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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

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

The ancient Scottish kingdom of Dalriada is thought to be the home of the ancestors of the Calhoun family. Their name comes from someone having lived in the former Aberdeenshire, derived from the Gaelic cil or cil, which means "nook" or "corner." Colquhoun is properly pronounced "Ko-hoon."


In the Middle Ages, the translation between Gaelic and English was not a highly developed process. Spelling was not yet standardized, and so, an enormous number of spelling variations appear in records of early Scottish names. Calhoun has appeared as Colquhoun, Colhoun, Colhoon, Cahoun, Cohoun, Cahoon, Cohoon, Culquhoun, Cahune, Cohune, Cowquhone, Colquhone, Culquhown, Cahoone, Calhoun, Kalhoun, Kulhoun, Kolhoun, Calhoon, Calloon, Culloone, Collune and many more.

First found in Angus (Gaelic: Aonghas), part of the Tayside region of northeastern Scotland, and present day Council Area of Angus, formerly known as Forfar or Forfarshire where they held a seat at Luss and possessed vast manors and elegant estates. Although not formally recognized before the 11th century (the Clan system was not developed until the reign of King Malcolm Ceanmore and his second wife, Margaret) this Clan has a unified history that may well precede that time. It is believed that they occupied this area well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 AD. According to Clan tradition, the Calhoun Clan is descended from an early Celtic priest named St. Kessog who lived in Glen Luss, the Monks' Isle in Loch Lomond.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Calhoun research. Another 509 words(36 lines of text) covering the years 1241, 1602, and 1715 are included under the topic Early Calhoun History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Calhoun Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Calhoun family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 205 words(15 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Dalriadan families proliferated in North America. Their descendants still populate many communities in the eastern parts of both the United States and Canada. Some settled in Canada as United Empire Loyalists, in the wake of the American War of Independence. Families on both sides of the border have recovered much of their heritage in the 20th century through Clan societies and highland games. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Calhoun or a variant listed above:

Calhoun Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • William Calhoun, who landed in America in 1795-1798

Calhoun Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Wm Calhoun, who landed in America in 1805
  • Saml Calhoun, who arrived in America in 1805
  • Jean Calhoun, who landed in America in 1805
  • John Calhoun, who arrived in America in 1805
  • Altar Calhoun, aged 49, landed in South Carolina in 1812


  • Ann Carter "Bootsie" Calhoun (1924-2014), American politician
  • Barbara Fiske Calhoun (1919-2014), born Isabelle Daniel Hall, American cartoonist and painter
  • George Whitney Calhoun (1890-1963), American sports and telegraph editor, co-founder of the Green Bay Packers
  • James Calhoun (1845-1876), American soldier in the United States Army during the American Civil War and the Black Hills War, brother-in-law of George Armstrong Custer, he was killed in the Battle of the Little Bighorn
  • Chad Calhoun (b. 1933), one of the many pseudonyms of Ron Goulart, American mystery, fantasy and science fiction author
  • Wil Calhoun, American Primetime Emmy nominated television producer and writer
  • John B. Calhoun (1917-1995), American ecologist and research psychologist
  • James S. Calhoun (1802-1852), American Governor of New Mexico Territory from 1851 to 1852
  • Ann Marie Calhoun (b. 1980), American violinist
  • Donald Clevester "Don" Calhoun (b. 1952), former professional American NFL football running back


  • The Calhoun Family and Thomas Green Clemson: The Decline of a Southern Patriarchy by Ernest McPherson Lander.
  • 800 Years of Colquhoun, Colhoun, Calhoun and A Cahoon Family History in Ireland, Scotland, England, United States of America, Australia, and Canada by Orval Calhoun.

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: Si je puis
Motto Translation: If I can


Calhoun Clan Badge
Calhoun Clan Badge

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A clan is a social group made up of a number of distinct branch-families that actually descended from, or accepted themselves as descendants of, a common ancestor. The word clan means simply children. The idea of the clan as a community is necessarily based around this idea of heredity and is most often ruled according to a patriarchal structure. For instance, the clan chief represented the hereditary "parent" of the entire clan. The most prominent example of this form of society is the Scottish Clan system...



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  1. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and Don Pottinger. Clan Map Scotland of Old. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1983. Print.
  2. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  3. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. The Charters of David I The Written Acts of David I King of Scots, 1124-53 and of His Son Henry, Earl of Northumerland, 1139-52. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999. Print.
  4. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  5. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  6. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  8. Adam, Frank. Clans Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands 8th Edition. London: Bacon (G.W.) & Co, 1970. Print. (ISBN 10-0717945006).
  9. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  10. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and David Hicks. The Highland Clans The Dynastic Origins, Cheifs and Background of the Clans. New York: C.N. Potter, 1968. Print.
  11. ...

The Calhoun Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Calhoun 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 June 2015 at 10:47.

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