The World of Grandpa Don

The Fleming Family Line 

Our story of the Fleming Ancestors begins in Scotland and goes to Pennsylvania for several generations when it merges into the Copeland family line.

 This line includes a questionable  and undocumented link from the "Oil Creek Flemings" and the Fleming Earls of Scotland. Due to this question, the Scottish portion of the line is is serious doubt.  However, if not ancestors, they are Cousins. See "Questionable Parenthood" below.

Much of the information was derived from various family trees of and  we have done our best to weed out inconsistencies and errors. Please report to us any corrections that come from better sources. 

This is their story, as I know it.

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Name & Family Origins

It was generally accepted that people with the surname Fleming in the British Isles had Flemish origins having come from Flanders or the Belgium/Duch region of Europe and the name was assumed by any number of families of this origin. Apparently this is not so. According to THE NORMAN FAMILY OF FLEMING, A History by F Lawrence Fleming, the name originated in one individual, Erkenbald the Fleming who lived in Normandy and arrived in the British Isles at the time of the Norman Conquest around the year 1066. Mr. Fleming, in his history, gives us a listing of several generations of the descendants of Erkenbald the Fleming but unfortunately we can not extend that line to our Fleming family however likely that connection may be.

In The British Isles

We will start our tail of Scottish ancestors with John, 5th Lord of Fleming. He is believed to have been born about 1650, the son of Malcolm Fleming, 3rd Lord Fleming, lord high chamberlain, by his wife Johanna or Jonet Stewart,  illegitimate daughter of King James IV. (See the House of Stewart page) He succeeded his brother James Fleming, 4th Lord Fleming. He was Governor of Dunbarton Castle in 1565, and made the Principal Master Usher of the Queen's Chamber. He supported of Mary, Queen of Scots, fighting for her at the Battle of Carberry Hill, and theBattle of Langside. He accompanied her, on her flight to England in 1568, and returned to Scotland in 1569. He held Dunbarton Castle for the Queen until 1571, when he escaped to France and returned shortly before his death in 1572.

He married on 10 May 1562, Elizabeth Ross (died after 14 April 1578), only child of Robert Ross, Master of Ross by his wife Agnes Scott. They had children:

  •  John Fleming, later 6th Lord Fleming later 1st Earl of Wigtown

  • Margaret Fleming, married after 19 April 1588, Sir James Forrester of Carden Elizabeth Fleming (died after 24 September 1579)

  • Jane Fleming (died October 1630), married after 1582/3 William Bruce of Airth

  • Mary Fleming, married after 9 December 1581, Sir James Douglas, 8th of Drumlanrig, and had issue.

 While John was defending Dumbarton Castle against the supporters of James VI in 1570 in the cause of Mary, Queen of Scots, his young family was harassed at his houses at Biggar and Cumbernauld Castle byRegent Lennox's men. It was reported;

"they wald noct suffir his wyf within na boundes (expelled from her home), thre infantis with hir, the eldest of thame nocht thre yeir auld, schaiking thame furct of ther claythes and bedding most schamefullie ... and ther is twa of thame can noct speik."

As well as the farm livestock the King's men took his deer and wild white cattle for Lennox's table in Edinburgh.

Note: His parents, Malcom Fleming and Johanna,  or Jonet, or Janet Stewart would be my 12th great grandparents and James IV of Scotland would be my 13th great grandfather, another Royal line in my heritage, But that's another story for another time. But for a very fascinating story of our 12th great grandmother, see Janet Stewart. She led a VERY interesting life indeed.


John 1st Earl of Wigtown Fleming (1566-1619) & Lady Lillias Graham (1570-1605)

John was born at Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland in Jul 1566 succeeding his father to become the 6th Lord Fleming. In 1606 He was given lands and the title Earl of Wigtown for service to the king. He married Lady Lillias Graham, born Apr 1570 at Montrose, Lanarkshire, Scotland. She was the daughter of John "3rd Earl of Montrose" Graham and Lady Jean Drummond.

