"We're No Eerish Bot Scoatch": The Wightmans of Scotland, County Down, and Pittsburgh

Bret A. Wightman

  • 3600

Focusing on the story of James M. and Martha Smiley Wightman and their immigrant family of ten children in Pittsburgh, Pa., this foundational history of the Wightmans begins in 14th-century Scotland and follows the family surname from various Scottish Lowland counties to County Down in Ireland, and then to America. There the family’s steam-engine and boiler construction, shipping commerce, oil, banking and glass manufacturing helped to shape the Iron and then the Steel City of Pittsburgh from 1825 to the 1920s. Included also is a chapter on first-immigrant son John Wightman's descendants through the 20th century.
    In Scotland, four of the major concentrations of Wightmans are here brought together: Dunkeld in Perthshire; Selkirk and Peebles, both in the Scottish Borders; and Dumfriesshire, the most likely origin of this branch of the Wightman family. Some of the first Scots Irish, in the early 17th century Wightmans along with other Scots then emigrated from Scotland to County Down in Ireland, along with Lisburn just across the River Lagan that is there the border with County Antrim. It was mainly in north Down, from Bangor on the north coast down to Seaforde, that Wightmans settled and can still be found today. 
    The book will appeal to not only Scots and Scots-Irish Wightmans in the United States and across the world, but also to anyone with Scots Irish ancestry, genealogists, historians and those with an interest in this part of European and American history. Maps and fictional vignettes of daily life enhance the first two chapters covering the histories of the Wightman surname in Scotland and Ulster. Photographs, period illustrations and newspaper clippings accompany detailed biographies of the James M. Wightman family members in the Pittsburgh chapters following, including a chapter on the family’s religious, civic and political activities. Finally, two comprehensive appendices chronologically cover records of Wightmans in Scotland from 1362 to 1700 and in Ireland from 1633 to 1825. (326pp. color illus. index. Masthof Press, 2024.)

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