. & Sara Robbins Hoffman
    I’d like to know more about my ancestor. Where were the prisoners born? Some sites say Athol, but no sources for the info.

    • Peggy Williams Vigoren says:

      My name is Peggy Vigoren, I believe I am a descendant of Daniel Robbins and his son, Nathanial Robbins. I received an ancestry DNA match to Daniel Robbins, but I am not sure how to join the group or how to link the match. Thank you.

  21. Jack Hamilton says:

    For interested Hamiltons, the Book “Hamiltons of Waterboro” available through Amazon details the ancestry of a large number of Hamiltons who settled in the Southeast sections of Maine and New Hampsshire. My earliest Hamilton ancestor was one David Hamilton, captured in the Battle of Dunbar, and brought to America as an indentured servant. The above genealogy traces from David in 1651 through my grandfather, born in Brockton in 1896. It also traces backward into Scotland and confirms my research through Ancestry.com.

  22. Ed Baugh says:

    Like DAVERINDY in an above response, I too am a descendent of Daniel Robbins. “The Exile of Daniel Robins to America in 1652,” by Sara Robins Hoffman [Family History Library, Salt Lake (929.273 A1 no. 7815)] is a good source

    • Yes, Sara’s book is a good source and can be found in our pages… May I encourage you to join us at our Yahoo Group? Scottish War Prisoners at Yahoo… This blog here is fully searchable. Please search for Robbins and see what you find! You’ll see the search box on the right side of the page.

  23. Gary Stewart says:

    I am a descendant of Alexander Stewart. I believe he and Duncan Stewart were brothers.

  24. Jane Danforth says:

    sorry name is wrong..Jane Danforth…

  25. Gary Stewart, you can join the Scottish POW Y-DNA Study and John Cleary will help you with deciding which test to take and can tell you the price, etc.

  26. Jane Danforth, It is best to use Family Tree DNA. Did you get the kit for your husband or brother?

    • Jane Danforth says:

      well i already got the ancestry kit..as my Mother was adopted and all I have is her mothers’ name and where she is from..so I want to find out something about that side of the family..what is the advantage of my brother taking the Family DNA test/

  27. mizruthie says:

    Hi there. I’m Ruth Ross McClelland. I was looking for history on British wars in 1652, as that’s the year my ancestor, John Ross, B abt 1630 in Scotland, was captured and brought to the Colonies and sold as a ‘slave’. I’m so fortunate to have stumbled upon this page. Could you tell me more about this DNA testing?

  28. Duty says:

    Outside of caucasian child of God I Dont know who I am.Searching for answers.I have read that the further into the past you can see determins how far into the future you can see.I did have a very interesting conversation with a distant relative about our family being scottish prisoners who got dropped off in the carolinas.So basicly just enough info to make me want more.So as I was searching through this internet I found this site.Any and all info would be greatly appreciated.Would like to be able to tell my children more about our people than we were kidnapped and dropped off in the middle of nowhere to mate with “natives”.I have studied ALOT of history.But mostly just human history.Lots and lots of disinformation to weed through.Anyway,Ilook forward to corresponding with someone about this.

  29. I recently saw a post concerning Daniel Black (1620) who is my 9th great uncle and a POW from Cromwell’s enslavement and sent to America as an indentured servant. He supposedly is the brother of my 8th Great Grandfather, John Black IV (1620). I am looking into purchasing the books you listed in your post on Ancestry.com to further research this history of my ancestors.

    I was led to this site but have not found your post about Daniel. Still going through the archives. Thanks for the insight and leads to filling the holes in my ancestry.

    D Black

  30. Jean Paradis says:

    I am a descendant of William Furbish of Kittery, ME, through his daughter, Hopewell Furbish Hutchins Wilson. I believe William was a prisoner of the Battle of Dunbar.

    • Alice F. says:

      Hi! I believe I am a direct descendant of Daniel Farrabas/Forbush/Forbes, assumed brother of William. It seems these two prisoners came across the Atlantic together in the Unity. William was sent to the saw mills in Kittery, ME, and Daniel was placed into indentured servitude with a Massachusetts merchant. Daniel eventually married twice, producing descendants with both wives. I descend through the first son (John) of his second marriage with Deborah Ridiat. I don’t know if these two men ever caught up with each other after gaining their respective freedoms. So, “Hello!” from a cousin of the nth-degree. 🙂

  31. tom edmister says:

    the genealogical research done on our family by frank custer administer jr indicate our 1st ancestor was john edminsteirie a prisoner from the battle of dunbar. he arrived with 200 other scottish prisoner in boston early in 1652 on the ship john and sara that sailed from london on or about 11-8-1651. his research printed in 1965(the edminister in america) included trips to british isle and the continent uncovered no record to the name edminsteirie. this treatise is in the lds records. if any one has come upon earlier records of the name edminsteirie i would appreciate the info. thanx tom edmister

  32. tom edmister says:

    dear folks, sorry about the misspelling of frank custer edminster’s name on my post some time my spell check is over anxious. tom edmister

  33. Mike Burner says:

    Teresa- Thank-you for setting up the page for John Maccoon. You have already placed my name on the page of which I agree to. Is there anything else I need to do to establish this page or is it done? Also, who is George S. Stewart? It has been assumed, in the past, that John McHolme, on the John and Sara list, and John Maccoon were one in the same. So I was surprised when Maccoon was considered part of the Dunbar prisoners.

  34. Phyllis Hell says:

    My name is Phyllis and I am a descendant of Alexander Stewart, my brothers and I do not bear the name of stewart, but my cousins are direct lines if you have not found anyone i would love to see if i could get my cousins involved.


  35. susan stokes says:

    Looking for info on Virgil preston mcnabb.married arminda trout. Had daughter rosa mcnabb who married william berrong they were my granda3grandfather nevery betrongs grandparents.

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