We know of 8 children of this marriage:

  • Jean Fleming b 1586

  • Anne Wigton Fleming b 1588

  • John Fleming b 09 Dec 1589

  • James Fleming b 1591

  • Lilias Fleming b 1598

  • Sir Thomas Fleming b 1605 (in England)

Lady Lillias died in 1603 at Perth, Perthshire, Scotland and Lord John on 16 Apr 1619 at Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland.


John 2nd Earl of Wigtown Fleming (1589- 1650) & Lady Margaret Livingston (1587-1634)

The first son of Lord John and Lillias was John, born 09 December, 1589 at Kincardine, Perthshire, Scotland. He became the 2nd Earl of Wigtown at the age of 30 upon the death of his father in 1619. He married Lady Margaret Livingston on 20 Feb 1609 at Cumbernauld, Lanarkshire, Scotland. She was the daughter of Alexander Livingstone Baron Livingstone Earl of Linlithgow and Eleanor Helen Hay. Her grandfather was Sir Andrew Eroll Hay.

We are aware of 10 children from this marriage:

  • John b 1610

  • Captain Alexander b 1612

  • Malcom b 1614

  • William b 1614

  • Ursula b 1615

  • Lady Elenore b 1616

  • Jean b 1620

  • Helen b 1624

  • Margaret b 1626

Ursula married John Tarleton and they migrated to Virginia Colony in America sometime before 1637 where she died in 1680

Lady Margaret died in 1634 at Cumbernaud, Lanarkshire, Scotland and John on 07 May 1650 at the same place.


John 3nd Earl of Wigtown Fleming (1610 - 1664) & Jane Drummond (1620 - 1663)

John Fleming was the first child of John and Lady Margaret and was born at Perth, Perthshire, Scotland in 1610. He became the 3rd Earl of Wigtown in 1650 at the age of 40. He married Jane Drummond who was born at Perth, Perthshire, Scotland in 1620. Her parents were John (Earl of Perth) Drummond and Jean Ker both of whom descended from long lines of Scottish noble families. See Drummond Castle

We are aware of 8 children of this marriage;

  • John b 1634

  • James b 1638

  • Harry b 1640

  • Archibald b 1642

  • Captain Charles b 1644

  • Margaret b 1646

  • Lilias b 1648

  • Jean b 1650

The third son, Harry emigrated to America and died at Sumerset, Pensylvania in 1709. It is not known if he married.

Jane died 12 Jan 1663 at Cumbernauld, Dunbartonshire, Scotland and John, the following year on 01 Feb 1664 at the same place.


John Fleming (1634 - 1665) & Anne Ker (1638-1673)

John was born in 1634 at Cumbernauld, Lanarkshire, Scotland. He became the 4th Earl of Wigtown in 1644 at the age of 10. On 05 Dec 1660 he married Anne Ker, a distant cousin of his grandmother and daughter of Harry Lord Ker and MARGARET HAY. Anne had been born in 1638 at Cumbernauld, Lanarkshire, Scotland.

The family apparently divided their time between Cumberland, Scotland and Cookstown, Tyrone in Ireland. This was a period when the English government, of which Scotland was now joined, was confiscating land in Ireland and giving it to Scotch protestants in order to dilute the Catholic population of Northern Ireland.

We are aware of 5 children of this marriage;

  • Patrike b 1657 in Scotland

  • Malcolm b 1658 in Ireland

  • Jean King b 1660 in Ireland

  • Sir Charles b 1666 in Scotland

  • Lord John b 1670 in Scotland

Patrike married Margaret Coothille and had one son, William who was born in Scotland. His family migrated to Pennsylvania in America after 1662.

John died 01 Apr 1665 at Cumbernauld, Lanarkshire, Scotland at the age of 31 and Anne Nov 1673, presumably at the same place at the age of 35.


