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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2014

Where did the Scottish Harper family come from? What is the Scottish Harper family crest and coat of arms? When did the Harper family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Harper family history?

Harper comes from the kingdom of Dalriada in ancient Scotland. It was a name for a person who worked as a person who occupies the role of "harper". In ancient times the harper was considered an important figurehead whereby Brehon laws stated that the elegance and music of the harp "deserved" a noble status.

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Historical recordings of the name Harper include many spelling variations. They are the result of repeated translations of the name from Gaelic to English and inconsistencies in spelling rules. They include Harper, Harpur, Harpar, Harepur and others.

First found in Lennox, Scotland, where they held a family seat from early times.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Harper research. Another 395 words(28 lines of text) covering the years 1603, 1100, 1579, 1639, 1700, 1680, 1741, 1496, 1574, 1566, 1585, 1638, 1616, 1669, 1645, 1681, 1679 and 1741 are included under the topic Early Harper History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 137 words(10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Harper Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Harper family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 101 words(7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Many who arrived from Scotland settled along the east coast of North America in communities that would go on to become the backbones of the young nations of the United States and Canada. In the American War of Independence, many settlers who remained loyal to England went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Their descendants later began to recover the lost Scottish heritage through events such as the highland games that dot North America in the summer months. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Harper family emigrate to North America:

  • John Harper who was a resident of Virginia in 1607 and 1608

Harper Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • John Harper settled in Virginia in 1642
  • Patrick Harper settled in Virginia in 1653
  • Patrick Harper, who arrived in Virginia in 1653
  • Symon Harper, who landed in Virginia in 1654
  • Francis Harper, who landed in Virginia in 1654


Harper Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Edwd Harper, who landed in Virginia in 1703
  • Cha Harper, who arrived in Virginia in 1705
  • Anthony Harper, was a servant of Oderin, about 1730
  • Simon Peter Harper, who landed in Georgia in 1738
  • Jacob Harper, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1773


Harper Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Joseph Harper, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County Pennsylvania in 1802
  • Robert Harper, who arrived in America in 1805
  • Mary Harper, who landed in America in 1805
  • Jane Harper, who landed in America in 1805
  • Jas Harper, who arrived in America in 1805


Harper Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • Adele Gordon Harper, who landed in Alabama in 1929

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  • William Joseph Harper (1790-1847), American (Antigua born), jurist, politician, and social and political theorist
  • James Harper (1795-1869), American publisher and politician
  • William Rainey Harper (1856-1906), American educator and biblical scholar, who was the first president of the University of Chicago
  • John Chandler Harper (1914-2004), American professional golfer
  • Valerie Harper (b. 1940), American actress
  • Major-General Arthur McKinley Harper (1893-1972), American Commandant of the Armored School (1950)
  • Lieutenant-General Robert Wells Harper (1900-1982), American Commanding General Air Training Command (1948-1954)
  • Mr. Henry Sleeper Harper, aged 48, American First Class passenger from New York City, New York who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping in life boat 3
  • Mrs. Myna Harper, (née Haxtun), aged 49, American First Class passenger from New York City, New York who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping in life boat 3
  • Corporal John William Harper (1916-1944), British soldier awarded the Victoria Cross during WWII

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  • The Harpers of Pulaski and Rockcastle Counties, Kentucky: A Genealogical and Historical Narrative by Joseph Doyle Harper.
  • The Harpers of Virginia, West Virginia, and Mississippi by Frank O'Beirne.
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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Et suavis et fortis
Motto Translation: Pleasant and brave.

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  1. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  2. Bloxham, Ben. Key to Parochial Registers of Scotland From Earliest Times Through 1854 2nd edition. Provo, UT: Stevenson's Genealogical Center, 1979. Print.
  3. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  4. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  6. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  7. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  8. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  9. Warner, Philip Warner. Famous Scottish Battles. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-004-4).
  10. Scarlett, James D. Tartan The Highland Textile. London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1990. Print. (ISBN 0-85683-120-4).
  11. ...

The Harper Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Harper Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 26 August 2014 at 17:21.

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