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 Our Early American Jamesons - the Immigrants

The largest and most well known group of our particular Jamesons, are those in the United States - all descendants of a few pioneers who arrived in early New England, at different times, during the first half of the 1700's and all emmigrants from the same small area in Ireland.[1]

Because of harsh new religious repressions enacted under Queen Anne,[2] in 1704,[3] many in Ireland lost their social and economic benefits gained by the 1689 Tolerant Act, under King William. These new policies made life very difficult for most people living in Ireland, particularly the Presbyterians in Ulster. Virtually treated as outlaws, they were deprived of their churches and schools, their marriages invalidated, and they were prohibited from holding office above that of petty constable. For these reasons many people left Ireland, notably those Ulster Scots of County Londonderry, who with four Presbyterian Ministers: John Holmes, James MacGregor, William Boyd, and William Cornwell, and their respective congregations,[4] came to America. This exodus continued as things got worse throughout much of the latter part of that century. Among those who left Ireland at that time were many Jameson families, not all related. At least some of our particular Jameson family was part of this.

Several of those who left Ireland at that time were from the Coleraine and surrounding Bann Valley area of Ulster. The earliest group of these came to New England in 1718, some of whom soon made their way to Provincial New Hampshire, where, in 1719, they eventually settled at a place they named Nutfield. Nutfield was an early and important colonial settlement, which this group created out of what was at the time wilderness and pretty much the western frontier. Nutfield soon (1722) became the Town Londonderry, New Hampshire, an area just east of the Merrimack River and just south of what is now, Manchester. The original settlement area is now is made up of the Towns of Derry, Londonderry, Windham and Salem. Our Jameson family joined this group, although none of these were thought to be there before at least 1722. Most of the very first settlers paid no money for their land as it was a free gift, known as the "exempt farms," from King William, until the American Revolution.

The earliest any of our Jamesons is to be found there was probably John (Jonathan) Jameson. He is thought to have been there sometime prior to 1725,[5] and the earliest actual record we have of him there is in 1726.[6] He was a cordwainer by trade, married to woman named Margaret and apparently did not have any children. Jonathan died sometime in the early 1740's and his will of 1741[7] is the document that explains and validates, many of the relationships amongst our early Jameson family, both in New England and back in Ireland.

By 1732 we can find a William Jameson, in Londonderry, a descendant of earlier Jameson immigrants, who had made his way from Billerica, Massachussetts, and probably the Boston area before that. This William had considerable land in what is now the Town of Windham, then part of the larger Londonderry area. He had several sons and their combined descendants make up a large number of the Jamesons from this original settlement who survive today. Although it was thought for many years that this William Jameson belonged as part of our Jameson family(s) in Londonderry, modern YDNA testing says he is not.[8]

Thomas Jameson arrived in America, at Boston, in 1738, aboard the ship "Lime" and immediately made his way to Londonderry, New Hampshire, presumably to join others from the Bann valley, including his cousin Jonathan, who had settled there along with the earliest Scots-Irish settlers, further suggesting his ties to these earlier immigrants.[9] Thomas married Margaret Dickey, daughter of John Dickey, after arriving here in America. The Dickey family here in Londonderry, can also be found back in th Bann Valley area of Ulster, Ireland, where Thomas was from. Hugh Jameson followed this familiar pattern in 1746, arriving with his wife and family at Boston on the ship "Molly." Many of these early immigrants, including Hugh Jameson, came with a deferred cost of passage, usually due one or two years after arrival. Both Thomas and Hugh Jameson were from Coleraine itself and were cordwainers, by trade, just like their cousin Jonathan.

An Alexander Jameson can also be found here by 1741[7] and may have arrived with his cousin Jonathan much earlier, or perhaps in 1738 with Thomas who is assumed to be a brother. Unfortunately, apart from his inclusion in Jonathan's 1741 will, and a mention or two in old records, nothing is really known about him in New Hampshire.

Hugh and his brother Thomas soon moved to Dunbarton, New Hampshire where they remained for the rest of their lives.[10] In fact, some of our Jamesons were known to have been in Dunbarton, at least until the very late 1800's and some can still be found in New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts. Eventually Jameson descendants from this group and probably other yet unknown Jameson American immigrants, moved on throughout the country.

Some early Jamesons of our family are thought to have likely emigrated from Ireland to all sorts of other places, including Chimbote, Peru. Many of course remained in Ireland and other parts of the United Kingdom and it's empire. One can safely say that today there are descendants of this Jameson family all over the world.



[1]      Ulster Jamesons

[2]      Anne Stuart (1665-1714) Queen of England - 1702-1714

[3]      Test Act in Ireland of 1704 - In Ireland, the Anglican sacramental test was introduced in 1704. Not just the Catholic majority, but also the Presbyterians and other nonconformists, whose combined numbers exceeded those of the established Anglican church, were excluded from full political rights, which made tenure of office dependent on willingness to receive communion according to the Protestant Episcopalian (Church of Ireland) rite. In 1782, English legislation on oaths of allegiance and religious declarations was also enacted. All of these provisions were abolished in 1871.

[4]      Scotch Irish Pioneers in Ulster and America - Charles Knowles Bolton - Genealogical Publishing Co. - 1910 - pp 15

[5]      [S42] The Argyle Jamesons. - Scott Jameson

[6]      1726 Land purchase, Londonderry, NH - Rockingham County (NH) Land Purchase Records, Book 15, page 147

[7]      [S98] 1741 Will of Jonathan Jameson - Probate Records of the Province of New Hampshire, Vol 3 - New Hampshire Wills, p.85, 86

[8]     Proven with YDNA testing of descendants - see Y-DNA and Our Jameson Family

[9]      The Ulster Background to Immigration - Dr. Linde Lunney - Royal Irish Academy. - www.1718migration.org.uk/s_diaspora.asp

[10]      Early Jameson New Hampshire Homesteads