Malclom Fleming (1658 - 1730) & Jean King ( 1660 - 1760)

Malcolm was born 04 Feb 1658 at Cookstown, Derryloran, Tyrone, Ireland. He married Jean King, born in the same town in 1660. Her parents are unknown. Some family trees have her as the daughter of John Fleming and Anne Ker, an obvious error since that would make her the sister of her husband. Malcolm is reported to have a sister named Jean King but King was a given name, not a surname and the dates of birth for the two women are different. 

Of their children, only 2 are known to us;

  • Malcolm b 1681 at Cookstown, Tyrone, Ireland

  • William b 13 Sep 1691 at Kirkintilloch, Dunbarton, Scotland

There may have been additional children but we have not been able to verify any additional information.  Their son Malcolm married a Martha, surname unknown, and lived his life in Cookstown, raising 4 children.

Malcolm died in 1730 at Cookstown.  Jean, if her date of death is correct, lived to 100, dying in 1760 at Cookstown. Ireland.


William Fleming (1691 - 1750) & Martha N (1691 - 1750)

William Fleming was born at Kirkintilloch, Dunbarton, Scotland on 13 Sep 1691. He married Martha N (surname unknown) She was reportedly born in Scotland in 1691. The marriage date has been listed as 05 Dec 1714 but that is in doubt since their first two children were born prior to that date. Martha's dates of birth and death are also in question as it does not seem likely that they are identical to her husband's.

The Children of this marriage, all born in Scotland, were;

  • John H b 1710

  • Alexander b 1711

  • Robert b 1715

  • Agnes b 1716

  • William b 1717

  • Isabel b 1721

William and Martha both died in Scotland reportedly in 1750. All their children Immigrated to America. 


In America -

4th Great Grandparents - Questionable Parenthood

John H Fleming (1710-1790) & Sarah L Reed (1749-1812)

The following is based on the assumption that our John Fleming was actually the son of William Fleming of Scotland (above). However, this information is based on undocumented family trees and may or may not be factual. If he was not the son of William, the individuals above who lived in Ireland and Scotland (above) were not our ancestors. However, It has been found that they were our cousins. See Relationship Chart

In 2016 I recieved this from Linda W. Lyons:

I am looking at your Fleming postings to see what people are saying about Malcolm Fleming d. 1720 (found probate in 1720; 1730 date speculation from Publicus Lawson). I see you have a baptism record. However I doubt that he was son of 4th Earl who was succeeded by a brother which would have been unlikely if he had sons. What we know is that Malcolm was a yeoman. I am inclined to think that he married twice with Samuel b. 1707 the son of a first marriage and the other three b. 1715, 1717, and 1720 the children of a second marriage to Martha ?, later Bigger. She mentioned the younger three sons in her will but not Samuel who lived down the road in Flemington, NJ.

This seems to confirm that said Malcomb was not the son of the 4th Earl and so I have disassociated the two men in the family tree.

Having said that, it has been verified that a John Fleming did emigrate to America and his decendents, Daniel and Rachael were our ancestors.

John Fleming Immigrated to America sometime before 1778 and most likely prior to 1776.. It is not known if the family traveled together but all his siblings went to Pennsylvania. Members of the Fleming family who had gone to Pennsylvania in previous generations had holdings there. Later they were identified as the "Oil Creek Flemings" by Hugh Clifford, a family historian. Male children of Nobles had little opportunity if they were not first born and America offered the chance to obtain land. After his arrival he married. Some family trees identify his wife as  Sarah L Chatham born on 19 Jan 1744 in Ireland, the daughter of Col John Chatham and Sarah Mons. However, Mr. Clifford, who had done extensive research, identifies her as Sarah L Reed, of unknown parents. Since the birth place and date is the same for both, they can be assumed to be the same woman and it is only her parentage which is in question. (But not that she had questionable parenthood, so to speak.)We will assume that the surname Reed is correct. It is quite possible that there was a previous marriage to a Chatham or someone else since her first child with our John Fleming was born when she was 34 years old.

