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

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 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 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 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 United States in the 20th Century


  • Adele Gordon Harper, who landed in Alabama in 1929

Harper Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • Eliz Harper, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Saml Harper, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Christopher Harper, aged 40, landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1774
  • Mr. William Harper U.E. who settled in Western District [The townships of Essex County and Kent County], Ontario c. 1784

Harper Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Nichol Harper, aged 34, arrived in Canada in 1811
  • Michael Harper, aged 29, a carpenter, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the brig "Levant Star" from Cork
  • Patrick Harper settled in Harbour Grace Parish in 1840

Harper Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • John Harper, English convict from Kent, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 29, 1828, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Barbara Harper, Scottish convict from Edinburgh, who was transported aboard the "Amphitrite" on August 21, 1833, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • William Harper arrived in Port Misery aboard the ship "Duchess of Northumberland" in 1839
  • Ruth Harper arrived in Port Misery aboard the ship "Duchess of Northumberland" in 1839
  • John Harper, English convict from Norfolk, who was transported aboard the "Anson" on September 23, 1843, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia


Harper Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • James Titcomb Harper, aged 38, a farmer, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Fifeshire" in 1842
  • Sarah Harper, aged 13, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Fifeshire" in 1842
  • Lebulan Harper, aged 12, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Fifeshire" in 1842
  • J Harper landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1843
  • William Harper, aged 16, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Westminster" in 1843


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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. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  2. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  3. Warner, Philip Warner. Famous Scottish Battles. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-004-4).
  4. Adam, Frank. Clans Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands 8th Edition. London: Bacon (G.W.) & Co, 1970. Print. (ISBN 10-0717945006).
  5. Black, George F. The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3).
  6. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  7. Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1995. Print.
  8. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Socts Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Modern Application of the Art of Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  9. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
  10. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  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 22 May 2015 at 14:59.

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