Wotherspoon History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The story of the Wotherspoon family is rich with Scottish history. It begins in the ancient kingdom of Dalriada where Wotherspoon evolved as a name for some who lived in various places throughout Scotland. It may have been a habitation name from a now lost place name, thought to come from the Old English terms wether, which means "sheep," and "spong," or from spang, which means "a narrow strip of land." [1] Habitation names form a broad category of surnames that were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.

Early Origins of the Wotherspoon family

The surname Wotherspoon was first found in Renfrewshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Rinn Friù), a historic county of Scotland, today encompassing the Council Areas of Renfrew, East Renfrewshire, and Iverclyde, in the Strathclyde region of southwestern Scotland.

The first record of the family was found c. 1290 when Roger Wythirspon, clerk, attested a grant by James the High Steward of lands in Renfrew. [1]

The family acquired business interests in Glasgow, and also were tenants of the Cupar Angus Abbey.

In 1496, a payment was thus noted: "Widderspune the foulare that tald talis and brocht foulis to the king." Later, John Wyddirspwn was tenant of Dalbeth in 1518 and a tenant of Cupar-Angus Abbey, c. 1500, was named Wychthirspone. [1]

Further to the south in England, the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed Adam Wytherpyn and Adam Wyerpin in Norfolk. Later in 1379, the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls listed Johannes Withspone and Willelmus Wythspone. The reference The History of Norfolk notes John Wetherpyn was vicar of Thrickby, Norfolk in 1419. [2] Interestingly, the last author comments: "I can make nothing out of this surname, and leave it to the consideration of more enlightened students. I can furnish them with materials, but that is all. My Yorkshire references clearly represent some of its ancestors." [2] We can only presume that this learned gentleman had not considered Yorkshire's close proximity to Scotland and a presumable migration from there.

Early History of the Wotherspoon family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wotherspoon research. Another 130 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1548, 1521, 1546, 1547, 1643, 1646, 1722, 1794, 1768, 1850, 1921 and 1894 are included under the topic Early Wotherspoon History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Wotherspoon Spelling Variations

Historical recordings of the name Wotherspoon include many spelling variations. They include They are the result of repeated translations of the name from Gaelic to English and inconsistencies in spelling rules. Wotherspoon, Witherspoon, Weatherspoon, Wetherspoon and many more.

Early Notables of the Wotherspoon family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Wotherspoon Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Wotherspoon migration to the United States +

Scottish settlers arrived in many of the communities that became the backbones of the United States and Canada. Many stayed, but some headed west for the endless open country of the prairies. In the American War of Independence, many Scots who remained loyal to England re-settled in Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Scots across North America were able to recover much of their lost heritage in the 20th century as Clan societies and highland games sprang up across North America. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Wotherspoons to arrive on North American shores:

Wotherspoon Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Grissell Wotherspoon, who arrived in Perth Amboy, NJ in 1685 [3]
  • Grizell Wotherspoon, who settled in East New Jersey in 1686
Wotherspoon Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Wotherspoon, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1796
Wotherspoon Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • M Wotherspoon, aged 29, who arrived in New York in 1812 [3]
  • Robert Wotherspoon, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1826 [3]
  • James Dundas Wotherspoon, who landed in America in 1855 [3]
Wotherspoon Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Dr. Francis Wotherspoon, aged 55, who landed in America from Kingston, Jamaica, in 1905
  • Agnes Wotherspoon, aged 30, who settled in America from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1907
  • Campbell Wotherspoon, aged 19, who landed in America from Cullybackey, Ireland, in 1908
  • David Wotherspoon, aged 9, who immigrated to the United States from Leslie, Scotland, in 1908
  • Alexander Wotherspoon, aged 25, who landed in America from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1910
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Wotherspoon migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Wotherspoon Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Cecil Wotherspoon, aged 40, who immigrated to Montreal, Canada, in 1913

Contemporary Notables of the name Wotherspoon (post 1700) +

  • Jeremy Lee Wotherspoon (b. 1976), Canadian eight-time gold and silver medalist Olympic speed skater
  • William Wallace Wotherspoon (1821-1888), American landscape painter from New York City, known for his paintings of New Hampshire's White Mountains
  • William Wallace Wotherspoon (1850-1921), American Army Officer, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army in 1914
  • Adella Liebenow Wotherspoon (1903-2004), the youngest survivor of the General Slocum ship disaster of 1904
  • David Wotherspoon (b. 1990), Scottish professional football player who plays for St Johnstone, as a midfielder
  • William Wotherspoon (1868-1942), Scottish rugby union half-back for the Scotland National Team (1891-1894) and for the British Isles National Team in 1891
  • Tyler Wotherspoon (b. 1993), Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman
  • Trent Wotherspoon (b. 1980), Canadian politician from Regina, Leader of the Opposition in the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly (2016-2017), Member of the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly for Regina Rosemont (2007-)
  • Dylan Wotherspoon (b. 1993), Australian International Field Hockey player for the Australia National Team (2015-)

The Wotherspoon Motto +

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: Deo juvante
Motto Translation: By God’s assistance.

  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)

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