From Hugh Clifford's web site, The Oil Creek Flemings;

JOHN1 FLEMING, according to county histories, was from England, served in the Revolutionary War, lived in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, and was buried in Redstone Old Fort (present–day Brownsville), Fayette County, Pennsylvania. However, Jordan (1913), page 250 [see References” for all author-date references], says: “… Of the Flemings [our Flemings] it is said their progenitors were from the north of Scotland.”

The reference of John being "from England" may be due to the fact that his embarkation point from the British Isles was in England.

Children of John and Sarah were;

  • Andrew b 1778

  • Daniel b 1779

  • Samuel b 1784

  • Ezekiel b 1788

This may not be a complete listing and daughters may have been omitted from the records.

John died at Brownville, Venango County, Pennsylvania, in 1790 and Sarah on 20 Feb 1812.


3rd Great Grandparents

Daniel Fleming (1779-1846) & Nancy Harding (1786-1856)

Daniel was born 31 Oct 1779 at Fayette City, Fayette, Pennsylvania. On 11 Mar 1824 he married Nancy Harding. She was the daughter of James Harding (1736-1839) and we believe she was born at Harrisville, Butler, Pennsylvania, in 1786. The family settled in Cherry Tree, Venango County, Pa and had the following children;

  • John H b 1805

  • James b 1807

  • Andrew b 1811

  • Daniel b 1813

  • Rachel b 1815

  • William b 1821

  • A daughter b 1823

Daniel died 31 Oct 1779 at Fayette City, Fayette, Pennsylvania and Nancy in 1855 at Harmony Twp, Forrest, PA.

See thee Pedigree chart for James Harding which includes the Harding and Kingsbury family lines as well as others.

The harding line after going through several name changes in England in the 1100's and 1000's
reveals it's Viking origins. This line of ancestors includes:

Styrbjörn the Strong my 32nd great grandfather (956-986AD) See
Olof Björnsson (reigned c. 970 – c.975) was a semi-legendary Swedish king who was referenced
in several Old Norse Sagas including Hervarar saga, Saga of Harald Fairhair and the
Styrbjarnar þáttr Svíakappa.

Olof was the son of Björn Eriksson who ruled as king of Sweden.
After the death of their father, Olof ruled jointly with his brother Eric the
Victorious (Swedish: Erik Segersäll). By his queen Ingeborg Thrandsdotter,
he was the father of Styrbjörn Starke and Gyrid, queen consort of King Harald Bluetooth.
He died of poison during a meal. Eric, instead of proclaiming his nephew Styrbjörn co-ruler,
proclaimed his own unborn son to be co-ruler. This son ruled as King Olof Skötkonung

Ragnarsdotter Alof, Queen of the VIikings (845-900AD) My 35th great grandmother.

My search concluded with Ragnar "Lodbrock" Denmark Sigurdsson (750-845)
my 40th great grandfather and legendary[1][2] Viking ruler, king, and hero
from the Viking Age described in Old Norse poetry and several sagas.
In this tradition, Ragnar was the scourge of France and England in the 9th century and
the father of many renowned sons, including Ivar the Boneless, Björn Ironside,
Halfdan Ragnarsson, Sig urd Snake-in-the-Eye, and Ubba. While these men are historical figures, it is uncertain whether Ragnar himself existed or really fathered them. Many of the tales about him appear to conflate the deeds of several historical Viking heroes
and rulers.

The Kingsbury family line includes several distinguished British leaders and morphing through several name changes like

De Kyngesbery,  Bracebridge, DeBracebridge, we end our quest with Sir Ralf Bracebridge, my 21st great grandfather born in 1066. The trail goes cold at that point, the year of the invasion by William the Conquer from Normandy.

Rachel Fleming

2nd Great Grandparents

Rachel Fleming (1815-1884) & Alden P Copeland (1801-1852)

Rachel, who had been born 30 Apr 1815 married Alden P Copeland in 1832. For a continuation of the family line see 6th Generation: Alden Parcus Copeland


Family Tree

Pedigree Chart of Rachel Fleming

© Grandpa Don Plefka
aka Harry Ronald Cecora
July 3, 2013
Rev July 10, 2013


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