Select Ewing Surname Genealogy

The Scottish McEwen genealogist has maintained that “the name Ewen is a distinctive, ancient, and not very common name, derived from the Gaelic Eoghan, meaning 'kind natured.'” 

Ewing origins have been debatable.  The Ewing clan website claimed a descent from Ewen of Otter who lived at Cnoc Mhic Eoghainn in Argyllshire in the 1300's.  Ewen had become Ewyne and then Ewing by the 16th century. 
The 'g' in Ewing appears to have been an addition made in the spelling by those of English speech.  This was because in pronouncing the name they give the final 'n' an 'ng' or nasal sound.

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Select Ewing Ancestry

Scotland While the origins of the Ewings may have been disputed, their appearance by the late 15th century in the Scottish Lowlands in an area around Loch Lomond is not.  Early Ewynes there included merchants, burgesses and priests.  The Ewings of Balloch were so named because they had purchased the lands of Balloch in Dumbartonshire in the mid-16th century.

William Ewing rose to prominence after he had been summoned to attend the court of Mary Queen of Scots in 1566.  Whether he benefited from the sponsorship of the Earl of Lennox is unclear.  Some accounts have claimed that William Ewing carried the standard for the Queen at the Battle of Langsidein 1568.  In any event he was soon granted a coat of arms.  Sometime later Findlay Ewing was settled on an estate at Ladytoun near Bonhill in Dumbartonshire.  The last of this line, the Ewings of Craigtoun, died out in the 18th century. 

Ewings were for the most part Presbyterian Covenanters, which put them at odds with the Stuart monarchy for much of the 17th century.  Because of religious persecution many Ewings departed for Ulster at this time (and later to America). 
Ewings in Scotland supported the Campbells in the doomed Argyll rebellion against King James in 1685 and some of their estates were forfeited. 

The Balloch line of Ewings later included William Leckie Ewing, a prominent Glasgow merchant of the early/mid 1800’s, and the Orr-Ewing baronets.  The first of these baronets built Ballikinrain castle in Dumbartonshire in 1868 as his home. 

Whether this history indicates that the Ewings should be considered as their own Scottish clan has been a matter of recent debate.

  The Ulster plantation that began in the early 1600’s became a sanctuary for persecuted Scottish Covenanters.  The Ewings who came there settled mainly in the environs of Coleraine in Londonderry county.  Others made their home in Donegal, but within a ten mile radius of Londonderry - on Inch Island and at Carnshanaugh.  John Ewing was said to have been at the siege of Londonderry in 1689. 

The best known of these Ewings had come in 1685 after the Argyll rebellion had collapsed.  According to tradition, six Ewing brothers fled Scotland at that time.  One of them was named Findlay and his son Thomas Ewing, born in 1690, departed Ulster for America in 1718.  Other Ewings followed him. 

The Ewing name did not disappear from Ulster, however.  John Ewing was a Belfast merchant trading with Barbados and was one of four partners who started the Belfast Bank in 1787.  Ewing’s, fishmongers of Belfast, has been going strong since the early 1900’s.

.  The first of these Scots Irish Ewings to come to America was Thomas Ewing who arrived in Southampton on Long Island in 1718.   Two years later he married Mary Maskell and they raised their children in Greenwich, New Jersey.  Their descendants included:
  • George Ewing, whose military diary of the Revolutionary War covered his winter at Valley Forge with Washington’s army
  • and his son Thomas Ewing, a country lawyer from Ohio who twice served as its Republican US Senator and held Cabinet posts in Washington before and after the Civil War.  Thomas Ewing and his family were covered in Kenneth Heineman's 2012 book Civil War Dynasty.
A large Ewing contingent crossed the Atlantic from Ireland in 1727 on the Eagle Wing, chartered by the Ewing family (which included Nathaniel and other sons of William Ewing plus a cousin Alexander). 

Nathaniel Ewing and his wife Rachel settled in Cecil county, Maryland.  One of their sons John was pastor of the First Presbyterian church in Philadelphia from 1759 until his death in 1802.  From another son William came John Hoge Ewing, a civic leader in Washington county, Pennsylvania during the 19th century.   James McMichael's 1999 book Alexander Ewing and Descendants meanwhile covered the line from Alexander Ewing.

Meanwhile old John Ewing, present at the siege of Londonderry, came to Lancaster, county, Pennsylvania in 1729.

“His sons had wanted to come to America, but their father being around 80 years of age, felt that he could not undertake the journey and they remained with him.  At length he determined to detain them no longer and for their sake came to America, saying that his bones could rest in the ocean or the New World as well as in Ireland.”

James Ewing was a cotton merchant from Edinburgh who came to Alabama in the 1840’s.  He died young, at the age of 46 in 1860, leaving a son Robert who was then just one year old.  Robert began working at the age of 13 as a messenger boy for Western Union.  He rose rapidly in work and became a prominent newspaper journalist, publisher and political figure in the state of Louisiana.  His son John and grandson Robert were both active in newspapers in the region.

Canada.  Ewings in Canada could have been Loyalists from America or crossed the ocean from Scotland or Ireland:
  • Benjamin Ewing from Vermont was one of the early settlers in 1798 in Haldimand township in the Niagara district of Ontario.  His original Benlock homestead there was handed down to his grandson Charles.
  • James Miller Ewing from Dumbartonshire in Scotland came to St. Johns, Newfoundland sometime in the 1830’s
  • while Samuel H. Ewing arrived in Montreal from Londonderry in Ireland in the 1860’s.  He was the founder of S.H. Ewing and Sons, a company active in the importation and manufacture of spices, teas, and coffees and also held banking interests.  Samuel H. Ewing presided over the company until his death in 1923.
Select Ewing Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

Select Ewing Names

William Leckie Ewing was a prominent Glasgow merchant in the early 1800’s. 
Thomas Ewing
was a country lawyer from Ohio who twice served as its Republican US Senator and held Cabinet posts in Washington before and after the Civil War.
Robert Ewing
was a newspaper publisher and political figure in Louisiana of the late 19th and early 20th century.
J.R. Ewing
was head of the fictional Ewing family in the 1978-1991 TV series Dallas.

Select Ewings Today
  • 8,000 in the UK (most numerous in Glasgow)
  • 13,000 in America (most numerous in Texas) 
  • 7,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)

Select Surnames

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 500 surnames.

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